Tag Archives: young adult literature

A Trip To Hogwarts!

Círdan’s Note: Not only did Grey Havens YA lead a magical Hogwarts Preparatory Academy this summer, but also some of our assistant professors got to visit the real Hogwarts! We are fortunate to have an account brought to us by Assistant Professor Noble. Enjoy her tale and her photos below!

Hogwarts Castle

About a month ago I received a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry stating that I was to report to Diagon Alley and board the Hogwarts Express, courtesy of the Hogwarts Railways, to the one and only Hogsmeade and the famous wizarding school itself! Why, you could only guess what emotions I was feeling! You rarely hear about wizards from other wizarding schools being asked to visit Hogwarts! I am currently a witch at the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic or, for us, l’académie de magie de Beauxbâtons which is an all female wizarding school located in France. Perhaps you have seen us compete at Hogwarts for eternal glory during the Triwizard Tournament? So of course, without a second to spare, I found my trusty Silver Arrow, and was off to Diagon Alley to accept this offer. I would have used my fireplace, but sadly I ran out of floo powder. (I would have made some, but nobody can quite get the recipe right! I don’t want to look like a mess when I arrive at Hogwarts.)

When I arrived in Diagon Alley, I paid a special visit to my vault at Gringotts to snag some galleons, and ran around like a mad woman trying to buy everything I might possibly need for this weekend at the best school in the world, I finally decided to dash over to the platform to board the Hogwarts Express. Whoa! As I was on my way to Hogsmeade, I made the startling discovery that I only had four galleons in my pocket by the time I was done! I ended up spending a little more galleons than I had planned… I mean, doesn’t everyone who goes to Diagon Alley visit Madam Malkins for a robe and scarf, the Leaky Cauldron for a bite to eat and a butter beer, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes for some laughs and love potions, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet treat, Ollivanders for a much needed wand repair, Scribbulus Writing Instruments for fancy new writing quill, and still have money to spare? I mean, I didn’t buy too much butter beer or pumpkin juice. Only enough to satisfy myself.

Hogwarts Express Sign

When the train finally pulled up at Hogsmeade and I managed to squeeze out of the busy station, I breathed a sigh of relief. I have made it! In the distance you could see the castle towering above everything on a beautiful cliff. I scurried through the village dropping by Honeydukes to give up my last four galleons to purchase some Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Right when I opened one and plopped one into my mouth, I knew I made a terrible mistake! It was a troll bogey flavor! And, in an attempt to counter this terrible taste, I had another. I must be a magnet for bad bean flavors. It ended up being a dog food bean! After that, I stuck the beans into my robe pocket and vowed not to eat them until I got back from Hogwarts. I will have to combat the flavors at a later time. I am still a little shaky from the incident, but I am on my way to a brilliant recovery. Perhaps soon I will be strong enough to continue eating them.

Bertie Botts Beans

Hogwarts Symbol

After leaving Hogsmeade, I stood before the bridge leading to the castle and I stared at two of the pillars at the entry way. Writing appeared and disappeared in a blink of an eye. Magical writing that is. What did the writing say? I can not quite remember. My sister, currently a bold Slytherin at Hogwarts, could tell you but as for myself, I think I accidentally had a small sip of a forgetfulness potion while I was lounging around in the Gryffindorr Common Room. The inside of Hogwarts was truly magical though. Talking pictures, which know exactly where you are at every time, magical classrooms, ghosts, common rooms, stained glass, witches, wizards, magic,  you name it! It was breathtaking. Now, the argument that another fellow witch of mine had with the Fat Lady was rather odd though. Even though she was a Gryffindorr, she was denied access into the common room several times after the argument until the Fat Lady finally gave in and let us enter. That of course gave the rest of the witches and wizards behind us a laugh. I spent the night there in the Gryffindorr common room, even though I would say that I am a Hufflepuff at heart, and the next day I was able to advance deeper into the castle and learn even more about Hogwarts. I even got a sneak peak at Dumbledoor’s office and the famous sorting hat!

My time at Hogwarts was short and I have no doubt that I will be back some day in the future. I have several friends there that I intend to visit, as well as family. There is so much to tell you, but right now, the quill that I purchased in Diagon Alley is running low on ink so I must go buy some more before I can talk my experiences that I had there in greater detail. But for right now, that is all that I can write. Hopefully, I will be able to collect enough galleons to buy more ink since this trip wiped out the majority of my vault! Wish me luck!

