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Literature / The Wingfeather Saga

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The Wingfeather Saga is a young adult fantasy book series by Andrew Peterson. The series consists of four books, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North! Or Be Eaten..., and The Monster in the Hollows, and The Warden and the Wolf King.

Our story begins in a little town called Glipwood in the land of Skree, which was long ago invaded by the vicious Fangs of Dang, evil lizard-like humanoids who enslave and abuse the Skreeans. A twelve-year old boy named Janner Igiby and his younger brother and sister, Kalmar (aka Tink) and Leeli, are the main characters, and the first book relays their adventures in Glipwood and the surrounding area, and their involvement with the Fangs and other characters, both friendly and evil. In the end they learn that they are the royals heirs to the lost Kingdom of Anniera, and that they are the whole reason why the Fangs invaded Skree. In North! Or Be Eaten... the Igiby family travels north to escape the Fangs, but encounter many hideous dangers along the way, ending up rather worse off than they started. The Monster in the Hollows finds the family a safe haven in the Green Hollows - except that they appear to have brought their troubles with them and come closer to danger than ever. "The Warden and the Wolf King" breaks on the scene of open war, and mostly details the children's last attempts to save the world, interspersed with lots of backstory, leading up to the unexpected grand finale(s).

In all, the series has a satirical air to it, often inserting random facts about Skreean culture or wildlife (of which there are many dangerous specimens) or purposefully making redundant, humorous, or ironic statements, even during times of suspense and danger. Despite this, nobility of character is carefully prized and recognised. As a Christian author, Peterson frequently weaves in themes of redemption, submission and hope, as well as Christian principles for relationships.

An animated adaptation of the series debuted on the Angel Studios streaming service in 2022. You can watch it here.

This series provides examples of:

  • The Atoner: Artham will do anything to protect his niece and nephews because of his failure to save his brother the king in the past.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: General Khrak, the Fang leader in Skree, is a far more competent fighter and strategist than his troops and captains.
  • Black Cloak: The mysterious hooded driver of the Black Carriage, as well as the Stone Keeper.
    • In the fourth book, Gnag is shown to wear one as well. Beneath it are two cloven who have to carry him around due to his being unable to walk with his deformed legs.
  • Book Worm: Oskar N. Reteep. Might also qualify as a Badass Bookworm, as he has done some pretty tough and daring things.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Fangs, as well as the Stranders, a tribe of vicious thieves and all-around rogues.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: In The Warden and the Wolf King, Bonifer Squoon's spider form may be too powerful for Janner and Kalmar, but he is quickly dispatched by a group of trolls who befriend the boys.
  • Crapsack World: Of both the dramatic and mutable versions, with a bit of comedic too. This is even lampshaded in the first book's prologue.
  • Creepy Crows: Crows constantly surround the Black Carriage and are generally associated with it. Therefore, they are disliked.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Peet the Sock Man/Artham Wingfeather is the master of this trope.
  • Giant Spider: While not exactly a spider, the gargan rockroach in the second book is still equally creepy.
    • In The Monster in the Hollows, Bonifer Squoon states that he wants Gnag to turn him into a spider. In The Warden and the Wolf King, he gets his wish.
  • Great Escape: Janner's escape from the dreaded Fork Factory didn't exactly go as planned...
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Janner gets jealous of Tink after he is revealed to the King of Anniera, as well as when he outwits the Stranders' leader, Claxton, and is accepted into their clan.
    • Bonifer Squoon became jealous of his former friend Ortham because his love interest, Madia, was more interested in Ortham than in him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Peet the Sock Man attempts this several times, but he never ends up dying.
  • Podo Helmer sacrifices himself in the fourth book to get the dragons to help the people of Ban Rona fight against Gnag's army.
  • Possibly the most dramatic heroic sacrifice is saved for last. Kalmar decides to sacrifice himself to heal his cloven and Fanged subjects. When Janner finally understands this intention, he sacrifices himself instead.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Fangs think that humans are smelly, disgusting creatures, and mock them for it, despite the fact that they themselves are smelly and disgusting creatures.
  • Killer Thwaps: Thwaps are small, furry, gopher-like critters that invade gardens and eat veggies. They will also attack you viciously if you happen to open a sackful of Thwaps that have been encased there for days. Slarb found this out the hard way.
  • Lizard Folk: The Fangs are described as looking "exactly like humans, except for the greenish scales that covered their bodies and the lizard-like snout and the two long venomous fangs that jutted downward from their snarling mouths. Also, they had tails."
  • Love Makes You Evil: Bonifer Squoon's love for Madia ultimately drove him to the dark side.
  • Magical Incantation: "Sing the song of the ancient stones, and the blood of the beast imbues your bones."
  • One-Winged Angel: In the fourth book, Gnag uses a stone from the Fane of Fire to combine his body with Yurgen's, transforming them into an abomination that the book calls "Gang-Dragon."
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Sea Dragons are fierce but noble beasts that can talk.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: The author seems to be fond of this trope. Some include toothy cows (carnivorous versions of regular cows), horned hounds (huge dogs with horns on their heads), cave blats (which are not called that because they live in caves, but because they're so ugly that when you see one, you'll wish that it was hiding in a cave), quill diggles, digtoads, ratbadgers, chorkneys, thwaps, bomnubbles, snickbuzzards, flabbits, and a host of other critters. Oh, and most of them are savage and carnivorous.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Ridgerunners are treacherous, elf-like people who work for anyone who gives them fresh fruit. Unfortunately, all of the ridgerunners in the series have worked for villains.
    • Maraly Weaver only acts nasty when it suits her. She eventually does a full Heel–Face Turn.
  • Red Right Hand: Gnag the Nameless was born with several deformities. Exploited by Bonifer Squoon, who lied to Gnag, telling him that his mother disowned him because of it.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The lizard-like Fangs.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: After Migg Landers betrays the Igibys to the Fangs, the lizards promptly reward him with a venomous bite to the neck.
  • Whip of Dominance: The Overseer of the Fork Factory uses a whip to keep his "tools" in line, and for punishment.
  • Winged Humanoid: Artham Wingfeather after his completed transformation by the Stonekeeper, grows a pair of huge eagle-like wings.