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Literature / The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre

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A 2018 fantasy novel by Gail Carson Levine. It's a prequel to The Two Princesses of Bamarre, though published fourteen years later.

Lady Peregrine ("Perry") is the proud adopted daughter of a Lakti couple in the royal line. She wins footraces, pores over forbidden poetry, and tries to learn from her quieter and wiser friend Willem. She basks in the radiant affection of her father and struggles to live up to the expectations of her stern and distant mother. And she doesn't think too closely about the demure, "inferior" Bamarre servants scattered throughout their castle or the hardships they face under harsh Lakti rule – until the day she is visited by a fairy, something that is supposed to happen only to Bamarre children. The fairy tells her a truth that seems too impossible, too awful to accept: that the circumstances of her birth and adoption are very different than she's been told. She is no superior Lakti, but a Bamarre – and one with a very important destiny...


This novel provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The Ace: Perry is athletic, clever, bold – an ideal paragon of a Lakti child.
  • Accidental Proposal: A mild example towards the end of the novel: Willem makes a joke about the rock Perry's sitting on being her "throne" (now that's she's crown princess); Perry says she's "happy to share [her] throne" and scoots over to make space on the rock. She is immediately horrified that she might have inadvertently proposed to him with that wording – then feels disappointed when he doesn't appear to take it that way.
  • Action Girl: Perry is athletic and skilled with both a sword and bow, and though she doesn't like the idea of killing humans, she doesn't hesitate to fight her way out of situations when it's necessary (or contemplate doing so even when it's not).
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  • Affluent Ascetic: The Lakti, even nobility and royalty, don't allow "adornment", including jewelry, with a few minor exceptions such as signet rings.
  • Apologizes a Lot: All of the Bamarre, who are very often "begging your pardon" and tossing around an apology/forgiveness proverb. Perry especially finds herself apologizing nearly constantly for putting her foot in her mouth.
  • The Atoner: Helina implies that she and the other fairies help the Bamarre because if not for them slipping up and letting monsters into the realm, they would have never been subjugated. They'd have helped the Lakti too, if not for the Lakti's treachery.
  • Badass Pacifist: The Bamarre. They do not like the idea of fighting the Lakti or of conquering them, so they set up a nonviolent revolution to force them to give their children back. Perry also notes that for all their war-like tendencies, the Lakti gave up rather quickly against the monsters in their land, while the Bamarre are ready to face them head-on.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Bamarre are finally free to resettle their homeland and the Lakti will lift the legal basis for their oppression; Perry has the acceptance of her Bamarre family and the love of her adoptive mother, and is going to marry Willem. However, the future of the Bamarre people – whether they migrate to Bamarre or stay in New Lakti – is sure to be fraught with grief and hardship; Perry will probably never see her adoptive mother again; and the father she once revered died in agony, hating her and everything she stood for.
  • Blue Blood: Willem is from a noble family; Perry is believed to be a knight's daughter and is raised by parents who are in line for the throne.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Perry buys into the Lakti rhetoric about Bamarre weakness and inferiority, then struggles with it when she discovers her true heritage.
  • Cheerful Child: Drualt is unfailingly upbeat and can find a joke in anything, in stark contrast to his often angry and fearful older relatives.
  • Conscription: It's normal for teenaged Lakti children to serve a term in the army; midway though the book, the king forces it onto Bamarre children (some as young as nine years old) as a method of searching for Perry and holding the older Bamarre hostage to the Beneficences.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Perry, who struggles to reconcile her Bamarre heritage with her Lakti upbringing throughout the novel.
  • Child Soldiers: To find Perry and break the Bamarre spirit, the king forceably conscripts every Bamarre child from 8 to 18 against the Kyngoll. They're armed only with staves and used as the frontline guard to break the spirit of the Kyngoll, who are unwilling to hurt children.
  • The Chosen One: Perry, by the fairies to free the Bamarre (though she can't do it alone).
  • Cool Big Sis: Drualt admires Perry almost from the moment he meets her.
  • Culture Police: As part of the "Beneficences", the Lakti king bans all poetry among the Bamarre.
  • Daddy's Girl: Perry, who grows up adoring (and being adored by) her father.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Perry, on multiple occasions throughout the book.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: So that Perry can live among the Bamarre, Halina transforms her into the image of her own great-aunt, who's been dead a year.
  • Dehumanization: When King Canute's official is reading out the Beneficences, Perry notes that they always refer to the Bamarre as "beings" rather than "people", and wonders if that makes it easier to be cruel to them.
  • Doting Parent: Lord Tove towards Perry – right up until the moment he finds out she's not Lakti.
