Guardians of Ga'Hoole
The official logo for Guardians of Ga'Hoole
|Original title||The Guardians of Ga'hoole: The rise of a legend|
|Media type||Print (Paperback and Hardback)|
|No. of books||24 (including Wolves of the Beyond)|
Guardians of Ga'Hoole is a fantasy book series written by Kathryn Lasky and published by Scholastic. The series, which was intended to end in 2008 with the publication of The War of the Ember until a prequel The Rise of a Legend was published in 2013, has a total of sixteen books. Apart from the main series there are a few more books and spin offs set in the same universe. The first three books of the series were adapted into the animated 3D film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, directed by Zack Snyder.
This article needs an improved plot summary. (August 2016)
This series follows the adventures of Soren, a young barn owl, for the first six books, but follows Nyroc, Soren's nephew, later renamed Coryn, for books seven through eight, and twelve through fifteen are books describing the Reign of King Coryn. Books nine through eleven are half-prequels to the other books, following the story of Hoole, the first king of the Ga'Hoole Tree.
Soren, who lives in a nest with his parents Noctus and Marella and siblings Kludd and Eglantine in a forest kingdom called Tyto, is pushed out of the nest. (It is later revealed that he was pushed by Kludd.) When he cries out to his parents for help, Soren is found and snatched by a patrol of the evil owls from the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls, or St. Aggie's. Soren and other snatched owlets are enslaved into tasks such as sorting eggs and pellets, for reasons they don't quite understand. Owls at St. Aggies are "moon blinked", a brainwashing technique caused by sleeping under the full moon and also marching under the light of the full moon and endlessly repeating their true names to forget them so as to lose a sense of self and will. Soren befriends a young elf owl named Gylfie (from the desert kingdom of Kuneer), who, like him, is resistant to the moon-blinking, by staying awake during full shine, and together they plot both to discover as much as possible about the true purpose behind St. Aggie's and to escape. The two also befriend a spotted owl named Hortense. They also find a partly moon-blinked boreal owl named Grimble and plan to escape with Grimble's assistance. Grimble is murdered the night Soren and Gylfie escape by St. Aggie's leader Skench the great horned owl and her lieutenant Spoorn the western screech owl. After escaping, they then meet Twilight, an orphan great grey owl who learned his survival instincts from the "Orphan School of Tough Learning", Digger, a burrowing owl, who lost his family to the St. Aggie's marauders and is extremely sensitive and philosophical, and the old Mrs. Plithiver, Soren's former nest-maid blind snake. With the help of Hortense's two bald eagle friends named Streak and Zan, they kill two of St. Aggie's patrols, the cousins Jatt and Jutt the long-eared owls.
The four owls form a band and fly away in search of the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, where legend says the great knight-owls live who are dedicated to doing good deeds and eventually find it. Soon after the band arrives at the tree, they begin their training as guardians and soon are proficient in their selected chaws, or classes, They also meet other owls, such as Otulissa, a spotted owl, Primrose, a pygmy owl, Martin, a northern saw-whet owl, and learn many secrets such as colliering, navigation, search and rescue and weather navigation. Ezylryb, the weather chaw ryb or teacher, becomes good friends with Soren. After a long period of time passes, hundreds of owlets are found abandoned in the middle of an uninhabited forest. Stranger it turns out, that all of them are "babbling of the purity of Tyto". Among these downed owlets, later called "The Great Downing", was Eglantine, Soren's lost sister. When she and the others regain full consciousness, they have no memory of what had happened, where they were from and why they were in the literal middle of nowhere.
