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Literature / The Jewel Kingdom

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Jewel Kingdom
You will find it if you try,
High above the mountains in the sky.
— Theme song from the movie

The Jewel Kingdom series by Jahnna N. Malcolm is about a group of four princess sisters who are each given a quarter of the Jewel Kingdom to rule. Armed with Chekhov's Guns, every known variety of mentor in animal form, and glittery gemstones, the girls, ranging from age 8 to 10, become the Jewel Princesses. But all is not well, as Lord Bleak and his daughter Rudgrin, the main villains of the series, attempt to retake control of their former lands. There are 13 books in total, and a film adapting the first was made.

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In 2020, the series began to be reprinted with new illustrations and a number of edits to the text, most notably editing the character designs and making the sisters cousins.

Books in the series include:

  1. The Ruby Princess Runs Away
  2. The Sapphire Princess Meets a Monster
  3. The Emerald Princess Plays a Trick
  4. The Diamond Princess Saves the Day
  5. The Ruby Princess Sees a Ghost
  6. The Sapphire Princess Hunts for Treasure
  7. The Emerald Princess Finds a Fairy
  8. The Diamond Princess and the Magic Ball
  9. The Ruby Princess and the Baby Dragon
  10. The Sapphire Princess Helps a Mermaid
  11. The Emerald Princess Follows a Unicorn
  12. The Diamond Princess Steps Through Her Mirror
  13. The Jewel Princesses and the Missing Crown

