June 5, 2015 at 12:18 pm #2678
Confession: I have cried buckets of tears over Artham in the Phoobs. If these chapters have hurt you, too, and you need to process, let’s do so together.
June 8, 2015 at 8:31 pm #2705ginaGuest
Please help me navigate the Wingfeather Saga as a mom of three little guys (11, 8, and 5). We LOVED On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. It is safe to say it was our all-time favorite read aloud. We’re working our way through North! Or Be Eaten on the edge of our seats.
Ever since Migg’s betrayal in the alley things have gone from bad to worse to really heavy. As a family we’re in the Fork! Factory! but at my husband’s request i read the rest of the book to get a feel for it. We generally read about five chapters at a time, but try to stop for the day at a lighter moment. But there aren’t many breathers here at the final third of the book.
Can i say…it is really hard. Heavier and darker than i was prepared for. And i’m not one of those hearty literature lovers with the emotional fortitude to really embrace much of the hard stuff…much less want to take my kiddos through it.
But we’re hooked on the story. We ACHE with hope for the Wingfeathers, Anniera, Aeriwar. We’re dying to hear the rest of the story. We actually bought the audio version of books 3 and 4 because we REALLY want to hear it from Andrew! BUT…i’m not sure how much heaviness we can handle. Can you give me some idea of the heaviness of books 3 and 4 compared to book 2?
June 8, 2015 at 9:24 pm #2707ginaGuest
Well i read around this site, and i think that for now, the conclusion is that i am a bit of a featherweight. This Saga is not for the faint of heart, probably a lot like this life we’re living. And for now, i think i’m a bit too faint. Please know i have a fondness and respect and deep appreciation for Andrew Peterson’s artistry. It makes me ache in the best and worst ways.
June 9, 2015 at 12:45 am #2711
What a heavy question. It’s hard enough to face darkness as an adult, but guiding your kids through the inevitable loss of their innocence must be so daunting. Professor Sidler and I don’t have children, but just last week I was talking a beloved 29-year-old through her struggle with the darkness in these books. So I can sympathize—and yet I know I can’t quite.
It’s hard to know what passages or subplots will trigger different people. For me, the chapters with Artham in the Phoobs are the hardest of the series. The friend I was speaking with last week said she was grateful to read the third book because it felt like a much-needed reprieve after the darkness in book two. The third book is much slower-paced; there’s not nearly so much running from danger into danger. And yet if any of your kids has had to deal with bullying, they might find that book hardest of the four. (I’m sorry to say that my native city of Ban Rona does not always welcome strangers with open arms.) And it depends, too, on which characters you and your kids identify with the most. Janner faces heart-darkness throughout the series, and the Fork! Factory! is pretty rough on him. In book three, the most difficult heart-darkness (for me) was Kalmar’s. Like Podo and Artham, Kalmar’s struggle is shame, but they each wear it differently. As to the fourth book, I felt that the pacing made the emotional difficulties in it easier to weather. But everyone’s experience is different. Reading ahead as you go is a great strategy.
Another thing to note is that not all stories are for all times. Several years ago I struggled through a long depression and during that time, a friend gave me a copy of Hind’s Feet on High Places. I felt that story very deeply, and when I got near the end, I found I couldn’t finish it. I could see a resolution coming and my heart wasn’t ready for it. Last summer I finally finished that book, and the ending was perfect. I just wasn’t able to receive it earlier. All that to say: It’s okay to be a featherweight. The Maker is always giving us grace. He knows what’s good for us and when. And I promise that although Andrew is afflicting us with darkness, he is also bringing us out of that darkness into beauty and hope. Take heart.
I will be praying for wisdom for you and your husband as you shepherd your kids through these books, and for your own heart as well. Let me know if I can help any further.
June 9, 2015 at 5:26 pm #2720Miss LindaGuest
I think I also found book 2 the heaviest, particularly near the end of it. That isn’t to say that things get easy later, but at least to me, the difficulties were a bit easier to bear. I think a huge part of that is that during this part of the books, even though they are often near each other, each character seems to be struggling alone. They are fighting their own battle and while some are doing better than others, we don’t see anyone really “winning” yet. Later on, there is still struggle, but there is a greater sense of support and more times when you really see the light and hope coming through. The end of book 2 has some of that, particularly for Podo, but other characters are still in the thick of it.
