The Guardians: Book Three
by William Joyce
“He was so confused by all that was happening and how close he’d come to losing Katherine” (Joyce, 66).
Chapter Nine – Chapter Ten
There’s not a lot to be said for these chapters. (Also, if this post and the last few of Book 3 seem tonally dissonance with the others, it’s because there’s a gap of a couple years between writing them.)
Last we learned, North shared his new dream, fostered from Katherine’s dream (yay!). This sets the stage: everyone is talking about it. Katherine, while pleased by their enthusiasm, wonders where Nightlight is. She hasn’t been able to feel him or his friendship as easily recently. She follows him up to “the highest tower of the Lamadary” (59).
When she finds him, she’s surprised that he looks sad. Of more interest to me is this: “In his hand he held something. She leaned forward even closer. It was a tear. A single tear” (60). He still has it. Her Dream Tear.
Unfortunately, Nightlight is startled by Katherine, who crept up beside him on the ledge as quietly as she could. Startled herself, Katherine “teetered for a moment, windmilling her arms for balance” and then “fell from the ledge” (60).
Yikes! She falls and as she does her mind whirls through a flurry of thoughts.
“Oh oh oh oh! Falling! I’m falling!!! FAAALLLING!!!!! Not good!! Maybe I’m not falling. Please-pleasepleasepleeeeese say I’m not falling. WRONG!!! FALLING!!! Falling FAST!!!! FastFastFastFast…” (61).
This stream of consciousness continues for another page and a half. Is that how people think when falling to their deaths? Of course, I’ve never experienced it, so I can’t comment. But it was a little, uh, ??? to me.
But Nightlight catches her just in time. Only her chin makes contact with the ground which results in Katherine losing a tooth. And not just any tooth. It’s her last baby tooth and, as the Lamas call it, the Tooth of Destiny.
As much as Nightlight tries to hide his feelings, Katherine can tell he’s upset. For everything that’s been happening to Katherine — her feelings at the beginning of Book 3, her sensation of being betwix, her Dream Tear — centers around her growing up. Finding out who she is and her place in the world. And that’s something Nightlight cannot share with her.
More significantly, “[h]e did not know if he could grow up. And he did not want to be left behind if she did” (66). It’s such a sad fear. The fear of losing someone to something you can’t understand, and worse, to something that you can’t stop. It’s not something bad, per se, but it stands a chance of separating you from someone you care about. And that, I think, is part of the sadness: the fear of being left behind. And that, I feel, is the one experience I don’t think Nightlight could stand.
“But he had saved her, and as she placed her finger in the empty spot where her tooth had been, he knew that everything would be different. But there was only one thing he could—smile at the gap in her grin” (66).
Joyce, William. Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.