King's Quest III: To Heir is Human

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King's Quest III: To Heir is Human Description

King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human is the third installment in the King's Quest series of computer games produced by Sierra On-Line. It was the first game in the series not to feature King Graham as the player character.

The game was released for the Apple II and PC in 1986. The latter was the first Sierra game to be DOS-based instead of using a self-booting disk, as well as the first to feature EGA and Hercules graphics support. A year later, it was rereleased with the slightly improved AGI V3 engine.

The game's title is a pun on the proverb "To err is human, to forgive divine" by Alexander Pope, whose namesake may have been given to the character Gwydion once it is later revealed who he really is in the game.

In King's Quest III, the story moves away from Daventry and King Graham to the land of Llewdor, where a boy named Gwydion is being kept by the wicked wizard, Manannan. According to the introduction, for as long as he could remember, 17 year old Gwydion has been held captive by Manannan as his servant, cooking and cleaning for him in his home atop a large mountain in Llewdor. From this vantage point, and with the help of a telescope, the seemingly all-knowing wizard watches the countryside, the shoreline and vast ocean to the east and an endless desert to the west.

Manannan takes a series of absences and Gwydion seizes his chance to escape. He breaks in to the wizard's laboratory and reads Manannan's book of spells, then goes out in to Llewdor to collect ingredients for them. After solving many puzzles to obtain the spell ingredients Gwydion turns Manannan in to a cat and is free. His journey then takes him across the ocean to Daventry to rescue a beautiful princess from a dangerous three-headed dragon. It is eventually revealed that he is the son of King Graham, kidnapped from Daventry by the magician at a young age, and the princes he has rescued is his sister, Rosella.

The actions taken by Gwydion in this story lead directly to the events that begin King's Quest V.

Most of the game's various lands and locations appear in the magic map. Once Gwydion reaches a new region, he cannot use the magic map to travel to a previous region.

Llewdor, the region in which the bulk of the game takes place, has no hard boundaries. In the north and south directions, the game map loops: if Gwydion travels far enough in either of these directions, he will come back to where he began. To the east and west, however, the sea and desert (respectively) are endless, and attempting to travel more than a few screens will result in Gwydion's death.

The "wrap around" characteristic creates an unusual situation with the game's graphics. The magic map shows the topography of Llewdor. It shows Port Bruce and the Three Bears' house as being south of Manannan's house, which is supported by some of the in-game descriptions of each location; at the Three Bears' house, one can see the mountain with Manannan's house to the north. Yet from Manannan's mountain, one would see the both the village and Bear's house to the north of the mountain.

Once on board the Pirate Ship from Port Bruce's dock, Alexander travels across the Western Sea. This sequence in the game is marked only by a red line crossing the magic map, leading towards the north coast of the continent where Daventry is located. During this sequence, Alexander's movements are limited to the ship. If Alexander is caught by the pirates or jumps off the ship, he will drown out at sea. Later, when the ship docks, he can jump off and swim to the beach.

Once past the Western Sea, Alexander reaches the Great Mountains at the border of Daventry. Daventry itself is a small region, made up of only a few screens. Most are based on areas seen in the original King's Quest AGI version. This includes the broken well, a dried river bed, the crumbling castle, and the broken door into the mountain. These areas, while being based on landmarks of the original KQ1, are not located in the same places as they were in that game. Areas beyond these few screens are blocked off by piles of boulders, the Great Tear (a large chasm), stone walls and fences, or broken bridges. The old gnome from KQ1 has moved into a rickety old shack that rests over the dried river bed (where Graham picked up pebbles in KQ1).

The door into the mountain leads to a crumbling staircase (based on the staircase in the original KQ1) leading up to the Cloudland (based on the Land of the Clouds in KQ1). Cloudland is a bit smaller than it was in KQ1, only made up of three screens. The land is scorched, the trees are dead, and the area is full of steam. The three-headed dragon takes up the middle screen. Trying to open the magic map in this region will cause the map to disintegrate. Alexander must be invisible to travel very far in the region.

