Quotes and Concepts for Discussion from the book series Guardians of Ga’Hoole

Quotes and Concepts for Discussion  from the book series Guardians of Ga’Hoole, books 1-9

Books written by Kathryn Lasky; Quotes compiled by Stacey Tuttle

Click here to read a review of the book series, Guardians of Ga’Hoole.

“Once upon a very long time go, in the time of Glaux, there was an order of knightly owls, from a kingdom called Ga’Hoole, who would rise each night into the blackness and perform noble deeds.  They spoke no words but true ones, their purpose was to right all wrongs, to make strong the weak, mend the broken, vanquish the proud, and make powerless those who abused the frail.    With hearts sublime they would take flight—“ [1]

“A legend, Kludd, is a story that you begin to feel in your gizzard and then over time it becomes true in your heart.  And perhaps makes you become a better owl.”[2]

The owls are kidnapped by St. Aegolias, taken to a school/home for the “orphans” and told “it is here that you will find truth and purpose.  Yes, that is our motto.  When Truth is Found, Purpose is Revealed.”[3]

“We discourage questions here as we feel the often distract from the truth.”  Skench.  “We have rescued you.  It is here at St. Aggie’s that you shall find everything that you need to become humble, plain servants of a higher good.”[4]

“To find our special quality, one must lead a life of deep humility, to serve in this way, never question but obey.  Is the blessing of St. Aggie’s charity.”  A song.[5]

“Questions might fatten the imagination, but they starve the owlish instincts of hardiness, patience, humility and self denial.  We are not here to pamper you by allowing an orgy of wwwhh words, question words.”[6]

Regarding moon blinking aka brain washing:  “You no longer know what is for sure and what is not.  What is truth and what are lies.  What is real and what is false.  That is being moon blinked.”[7]

“There was something shameful about being called an orphan, especially when one wasn’t.  It was as if you were this disconnected unloved creature.”[8]

“Ceremonies were supposed to make you feel special.  The number ceremony hadn’t made him feel anything.”[9]

Notably, Soren’s mom read the Psalms. 

The owls want to escape St. Aggie’s, but also want to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Gylfie and Soren tell the Ga-Hoole stories to each other to sharpen themselves, and for protection from moon blinking, etc.

Hoole “was given natural gifts of extraordinary power.  But what was known of this owl was that he inspired other owls to great and noble deeds and that although he wore no crown of gold, the owls knew him as a king, for indeed his good grace and conscience anointed him and his spirit was his crown.”[10]

Chapter 18 – the dreams and urges of the owls to fly were being sucked up by vampire bats.

Talking about being ready to fly:  “There’s a difference, Gylfie, between almost and enough.”  “Yes, the difference is belief, Soren.  Belief.”[11]

Moon blinking destroys will, erases individuality, makes everyone the same.”[12]

Flying – you can do everything (i.e. all the mechanics) perfectly but you still have to believe if you are ever going to really fly.

“’Don’t depend on such things [flecks]’ Grimble said sharply.  ‘Your own belief in yourself will help you much more than any fleck ever will.’”[13]

“I have redeemed myself by giving belief to the wings of the young.  Blessed are those who believe, for indeed they shall fly.”[14]

“There is more goodness than evil in the world.  But you know, you still got to work at it.”[15]

Belief / legend.  True or not?  Believing increases truth.

—Book 2—

“’I am a blind snake, but who says I cannot see as much as you?’… ‘Who says I cannot see?  To see with eyes is so ordinary.  I see with my whole body…I sense the world here and beyond.  I know the Yonder.  Oh, yes.  I have known it even before I ever flew in it.  But before that day did I say it did not exist?  What a fool you would have called me milady, had I said your sky does not exist because I cannot see it nor can I fly. And what a fool you are to believe Hoolemere does not exist.’…  ‘So perhaps… there are some who need to lose their eyes to discover their sight.’”[16]

The mirror lakes:  “that, Mrs. Plithiver concluded, was the heart of the problem with all the owls.  They were mistaking the world of image and reflection for the real world.  The Mirror Lakes had transfixed them.  And in their transfixed state they had forgotten all they had fought for and fought against.  Had they once spoken of the Great Ga’Hoole Tree or its noble owls since they had arrived at this cursed place?  Had they ever mentioned St. Aggie’s and its terrors?  Had Soren even once thought of his dear family?”[17]

Being alone vs. being in a band – the band / group makes Twilight a better owl.

