I don't believe authors need to keep any specific values or ideas in mind while they are writing for children, but I do think authors need to be aware of their audience, and of the effect their work may have.
I don't believe authors need to keep any specific values or ideas in mind while they are writing for children, but I do think authors need to be aware of their audience, and of the effect their work may have. So if they want to address particularly sensitive topics or taboos, they have to do so consciously and carefully. This is very different to toeing a particular moral line or leaving things out.
Certainly I don't think good always has to triumph over evil; it depends on the story and the aims of the book. For example, I could envisage telling a story where the inaction of people leads to the triumph of evil. But I would include the hope that this would lead to the people involved doing better next time. Is that story then really about the triumph of evil, or is it about the awakening of opposition to evil?
Gold-Eye's Change Vision suddenly gripped him, showing him a picture of the unpleasantly close future, the soon-to-be-now.
Doors slid open at each end of the carriage, forced apart by metal-gauntleted hands four times the size of Gold-Eye's own. Fog no longer fell in lazy swirls, but danced and spiraled crazily as huge shapes lumbered in, moving to the pile of blankets... Gold-Eye didn't wait to see more. He came out of the vision and took the escape route he'd planned months before, when he'd first found the carriage. Lifting a trapdoor in the floor, he dropped down, down to the cold steel rails.
The Trackers were on the move again, spreading out to search. It sounded like a trio on each side of the train, coming toward him.
Gold-Eye pictured them in his head, trying to get his Change Vision to show him exactly where they were.
But the Change Vision came and went when it chose, and couldn't be controlled.
Soon the Myrmidons would surround him, silver nets shooting out to catch him in their sticky tracery. Then a Winger would come to take him away. Back to the Dorms. Or if he was old enough... straight to the Meat Factory.
"I am a necromancer, but not of the common sort, while others of the art raise the dead, I lay them to rest - or try too - and those that will not rest I bind, for I am Abhorsen..."
He turned to the baby again and added, almost with a note of surprise, "Father of Sabriel."
"A year ago, I turned the final page of The Book of the Dead. I don't feel young any more."
Five Great Charters knit the land
together linked hand and hand.
One in the people who wear the crown
Two in the folk who keep the Dead down
Three and Five became stone and mortar
Four sees all in frozen water.
"I think I might love you too, Charter help me, but now is-"
“Toys, Abhorsen. And too late. Much too late.”
It was not just words he spoke, but power, Free Magic power that froze Sabriel’s nerves, caught at her muscles. Desperately, she struggled to ring the bells, but her wrists were locked in place…
Tantalizingly slowly, Kerrigor glided forward, till he was a mere arm’s length away. Towering over her like some colossal statue of rough-hewn night, his breath rolling down on her with the stench of a thousand abattoirs.
Someone – a girl quietly coughing out her last breath on the floor – touched Sabriel’s ankle with a light caress. A small spark of golden Charter Magic came from that dying touch, slowly swelling into Sabriel’s veins, traveling upwards, warming joints, freeing muscles. At last it reached her wrists and hands–and the bells rang out.
It was not the clear, true sound it should be, for somehow the bulk of Kerrigor took the sound in and warped it– but it had an effect. Kerrigor slid back, and was diminished, till he was a little more than twice Sabriel’s height.
But he was not subject to Sabriel’s will. Saraneth had not bound him, and Kibeth had only forced him back.
Sabriel rang the bells again, concentrating on the difficult counterpoint between them, forcing all her will into their magic. Kerrigor would fall under her domination, he would walk where she willed…
"I am the Disreputable Dog. Or Disreputable Bitch, if you want to get technical. When are we going for a walk?"
"So are you saying that somebody went to all the trouble to make you a crypt a thousand years ago on the off chance that you might turn up one day, walk in, and have a convenient heart attack?"
When the Dead do walk, seek water’s run,
For this the Dead will always shun.
Swift river’s best or broadest lake
To ward the Dead and haven make.
If water fails thee, fire’s thy friend;
If neither guards, it will be thy end.
Sam swallowed. The dire pronouncement echoed in his ears, imbued with the faint hint of the Free Magic power that was contained within the cat form on his shoulder. He slapped Sprout on the rump to get her going; then he said the first thing that came into his head.
"Mogget. Shut up."
"Choosers will be beggars if the begging’s not their choosing," said the Dog.
I’ll sing you a song of the long ago -
Seven shine the shiners, oh!
What did the Seven do way back when?
Why, they wove the Charter then!
Five for the warp, from beginning to end.
Two for the woof, to make and mend.
That’s the Seven, but what of the Nine-
What of the two who chose not to shine?
The Eighth did hide, hide all away,
But the Seven caught him and made him pay.
The Ninth was strong and fought with might,
But lone Orannis was put out of the light,
Broken in two and buried under hill,
Forever to lie there, wishing us ill.
"Wake me when what terrible thing is going to happen, happens, or if it appears I might get wet."
The Clayr Saw a sword and so I was. Remember the Wallmakers. Remember Me.
"Yet when ancient forces stir, many things are woken."
"Time and death sleep side by side," said the Dog. "Both are in Astrael's Domain."
"Yeerch. Soap. See how much I love you?"
