Alanna, Chapters 3 and 4

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Sky Alton
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Alanna, Chapters 3 and 4

Postby Sky Alton » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:01 am

Here we’ll be discussing the third and fourth chapters of Alanna. If you’ve not got this far yet, don’t worry! This thread will be waiting for you.

These chapters involve Alanna learning to use her strengths in fighting and in magic. But there are also some much deeper emotional and philosophical lessons and issues at stake here. Which of these stood out for you?

Please remember to use spoiler tags to avoid ruining the story for other people.
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Sky Alton
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Re: Alanna, Chapters 3 and 4

Postby Sky Alton » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:56 pm

Beware, here be spoilers...

“I wish you would thrash him, he deserves it.”
“I will one day, sir, I’m getting tired of falling down.”
Perhaps you could call this section of the book a bit too violent for younger readers. But you have to admire Alanna’s tenacity in the face of her bully’s continuous onslaughts.
It would be so easy to give up and accept the unfairness as unavoidable but she doesn’t. She withstands it, then finds her own way around it. And I think that’s what Pierce really captures well: kids (and maybe not just kids) are very, very stubborn when it comes to their own troubles and never give up, even when perhaps they should. And the world of young people isn't necessarily as sheltered and simple as we would like to remember it. Sometimes, a responsible authority figure isn't the solution (or at least, doesn't appear to be when confronted by our own, seemingly insurmountable reality).

I also love the moral dilemmas Alanna faces in these chapters. She’s beginning to understand that fighting and being a knight isn’t all black and white codes of right and wrong. As Miles puts it “moral questions rarely have yes or no answers.”

What particularly strikes me each time is how Pierce shows us a mirror image of Alanna's guilt about her combat triumph with her struggling to accept her magical gift. Learning something new that could see her badly injured doesn’t scare Alanna nearly as much as using her instinctual powers. But not using those powers is akin to lying down and letting someone beat her (or worse, her friends). I’m left thinking that even if you feel something is wrong, risky, underhand or ‘not the way you want to do things’, if you have a skill, then maybe you just have to use it for a just cause.
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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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Re: Alanna, Chapters 3 and 4

Postby Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:59 am

In a way, these chapters galloped by too fast. I found myself racing through them, wanting to find out what happens next, because, while interesting in and of themselves, they set up the scene for more to happen later on. (I've read the book before ... but not recently!)

So Alanna meets a bully. Someone who uses their influences of words and body language and family birth and just nastiness of temperament and chooses to be a bully. She has a choice to make ... and suffers the consequences of that choice. But what she chooses is to be honorable -- and to learn how to fight to win. This is all on a mundane scale and sort of toughens her up for the next ...

... terrifying thing. She has to use her Gift (which she has been studiously ignoring) if Jonathan is to survive. Not just use her Gift but use a spell that her old teacher had said to use only when nothing else was left. "She fought back, shoving the pain away until she had it under control. Now she ruled the power she had pulled from the flames. She rode the tiger. She was a warrior!" And Jonathan lives.
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Shiloh Adlar
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Re: Alanna, Chapters 3 and 4

Postby Shiloh Adlar » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:44 pm

Having to listen to this on audio book rather than having a physical or eBook makes this slightly annoying because I didn't pick up all of chapter 3. But chapter 4 was probably my favorite chapter yet.

I noticed similarities between Alanna and Harry Potter in the questions that they ask. Alanna is worried about using her powers of magic because magic can be either evil or good. Harry also questions his abilities and wonders how much he really is like Voldemort because they are similar. Both Alanna and Harry are generally told the same thing, it's not the abilities or gifts themselves that are evil. They are neither evil nor good. It is those who use those abilities that choose whether they be used for evil or good.

I think this is such a critical point for Alanna because people are dying around her, and now, Jonathan is on his death bed with the sickness. She knows if she doesn't do something, he'll die. She's his only hope. She makes an important decision in that moment to use her gift to save him, and she perseveres through the pain of the fire and the spell to plead to the Death God and save her friend. In applying this to a real life situation, I think it's important to note that sometimes things are difficult, especially when it's the right thing to do, sometimes it can be even harder, but if one pushes on and chooses resilience and chooses to fight, they are able to overcome. At least, I can relate to this personally and have found it to be true.

She has learned that the ability that she has been gifted with, this magic, can be a strength for good. She doesn't need to be afraid of it. She's the one in control, and she chooses how she uses it. She has that power.
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Katelin Ross
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Re: Alanna, Chapters 3 and 4

Postby Katelin Ross » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:48 pm

This book is definitely turning into a quick read! I finished Chapters 1 and 2 last night, and I have just now finished reading chapter 4. I definitely cheered for Alan/Alanna when she defeated her bully, finally. I said, "Go Alan!!"

I'm still not 100% hooked on this book, but reading what Sky wrote to my previous post, I might try out more of her later series before I move onto another series.

Onto chapter 5!
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