Character names in A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

The plot of A Swiftly Tilting Planet requires the characters and the reader to discover the genealogy of the dictator Mad Dog Branzillo. His lineage is filled with people whose names are different spellings and arrangements of the same handful of names.

I have made a giant family tree chart to illustrate the relevant relationships.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet Family Tree

DO NOT ASK me how long it took to do this. I have no idea. Waaaay too long. But please do let me know if you think I’ve got any of the lines in the wrong places. I have the source files and thus can update this thing if necessary.

I also made a PDF of the characters in A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

I listed the characters and described their relationships below, coding the most important good ancestors and helpers +green and the most important bad ancestors and antagonists -red.

Main Characters

Charles Wallace Murray
the youngest brother of Meg Murray, protagonist of the first two Time Quartet books, A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door

a flying unicorn who has a superior attitude and can time travel and talk to the wind

Echthroi (singular: Echthros)
vaguely characterized nihilistic beings

Present time (start of book)

A Swiftly Tilting Planet was published in 1978. It could be set slightly earlier or later, but I don’t think the text specifies.

+Mrs. O’Keefe
an crotchety old lady, mother of Calvin O’Keefe, husband of Meg Murray, protagonist of the first two Time Quartet books, A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door

-Mad Dog Branzillo aka “El Rabioso” (The Rabid One) aka Madog Branzillo
the insane dictator in charge of the fictional South American country “Vespugia”, located in Patagonia (an area covering parts of Argentina and Chile)

Early North American civilization

In this time period, “Once Upon a Time and Long Ago”, Charles Wallace’s host is Harcels.

an innocent boy of The People of the Wind

an animal “akin to a dolphin”

“a great bird something between an eagle and a giant gull”

Teller of Tales
a man of The People of the Wind who has witnessed homicide

Early European refugees

In this time period, “before Leif Erikson”, Charles Wallace’s host is Madoc. In this part of the story, Madoc stops Gwydyr’s warmongering.

king of Gywnnedd, Cymru (Wales)

the seventh and youngest son of Owain; a pacifist who left Wales to avoid bloodshed among his brothers

a princess of The People of the Wind aka Wind People; Madoc’s betrothed (possibly a descendant of Harcels)

Zyll’s father

the sixth son of Owain; a warmonger; leader of The People on the Far Side of the Lake aka The People Across the Lake

European settlers

In this time period, a century or two before 1865, Charles Wallace’s host is Brandon Llawcae. In this part of the story, Zillo teaches Brandon the rune. Brandon uses it to protect Zylle. Then Ritchie and Zylle return to Wales with their baby.

+Brandon Llawcae
a boy who has visions

+Ritchie Llawcae
Brandon’s older brother

pregnant wife of Ritchie; a blue-eyed “Indian” woman of the Wind People (a descendant of Madoc and Zyll)

Zylle and Ritchie’s baby
a boy who they name Brandon

Zylle’s father

Zylle’s brother, named after Madoc

Goody Llawcae and Goodman Llawcae aka Richard Llawcae
Brandon’s and Ritchie’s mother and father

-Pastor Mortmain
calls for Zylle to be executed for witchcraft

Duthbert Mortmain
Pastor Mortmain’s son; loves Miss Higgins

Goody Adams aka Goodwife Adams
a racist who believes the Wind People and all Indians are heathen savages

Goodman Higgins aka David Higgins
Davey’s father

Davey Higgins
Brandon’s friend

Miss Higgins
Davey’s sister

Recent past

In this time period, a generation before the present time, Charles Wallace’s host is Chuck Maddox. In this part of the story, Chuck realizes Gwydyr’s children shouldn’t marry Madoc’s. Gwen shouldn’t marry Gedder; Matthew needs to send Zillah to marry Bran in Vespugia. Then the future ruler of Vespugia will be Madoc’s descendant, not Gedder’s. This is the change Charles Wallace needs to make in 1865.

+Chuck Maddox
a boy who can intuit people’s goodness by smell

Beezie Maddox aka Branwen Zillah Maddox
Chuck’s sister, who marries Paddy O’Keefe and gives birth to Calvin, Meg’s husband

Chuck and Beezie’s grandmother, who came to America from Ireland

Pat aka Patrick (named after Saint Patrick)
Grandma’s beloved husband, who died an early death

Ma aka Mrs. Maddox aka Mrs. Mortmain
Chuck and Beezie’s mother

Pa aka Mr. Maddox
Chuck and Beezie’s father; a would-be writer who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his forbear Matthew Maddox; an inept shopkeeper who dies an early death

Paddy O’Keefe
man who marries Beezie to protect her from her stepfather, Duthbert Mortmain

-Duthbert Mortmain aka Mr. Mortmain
aggressive second husband of Chuck and Beezie’s mother

Beezie’s grandmother’s ancestor; an English princess who used the rune against the mean Irish king who married her

Branwen’s brother who sailed from Britain to Ireland to rescue her


In this part of the story, Charles Wallace as Matthew Maddox ensures that Gedder doesn’t kill Rich and marry Gwen, and that Bran marries Zillah and not Zillie.

+Matthew Maddox aka Matt
descendant of Madoc; crippled because of an accident with a horse; author of The Horn of Joy, which tells the story of Madoc and Gwydyr and Zyll; in love with Zillah; can communicate telepathically with his twin Bran

+Bran Maddox
Matthew’s twin brother; a traumatized former soldier; marries Zillah

Gwen Maddox
Bran and Matthew’s sister; emigrates to Vespugia

Mr. and Mrs. Maddox aka Mama and Papa
father and mother of Matthew, Bran, and Gwen

Dr. Llawcae
neighbor of the Maddoxes, father of Zillah

+Zillah Llawcae Maddox
daughter of D. Llawcae; eventually emigrates to Vespugia and marries Bran

aggressive descendant of Gwydyr, living in Vespugia; wants to marry Gwen; dies when attacking Rich on a clifftop

sister of Gedder, who wants her to marry Bran

Jack O’Keefe
strong but cruel young man who wants to marry Gwen

Michael Jones aka Cousin Michael
a distant Welsh cousin who tells the Maddoxes about the expedition to Patagonia

Love Jones Parry aka Mr. Parry
leader of the expedition to Patagonia

T. Gwynn Jones
Welsh poet who wrote about Madoc and Gwydyr

Richard and Mrs. Llawcae
friends of Bran in Vespugia; descendants of Ritchie and Zylle who returned to Wales with their baby Brandon

Rich Llawcae
son of Richard and Mrs. Llawcae; marries Gwen and brings her back from Vespugia to America

Zillah Llawcae aka little Zillah
baby daughter of Rich and Gwen

Matthew aka Branzillo
son of Bran and Zillah

Rich aka little Rich
second son of Bran and Zillah

Cain and Abel
brothers who fought; a Biblical metaphor for Madoc and Gwydyr and their descendants; a metaphor for the Civil War

Present time (end of book)

+Madog Branzillo aka “El Zarco” (Little Blue Eyes)
the peace-loving leader of Vespugia