A Concordance for John M. Ford's The Dragon Waiting
[Dec 1479] 10. Transitions

The King was dead, long live the King, as the saying went; but no thing is ever so simple.

The book's chronology now diverges irretrievably from our history. Ford has compressed the interval between George's death and Edward's.

The events of chapter 7 align neatly with early 1478 of our history; this is confirmed both by the child marriage of Edward's son (p184) and by George's execution (p195). And chapter 10 occurs nearly two years after that (p276), which places it in late 1479.

In contrast, our Edward IV died in 1483.

Chapters 8 and 9 each span the two-year period of 1478 and 1479, as Dimi and Gregory run around Scotland, and Hywel and Cynthia run around Wales. Those chapters have few cues to their length; it is clear they each last at least half a year, but not that a full two years go by. However, this chronology is the only way to make chapters 7 and 10 consistent.

(The middle of chapter 9 describes Prince Edward as "nine or ten" (p250). And the imprisonment of Albany was also 1479 in our history. So it is only King Edward's death that fails to match.)

Our history:

Edward IV fell ill on Easter of 1483, which was March 30. He died on April 9.

Dragon history:

Morton began his spell on Halloween of 1479, but it did not afflict Edward for "a little time" -- p258. And then the King might have lingered for a few days before dying, as he did in our world. His death was after Albany's, which was in November (p210), but not much later (p268-269). And he didn't live till January, because it is still December in chapter 11 (p289). Thus, Edward died in late November or early December of 1479.

Gregory von Bayern watched from the side of the hall [...]

The narrative takes Gregory's point of view, for the first time in the book.

"Lord Hastings states," Richard said, holding the letter with its heavy seals dangling, "that he has sent word to Earl Rivers, with Prince Edward in the Marches of Wales, persuading him to show good faith in the public peace by accompanying the Prince to London with no more than a thousand men... a force which Hastings further says he is confident we can match or exceed."

The implication, as Richard and Ratcliffe go on to note, is that Richard's men will be able to forestall any attempt by Rivers to seize control of the Prince and the government.

Our history:

Hastings really made this demand of Rivers, albeit limiting him to 2000 men, not 1000.

See also: p291 (go to Calais)

Individual fealty versus collective loyalty: Gregory had seen them in tension wherever he had gone.

Suddenly pleased he had thought of it, he pulled half a dozen pins and stuck them inside his baggy sleeve. [...]

He was at the center of a whole little economy of pins.

"Elayne?" he said, for her benefit; he could see her clearly. She was wearing a clean apron and cap over her gown and kirtle, cloth slippers on her rather large feet.

Introduces Elayne.

He wondered again which of Richard's horsemen had cast her off, left her crying in the kitchen; she would not give his name, fearing one man's wrath, or the other's. Doubtless Dimitrios would know, but since the Scottish disaster Dimi had been too busy for conversation.

It is entirely possible, though not provable, that Elayne's previous lover was Dimi himself. See p209, p210.

Note that it has only been a short time since Albany died. If it had been more than a few weeks, Gregory and Dimi would have had time to talk.

The Minnesänger whined that love was a hunger, and men perished from its want. That was shit, Gregory thought. Blood was his hunger, and if he wanted for it long enough he would not pine away but lose his reason, probably kill, until he was fed.

Minnesingers are a German troubador tradition, of songs about love. See p173.

Gregory spoke of the need of vampires for some human blood on p113-114.

Gregory's narrative voice is uncharacteristically bitter and emotional here. Presumably it is a note of self-contempt coming through, as he confronts his hunger.

He took a pin from the sleeve of his coat, thinking, Here are two commodities whose markets I control.

Pins, that is, and blood. See p266.

One offered blessings on Richard in the name of the divine Hadrian, saying "And tell him that York loves His Grace as he loves us, no matter who is King."

The deified Emperor Hadrian, who ordered the construction of Hadrian's Wall, would be an appropriate god of engineers.

Another required three repetitions of the message before saying "Well, fancy that of the Duke of York, an' un so young... So wise so young da'n't live long, they say."

Gregory referred to "the Duke," meaning Richard Duke of Gloucester. This listener thought it was the current Duke of York, Edward's young son, who ordered the inspection.

He unknowingly foreshadows the deaths of Edward's children.

