Year of the Griffin
Author Diana Wynne Jones
Cover Artist
Publication information
UK Release Date 2000
US Release Date
Series Derkholm
Preceded by Dark Lord of Derkholm
Followed by '

In 1996, Diana Wynne Jones wrote the Tough Guide to Fantasyland as a sly kind of compendium of cliches of the fantasy genre -- overdone elements of numerous sword-and-sorcery tales modeled on Tolkien or on C.S. Lewis, but imperfectly derived from both.  Written as a comprehensive tour guide to the one magical world in which all fantasy literature presumably takes place, it contains a lengthy series of alphabetical entries to magical elements that tourists to fantasy worlds can expect to encounter -- things such as tavern brawls, stew, and wizards.  Two years later she turned around and wove many of the themes of that guide into a story about a particular wizard, with particular frailties and interesting particular quirks, and his quirky happy family.  That story was Dark Lord of Derkholm.

One gets the strong impression that she just liked that family and their story so much that she wanted to write more about them, and Year of the Griffin is the result.  (Well, that and the fact that she wasn't averse to lampooning the pretentiousness of university bigshots!)


In this sequel, written two years after Dark Lord of Derkholm, Wizard Derk reluctantly agrees to send his youngest daughter Elda, a griffin, off to Wizards University to learn magic.  Elda, along with her first-year classmates, begins to realize what a shoddy way magic is taught in a post-Pilgrim Parties world.