Profiles of characters
The hero of the books. David first appears as a young college student in THE FIRE WITHIN when he becomes a lodger with the Pennykettle family. His curiosity about the clay dragons that Elizabeth (Liz) Pennykettle makes drives the whole series and fuels his increasingly dangerous investigations into the existence, history and mythology of dragons. As his journey progresses, we learn there is a lot more to David than the innocent young man he first appears to be. In DARK FIRE it is finally revealed that his connection to dragons runs very deep and that his mission of discovery has been pre-planned by a greater intelligence called the Fain in an effort to prepare the Earth, and the human race, for a new era of dragon colonisation.
ELIZABETH (LIZ) PENNYKETTLE
The mother of Lucy Pennykettle and lives at 42 Wayward Crescent. Liz is a potter with a difference. She has the ability to make clay dragons which she can bring to life. Among the many dragons she makes in the series, the most important is probably Gadzooks, whom she makes as a ‘house-warming’ gift for David. Liz is a direct descendant of Guinevere, a woman who was with Gawain, the last known natural dragon in the world, when he died and has inherited her ‘dragonness’ from her.
The feisty daughter of Liz Pennykettle. Lucy is barely 11 years old when David first comes into their lives. She is 16 by the time of the events of DARK FIRE. She regards David as something of the ‘big brother’ she never had. Her initial insistence that he help her save an injured squirrel leads to the discovery of David’s ability to write stories (with the aid of Gadzooks). The books that David writes for Lucy (particularly a polar bear saga called White Fire) help to establish David as a cult author and indirectly draw Lucy into an edgy friendship with journalist Tam Farrell.
SUZANNA (ZANNA) MARTINDALE
Girlfriend of David and later the mother of his daughter, Alexa. Zanna and David meet in ICEFIRE when she is a sparky, gothic student. Her knowledge of all things ‘new age’ aids his investigations into dragon lore. Ultimately it is revealed that Zanna is a sibyl, able to perform certain kinds of ‘magicks’. Although she loves David deeply, their relationship is often rocky and they clash frequently over Alexa’s upbringing.
A brilliant physicist who is continually wrangling with the mysteries of the universe and the power of human consciousness and creativity. He first meets Liz when he is a postgraduate student at Cambridge University and falls in love with her. Their relationship comes to a dramatic end when the sibyl, Gwilanna, tricks him into believing that Liz’s love for him is not genuine. Distraught, Arthur joins a monastery and adopts the name ‘Brother Vincent’. At the monastery, he finds a claw of Gawain and is empowered to write about David, little knowing that he is manipulating the so-called ‘dark matter’ of the universe to create David’s character. In FIRE STAR he is reunited with Liz and thereafter lives with the family at Wayward Crescent.
More of a nuisance than an out and out villain, Gwilanna is a sibyl and a kind of specialised ‘midwife’ who, like Guinevere, was around when the dragon Gawain died. Unlike Guinevere, Gwilanna has survived for thousands of years, keeping herself alive by the clever use of elixirs brewed from one of Gawain’s scales. Arrogantly regarding herself as superior to any ‘human’, she constantly clashes with David. What saves her from his wrath on more than one occasion is her ancient knowledge of dragons and her role in the development of the descendants of Guinevere, e.g. Liz and Lucy Pennykettle.
A mysterious and extremely influential character who first appears in ICEFIRE as David’s college tutor. He guides David in his investigations, teaching him about the connection between dragons and polar bears. Over the course of the series it transpires that Bergstrom was a polar scientist who vanished, in mysterious circumstances, on an Arctic exploration to the remote Hella glacier. Thought to have been killed by a polar bear, Bergstrom has actually harmonized his life force with Thoran, the first polar bear ever to walk the Arctic ice. Bergstrom, in his role as an ambassador for raising awareness about the Arctic (particularly the dangers of global warming), is responsible for giving the young Liz Pennykettle a snowball containing dragon ‘auma’, which she uses when she animates her clay dragons.
A librarian who lives at 41 Wayward Crescent and the long-time, well-meaning but grumpy neighbour of the Pennykettles. Although always on the periphery of the stories, Henry’s significance grows when it is discovered that his grandfather was in the same party of explorers as Anders Bergstrom. In DARK FIRE, Henry’s collection of memorabilia connected with his grandfather’s explorations provides direct evidence of the ancient existence of dragons.
A journalist who first comes to prominence in THE FIRE ETERNAL when he attempts to uncover the truth about David’s background. His attempts to use Zanna to get information on David almost results in her killing him with magicks. He makes amends when he rescues Lucy from the malevolent thought-beings, the Ix (an off shoot of the Fain) and thereafter becomes an ally to the family.
Arguably the most important character in the whole series, Alexa is the charming five-year-old daughter of David and Zanna. Her abilities, which include telepathy with David and an apparent ability to predict the future, are largely ignored as a kind of advanced (but slightly expected) precociousness. Her importance comes to the fore in DARK FIRE.
