Buddy Read

Bell & Sword: A Sabriel Read-along (Fantasy Casting)

Bell and Sword

Today is the last part of the Sabriel read-along hosted by The Duchesses.

This post will contain details and possibly spoilers about the events in Sabriel.

As I read more and more of the book, the events came back to me. I didn’t take many notes when re-reading the last bit, as I wanted to do something different for this last post. There was one particular description of Touchstone, something about his curly hair, that conjured up an image of Ser Loras Tyrell from A Song of Ice and Fire. This gave me the idea of sharing my fantasy casting for a film version of Sabriel – apparently there were plans to pitch the film in 2008, but nothing has really progressed since.

sabrielcasting
sabrielcasting2
sabrielcasting3

I think Tim Curry could play the smug aspect of Mogget really well, I can totally imagine a cat with his voice! Jeremy Irons would be a good Abhorsen, an authoritative figure who is also fatherly. Finn Jones, as previously mentioned, would be a pretty good Touchstone in my mind. Stephen Fry makes me think of Colonel Horyse, if only for his Blackadder days. I reckon Dane DeHaan would be a great Rogir, he was a wonderfully evil Harry Osborn in the recent The Amazing Spider-Man 2. And finally, it took me a while because I didn’t want to choose anyone really well known, but I settled for Alice Englert as Sabriel.

What do you think of my fantasy casting? Who would you choose for your ideal version of Sabriel?

Buddy Read

Bell & Sword: A Sabriel Read-along (Chapters 11 – 21)

Bell and Sword

Last week I discussed from the prologue to chapter ten of Sabriel, and now it’s time for the second read-along post! I’ll be discussing chapters eleven to twenty-one this time. Don’t forget to check out Paola’s posts!

This post will contain details and possibly spoilers about the events in Sabriel.

Well my memory was correct! Apart from the whole Touchstone being a ship thing but… yeah. That was more to do with me not being able to remember the word for figurehead, than thinking he had actually been turned into a ship! But the scenes I had remembered did appear, and as I read more of the book more and more of it came back to me. I have no idea what will be in the last third though – and according to Goodreads, last time I read this book was 2011. It’s not even been that long!

  • Gore crows are eerie. I have this memory of another, quite prominent, scene featuring gore crows, but I have a feeling it’s in fact not from Sabriel, but either Lirael or Abhorsen.
  • I love how Touchstone basically reduced Sabriel to a blushing schoolgirl. When he was still a figurehead, and completely naked, Sabriel has to *carefully* examine every inch of him as she doesn’t think he’s a real figurehead, but she’s not really sure what’s going on. WELL SHE SURE KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON NOW, RIGHT? RIGHT??
  • wink gif

  • Mogget and Touchstone are bound by some sort of spell that stops them from talking about anything useful in detail. I CAN’T REMEMBER THE USEFUL STUFF. It’s kind of frustrating, I understand Sabriel’s pain! It makes me more and more curious.
  • There was this scene that gave me the funniest mental image:

    ‘”I remember,” replied the old man slowly. “Abhorsen came here when I was a young man… I remember that coat you’re wearing… there was a sword also…”‘
    He paused, expectantly. Sabriel stood silently, waiting for him to go on.
    “He wants to see the sword,” Touchstone said, voice flat, after the silence stretched too far.’

    Which meant I had this picture of Sabriel standing there looking like this innocent schoolgirl, big eyes and a little smile on her face as if to encourage the old man to go on, whilst Touchstone has just had enough of her crap and is basically rolling his eyes by this point. An awkward silence passes, crickets chirping in the background whilst Touchstone glares at Sabriel.

  • The bells may be the tool of the Abhorsen, but they don’t always work to Abhorsen’s best interests. They have a life of their own and there are a few occasions where Sabriel has to physically stop them from ringing. It’s pretty creepy…
  • More secrets are revealed, like the fact that Kerrigor is in fact Rogir, the prince of the Old Kingdom – who slaughtered his own mother and sisters. This was the event that Touchstone failed to prevent, just before he was turned into the figurehead – most likely by the Abhorsen.
  • The chapter ended with Sabriel and co finding her father’s frozen body – what will happen next?? I can’t even remember, but I know it’s good!

What did you make of this part of Sabriel? Have you read the book before?

Buddy Read

Bell & Sword: A Sabriel Read-along (Prologue – Chapter 10)

Bell and Sword

As previously discussed, I will be posting my thoughts on Sabriel every Saturday in March. This is not the first time I have read Sabriel, nor is it the second. In fact I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book, and it’s been one of my favourite series for over a decade (same as Paola, which makes both of us feel old). I’ve been meaning to re-read it for a while, so when Paola shared her idea I knew I had to join in. It will certainly be interesting re-reading an old favourite and trying to pick it to pieces!

This post will contain details and possibly spoilers about the events in Sabriel.

My idea was to start off by listing the events I remembered. For all my re-reading, I only really remember the first half of the book, and apparently it’s not all that clear…

Touchstone is NOT a ship, I repeat, Touchstone is NOT a ship. My bad. Regardless, he has now been forever reimagined in my mind.

Touchstone! Duh...

