Week Five Chapters 18-21: Magiq is Willpower Manifested

Week 5 has arrived, Mountaineers. Chapter 17 last week hit us with some doozies, right? Between Deeds’ decision to revive Ackerly Green Publishing, Ascender leaving us, and the revelation of Brandon Lachmann as the Last Traveler, we’ve a lot to process. But this week’s chapters give no quarter. We plunge right into the second phase of The Monarch Papers, Fauna. The theme of this week is “Magiq is Willpower Manifested,” taken from the selected Mountie quote by @Nighteater at the beginning of Chapter 18. Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this fun, contributing your ideas, and generally keeping me company!

Here are a few discussion points for this week’s reading to get the blood flowing.

1. We meet Lauren and squee get our first introduction to the majesty and mystery surrounding the Cagliostro (our favorite Magiq Man, cue Heart theme song). There is much in this chapter surrounding the rich and influential, and their interest in seeing the upcoming magiq show. What body part would you sacrifice to get a ticket to that show? (Just kidding. That’s not the question.) Throw some theories at me about the interest of these high and mighties in the morbid and murky world of The Low!

2. What is your favorite magimystic word of those revealed to us thus far? Why?

3. The Cagliostro takes 10 days to visit Marrakech (excellent taste in travel destinations, by the way) over Christmas vacation. What do you imagine he was doing there?

4. Alternatively to q. 2, in Chapter 19 we find a list of the spells that the elite guests attending Cags’ performance requested of him. Conjecture what these spells are for!

5. Deeds’ search for the Ackerly Green books hits on Cole’s Tumblr post about reading The Wolf and the Wild when he was a child. Deeds’ opinion is that it was entirely too dark for a child to read. What did you read as a child that was, perhaps, entirely inappropriate?

As always, Mountaineers, if you can pick out any themes or Easter Eggs from this week, please feel free to share! Your original thoughts, related ideas, or favorite lines from the book are always welcome in our discussion. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to @ me or another Guild Leader for guidance!

Creative Prompt: The theme of the week is “Magiq is Willpower Manifested.” The art of this week comes to us from the fabulous, industrious @Ashburn. Using the theme of this week for inspiration, please share with us your own written/visual/auditory creation.


Allow me to begin with one of my favorite quotes:


This is funny, because I often think of the myth of Odin, sacrificing an eye for wisdom and knowledge (and recently read the Neil Gaiman Norse mythology book).


Maybe not inappropriate, exactly, but I read Bridge to Terabithia WAY too young. Like, eight or nine max? That was definitely a little scarring. Also, the first chapter of Goblet of Fire that I managed to get away with reading before my mom busted me was probably a little too dark for a seven-year-old when I look back on it, though I’d never have admitted to being scared at the time. If anything, knowing I wasn’t supposed to read something only ever made me want to read it more!


That discussion from bukbang inspired this question!

I read the entirety of the Dragonlance Chronicles at age 8. The first trilogy, and then the Twins trilogy. It changed my life and influenced me later as a writer and reader, but it was not good reading material for a, what, second grader?


It’s funny now too working in a children’s bookstore, I start to think of books based on our shelving categories, which are 7-9, 8-12, 10 and up, and teen. I would definitely put Dragonlance in our 10+ section, but that’s also where most of the books I read as a much younger kid would go :woman_shrugging:


That’s around the age that I read Bridge to Terebithia, but I don’t remember being traumatized by it. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. :man_shrugging:


Right? I have shelves at home of all the books I am saving specially for my daughter to read, and it has DL, Sword of Truth, The Sandman… all things that I am fairly sure aren’t considered appropriate for an elementary school child by most people, but I wouldn’t bat an eye at.


Kids these days…
I actually had a really interesting conversation with a dad one day about how his 8yo daughter really likes books that make her emotional (same, girl) but she was having a hard time finding them because a lot of recent books for her age don’t tend to go there. There are a lot of wonderful middle grade heartbreakers (10+), but the younger ages seem to be a little bit more sheltered these days? Like there’s a really great focus on representation and diversity and acceptance of being different/true to yourself which is so so so awesome especially for young readers, but less major hardship/emotional turmoil? Which I feel like was a big part of my reading journey as a kid, learning how to process emotions and understand that sometimes bad/dangerous/unavoidable things happen but life goes on and you get stronger? Some of the more experienced booksellers could probably prove me wrong with plenty of examples but I’ll admit I’m not as well-versed in that particular age range particularly when it comes to the past five years or so.

