Guardians of Ga'Hoole is a children's fictional book series written by Kathryn Lasky and illustrated by Richard Chowder. Most of the main characters are owls, and the series is a cross between animal fiction such as Watership Down and epic fantasy.The protagonist for the majority of the books is Soren, a young barn owl. He is pushed out of his nest by his malicious older brother Kludd and then kidnapped by owl scouts from a mysterious institution called St. Aggie's Academy. He soon makes friends with an elf owl named Gylfie and together they resist brainwashing by the St. Aggie's owls. Soren and Gylfie draw on the legends of an order of noble owls called the Guardians of Ga'Hoole for inspiration. They eventually escape, but upon discovering that their families have disappeared while they were imprisoned in St. Aggie's, they decide to search for the legendary Guardians. Soren and Gylfie are joined by Twilight, a great grey owl, and Digger, a burrowing owl. All four of them, each of their lives impacted by St. Aggie's, form "The Band" and join the Ga'Hoolian owls.Subsequent books deal with The Band's education and training in Ga'Hoole and also the rise of a group even more dangerous than St. Aggie's called the Pure Ones. The Pure Ones believe in the superiority of Barn Owls above all other owl species.The series has spawned a spinoff series entitled Wolves of The Beyond. It centers on the Dire Wolves known as the Wolves of the Watch, specifically a young wolf who grows up to become a gnaw wolf, a sort of story recorder, and eventually a watch wolf. The owls appear occasionally in the books.The Film of the Book, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, was released in September 24, 2010, by Zack Snyder and the guys who did Happy Feet.
Guardians of Ga'Hoole provides examples of the following tropes:
Actual Pacifist: Theo, the gizzard resister, and Cleve, who doesn't believe in war.
After the End: The Others (i.e. humans) are long gone/extinct. All that remains of The Others' civilization are ruins and artifacts.
Apocalypse How: Class 3b appears to have happened at some point in the past, leaving the owls with ruins belonging to the "Others".
Awesome Moment of Crowning: When Coryn becomes king, although there was no actual crown. Made awesomer by the dire wolves' pledge:"We have all chosen to remain as wolves, to serve you, King Coryn, but we have also chosen to regain what we had lost in order to serve the Sacred Ring. Our twisted limbs have been straightened. Our eyes restored, our tails made whole once more. But we shall always be prepared to serve you, good King Coryn, always. That is our pledge."
Big Bad: Played with throughout the series. Nyra is the only recurring villain throughout all of the arcs (except for in the Whole Arc Flashback, of course), but they team up with other villains in each arc, who have about the same status in the story.
Cain and Abel: Soren and Kludd . However, contrary to expectations, Twilight is the one who actually kills Kludd in The Burning.
Carnivore Confusion: Generally averts the "Predators Are Mean" aspect (owls, wolves, and bears are protagonists). Lampshaded when Digger (burrowing owl) and Mrs. P (snake) first meet, as burrowing owls are a predator of snakes.
This becomes most apparent when the band is genuinely horrified that Twilight would suggest drying out a sea-star to use as a decoration. Outside of needing to eat, the owls generally leave prey animals alone.
Dan Browned: Quite a bit of it, unfortunately, mostly having to do with owls' biology. Could be excused as extreme Artistic License, but the books' information says that the series was the alternative to a nonfiction book the author wanted to write about owls, and thus she attempted to include owls' natural history. By and large, it appears she was unsuccessful... For more detail, see the Headscratchers tab.
Foreshadowing: When Nyroc is recaptured by Nyra and he asks her if she loves him, Nyra mentions that Nyroc will be as great as King Hoole. It turns out that he succeeds King Hoole, one book later.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Metal Beak, the infamous leader of the Pure Ones, was originally an ordinary barn owl named Kludd.
The Striga burned important books, owl homes, and owls themselves for the sake of his extremist views on "vanities". With such a reputation, who could guess that he used to lounge around in a palace, so obsessed with beauty that he'd grow feathers so long that he would be unable to fly?
The Man Behind the Man: Metal Beak, Nyra, and the rest of the Pure Ones behind St. Aggie's in the first six books.
Mentor Occupational Hazard: Grimble dies after teaching Soren and Gylfie how to fly, in the first book. In later books, Otulissa's mentor Strix Struma is killed in battle. Ezlyryb also dies, albeit from old age.
The villains (especially Nyra) play the creepy owl factor for all it's worth.
Hagsfiends. They're first mentioned as evil owl ghosts, and then, in books nine through eleven, it turns out that they're an actual species, but have since died out aside from the Dragon Owls. It's even implied that an owl can turn into a hagsfiend if they are extremely evil, which is implied to be the fate of Nyra.
The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: In book one, Ms. Plithiver thinks to herself that there is something very wrong with Kludd. He then coughs up a pellet and she reconsiders that no bird with such a noble digestive system could be completely bad. If only...
Ravens and Crows: Both ravens and crows are present in the books. Crows are usually antagonistic (except to Doc Finebeak, who recruits them for the war in the last book), while ravens are more benevolent.
At one point, a group of owls try to save books from the Pure Ones by memorizing them, saying they got the idea from a book written by one of the Others, named "Ray Brad" (although they think the name may have been cut off).
There are tons of 300 references in the last book. "We will fight in the shade" and "[you want our weapons?] Come and get them!" to name a few.
Skewed Priorities: In The Capture, Soren is being carried off by a St. Aggie's patrol owl. Rather then worry about how to escape, all Soren is worried about is that said patrol owl called him stupid.
Slashed Throat: Lots of characters die by getting slashed in the throat or neck, such as Aunt Finny.
Snake Talk: The flying snakes do this, though it's averted with the nest-maid and Kielian snakes.
True Companions: The Band in the first couple books, later the Chaw of Chaws.
Some consider Coryn a member of the Band.
Unfortunate Names: Nyroc is named after Nyra, the most feared/hated owl in the entire Owl Kingdom. Even though Nyroc has never really done anything bad, his name still gives him a bad reputation, until he gets the ember of Hoole.
Unholy Matrimony: Kludd and Nyra. They actually love each other, which makes it, if possible, even creepier.