Gormenghast Read-Along Review: The Boy in Darkness and Gormenghast



Here we are in Boy in Darkness, Peake’s odd off-shoot novella that’s arguably book 1.5. Today Titus (but unnamed) is being sexually menaced by a goat.


Bad breakup?


  • Right when last we left these losers baby Titus was being dunked rather than dunked on in a baptism of ire: the Earling. Happy to report Titus now 7 or something, all grown up&ready to do modernist stream of consciousness narration.
  • Steerpike has developed a weird kink for aunt humiliation&is giving the heterosexualisms a go for Fuchsia’s HUGE tracts of land. Meanwhile Irma wants a party. There will be blood. There will be parrots.
  • A school that DID NOT PREVIOUSLY EXIST has materialised out of nowhere so we can do the next stage of a Bildungsroman because class and continuity mean less than nothing to Peake ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Irma: I want sex so bad I can taste it in the air *lizard tongue slips out, vibrating frantically*
    Prunesquallor: where r u Sepelchure take me with u to the land of sweet death I am ready
  • Wild times at inexplicable public school—headmaster super dead (yo). Chair pusher removed himself from the narrative via death.
  • ‘that phantom ripeness throbbed, that thing called ‘noon’’
    🚓  Peake you are too horny on main sir  🚓 
  • Noon has ‘fled unfingered’ what /what/
  • The Countess is immense in all senses 👌


  • Me, sobbing: you can’t say a tree throbs!!
    Peake, points at a tree: throbbing.


Me: oh wow another sensual pages-long description of trees huh 

Peake: Main horniness is not a crime! / Open your heart and your mind!!

  • a LOT has happened since we left off guys. Flay has gone spelunking. Steerpike fucked up hilariously trying to kill his boss&now looks like a boiled lobster. Fuchsia wrote mediocre poetry. Titus, nominal protagonist and general timewaster, continued to pine for the fjords.
  • Steerpike was almost successfully heterosexual, but then a miscalculation involved his monkey being spurned&he was forced to contemplate rape. Luckily before that could happen he was discovered in a Taunting Dance over the bodies of ppl he’d gotten killed.
  • Now he’s off slingshotting people to death with tiny stones, hiding in the woodwork or the sewer system or some shit. Keda’s kid’s living as an ewok, and because numerous chapters just give us inane snapshots of this I guess we have to respect that. Yub nub.
  • Titus’ tenth birthday party, with Keda’s kid in the trees (this adaptation rocks):
  • Eugh do you know how easy it’d be to write abo Gormenghast fic it’d be like making a cup of coffee such sin should be more difficult to stumble into [A/N: Gertrude is an Alpha]
  • traveled back in time to 2004 to find an lj com with fic for this series:

    ‘This is obviously not the work of Mervyn Peake. He wasn’t a dirty minded fangirl.’

    I beg your fucking pardon?? Pal. Hombre. Amiga. You have misread.
  • ‘I am aware that this Steerpike may seem terribly out of cannon but it comes after many many months of RPing Steerpike’

    come, gentle death
  • Meanwhile in canon, male sexuality is inherently rapacious&i can feel Dworkin nodding somewhere.
  • Titus’ Ewok foster-sister just burnt to a crisp in a lightning strike and I’m so fucking done log me out
  • I know he’s just there to symbolise the death of Steerpike’s justifiable self-protective reasons for rebellion&his descent into an arbitrary cruelty that recalls how Swelter once treated him, but dammit, Satan the monkey was real to me!
  • What happened to him after the loss of his tail?! Where are you little monkey buddy??
  • If I didn’t have a goal I’d have crawled through Gormenghast, or taken breaks for days at minimum and thus lost the flow&stopped. I’m not disliking it, it’s just like trying to eat a fatty pork roast or claggy desert, like a giant boiled pudding, by myself in one go.
  • Titus apparently feels no guilt over the burning of the Thing, though she’d still be alive if he hadn’t chased her, because she’s more personal symbol than person to him. This is the most boy bullshit ever, but what did I expect from an analogue of a British aristocrat?
  • I don’t know if I’m angry about Fuchsia’s role in the ending exactly, but I’m not—comfortable with it?
  • Hey kids do u like DEATH SCENES what about 30 pages of DEATH SCENE what about a 3 stage multi-part DEATH SCEEEENEEEE


  • Whelp so that was Gormenghast


  • Man I’m AMAZED I can’t find a Gormenghast map attempt, you’d think the challenge would be nigh irresistible.
  • However when I tried to image search google straight up outed @ActuallyAisha


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