I cross-posted this from my thread on the Phoenix Online forums, because I thought it deserved a mention here too. I hope that's okay! :D
So I was reading through the issues of InterAction scanned at SierraGamers, and noticed an article which reveals the favorite literature of various Sierra game characters. Graham's is said to be Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (which kick-started the modern interest in the Robin Hood legend), and Rosella's is CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia.
It took a few days for the significance of that last bit to sink in.
Get this: Volume 5 of the Narnia series, The Horse and His Boy, is basically a blueprint for the life story of Alexander of Daventry.
Prince Cor of Archenland, heir to the throne of King Lune, is stolen as a baby by agents of the Tisroc of Calormen (for which read Caliph of Baghdad; Lewis wasn't exactly subtle in drawing on traditional Christian European anti-Muslim prejudice). But the Calormene agents are pursued by the King's men, and eventually a lone Calormene knight sets out with the infant Cor in a boat; the knight dies.
The boat comes to land by the house of a Calormene fisherman, Arsheesh, who takes in the boy and names him Shasta. Raising Shasta as his own child, Arsheesh trains him as a servant, to do all the cleaning and cooking. Moreover, Arsheesh frequently gets drunk and beats Shasta. Shasta, a curious child, often wonders about the lush green lands visible to the north, but Arsheesh will not talk about them.
One day a Calormene noble stops overnight at the fisherman's hut. During the night, he offers to buy Shasta as a slave from Arsheesh. In the course of their conversation, which Shasta overhears, Arsheesh confesses that Shasta is not really his son (he'd always told Shasta that he was in fact his father). While the two Calormenes haggle over a price, Shasta runs away and escapes on the nobleman's horse.
During his flight Shasta falls in with Aravis, a Calormene noblewoman who is running away from a wicked stepmother and an engagement to a repulsive Calormene lord. After several adventures, Shasta returns to his homeland of Archenland, where he is recognized as the long-lost Prince Cor, the rightful heir to the throne. At the end of the novel, Shasta and Aravis help King Lune repel a Calormene invasion. Later, Shasta marries Aravis, and they go on to become King and Queen of Archenland.
To say that KQ3 and KQ6 took a LOT from this novel is an understatement.
Like Cor, Alex is a prince and heir to the royal throne, who is stolen as a baby from his cradle. Alex and Cor are both raised by indifferent father figures: in Alex's case, the evil wizard Mannanan, who trains Alex as a servant and punishes him severely for disobedience, much like Arsheesh does with Shasta. Plus, Alexander is renamed Gwydion, just as Cor gets the new name of Shasta.
Alex is intensely curious about the land that spreads out beneath Mannanan's mountain, but he cannot leave the house because the wizard forbids it. Shasta also is curious about the green lands he can see on the horizon, but Arsheesh will not let him explore them, or even discuss them. Also, Gwydion/Alex escapes only when his master begins plotting his imminent demise, just as Shasta/Cor leaves when he learns that his "father" will sell him to a nobleman as a slave.
Of course, Alex eventually returns home and is feted by his family, just as Cor does. But the similarities don't stop there! A few games later, Alex falls in love with Cassima, a dark-haired girl from the Land of the Green Isles. The people of the Isle of the Crown dress in Arab-style turbans and loose robes, and the royal castle is of "Moorish" architecture. Alex eventually triumphs over a scheming Vizier and weds Cassima, and they become the rulers of the Land of the Green Isles. Similarly, Cor weds Aravis, a dark-haired Calormene (Arab analogue) princess from an Arabian Nights-esque kingdom, and they become monarchs of Archenland.
Funny how shameless Roberta could be sometimes. ;) Of course, given the whole KQ6/Prince of Thieves costume resemblance, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that Sierra liked its "homages." :D