I gave him Because of Winn-Dixie and said “tell her she’ll cry, but I promise there’s a happy ending.”


That’s actually a point I was discussing recently about movies. Kids need exposure to the negative or distressing parts of life in order to grow and develop the emotional range and fortitude necessary to be resilient adults. There is an age-appropriate way to do that (how, for example, Moana introduces death of a loved one and Coco addresses jealousy and murder in a palatable way for children and adults) but denying them the opportunity to experience negative feelings is stunting kids. In my very unprofessional opinion, of course.


This is something I’m keeping in mind as I raise my boys. My oldest (5 years old) is a little bit precocious and wants badly to read things like Harry Potter, but this is probably more out of emulation of my wife and I, and things we enjoy reading. I want to let him explore hardship through literature, but I struggle with what the right age is to do so.

TV/movies are different; he recently figured out how to use Netflix, and we had to change our settings to filter out some of the Y7 material he saw as options and wanted to watch (exposing our 3 year old, middle son, too, in the process). The options we have now are actually reasonable, but do heir on the side saccharine and precious.

I remember joking on Discord during the last phases of TMP, that while Teddy Fallon was reading his kid 13th century Italian fiction, I was reading “Even Firefighters Go To The Potty” to my son.


Random knowledge dump time ~

Take this all with a grain of salt or two.

The early examples we have of children’s literature is all very didactic. Think original Brother’s Grimm. It’s all very dark and extreme cautionary tales. Children’s literature follows the prominent religion of the time period because yay indoctrination, and at this point the hip and happening religion was Catholicism. The view through Catholicism of humans at that point in time was that we were born sinners and have to spend our lives repenting, and making amends to attempt to earn our way into heaven. Due to this viewpoint children’s tales were intended to literally scare children into not doing ‘bad’ things. For example, the original tale we now know as Snow White. A didactic tale about the trap and downward spiral caused by vanity. (Very simple summary of just one main point of the story)

But! Here comes the Protestant Reformation which shakes things up and over time becomes another prominent religion in society. The biggest difference that matters to this topic is that the Protestant view was that we are born good and pure and remain that way by devoting ourselves to our calling and serving the Lord and so on. Classic religion. This viewpoint then influenced Children’s literature and started the movement of what we would call today sugar coating things for children, because if we were born pure and good, we wanted to keep our children that way as long as possible. So the need for these dark and gruesome tales decreased, hence the eventual evolution of the stories to the Disney tales we all know and love.

Children’s literature has had some other interesting points in time, but we’ve mainly stayed on the path of veiling bigger issues in a rose coloured tint since we as a society don’t think children should have to be exposed/can handle the bigger problems we face in the world. The main reason it’s stayed on this path was the introduction of basic education and putting children in school instead or forcing them to work.

I intentionally use the world veil there. Think about it. A lot of times in books for small children they use animals as their fun characters, but why is it that animals like the crocodile are painted as aggressive and problematic more than they are as a happy or helpful character? I understand the argument of ‘they’re dangerous animals’ or whatever, but how often do kids casually interact with crocodiles? As well, any animal has the potential to be dangerous if you mistreat it. It’s done to teach children prejudice and is usually thinly veiled racism that they don’t know they’re learning, because once again yay indoctrination of the 1900’s.

There’s a huge push now in children’s literature to avoid things like this as some of you have mentioned and honestly I’m here for it. It’s just too recent for there to be enough studies done on it. The same goes with Youth literature versus Children’s literature. I think there is an incredibly important distinction between the two, and that both are crucial for teaching children and youth about darker and heavier things in life and the affects they have, and most importantly how to deal with them in a safe environment that doesn’t actually require them to experience these dark parts of life for themselves, but it’s invaluble knowledge. Alas, academia is always two steps behind so courses about this don’t yet exist.


I also read Dragonlance at around the same age @Deyavi did, but didn’t feel like I was too young for it. (Although I was one of those annoying kids who craved deeper, more emotional books than were provided to me.)
The book I remember that did scar me was The Hero and The Crown by Robin McKinley. It was Mum’s favourite when she was 12 and since I was reading too much and too fast, and she had good memories of it, she gave it to me.
I was 10.
(Spoilers ahead if you intend to read this book.)