Best,

Catherine Noble

Witch at the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic

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What A Nerd Looks Like in Germany!

Círdan’s note: We are thrilled that the essays written by our members have sparked a movement for others to share what being a nerd looks like. Today, it is Grey Havens YA’s tremendous pleasure to get to share with you the following essay from one of our social media friends. Isn’t the internet incredible? We’ll let Julian introduce himself to you; we hope you are inspired and we welcome you to share your own stories with us! What does being a nerd mean to you? How are you spreading nerdiness to those around you? Please send us an owl (comment below) or email us at greyhavensya@gmail.com. #ThisIsWhatANerdLooksLike

Friendship, Inspiration, Creativity: A Little Nerd Manifesto by a German High School Teacher

wpid-julian.jpgMy name is Julian Eilmann and I am a 35-year-old high school teacher (subjects: German, History, Filmmaking) at the Inda-Gymnasium in Aachen, Germany. I would like to introduce you to the Inda-Fellowship, which is the only school based Tolkien club for young people in our country. Our nice school is based at the green borders of our lovely home town Aachen, which is one of the most western cities in Germany next to the Dutch border.

Being a nerd seems to be the same in the USA and Germany these days. Although nerdism appears to be just another trend in mainstream culture for some years now and everyone who wants to be cool is wearing “nerd glasses,” this is not what nerdism is all about. Being a nerd is all about dedication, enthusiasm, and a true love for great stories and characters in all their manifestations (books, films, comics, games etc.). And this is what the Inda-Fellowship is all about too. So, are we, in this sense, nerds? Of course we are. Our Fellowship is the home for all lovers of fantasy at our school!

We are all dedicated to the works of the founder of the modern fantasy genre, J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. When I founded this club in 2010, I had been a Tolkien and fantasy fan since my own youth. Since I first listened to the great German audio play of The Lord of the Rings on the radio at the age of 12, a new and wonderful world was in my imagination. In the following years I read everything from Tolkien I could get my hands on and played the pen and paper role-playing games with my friends (does anyone remember MERP? – that was fun!). This was another fine way to become part of this world of endless adventures. In some ways, I have been under a spell ever since these days and have been constantly enchanted by Middle-earth, which is in fact an imaginary home for me where my thoughts travel at least once each day. Apart from enjoying Tolkien’s work just for my pleasure, I have been researching Tolkien’s work for a decade now and am right now writing my PhD study on “Tolkien: Romanticist and Poet.”

wpid-inda-group.jpg.jpegTolkien’s Middle-earth novels and, even more so, my beloved Silmarillion do leave me breathless and still fill me with great joy. When in the end Frodo passed away into the West, there were some tears, but we learn from the wisdom of a famous grey Wizard that “not all tears are an evil.” These misty eyes do rather signify that you have made a great experience. One you will never forget. I can truthfully say that I got inspired by Tolkien and have been for my whole life now. And now it is my goal as a teacher to inspire children and teenagers at my school, because I am convinced that Tolkien has left us in fact a modern mythology that offers endless joy, excitement, and wisdom for each generation.

And it warms my heart that the Inda-Fellowship has been progressing so well over the years. At the moment, the group consist of 17 boys and girls of the age of 11-17 and four teachers, who love to immerse themselves in Middle-earth with these wonderful kids. As has been said, being a nerd for us means dedication to our hobby – or rather our passion. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that our group motto is “Friendship, Inspiration, and Creativity!” Our Fellowship is the place where one can meet likeminded people who share the same love for imagination and fantasy, especially in the works of Tolkien, but also apart from that. And, as friendship is a major topic in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, we are forming our own alliance to spend time together in our beloved Middle-earth. It is a delight for everyone involved – teachers as well! – to debate all things concerning Tolkien and beyond. Friendship means that everyone’s opinion is valued, and in a relaxed atmosphere one can feel free to share his ideas with other Tolkien nerds in the group. For example, we have two teenage boys in our group who started in our Fellowship when they were in 5th class. Now they attend 10th class, are in their home-stretch for the final exams in two years – but are still among us. In fact, they have spent their whole high school time in our group which proves that this group can be more than just another afternoon school club.