Gwydion: Gwydion was a young lad kidnapped from his cradle not long after his birth by the evil wizard Manannan. The wizard had teleported into his homeland, cast a sleep spell on his family, and brought him to Llewdor as a slave. As he was kidnapped when he was very young, he does not remember his family. As is the tradition, Gwydion was to be killed on his eighteenth birthday; he learns this fact and decides to find a way to escape before that day comes. Using forbidden spells Gwydion learns how to understand animals and meets the Oracle, from whom he learns his true identity as Prince Alexander of Daventry. He learns he must save his sister from a three-headed dragon that is terrorizing Daventry, or lose his family forever. Gwydion finally escapes the evil wizard, crosses the ocean, defeats the dragon, and reunites with his family. Upon his return the magic mirror, which went dark upon his kidnapping, is restored.
Manannan: An old, evil wizard who had the custom of kidnapping infant boys and training them as his servants only to kill them at age eighteen. He is member of the Magicians' Guild. For many years he reigned as the absolute ruler of the land of Llewdor, and under his leadership brigands, thieves and the like prospered. Manannan made a fatal error, however, in the choosing of his final servant, a baby boy whom he named Gwydion (who later was found to actually be Alexander, Prince of Daventry and current king of the Land of the Green Isles). Gwydion was able to escape the clutches of Manannan and, learning several magic spells, turned Manannan into a cat. He had kidnapped the boy in revenge for Graham's for his rescue of Valanice from his sister Hagatha (KQ2). King Graham later encountered Manannan in Mordack's castle and captured him in sack of peas. After the defeat of his brother Mordack at the hands of King Graham of Daventry, Manannan was never seen or heard from again and his fate remains unknown. The King's Quest Companion speculates that he may have clawed his way out of the sack Graham put him in, and may have even found a cure for his feline condition. It goes on to suggest that he and Hagatha may be together again plotting revenge. Manannan's name is based on a wizard of Welsh myth, Manannan Mac Lir.
Three Bears: Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear lived in a tidy cottage in southern Llewdor. They are different in everything from size to tastes. Gwydion paid a visit to their home while they were out, but when he fell asleep, Papa Bear found him and threw him outside. Gwydion stole porridge from their table in order to feed an enchanted cookie to Manannan. He also stole a silver thimble from their bedroom to collect dew from the flowers in their garden. The King's Quest Companion explains further that the prince later gave Derek Karlavaegen, who lives not far from the bears, gold to give to the Bear family as payment for Alexander's deeds. Upon hearing the story of the prince's trials and adventures, they forgave him and gladly took the offered gold.
Pirates: The Tavern at Port Bruce in Llewdor was frequented by pirates of the western sea. They took Gwydion's gold for passage to Daventry, and then imprisoned him in the hold of their ship. What they planned to do him is unknown, as the prince escaped by casting a sleep spell on them as they approached landfall. Gwydion learned from the rats on the ship that the pirates were going to hunt a treasure at the coast of the continent of Daventry. He was able to recover their buried treasure with a shovel, and he took it with him to Daventry. The King's Quest Companion goes on to explain that all the pirates but one are now dead, the victims of a great storm spell cast by Prince Alexander after his return home. The lone survivor washed up on the coast of Llewdor babbling of shipmates being consumed by sharks and others swallowed by a great squid after being crushed in its tentacles.
Bandits: The "Brat Catpack", as they are called, are thugs and desperadoes that inhabit the forest of Llewdor. These brigands prowl the woods beating, robbing, and sometimes killing those they can waylay. They are encouraged and supported by Manannan who has held sway in Llewdor for many years. They continue to hide in their treehouse, from which they prey on travelers, though many in the land have made effort to kick them out. They have "no morals and even less intelligence".
Graham: He is the king of Daventry. Following Alexander's kidnapping, Daventry endured terrible hardship in the form of many devastating earthquakes that destroyed many landmarks. Soon after, a vile three-headed dragon laid waste to the kingdom and began to demand the sacrifice of maidens for its bounty. For some years the dragon ravaged the land. Graham's previously good judgment and wisdom had not recovered from the shock of Alexander's kidnapping. Choosing what he felt was best for Daventry, in an attempt to protect the land, he started sending innocent girls off to be sacrificed to the fire-breathing dragon, even consenting to the sacrifice of his only daughter, Rosella. The princess later forgave him for taking her to the dragon, but his memory of tying her to the stake still sometimes disturbs his dreams. That she was rescued and survived only eases the horror a little.
Valanice: She is the queen of Daventry. The kidnapping of her baby son Alexander from his cradle was a massive blow to her, not just because of the loss, but because it reopened memories of her own kidnapping. Valanice attempted to submerge her grief through hard work—first by studying the histories of the world, and then by opening a school to teach the brightest children of the kingdom. She spent much time teaching Rosella how to read and the histories of the world. When the three-headed dragon demanded the sacrifice of a young maiden, she fiercely fought against the decision to comply, and when it came time to offer her daughter to the beast she refused, standing guard by Rosella's room with a drawn sword. But it was not enough, and she was forced to watch as her child was taken up the mountain.

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King's Quest III: To Heir is Human - additional information

Game year
Also known as
"KQ3" -- Common abbreviation
"King's Quest III" -- In-game title