Once upon a time
All the Lands were One
And all the Folk were Free
A nine hour theatrical epic written by Nathan Allen and Chris Mathews, The Hammer Trinity examines the nature story and politics and the American myth. Set in a parallel proto-America the three plays: The Iron Stag King, the Crownless King and the Excelsior King, follow the rise and rule of Casper Kent, the orphaned heir to the throne raised in obscurity and hunted by a number of unpleasnat, powerful persons who wish the royal bloodline extinguished and the country made Crownless (as for what kind of government ought to be set up in place, Caspers enemies are an example of We ARE Struggling Together.)
Casper is called to his destiny along with a number of boon companions; Rienne Boilou a chess master and archer archetype, Wilke Forsbrand a stoic northern warrior, Hollow Thom Gadsten, a gunslinger with a tortured past, and Hap the Golden, a magical storyteller who has been crafting Caspers story since the murder of his parents. They are checked by another storyteller, Irik Obsidian a dragon (long story) and his human daughter July of the Seven Foxes.
In The Iron Stag King, Hap sends Casper on a quest to retrieve his birthright, a magic war hammer that can only be lifted by one of royal blood, hidden in a perpetually smoldering forest of horrors called Cinderwood. They are countered by Henley Hawthorn and his Crownless Army (acting on Julys orders). However after regaining the Hammer, Casper and his friends find that theyre is more to their triumphant story than they would wish.
In the Crownless King, Casper is suffering the Chains of Commanding in trying to rule unite a realm not nessarily asking for unity, and manage diplomatic deals that go against his sense of integrity.The rifts and fissures that threaten to split the companions apart are subsumed by an attack by the pirate captain Davy Boone and a more insidious story by Irek Obsidain.
In the Excelsior King, the country is plunged into brutal civil war and Casper and the hammer are lost. July, breaking from her father spins a new story to unite the broken heroes and settle the war once and for all. But the last of the Crownless, Kaylen Wayne has a story of his own to tell.
The show is noted for its examination of politics and its intricate puppet and model work (dont forget one of the characters is a full seized dragon.)
Tropes found in all three plays
- Acting for Two: Peppers actor appears in part two as the royal Librarian and Abraham Pride doubles as Bilge, Davy Boones First mate.
- The Final Solution: Shortly after the murder of Queen Kathryn rumor reached the Crownless that Casper was alive and hidden amongst his mothers people in the land the Grass. Kaylen Wayne, seeking to extinguish the Royal line once and for all, created a band of Cradlesnakes and lead them to kill every infant child in the Grass, and their families, in what has become known as The Burn. He tries it again in the Excelsior King, to exterminate both Hap and Irek and everyone who has ever believed in their stories, i.e. everyone in the country.
- Legendary Weapon: The Hammer is an ancient weapon that can only be lifted by royalty.
- Love Triangle: Really more of a love Rhombus. Wilke and Rienne love each other, and Casper and July love each other. But Caspers married to Rienne for the royal progeny, and Wilkes duty bound to protect the royal couple, including adulterers. July is not so scrupulous.
- Opposed Mentors: Both Hap and Irek struggle to make Casper the hero of their stories, either to make him restore the monarchy and a united kingdom or renounce his crown stand as an example of liberty incarnate. Its implied theyve been doing this through various heroes for centuries.
The Iron Stag King contains examples of
- Bad Boss: Henly Hawthorn regularly stabs his men and then marches them off into a horror wood full of sadness fire.
- Cold Equation: Riennes plan for the final battle means placing Abraham Pride and his men at the mercy of the crown less artillery. They bear it, but with heavy losses.
The Crownless King contains examples of
- Breather Episode: In between sea battles, and Casper meeting Irek face to face, we have a moment of a slightly deaf Abraham, filling in for Casper as regent, trying to understand the Royal Librarian explain copyright law and imaginary property.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Davy Keelhauls any of his people who cross him and Rienne.
- Cold Equation: To fight Davy Boone Casper needs a navy. Lady Olympia and the surviving members of the Grass have a navy ready to offer. In exchange they ask for Caspers friend and former Cradlesnake, Hollow Thom.
- Even Evil has Loved Ones: The Reason Davy Boone wears his terrifying mask? So his enemies wont recognize his family and take revenge on them.
- Prisoner Exchange: After capturing Rienne Davy Boone suggests a trade, the Queen for Hap.
- Undying Loyalty: Davy gives his crew the chance to leave before sailing into what is quite possibly a trap. Not one leaves his post. They all die under Haps magic and the cannon of the Ghost Fleet.
The Excelsior King contains examples of
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: The Final Battle comes complete with archers vs battling guns, wooden ship vs. submersible and and planes vs. Dragons.
- Big Damn Heroes: Caspers about to be gunned down by Kaylens masked goons, miles from help and without the hammer to protect him. One of the goons turns on the others revealing himself to be Hollow Thom.
- Driven to Suicide: Wilke, haunted by his failures, almost goes for the long swim in the great lake. Fortunately Rienne happens by and lambasts him out of it.
- Distant Finale: Spolors: July tells the story of how Casper ala Morte de Arthur, casts the Hammer into a bottomless lake where the dragons cant make use of it.
- Elaborate Underground Base: Zenith, the secret city, Kaylen Wayne has built inside a mountain. In it he has pushed the envelope of technology far beyond the outside world which ranges from medieval to mid nineteenth century to something resembling America in the nineteen thirties complete with trains, gattling guns and aircraft.
- Show Within a Show: Kaylen shows Casper the true story of his life by hiring a bunch of actors to write a show in metrical rhyme. They use, poorly, the same conventions of the rest of the show including theatrical ribbon blood and a habit of going boom every time the hammer is set down.
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