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Literature / Books of Bayern

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The Books of Bayern is a young adult fantasy series written by Shannon Hale.

The Goose Girl, is the first volume in the series and is based on the Grimm's Tale original. The book is told through the perspective of the Crown Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee of Kildenree, better known as Ani or Isi to her friends. The story starts with Princess Anidori traveling from her home kingdom to the kingdom of Bayern to marry the prince and hopefully bring peace to their two nations. Halfway there, she is betrayed by her company as they attempt to murder her and replace her with her lady in waiting, Selia. Ani escapes, but then must make her way to Bayern alone. Fearful of Selia and her guards who still want her dead, Ani disguises herself as a city worker who tends to the geese as she plots a way to convince the king of her true identity. Three sequels feature the friends Ani meets among the city workers.


Volumes in the series:

  • The Goose Girl (2003)
  • Enna Burning (2004)
  • River Secrets (2006)
  • Forest Born (2009)


  • Action Girl: Enna
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Goose Girl vastly fleshes out the original Grimm's fairy tale, adding an array of new characters, much more action, stronger world-building and more depth of characterization, as well as fleshing out Ani and Geric's relationship from a mere Arranged Marriage to an actual romance.
  • Apron Matron: Razo and Rinna's mother, the matriarch of a large and unruly family. Five of her seven children are bigger than she is, but guess who's unquestionably in charge?
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Razo.
  • Badass Normal: Finn, and arguably Razo with his slinging skills
  • Bait the Dog: Selia was Ani's only friend throughout her lonely childhood, often encouraging Ani to speak up for herself and be more proactive. Then Selia tries to kill Ani and take her place, fully crossing the Moral Event Horizon by staging mutiny.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Selia is this in spades. She comes off as nice and powerful due to her people-speaking, but she is also a murderous Manipulative Bastard.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Enna in Enna Burning once she gains power over fire. With Great Power also comes the compulsion to burn everything up, and it's slowly killing her from the inside.
    • In the same book, Isi's awesome wind powers have become this as well, as they're so strong she can't pay attention to all the voices she hears on them. Sharing power with each other solves both of these problems.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Isi the blonde, Enna the brunette, and Dasha the redhead.
  • Blow You Away: Ani/Isi. Later Enna as well.
  • Break the Cutie: Ani hasn't been able to catch a break since she was a little kid.
  • Bride and Switch: Selia's plan in Goose Girl.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Not particularly brief, and played deadly seriously—it's Isi's ability to imitate accents that allow her to remain hidden in Bayern and walk straight into the enemy camp in Enna Burning. The her wind talents help her with this, but it's a skill she developed before them.
  • Charm Person: See below.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Enna and Finn
  • Compelling Voice: all people-speakers, including Selia, Sileph, and Rinna
  • Cool Horse and Sapient Steed: Falada
  • Dead Guy on Display: Falada in The Goose Girl
  • Disney Death:
    • Ani thinks that Talone died with the other men in The Goose Girl. Apparently he thought the same.
    • Selia also gets this, after we think she suffered a Cruel and Unusual Death that she specified. This one spans three books before her survival is revealed.
    • Razo and Isi both get this in Forest Born. The former's supposed death is merely a lie told by Selia, while the latter really is killed, but Enna, Dasha and Rinna's combined powers bring her back to life.
  • Driven to Suicide: Selia when she gets defeated in book four.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Rinna eventually figures out that people-speaking, while it doesn't actually kill you like an element would, corrupts its users into wanting more and more power and control over others, explaining why the majority of people-speakers are villains. Luckily for her, tree-speaking counteracts it by keeping you grounded in your own body.
  • Eats Babies: Subverted in River Secrets coming from both Tira and Bayern.
  • Engineered Public Confession: How Selia is finally outed in The Goose Girl.
  • Fairy Tale: The Goose Girl is based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same name.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Falada, and the suggestion of what happens to Selia in the end of The Goose Girl.
    • Until we find out in Forest Born that Selia use people-speaking to escape death and a pig was put in her place. Still her real death is quite terrifying
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Bayern for Germany. "Bayern" also means Bavaria in German.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Isi as Sanguine, Enna as Choleric, Dasha as Phlegmatic, and Rinna as Melancholic.
  • Happily Married: Isi and Geric, after the first book.
  • Happy Ending Override: The beginning of Enna Burning does this to the ending of The Goose Girl, as Bayern is plunged into war and as the characters face unforeseen struggles with their "speaking" powers. The rest of the series revolves around both the kingdom and our heroes gradually earning a new happy ending.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: In the first three books, we have heroines who learn to control air,fire, and water. And then we have Rin, who can talk to trees. Lame, right? Until the climax, when she figures out that trees don't perceive time, and uses it to dodge arrows. She turned herself into freakin' Neo with the power of tree-talking.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: In the fourth book, Selia shows up again after having supposedly been executed at the end of the first book...and as if that wasn't enough, the same character claims to have been indirectly responsible for the events of books 2 and 3 as well.
  • I Know What You Fear: The series includes several characters, mostly antagonists, who are capable of knowing exactly what one fears (mainly things like public humiliation or loss of control, which are the things behind fears like acrophobia or arachnophobia) and also what a person wants, desires, or intends. Their power also gives them the ability to know precisely what to say in order to get what they want. Yeah. It's really no wonder they're mostly Bad Guys.
  • Inter Species Friendship: Falada and Ani, and later Ani and the goose Jok.
  • Jerkass:
    • Ani/Isi's aloof mother, the queen of Kildenree. Believes Ani to be a spineless Cloud Cuckoo Lander who Speaks Fluent Animal? Check. Arranges a marriage behind her husband's and Ani's backs that takes away Ani's birthright? Check. Makes a show before her subjects of how much she'll miss her daughter by pricking her finger on a handkerchief and giving it to Ani for "protection"? Check check.
    • Geric's father the king as well.
    • Sileph in Enna Burning.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Conrad. He becomes The Resenter when Ani/Isi becomes better at handling the geese then he is, keeps wanting to pluck her golden hair, and knows something is off with her. But when the foreign guards nearly kill Ani/Isi after he tells them where she sleeps, he has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and redeems himself by catching Selia as she attempts to run off.
  • Kick the Dog: Selia makes a habit out of this once she drops the pretense of being Ani/Isi's best friend.
  • Making a Splash: Dasha
  • Meaningful Name: Enna, who in later books is a fire speaker — the name "Enya" is gaelic for Little Fire or Flame, while "Ena" is Gaelic for "bright and shining".
  • No Name Given: Ani's aunt, who raises her for the first five years or so of her life. She is only ever referred to as "the aunt," and only Ani seems to care about her.
  • Old Retainer: Talone is Bayern's top general, but he is this to Ani as well, being something of a replacement father figure and the only member of Ani's original escort to both survive and remain completely loyal.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ani/Isi, whose father dies early in the first book and whose mother is a Jerkass.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Ani and Geric in The Goose Girl
  • Playing with Fire: Enna. Later Isi and Dasha as well.

