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?

Additionally, Katherine notes that, unlike Nightlight, North “didn’t seem sad or melancholy or lonely” but instead “[h]is face was alive with excitement” (44). Even with all the danger he’s lived through, he can still invigorated by new projects and ideas and it’s just… Yeah, keep being an awesome inspiration, North!

They arrive at the Himalayas and the Lamadary and it’s beautiful: “the cool , serene, creamy glow of  its moonstone and opal mosaics” (47). It’s short, direct, but visually sumptuous.

Another pretty description is for the horn Yaloo blows; it was “a silver horn forged from ancient meteors” (48). I like it not only for its visual spark, but the underlining story — ancient meteors used to make beautiful objects. There’s a sense of mystery to it that I find appealing.

They contact the Man in the Moon and he, after saying that none of his moonbeams have spotted any signs of Pitch, tells that he believes “the world is on the cusp of a new Golden Age” (52). And I want to know if this is linked to the Enlightenment. I hope not. The Enlightenment was a fine time, but I’ve never been a big fan of it. For reasons. Which I may go into. Sometime.

Either way, with the coming Golden Age, the Man in the Moon tells the Guardians that it will be their responsibility to guide this new age. Upon hearing that North steps forward and – remember that dream Katherine gave him? About a wondrous center of learning and protection? He presents the blueprints of this new city, saying that how it “‘was a gift, one that I now pass on'” (53). And I’m just so emotional and flailing with happiness. Yes, you share that dream, and just, yes~

Using Ombric’s mantra of believe, he conjures up a model of the dream city. It’s incredibly sweet that he acknowledges Katherine’s role in its creation; without her belief in him, seeing the goodness she felt he had, he never would have had this dream in the first place.

North tells the Man in the Moon that he has

“‘a plan for building new centers of magic… One village like Santoff Claussen is not enough, and to expand it would be to change it. What we need instead is are more places where all those kind hearts and inquiring minds–inventors, scientists, artists, visionaries–will be welcomed and encouraged. Where children will always be safe and protected and grow to become their finest selves'” (55).

Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! Notice how it doesn’t have to just be artists, but it’s not just scientists either. It’s people with imagination, who want to learn, investigate, change things. And place for children to grow and not be hindered — I am a hundred percent okay with this idea. It’s such a beautiful vision. I love it.

After North’s explanation, we get a glimpse of his vision:

“There was a great castlelike structure in its center, surrounded by workshops and cottages. A tiny Nicholas St. North could be seen striding through the village center, with his elves and Petrov, his horse, by his side. And a herd of mighty reindeer. The Yetis too were there” (56).

And it’s a visual of what it will be like but also a visual with traces of Santa Claus’ mythos – workshops, elves, and reindeer. Yeah, I can’t wait for this to become a thing in the story.

 

 

Words:

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no words

Quote:

Bunnymund: “‘I mean to say, I’ve met them, I’ve talked to them, I’ve read their minds and they’ve read mine, but do I know what they’ll say or do next at any given moment or what underwear they wear on Tuesdays and why? Do I? Do I really know?'” (40).

Works Cited:

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

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:

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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.

Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“But that was past. This was a different day. And through the friendship he now knew, he could change bad men to good and stone back to flesh” (Joyce, 12).

Chapter One

This book has a beautifully structured plot.

Like E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core! this one begins in Santoff Claussen with the children. They are playing games and it’s actually cute: “In this new game of Warrior Egg tag, to be scrambled meant you had been caught by the opposing egg team and therefore, had a lost a point” (1). There’s a touch of cleverness with the children’s game-naming.

This opening, rather than feeling out of place, works for me. I don’t mind the other children so much. My previous association and attachment to them from Book 1 and Book 2, makes me glad to see them happy. Additionally, the peaceful, happy set-up into story is a relief after the battle at the Earth’s core and North’s near death. I feel good seeing the characters this way.

The chapter proceeds to explain what the children and the Guardians have been doing since their last fight with Pitch. One thing I liked was how

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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

“Try as she might, Katherine couldn’t keep the tears back” (Joyce, 97).
Chapter Eleven – Chapter Fifteen 

Upon hearing of Nightlight’s absence, the three realize that Pitch must have attacked Santoff Claussen. So they (along with Kailash as a stowaway) use the Lamadary rocket to fly to the village.

On their way, Ombric tells them about Pitch and his daughter. Katherine is particularly struck by the news. She finds the idea of Pitch as a father baffling.

At the same time, due to her own absence of a father, she begins to feel a sense of pity for him and what he’s lost. For now “mixed with that feeling of dread was now a sadness that twined with her own sense of loss and longing” (92-3). This is because she can understand what it’s like to lack one half of a parent-child relationship. She begins to relate to Pitch in an inverse empathy due to her lack of a father.

They arrive at Santoff Claussen and survey the damage. And it’s incredibly ominous:

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

The Guardians: Book Two

by William Joyce

“it was no surprise to the children that Katherine’s heart went out to the little orphaned gosling” (Joyce, 45).
Chapter One – Chapter Five

Who doesn’t love a title with an exclamation!? (In this case, I think it makes it more exciting. Not that every title should have one because then it would lose its snap!)

Where to begin with this one?

Reading this one was a little more muddled than Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King. Meaning, as I read it I didn’t break it into equally divided chapter hunks. But I was able to break it down into four major parts:

  1. the prep with the children and explanation of what’s happened and has happened since Book One
  2. Pitch’s daughter + everyone with news but Nightlight is missing!
  3. the return to Santoff Claussen to see the damage and find the last relic/get help on Easter Island
  4. Bunnymund and the battle with Pitch

(#3 and #4 are broken into two posts)

Let’s start with the first part!

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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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