Sunday, October 30, 2011

Comments For Mentor Text #2

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Armored Bears Make Everything Better

        Mystery, conspiracy, oppressive regimes, and armored bears. What's not to like about The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman? During this year, one of our projects is to write our own story while pulling inspiration from various pieces of literature that are similar and add ideas to our own work. In my previous blog, I explained how Wizard's Hall helped me gather more ideas and inspiration for Librarium while making comparisons in the process. While reading The Golden Compass, I was able to draw more ideas and noticed shocking comparisons to my story Librarium. Not only has The Golden Compass been a pleasure to read, but has benefited my ideas and plot development.
        The main protagonist of the The Golden Compass is a young girl by the name of Lyra. Overall, her personality and character aren't drastically similar to Roland of my story, but their early childhoods and attitude towards family are somewhat on par with each other. Lyra is raised by the scholars of Jordan College in Oxford, England and grows up not knowing the truth about her parents who are presumed to be dead in an air ship accident. Lyra is quite care free and content with having things remain the way they are. Before the shocking turn of events that are thrown upon Lyra, she's very much content with spending the rest of her days frolicking around Jordan College with her ragamuffin friends. "That was Lyra's world and her delight. She was a coarse and greedy little savage, for the most part. But she always had a dim sense that it wasn't her whole world; that part of her also belonged in the grandeur and ritual of Jordan College."(Page 36, The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman). While Lyra adores the environment she has grown up in, the same could not be said for Roland of Librarium. Since members of the Librarium aren't able to converse freely, restricted to the walls of the academy, and heavily encouraged to follow the Librarium's propoganda, Roland feels like a bird in a gilded cage at best. While all of the Librarium's academies offer some of the best educations in the world, Roland feels that sharing magic with the world's regular citizens is a much better use of spreading knowledge rather than keeping it all to one's self.
         One of the things I'm really trying to emulate from my mentor text is emulating a creature, weapon, or force that creates as much fear as armored bears do in The Golden Compass. Armored bears are intelligent polar bears that act as mercenaries and body guards and make themselves even more fearsome by donning themselves in plated armor. "They been raiding the Skraelings for centuries. They're vicious killers, absolutely pitiless. But they keep their word."(The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman, Page 109). My goal is build up the hype of the Wings of Justice in Librarium the way armored bears are hyped up in The Golden Compass. The Wings of Justice will serve as the strongest military power the Librarium has and are constantly on witch hunts to oust those who would oppose the Librarium and seem like a legitimate threat.
        There are also other elements that I haven't included in my story that I hadn't have even considered. In the Golden Compass, the Gobblers are a group of people that steal young children on the Church's behalf for reasons unknown to the populace and isn't revealed until near the end of the novel. Not to spoil the novel, but what they do with these stolen children is not pleasant in the slightest. "As for where they took these lost children, no two stories agreed. Some said it was to Hell, under the ground, to Fairyland. Others said to a farm where the children were kept and fattened for the table. Others said the children were kept and sold as slaves to rich Tartars...And so on."(The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman, Page 45). I would really like to incorporate something as despicable as kidnapping in my story. I feel that it will really paint the Librarium as completely pitiless and be seen as a "ends justify the means" kind organization.
        With excellent and inspirational ideas from both Wizard's Hall and The Golden Compass, my story can only benefit from these masterful works of literature. I would recommend both books to anyone looking for an exciting story about overcoming seemingly impossible circumstances and the supernatural. Not to mention armored bears because who doesn't think that's cool?