But I digress! Here is what I remembered from the book:
  • The story starts in a boarding school in Ancelstierre, where Sabriel is a prefect. We’re introduced to her necromancy skills when she resurrects the pet rabbit of one of the younger students.
  • A sendling (summoned spirit) appears at her school, sent by her father (the Abhorsen) because he is in trouble.
  • Sabriel journeys north, over the Wall and into the Old Kingdom, where she travels to the Abhorsen’s house.
  • There she meets Mogget, at first appearance a cat – who can talk. He is actually a powerful spirit bound to serve the Abhorsen, kept in control by the bell on his collar, which is a mini version of one of the bells the Abhorsen uses to bind the dead.
  • Sabriel must leave to go and find her father, so she takes a Paperwing (which is basically a giant paper aeroplane), but it crashes into some underground cavern, where she finds a ship. The figurehead (THANK YOU PAOLA) of the ship, in the shape of a man, turns out to be a real person – a man by the name of Touchstone. Not an actual ship.

And that is pretty much where my recollection of the story ends.

So, what did I make of the book this time round?
  • The reader is introduced to necromancy from the very beginning. The Abhorsen saves Sabriel from passing through the gates of death when she is only a baby. I thought this was a great way to open the story – we get to see the extent of the Abhorsen’s power as well as the origins of Sabriel.
  • I would totally rather live in the Old Kingdom than Ancelstierre. It may be full of scary creatures who want to eat your soul, but there’s MAGIC and HISTORY. I would prepare myself for a big adventure and PROBABLY STILL DIE BECAUSE I DON’T REMEMBER THE NAMES OF THE BELLS OFF BY HEART. But I mean, you’ve got to take risks, right?
  • This would be my reaction to every little noise.
  • The Old Kingdom has elements of the early to mid twentieth century. It sort of feels like war-time Britain to me. Sabriel attends a boarding school where ladies are taught etiquette and how to behave in a ladylike fashion. There is a threat to the country and the reinforcements seemed reminiscent of World War I and II: pillboxes, trenches and walls with barbed wire, patrols, bayonets.
  • In fact, the Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre feel like an alternate Scotland and England to me, complete with Hadrian’s Wall dividing them. The shape even looks similar on the map. Plus Ancelstierre, Angleterre. I don’t know if this is canon Never mind, I looked it up and it IS an alternate history. You learn something new every day!
  • Sabriel may be smart, but she doesn’t always make good choices. This was my reaction to her going up to Cloven Crest:
  • No!

  • Mogget, despite being something dark and possibly soul-eating, is still an adorable little kitty. And suitably smug. I just want to wait until he’s being all serious and explaining things, and then distract him with a ball of string.
  • When I become Abhorsen (when, not if), I do not want any creepy, faceless sendlings helping me out, thank you very much. Nope. Just nope.
  • Chapter Ten ended with Sabriel and Mogget preparing to leave the Abhorsen’s house. The Mordicant was trying to break in by using slaves and Shadow Hands to get over the river, and our heroine was about to have her first Paperwing ride. Paperwing ALWAYS reminds me of this song by Rise Against, which is not really one I’d consider fitting for the book. But oh well.

What did you make of the first ten chapters of Sabriel? Have you read the book before?

Buddy Read

Bell & Sword: A Sabriel Read-along

Bell and Sword

“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?”

When my lovely friend Paola, one of The Duchesses and also my fellow Queen of Ferelden, told me about her plans for a Sabriel read-along in May I knew I would HAVE to join. Ever since I read the trilogy it has been one of my favourite series ever – a perfect blend of fantasy and familiarity, with a highly original concept.

From today, 10th May, until 31st May, Paola will be hosting a read-along of Sabriel by Garth Nix. The Duchesses blog will feature regularly scheduled posts, which I will also be joining in on, as well as some more spontaneous ones (in the words of Duchess Paola, expect shenanigans). Here is what she has planned:

  • May 10th: Read-Along Kickoff at The Duchesses
  • May 17th: Discussion #1 (Prologue – Chapter 10)
  • May 24th: Discussion #2 (Chapter 11 – 20)
  • May 31st: Discussion #3 (Chapter 21 – Epilogue)

I too will be posting on these days, with my thoughts on the book! It will be interesting to re-read an old favourite and take a different ‘eye’ to it.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.

First published 30th September 1996 by Harper Collins, Sabriel is the first book in a series known as ‘Abhorsen’ or ‘The Old Kingdom’. The other books include Lirael, published 29th April 2001, Abhorsen, published 1st January 2003, and Clariel, which will be published on 14th October 2014. The series also includes a short story published for World Book Day in 2005, entitled The Creature in the Case.

Lirael by Garth Nix Abhorsen by Garth Nix Clariel by Garth Nix

Why am I joining the read-along?

I think I was possibly nine or ten years old when I first read Sabriel, and it had me in its grasp from the very beginning. An amazing heroine? Check. A talking cat? Check. A unique magic system? Check. I felt sorry for all the people who lived in Ancelstierre, who knew nothing of the Old Kingdom and believed all that could be found there was evil. WRONG! So much magic and history. Although I don’t seem to have remembered quite as much as Paola (who can tell you the names of all the bells that Sabriel uses!), I remember the feeling that the book gave me – and it has remained a firm favourite ever since. It is most definitely time for a re-read.

Are you a fan of Sabriel, or are you thinking of reading it for the first time?

If you are interested in joining, you can read more information in Paola’s original post.