John Granby

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Character Profile

Name: John Granby
Date of Birth: c. 1780
Service: Aerial Corps
Rank: Captain
Nationality: British
Billets: Actionis
Temeraire, first lieutenant
Iskierka, captain


John Granby originally came from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in northern England, where he was the third son of a coal merchant. After his mother was widowed, she could not afford to keep all of her sons at home, so Granby was given to the Aerial Corps for training at the usual age, seven. He grew up into a tall, lanky man, with dark hair and pale skin that was almost always sunburnt from spending so much time in the air.

Granby had already served as an officer on four other dragons when he first met William Laurence at the Loch Laggan covert, Celeritas having told Laurence that Granby would show him around the covert. Granby's most recent assignment had been aboard Laetificat, where Lt. Dayes was chief of the riflemen. Dayes was quite irate after Temeraire refused his attempt to replace Laurence as Temeraire's captain. Apparently out of friendship with Dayes, Granby was initially quite hostile to Laurence. When Laurence insisted that he at least show the respect due to a captain, Granby retaliated with insolently exaggerated "respectful" behaviour.

However, Granby was also obviously the best qualified of the candidates available for Temeraire's first officer. Laurence was torn, as he wanted the best for Temeraire but knew that he would not be able to tolerate Grandy's insolence in his first lieutenant. This conflict was resolved when, during a training exercise, Temeraire and Maximus were called on to fly to Aberdeen to assist Victoriatus, who had been wounded and needed the support of the two heavy-weights to reach Loch Laggan.

Granby served Temeraire very loyally, and saved Laurence's life several times. While Temeraire was grounded out of deference to the Chinese early in 1806, Granby refused a posting as Excidium's first lieutenant to remain with Temeraire and Captain Laurence. At the time, Laurence was dismayed, thinking he had spent his right to promotion and never get another chance. (However, during the course of the journey from China back to Britain, Temeraire's crew came into the possession of two dragon eggs. One hatched before their return, and Granby, being the senior officer, became captain of the dragonet, Iskierka.)

Granby was wounded rather seriously during the Valerie engagement on the journey to China, taking a musket ball in the chest. The ball cracked a rib and he lost a great deal of blood, taking a fever thereafter, but he recovered.

Granby never expected to be trusted with his own dragon, but hoped if he served Britain well enough, his children might rise in the ranks. Iskierka's hatching was thus very emotional for him.

He is formally confirmed as Captain by Admiral Jane Roland upon Temeraire's party's arrival at Dover covert, and Laurence pins his bars.

During Napoleon's invasion of Britain he and his dragon were caught by the French. Iskierka disobeyed orders and convinced the Ferals to fly alone in the direction of French Army to search for prizes. They were spotted by the French and boarded. Granby was caught and taken to the occupied London, to the Kensington Palace. Later, he was freed by Tharkay and Laurence.

After the invasion he was taken to Australia by Iskierka against his will.

Capture of French Prizes

Traditionally the Aerial corps main prizes were dragons of opposing air forces captured through boarding. Given that captured dragons would not be willing to be used in Britain's service, the prize money for these captures was much lower than for an equivalent ship.

During 1807, Iskierka and Granby became the first dragon crew to regularly capture foreign ships, mostly through Iskierka's determination to earn capital to fund the building of a Pavilion. In the process, she made Granby a rich man and forced him to wear extravagant signs of his wealth, such as golden buttons on his coat, golden rings and a gilded sword with a diamond at the pommel.