Furthermore, the Inda-Fellowship offers many ways for young people to get inspired. The last five years have shown how we all get constantly inspired by our joint exploration of Middle-earth. One source of inspiration was our journey to Tokien’s Oxford in the winter of 2011, where we had the chance to take a look at Tolkien’s manuscripts at the Bodleian Library and visited the picturesque Merton College, where the professor lived. To get so close to our beloved author and the place where he created his mythology was the chance of a lifetime for participants. Some of the kids said: “This was the best time of my life yet!” For me, it is a lasting experience too.

wpid-inda-cosplay.jpg.jpegThe third pillar of our group is creativity, which is a force that is essential for Tolkien’s work. We don’t want to be passive too. We rather want to get our bottoms up and find interesting ways to create something our own. Recently we have spent quite some time producing hilarious stop-motion films with Hobbit Lego sets. This has been a lot of fun for us and we received a lot of positive response from the audience. Right now, we are building Middle-earth models in the school’s workshop. If you can imagine 17 boys and girls and four teachers working with clay, wood and paint to build the Black Gate of Mordor, a Hobbit Mill or a Rohan house, this is exactly what we have been doing the last months.

We have lots of great ideas for the future, and we love to get in contact with other Tolkien fans around the world. Although Middle-earth will ever be the core of our group activities, we also like to chat about other fantastic universes. With this in mind, we greet the Grey Havens YA – you guys seem to have as much fun as we do and we wish you all the best for your future.

To learn more about Julian and the Inda-Fellowship, check out their website: https://indagefaehrten.wordpress.com/ 

Thar be Sherlock

Círdan’s note: Grey Havens YA has finished our discussions of Sherlock Holmes for the present time. We are currently in the process of finding a new book! Today, as tribute to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation, we take a special look at the famous detective through the eyes of ThistlePiper. See his notes below!

Who is Sherlock Holmes? All over the world and throughout history many have wondered about the many mysteries that make up the world’s most iconic consultant detective. Let’s start by accessing the book character and Sherlock’s  personal character.

Sherlock Holmes is not the average book character. Many books will have a normal character with abnormal lives and abilities. Sherlock, however, is different. Sherlock is an abnormal character leading a semi-normal life. As for his abilities, he is just really smart. He will however utilize logic and deductive reasoning  in an astounding manner. Now, I mean no offense to Sherlock himself but he is undeniably the ultimate know-it-all in existence. Not only that but one gets the impression that Mr. Holmes revels in it. However, in Sherlock’s defense I can imagine how being the only one on his level can be maddening. Now by “his level” I mean someone who functions at the same intellectual capacity and moral capacity (for what little there is) as Sherlock . Moriarty, Sherlock’s arch-enemy doesn’t count.

Now for some examples of the basic Sherlock-isms–

If Rachel, a lead forensics detective for Scotland Yard, leaves for work at 4:00 AM and the standard transition time is 1 hour 30 minutes, the deductive reasoning allows for one to surmise that if Rachel leaves at 4, then she is taking into account the transition time and is doing her best to accommodate for any diversity in the commute. She arrives at 5:30 AM, so therefore she has to be on duty at 6:00 AM.

There is also the theory of non-identity for example: A = not B or C, but A.

Then you have inductive reasoning: All Scotsmen wear kilts so therefore that kilted guy is Scottish.

Precise /Deductive reasoning: A=B B=C then A=C.

Ad hominem: The art of attacking the individual instead of the argument.

Red herring: Introducing a topic that is not relevant to the argument.

Straw man: Introducing a weaker representation of truth so that you can knock it down like a straw man.

Appeal to pity: Appealing to the emotions of the subject.

Appeal to popularity: Asking someone to accept an argument because the majority holds it to be true.

Appeal to tradition: Asking someone to accept an argument because it has been accepted as true in the past.

Category mistake: Attributing to one category that which can only be attributed to another. (ex. Blue is nicer than red.)

Halo effect: Assuming that, because some thing is good in one way (ex. Physically attractive), it must also be good in other ways. (ex. kind)

Send us an owl: What do you think of Sherlock? Which Sherlock-ism do you find most fascinating? Which short story did you enjoy reading the most?

