The Wanderer is the formerly unknown barbarian adventurer who rescued Princess Priscilla from the wizard Harlin the Malevolent. Though little is known about him, it seems that the Wanderer is of noble birth -- as his kiss was able to transform Princess Priscilla back into a human after being enchanted into the form of a frog. The backstory included with Wizard and the Princess (as seen on the backcover and in the manual) state that he is both from the future, and that he was noteably happy to be on his adventure![1] Noteably, this character's title is not specifically mentioned in the IBM port, Adventure in Serenia.


The Wizard and the Princess box[2]Edit

History records the Wanderer as being noteably happy. It is noted that he carried only a flask of water, a small knife, a loaf of bread, and a blanket. Some insist he also carried a computer or an Eye Between the Worlds[3]. The Wanderer received his equipment from a vision of Priscilla, who could do little else for him except offer words of encouragement (show him how to make maps and teach him a little magic).

The Wanderer reached the Village of Serenia at roughly the same time a proclamation from King George IV was being read by a town crier. The proclamation explained the kidnapping of Priscilla and promised half of the kingdom to whomever rescued her. An adventurer at heart, and with so great a reward at stake, the Wanderer embarked at once.

The Wizard and the Princess (game)Edit

Harlin's magic twisted the very land itself to block his path -- and set creatures in front of him that were meant to prevent his success, the Wanderer overcame each obstacle in turn. Along the way, he learned magical words which helped when no item he could discover would.

He survived crossing the Endless Desert, freeing the King of the Snakes on his way. He crossed a deep chasm and was soon set upon by a gnomish thief, who stole his possessions. After retrieving his belongings, he helped a parrot, receiving a magical vial of liquid and escaped a lion. Finally, he reached the Northern Sea. He improvised some repairs to a boat, and soon found himself on the Island.

The island, he discovered, was the location of buried treasure. The Wanderer found the treasure -- only to have it stolen by a pirate. When the Wanderer recovered the treasure, he also discovered magic which allowed him to fly across the Northern Sea to another continent, where he crossed the Great Mountains. Beyond the mountains was the foothills where Harlin's Castle was located.[4] The castle held the damsel in distress. More obstacles awaited the Wanderer there -- most notably an Angry Giant -- but he bypassed them and reached the castle.

Harlin took greater command of his defense -- magically transporting the Wanderer around his castle in an effort to capture or kill him. First the Wanderer appeared in Harlin's Courtyard, whee he defeated a terrible boar. Next, he appeared in a locked room on the edge of a maze -- the Wanderer picked the lock with his knife and escaped the maze. Finally, the Wanderer reached Harlin at the top of the castle's highest tower. Harlin transformed himself into a bird, hoping to fly to his escape, but the Wanderer used a magic ring to transform into a cat and ate the bird. Further investigation of the castle revealed that Priscilla had been enchanted into the form of a frog -- the Wanderer kissed her and removed the spell. He then used a pair of magic shoes to transport himself and the princess back to the Village of Serenia.

An Encyclopedia of Daventry (King's Quest Companion)Edit

As promised, King George IV offered half of his kingdom to the Wanderer -- as well as his daughter's hand in mariage -- but the hero refused. Instead, he strode back out into the Endless Desert.

Absence Makes the Heart Go YonderEdit

Nothing would be seen or heard of the Wanderer for many years, until Graham stumbled upon a sun-bleached skeleton in the sands of the Endless Desert. Though the only belonging on the corpse was an old boot, which Graham took. Many believe this body was that of the Wanderer.

The Wizard and the Princess (rerelease manual)Edit

Unbeknownst to all, Harlin's power was not defeated and lingered through the ages. Eventually, Harlin had recovered enough to undo his defeat. Using the magic of time travel, he summoned an adventurer from another time who was primarily physically strong and did not seem to be particularly intelligent, hoping for an alternate outcome. Priscilla appeared to this new adventurer, giving him advice and a computer with which to complete the quest. The wizard's magic was complete, and hero was sent back eons to her father's kingdom of Serenia. Despite having been sent back, he was happy, entered the town, and accepted the king's mission from the town crier.

Harlin did not expect, however, that this adventurer was the happy wanderer, whom had been the one who had in the past defeated him, and would defeat him.


Cray's KQ CompanionEdit

The title of the Wanderer is passed on from one Wanderer to the next after much training as an adventurer, as Harlin only held Princess Priscilla as a captive once. The Wanderer who actually goes through the adventurer is Kenneth the Huge.

