The first inn we meet in The Princelings of the East is the Inn of the Seventh Happiness.  I wish I hadn’t given it such a long name.  The characters refer to it as Seventh Happiness and Victor sometimes calls it 7H in private.  I don’t know what the seventh happiness is any more than I know what the Sixth Happiness is, which was the Inn in a film of the same name set in China (it’s a good film!). 

7H and the Prancing Pony form the two most important junctions for travellers and neither have a community other than their surrounding markets with any other designation.  Both owe their existence to the tunnels (see J for Journeys) and were set up to provide sustenance and accommodation for weary travellers.  There are rest stops on other routes but most are simply snack bars (such as on the route to Dimerie).  The Inn at Sowerby Row, The Kings Head, is slightly different as it appears to be the centre of a small community a little way outside Sowerby castle.  It is the last stop before the stage reaches the castle.  The Anchor and the Bunch of Grapes at Dimerie-Les-Landes both provide for the community as well as travellers in the same way.  All three of these bear appropriate names given their circumstances.  Why the Prancing Pony just slipped in I don’t know, considering it is the name of the inn at Bree (sorry Prof Tolkein) but I claim the right to use it since the Green Dragon at Bywater seems to be a carbon copy of the Green Dragon at Brook in Hampshire until they modernised it!

Taverns turn up inside castles, together with cafes, restaurants and bars.  Jupiter’s Bar at Buckmore also does rooms, but I don’t think it qualifies as an inn.  Maybe there is something essential about travelling that makes a hostelry qualify as an inn rather than a tavern or bar.

As the books progress I find it easier to come up with names for inns and bars.  The Cheeky Parrot is a particular favourite.  It gives me an opportunity to include tributes to my friend’s pets that wouldn’t otherwise appear in the stories.

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