Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“So Nightlight felt most perfectly at peace when watching over Katherine as she slept” (Joyce, 17).

Chapter Two – Chapter Four

Although Santoff Claussen is in spring and a rewarding sense of peace has descended on the characters, the Guardians have enough sense not to take it for granted that Pitch has truly been defeated. They all continue to be on the look out for Pitch:

“Nightlight…scoured the night sky for signs of Pitch’s army” and “Bunnymund kept his rabbit ears tuned for ominous signs while burrowing his system of tunnels, and Ombric cast his mind about for bits of dark magic that might be creeping into the world” (13-4).

The chapter revisits the mental/emotional connection the guardians formed in Book 2:

“Their bond of friendship was so strong that it now connected them in heart and mind. Each could often sense what the others felt, and when it felt like time to gather, they would just somehow know (15-6).

For some reason here it seems less nonsensical as it did originally. It’s sweet now. The kind of comradeship that comes from understanding and being in sync with others. Also, I’m also a sucker for friendship. In particular, it makes a point to remind us that “[Nightlight] and Katherine’s bond was the greatest” (16). After what happened at the Earth’s core, I can believe it.

The chapter expands a bit on how it feels to them and I wanted to share:

“The two never tired of the other’s company and felt a pang of sadness when apart. But even that ache was somehow exquisite, for they knew that they would never be separated for long” (17).

Unfortunately, or so Nightlight feels, the one time he cannot join her is when she is sleeping or dreaming. Since he never sleeps, the whole experience is foreign to him. But the part that worries him is that, while asleep, “Katherine was there but entirely. Her mind traveled to Dreamlands where he could not follow” (17).

This strikes me as an interesting way to interpret dreaming; it’s like being somewhere. Not necessarily a dangerous place, but being asleep is not the same as being awake. When you dream/sleep there is a part of you that isn’t quite there. It’s a different state.

Also, literal dreams — not simply dreams of what one wants or wishes — take root in the story.

While watching Katherine sleep, Nightlight spies a tear on her cheek. He can’t understanding why she would be crying. Everything  is good now; what is there to be sad about? Additionally,

“[h]e knew about the power of tears. It was from tears that his diamond dagger was forged. But those were tears from wakeful times. He had never touched a Dream Tear. But before he could think better of it, he reached down and gently plucked it up.

Dream Tears are very powerful, and when Nightlight first tried to look  into it, he was nearly knocked from the tree” (18-9).

Dream Tears are strong stuff. Which makes sense. Sleep is when we rejuvenate from our lives and dreams can be inspirational, therapeutic, frightening — so it’s easy to imagine they would pull a powerful punch. Here, they are undiluted windows into the sleeper’s self.

And what does Nightlight see in Katherine’s Dream Tear? Something that “[f]or the first time in all his strange and dazzling life,” made Nightlight feel “a deep, unsettling fear” (19)? Pitch himself, “haunting her dreams” (19).

At the guardians current meeting to discuss any news of Pitch, Nightlight remains silent on what he saw in Katherine’s Dream Tear. Every other guardian says there has still been no sign of Pitch. But “[i]t was the first time Nightlight had ever lied” (22). Will that effect him? Being a lighthearted spectral boy of laughter, will doing something that can create weight (via guilt or worry) create any changes?

This detail being unknown to others, Ombric declares that “‘It’s now been eight months since we last saw Pitch. I think before we declare a victory, it would be best to consult the Man in the Moon” (22). Which means a a visit to the Lunar Lamadary in the Himalayas.

But this time, the whole village joins the guardians. They turn it into a big pre-visit party. celebration.

Before the story gets to that, the text reminds us of the five relics and how, if Pitch really is defeated, might there no longer be a need to retrieve them. My question: When will the rest show up? And further more, how do they get or decide they need them?

I do want to say that I think (so far) Book 3 has the strongest emotional throughline of growing up vs. Nightlight and Katherine.

Now the party! It full of wonderful treats and decorates and is just ♥! To list some of the delicious and delightful parts that I loved:

“eggbots whipped up frothy confections…[f]ireflies circled their heads, making halos of green-tinged light…Bunnymund’s newest chocolates–a delectable blend of Aztec cacao and purple plum…[and] [e]ven the crickets came out into the moonlight to play a sort of insect symphony to the delight of everyone” (26-8)

It’s the best.

Afterwards when everyone has gone to bed, Katherine cannot sleep. She is worried about Nightlight. He was the “only one who had not joined the party that night. And it bothered her” (28). But aside from Nightlight’s odd behavior, Katherine has found that at quiet times, her mind will wander to Pitch.

Katherine muses on Pitch’s relationship with his daughter, and how “Ombric and North were like a father and brother to her. But that wasn’t the same as a real family, was it? (29). That’s a significant question. How will it be answered? In this book (if it will be) and in The Guardians Series at large. Where does the family line exist? How significant is blood in the definition of family?