  • Prince and Pauper: Ani and Selia
  • Princess Classic: Ani, but in a good way. She later becomes The High Queen.
  • Real Name as an Alias: Ani's full name is Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee. When she goes into hiding, she calls herself Isi. She's called Isi in all subsequent books, since all the other protagonists know her by that name.
  • Shoot the Dog: Poor Falada . . .
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Geric's father the king is killed in battle early in Enna Burning, and his son and Isi inherit the throne.
  • Suffer the Slings: Razo's Weapon of Choice. When an antagonist is trying to pretend he's dead with the rationale that "slings are weak against swords", Razo later responds "Then [they] haven't seen me sling."
  • Super-Power Meltdown: While fire is the most explosive and obvious, any sort of speaking power will eventually overwhelm and kill its user unless they learn an opposing element.
  • Survivor Guilt: Ani struggles with this after the murders of the men who were loyal to her. Also Talone to some extent, when he thinks Ani is dead.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: In the series, people born with various gifts can gain Elemental Powers by learning the languages of the elements. Those who learn the "languages" of animals, trees, and people can control those things too. Animal-speaking is really only used in the first book, The Goose Girl, with Ani being able to talk to birds and her horse.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Sileph, who thinks both Enna and her power should belong to him. Thanks to his Compelling Voice, he very nearly succeeds.
  • Talking to the Dead: Ani to Falada in The Goose Girl
  • The Dragon: Ungolad
  • The Power of Friendship: Not really of the magical variety, but friendship and teamwork are always important themes.
  • Two-Person Love Triangle: Ani and Geric in The Goose Girl
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Conrad by telling the foreign guards where Ani/Isi sleeps. He may have been The Resenter but he didn't want Ani/Isi to get killed!
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Ani when arriving in Bayern.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Sileph by the end of Enna Burning. At least three different people put knives in his back, including one of his own men.

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