Gormenghast

Gormenghast is a fantasy series by British author Mervyn Peake, about the inhabitants of Castle Gormenghast, a sprawling, decaying, gothic-like structure.

There are three novels, Titus Groan (1946), Gormenghast (1950), Titus Alone (1959) and a novella, Boy in Darkness (1956), whose canonical status is debated. Peake was writing a fourth novel, Titus Awakes at the time of his death, which was later completed and released by Peake’s widow in 2009.


I first read the first two books in the 1980s and was impresses with the rich, evocative writing that has stayed with me. The books were made into a four part TV series in 200, which I’m sure I saw in TV. The DVD was released in 2008.

This re-viewing does show up some of the production values of the time. Everything that is a model, looks like a model. And it’s lit like a stage production. Clearly most was produced on a sound stage. There are some great performances, notably Ian Richardson, Christopher Lee and Stephen and Fry. John Sessions is great as the nutty doctor.

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