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This series contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 100% Adoration Rating: All four sisters are positively adored by their people.
  • Accidental Hero: In the fourth book, Finley screws up by wasting the last mirror wish of the day, but coincidentally, what he accidentally shows (instead of Lord Bleak in exile) still proves to Bernard that Demetra is telling the truth.
  • Action Girl: All the princesses, but Roxanne takes the cake.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: To erase the Beauty Equals Goodness implications of the original work, the 2020 reprint changes the ugly Darklings to make the Dreadlings look normal, but with scary eyes.
  • Adaptational Diversity: Many of the characters, including three out of four princesses, got Race Lifts in the 2020 reprint.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The 2020 version changes a number of names, either because of the conscious removal of Dark Is Evil or to keep names from being unintentionally funny to modern children (Twitter to Pip being the best example).
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  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: The Jewel Princesses are sisters in 1997 and in the 1999 film, but cousins in the 2020 reprint.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Twitter/Pip is a bird in the books, but the short film made him an elf, probably because of the already struggling special effects budget. Oddly enough, he's still called Twitter even when he's not a bird here; he was only renamed to Pip in the reprint, 21 years after the movie.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Roxanne the Ruby Princess, Sabrina the Sapphire Princess, Emily the Emerald Princess, and Demetra the Diamond Princess.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: The movie made of the first book is a musical.
  • Artifact of Doom: A mild example, given it's foiled by just proving it's bad and then taking it someplace else, but the picnic basket in book 2 isn't just poisoned; it's actively malevolent, displaying powers like drawing its intended target to it magnetically, briefly hypnotizing her, and jumping right into her hands, just to get her to eat the tainted food.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Each of the girls strive to be Royals Who Actually Do Something and regularly get in over their heads and emerge victorious anyway.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The climax of the first book shows Roxanne's coronation (technically all the Jewel Princesses', but the others were crowned offscreen).
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted with Oona but played entirely straight with the Darklings, who were originally normal humans but whose inner evil twisted their outward appearance and made them ugly. In the reprint, the Dreadlings are no longer ugly; instead, they have Black Eyes of Evil.
  • Bookends: The last book features the return of Twitter/Pip, the King and Queen, and the Great Jewelled Crown after all of these had been offscreen ever since book one.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the movie adaptation of the first book, Roxanne and Hapgood repeatedly bid goodbye to the viewers. It's a little jarring, given that this didn't happen anywhere else in the movie or the books.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Each of the princesses has one, and they grew up in a fifth, the Jewel Palace.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: The Jewel Princesses each have their gem marked on their arm, though it doesn't come up often.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Both the Darklings and their reprint counterpart the Dreadlings have black, empty eyes like shadowy pits; the Dreadlings' eyes are likened to black gems.
  • Blond, Brunette, Redhead: In the original run, Sabrina is the blond, Roxanne and Demetra are the brunettes, and Emily is the redhead.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: Where Sabrina has to get a rare flower to cure Oona's poisoning. In the 1997 print, she actually dives under the waterfall and surfaces behind it to retrieve the flower; this was changed in the 2020 reprint to walking behind it, probably to keep kids from trying it at home.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Only book 8 and the super special do this, with the rest being "Character Name Does Something."
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The colors refer to the personality types of each girl, using the Four-Element Ensemble in reference to the Four Seasons: Demetra, Winter/Air; Roxanne, Fire/Autumn; Sabrina, Water/Spring; Emily, Earth/Summer. This also appears in their kingdoms, which are eternally in their 'season'.
  • Cool Crown: The Great Jeweled Crown, which carries with it the right for its wearer to rule the Jewel Kingdom. The Jewel Princesses' four crowns each hold a gem removed from it.
  • Cowardly Lion: Demetra is largely characterized by her paralyzing fear of anything to do with Lord Bleak, and she's also deeply afraid of the dark. However, she still manages to stand up and assert herself when her people's well-being depends on it.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Demetra's royal adviser, Finley, is a snow fox.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Rudgrin, Lord Bleak's daughter.
  • Dark Is Evil: The original run had a lot of this, though the reprint eases off on it by changing the Darklings and the Dark Times to the Dreadlings and the Sad Times.
  • The Ditz: Emily comes off as this.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: The Jewel Princesses are always depicted in beautiful dresses, even when they're out playing or having adventures. Roxanne says she'd rather wear pants, but never does on page.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: The entire series revolves around gems, crowns, and the pretty fantasy of having them. Even the movie replaced the Birthmark of Destiny with a necklace. The first run's Feelies were costume jewelry themed after each princess!
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: The original Darklings, but this was changed for their 2020 counterpart, the Dreadlings.
  • Exact Words: When asked in book 1 if she is the Ruby Princess, the runaway Roxanne says she hasn't been crowned the Ruby Princess. Of course she hasn't; the coronation hasn't happened yet.
