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A series by Mervyn Peake made of the novels Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone and the lesser-known novella "Boy In Darkness", which take place sometime before the second book. They are fantasy and take place in an imaginary world but do not have any elves, dragons, magic, or Patchwork Map. They focus on a group of weird and horrible people who live inside a huge castle with an apparently self-sustaining structure and no contact with the outside world other than a few villages, some lakes, and a mountain.

Titus Groan, the 77th Earl of Groan, is the ruler of Gormenghast, the eponymous castle. He dreads the long life before him, a life of ruling a single building, never leaving the moth-eaten, rusted-shut, claustrophobic, crumbling halls of pointless, decaying ritual. The castle/city's other inhabitants include the Magnificent Bastard Nietzsche Wannabe Anti-Hero (or Anti-Villain) terrorist Steerpike, Titus's sister Fuchsia, the good Dr Prunesquallor, chef Abiatha Swelter, Titus's gloomy father Sepulchrave, and Titus's mother Gertrude, the original Crazy Cat Lady.

The novels are very gloomy, disguising their actually fairly left-handed place on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. They have been described variously as Dickens on acid, an Edward Gorey drawing that goes on for a thousand pages, Kafka mainlining Yorkshire pudding and opium, and a Darker and Edgier Shakespeare. They are also cluttered and sprawling in a way that few major authors have managed to get away with before or since. The physical clutter of Gormenghast's sprawling castle and spiritual clutter of pointless custom and ritual are all lovingly described, sometimes at great length. In addition, there are whole passages where Peake departs from the plot(s) to stage dialogues and visit places and characters that are not even vaguely tied to the story and are never referred to again. Think LotR needed some ruthless editing? Gormenghast will have you reaching for the shears.

The series should have been the first three in a series which should have followed the protagonist's entire life; sadly Peake's rapidly-evolving Parkinson disease prevented this goal from being realized; the fourth novel would have been entitled "Titus Awakes" and a fragment of it is said to have been penned by Peake before he became totally incapacitated, along with a list of events which would have taken place in the following volumes. It has since been found and edited by Peake's daughter, and published June 2011.

Michael Moorcock is a great admirer of Gormenghast, which he judges a masterpiece of fantasy and has praised vocally in several instances.

In 2000, the BBC adapted the work for the small screen as a project explicitly for the new millennium, focussing on the first two books involving Steerpike. Peake purists criticised it for being Lighter and Softer than the books.

Brian Sibley adapted the books for BBC radio twice - the first time also adapting the first two books as separate plays, the second as a series, The History of Titus Groan, adapting the entire trilogy.


This series displays the following tropes:

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