Wolfsbane

Roots: Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (the fate of the Holy Grail). There are references to P. G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, the Bible, Sleeping Beauty, the Manchester Guardian, Disney, James Bond, Frankenstein, Lon Chaney Jr., Lassie, Mata Hari, Hari Krishna, Day of the Triffids, Interview With the Vampire (the title of Chapter Twelve), Schrodinger's Cat, Bisto, and the hymn We Plough the Fields and Scatter. The books in Harry's coffin include The Hound of the Baskervilles and a Shakespeare published in 1899.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'Humans have this terrible habit of investigating unexplained yells.'

Discussing reincarnation with Harry and Godric, the amnesiac Eighth Doctor confidently announces, 'The idea of coming back in a different body after you die. Well, I believe a lot of things, but that's stretching it a bit far.'

Continuity: Dryads exist and are described by the Doctor as Rare even in their day. They enjoy the company of human men, imprisoning them in their trees. Magic works here; the land is awoken by Lady Hester's spells, and it takes the blood of a werewolf to send it back to sleep.

According to Emmeline Neuberger, there are no werewolves in Britain. With her consent, the Doctor forces her to change into a werewolf by giving her a drink containing powdered moon rock. He reverses the change by stabbing her in the heart. A werewolf doesn't change somebody that he or she bites into a werewolf through the bite alone, they have to want that person to change. They retain their human mind until after the full moon, when the animal takes over. Like wolves, they don't normally attack humans unless provoked.

The Fourth Doctor spends the entire story wearing his tam o'shanter and tartan scarf. He drinks ginger ale (The Android Invasion). He plays darts with great accuracy and builds a huge house of cards. He keeps a sample of moon rock, test tubes and flasks in the TARDIS. He poses as a house agent to gain entry to the Stanton house.

The Eighth Doctor rents a cottage in the village and keeps two hens named Mary and Betty. Most of his belongings are either books or equipment for making tea, including a 'present from Scarborough' mug, a silver teapot, milk jug and sugar bowl set, a silver photo frame, a silver plant pot holder, a set of silver teaspoons, and a silver candlestick. He owns a black Ford Popular. He is submitting short stories to Astounding Stories magazine, based on his past adventures which he can no longer remember (see The Ancestor Cell, Endgame, Mad Dogs and Englishmen); these include men who have replaced their bodies with mechanical parts (Cybermen), giant Clockwork soldiers (The Mind Robber), walking cacti (Meglos), monsters described as huge lumps of spaghetti (The Claws of Axos) and Atlantis (The Time Monster). When he tries to pick up the Holy Grail, which can only be held by somebody pure in body and mind, it not only causes him pain, it releases a wave of pure blackness that sends him in to a coma, presumably as a result of his actions in The Ancestor Cell.

Sarah used to eat strawberries from a local farm when she was a child. She drinks red wine. She doesn't especially like porridge. She is buried alive, bitten by a werewolf, and briefly imprisoned in the Dryad's tree until it gets fed up with her nagging. She likes mice until she is attacked by a horde of them. She has visited Italy [c.f. Managra].

Only somebody pure in body and mind can hold the Holy Grail, it causing pain to anyone else that tries to touch it. It also causes pain to unnatural creatures like Werewolves. Following the defeat of Lady Hester, it falls down a crevasse in Morgaine's cave [it is possible that the Grail is the same Holy Grail that forms part of the Sword of Forever, which appears to be a stone in The Sword of Forever. It may be crushed beyond recognition after falling down the crevasse, but is presumably indestructible].

Links: The Doctor is on his way to answer the Brigadier's distress call in Scotland (Revenge of the Cybermen, Terror of the Zygons) when the TARDIS is drawn off course. Harry recalls the time ring and Skaro (Genesis of the Daleks). He also recalls insect creatures (The Ark in Space), giant robots (Robot), and Sontarans (The Sontaran Experiment). A Lord Rowlands owes him a favour, possibly the same man referred to in Terror of the Autons. Sarah recalls the Doctor's regeneration (Planet of the Spiders). The Eighth Doctor notes that garlic is harmful to vampires (Goth Opera, Vampire Science) and that cold iron is harmful to fairies (Autumn Mist), pointing out to Harry that both exist.

Godric hails from the reign of King Arthur and knows of Merlin and Morgaine; presumably, he is from the era in which they traveled to England from their own dimension (Battlefield).

Trelawny witnesses the Eighth Doctor, complete with top hat, eye-patch and false moustache, announcing that reality is cleared to land outside a bookshop in London in 1938, which takes place during Timeless.

Location: A unnamed village in Somerset, Friday 27th November to Saturday 12th December 1936; and Central London, October 1938.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Fourth Doctor claims that he was asked to be George the Sixth's godfather. He also claims to have visited the court of King Arthur and taught Lancelot how to use a sword. The Eighth Doctor has recently been at sea, having traveled the world (see The Year of Intelligent Tigers). He rescued a girl named Katie Abbot from under a horse and cured a farmer Hawthorn's bull during his first week in the village.

Q.v. Magic vs Science, The City of the Dead.

The Bottom Line: Condemned by some of the more rabid elements of fandom before it was even published for supposedly killing Harry off, Wolfsbane eventually proved to be something of a gem. The Fourth Doctor is sidelined in favour of the amnesiac Eighth, but this doesn't really matter since Wolfsbane is first and foremost Harry's novel. The teaming up of Harry and the Eighth Doctor works beautifully, and the novel also manages to flesh out the Caught on Earth arc to great effect. The controversial use of magic without technobabble to explain it is a bold but successful move, giving the novel a fairytale feel that is more than welcome.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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