Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“Katherine’s strength had been greater than there’s” (Joyce, 226).

Chapter Fourteen – Chapter Thirty

Well, originally when I re-read The Guardians of Childhood back in 2012, my aim was to go through each book, and use my close reading notes and responses to the text to create the posts. I made it through Book 1 and Book 2 and a third way through Book 3 (even though I posted them much later), when I ran out of steam.

This occurrence — having an goal and running out of inertia for it — is pretty common for me. Maintenance of anything that requires interactive expectation can be difficult. Or, you know, keeping my interest on a subject that isn’t one of my major interests is hard. Or, in this case, maintaining a regular pattern for writing about books can only hold my attention for so long (or if I feel mentally dynamic enough to write about them).

(This is likely why this blog has floundered; it began with a lot of book responses and I only have so much time to care about writing about books I read, let alone having the time to cartmentalize my thoughts into a coherent readable structure.)

Basically, I won’t be finishing Book 3 the way I intended. The thought of having to write (and edit) four more posts makes me want to throw this whole project against the wall. But I don’t want to just throw it away. So, I’m going to summarize why I do like Book 3, but without all the little details. So…

Chapter Fourteen to Chapter Sixteen would have covered: The plot to get the tooth and along with it Katherine’s memory of her parents. Nightlight and Katherine meet Toothiana.

Chapter Seventeen to Chapter Twenty would have covered: Katherine is captured. The guardians meet Toothiana. Katherine is going to become a Darkling Princess. Toothiana’s wing is broken

Chapter Twenty-One to Chapter Thirty would have covered: The Guardians plot their rescue of Katherine. The appearance of Mother Nature. And little details and thoughts, as well as the climax and conclusion.

Spoilers below!

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“When she was at her saddest, she would take one of her baby teeth from the carved box…and hold it until it revealed its memories” (Joyce, 96).

Chapter Thirteen

After losing her parents, Toothiana is subjected to more sadness: “she belonged nowhere – not among the creatures of the jungle and certainly not among the humans of the village” (96). The animals in the jungle being her food, but she is still sad and alone. Her only comfort is her gift from her parents: her baby teeth.

As the years pass, she sees how “the village children lost much of their innocence and some of their goodness as they grew up” (96). That’s sad . I’m not sure I can pinpoint why, but I suppose, in the context of the Toothiana’s story, it’s a lost that might have them turn into their parents. Growing up is one thing. But growing up to be crueler is dishearteng.

Seeing this, Toothiana took to collecting their teeth to “give them back their childhood memories and remind them of their kindness” (96).  And that, right there — that gives a reason for her progression to Tooth Fairy. She collects baby teeth to remind people of who they are and who they’ve been. Of a time when goodness really did seem, well, real. And that idea — memories, especially — just really gets me me emotional. Just, yes, you do your thing, Toothiana. I’m for it. It’s beautiful.

Unfortunately, Toothiana begins to leave treasure from the jungle for the children, who begin hiding their teeth from their parents (as they don’t want them to know). Of course, their parents notice the treasure, and [o]nce again the hearts of the grown-ups filled with greed” (97). Oh, come on! Really? Can’t Toothiana have a few moments that don’t result in people (grown-ups) being greedy jerks?

A trap is lain for Toothiana and she is caught in a cage by the Mysterious Hunter. (Have I mentioned him yet?)

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“If you have them under your pillow as you sleep, or hold it tightly, you will remember that which you need — a memory of happy days, or of deepest hopes, or even of us in better times” (Joyce, 93).

Chapter Twelve

Last week Mr. Qwerty told Katherine and the other Guardians about how Toothiana’s parents, Haroom and Rashmi, met. Because there are no children in Pujam Hy Loo, the family moves to live among mortals. Their lives are peaceful for a while, until Toothiana turns twelve and loses her last baby tooth.

Then she sprouts wings, much to the delight of the other children.  But their parents, the grown-ups “were bewildered… [and] [s]ome thought she was an evil spirit and should be killed; others saw ways to use her, as either a freak to be caged and paraded about, or to force her to fly to the palace of the new maharaja and steal his jewels” (86).

