Knightmare Lexicon - A Knightmare Encyclopædia

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1. Ah Wok
From TES issue 60 (November 2009)

Series 6. Level 1/2.
 [Related Image] Ah Wok was a Chinese stallholder who turned up in Wolfenden at the start of series 6 and started to run Julius Scaramonger out of business. I would say that he is definitely Knightmare’s iffiest character – you wouldn’t see his like on TV nowadays, as such a character would undoubtedly be considered racist by some ultra-PC person out there in the ultra-PC world. Ah Wok was played by Mark Knight, wearing a lot of makeup and putting on a comical accent. Because it was Mark Knight, the character was actually funny in an ironic kind of way, but in the hands of any other actor, Ah Wok could well have just been embarrassing. I certainly don’t think his inception was the finest hour of the Knightmare production team.

In terms of the wider plot of series 6, Ah Wok played a very significant part. The residents of Wolfenden – and dungeoneers too, of course – migrated in droves from Julius Scaramonger’s stall to Ah Wok’s, presumably because the Chinaman’s wares were of better quality and more reasonably priced, which didn’t really come as a surprise, given what we knew of Julius Scaramonger from series 5. This ultimately led to Scaramonger’s financial and personal ruin, followed by his downward spiral into alcoholism. According to Pickle, Scaramonger became so desperate for funds that he sold his own mother as a washerwoman, but at least Mrs Scaramonger and all the little Scaramongers apparently stuck by him through it all, according to Julius’s final, inebriated appearance with dungeoneer Chris in the penultimate episode of the series.

Perhaps if Ah Wok had not driven Julius out of business, he wouldn’t have been forced to forge such a close alliance with Lord Fear – as you may remember, he was adamant that he did not want to join the Opposition at the end of series 5, when he had plenty of money coming in from both sides. Scaramonger’s lack of involvement would certainly have put a dampener on the whole Red Death plan, and maybe more besides.

So, Ah Wok’s influence on the Dungeon as a whole cannot be denied, unintentional as it may have been. After all, Ah Wok was doubtless only interested in market forces – he can’t have known that he was having such a great effect on the power struggle between the Opposition and the Powers that Be. Anyway, in more tangible terms, Ah Wok helped out with five of the seven quests in series 6. He sold Matt a dragon mint and the password in exchange for a bar of gold; he sold Sumayya a summoning spell in exchange for a bar of gold; he sold Ben a True Sight potion in exchange for a bar of gold; and he sold Chris a witch’s robe and a broomstick in exchange for… a bag of gold, just to add a bit of variety!

Ah Wok’s appearance with Alan was probably his most interesting, and it was a significant chapter in the saga of his rivalry with Julius Scaramonger. Julius had persuaded Lord Fear to send the spectral samurai to kill Ah Wok; when Alan’s team dispelled the magic, the grateful Chinaman rewarded them with a bar of silver and the password in exchange for… a bar of gold, surprisingly enough!

As with Sir Hugh and Rothberry, Mark Knight did an excellent job of interacting with the dungeoneers, and making Ah Wok a character that was fun to watch. Whether or not he should have existed in the first place is a different matter, but I won’t get into that. Ah Wok has never been one of my favourite characters, and I think I might absolutely hate him if he hadn’t been played by Mark Knight, but as it is, I can’t help but enjoy his appearances… not a lot, but enough to remark on it!
 [Related Image] Fear Factor: 2 He was only ever threatening to Julius Scaramonger.
Killer Instinct: 0 Definitely a pacifist!
Humour Rating: 8 Humour was a big part of the character.
Oscar Standard: 7 Expertly played for laughs, but perhaps the whole concept of the character misfired slightly, if the truth be known.

Provided By: Eyeshield, 2009-12-23 08:32:02
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