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It is based on Titus Groan and Gormenghast, the first two novels of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast series.
A novella, Boy in Darkness, follows the adventures of a teenage who, while unnamed, is assumed to be Titus Groan. A third novel, Titus Alone, takes up at the point where the mini-series ends, and fragments of a fourth novel titled Titus Awakes were allegedly completed (but unpublished) by the author's wife after his death.
Numerous minor characters and their storylines were removed to streamline the mini-series. The most notable case was that the character of Sourdust (Barquentine's father and the Master of Ritual in the first novel) was removed, with Barquentine being Master of Ritual since the birth of Titus. In the novels, Barquentine had one leg; in the series he has two and walks with crutches (as actor Warren Mitchell was unable to perform with his leg strapped up).In the series, Steerpike states he was sent to the kitchens at age six. In the novel he has only worked in the kitchens for a few weeks before escaping. The incident where Fuchsia breaks her leg was originally the beginning of Steerpike's seduction of her; in the film he has been interacting with her for some time when this occurs.In the novel, Nanny Slagg dies of old age; Steerpike does not murder her. Likewise in the novel, Fuchsia does not commit suicide, but falls from her window and drowns, an accident for which Steerpike is blamed.
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