Monday, November 13, 2006

The Goose Girl Revisited

Yesterday's review of The Goose Girl focused on the similarities between the traditional tale and Hale's new novel. Today I'd like to briefly revisit the novel to prepare the reader for the companion novels Enna Burning and River Secrets.

1) Friendships. The Goose Girl did an excellent job of portraying the friendships of "Ani" or "Isi." From her most trusted guard, Talone, to her first new friend, Finn, whose home she took refuge in when she was most distraught to her fellow animal-yard workers Enna, Razo, and Conrad. It was her ability to learn to trust again that strengthened her spirit and enabled her to rise from obscurity to reclaim the prince and earn her happily ever after ending. Her success was a group effort. These people MATTERED to the story. So it was to Hale's advantage that they were so well-developed thus opening the door up to companion novels drawing not from traditional fairy tales but new original stories.

2) Important magical concept. In The Goose Girl, Anidori Kiladra Talianna Isilee was raised in her early years to be open to certain magical ideas. An aunt told her nursery stories of people having the ability to 'speak' other languages and communicate with different animals, the wind, fire, and water. These 'fanciful' stories were forbidden by the king and queen especially after they heard Ani speaking to swans as a young child. But these stories--and the notion that one could learn to communicate with others in a secret language--formed an important part of Ani's heritage. As the reader finds out in THE GOOSE GIRL, Ani or Isi has the ability to speak with birds (at least swan and geese) and she learns to speak with the wind and have it do her bidding.

Orson Scott Card's review of Shannon Hale's Goose Girl
Orson Scott Card's review of Shannon Hale's Enna Burning
Orson Scott Card's review of Shannon Hale's The Princess Academy

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