We Can’t Hear You Over the Sound of How Awesome these Books Are!

eleven reading physics

Altona Middle School hosted our Awesome Box for one month but we got so many responses that we still have some to share with you. It can be cold in the space-time vortex. A certain time traveler could really use a good book to read by the warm glow of the TARDIS console. Thank you, Altona students, for suggesting these books:

Doctor-Who-Amys-Choice-Trailer-Caps-20

Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass is recommended for “my friends because they like realistic fiction which is what type of book [this] is.” Every Soul A Star is a book about friends brought together by a desire to see The Great Eclipse.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is recommended for “magic fans.” If you have not explored the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series, now is the time! You will want to return again and again and, thanks to the incredibly popular movie series, Pottermore and a series of screenplays in progress by Rowling, herself, you will be able to. It is not too late to get in on the Potter phenomenon!

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch is described as “an amazing dystopian book” and is recommended for “people who like dystopian fiction.”

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan is recommended for “people who like fan fiction.” Rick Riordan is recommended by Awesome Box users more than any other author. If you are new to his work, you might want to start here.

doctorchristmas_1

Thank you for filling our favorite Time Lord’s holidays with great book suggestions! After reading these great books, maybe even his enemies will feel some winter cheer!

snowdalek

 Send us an owl: What do YOU think is awesome?

Member Monthly Rant: Books and Reading

Cirdan’s note: Greetings. Today, we bring you a well-worded rant from our very own geekygeenerd. Enjoy, and be sure to send us an owl!

I believe in books and the power of reading.

I have loved to read ever since I learned how.  I was reading chapter books in first grade, and tore through the Harry Potter series when I was nine.  In fact, I once got in trouble at school for reading during class.  When the teacher called me out on it, I wasn’t embarrassed as much as I was concerned that he didn’t use a bookmark.  I have learned over the years that people who read more tend to know more things.  For example, I was once accused of cheating because I knew the answers to many of the questions a teacher was asking from a trivia book.  But all that I was using was the knowledge I had accumulated from books.  The ability to read well is also important for school.  Remembering knowledge acquired from books is important, because students are expected to read textbooks and novels, and some refuse because they say that they “hate reading,” which is incredibly sad to me.  Reading increases knowledge.  Reading can make you laugh, cry, and fall in love with fictional characters.  When I read the Harry Potter series, I did all of those things.  I developed emotions and feelings from printed words on the pages of books.

Some will argue that there is no need to read with today’s technologies, however, they fail to see that not everything can be absorbed by a screen.  For example, encyclopedias are checked thoroughly before they are published.  But websites like Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, making them unreliable.  Also, studies show that people who read from books retain more information than those who read from a screen.  Others think they just don’t like reading in general, but maybe that is because they have never found something they have enjoyed reading.  I think this correlates with assigned books in school.  I have noticed other students will start a book thinking they will hate it, and sometimes they do.  One personal experience I have had with this was when my brother was assigned to read The Giver. He hated it, but I loved it, and we usually love and share the same books.  I think this is due to the fact that he was forced to read it, but I chose to read it for fun.

I truly believe that reading makes you smarter.  In fact, kids who were shown the television show Spongebob Squarepants had a lower IQ after doing so.  What do you think would happen to those kids if they had read instead?  I was never allowed to watch Spongebob as a child, so I read.  Because of this, I’ve been reading at a higher level than what was expected of me since I was in second grade.

Reading is one of the most important skills one can have in life.  A book can teach you and a book can make you cry.  You just have to chose to read it.  This I believe.

Send us an owl: What is the first book you remember reading? And/or What book or series sparked your love for reading?

Heroes of Rune Chapter 2

Cirdan’s Note: I’m pleased to introduce to you another installment from our very own spock0528. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been itching to find out more about the World of Rune! Make sure you’ve read the prologue and chapter one before continuing on the journey below!

Chapter 2

Farion Stormborn

The Wand and the Barrel was a grungy little place run by an even grungier old man named Barney. Farion had been there many times with Diggle while patrolling the northern borders and when he walked in Barney and the usual crowd greeted him with vigor. He ordered a plate of bread and cheese and some whiskey to wash it all down.

“Out on patrol again, Farion?” Barney asked. “Something like that,” Farion answered. He didn’t feel like diving into the complex battle plan he was now in the middle of. Farion left the tavern and headed back to camp. The rest of his trip was uneventful and he met no one on the road. By about three in the afternoon Farion could see the smoke of the camp curling up into the sky like a great dragon. He took his horn and blew three long and sharp blasts, the signal of a soldier returning. He was given the standard two quick blasts of the horn, which meant that he could approach the camp.