Thursday, October 6, 2011


        Think Harry Potter was first well exceptional book about wizards? Ladies and gentleman, allow me to direct your attention to the original wizards tale, Wizard's Hall. Far superior and original, Wizard's Hall would set the stage for J.K. Rowling's best-selling series Harry Potter. One of our current projects for this year is creating our own stories with provided material such as novels or movies. The idea is that these similiar pieces of entertainment will provide us with inspiration and comparisons to make when composing our own work.
        The title of my story will be called The Library. Similiar to how Thornmallow in Wizard's Hall was a boy with obvious self-esteem issues, but ultimately succeeds in defeating the evil wizard Nettles due to the reocurring theme of always trying no matter how futile a situation or obstacle may seem. "And it turned out the inhabitants of Wizard's Hall were glad indeed that Thornmallow studied there. Not because he was the world's greatest wizard. But because he meant well. And he tried."(Prologue, Wizard's Hall, Jane Yolen). The main character I'm creating for my story also shares a similar guideline of trying in seemingly impossible odds when all others succumb to a lack of hope or courage.
        The setting of my story takes place in an academy dedicated to furthering a young wizard or witches education in the knowledge of magic. Just like the school of Wizard's Hall or Hogwarts, my story has an academy called the Librarium. In the Librarium, instead of educating students so that they can help others or perform good deeds with magic, the Librarium uses that talent to further their autocratic control over the world. I'll go into more detail about that once I publish my story. Going back to Wizard's Hall, the organization and structure of how the system works will be similar, but with more of a militaristic hierarchy. "For example, if you wanted to add meat to your soup, you could make it appear as if there were meat there. We learn to really change one part of a thing at a time in second year."(Page 33, Wizard's Hall, Jane Yolen). Like Wizard's Hall, the year system offers many privileges and benefits as well as more advanced spells to those stay long enough. This could also be compared to the Hogwarts year system and I may even consider adding houses.
        Lastly, both my story and Wizard's Hall build up towards a sinister wizard that felt excluded from everyone else when they attended their schools and found taking that anger out on those associated with it. The villain in my story is actually the head of the Librarium and confronts the protagonist about his loyalty towards its cause. Nettles, the antagonist of Wizard's Hall is also seeks complete dominance of those around him and even expands past the academy like the villain in my story. "If we cannot stop him, we who are the best and brightest in the land, he will make us all disappear, and he will then own Wizard's Hall. From there, why, he could go on to own all of the Dales."(Page 85, Wizard's Hall, Jane Yolen). A difference between my stories antagonist and Nettles is that the villain in my book has had complete control for many years while Nettles seeks that. While Nettles was a highly regarded wizard in his day, the villain of The Library has always far surpassed all his colleagues. Not to mention, the villain of my story creates a beast just as fearful if not more than Nettle's beast made of everyone's dark emotions.
        With the ideas and inspiration of Wizard's Hall, I feel I have original and imaginative material to seek examples from. Three weeks ago, I didn't even know Wizard's Hall existed, but it has quickly became a quirky and enjoyable book that I would recommend to anyone who even remotely likes Harry Potter. After all, it did come first.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Prologue To Librarium

        In one of my earlier blogs, I talked about how Wizard's Hall and Harry Potter influenced my own story and what I was able to pull from these stories to shape my own. For this weeks blog, we have been given the privilege of writing about whatever we wanted this week. I have taken the opportunity to give a better explanation of my story's setting along with descriptions of some of the protagonists relationships.
        First off, The Librarium is the dominant government in the world that controls all of the worlds nations. Every first born of every family is taken away to be taught the study of magic. The Librarium is the only institute with adequate teaching in magic and the study of magic outside the Librarium is illegal. When the children are taught magic, they are also that the outside world hates them for their gifts and talents. The librarium paints itself as the only government body in the world capable of maintaing order in the world and will go to extreme lengths to make sure it maintains its iron grasp on the world. It achieves this by brutally putting down all oppositions violent or non-violent. In the Librarium, there are multiple paths to take: military, becoming a professor, or joining the Wings of Justice. The latter being the Librarium's gestapo and silencing all threats both inside and outside the Librarium's sphere of influence. I really like what I've done with the Wings of Justice because they're supposed to represent the absolute best and loyal the Librarium has to offer. Heavily feared throughout the world, they're referred to as "one man armies" because of their astounding knowledge and use of magic.
        My main character was the first born of his family, but wasn't taken as an infant by the Librarium. When he was an infant, his family fled from the city to the rural areas of the country to try and avoid be imprisoned by the Librarium. The main characters name is Roland and his family was imprisoned by the time he was 5 years old. Rather than imprison him as well, the Librarium wiped his memory clean and planted artificial memories into his mind. It didn't quite work to full affect though, Roland suffers from flashback regarding his real family which confuses him because the memories planted in him reveal he was taken as an infant just like everyone else. Thus, he heavily dwells on these flashbacks and what they could possibly hint at. Roland is regarded as a very talented wizard and strives to make the most of what the Librarium has to offer in education. The more he starts putting the puzzle pieces of his memory back together, the more he loses faith in the Librarium and even openly criticizes their policy of ruling the world. This will eventually cause the Wings of Justice to turn their heads...
        Once Roland decides to rebel against of the Librarium, he starts forming a plan to share the knowledge of magic to the general  public. Knowledge is power, and roland knows it is one of the many ways the Librarium is able to keep such a firm grip on the world. Roland isn't alone on this journey, he has close friends that support and even influenced his views throughout their years in the academy. His best friend Charles for example is his best friend, but their friendship will be put to the test once Charles swears loyalty to the Librarium and even starts training with to become one of the Wings of Justice. Alice on the other hand, is comic relief and knows Roland will do the right thing. She plays more of a neutral role between Roland and Charles and generally daydreams which has earned her the nickname "Alice in Wonderland".
        I felt that I wasn't able to go into as much detail as I wanted to during last week's blog. The more backstory and information I come up with for my story, the more confident and comfortable I feel about it. My hope is that when people read my story, they won't scratch their heads and think to themselves "what's the story behind this?". Instead, I want the reader to be at least somewhat familiar with the backstory. That's why I plan on working a short prologue into the rough draft and final draft of my story.