Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About the Book
As he lies dying, ravaged by a demon bear, Toraks
father's last words to him are: "Findthe Mountain
of the World Spirit. . . . Its the only hope. . . . Find the
Mountain, or die trying"
(pp. 910). Thus begins Wolf
Brother, the first volume in the series, the story of a
twelve-year-old Stone Age boys quest to find a way to
stop the bear from destroying the Forest and its people
and to find out why his father has kept him out of
contact with others.
Toraks quest leads him to find
Wolf, his wolf-cub companion; Renn, a young Raven
Clan girl; and Fin-Kedinn, the trusted Raven Clan leader.
In Spirit Walker, a terrible sickness plagues the people
of the Forest, and Torak feels it is his destiny to find the
cure, despite Fin-Kedinns warning that the sickness
might be a trick to capture Torak and gain his powers
that he himself is unaware of. Alone in the Deep Forest
and at the Sea, Torak meets Tenris, who seems to be a
kind Mage but who may well not be what he seems.
Torak is a reluctant herothrust into the role by powers
he never asked for, powers he does not understand. Part
of his quest is to explore those powers and learn to use
them for good. This is one piece of realizing who he is
and where he fits in, whom he can trust, what his
parents were like, and what their heritage means to him.
The clan society of Wolf Brother and Spirit Walker is
primitive, yet much of what they do and believe can be
found in modern-day cultures. Discuss the similarities and
differences between cultures you are familiar with. Issues to
take into consideration are: societal structure, religion, the
treatment of children and the elderly, human relationships,
and humanitys relationship to the natural world.
Clan leaders such as Fin-Kedinn command respect and
obedience from the clan members. Are there people in our
contemporary society who get this kind of respect? If so,
give an example and explain.
"Oslak, he said. The clan chose me for Leader to keep it
safe. You know that. . . . And I will. I will keep you safe"
(p. 16). Fin-Kedinn is filled with guilt after he fails to protect
Oslak from the ravages of the sickness. Is Fin-Kedinns
promise an empty one? He hopes that he can save Torak,
but does he truly believe he can? Explain.
Although he has been living with the Raven Clan for six
months, Torak knows he will always be an outsider (p. 22).
Teenagers often feel like outsidersalienated by others and
their surroundings. Does this quality make it easier to
identify with Torak? Are there other similar traits between
Torak and todays youth?
On pages 5455 Torak climbs a tree to escape a boar.
While skilled in protecting himself in the Forest, Torak is
still inexperienced, and now he is in a panic because he has
made a poor choice. This is neither the first nor the last
time that Torak acts in a rash manner. Find other examples
from Wolf Brother and Spirit Walker where Torak should
have chosen a different path.
On page 45 Torak begins to "feel watched." Who or what
is the creature pursuing Torak? Might Toraks Follower also
be a metaphor for other fears? How can fear be helpful as
we take risks to achieve our goals? Has being afraid ever
protected you? Has it ever prevented you from doing something?
Talk about the nature of the friendship between Torak
and Wolf. On page 166 Wolf risks his life to save Torak.
Do you have a friend for whom you would risk your life
or vice versa? How does Renn fit into this relationship?
The author, Michelle Paver, did a great amount
of research to discover all the details about the
Stone Age. Imagine an archeological dig she might
have gone on. What artifacts might she have
found to reveal elements of religion, family, tribe,
community, shelter, weapons, and customs? What
clues does she give to tell us that the story is set in
Fantasy novels are often centered on a quest,
especially a quest in search of good versus evil. This
is certainly true of both Wolf Brother and Spirit
Walker. Torak is on several quests simultaneously.
What are they? How successful is he? What parts of
his quests remain unresolved?
Betrayal is an ongoing theme in Chronicles of
Ancient Darkness. On page 236 Torak realizes that
he has been betrayed. Torak is devastated. How
does he seek his revenge? Have you ever been
betrayed by someone you trusted and held in
esteem? How did you react?
In Wolf Brother Toraks father warns him to stay
away from men (pp. 910) but dies before he can
explain why. In Spirit Walker Fin-Kedinn warns
Torak that the Soul-Eaters know that someone in
the forest has power (p. 31). While reading Wolf
Brother and Spirit Walker, you have discovered the
nature of Toraks powers as he himself does. What
are those powers? Can you predict other powers he
might discover in himself in the next book?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of HarperTrophy.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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