The camp was massive. Over 10,000 Eastirim soldiers were staying here and the rows of bright red tents was quite an impressive sight. After meeting with the sentries, Farion returned to the tent he shared with three other soldiers from Bahruna. He was ready for a night around a warm fire with his friends as he waited for news of the Zarkaran’s plans.

However when he arrived at his tent he saw a boy about 17 standing by the opening. When he saw Farion arrive he jumped to attention. The boy had a small dagger and wore a cloak. “What do you want?” Farion asked gruffly. He was impatient and he wanted to get some rest. “My name is Renly, Sir,” he said. “I am to be your squire in the battle.”

What the boy had said made Farion immediately think of Diggle. Diggle had been a knight and Farion had been his squire. Farion remembered a situation, very much like the one he was in now, where he, a clean shaven and oblivious boy had awkwardly introduced himself to his master. Diggle had acted like he was acting now: not very impressed.

Diggle however had not used Farion to polish their armor and assist him in tournaments like most knights used their squires. He had instead taken Farion along the northern border on some “hands on experience.” Farion remembered his first night out in the wilderness… They had been attacked by a band of highway robbers and Diggle had tossed Farion his sword and let him take care of the four of them. Farion had barely managed to take all of them all down, but after the experience he and Diggle had both gained a mutual respect for each other.

After that the two had become close friends. Diggle passed him on to knight in just three years as opposed to the usual four it took most boys. After Farion had moved on, Diggle had been appointed as a King’s Guard in Teroh. When Farion got to visit Teroh, he always made time to see Diggle who was adjusting to his much easier job. Farion’s visits were always a bright spot in Diggle’s life.

25 years ago, Diggle had lost his wife in childbirth. He was crushed by her death but he loved his surviving son, Jeremy. Jeremy had blond hair and cold blue eyes and he looked just like his mother. Diggle insisted that Jeremy stay safe and not study to become a knight. He was afraid of losing his only son like he had lost his wife. This destroyed Jeremy. There was nothing that he wanted to do more than fight for Eastirim but his father refused. When he and Diggle were summoned to stop a rogue Zarkaran force that was heading across Eastirim territory, Jeremy, without his fathers knowledge, had secretly joined up at the age of 17.

When Farion spotted Jeremy out on the battlefield, he prayed to the gods as hard as he could that they would spare Jeremy’s life. They did not. At the end of the battle Diggle stumbled across Jeremy’s mangled body. Around him were the bodies of many dead Zarkarans. Diggle wept with Jeremy’s head in his arms for hours. At that moment Farion knew the gods were gone. They no longer cared for the lives of mortals. How could they forsake Diggle like this? How could they let a man as noble as him suffer this tragedy? It was as he watched Diggle scream and cry for his only son that Farion vowed to forsake what he once loved and respected. After Jeremy’s death, Diggle stumbled into a kind of trance. He had lost his wife and son, and he no longer saw reason in living. Only Farion’s visits kept him going.

“I was told that you were to head to the commander’s tent to give him your report,” Renly said, bringing Farion back to the present. Farion silently turned around and started walking to the center of the camp. Renly followed him like a puppy.

“Did you hear what I said about being your squire?” Renly asked eagerly. “Yes,” said Farion. “And?” Renly asked with anticipation. “I don’t need a squire,” Farion said. “I know sir, but I thought you could really use someone to help you, I have quite a bit of experience–” “What battle experience?” Farion said. They had reached the commanding tent. “Well sir, I may not have had actual battle experience, but I’ve–” Farion entered the tent. He had heard it all before. The young squire willing to prove himself and just getting in the way. In the actual battle, he would test Renly like Diggle had tested him.

He gave his report to the general. “There was no sign of any Zarkaran forces,” he said. Farion asked about the other possible locations for a Zarkaran invading force. “You’re the first we have heard from” General Icarus said. Farion was dismissed, and as he exited the tent, he noticed that Renly was gone.

***

That night Farion was sitting around the campfire with his friends from Bahruna when Renly approached and sat down behind him. The other men took no notice of him. “This leg of goat is delicious,” said Farion’s friend, Heimgal. “Best we’ve had all month,” Heimgal said, wiping his mouth. “Best you enjoy while you can,” replied Mason, the soldier sitting next to Heimgal. “The rest of the scouts are due to come back tonight.” “My bet’s on Baywater,” Gendri, a captain from Bahruna muttered. “I’ll take that bet,” Heimgal said, looking up from his food. “How much?” he asked.