Shakespeare's plays:

In Richard III, this line is spoken by Richard of Prince Edward (act 3, scene 1). Edward is speaking of the history of Tower, where Richard is sending him (and his brother the Duke of York) to die.

[...] he looked toward the center of the city, at the dome of the Pantheon. It was not a spherical dome, such as that of the Eastern City's Kyklos Sophia, but a cone of twelve triangular panels.

This Pantheon would be the equivalent of the Cathedral of York in our world. Ours, however, does not have a dome.

Recall that in chapter 1, Talbot's soldiers were taking Ptolemy to the Pantheon at York to be executed. (See p17.)

Richard and all his company were beneath the dome just now, swearing oaths to faithfully serve the new King Edward the Fifth. That was why Gregory was out here alone with his sore eyes and lame excuses: the oath, it was specified, was to be taken in blood.

Edward is not present, as we will see. This is not a coronation, but a confirmation before the gods of Richard's loyalty to the new King.

See also: p326 (breaking oaths)

He wondered if [Tyrell] was aware of the differences between Fachritterschaft and the sort of knighthood he knew; if he would even call von Bayern "sir" if he were. Then, of course, in England it was not necessary that an engineer have formal rank before a baron would take his advice.

An explanation of the existence of the title "Fachritter" in German society.

See also: p364 (kinetic force)

Gregory thought that he had been very careless, very stupid. He considered how he might disable Tyrell without killing him; he had no dislike for Tyrell, and certainly none for Richard, and the man was only protecting his master.

From the moment Tyrell brings up vampirism until he rides away, Gregory thinks solely of survival: whether Tyrell will attack him, whether he will have to flee England. The respect Tyrell offers, and his friendlier words on p272, go right past Gregory. And this without any shift of narrative tone; even before the subject arose, Gregory's attitude towards Tyrell was impersonal curiosity, not friendship.

Gregory was thinking earlier (p266) of personal and collective loyalty; but he is now displaying no sign that either concept means anything to him personally. His earlier moment of concern for Elayne's happiness (p269) he now repudiates as "careless, stupid."

If the traditional soullessness of vampires has any reality in TDW, it is this: Gregory believes that, to survive, he cannot afford any personal attachment to anyone.

"An she were sick, t'would be Tyrell's job of surgery," he said, with his more usual roughness; then, just a little more softly, "Not a task I wanted, Sir Knight, but there it is. [...]"

Tyrell disposes of vampires for Richard. This mirrors his role in Shakespeare (and in our history, according to some stories) -- the murderer who killed the Princes in the Tower, at Richard's word. (And he will fall into that role in TDW as well; see p330.)

Harry was a handsome man, hazel-eyed and clean-shaven, running to stoutness but not fat. [...] His swagger was as natural to see as a duck swimming.

Introduces Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham...

"[...] Dimi, this is Sir Henry Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham, up from Brecon in Wales."

...but his name does not appear until the end of the scene. The tension, of course, is because it was Buckingham's men who assaulted Hywel and Cynthia (p260). He thus was part of Morton's scheme to assassinate King Edward.

"It was Edward's will that you be Protector of England; the lords know it, and the commons too -- old women in Wales know it, Dickon, so why do you pretend you don't?"

"Because I don't think Edward had any serious plans for a Protectorate at all," Richard said. "I certainly don't think he meant to die before he was forty."

Our history:

In the ten days between his sudden illness and his death, Edward officially declared Richard Protector of the Realm.

The comment about Edward's age is further evidence that his death occurred earlier in TDW history than in ours. He would have been forty in 1482.

"You know what you would do on a Council, Richard: you'd count Woodville votes against you."

In other words, if England is governed by a Council of Regency, Woodvilles would make up most of it. This is why Buckingham is arguing that Richard take up the role of (sole) Protector of the Realm.

"I don't... like that," Buckingham said nervously.

"What, Harry, faint of heart so soon?" Richard said, with a determined expression.

Buckingham was just arguing that Richard should move to capture Prince Edward. Now he is hesitating at the idea of a meeting at Northampton. Since we know Buckingham was involved with the murder of King Edward, this is a suspicious hesitation. But his real goal remains unclear.

"My father died at Northampton."

"I know. I also know what he was trying to do there." Richard stared into Buckingham's eyes. "He was trying to keep a king from being taken by force. [...]"

Buckingham's father was Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Stafford. (He was, by the by, a nephew of Cecily Neville.)

