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).
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
“Bunnymund, who could burrow through the earth with astonishing speed, had created a series of tunnels for them, connecting the village with his home on Easter Island and with other amazing outposts around the world, and the children had become intrepid explorers” (4-5).
And that’s awesome.
Additionally, the children “regularly circled through Easter Island for the latest chocolate confection Bunnymund had invented” (5). Yes! I would too. His chocolate, from Katherine’s reaction, is excellent. I’d eat it and I’m not even a big fan of chocolate.
Maintaining the Bunnymund train (since it makes sense that he would have had the newest affect on Santoff Claussen), it’s told how his warriors eggs now help the children “build all manner of interesting contraptions” (5). In particular, an “intricate egg-shaped puzzles where every piece was egg-shaped (a nearly impossible and frankly explainable feat)” (5). Yes, I imagine it would be.
Meanwhile, as the children are having fun, Katherine is sitting in her tree house with Kailash. Here is some lovely description, as I’ve come to expect Joyce:
“The forest that surrounded and protected Santoff Claussen had bloomed into a kind of eternal spring. The massive oaks and vines that had once formed an impenetrable wall against the outside world were thick with leaves of deepest green. The huge, spear-size thorns that had once covered the vines grew pliant and blossomed with sweet-smelling flowers” (6).
Not only do I love the visual imprint of the words (vines full of flowers and deep green), it gives a sense of time. It is spring; it is a time of renewal. The world is beginning and things seems to be good. This is in contrast to Book 1 where it began in the autumn. The world was crisp. But now it’s full of life. It adds to the sense of comfort and peace that the children playing afforded the opening. Also, it shows that time has progressed. The story has moved forward.
Katherine spies North and the Spirit of the Forest and rides down on Kailash to see what they’re doing (Kailash is large enough to be ridden now.)
Before I get into what North and the Spirit of the Forest are doing, I want to take a moment to acknowledge how Katherine is subtly growing up. She realizes she hasn’t played with the other children in a long time, and that becoming a Guardian has changed how she uses her time and what she does. It leaves her in a place “where she was neither child nor adult” (8).
Anyway, the Spirit and North are reviving his old bandit companions who she turned into stone elves. After reciting a spell, North brings them back to life, though they retain their short stature. They re-pledge their allegiance to North and are renamed.
This is a touching scene. Not in an emotional way, but from the recollection of North’s past and how far he’s changed from his days as a notorious bandit. He’s a hero, yes, but he’s also a Guardian. A Guardian who makes children toys and who understands what it’s like to be friendless and alone in the world. To know what children need. But then, that’s what the Guardians are for and this, this right here, this is why these books are an inspiration me.
Furthermore, the chapter reminds me not only how much North has changed, but Katherine too:
“North turned and looked at young Katherine. He felt the full weight of all they been through. They had both changed. It was a change he did not fully understand, but he knew he was glad for it.” (11-2).
What’s lovely about this (which gave me feelings when I read it), is that it references their change as a result of their relationship. They have experienced and shared their lives. But the really lovely part is that, while North might not know how he’s changed, he’s glad he has. He’s glad for the change Katherine (and Ombric and Santoff Claussen) have brought to him.
So yeah, Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies opens with changes and new growth. It’s time a new adventure. It’s going to be a ride of feelings.
“why was there such a thing as a bedtime and what could they do to eliminate it forever?” (3).
Joyce, William. Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.