The book opens with a princess who wants to go dragon hunting like her brothers, and of course her father says no. She goes and does it anyway, even developing technological advancements in fireproof armour and an understanding of dragon anatomy.
Good. I saw why my mother liked it. Empowering story of princess/warrior/scientist was exactly what I wanted. And then the book took a turn.
Most dragons in this “modern age” were small, like large dogs, and a threat to livestock, but not truly terrifying. Then there were rumors of a “true” dragon, an old one from legends, and like any young dragon hunter, she volunteers to defeat it. This is where the part I was too young for came in.
She meets it in battle and she is no match for it. It is as big as mountains and her cutting-edge fireproof armour is burned to nothing. She barely pokes it with her spear before she is utterly defeated. The book describes the feeling of the fire running down her throat and ruining her vocal cords before she passes out. The scene ends and she regains consciousness. It describes her third degree burns, the oozing and crackling and sloughing off of skin as she drags herself on her stomach to a nearby stream, where she passes out yet again as the cool water shocks her skin. That was not enjoyable to read as a child.
An immortal hermit tends to her wounds and nurses her back to health and she returns to the palace. Speaking hurts for the rest of her life. She returns to the palace to find the dragon has died of natural causes and the king has the skull hung up in his banquet hall. She has a panic attack after seeing it and later, every time she passes, she feels as though it is watching her or laughing at her. Nothing is better for a 10 year old to read about than emotional trauma!
She convinces the king to move the skull to a treasury out of sight and all is well for a few years.
There’s a big battle, at the castle and for some reason (I don’t remember) she believes the skull is cursing them so she has to grab the massive skull, roll it out of the castle, and shove it down a hill onto the battlefield, all the while she’s wrestling with her fear and anxiety regarding the dragon. They win the battle, save the day, and she becomes the stuff of legend.

Now that I’m older, I can appreciate the story about trauma and mental disorders disguised as a warrior princess tale, but back then, I was not ready. Her defeat to the dragon blindsided me, and her reaction to its skull confused me. It’s a very good read, and I do recommend it, but not for children.


Academia may be behind but I’d take your course!! Wow, thank you those are all fascinating points. I love thinking about it in that kind of historical context, it makes that thematic evolution so much easier to understand


Oh, my. I can definitely see how that would be traumatizing. I’ve never heard of it though! I’m going to look tomorrow to see if we carry it in the store where I work


You know what I wanna discuss a little more today? Deeds, reviving Ackerly Green. And of course @CJB and the background of Saberlane and AGP at that time.


I had content early on where Deeds detailed on her blog finding Saberlane and their burgeoning business relationship, but ultimately felt it took away from Deeds’ journey. She didn’t need Saberlane to do this, she just needed someone who cared about AGP like she did, that she could trust to hand it off to when she went in search of her dad.


That’s something about TMP that always fascinated me! In choose-your-own-adventure type novels, everyone goes to peek at other endings than the one they arrived at with their first choices. And it has been established from as far back as I can remember that there were things you had set up and things we never found, or that were alternative to choices you, and the Mounties, made narratively through TMP.

All that to say, anytime you wanna disclose further, I’m all ears :cjtea:


I’m sorry if this is way too late to be posting here - just stumbled upon this enchanted hidey hole of the interwebs- I happend to be reading chapter 19 of the first book. I remember reading VC Andrews’s books when I was 12 -Flowers in the Attic being the first. Her works were always classified as horror but it was more tragidrama. However, that first book scarred me in the sense that I was drawn to darker, murkier corners of the reading rainbow for many years afterward. I still like darker weirder books but not Stephen King dark. More like… well, the books at the heart of this bookverse. Or “The Glittering World” by Robert Levy. Magical realism that leaves you feeling achy in the recesses of mind and heart.
Bridge to Terabithia remains one of my all-time favorite books as does the entire Wrinkle in time quartet. I gobbled those up in 5th grade I think. Books are yummy :slight_smile:


Books are definitely yummy!! If you’d like, come share a bit more about what else you’re reading now on the Currently Reading topic!