Farion did not partake in this discussion. Instead he was watching Renly. The boy was looking down at his knees. Farion got up and sat down beside him. He felt a little bad about how he acted earlier. The boy needed to know that Farion wasn’t his enemy. “Who’s that you’re sitting by?” Heimgal yelled at Farion. “This is Renly, he is to be my squire in the upcoming battle,” Farion said loudly. “Oh really,” Heimgal said with distaste. “Tell me boy, have you done much fighting?” he asked as if he already knew the answer. “I bet he’s killed a Shaman,” Mason said sarcastically.

The Shamans were the most powerful of the Zarkaran army. Decorated in the robes and headdresses of Zarkaran priests, they were fast and deadly. Farion had never met anyone who had ever killed one in battle, let alone seen one. Claiming you had killed a Shaman was not something that was taken lightly.

“Have any of you seen a Shaman?” Renly asked in awe, Heimgal’s rudeness apparently lost on him. “Gendri reckons he saw one once,” Mason said, now speaking in a hushed tone. “Is it true what they say then?” Renly asked, his voice barely audible. “They’re wicked fast. I saw it only for a second. It killed five men in just a matter of seconds right in front of my eyes. Then it was gone,” Gendri replied, his eyes distant.

“What about the curse?” Renly said. His eyes were so wide it looked like they were about to burst. “What curse?” Farion asked. “I heard about it when I was a child,” Renly said. “And what exactly does this curse do?” Heimgal asked skeptically. “I am not sure. I can’t remember. I think it happens when you kill a Shaman,” Renly said, his voice wavering. “A bunch of fairy stories, no doubt. I bet your wet nurse told them to you when you was a child. Nothing but a load of rubbish, I say,” Heimgal said. Everyone in the group laughed except Farion and Renly. Renly looked at his knees again. Farion started to say something to comfort him. But before Farion could say anything he was interrupted by a horn blast and a shout from a sentry. “The scouts have returned. Gather your gear and get ready to move out. The Zarkarans are arriving at Pymnimily.”

Send us an owl: Wow! What did you think? What do you suppose this “curse” is all about?

The World of Rune prologue and preview

Cirdan’s Note: By the sea and stars, I have stumbled upon a most fascinating text! Our very own spock0528 has uncovered an ancient scroll that he thought would be of some interest to us. Read his findings below.

Heroes of

Rune

Part 1

 

Prologue

Of Gods and Men

“For the great god Acosor rode on the Golden Dragon from his Kingdom, Fabeu and discovered Rune, land of mortals. He taught the Eastirim, a then primitive tribe of Rune the ways of his kingdom and the ways of his fellow gods. There was Anirab, god of battle and victory, Herarl, goddess of wisdom, and Olset, goddess of the elements. Acosor, god of the sun changed the once small nation of the Eastirim into a mighty empire. The Eastirim prayed to the gods and they answered. For it was a time of peace and of closeness with the divine. But the gods and demons and darkness from the underworld of Ncava wanted Rune for their own. They found the Zarkaran, a tribe willing to do whatever to take Rune from the Eastirim. The dark god king, Azolael lead the Zarkaran into battle against the Eastirim on the Black Dragon. Helping him were his fellow gods, Udun, the dark god of battle, Shidiel, goddess of plague and disease, and the terrible demon Poshrux the Merciless. It was a hard battle lasting many days but finally Acosor and the Eastirim banished the dark gods and drove the Zarkarans back to their home. The final act of the Acosor was to split Rune into two pieces to separate the two nations. The river Tywin was left to be the border of Eastrim and Zarkaran.

All was well until Acosor and the other gods disappeared. Prayers were no longer answered and the great temples of Teroh, Eastirim’s capital city were left unvisited by the divine. Why did the gods disappear? None can say. The gods work in mysterious ways and it is not up to mortals to question them. Still the gods did not reappear for 2,000 years. The two halves of Rune drifted side by side peacefully. The land masses drew near to a new land where new races entered Rune and the noble blood of the Eastirim was all but gone. The gods were remembered as ancient stories among the Eastirim. But then the Zarkarans returned led by Azolael to conquer the rest of Rune. Still the gods did not return. All looked hopeless until the great warrior Drake Furror arose, for he was of pure Eastirim blood. He defeated the enemy in a single swoop with his army of elites and reigned for many years as king. He was as good of a king as he was as a warrior. When he died he was buried in a tomb made of solid gold 10,000 feet beneath the palace of Teroh in the ancient hall of kings.

