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The Dark Is Rising

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The Dark is Rising Written by Susan Cooper From The Dark Is Rising The Characters Will Stanton The last and youngest of the Old Ones – appears for the first time as the main character in The Dark Is Rising. He appears in each of the following books.

Merriman Lyon The first and oldest of the Old Ones – appears in each of the DR books. Mentor and friend to Will Stanton in The Dark Is Rising and guardian of each of the quests. ‘Great Uncle’ to the Drew children.

The Lady Matriarch of the Old Ones, The Lady guides and provides inspiration and strength to both Merriman Will Stanton in The Dark Is Rising and appears again in Silver on the Tree.

Hawkin Liege to Merriman in The Dark Is Rising. Fulfils a terrible destiny in this book and is central to one of the most moving scenes in the whole of the series.

The Rider Oldest and most powerful of the masters of the Dark. A malevolent force, he appears in many guises throughout the books.

also known as: The Black Rider, Mr Mitohin Farmer (Frank) Dawson, John (the Smith) Dawson, Old George Old Ones and pivotal figures to Will in the Dark Is Rising.

James, Robin, Max and Paul Stanton Will’s brothers. They have in a central role in The Dark Is Rising and again at the start of Silver on the Tree.

Mary and Barbara Stanton Will’s sisters. They have a central role in The Dark Is Rising and again at the start of Silver on the Tree.

Roger & Alice Stanton Will’s parents who have a large presence in The Dark Is Rising, appearing again in The Grey King and Silver on the Tree.

Stephen Stanton Will eldest brother and hero. Sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Plays an ‘off-screen’ part in The Dark Is Rising. Appears again in Silver on the Tree in an amazing scene where Will has to put behind his ‘younger brother’ role to tell Stephen of his birthright and quest to stop the Dark from rising…

David and Jen Evans Will’s adopted aunt and uncle. They live at Clwyd farm – the setting for The Grey King and Silver on the Tree. Their son, Rhys, appears in The Grey King.

Bran Davies Appears for the first time as a tapestry image in ‘The Dark Is Rising’; his first appearance as a character is in The Grey King. Born with a great heritage, Bran fulfils his birthright in Silver on the Tree.

also known as: The Raven Boy, The Pendragon Cafall “…and the silver eyes that see the wind” Bran Davies’ sheep dog, Cafall appears and plays a major part in The Grey King and is central to heart-rending scene in this book.

John Rowlands Appears for the first time in The Grey King helping Will and Bran in their quest for the Golden Harp. He appears again in the last book playing a major role in the shattering climax to the series; his wife, Blodwen, reveals her dreadful secret in this book.

The Grey King/The Brenin Llwyd One of the most powerful of the masters of The Dark. The Grey King lives in the peaks of Cader Idris and is the main adversary to Will and Bran in quest for the Golden Harp.

Caradog Prichard Neighboring farmer in The Grey King. Plays a malevolent part in this story. Prichard, or more correctly one of his ancestors, appears again in Silver on the Tree.

Gwion Inhabitant of ‘The Lost Land’, guardian of the King and willing helper to Will and Bran’s quest for Eirias in Silver on the Tree.

Mrs Greystone, Captain Toms, Rufus Willing helpers to the Light in the struggle to prevent the Dark from rising. Mrs Greystone’s manor provides a pivotal location in The Dark Is Rising, custodian to the Book of Grammarye, the sign of wood was claimed here and the manor was besieged by the swelling forces of the Dark as the cold took its grip. It was Captain Toms’ house that revealed the manuscript which led the Drew children on the quest for The Grail in Over Sea, Under Stone. Rufus is his dog.

Mrs Palk, Maggie Barnes, Blodwen Rowlands Other important characters.

The Dark is Rising The main character in the story is Will Stanton, a seventh son of a seventh son. As he nears his Christmas-time birthday, clues to Will’s destiny are evident as animals cringe in fear from his touch, bursts of static erupt from the radio when he passes and Will’s sense of foreboding. And then there are the rooks, unusually restless, and the tramp in the neighborhood. All these things observed as Will and his brother, James, carry out their normal chores around the Stanton home.

On his birthday morning, Will discovers a world blanketed in the one present he wished for – deep white snow. But this world is Will’s home several centuries before his birth. It is this world that will reveal his destiny as the last of The Old Ones of the Light, engaged in a timeless struggle with the Dark. As he trudges through the snow Will is faced with the perils of this his first morning as an Old One. He meets several of those who are to guide and protect him as well as the Black Rider of the Dark. The Rider, about on his midnight colored horse, looks to gain advantage over Will an Old One still new into his new powers.

After rescuing him from the covetous Black Rider, the white horse of the Light carries Will to a set of great doors, portals through time and space set into the Chiltern Hills. Going through the doors Will meets Merriman, the first of the Old Ones, and The Lady. Fighting incredulity Will learns of his part as an Old One of the Light and his quest, told through the prophetic rhymes of the Light, he must seek out and find the Six Signs, crafted through the centuries and, when linked, one of the Light’s great talismans of power (the Grail already found in Over Sea, Under Stone). The signs are needed at this time for it is here we learn that the Dark is rising and beginning its final assault on the world. So runs the prophetic rhyme: When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back; Three from the circle, three from the track.

Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone; Five will return, and one go alone.

Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long; Wood from the burning, stone out of song; Fire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw; Six Signs the circle, and the grail gone before.

Fire on the mountain, shall find the harp of gold Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old; Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea; All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree.

After learning of his new found abilities and the quest for the signs, Will returns to the birthday of his own time and the normality of a family at Christmas. The Dark Is Rising tells of Will’s quest to find the Six Signs in the face of the ever increasing power of the Dark. The Dark is a malevolent force exerting an evil grip, by way of the extreme winter weather, over the whole country and particularly over Will and his family in the valley of the Thames. The weather is a symbol of the Dark’s presence and its ability to affect everyone’s life. Against this backdrop Will must persevere, with Merriman as his guardian, to fulfill his quest. At the same time traps are laid for him as he looks to gain knowledge and come into his powers as an Old One.

Along the way Will meets The Walker – Hawkin, liege man to Merriman, who betrays the light to the Dark with terrible consequences. The story weaves a path through the normality of family life and the pre-occupation of Christmas and the abnormality of the weather.

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