Real WorldEdit


Apple II and Atari 400/800 rerelease box back (the release also included the additional manual prologue)

The Wanderer is the player character in the games The Wizard & The Princess (the various Apple II and Atari 400/8000 rereleases and C64 port). The character isn't specificaly mentioned in the IBM port Adventure in Serenia, other than it being stated that the 'adventurer' is you.. His body appears in King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder according to the King's Quest Companion, 2nd Edition, and his character is expanded upon further by Peter Spear.

From the King's Quest Omnipedia:

The wanderer was the title of the main character in The Wizard and the Princess (though not mentioned in Adventure in Serenia). There are two prologues for Wizard and the Princess, one that appears in manual of later editions of the game including the SierraVenture versions of Apple II, Atari, and the C64 versions, and another that appears on the back of the box of most editions of the game (Apple II and Atari 400/800 versions). These prologues are linked together and apply to the same game, and the same character 'you'.[5]. In both 'you' are described as "a happy wanderer' or 'the wanderer'. He is defined to be a 'barbarian' in The King's Quest Companion.
The introduction for Adventure in Serenia contains a paraphrase of these prologues, explaining that "you" have been magically transported to 'Serenia'[6]
Some have misinterpreted from the manual in later rereleases for Wizard and the Princess including the Apple II and Atari versions (including c64, and later Sierra collections), that there are two separate individuals that go by the title of the wanderer, but this is a misleading interpration that ignores the information from the back of the boxes of Apple II and Atari versions. In the manual prologue of the rereleases, Harlin refers to previous wanderer in the past tense (mentioning that he existed in "a time beyond history"), and uses terms that treat him as a separate individual from character he is speaking too ("you"). It is implied that he is challenging the new hero, to a new adventure ("you") from the present who is sent back in time to repeat the actions of 'the wanderer'. He always refers to the previous wanderer who challenged and defeated him as "he", or the "one", and the new hero he is challenging as "you" rather than saying that "you" have challenged him before, and he doesn't realize he is talking to the one who was destined to become the wanderer.
An additional detail that should be noted from the prologue printed on the back of the box in most editions of the game (Apple II and Atari 400/800 versions), the character ("you" ) was known as "a happy wanderer" even before 'you' chose to go on the adventure, thus he didn't necessarily have to "become the wanderer", like a second adventurer would have, but rather "you" had already become a 'wanderer' shortly before the events of the manual which actually supports the time travel story in the second manual. Priscilla, confirms this by stating that the individual, "you" are the one who became "the wanderer", and would save her (thus confirming they are one and the same).
The King's Quest Companion, 2nd Edition, details the journey and death of the wanderer. According to his backstory, he was a barbarian with great brawn but little brains, who would later die after turning down the Princess' reward. He became the skeleton that Graham found in the desert. It confirms that Priscilla's would later marry Kenneth the Huge.
However, as is learned from Harlin, he was only defeated the one time (by someone whose identity he did not know), and thus sends back an indiviual of his choosing back to the period before his defeat. This use of time travel would either result in change of history or seperate alternate realites. If seperate realities, there would be one in which the barbarian turned down the princess, and died in the desert, and one in which a completely different hero saved the princess, and which the barbarian never had the chance to meet her. This of course would cause contradictions between the material (and ignore the prologue on the box itself).
The only situation that allows all sources to fit (including both the story in the manual and the story on the box), is that the wandering barbarian (King's Quest Companion) was actually sent from the future to the village (manual, 2nd version). He was born and raised a barbarian in the future, challenged by Harlin, given some advice from Priscilla vision, and then sent to the past, then entered the village met the town crier and went on the journey (as stated on the box). He was ultimately fated to die in the past after turning the princess down. Since the king's quest companion states the barbarian's story as the only reality, and because Priscilla states that the hero was the one who became the 'the wanderer', it confirms that the latter is the true situation. This order of events is supported by the Adventure in Serenia manual as well.
Extended portions of the Atari rerelease manual confirms that 'you' the wanderer have been sent back eons in time to the kingdom of Serenia, and makes a reference to Priscilla's father from the back of the box.[7]
In early drafts of Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles the author of the guidebook was to be named, "John the Wanderer", instead of Derek Karlavaegen. If there originally was an intended connection to the hero that saved Priscilla, it is unknown. If so, it might mean that the first Wanderer's name was John. In the published Guidebook, Derek describes himself as "...not a hero, I am a wanderer...". In KQ6 Amiga, Hassan mentions how he remembers a 'wanderer' (Derek) coming to the islands when he was just a boy, perhaps the only direct reference to Derek Karlavaegen made in the games.[8]
While all of manuals in every version of the game mentions that a 'computer' was given or used by the Wanderer ("you"). This is not an actual item in the character's inventory in any version of the game. It is instead a reference to the 'computer' used by the player "you" to communicate and control with during adventure.[9] The manuals and inlay cards also go onto say that this computer is sort of like a 'puppet' or 'companion' used by the adventurer "you" to explore, pick up items, and also protect the player from being hurt by the wizard's spells directly.

