Diana Wynne Jones Wiki
Advertisement

In The Merlin Conspiracy, Dora Dimber is the less talented sister of her generation, which meant that she was rejected from the 3-generation witch coven headed by her mother Hepzibah Dimber and sent away to live.

Whether it was that rejection, or just her natural wishy-washiness of character, Dora is a disappointment.  She wears multiple layers of colored clothing, hung over with dangly bits and amulets, and she has taken up magic as an obsessive hobby.  

Combined with her tendency to absentmindedness, her unwillingness to listen to other people, and her mixture of shrewd suspicion and gullibility, she's easy prey for manipulation.  Unlike her more fortunate sister Judith Dimber, Dora ended up having a boy child, the frightened but basically decent Toby.  Toby's unpleasant absent father Jerome is a member of the conspiracy, as are members of Dora's magic circle.

Dora and the Salamanders[]

Dora first appears in the book when protagonist Nick Mallory arrives at her home with Magid Maxwell Hyde, who has helped Nick rescue the enchanter Romanov from the magical plague that almost killed him.  Nick finds Dora strange and dotty, but she is fascinated with him because she takes him to be Oriental, potentially having strange Oriental magical knowledges to impart to her.  Nick settles down to study magic forms with Maxwell Hyde, and Dora goes about her dotty life, keeping house and going off to her magic circle.  However, she comes back from one such meeting dangling a creature by its tail.  Maxwell Hyde recognizes it as a salamander, and after rescuing it from Dora, manages to collect baskets enough to go off collecting similar salamanders from the other members of Dora's circle.  They are sentient magical creatures who, when frightened, can start fires.  Dora believes them to be useful in enhancing her magic, but Maxwell Hyde is convinced they're being imported from desert countries for some fell purpose.  In this he's absolutely right.

Dora and the Betrayal[]

Dora and all the rest of Maxwell Hyde's household are present when Maxwell Hyde himself is abducted by Gwyn ap Nudd and his Wild Hunt, and just before Hyde's granddaughter Roddy (Arianrhod Hyde) and her friend Grundo (Ambrose Temple) show up looking for her grandfather's help.

Unsure of what else to do, Roddy and Nick, along with Grundo, Toby, and the two Izzys follow Romanov's goat across the paths between worlds to find Romanov.  He is the only one who seems powerful enough to help them.  Dora is left behind, flapping with worry and confusion.

After various adventures in search of the abducted witches and wizards, Roddy and Nick & the two boys are sent back to Maxwell Hyde's home to try to find a place of strength to enact the spells that will help them fight the conspirators, with Romanov to follow once he has taken care of freeing the captives.  Dora agrees to drive them to their destination, but ends up locking them all in the car and driving them straight to Stonehenge, where the conspirators and the King's Progress have all gathered for their final evil plans to take effect.  Dora is adamant that she must do this to appease the magic circle members, and resists every attempt to stop or dissuade her.

Eventually, with no thanks to Dora Dimber, events take place that help the good guys defeat the bad guys as part of the novel's satisfying conclusion.


At Maxwell Hyde's, they encounter Dora, who seems to agree to take them to

Advertisement