  • Driven by Envy: It's not her primary character motivation, but there is a major moment when Lady Klausine, believing that Perry trusts/loves Willem more than her, pushes him – or allows him to fall – out of a tower window, causing him to be badly injured. To her credit, she almost immediately regrets this, and later admits that her jealousy was unwarranted, not only because the basis for it turned out to be incorrect but also because she had been a strict and emotionally distant mother and couldn't expect to hold Perry's absolute trust.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It takes a lot of work and character development on the cast's part to see some of their hopes realized.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Perry succeeds in largely ending the war between the Kyngoll and the Lakti by convincing the conscripted Bamarre Child Soldiers to desert and ally with the Kyngoll.
    • When the duel in the Eskerns gets interrupted by monsters, the Lakti and Bamarre are forced to fight together.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Perry's got quite a few with Rapunzel: stolen by her adoptive mother after her true father is caught stealing food from her garden, magically growing hair, being locked in a tower, her adoptive mother pushing her "prince" out of it and severely injuring him.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Perry's Bamarre maid Annet is actually her elder sister.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The Bamarre welcomed the Lakti refugees, and the Lakti repaid them by conquering their land and reducing them to second-class citizens. When Perry finds a note from the original Lakti king, it's revealed that they always intended on subjugating the Bamarre "no matter how kind the reception".
  • Fish out of Water: Perry among her Bamarre relatives. She spends an entire month confined to the house under the guise of illness, because she can hardly open her mouth without offending some custom.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Discussed; the Bamarre are afraid that even if they somehow succeed in overthrowing the Lakti, they will merely turn the oppression onto the former elites, meaning the system won't truly change. In the end, it appears this will be averted, as Queen Klausine promises to let the Bamarre return to their homeland if they wish and repeals at least some of the oppressive laws binding the ones who remain in her domain.
  • Gender Is No Object: Although prejudice is one of the novel's primary themes, it's centered around racism and classism, and sexism seems absent. There's no hint that different jobs are stereotypical of one gender or the other, both sexes are educated similarly, there's no agnatic primogeniture for inheriting royal or noble titles, and Lakti girls are trained for military service alongside the boys. This is not a surprising choice, since the book already covers quite complex themes for a children's novel.
  • Girl in the Tower: Lord Tove imprisons Perry in a tower after discovering her Bamarre heritage. She manages to escape on her own, with a little magical aid.
  • Happily Adopted: Perry grows up knowing she's adopted – though not that she's actually a Bamarre commoner – and is proud and content.
  • Happily Married: Lord Tove and Lady Klausine (until the revelation of Perry's true birth circumstances); King Einar and Queen Greta.
  • A Hero Is Born: The prologue opens with Perry as an infant, and recounts the night that she and Annet were taken from their parents by Lady Klausine.
  • Infant Sibling Jealousy: Averted with Drualt. Although Annet and Perry are actually older, their complete absence and then sudden appearance in his life could be expected to function the same way – but Drualt is elated to suddenly have sisters.
  • Internalized Categorism: Perry deals with this in various forms throughout the book, first as a Lakti discovering that she's really a "weak" and "inferior" Bamarre, then after she identifies with the Bamarre and reviles the Lakti as cruel oppressors, struggling with the parts of her personality and upbringing that are very Lakti. She begins to resolve this towards the novel's end by realizing that neither people group is wholly good or bad, and it's actually useful and good that she has traits of both.
  • Ironic Name: Willem, whose name means "strong-willed warrior", is one of the least warlike characters in the novel and is regarded (albeit unfairly) as weak-willed and cowardly.
  • La Résistance: Much less violent and drawn-out than many examples, in part because this is a children's novel and in part because a change in leadership actually results in a lot of change happening through peaceful means. Most of the Bamarre rebellion resembles civil disobedience more than an actual armed uprising – though if the Lakti army hadn't been tied up fighting the Kyngoll, they were preparing for it to get violent.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Lady Klausine wanted a child so desperately that she was willing to lie to her husband and force someone else to turn over their baby to her.
  • Magical Accessory: Perry's sword necklace that she can use to temporarily blind people.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Perry (a blunt, martial, Oblivious to Love girl) and Willem (a sensitive, romantic boy opposed to violence).
  • Meaningful Name: Action Girl Peregrine (as in "peregrinate") is so named because she never likes to stop moving. (She also grows up to be the fastest runner around, much like peregrine falcons are the fastest-diving birds.)
  • Might Makes Right: Lakti rhetoric says they rule over the Bamarre because the Bamarre are inherently weak and unfit, and therefore, the Lakti are doing them a kindness by governing every aspect of their lives. Zig-zagged how much individual Lakti actually believe this.
  • Miracle Food: The magical tablecloth Perry steals from the Kyngoll can conjure food, scaled to the number of people in the room.
  • Morphic Resonance: Even in the body of an old woman, Perry retains the athleticism and strength of her true form. It's half the reason her duel with Lord Tove works out: he's expecting a defenseless old Bamarre and is blindsided by her speed and skill.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Of the commoner-raised-by-royalty, destined-to-free-my-oppressed-people variant. Notable in that rather than being abandoned by her birth parents, Perry was forcibly taken from them by her adoptive mother.