This story is an example of a classic grandfather paradox with a causal loop (predestination paradox or bootstrap paradox). The events only happened once, but on a linear loop through non-linear passage through time.

From Wikipedia;

The bootstrap paradox is a paradox of time travel in which information or objects can exist without having been created. After information or an object is sent back in time, it is recovered in the present and becomes the very object/information that was initially brought back in time in the first place. Numerous science fiction stories are based on this paradox, which has also been the subject of serious physics articles.

In the case of Wizard story, the 'computer' used by the character and player "you" (happy wanderer/the wanderer) to control the events in all versions of the game, would be the example of the bootstrap object.

External LinksEdit


  1. As confirmed on the back of the box and the updated manual for the Apple II and Atari 400/800 versions.[1]
  2. Apple II and Atari 400/800 versions
  3. "...the evil wizard is heartless but has kept his spells in the computer thus far."-From the original Wizard and the Princess for Apple II and Adventure in Serenia manual, "I can only offer you a computer and a few words of encouragement."-From C64 version, and later rereleases of the manual, "Your computer is a steadfast companion..."-From the C64 version inlay card
  4. From the back of the C64 box; Become the hearty and steadfast adventurer who rescues the fair princess from the dreadful wizard, Harlin. He has taken her to his towering castle beyond the Great Mountains. You must outwit and outmaneuver the mystical power of the wizard which has grown dark and potent through time. Begin your adventure in the small village of Serenia, but take heed, everything is not as it may appear...<
  5. From the back of the box (Apple II and Atari 400/800 versions); You are a happy wanderer passing through a village in the land of Serenia when you notice a large crowd. Being a curious wanderer, you saunter over to see what is going on. From the middle of the chaos you hear a bell ringing. As you get closer, you see the town cryer with a proclamation from the King of Serenia. "Hear Ye!" "Hear Ye!", he cries. "His Magesty King George, has just suffered a terrible loss. His fair daughter, Princess Priscilla, has been abducted by the great and dreadful wizard, Harlin, to his castle beyond the Great Mountains. The crowd is now hushed, waiting ot hear more. The town cryer then shouts, "His Magesty offers half his kingdom to anybody who can bring the princess back safely." That is all he has to say, but it leaves you shaking. Not only are you a happy wanderer, but you have an adventure as well and half a kingdom is a great reward. You decide to find her. But where are the great mountains? As you look around you see no mountains. Just a vast desert that seems never to end. You ask a villager where the great mountains are located, and he points to the north and tells you, "there are a great many dangers on the way to the great mountains, and the Wizard Harlin is very powerful and bad." You thank the villager for his information and start off to the north. As you enter the desert, you check your belongings. You are carrying a flask of water, a small knife, a loaf of bread and a blanket. Not much for such a long journey, but it would have to do, for you have no money. And so, you are on your way.......
  6. see the Adventure in Serenia Manual; Welcome to Adventure in Serenia, the first of On-Line Systems' pictorial adventures for the IBM Computer. When you load this game on your computer, you are magically transported to the land of Serenia, where the evil Wizard Harlin has made off with the beautiful Princess Priscilla. It has been rumored that the Wizard has taken the Princess to his castle beyond the mountains to the North. It is your task in this game to rescue Princess Priscilla and return her safely to the village where you originally began your adventure. As you journey through the land of Serenia searching for the Princess and the means of saving her, the upper portion of the screen displays the picture of your current surroundings and the bottom four lines contain text describing what is happening. In this game the computer is your puppet as you give it instructions to carry out actions which might help you accomplish your goal...
  7. Eons will slip by and you'll travel to my father's kingdom of Serenia."
  8. Ferryman (KQ6 Amiga):"The island's currents keep us pretty isolated. I can only recall three visitors in my lifetime. When I was a boy a wanderer came, Alhazred himself arrived many years ago, and now you. We have almost no contact with the outside world, but we're content with our little kingdom. At least, we always were in the past."
  9. ...the evil wizard is heartless but has kept his spells in the computer thus far."-From the Wizard and the Princess manual

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.