The Blue Sword Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who does Sir Charles have on hand who knows Hill speech?

2. What does Jack say about Corlath and the Northerners?

3. For what was Corlath asking at the meeting?

4. What reason does Corlath give his riders for considering taking Harry with them?

5. What does Corlath hope as he looks down on a sleeping Harry?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is Mathin a rider and why is he training Harry?

2. What happens with Harry as the group travels and what does she realize about her home with Sir Charles and Lady Amelia?

3. Why do the girls decide to return to Harry's home and what do they find there? What is strange about it to them?

4. What does Harry see when she drinks from the Water of Sight?

5. How do those who grew up in Istan feel about the environment, and what does Harry discover about Jack and Istan?

6. What type of trouble with neighboring nations does Sir Charles talk about?

7. What happens when Harry wakes up after being taken by King Corlath?

8. What is Corlath feeling as he leaves the Residency, and what is having to do as he is leaving and why?

9. What does Corlath think his kelar is showing him and why does he think he is wrong?

10. Who helped put Harry in her new home and how did he do it?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Often, authors will write about "what they know," and sometimes knowing a little about the author makes the books more interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Research and give a brief biographical sketch of Robin McKinley.

2. What in McKinley's background may have helped him in writing "The Blue Sword"? What may have influenced the way she depicts various characters and scenes?

3. Do you think there is always some of the author's own life in his/her novels? Why or why not? Give examples.

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the following:

1. Who is/are the protagonists of the story and why?

2. Who is/are the antagonists of the story and why?

3. Which 3 secondary characters have the greatest impact on the plot?

4. Are any of the characters dispensable and which ones? Why or why not?

5. Do you think this is a character-driven plot or an action-driven plot? Explain.

Essay Topic 3

Harry begins the novel as a displaced woman who has been sent to another part of the country to live with non-relatives upon the death of her father. She does not fit in well with the people around her, and though she adapts to her new circumstances, she seems to be basically drifting through life. By the end of the novel, in a very short time, Harry is a powerful, respected person who has become the queen of her great-grandmother's people -- people she never knew she was related to at the beginning of the novel.

1. Do you think the time frame of the huge changes in Harry's life are the least bit realistic? Why or why not? Use examples from "The Blue Sword" and your own life to support your answer.

2. Harry is kidnapped and taken to another culture without her consent, yet in a short time, she is learning to ride and fight and then, in a few weeks she manages to win a riding-fighting contest against people who have been practicing these skills all their lives. Do you think it is too much a stretch of the imagination for Harry to be able to win the laprun with such little time to learn the skills and does this lessen your enjoyment of the book? Why or why not? Use examples from "The Blue Sword" and your own life to support your answer.

3. What do you think it suggests about Harry's character that she is able to almost immediately care for the man who kidnapped her, setting aside her anger within days? Use examples from "The Blue Sword" and your own life to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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