I don’t have the words to express how angry this makes me. She’s a child and all the adults can think of is how to use to her to increase their fortune or to kill she defies what is normal. It just…it makes me furious. As the text sums up concisely: “The grown-ups of the village had gone mad with fear and greed” (87). Basically, they’re jerks. And it won’t get any better.

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“Selfless like her father. Pure of heart like her mother. She was named Toothiana” (Joyce, 84).

Chapter Eleven

A big hullabo is made by the Lunar Lamas over Katherine’s lost tooth. Bunnymund is baffled by their reaction. As long as she’s all right, that’s what matters. Besides,

“‘[i]t isn’t actually lost. She holds it in her hand, and now she’ll grow another one. It’s all very natural and, frankly, rather ordinary. It’s not like she lost chocolate truffled egg or anything'” (68).

♥ for Bunnymund and his logic. I can relate to the way he thinks.

But the Lamas reiterate that the value of Katherine’s tooth is that it’s a “child’s tooth” (69). As a result “Her Most Royal Highness” will visit them, which has never happened and they are tremendously thrilled. Hearing this North, bless him, wonders “if this personage on this continent, [for] he’d likely stolen something from her in his crime-filled younger years” (69).

It turns out, no, he never stole from her for she is not simply royalty but is, in fact, ” ‘Queen Toothiana, gatherer and protector of children’s teeth!'” (69). Everyone seems skeptical or surprised except Bunnymund:

“‘Oh, her,’ he said dismissively. ‘She dislikes chocolate. She claims it’s bad for children’s teeth'” (70).

I love this dynamic. One, it shows he’s aware of her. Two, it shows how feels about her principles (and furthermore, what those might be — the value of teeth outweighs chocolate. The reason for this will be explained later). Third, it shows how he thinks of her. (We’ll learn what the Toothiana thinks later). And fourth, it hints at, when they do officially meet, how they might interact: diagonal interests but not necessarily in opposition. (I seriously love all the Guardians’ interactions.)

Katherine, North, and Ombric (who feels that he remembers hearing about her) are curious. Mr. Qwerty, the bookworm-turned-library offers to tell them about her. But the story actually starts with her parents.

Whoo. Okay. Feels time.

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Toohiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

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.

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“this was the dream she had given him when all seemed lost during one of their first great battles with Pitch!” (Joyce, 55).

Chapter Five – Chapter Eight

In the morning, the entire village of Santoff Claussen boards Bunnymund’s egg-train and journeys to the Lunar Lamadary. There’s another hint at the time frame of the story as “[t]rains were still not invented yet (Bunnymund would secretly help the credited inventors some decades later)” (31). This indicates that the story occurs prior to major, widespread modern industrialization, and additionally that it takes place a couple decades prior it. To me that would be three to four decades, so still probably in the 1700s.

This chapter prominently serves to re-introduce the Lamas, the yetis, and what exactly the Lunar Lamadary is. This is conveyed through Katherine answering the other children’s questions. But near the end, Katherine is suddenly uneasy. She no longer feels quite right with her old friends. Specifically, “[s]he didn’t really know where she wanted to be — with the children or with North and the other grown-ups. Even Kailash didn’t comfort her. She was betwixt and between” (37). It has become about Katherine’s change and growth.

Katherine eventually joins the other Guardians, ruminating on why Nightlight seems distant. She speculates it’s because he misses the battles. She also wonders the same about North, but in contrast to Nightlight the former bandit has changed a lot. And while it isn’t what Katherine notices about North’s change, I loved how he

“still loved conjuring up new toys for the children. (Just that morning he’d brought the youngest William a funny sort of toy–a round biscuit-shaped piece of wood with a string attached to it’s middle. When jerked, it would go up and down almost magically. North call it “yo-yo-ho”) (43-4).

And that’s just adorable! I love it. North created a yo-yo, and I just–I really like Santa Claus, okay?

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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:

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