  • Noble Bigot: Lord Tove is portrayed like this earlier on. Sure, he hates those filthy Bamarre, but otherwise he's a wise king and a caring family man...but after he finds out the truth about Perry's birth, he goes off the deep end and virtually all his positive qualities are subsumed by his deep prejudice.
    • Played a little straighter with Lady Klausine, who doesn't treat the Bamarre with equal dignity to the Lakti, but aside from a couple particularly cruel incidences early on, her racism takes second place to her motherly love and – in the end – her duty as a fair and honorable queen. She grows past her bigotry rather than being consumed by it.
  • Non-Action Guy: Willem, who has been trained in the use of weapons but doesn't have the temperament to actually fight, even against nonhuman foes.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Perry hides her total ineptitude of Bamarre customs in Gavrel by pretending to be recovering from phlegm fever, an illness that "dulls the wits".
  • Offing the Offspring: Lord Tove becomes bent on killing Perry after he finds out she's Bamarre, and almost succeeds.
  • Painful Transformation: Perry describes the feeling of Halina transforming her shape into that of Nadira (and back) as like being burned alive.
  • Parents Know Their Children: Played straight with Lady Klausine, who quickly recognizes Perry even in the body of an old woman; averted with Lord Tove, who fails to recognize her even after she's all but told him outright who she is.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Lakti's entire society is focused on war and conquest, from their games to their sayings to their constellations. That said, they only have this attitude towards humans, and gave up against the monsters.
  • Proverbial Wisdom: The Bamarre (to Perry's frequent bafflement) often speak in aphorisms and proverbs amongst themselves, largely as a way to preserve their culture under Lakti rule.
  • The Resenter: Annet, justifiably, deeply resents Perry and the Lakti in general (though she softens up a bit towards Perry in the latter part of the novel).
  • Romantic Spoonfeeding: Perry feeds Willem through the bars when she is imprisoned (though by hand, no spoon to be seen). Perry is unexpectedly distracted by how close he is; Willem interrupts her to wish that there were no bars in the way so that he could kiss her.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Averted with Lord Tove. It's not exactly to his credit, but at least you can't say he's not fully committed to his Fantastic Racism.
  • Seven League Boots: Perry's Lady Mother gives her a pair before she leaves for the battlefield; she uses them to escape the tower where her father imprisons her and they later become a useful tool when she starts fomenting Bamarre rebellion.
  • Slave Race: Although the Bamarre are more like serfs than straight-up chattel, they are clearly divided from the Lakti along racial lines, and the Lakti believe them to be inherently less intelligent and capable, in need of a firm overlord.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Goodman Meerol is flogged for harvesting only unripe fruit from his master's orchards.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Averted; among the Bamarre, both the tailors mentioned are male, and the work of making the green tassels marking them as Bamarre seems to be a task shared by both genders.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Willem is rendered deaf after falling from the tower, but with the help of Perry's magical shell, he regains his hearing in the end.
  • Tomboy Princess: Perry, as expected from Lakti children. She doesn't have the title of princess until the novel's end, but she's in the royal line of succession.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Invoked. While Perry is being transformed, she's surrounded by fairy magic that'll kill anyone who touches her, so she has to warn people to get away. Her father trying to avert this while she's being turned back is what kills him.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: On her solo trip into the Eskerns, Perry sees an image of Willem (whom she assumes is gravely injured back in New Lakti) and runs after him, assuming her fairy guide spirited him there, only to discover it's a specter bent on killing her.
  • The Unfavorite: Downplayed during the first part of Perry's stay in Gavrel. Though they accept Annet back with open arms, it's evident that her birth family resents Perry and are only keeping her around because the fairy told them to. This is mitigated after Perry has been with them several months and begins to prove that she actually cares about their wellbeing and forms a plan to help them.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Perry desperately wants to please her Lady Mother, but feels that all her virtues are never good enough. This trope turns on its head when Perry rejects her Lakti upbringing, and her mother turns out to love her unconditionally, while her formerly-doting father viciously rejects her.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Not only will the Lakti use Bamarre children as soldiers (armed only with staves to ensure their deaths), but when those same children start running toward the Kyngoll who are trying to save them, the spearmen start killing them directly.
  • The X of Y: As with the sequel.
  • Young Future Famous People: Energetic nine-year-old Drualt doesn't accomplish much in this story, but readers of the sequel will recognize him as the legendary poet whose epics Addie recites on her quest.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: After the Beneficences are instituted, the Bamarre servants of Gavrel embark on a collective campaign to spite their Lakti masters by doing their duties in the least productive ways possible – cooking food that is barely edible, uprooting good plants from the gardens instead of weeds, tailoring clothing slightly too small.