Our history:

The Earl of Stafford died in the First Battle of St. Albans in 1455, trying to prevent Henry from being captured by Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York. This was, however, different from the Battle of Northampton in 1460, where Henry was captured again.

It is unclear whether this discrepancy is deliberate.

"[...] Well, blast, Stafford, my father died not a year afterward, trying to make a king. And when they killed your sire, they didn't cut off his head and stick it on a pike, with a paper crown to suit the bitch-goddess's fancy. Nor was your brother's head on another spike beside it... so don't you tell me what places are ill-omened."

Recounting the Duke of York's death at Wakefield in 1460 (see p183-184).

"We'll go to Northampton. But we will not set an ambuscade, not for the rightful King of England. We'll hear what Anthony Woodville has to say for himself. [...] Any objection to that, my lord of Buckingham?"

"None at all, my lord of Gloucester," Buckingham said, relieved.

So it was not Richard's presence at Northampton that Buckingham feared (p275), but him fighting there.

These events are consistent with our history.

"About Sir Anthony Woodville--"

"Do you mean that after two years in Richard's service, no one's told you about Francis Lovell?"

This line enables us to place chapter 10 as occurring roughly two years after chapter 7.

See also: p265 (king was dead)

"Richard and Lovell were close, very, like two boys get sometimes when they're about to be men together -- have you ever seen that? I have, though it never happened to me."

"I've seen it," Dimitrios said, trying to think of nothing at all but what Ratcliffe was saying.

Dimi is reminded of his own childhood, and his friend Charles (chapter 2).

"[...] Richard and Lovell were Balin and Balan, the brothers. And Anthony Woodville was the Warrior with the Gilded Spear -- do you know of him?"

"No," Dimi said, but he was beginning to understand.

"He's one of the sons of Morgaine the witch, you see. And Anthony's mother Jacquetta was a witch -- really she was; everyone knew it. [...]"

Balin and Balan were brothers and knights of King Arthur. They died at each others' hands, not recognizing each other. Their story appears in part 2 of Le Morte d'Arthur.

Our history:

Jacquetta of Luxembourg, the mother of Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers (and of Elizabeth Woodville), was accused of witchcraft during her life. She was protected by Edward, but the affair was brought up again (after her death) when Richard was de-legitimizing Elizabeth's sons.

Dragon history:

Jacquetta seems to have had magical ability. Ratcliffe proffers this as information, not as accusation.

"[...] No way anyone could tell, till they fished the head out of the pot, that Woodville hadn't ridden at Richard."

This incident did not occur in our history; Lovell outlived Richard. See Lovell's history.

Rivers said "The schoolroom has no walls, and the pupil is always in it."

Buckingham said "And what does that mean, Woodville? Are you preparing to keep--"

"Henry, shut up," Richard said agreeably. "Just my meaning, Anthony; a king can't live in a library, or a temple. Henry the Idiot left us overproof of that. [...]"

Henry VI was pious and scholarly, but not effective as a ruler. (See p146-148.)

Buckingham's outburst is more irritable than Rivers's homily warrants, and seems to take it in the worst possible light. This pattern will continue through the scene.

Richard seemed to be struggling with a thought. Dimi's own mind was clouded. Of course there were things that doctors could not cure -- he needed no more proof of that. But this man seemed to be saying that Hywel and Cynthia had not even tried.

The reference to incurable diseases is a recollection of Cosmas Ducas (chapter 2).

More than that: he was saying she had cut a child, for nothing. [...]

And Dimi would not believe she had gone so cruelly mad; not if there was anything like a god in the cosmos. He found himself not even believing the story about the white horse. Rivers did not look like a man who had been slapped.

This, too, is more suspicious and abrupt than the situation warrants. The implication is that Dimi's mind (and Richard's) are clouded; sorcery is at work.

"[...] It's not just treason, Anthony, it's vomitous. Even Scotsmen let us drive back the cattle they fail to steal; they don't kill them in the road for spite."

And this is purely a non sequitur. If Edward is ill, Rivers didn't hurt him; if Rivers inflicted some sort of poison on him, then Richard would have to accuse Cynthia of lying, which he has not. If the entire story is a fabrication, and Rivers is threatening to kill Edward before delivering him up, then he would be speaking of an illness measured in days, not months.

Again, the most likely explanation is that everyone is being influenced to distrust Rivers.