She also decides that “[s]he would find out what” was wrong with Nightlight. In doing so, “[s]he would make him happy once more. And then maybe she’d be happy too” (30). And this right here — this is why  said this book has such a beautiful plot. Katherine is working through her own feelings: what family means, what Pitch means as a father and an enemy, and why Nightlight is unhappy. But he’s unhappy because of her preoccupation with Pitch. Their feelings are a cause and effect of each other. Katherine’s decision is motivated by what Nightlight has learned but won’t tell. Everything is stacked so beautifully to make sense. I utterly love.

Finally, Katherine drifts to sleep but if she had been awake she would have “felt uneasy, as though she were being watched by a force nearly as ancient as Pitch” (30). I won’t say anything except: It’s HER. It’s striking in a re-read since Katherine was just thinking about Pitch and his daughter. I also, as I recall, believe this detail is relevant to the plot. I will wait and see.

Words:

source

no words

Book Quote:

“Bunnymund’s ears twitched. These humans and their emotions, he thought. They are so odd. They are more interested in feelings than chocolate” (21).

Works Cited:

Joyce, William. Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.

E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core!

The Guardians: Book Two

by William Joyce

“This was a new way of thinking for her, and she loved it–needed to do it. These stories had become a mysterious new force in her, a way of healing and understanding the wonders and sorrows of her new wild life.” (Joyce, 245).
Chapter Twenty-Nine – Chapter Thirty-Three 

Having grown tired of all his strenuous work at recreating a false library to take to Pitch, Ombric sinks exhausted into a chair. He reminisces about all the knowledge he has learned in his long life, and how

“[h]e felt as though he had relived the entire arc of his life. He remembered learning each and every bit of magic: where he’d been, who he’d been with at the time. He realized he had achieved a rich, wild, vivid life. He had lived as he had believed. He had seen and known more wonder than almost any mortal ever had” (212).

To live the kind of life Ombric describes would be, to me, a life well-lived. To live as one believes with a life filled with wonder – it sounds like a perfect way to have lived.

This also gives us a glimmer of what Ombric’s life has been: a journey of learning, of having an open mind, of experiences with others who may not even still be alive. It just strikes me as such a marvelous, engaging enterprise to imagine the full life Ombric must have lived. Just kinda blows my mind and warms my heart.

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E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core!

The Guardians: Book Two

by William Joyce

“Katherine put an arm around Kailash’s slender neck. ‘Well, her egg was  large and silvery, with swirls of pebble-sized bumps that glistened like diamonds and opals,’ she said” (Joyce, 178).
Chapter Twenty-One – Chapter Twenty-Eight

Back in Bunnymund’s tunnel, North decides they should look for the relic they need on their own if the Pooka won’t help. Him and Katherine wander through the tunnels, letting North’s relic guide them. One room they pass through contains hundreds of eggs and their labels, and one label in particular caught my attention: “the green speckled egg of a MESOPOTAMIAN DRAGON” (165). Like Tiamat?

The pair find the relic – a long staff topped by an egg-shaped orb – but Bunnymund stops them from taking it. North accuses him of misusing the relic — it’s supposed to be used for good not kept in a museum display. And Bunnymund’s response is quite…interesting.

He tells North that he knows exactly what the relics are and furthermore that he helped create them. This particular relic holds “the purest light in all creation. Light from the exact beginning of time” (169). This detail is vitally important since the new armor Pitch is creating for him and his Fearlings is impervious and absorbs light. It may be the exact weapon the Guardians will need to defeat Pitch.

In fact, Bunnymund explains that “‘[I]t is the light that all Pookas are sworn to wield and protect.  But men, people, cannot be trusted with it. We tried, once, during the Golden Age'” (169). This indicates just what Pooka do and how old Bunnymund must be. Furthermore, it explains where the Constellations got all their magical technology.

Bunnymund continues that Pitch was once a man (so Constellations were just a type of human?) and reveals that

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E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core!

The Guardians: Book Two

by William Joyce

“’I am E. Aster Bunnymund,’ he said in a deep, melodious voice. ‘I’ve been expecting you'”  (Joyce, 128).
Chapter Sixteen – Chapter Twenty

Katherine and North fly to Easter Island in the Lamadary rocket. She reflects on the situation and her feelings. In particular, I want to point out this little thought:

“Still, she had been brave for so long, and truth be told, she was a little weary of having to be such a grown-up. She wanted Ombric near. He was like a father to her” (121).

Yes. This is exactly the aspect of her relationship to Ombric I find fascinating, and I would love to see how this develops. Because Katherine, after discovering Pitch used to be a father, ruminates on how she never knew her father and the lack that creates in her life.

But what I love about those two sentences is that it acknowledges that Ombric, while not her biological father, did raise her. And consequently, he feels the way Katherine thinks a father should feel.

What I would love to see in the final book is an acknowledgement that Ombric is Katherine’s father in all but birth. While she won’t ever know her own parents/father since they’re dead, that doesn’t make Ombric less of a parent. Just thinking about the possibility gives me so many feelings.

The two, plus Kailash, land on Easter Island. No one is about except for massive stone heads. If the story is supposed to take place in the 1700s, I expect the island conflicts would have decimated most of the population by the time North and Katherine arrive. Which makes the emptiness of the island not as terrible as it could be. (Maybe).