When Ezylryb goes to investigate the area of The Great Downing and doesn't return, the Great Tree is unsettled. After a long while, the band goes to investigate the disappearance and seeks information of what could have happened. Octavia, Ezylryb's personal nest-maid snake and friend, gives them information that Ezylryb was also the famous warrior, Lyze of Kiel (Ezyl is Lyze spelled backward) and has personal relationships with the Rogue Smith of Silverveil. Then, during the time of copper-rose rain (Autumn at the Great Tree), the band sneaks away during a week-long festival to go talk to the Rogue Smith in hopes they will not be noticed missing. When speaking with the Smith, they discover that the famous singer at the Great Tree, Madame Plonk, is related to the Smith and that there is a group of terrible owls known as The Pure Ones is led by Metal Beak. When they return to the tree, it appears that everyone noticed that they were missing and that Soren missed his sister's First Meat-and-Bones ceremony. Soon later, Eglantine begins remembering where she was at the time she was missing and tells the band that she remembers being in a castle during the imprisonment. Soren, Gylfie, Twilight, Digger, Eglantine, and Otulissa, called the Chaw of Chaws, go out to find the castle in hopes that Ezylryb's disappearance might be answered. After nearly giving up, the Chaw of Chaws finds a Devil's Triangle, a triangle made up of large caches of magnetic particles, or "flecks", meant to discombobulate an owl's sense of direction and trap Ezylryb inside. The chaw realizes that these caches can be destroyed by fire and destroys the Devil's Triangle. Just as they free Ezylryb, a group of Barn owls, part of the regime The Pure Ones attacks the Chaw, led by Metal Beak. The chaw picks up branches and sets them alight so that the can fight with fire and part way through the battle, Martin, and Ruby, a short-eared owl. As the battle reaches its end, Metal Beak reveals his identity to the Chaw, now including Martin and Ruby, as being Kludd, Soren's evil brother. Soren, out of desperation, sets Kludd's mask on fire made of Mu metal, a soft metal that negates the magnetic powers of flecks, and he screams off as the metal melts on his face. Ezylryb and the Chaw of Chaws fly home and are met with cheering, and as daylight sets in, Ezylryb writes a poem of the impending war with the Pure Ones.
Taking place immediately after the end of The Capture, Kludd/Metal Beak has his mask still ablaze and he crashes into a pond near the hollow of Simon, a brown fish owl and a pilgrim from the Glauxian Brother's Retreat. After Simon nurses Kludd back to health, Kludd murders Simon and flies up to a branch with another owl on it. However, the other owl is Mist and is practically invisible. At The Great Tree, Dewlap, the Ga'Hoolology ryb declares the topic of Higher Magnetics and the book Fleckasia and Other Disorders of the Gizzard "spronk", or banned knowledge, which is crucial for the understanding of flecks and their effect on owls. Otulissa declares "Sprink on your Spronk" and causes Dewlap to faint on the spot. Soon after, The Chaw of Chaws is contracted to the task of infiltrating the St. Aegolious Academy for Orphaned Owls on the speculation that the Pure Ones have infiltrated the academy for its large supply of flecks, and in the same meeting, Ezylryb gives Otulissa Fleckasia and Other Disorders of the Gizzard. Before alighting from the island, Dewlap finds Otulissa reading Fleckasia and Other Disorders of the Gizzard and sentences her to the Flint mops, which is the Great Tree's way of punishing owls. Otulissa goes with the punishment but eventually flies away to join the Chaw and as a result, Dewlap, "out of futile desperation", flings the book into the sea. Upon reaching St. Aggies, they are put through moon blinking sessions, but each of the owls has memorized a part of the Ga'Hoolian cycle, such as the fire cycle, the war cycle, and the star cycle. Not long after their arrival, they discover barn owls sneaking flecks out of the library, where all of the flecks at St. Aggie's. Due to Otulissa's ability to confuse one of the suspected infiltrators, she is brought up to the library to explain what Higher Magnetics is and from that, learns that one of the suspects is actually a double-agent for St. Aggies. Meanwhile, at the Pure Ones' castle, the Rogue Smith of Silverveil is hired to make battle claws for the Pure Ones' army and from the information blabbed out by one of their generals, she learns that the Pure Ones are planning to launch an attack on the Great Tree and she goes to tell Mist. At St. Aggie's, The Chaw of Chaws devised a plan to make the workers and the spies doubt each other to make them fight. During the commotion, Soren struck in the rear, damaging his rudder feathers and on the way back to the Great Tree, he became gravely ill. As Soren neared death, a local owl named Hortense went to the home of Mist and told them of Soren and she brought a flying snake named Slynella who had venom that could heal illness. After Soren regains his health, Mist reveals that she is the original Hortense and that the Pure Ones were planning to attack the Great Tree. The Chaw flies off towards the great tree to warn them of the impending attack and realize the true size of the Pure Ones' forces, which number in the thousands. The story tells of Kludd's initiation into the Pure Ones, as it is learned that he maimed a Non-Tyto, killed a nest maid snake and attempted to kill his younger brother by pushing him out of the nest. At the Great Tree, Ezylryb gives a speech, quite similar to the speeches given by Winston Churchill during World War II, and the tree gets prep om the Pure Ones.