Be all you can be – more than just your species, but what’s in your heart.

“’Soren, what do you think it means to be an owl?’ [Digger asked]… It’s just as if it is so easy to describe us.  You know, there are so many things that we have that are different from other birds, but do you really think that is the meaning of being an owl?  … Maybe that’s why I ask [these questions]—because they are impossible to answer.  It’s kind of exciting.  It means that there can be unexpected truths and meanings to why we are what we are.  You see—that is why I know I am much more than strong legs and weak wings…”[18]

Rescued owlets chanting about: “Tytos now forever, so pure, so rare!  Yet supreme!”[19]

“Oh Tyto, who is pureness beyond compare, show thyself…Tyto, how long shall the impure triumph?”[20]

Eglantine and other owlets babbled bout Tytos, “Tytos reigning supreme, seeking vengeance, of Tyto purity, of Tyto superiority, of a world of only Tytos.”[21]

—Book 3—The Rescue

Scrooms – dead owl spirits who didn’t make it to owl heaven “glaumora” – they are essentially in purgatory.  They have unfinished business.

Revenge – an owl (Splotch – Brunwella’s sister, the rogue smith) killed her stepmom to avenge her mother’s death.

At Ga’Hoole there wasn’t punishment per say – just paying back what you took away by scorning or devaluing something.

“They called themselves the Pure Ones and at first, they seemed kind.  They wanted to teach us to worship Tytos because they said we were the purest of the pure of all owls and that is why we spoke the praising songs.”[22]

“They thought music was like poison.”[23]

“Before we could become true members of the way of Purity, we had to sleep in stone crypts with the bones of the old Tytos that they called the Purest Ones.”[24]  Ironically, they were human bones in the crypts. 

Note – purity of races very Hitler like.

—Book 4—The Siege

“To study much in retreat can become an inexcusable indulgence.  It behooves us to share what we have learned, to practice in administering to others what we have gathered from our experience with books.”[25]  The Glauxian brothers (a monk order of owls) told this to Lyze aka Ezylryb.

“I must take issue with the term ‘dark magic’.  You use it in a derisive manner as if something that is dark is negative.  How can darkness in our world of owls ever be thought of as negative, something less than good?…  Let us hear no more of such expressions as ‘dark magic.’  It is neither dark, nor is it magic.  It is science.  A science that we do not fully understand.”[26]

Cussing – they have their own words that are cuss words.  However, note that the book makes a point of having the owls assert their strength and independence by using shocking cuss words and also by telling dirty jokes.  It doesn’t seem shocking to us as the words are silly by English standards, but the book is clear those words are foul and shocking by owl standards.  The hidden implication is that cussing is a part of growing up and becoming leaders… 

—Book 5—The Shattering

Eglantine – so wanted time with her lost mom that she was easily deceived.  First warning should have been when she was encouraged to keep her blessings private and to herself, rather than share them with her brother.  Ginger tells Eglantine, “You’ve been left out so much…you should have something that’s just for you.”[27]  Any time you are encouraged to nurse your woundedness it is trouble.

“Eglantine began to think about eggs and chicks and hatching and what made owls the way they were.  Why had she and Soren been born one way and Kludd another?  Mrs. Plithiver had said that from the time he was first hatched, Kludd was trouble.  He had been insanely jealous.  How is one born jealous?”[28]

Until that moment, Eglantine had only thought about death as depriving her of something she loved—her mother, her father, the place she had once called home.  But now Primrose knew that Eglantine realized that you could die for something.  You could die for something you loved.  You could die fighting against something you hated.  You could die for freedom.”[29]

It suddenly struck Uglamore—a free society of owls might, in fact, produce a very fine soldier despite the lack of discipline.  Discipline counted, but it had not won this battle.  Wits had.  When was the last time I used my wits?  When was the last time anyone ever listened to me?  When was the last time I really had any kind of an idea about anything?”[30]

Ezylryb ponders the increasing nature of violence and how things used for good are twisted and used for evil.

—Book 6—The Burning

As Soren goes forward into his destiny, following in the footsteps of his hero and mentor, Ezylryb, Soren feels the weight of glory on his shoulders – he feels smaller in light of the magnitude of the responsibility he faces.