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E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core!

The Guardians: Book Two

by William Joyce

“Suddenly his face grew wild with panic. He reached for the door. The locket fell from his neck” (Joyce, 79).
Chapter Six – Chapter Ten

Meanwhile, while Katherine’s telling the children about what they’ve missed (and what a reader’s who skipped Book One wouldn’t know), North is trying to understand his new sword, the first Lunar relic and how it works.

He learns that it’s alive, in some way, and works for him. Or to be precise, it has a life separate from him. It’s not a tool he can use like his previous blades. And this frustrates him, since

“The sword had a mind of its own. It would leap from its sheath into North’s hand whenever there was danger… It seemed to guide him to block an opponent’s every thrust.

This piqued North’s pride. The sounds of him yelling, ‘Quit that! I’m the best swordsman who ever breathed air!’ and ‘Do what I say, you ancient pile of stardust!’ could often be heard echoing through the Lamadary during sword practice” (55).

Though it frustrates him, this quality of the relic turns out to be more a help than a hindrance. Especially when North accidentally drops the sword and almost skewers two mediating Lunar lamas.

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Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

The Guardians: Book One

by William Joyce and Laura Geringer

“He was not a wizard, a thief, or a warrior, but a powerful figure of unending mirth, mystery, and magic, who lived in a city surrounded by snow” (Joyce, 189).
Chapter Nineteen – Chapter Twenty-Four

As I said last time, for the second half of Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, I recorded my responses and thoughts in a collective whole but based on length are divided into two posts.

Here’s the second.

Pitch had just turned North and Ombric into toys. So, on the subject of Pitch, let’s talk about his goals and feelings, shall we?

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Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

The Guardians: Book One

by William Joyce and Laura Geringer

“A small black spider was lowering itself down on a single strand of silk toward the djinni’s left ear… But this spider was different” (Joyce, 189).
Chapter Thirteen – Chapter Eighteen

I know I said that trying to cram twelve chapters into one post seemed overwhelming, word count wise for the length I prefer.

But for the second half of Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, I recorded my notes as a collective whole for all twelve chapters, which, based on length, will be divided into two posts.

Admittedly, there’s so many little point that happen and I’m really just trying to remember all the main thoughts I had, so here we go:

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Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

The Guardians: Book One

by William Joyce and Laura Geringer

“charcoal drawings of shadowy creatures and the black bear…and himself, guarding the children as if they were the tsar of Russia’s treasures” (Joyce, 98-9).
Chapter Ten – Chapter Twelve

Ah, yes, the frightening Pitch appeared last time.

What’s striking is that “there was a magnificence about him like that of an approaching storm” (87). This heralds back to his origin; he may have become devoured by Fearlings, but he was once one of the Constellations (I think). His appearance — somehow grander and more unfathomable than anything the children have seen — sufficiently portrays his non-human origin, which I like.

The dawn drives Pitch away, but he promises to return.

It’s here that Ombric’s first lesson about magic is put to the test, which is that “[t]here’s a little bit of wizard in everyone. That magic’s real power was in belief. That every spell began, ‘I believe, I believe, I believe'” (92-3).

Okay.

Does belief work like that?

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Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

The Guardians: Book One

by William Joyce and Laura Geringer

“images began to scroll across the Moon’s surface, as if it were a shadow play, flowing in perfect timing with the story Ombric now told…” (Joyce, 44).
Chapter Five

So the children are now safe in Big Root. And inside the giant tree some really neat visual for tons of bunk beds manifest: “Bunk beds materialized from its hollow center, fanning out like the spokes of a giant wheel. Each row was stacked five beds high. And twisting down the center was a spiral staircase” (41).

And best of all, “[c]ookies, chocolates, and warm cocoa hovered in the air by each bed” (41). My child self says ‘yes and thank you’ for that after being scared. Heck, adult me would love a bed with such amenities in the winter in general.

As soon children and parents are settled, Ombric tells The Story of the Golden Age.

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Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

The Guardians: Book One

by William Joyce and Laura Geringer

“At that moment a young moonbeam shot down from the sky and through the window. Like all beams, it had a mission: Protect the children.” (Joyce,2).
Chapter One

I first read William Joyce’s The Guardians back in 2012 when Dreamworks’ Rise of Guardians, inspired by his The Guardians of Childhood series, premiered. I loved the movie, so when I learned there were books about the same concept, I got my hands on as many as had been released by that point (Book One, Book Two, and Book Three). Since then Book Four has been released and Book Five is scheduled for release next year.

I should add that I’m only counting the novels; there have been three picture books released as part of The Guardians of Childhood, with seven planned to focus on each Guardian.

Have I mentioned yet that I’m really excited about that?

Part of it may be because my introduction to the Guardians of Childhood was actually The Man in the Moon. I found it in a museum store and read it.

Now that I’m thinking of it, I might have actually read that before I saw Rise of the Guardians, because I recall having some sense of the backstory between Pitch and the Man in the Moon.

But anyway! Let’s talk about Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King. (I love his titles! They may be long and cumbersome, but there’s a nice beat to them when I recite them to myself).

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