Six Degrees: From Diana Barry to Gylfie
Welcome once again to Six Degrees of Kool books, the series/game where we look for connections between the characters of disparate books on a serendipitous, literary trail into the unknown. If you’d like to find out more about how it all works and the list of all the past books in this series, check out the Six Degrees main page.
Now on to this week’s book. When last we left our intrepid heroes Jenelle Schmidt was introducing us to the wonderful cast of characters from Anne of Green Gables. One of these was Diana Barry, Anne’s best friend. Jenelle described Anne as “loyal and sweet, but not as imaginative or independent as Anne. She tempers Anne a little, but mostly gets swept up in Anne’s whirlwind and agreeably goes along with her.” Every hero needs a faithful companion to cheer them on and share in their dreams. And what Diana is for Anne, Gylfie is for Soren in Kathryn Lasky’s book about heroic owls, The Capture, Book 1 in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series.
Gylfie is an elf owl who, while a bit more intelligent and independent than Diana, is someone who is rarely leaves her best friend’s side. And that best friend would be Soren. This male barn owl is noble and resourceful, and yet at times rather fearful and vulnerable. A natural leader, he unites an unlikely band of owls in a quest to protect the owl kingdoms from the twisted forces of St. Aegolius’ Academy.
While a prisoner at St. Aegolius or “St. Aggie’s”, Soren befriends Grimble, and elderly owl who, though pretending to serve his evil masters, has not completely given up hope of finding his long lost family. A grizzled elder on the exterior, he takes Grimble and Gylfie under his wing and teaches these little owlets to fly.
After escaping St. Aggies, Soren and Gylfie happen upon two owls on separate occasions, both of whom had suffered at the hands of St. Aggie’s. Twilight, an orphaned great grey, actually escaped his captors before they ever got him to the Academy. Full of bravado and strength, he is probably the most independent minded of the owls.
The other owl who joins their band is Digger. This burrowing owl is deeply thoughtful and at times given to melancholy as he, unlike Twilight, feels the loss of his family deeply. Though he does not play that big of a role in Book 1, my daughter (who has read all the books of the series) tells me that the others come to rely on his intuitions and insights during their many adventures.
Eglantine is Soren’s sister. She is a wide-eyed, innocent little owlet who looks up to Soren and eventually joins him when he joins the Guardians of Ga’Hoole at the Great Tree later in the series.
Finally there is Soren’s brother Kludd. Talk about the sibling that got dropped off by the milk man. Selfish, power-hungry, and vain, how Kludd ever came out of Soren’s loving family is the biggest head scratcher of the series. Later he ends up becoming Soren’s nemesis and joining the evil owls who are trying to conquer the land.
The first novel really revolves mainly around the owls I’ve mentioned. I should point out for anyone who has seen the movie version of this book that it actually incorporates events from the first three books so there are quite a few more characters introduced there. Most memorable of these would be Ezylryb/Lyze of Kiel. This legendary owl is long past his prime, but was once the greatest warrior amongst all the Guardians. His gruff exterior hides a heart of gold and he takes a special liking to Soren.
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll also realize from my descriptions of Digger and Twilight that these two owls are not nearly as scatterbrained and goofy as they come across in the movies. The details surrounding Kludd are also quite different as well. Despite these discrepancies or perhaps because of them, I have to say that this is one of the rare occasions where the movie version exceeds that of the written material it was based on. This is due to the fact that the novels are written in a very simplistic style and focus more on description and character than plot (it seemed very evident that these books were aimed at a fairly young audience). Very little happens, at least in the first two novels, which were the only ones I’ve read. That’s why it makes sense that they would condense the first three books into one single movie. The books, while, inventive in their concepts, really lack enough meat to stand on their own as individual feature films.
So there you have this week’s Kool Book. So what do you think about these characters? Is there one that reminds you of a character from another book? If so, let me know in the comments or write a post of your own and link it to the Six Degrees main page. I’d love to see what you come up with.