Fictional character biographyEdit
Verence first appears in the sixth novel of the Discworld series, Wyrd Sisters, as the court jester or Fool to the monarch of Lancre, Duke Felmet who ascended the throne following the murder of Verence I. The Fool had served Verence I as had his father and grandfather before him.
He is a tall gangling man who walks bandilegged and prances in a half crouch so that he appears shorter than he really is. He has a runny nose, a strong dislike of custard and absolutely no sense of humour - the latter because he was educated in the Fools' Guild, to which his abusive grandfather sent him as a child. Verence's own father ran away from Lancre when he was young. Similarly, when Nanny Ogg refers to his mother, one of the Beldame family from Blackglass, she speaks in the past tense, implying his mother is deceased as well.
Early in the novel he befriends the witch Magrat Garlick and this leads to the beginning of a rather unusual relationship, even for a Fool, in which both parties are too embarrassed to discuss their relationship. Eventually he shows some courage in standing up to the Duke and reveals that he witnessed the murder of Verence I. When Felmet is deposed, Verence I's hidden heir, Tomjon, rejects the throne, preferring his current life of a theatre actor. Nanny Ogg then tells everyone that the Fool is Tomjon's older half-brother. It is assumed that this means he is the son of the elder Fool's wife and Verence I (who was fond of exercising his droit de seigneur), and he is duly crowned Verence II. However, given how well the Queen got on with the elder Fool, there is another interpretation... When Verence is elevated from a Fool to King of Lancre by Granny Weatherwax, his and Magret's relationship escalates into true love, although because neither party knows how to proceed there is not much progress in the actual relationship. To try to speed the relationship along, Granny Weatherwax convinces King Verence II to plan her entire wedding behind her back and without her consent so Magrat calls the wedding off. However, when the Elves break into the Disworld dimension and capture Verence, she helped repel the elves' invasion of Lancre by using old iron equipment and a non existent queen as inspiration and rescues him. In Lords and Ladies Verence and Magrat finally marry, Verence decides a little education in the art of the bedroom might be helpful and in his usual inept fashion, orders a book on Martial Arts by mistake when he really wants one on Marital Arts in the style of 130 days of Pseudopolis (a take off on the Marquis de Sade's 120 days of Sodom), He ends up giving it to his Guard, Nanny Ogg's son. By Carpe Jugulum they seem to have succeeded in the marriage process and have a daughter; Princess Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre.
Verence II is a very well-meaning king, who takes running a kingdom very seriously (he takes most things seriously, having learnt at a very early age that being a Fool was no laughing matter), but things seldom turn out the way he might want. The most noticeable results of his attempts at modernising the kingdom have been a Parliament that no-one attends, a handy pocket knife that needs to be carried by a cart, and an invasion of vampires causes when they are 'invited' into the kingdom and take over. It has been suggested that while his subjects appreciate his attempts to make life better, they would really prefer a king who orders them around and carouses a lot. At least you know where you are with that type of king.
It is likely that Verence may be a subtle parody of Charles, Prince of Wales.
Verence was voiced by Andrew Branch in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Wyrd Sisters, and by Les Dennis in the Cosgrove Hall animation.