A young woman from the mists of time who passionately desired to see dragons survive. Although she is only ever mentioned as a character of legend, Guinevere’s role in the story is hugely important, for she was present when the last known natural dragon, Gawain, died. She caught Gawain’s fire tear, setting off a chain of events that are still continuing to the present day, via her descendants, Liz and Lucy Pennykettle.
An inspirational writing dragon with a powerful ability to make events happen simply by writing down words on the notepad he carries. Guides David throughout the series and is influential in all the major developments of the story.
More bird-like than dragon and created for Bergstrom by an Inuit shaman, not by Liz. Tremendously powerful, he can make himself invisible, morph into different shapes (particularly a small piece of narwhal tusk) and move whoever is carrying him through time and space.
A potions dragon who casts spells in the scents of flowers. Initially made for Gwilanna, she later defects to Zanna.
A dragon with the ability to grant wishes (but only if beneficial to dragonkind). He is the first point of contact with the thought-beings, the Fain.
A healing dragon made by David. ‘Golly’ can heal ailments, but is more often employed in fixing or solving mechanical or electrical problems.
Specifically Lucy’s special dragon and a wiz at IT. Comes to Lucy’s rescue on many occasions.
A kind and loving ‘house’ dragon who helps Liz with domestic duties and ultimately has a hugely significant role.
A slightly hopeless guard dragon, often involved on the periphery of dramatic events.
A ‘listening’ dragon. She has the ability to pick up and beam signals from and to Liz, David etc. or any of the other Pennykettle dragons.
A dragon with the unique ability to tell (and measure) time.
Glade is a rarity – a Pennykettle dragon that lives with a ‘normal’ family. Glade can predict changes in mood. She enters the story in DARK FIRE.
GAWAIN & GUINEVERE
Two of Liz’s clay dragons that rarely leave her pottery studio, the Dragons’ Den. They have been named by her in tribute to their ancient namesakes. Their role is to ‘kindle’ other clay dragons into life. They are deeply mysterious and rarely mentioned.
Although a genuine Pennykettle dragon, he is never referred to by name for reasons that are not yet apparent. Like Grace, he has the ability to receive and send messages. Sits on the fridge top in the kitchen at Wayward Crescent
He is the ‘last dragon’ the series title refers to. At the end of the last great age of dragons on the Earth, he was the final dragon to die. When he shed his ‘fire tear’ (documented in ICEFIRE) he left behind him a legacy which fuels the whole series.
A modern day dragon born when Zanna and Liz ‘kindle’ an egg between them. At the end of FIRE STAR he is taken by the Fain into their home world Ki:mera, but returns to aid David in DARK FIRE.
A powerful ice dragon and the leader of the new ‘Wearle’ (or clan) which has been sent to recolonise the Earth.
Originally a brown bear, he helps the woman Guinevere to escape from Gwilanna after Gawain the last-known natural dragon has shed his fire tear. In an extraordinary moment of magicks, he is turned into the first white bear to walk the polar ice cap and thereafter becomes a creature of legend.
Like Ragnar, one of nine polar bears which ruled the ice at the time of Thoran. Lorel is a ‘Teller of Ways’. His ability is to record, remember and recount all the legends of the Arctic.
A fighting bear and another ruler of the ice. He is immortalised in legend when he sheds a tooth and beats it into the ice, apparently creating an island which comes to be known as The Tooth of Ragnar, though there is some debate as to the validity of this.
INGAVAR, AVREL and KAILAR
These three bears are the modern day equivalents of Thoran, Lorel and Ragnar. The most important of them is Ingavar, who is present when David fights a dramatic battle with an agent of the Ix at the end of FIRE STAR.
The Pennykettles’ cat. He is transformed from a lazy, slightly stupid tabby into a creature of wonder when he ‘commingles’ with a Fain entity in FIRE STAR. Rarely gets involved with the Pennykettle dragons but does come to their aid in times of trouble.
A mysterious race of beings who first enter the saga in FIRE STAR when G’reth, the wishing dragon, makes contact with one of them. The Fain have no physical body and exist in another dimension on a plane of thought, manipulating the dark energy of the universe to create a thought-world known as Ki:mera around them (though this is never seen). The Fain can ‘commingle’ with any physical life form but regard dragons as the most perfect form there is. The Fain’s spiritual development depends upon them commingling with the ‘white fire’ of a living dragon, a process called ‘illumination’. They frequently come to prominence as the story progresses, but their history with the human race is chequered, largely because humans and dragons have, in the past, struggled to live in harmony together on the Earth.
Are, in effect, the flipside of the Fain. They are in a continuous unseen war with the Fain, seeking to gain control of the dark energy of the universe to manipulate it for their own evil ends. In the past, they have attempted to use the imaginative power of humans to their advantage, leaving shadows of darkness in the human psyche (gargoyles, bogeymen, fear of spiders etc.) Dragons are the physical enemy of the Ix, but the Ix have countered them by producing a template for an anti-dragon, a creature they call a darkling. Darklings are terrifying monsters, but are no match for dragons because so far the Fain have been able to prevent the Ix from creating ‘dark fire’, the most destructive force in the universe, which the Ix would need if they were ever to ‘delumine’ one of their darklings.