The Owl Wrangler
Reading Group Guide Discussion Points
1. In Chapter 1, what similarities can you draw between Gollsaer and the men and women that leave home and family to provide for their families by working in deadly dangerous jobs? How similar is his job as Owl Wrangler to a soldier being deployed or a police officer or firefighter?
2. The Seldith clan purports to worship The Truth. How well do they practice their faith? What examples can you find where there is more than one “truth”? Do some hold on to their beliefs regardless of reality, or simply see it from their own point of view? Is it possible to have more than one truth?
3. How does Hisbil’s character evolve as a big-brother to Anasta? Does he treat her fairly given her perchance for getting into trouble? What motivates Hisbil? What motivates Anasta at first—and later in the story?
4. Why doesn’t Alred come to Hisbil’s aid when he first sees the bellua? Do you think he’s a coward? What about the other adults in the community? After all, there are Protectors and other arms-bearing sems whose duty it is to protect the village. Where are these individuals when the bellua comes? Could it be that their parts of the village were not threatened? Do we protect our own homes first? Do we care about tornadoes in Kansas or floods along the Skokomish if we don’t have property or relatives who might be affected? Should we be?
5. The author feels that children’s books today put considerable pressure on kids to deal with complex, dangerous and stressful issues on their own—without help from their parents, relatives or the police. How do the Seldith adults in the story contribute to Hisbil’s angst or help him? How do they support him and his family? How do the Seldith villagers deal with Hisbil’s and Anasta’s absence?
6. In the Seldith culture, a child is required to take up their parent’s herditas (inherited duty) or face exile. In our own culture, there are some fathers and mothers that want their sons and daughters to follow their chosen careers. What impact does this have on Hisbil and Anasta? What about Gollsaer himself?
7. How does Gollsaer deal with the fact that Hisbil is not his son? Why didn’t Rachele tell anyone about Hisbil’s real father? How did Gollsaer treat his son differently that he would have if he were his biological son?
8. Weiger plays an increasingly important role in the story. How is he motivated? What drives him to do Emperor’s bidding? What changes him, awakens him to do the right thing? What barriers must he overcome to be accepted by Hisbil, Anasta and Veritas?
9. Who is the character Eashoa? Why did Weiger trust him? How did he change Weiger’s opinion about umans? Is it believable that Eashoa would be walking the roads?
10. The awakened cats, cows and birds feel a duty to do their awakener’s bidding. What would break that bond? Do these animals ever turn on their awakeners or their friends? If so, why did they do so?
11. When Hisbil returns with his fantastic story, why isn’t he embraced as a hero? What role does The Fox play in how the village treats him? Would you believe his story? How would you feel if he returned and told you that he had destroyed your village’s benefactor?
12. If there was a Sacred Seven Books of Truth and a Veritas, would we let her speak in public? Do we really want to know the truth?
13. This book was written as a political allegory in the spirit of Watership Down, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Animal Farm. What characters and issues in the book relate to the politicians and issues we face today? Are there those in power in the Seldith community that parallel individuals in our own society?
Copyright © 2013 William R. Vaughn All Rights Reserved