Books in the series
Guardians of Ga'Hoole
- The Capture (2003)
- The Journey (2003)
- The Rescue (2004)
- The Siege (2004)
- The Shattering (2004)
- The Burning (2005)
- The Hatchling (2005)
- The Outcast (2005)
- The First Collier (2006)
- The Coming of Hoole (2006)
- To Be a King (2006)
- The Golden Tree (2007)
- The River of Wind (2007)
- Exile (2007)
- The War of the Ember (2008)
- Rise of a Legend (2013)
Legends of Ga'Hoole
- The First Collier (2006)
- The Coming of Hoole (2006)
- To Be a King (2006)
The legends are a part of the Band's experiences. A spin-off series of three books were planned, titled Legends of Ga’Hoole. However, the books were not published as a new spin-off series; instead the books were moved to the original Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, with the titles unchanged. They were numbered as books 9, 10, and 11 of the series. The advance copy editions show the subtitle on the covers, although the final editions were not released with this feature. A prologue and an epilogue were added to each book—in which Ezylryb instructs the Band to read the Legends hidden in a secret room before dying in his hollow—so as to tie the books together with the main series. The reading of the Legends later becomes important, as they play a crucial part in Soren's mentality in The Golden Tree (the first book released right after the three Legends, which resumes the adventures of Soren and the Band).
The three books—The First Collier, The Coming of Hoole, and To Be a King—are about the legendary young king Hoole the spotted owl, and his mentor (the first collier) Grank the spotted owl, along with the pacifist Theo the great horned owl. Grank was the first to find the Ember of Hoole, and King Hoole was the first to find the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. Hoole came under the protection of Grank because his mother, Queen Siv, was a close childhood friend of Grank’s.
It is possible that the Legends of Ga'Hoole served as inspiration for the title of the movie adaptation Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, although the movie loosely covered only the first three books of the series and has no relation to the Legends.
Two guidebooks were released to give readers more insight into the world of Hoole. They are narrated by Otulissa.
- A Guide Book to the Great Tree (2007)
- Lost Tales of Ga'Hoole (2010)
Wolves of the Beyond
Wolves of the Beyond is a spin-off series that includes the daughter of Gwyndor the Australian masked owl, Gwynneth, as a main character, as well as mentioning characters (Hamish and Duncan MacDuncan the dire wolves, and Soren) and events from the main series. They announce the death of Soren, and tell the stories of the ending battle of the first series, Guardians of Ga'hoole. This sequel of Guardians of Ga'hoole tells the story of Foalan, a dire wolf abandoned at birth because of a deformed paw. Foalan becomes a watch wolf of the sacred ring of volcanos, where special dire wolves guard the Ember of Hoole. When the beyond is mostly destroyed by a cataclysmic earthquake, Foalan leads his friends, Edme, two grizzly bear cubs, a mother and pup, another abandoned wolf pup named Myrr, and two bald eagles that are the descendants of Streak and Zan, and others to a land called the Distant Blue to begin a new life.
A 3D computer-animated film adaptation of the book was released by Warner Bros. in 2010. Zack Snyder directed the film as an animation debut with Jim Sturgess, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Barclay, Helen Mirren, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony LaPaglia, and David Wenham voicing the characters.
- Powers, Catherine A (March 21, 2010). "Katherine Powers reviews audio books for kids". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Books — The Capture (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book 1)". monstersandcritics.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "CHILDRENS'S [sic] BEST SELLERS: April 9, 2006". The New York Times. April 9, 2006. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- Bowles, Scott (March 4, 2010). "First Look: Wise owls fill a fantastic world in 'Guardians'". USA Today. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- The Rise of a Legend, Walmart
- Announcement on Kathryn Lasky's website.
- Lasky, Kathryn. "Kathryn Lasky: Fiction Books". Kathryn Lasky. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
- Kathryn, Lasky. Guardians of Ga'Hoole #8: The Outcast. Advertisement at the back of the book.
- Kathryn, Lasky. Guardians of Ga'Hoole #10: The Coming of Hoole. p. 208.
- Star Wolf at Amazon
- Star Wolf at Barnes & Noble