A Concordance for John M. Ford's The Dragon Waiting

The Dragon Waiting is a fantasy, an alternate history, a tragedy, and a game of stories. John M. Ford juggles his works -- historians' views, Shakespeare's plays, legends, mysteries, secrets -- in a way that looks effortless; until you look up, and see all the other pieces flying through the air, sparkling and reflecting off each other.

Lest it all go over our heads, I assemble this concordance.


My goal is to document everything that I thought a reader might miss.

This means a lot of documentation. Much of it will be, for any given reader, unnecessary. If you find that many (or most) of the topics here explain the obvious, I hope you'll forgive them for the sake of the shiny bits around the edges.

Like any discussion of art, this documentation constitutes an opinion. That opinion, and the interpretations herein, are my own. I have gathered as many as I could in forming them; if I have disregarded yours, please write and tell me.

Documentation also means spoilers. I make no attempt to preserve the narrative tension or pacing of revelation that John M. Ford intended. If you haven't read The Dragon Waiting, for the gods' sakes, put this aside and go read it first.


Draco Concordans has two parts: a set of page-by-page notes, and an index of topics which appear in the text. I have tried to cross-link and cross-reference everything fluidly.

Page notes, by chapter:

All page numbers are from the 1985 Avon paperback edition, because that's what I have. Names are in the most commonly-used form.

Have I missed things in The Dragon Waiting? Yes; yes, I have. (Some things I missed.) Do you know what they are? Please let me know! Corrections, emendations, redactions, connections, historical references, bad jokes, and trivia are all welcome. Email to

All quotations from The Dragon Waiting are copyright 1983 by John M. Ford. I reproduce them for scholarship. The rest of Draco Concordans is copyright 2007 by Andrew Plotkin.

These pages were designed and edited by Andrew Plotkin. The information within was contributed by many, starting with the aforementioned Plotkin guy, and also including: Gunther Schmidl (German), Emily Short (Latin and Greek), Paul Mazaitis (Italian), Christopher Tate, Elise Matthesen, Charlene Ahn, TexAnne.

Thanks to the Shakespeare Collection at MIT, for being a clean and linkable repository.

For primary sources on Richard's era, the collection of the Richard III Society, including the Croyland Chronicle, Fabyan's Chronicle (p512-520), Thomas More's History of King Richard the Third, Polydore Vergil's Anglica Historia (bk 23-25).

Secondary sources that helped orient me: Luminarium Encyclopedia; Internet Medieval Sourcebook; Richard III (Charles Ross, 1981); Bosworth Field & the Wars of the Roses (A. L. Rowse, 1966). The Rowse, I admit, I picked up because I saw a copy for cheap.

Despite everything, Wikipedia was invaluable -- irreplaceable -- in preparing this work. Wikipedia: you'll want to check everything you find, but you'll find out what you want to check.

I never had a conversation with John M. Ford. I am grateful to him, nonetheless, for the joy and brilliance that he invested in his every word. (And he wrote plenty of them.) (Albeit not half as many as I would have liked.) Mike Ford died on September 24, 2006.