Ultimately it is ok if you need to stop and wait. You know your kids and we don’t. You will be a much better judge of what they are ready for than any of us will be.
But for others who may be facing similar questions, spoilers can be helpful sometimes. This can be especially important when something is being read aloud and the kids can’t just keep going until they find out what happens. If you find that it isn’t the story itself, but the periods of suspense that are too much for them, it can help to let them know (for example) that the family will all end up safely back together again in Ban Rona.
June 9, 2015 at 7:51 pm #2722Miss MaryGuest
I would echo that it is ok to be a featherweight at times, but also that it does (at least for me) get less intense. There are still some really intense sections, but they are interspersed with less intense sections and more humor (Leeli’s dogs, Oood’s poetry, and Madam Sidler’s own talents for appearing suddenly for instance). Even the second book ends well, but it is really intense getting there.
I do really hurt for Artham in the Phoobs, but I can also see the hand of the Maker in bringing him there. Being there and having to face the pain of the memories it brings up, having to face the truth of what he has been that he has been running from (coward and weak), but also facing and recognizing that his failures do not negate the truth of who he still is (Uncle and protector), are part of what was necessary to make the transformation in him. The transformation that happened in him provided him everything he needed to do the job he was given, and it moved him much farther on the road to sanity, which would seem impossible given what he went through while he was there, but he did come out of it more sane than he went in.
He also came out with a purpose, because he was there, Kalmar was not fully transformed and there was someone who knew the process to help him remember who he was. If he had not been there and gone through what he did, there would have been no king left for Anniera. It is still an incredibly difficult and dark time to read about. And a very dark time for Kalmar too.
June 9, 2015 at 10:29 pm #2727ginaGuest
Thank you, ladies, for your thoughtful and gracious responses. This has stimulated some really great conversations at my house and even in my prayer time. Madame Sidler, your response had me in tears for a number of reasons. Funny that you even mention HFoHP. It’s a book i’ve picked up and put down multiple times over the years, and it kills me to think of having to take hold of Sorrow and Suffering to even begin the ascent! Yes, i get stumped at the beginning!
Anywho…i appreciate you and your insights!
June 9, 2015 at 11:28 pm #2728
You are so welcome! I’m glad we were able to help. “It is so happy to love.” 🙂
It is terrifying to be asked to take hold of Sorrow and Suffering.
Outside of the Psalms, the book I love best for combating fear is The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, a middle-grade adventure by Jennifer Trafton (Andrew’s sister-in-law). It’s beautifully written and riotously funny. I think stories are meant to make us stronger. This one did that for me, and was so gentle about it.
August 21, 2015 at 3:33 pm #3280rebeccaGuest
I felt so hurt myself reading this
its personal but a lot of things were relatable in a weird symbolic way.
I was abused as a child and this was rough.
I cant believe there is a thread that others are admitting these feelings
the tink and artham thing is horrifying.
I find myself worried about sara cobbler too.
I finished the book, do see the hope now, and im going to start the next soon
August 21, 2015 at 4:01 pm #3281
Dear Rebecca! You are so welcome here. I’m praying that the Maker will speak hope to you as you keep reading. He loves you so much. Let me know if you’d like to talk.
August 28, 2015 at 8:40 am #3434rebeccaGuest
thank you for welcoming me. apparently I came back and posted something else where. I see you are pretty much in charge and hope the topic is okay.
August 28, 2015 at 10:06 am #3436
Yup, that’s perfectly fine. I love to see people engaging. Make yourself at home. 🙂
August 28, 2015 at 11:48 pm #3439Miss LindaGuest
I also find a lot of things (in this section and the whole series) relatable too. Because things are symbolic, I think it can mean different things to different people. Or maybe even when we have different life experiences, there are still some core things that are common to many (all?) of us anyway, like feelings of regret or a sense of having felt trapped at some point in life.
I know this is a really hard section of the book to get through, but the way it ends is amazing. Especially when the sadness or fear seems to echo things in our own lives, it helps to see how the pain is transformed into something powerful and good, and healing comes in the most unexpected ways.
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