"Burning God, Richard!" Rivers was halfway out of his seat.

Unclear which deity this refers to. Possibly Ra.

"We'd have given you a battle," Buckingham said clearly, "but we thought you'd prefer the tiltyard."

Referring to the joust in which Rivers killed Lovell (p277). Rivers unsurprisingly takes offense.

"Don't let him cry out!" Buckingham said, coming around the table very rapidly. There was a brandy bottle in his hand; he smashed it over Rivers's head, spraying brandy and potsherds everywhere and thickening the air with fumes.

Rivers was still conscious, but badly dazed. Dimi pulled off the Earl's rings and tossed them aside. [...]

Dimi removes the rings for fear that they are magical; see p279.

It is no longer plausible that Buckingham is merely suspicious of Rivers, as Richard and Dimi are. He is acting to silence Rivers before he can explain himself. (And Rivers is making no attempt to defend himself physically, as Dimi notes.)

Thus, Buckingham is either casting the spell that is confusing everyone (p281), or he is using a spell which a wizard has prepared for him, or he is allied with the wizard who is causing the effect.

Ratcliffe had appeared, with men behind him, backing him. "Dick," Gloucester said, "take the Woodville lord to a room with no windows, and lock him in. [...]" They led the staggering Earl away. Richard said "Dimitrios, you stay."


"The King's at Stony Stratford. We're riding there now, to fetch him out before anything can be done to him. [...]"

Our history:

Events proceeded much as they did in this chapter, minus the sorcery. Rivers sent Edward on to Stony Stratford, and then met with Richard and Buckingham in Northampton. Buckingham was an ally of Richard at this point, and they decided to arrest Rivers. No plot or deception seems to have been involved; simply the long-standing political tension between the Woodvilles and the Plantagenets.

Shakespeare's plays:

The meeting occurs offstage in Richard III. A messenger describes the arrest briefly in act 2, scene 4.

[Edward] wore a sword and dagger as well, sized to a ten-year-old boy.

In our history, Edward had just turned nine at the end of 1479. His birth in TDW history must have been a year earlier, unless my reasoning (p276) has slipped a year.

See also: p250 (nine or ten)

Tyrell came into the room, which had been already crowded with four. "My lords Vaughan, Grey, and Haute are accounted for," he said to Richard, as if no one else were present. "If there was a wizard, or a black doctor, they've slithered off."

See also: p286 (safekeeping)

"Tyrell and Ratcliffe will be taking our friends somewhere for safekeeping... Pontefract, I think, James; it's rather above the woods line. No questioning, but not too much comfort, either. Dimitrios, you'll come with us to London."

Vaughan, Grey, and Haute -- see p285.

Our history:

These three men wound up imprisoned at Pontefract with Rivers, and executed with him.

Shakespeare's plays:

The execution is not quite shown in act 3, scene 3 of Richard III.

(The scene is quite engorged with vampire imagery: "A knot you are of damned blood-suckers!" "O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison, [...] We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.")

"Above the woods line" is probably a pun, not literal topography: territory far enough north to be loyal to Richard, as opposed to the Woodvilles.

"[...] I do not ask you to love us for what we do; but I do ask you not to hate us, not until you have learned a little more about the world."

Edward said "Very well, Uncle Gloucester... you may rise."

Richard said quietly to Tyrell, "Ride ahead, and get Rivers out of the house before we arrive."

"Yes, sir. Do I take him to Pontefract?"

Dimi saw Richard darken. "Yes, you do, and healthy, blast it."

Our history:

Again, the imprisonment at Pontefract is consistent with our history. Whether Richard planned at this point to execute the prisoners is unclear, but he didn't hesitate to do it after he became King.

The King said "My lord Protector." They all turned.

In a voice as hard and cold and clear as something carved from ice, Edward said "Once I have learned properly to hate, Uncle, then will I truly be King?"

This is a direct and bitter codicil to Richard's earlier plea (p286). If Edward is not to hate Richard because he is too young, then when he is grown, it will be time to hate. This is not what Richard meant, and they both know it, but it is what he said.

Edward is pointing out that, no matter how good Richard's intentions, they are his intentions and not Edward's. Edward is not old enough to rule unaided, but he is mature enough to care that he is being treated as a pawn. And he is intelligent enough to say so indirectly.

See also: p296 (great honor)