That was 500 years ago and we have remained safe from the Zarkarans for now. Perhaps they are truly gone or perhaps they are biding their time and preparing to attack again. We cannot be sure but either way we are prepared for war. For we know that the power of the Zarkarans and Azolael are great.”

_ excerpt from The Scrolls of the Eastrim chapter 4 by Barnabas Lessiar and Malistair Huckberry  

Welcome to the

World Of

Rune

 

Follow the stories of four very different individuals in this magical world.

 

Meet Farion

A warrior now forced to live with a terrible curse

Join him on his mission of vengeance

 

Meet Darius

The king’s trusted boy servant who has a dark secret

 

Meet Eastior

A young elf prince who now must take over an elven

kingdom when his father is killed

 

Meet Violet

A nine year old Zarkarvan slave girl who is about to discover her

massive destiny that will change the course of Rune forever

 

New chapter every week

Coming Soon!!!

Send us an owl: Wow! Which story are you most excited to hear about?

The Giver: Reactions

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Last Saturday, October 4, 2014, Grey Havens YA finished its discussion of Lois Lowry’s The Giver.

As we discussed the end of the story, our philosophical imaginations led us into a conversation about good and evil. One of our members suggested that “evil” was the cause of the vague post-apocalyptic event in Lowry’s story that leads to the creation of communities such as the one portrayed in The Giver. Some of our other members put forth that “evil” is a relative term; what’s evil to one person may be good to another. Is anything ever truly evil or truly good? If nothing is truly evil, and therefore nothing is truly good, is there any motivation for us to strive to be “better” human beings? Is “better” relative too? If everything is relative, where do we find meaning?

Not gonna lie, guys, this discussion had your leaders’ heads spinning for days afterwards. Good job! ^.^ This is why we love reading stories with you. You are all so smart and curious.

We didn’t come to a concrete conclusion on good and evil, but eventually the conversation drifted along to the next territory. It has become a Grey Havens YA tradition to share a one-sentence reaction to the story as a whole at the end of our discussion series. We did this with The Hobbit too, and we shared some of those responses in our Mythcon presentation. I look forward to hearing what you’ll say after our next book adventure: Sherlock Holmes! Below I am going to list the member responses to The Giver. Please send us an owl (comment below) if any of these spark a thought in you or if you’d like to share your own!

“When you live in a world without emotion, will you ever cry?”

“Why?”

“How?”

“I loved the book a lot, the atmosphere of it.”

“Think, then re-think, because someone might’ve influenced you.”

“It makes you question your world.”

“Imagination is the most dangerous thing in the universe.”

“Lack of feelings makes me feel….Wait, what?”

“One without knowledge or deep emotions is easily influenced.”

“The book was weird, but interesting; I now see why it has been banned.”

“The story was psychologically interesting, but not well thought through.”

“It makes you question morals, colors, and what you think about everything else.”

“Everyone might be wrong, so think for yourself.”

“Your lack of knowledge disturbs me.”

Send us an owl: What did YOU think of The Giver? Since we read this one right after finishing The Hobbit, what do you think about both stories? Is one better than the other? Do they have anything in common?

Banned Books: Harry Potter

Banned Books Week 2014 is already off to a great start. Click here to read one of our member’s thoughts on banning books and click here to read Robyn/evermind’s introduction.

We totally didn’t plan for the timing to coincide, but two Saturday’s ago, Grey Havens YA created an All-Harry-Potter themed Fandom’s Unite.

Our lovely volunteers: Donna, Robyn, Kelly, Luwanna, and Dyhrddrdh. Wands at the ready!
Our lovely volunteers: Donna, Robyn, Kelly, Luwanna, and Dyhrddrdh. Wands at the ready!

More photos to come! During our Hogwarts special night, we asked our members and attendees to share some thoughts on banned and challenged books, seeing as J.K. Rowling is on the banned and challenged author list. We compiled a little video to share with you below. Enjoy!

