Ermintrude Fanshaw

From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
(Redirected from Daphne)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name Ermintrude "Daphne" Fanshaw
Race Human
Age about 13
Occupation Princess Royal
Physical appearance
Residence a parallel England
Death much later
Parents Henry Fanshaw
Relatives grandmother; mother& brother d.
Children eventually
Marital Status
Books Nation

Ermintrude Fanshaw is the 139th in succession to the throne of Great Britain at birth. Her mother died while giving birth to her younger brother, who also did not survive the delivery. To escape these painful memories, her father, Henry Fanshaw, moves to an island in the Great Southern Pelagic Ocean to become governor, expecting his daughter to join him a month later. Aboard the Sweet Judy, Ermintrude is following her father to Port Mercia. In the meantime, an outbreak of influenza kills all the heirs to the throne, leaving her father as the next rightful king - if only he can be crowned in time.

Unaware of this, Ermintrude gets stranded on a small island as the only survivor of a tsunami, together with Mau, the only survivor of his people. She assumes the name Daphne, which she has always preferred to "Ermintrude". Her appearance (white skin, white dress, no toes visible due to her shoes) causes her to be known as "the ghost girl".

Ermintrude was brought up to have no practical skills, to be a sort of doll. Daphne has found a life in which she has a purpose. People listen to her. She does amazing things, such as help at the birth of babies, make beer, saw people's legs off (following the instructions in a ship's surgeon's manual), and not least, poison a man.

According to Mau, she saved his life twice. The first time, because she gave him a reason not to end his own life, and the second time when she entered the in-between world to recall him from a dark dream.

She has a questioning mind. When her mother died in childbirth, she took note of the fact that the horse of the doctor coming to attend her mother, coming in the dark of night through a great storm, was struck by lightning so there was no doctor at the birth. If the doctor had succeeded in getting there through the storm, people would have said, “It was a miracle.” But since the lightning picked out one small horse amidst all the trees, was that a miracle? The two events seemed to have the same shape. She had taken advantage of her upper class status to ask an archbishop, but had been dragged out of church by her furious grandmother before he could answer. It was still a question with her.

Her early interest in astronomy and things scientific, by virtue of which she had met some of the great scientists of the era, turns out to be of remarkable value. She has depths recognizable by someone like Mrs Gurgle, and as Mau puts it, gives strength to her gentle father, and shape to his world.

She returns to the island twice: once, a year after she left it, coming back with gentlemen of the Royal Society to fulfill her father's agreement, and finally (long after becoming Queen herself) when she dies, not long after Mau, to enter the dark current (be buried in the ocean). A lot must have happened in between.

Her only appearance is in Nation.

External refs

The name and some personality traits may come from the character Elmindreda Farshaw, from the Wheel of Time series.