The King's Dragon
Roots: There are references to Beowulf, Prince Charles, Heat magazine, The Hobbit, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Star Wars and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.
Dialogue Triumphs: “Bureaucrats! Is there anything in the universe I detest more than bureaucrats? You can travel from the Dawn of Time to the very end of existence, and there they are – the cockroaches of eternity!”
Continuity: The city of Geath is revered throughout the universe for the beauty of its buildings, the wisdom of its people, the excellence of its sauces, and the fact that it has been at peace with its neighbouring cities for twelve and a half thousand years. Gold doesn’t naturally occur on the planet on which Geath is located. The planet has a yellow moon. Neighbouring cities include Dant, Sheal and Jutt. Beol and his brother are from the Vale of Evesh.
The Herald can possess people in order to communicate. She speaks for the Bright Nobles of the Feond. Her rival represents the Regulatory Board of the Reconstruction Oversight Committee and cites Clause 9.4b (subsection 12.2) of the Regulation of Psycho-Manipulatory Metals Act (30673.26). The Oversight Committee, ruled by the Thirteen, rebelled against the Bright Nobles in a violent revolution that tore the empire apart and culminated in the Imperial Lord of Light being caught in the catacombs below the Celestial Hall with his last loyal legion of Bright Lords and slaughtered. The Bright Lords were all wiped out during the revolution. They are elongated humanoids with more fingers than a human.
Enamour resembles gold. Enamour is a tradename – its full technical name would take two minutes to say. It is banned throughout all self-respecting galactic civilisations and many disreputable ones too, including the Ancient Bounds of the League of Perpetual Accord, the Uncounted Constellations, the Hieromonks of the Hexagon in the Church of All the Levels, and the Bloodied Mercenaries of Meltis IV (“may-their-name-be-accused-throughout-the-universe”). It is advanced technology that makes people jealous and possessive. The Enamour dragon was brought to Geath by its makers during the course of the war between the Oversight Committee and the Bright Nobles.
The Doctor uses the psychic paper to pose as an envoy from Dant. He carries a spiral red and black notepad and pen.
Amy gets a scratch on her forearm. She gives Rory a pen from the dragon-ship. Mr Swallow was head of maths when Amy and Rory were at school. Rory drinks hot, sweet tea with Hilthe.
Links: Amy mentions the Star Whale (The Beast Below). Rory mentions the vampires (Vampires of Venice).
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor and Rory have been locked up on Ariel Station in the zero-g factory and again during an encounter with semi-llamas.
The Bottom Line: A nice, lyrical fantasy with various twists that plays out in entirely unexpected ways – there isn’t ultimately a villain and everyone’s motivations are well fleshed out. McCormack captures the regulars perfectly, rooting this in the Doctor Who universe whilst making it feel slightly askance.