Send us an owl: Please feel free to share your own story about how Harry Potter or another work of literature changed your life and how you would feel about that work being banned and/or challenged.

PS. Did you know that September 22, 2014 was Hobbit Day aka Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday???

PPS.  Did you know that both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been challenged and/or banned? Share some love for the hobbits in the comments! If you have anything you’d like to write about Tolkien and/OR Banned Books Week, please don’t hesitate to email us at greyhavensya@gmail.com.

PPPS. …I’m referencing Gandalf’s letter in The Fellowship of the Ring right now.g-rune

In Honor of Banned Books Week: A Call for Posts!

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This year, Banned Books Week takes place September 21 through the 27th. You can find out more information and view a list of Banned and Challenged classics by clicking this link. Did you know that both The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are on that list? In preparation for Banned Books Week, I’d like to call on my Grey Havens YA members to be a part of this event! There are two ways you can contribute:

1. The American Library Association is hosting a Banned Books Virtual Read-Out. You can film yourself reading a passage from a banned book and/or talking about a banned or challenged book that you love and why it would be awful if no one else got to read that book. Please click the link for more information. If you are interested in filming but don’t have the ability/don’t want to do it yourself, Kelly is going to be filming at the library, please email us at greyhavensya@gmail.com or respond to this blog post.

2. I would LOVE for the Grey Havens YA blog to be populated with content during Banned Books Week. Do you have a favorite quote from a banned or challenged book? Do you have something to say about book banning and censorship in general? Do you want to share some book banning trivia? Please please write a blog post, comment here, or email us your thoughts at greyhavensya@gmail.com. Parents, members AND the wider Grey Havens YA community are ALL welcome to participate!

To kick things off, I’m going to share a few passages from Ray Bradbury and his novel Fahrenheit 451. I want to talk about Bradbury not because of his challenged books but because of his enthusiastic support of uncensored literature and the power of reading. While not banned outright, Bradbury’s 1953 novel about censorship was ironically censored because of the swear words he used. Here was his response to the unauthorized editing of his work:fahrenheit-451

“In sum, do not insult me with the beheadings, finger choppings or the lung-deflations you plan for my works. I need my head to shake or nod, my hand to wave or make into a fist, my lungs to shout or whisper with. I will not go gently onto a shelf, degutted, to become a non-book. All you umpires, back to the bleachers. Referees hit the showers. It’s my game. I pitch, I hit, I catch. I run the bases. At sunset I’ve won or lost. At sunrise, I’m out again, giving it the old try. And no one can help me. Not even you.”

In Fahrenheit 451, the world has become a “utopia” in which there are no books. To ensure that pleasure, happiness, and equality aren’t wrecked by literature and the thoughts of a well-read individual, it is the fireman’s job to burn books. The Firemen call themselves the “Happiness Boys,” and the “custodians of our peace of mind.”

Pause. Now, I have to confess that when choosing a quote to share with you, I struggled with finding one that seemed “appropriate” enough for our age range, eleven to seventeen-year-olds. I didn’t want to cut any of Bradbury’s words short, but I also didn’t want to offend anyone who may be reading… It was an interesting question I found myself wrestling with. I’ve decided to include the entire quote below. Please feel free to comment on that decision; it is a great topic to discuss during Banned Books Week.

In this excerpt, the fire captain explains why books have no place in the new society: “If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, topheavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again and most men can, nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide-rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won’t be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely.”

In a 2003 interview published in the 50th anniversary edition of the novel, Bradbury was asked about the importance of reading for the health of a nation. He answered: “Let’s imagine there’s an earthquake tomorrow in the average university town. If only two buildings remained intact at the end of the earthquake, what would they have to be in order to rebuild everything that had been lost? Number one would be the medical building, because you need that to help people survive, to heal injuries and sickness. The other building would be the library. All the other buildings are contained in that one. People could go into the library and get all the books they needed in literature or social economics or politics or engineering and take the books out on the lawn and sit down and read. Reading is at the center of our lives. The library is our brain. Without the library, you have no civilization.”

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Now it’s your turn! Send us an owl: Do you think Bradbury is right about the significance of a library? What about the idea that some books can and should make us uncomfortable… Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Bonus Question: What does this make you think about why there are no books in The Giver?
And of course: Don’t forget to send us your contributions for Banned Books Week!