"For everyone and everything, there is a time to die. Some do not know it, or would delay it, but its truth cannot be denied. Not when you look into the stars of the Ninth Gate."
She got up, grew her legs longer to get her body out of the water and shook herself dry. Then she wandered off, following a zigzag path along the border between Life and Death, her tail wagging so hard, the tip of it beat the river into a froth behind her.
"Double, treble, quadruple bubble, watch the stock market get into trouble..."
"What happened?" Arthur asked. He caught a glimpse of something below, but couldn't quite make out what it was. "The Nithling-"
"Missed me," called out Suzy. "Close-run thing. Bit off my right clog. I was kicking it in the teeth, so I s'pose that's fair."
"Come on! You too, Will."
"If you must call me anything, you may address me as Most Excellent Testamentary Clause," said the sun bear.
"Claws?" said Suzy, as she tilted the chair to speed the bear on its way. "Orright, Claws, hop to it."
"No, no, no," protested the sun bear. "Most Excellent-"
"Claws it is," said Suzy loudly. "After you, Claws."
"I said... oh... just don't speak to me," huffed the Will as it waddled after Arthur.
"I don't want to make a mistake," said the Will softly. "Better not to make a decision than to make a mistake."
"The whole House is going to fall down if you don't make a decision!" Arthur argued.
"Flotsam floats when all is sunk.
Jetsam thrown isn't just junk.
Coughs and colds and bright red sores
Waiting for us, so bend yer oars!"
"Lord Arthur, may I present Lady Wednesday's Dawn?"
Arthur bowed. He had already half-guessed the identity of their surprise guest. She had the hauteur that all the chief servants of the Trustees possessed. A kind of look that said, I am superior and you had better admit it.
"What do we do if we don't go through a hole?" asked Suzy.
"I think we get smashed to bits," said Arthur. "But like Longtayle said, it's mostly holes. And the current must aim for the holes, or get directed through them. We'll be all right."
"What happens if we don't get smashed completely to bits, but just a bit smashed to bits?" asked Suzy after a while. "I mean, so we're still alive but drowning?"
"Suzy, please don't ask me these questions right now," said Arthur, with as much restraint as he could manage.
"Lieutenant Crosshaw says you are a special case!" bellowed Helve. "I do not like special cases! Special cases do not make good soldiers! Special cases do not help other recruits become good soldiers! Therefore, you will not be a special case! You understand me!"
"I think so-"
"Shut up! That was not a question!"
"All of us recruits are equal in the eyes of the Army: low as you can go."
"You are a weak reed, Recruit Green!" Helve shouted. "Weak reeds make for badly woven baskets! This platoon will not be a badly woven basket!"
"No!" shouted Arthur. "What's wrong with you? They're people! You can't just kill hundreds or thousands of Piper's children because the Piper might... just might... make some of them do something!"
"Can't we?" asked Dame Primus. She sounded genuinely puzzled.
"Am I correct in assuming that I address Lord Arthur?"
"Yes, I'm Arthur."
Emelena mumbled something that Arthur correctly thought was about expecting him to be taller, more impressive, have lightning bolts coming out of his eyes, and so on.
"You're really, truly not going to kill everyone?" asked Marek.
"No!" shouted Arthur. "Why do you keep asking? Do I look like some kind of crazy murderer?"
"No..." Marek sounded as if he did still think that but didn't want to upset Arthur.
"They could have attacked us straight away. And Fred wanted to be one, so they can't be all bad."
"I wanted to be a Nithling with three heads once, so that's no guarantee," whispered Suzy as she lay down and raised her arms and feet.
"What's more, after a washing between the ears I thought it was possible."
"Do you promise you won't hurt me?" asked Arthur.
"You will be safe from all harm for the space of a quarter hour, as measured by this clock," replied the Old One. "You are mortal enough that I would not slay you like a wandering cockroach, or a Denizen of the House."
"Thanks," said Arthur. "I think."
"General Turquoise Blue?" asked Arthur. "I didn't make Suzy a general, did I? I remember her talking about it, but I don't remember actually..."
"She probably just put on the uniform," said Dr Scamandros. "No one would question her."
"Thank you for splitting. I guess we'd all better get on with it."
"Indeed," said Dame Quarto.
"We had," added Dame Septum. She raised her hand and dramatically announced, "I shall attend to the Middle House!"
"And I to the mountains!" declared Dame Quarto, and both strode from the room.
"And I to... sorting our Superior Saturday," said Arthur. Somehow it didn't sound the same.
"I don't... I don't care," he said softly to his reflection. "I have a job to do. It doesn't matter what I have become. It doesn't matter what I look like."
"You mean he's dead too?" asked Suzy.
"Yes," said Dusk. "This morning, in his cell. The guards outside were also slain, and only Sir Thursday's boots remained."
"Sounds more like he escaped," Suzy said.
"His feet were still in the boots," said Dusk.
"Come on, then, Giac," said Suzy. "Last one to the top is a rotten sorceror."
She started off at a run, but paused after a few steps when Giac didn't immediately follow. He was looking puzzled.
"But I already am a rotten sorceror," he said.
"Oh, to be a minion," muttered Giac to himself dreamily. "I was a sub-minion."