The Scorpio Races Summary & Study Guide

Maggie Stiefvater
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The Scorpio Races Summary & Study Guide Description

The Scorpio Races Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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"The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater is a compelling narrative about two participants in the dangerous races that take place on the island of Thisby each fall. Sean and Puck have their own reasons for riding in the Scorpio Races, but as their friendship develops, both are forced to reexamine their priorities. "The Scorpio Races" is a charming novel about two young people who, together, overcome the odds against them to get what they need out of life.

After seeing his father die in the Scorpio Races at the age of ten, Sean decides never to be afraid like his father. Nine years later, he eagerly anticipates the approach of the races. When Puck's older brother, Gabe, announces his decision to leave Thisby and move to the mainland, Puck decides to ride in the upcoming Scorpio Races against her brothers' wishes. Mutt Malvern, the son of Sean's boss, torments Sean incessantly. Though Sean tries to ignore Mutt, he dreams of independence. After riding a recently captured piebald mare named Skata, Sean warns that she will kill someone. Uncomfortable with the idea of riding a capaill uisce, Puck decides to ride her island pony, Dove, and she registers for the races, despite objections from the other riders who see a girl on the beach as bad luck.

When Sean first sees Puck on the beach where she is knocked from her mount, he tells her to keep her pony off his beach, and though Puck considers withdrawing from embarrassment, her determination is reinforced after Benjamin Malvern visits to warn her that she and her brothers are about to be evicted since no one has paid on the house since her parents' deaths.

Malvern's son, Mutt, shows his ongoing contempt for Sean at the expense of the brutal loss of a colt. While on a boat, Mutt allows a capaill uisce to attack Fundamental. Fundamental is a colt that is one of Sean's charges. Although Sean tries to save Fundamental, he fails.

Sean wants to quit his job, but he cannot stand the thought of losing Corr, his beloved capaill stallion. When Sean and Puck catch a ride to town with Thomas Gratton, they talk about the race. After Puck admits how much she loves the island, Sean offers to let her ride a capaill. Since Puck wants to be sure that a capaill is more likely to win than Dove, she and Sean race. Though Sean's mare is faster, the horse jumps from the cliffs, leaving Puck as the victor. Puck insists on riding Dove in the race.

Sean objects when he learns Mutt plans to ride Skata in the race, but Mutt is indifferent to his employee's fear that Skata will kill someone. At the bonfire where riders declare their intent to participate in the Scorpio Races, the men object to Puck's involvement, but Sean defends her courage, forcing the others to concede. Inspired by her courage, he confronts Malvern about buying Corr and resigns when his employer refuses.

During a fierce storm, Gabe rescues his siblings from a capaill's attack and takes them to stay with the Grattons until the storm passes. The storm also causes the horses at Malvern Yard to act up. Though Sean wants to prove how invaluable he is, he helps anyway. He cannot bring himself to let a horse be injured because of his games with Malvern. Malvern insists that Sean's actions change nothing. Puck is furious when she learns about Sean's situation, assuring him that Corr belongs to him no matter what the law says. After Sean rescues Corr from Mutt's cruel training techniques, Malvern agrees to sell Corr to Sean if they win the race.

Puck visits Sean at Malvern Yard and helps him tend Corr as they discuss why each of them needs to win the race. Wanting Puck to love Corr, they both ride Corr on the beach. Puck feels like she knows the island better than ever. As Puck and Sean continue practicing together, she and Dove improve, making victory feasible. Yet, Puck laments the fact that she and Sean cannot both win the race. When Sean comes to dinner at the Connolly house, he promises to wait to make his move in the race until Puck makes her move.

At Malvern's young stock auction, Mutt is furious when he overhears his father's disparaging remarks about him. That night, Sean wakes to a horse crying. He rushes to the stables to find that Edana has been mutilated. Realizing Mutt's treachery, Sean saves Corr before Mutt can harm him by offering to let Mutt win the race. After Tommy Falk's funeral, Sean and Puck kiss and discuss their wish to reign as king and queen of the race and achieve all of their collective dreams.

The day of the Scorpio Races finally arrives. As the race begins, Sean keeps his promise to wait for Puck to make her move first; however, Mutt corners Puck and Dove, forcing Sean to intervene as he urges Puck forward. Mutt cuts Skata who attacks Corr, knocking Sean from his back. Puck is shocked to win the race, but frightened by Sean's absence at the finish line. She turns back to find his prone body being guarded by Corr. Sean awakes and laments that Mutt was taken by Skata. He is amazed at Corr's loyalty, even as he mourns Corr's substantial injuries that will prevent him from ever running again.

Unable to enjoy her victory when Sean suffers, Puck convinces Malvern to sell Corr to Sean despite his loss. Since Corr can no longer run, Sean decides to release him to the sea, Corr's other love, so his horse can find happiness. However, as Sean walks away, Corr goes to him, walking away from the sea and slowly returning to his owner.

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