Themes and Characters

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Enchanted Castle features a variety of minor characters alongside the major roles of the four youthful protagonists. The French governess who befriends the young people over their lonely holiday stay at the school also becomes a romantic heroine when the story of her seemingly hopeless love for an aristocrat is revealed. She is a delightful character, whose English is actually literalized French, which adds a comic touch to the story. Thanks to the children, her love story has a happy ending. The cockney policeman Johnson, another minor figure, is baffled by the antics of the young people, but is ultimately grateful to them for helping solve a burglary.

The four protagonists—Gerald, Jimmy, Kathleen, and Mabel—are distinctively drawn. Most important is the older boy, Gerald, who is a born leader with a habit of speaking of himself in the third person. Jimmy, his younger brother, and Kathleen, his sister, are understandably annoyed at times with his recitals of "And then our hero . . . " Gerald is also diplomatic, with a knack for getting his own way with adults, and he is an ingenious detective and resourceful problem solver. There is poetry in his soul and a mischievous gleam in his eye, but he insists on fairness, even to burglars. His adventurous imagination sparks much of the action.

Younger brother Jimmy is the realist, who is skeptical of Gerald's wild plans. In one magical episode he is transformed into a middle-aged...

(The entire section is 477 words.)