  • Feelies: The original version was famous for including costume jewelry with its first print run: necklaces for the first four books, rings for the next four, and a bracelet in the super special, each with plastic jewels matching the shape and colour associated with each princess. The 2020 reprint includes sparkly stickers instead.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: The 2020 reprint is advertised as a whole new series (and considered one in the copyright information, due to the altered text and new illustrations), since its audience would be the children of the girls who read the 1997 version.
  • Genki Girl: Emily is an energetic Tomboy Princess, chatterbox, and very excitable.
  • The Good Kingdom: The Jewel Kingdom, though it suffered greatly when Lord Bleak was in charge.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Sabrina, blonde in the original books, is the sweetest and most innocent of the sisters.
  • I Have This Friend...: In the first book, Roxanne pretends that she's just a friend of the Ruby Princess in order to ask what makes a good ruler because "her friend" wants to know.
  • Improbable Age: These girls are 10 years old and running the entire kingdom together.
  • Inept Mage: Wink, in The Diamond Princess and the Magic Ball.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: Emily dresses up as a Darkling to scare Roxanne as a joke. She then pulls this excuse out when Roxanne is angry with her, despite Roxanne having nearly been kidnapped multiple times by real Darklings just two books before. She learns her lesson later, though.
  • Latex Perfection: The movie portrays the shape-changing mask this way, even if it's, you know, magic.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Rudgrin is just as nasty and mean as her father.
  • Limited-Use Magical Device: Demetra's mirror can only be used three times a day, Emily's pan flute keeps her the size it's turned her to until sunrise or sunset, and Roxanne's shield runs on a time limit. The only limit on Sabrina's magic dust appears to be the quantity she has on hand.
  • Magic Mirror: Demetra owns a magic hand mirror that will show her whatever she asks it to.
  • Meaningful Name: Roxanne rules the Red Mountains. King Regal and Queen Jemma are obvious, and Jemma is Gemma in the reprint just to underline it. Lord Bleak rules a barren, dying country.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: All four girls have a non-human royal adviser. Roxanne's is the dragon Hapgood, Sabrina's is the butterfly Zazz, Emily's is the unicorn Arden, and Demetra's is the snow fox Finley.
  • Off-Model: The original Neal McPheeters illustrations were often this. While the cover paintings looked very nice, the characters on the inside often looked bland and emotionless at best to hideous at worst, especially when it came to drawing animals.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They are Western dragons in appearance and breathe fire, but like Eastern dragons, they can talk and are considered wise.
  • Parental Abandonment: We see the girls' parents in the first book, and that's it.
  • The Prankster: Emily gleefully pulls tricks on people despite everybody either telling her she shouldn't or very obviously just pretending not to hate it. She gets over this only after she overhears her people gossiping about how they're just pretending because they can't say no to the princess.
  • Princesses Rule: The kingdom is divided into four principalities so that each princess can rule a quarter of it. The king and queen still outrank them, but largely leave the kids to their own devices.
  • Princess Protagonist: Four of them. The series opens on their coronation.
  • Puppy Love: Demetra and Wink
  • Race Lift: Three out of four sisters are made nonwhite in the reprint, and to justify this, they're also changed from sisters to cousins.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The girls are generally the wisest, most powerful authority figures in the land.
  • Rebellious Princess: Roxanne runs away in the first book because she doesn't like propriety, doesn't think she can handle ruling, and is afraid of moving away to the land she's going to rule and being alone.
  • The Remnant: Bernard the Bear is a prisoner of war — a war that ended over a decade ago, and thought to be dead by his comrades, he's resigned to his fate. He refuses to believe that Lord Bleak was deposed and he's free to go until he sees his partner, scarred but alive, leading the rescue party for the people who stumbled into his cave.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Roxanne's baby dragon, Sassafras, is so adorable, he induces Cuteness Overload in everyone around him.
  • Ruling Couple: The king and queen are equally ranked. They cast out Lord Bleak together and assumed the throne together.
  • Series Continuity Error: In the original version of the first book, Roxanne tells Twitter that Hapgood told her about the Darklings sneaking in through a passage in the Mysterious Forest. Thing is, it was Twitter himself who told her that. This is fixed in the 2020 reprint.
  • Shrinking Violet: Played straight with Sabrina, averted in Roxanne.
  • Siblings Share the Throne: Siblings in the original, cousins in the reprint. While the king and queen are still in charge, they've given the four principalities surrounding the capital to the four Jewel Princesses.
  • Sibling Team: The four girls in the original whenever they work together.
  • Sizeshifter: Emily can turn giant or small with her magic pan flute.
  • Sympathetic Magic: Demetra falls victim to this in The Diamond Princess and the Magic Ball when she gives a lock of hair in exchange for the titular item, leaving herself open to magic being cast with it.
  • Tomboy Princess: Roxanne, who would rather wear pants and run around, and Emily, who's the most athletic and climbs so many trees that her palace is a glorified treehouse.
  • Treehouse of Fun: The Emerald Palace in both versions (but especially the 1997 print) is held up by thick, strong trees and has a wooden ladder going down. Literally the castle of treehouses.
  • Unicorn: Arden, Emily's advisor, is a white unicorn who lives in the forest.
  • Winter Royal Lady: Demetra is a child version of this, and she's already got the aesthetic down along with living in a winter kingdom.
  • Wizard Beard: Gallivant is portrayed with one of these in the 2020 print's illustrations.

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