The pirates, vanity and mirrors.  “Gylfie…knew that vanity deceived and was not a strength but a weakness.  …  [because of vanity] the owls had forgotten their purpose, their goals, and all that they had risked and nearly died for simply because they had fallen under the spell of vanity….  The folly of vanity is the curse of the peacock, a nearly flightless bird, happy to remain so and to strut about for the admiration of earthbound creatures.  Their appalling ostentation is equaled only by their appalling stupidity.”[31]

“We entered this war for simple and honorable reasons: We believe in the sovereign freedom of every living thing, be it owl, snake, or bear. We believe that freedom bestows dignity and that to enslave a mind or a population denies that freedom and destroys that dignity.  If our civilization is to endure, and flourish, it will only do so in freedom and dignity.”[32]

“We have seen how the Pure Ones distorted the single word ‘pure’ until it became synonymous with  hatred, destruction, and despotism; how they created a society in which one breed of owl was pitted against another.  We must remain vigilant so that this evil does not rise again.

“Our ideas are simple: honor and freedom.  We must be sure that these words are never distorted from their true meaning.  To do this shall require constant watchfulness.  The war is over but we must not rest.  I would be remiss if I still did not cry out: Whenever tyranny threatens, fly forward; unflinching, unswerving, indomitable, until peace is restored and all the kingdoms of owlkind are safe.”[33]

—Book 7—The Hatchling

“It is light that makes shadows.  Look to the light.  Look to the flames.”[34]

“Poetry, literature, and legends are timeless.  Is it not the purpose of legends to transcend the humdrum rhythms of our lives, the ordinary, crude borders that confine us to the present, that we may live instead in the ever-gleaming light of knowledge?”[35]

—Book 8—The Outcast

“Am I not so much more than feathers and bones, talons and wings?  But what?  …  I am of the same blood as my parents but not of the same gizzard, brain, or heart.  The egg that held me came from the body of my mother, but I am not my mother’s son, nor my father’s.  I am more.  I know that with all my heart and with all my gizzard.  I reject all that they were.”[36]  Nyroc (turned Coryn) does soul searching about what makes him who he is rejecting the idea that he is a product of his birth or his upbringing.  He decides to take control / command of his own destiny and development.

Again , the idea surfaces that reciting the stories of the past, the stories of the great ones before them, the stories of nobility and excellence is the key to withstanding the attacks of the enemy (moonblinking, etc.) – is the means of stealing yourself to greater deeds.

The wolves have a different name for heaven and their God than the owls do.  But, they say that it’s the same thing, just their different name/version of it.  This is concerning as it indicates that all religions are the same and Buddha, allah, Jesus – all just different names for the same thing.

“’There is no such thing as a whole answer, Coryn.’

‘Is there truth?’

“One creature’s truth is another’s lie.’

‘But can’t I believe in anything?’

‘Yourself, Coryn.’”[37]

“All the owls of the great tree that night believed…  They believed that there were many kinds of truths, those of science that could be proven through the brain, and those of legends that could come true in the hearts and gizzards of all owls if they only believed.”

[1] Lasky, Kathryn. The Capture. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2003, 14.

[2] Ibid., 14.

[3] Ibid., 31.

[4] Ibid., 31.

[5] Ibid., 32.

[6] Ibid., 38.

[7] Ibid., 46.

[8] Ibid., 53.

[9] Ibid., 54.

[10] Ibid., 95.

[11] Ibid., 139.

[12] Ibid., 147.

[13] Ibid., 149.

[14] Ibid., 162.

[15] Ibid., 213.

[16] Lasky, Kathryn. The Journey. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2003, 14-15.

[17] Ibid., 43.

[18] Ibid., 156-157.

[19] Ibid., 217.

[20] Ibid., 218.

[21] Ibid., 225.

[22] Lasky, Kathryn. The Rescue. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2004, 138.

[23] Ibid., 138.

[24] Ibid., 140.

[25]  Lasky, Kathryn. The Siege. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2004, 2.

[26] Ibid., 28-29.

[27] Lasky, Kathryn. The Shattering. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2004, 74.

[28] Ibid., 125.

[29] Ibid., 126-127.

[30] Ibid., 154.

[31] Lasky, Kathryn. The Burning. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2004, 107.

[32] Ibid., 199.

[33] Ibid., 199-200.

[34] Lasky, Kathryn. The Hatchling. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2005, 23.

[35] Ibid., 208.

[36] Lasky, Kathryn. The Outcast. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2005, 9.

[37] Ibid., 167.