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A summary of im the king of the castle by susan hill

When Charles climbs Leydell Castle he finally feels superior to the others: Joseph, Helena and Edmund. On top he pronounces himself king of the castle by saying: Inside Warings Edmund is the king and he sees Charles as an intruder. Susan Hill was born in Scarborough, England in 1942. She went to a local girls' school then on to King's College, London. She decided to take up a professional writing career in 1963, publishing a remarkable series of novels, some of which have won literary prizes.

The second part of the Twentieth century. Edmund Hooper, his father Joseph and his grandfather live in Warings, an ugly house built with dark red bricks. Edmund's grandfather dies in the beginning of the story. Joseph's wife Ellen died six years earlier. After the death of his father Joseph looks for an 'informal' housekeeper. He finds Mrs Helena Kingshaw, a widow who brings her son Charles along.

Edmund sees his new "friend" Charles as an unwanted intruder into his house and his life and lets Charles know.

I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill – review

He shows Charles the message 'I didn't want you to come here' and starts bullying him. The bullying starts by putting a big, stuffed crow in Charles' bed and locking him in the Red Room where Grandfather kept his collection of moths. When Charles saves Edmund from drowning, Edmund changes the story to where Charles hit him on the head with a stone. He also says Charles pushed him off the ruins.

But Edmund's power over Charles is clearly restricted to the Warings. Outside the house Charles is the boss and he helps Edmund on numerous occasions. Charles feels very uncomfortable at Warings, especially because his mother and Joseph won't believe his complains about the bullying by Edmund. Fortunately Charles finds a friend when he is in church praying. Anthony Fielding lives on a farm and together they have a great time. Anthony supports Charles in his struggle with Edmund.

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Unfortunately Edmund comes home from the hospital and 'steals' Anthony from Charles. When Anthony visits, Edmund and he decide to go to the farm. Charles stays at the Warings, accepting he has lost his friend. As a revenge Charles burns two battleplans he finds in Edmund's room. Edmund doesn't do anything to pay him back.

He doesn't even mention it, until the day before Joseph and Helena's wedding, when he writes a note to Charles, saying: Charles is scared by the note and on the morning of the wedding he goes to Hang Wood, to the river.

He takes off his clothes and swims to the deepest part of the river. There he puts his face in the water and takes a long, careful breath, and drowns. Edmund finds him in the river and feels triumphant with what he has accomplished-Charles' death.

The novel ends as Helena Kingshaw puts her arms around Edmund and comforts him. The story occurs over a period of a few weeks.

Analysis of ‘I’m the King of the Castle’, by Susan Hill

The time in which the story is situated can not be derived from the text. There are some flashbacks. The story takes place inside Warings, the house where Edmund and his father live, in Hang Wood and on top of the walls of Leydell Castle. The house is situated in England. An eleven-year old boy and the only son of Helena Kingshaw.

When his mother starts working as a housekeeper at Warings, they move in. Charles is bullied to death by Edmund Hooper, who already lives at Warings and sees Charles as an intruder. In the end Charles commits suicide to end the hopelessness of living at Warings. Edmund is 'not yet eleven years old', and lives with his father and his grandfather at Warings. His mother died six years earlier and his grandfather dies early on in the story.


Edmund sees Charles' presence as a threat to his power and starts bullying him. Charles' suicide in the end represents his success, and he feels triumphant. A widow with one son who starts working at Warings. During the novel she grows closer to Joseph and they decide to marry. She denies Charles' accusations about the bullying by Edmund.

A widower, who lives with his only son Edmund and his father at Warings. His wife died six years previously and his father dies early in the story. He employs Helena Kingshaw as his housekeeper and eventually decides to marry her. It is a story about the dark side of human nature, not just in the grown-up world, but also amongst children, where the bully has powers over his victims. The author uses a lot of dialogues, through which the book is not hard to read.

For Christopher and Deb Sinclair-Stevenson.

  1. Joseph, Helena and Edmund. Edmund showed Anthony the moths, Anthony wasn't afraid of them.
  2. After playing and after lunch Charles goes to his room, the one that can be locked. Hooper and Edmund went to live in the house of Edmund's grandfather.
  3. The bullying starts by putting a big, stuffed crow in Charles' bed and locking him in the Red Room where Grandfather kept his collection of moths.

Susan tells the story through the eyes of Charles and she knows everything that happened. The book consists of 17 numbered chapters. Own opinion on the book: