Journal Mk. II or Rather, Sandbox

Well, I’ll no longer be posting journals. Instead I’ll be doing this thing called sandboxes. In this one, we had to do a story analysis of a– you guessed it, story. I mean, what else would it be right? Anyway, here it goes:

Hope you don't mind the repeated pic.

Hope you don’t mind the repeated pic.

Title: Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan

Author: John Flanagan

Genre: Fantasy, Teen Fiction

Audience: Anybody who is inclined to read it


Will – The main character, Will is a typical castle boy. He wishes to gain admittance into Castle Redmont’s Battleschool. His one wish is to become a great knight like his unknown father. Throughout the story, Will shows that he is witty, persevering, forgiving, and a good friend. His view on heroism and courage also undergoes a major change. Will learns that it does not always take rank or recognition to be a hero.

Horace Altman – From hating Will initially, to becoming his best friend at the end of the book Horace goes through a major character change. In the beginning, he is overbearing, proud, and sworn enemies with Will. However, harsh conditions in battleschool show him the true nature of what he did, and when the time comes for him to team up with Will, he doesn’t hesitate, and becomes one of the most steadfast, faithful characters in the book.

Halt – “The mysterious Ranger whose uncanny ability to move unseen is thought to be the result of black magic”, Halt is Will’s mentor throughout the story. Though initially it appears that Halt is a grim, gruff Ranger who never smiles, he turns out to be more than that, becoming like a second father to Will, and eventually developing a soft spot for the young Ranger.

Tug – Will’s faithful horse, Tug is with Will from the first day in his training as a Ranger. Though he may be just a horse, Tug shows that even horses are more than capable of being heroes. Despite not being a strapping battle-horse, or a grand stallion, Tug proves that there is more to courage and faithfulness than just size and brute force.

Morgarath – The main enemy in the story, Morgarath’s character is not revealed overmuch except that he is evil and wishes the fall of the Kingdom. He is the former Baron of Gorlan and the Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night.

Baron Arald – Baron Arald is the Baron at Castle Redmont. He is described a slightly overweight, but he is a genial character, though his status often makes people overlook his jokes.

Alyss Mainwaring – A Ward in Redmont with Will, Alyss is shown to be a determined character. She is tall, elegant, and graceful and becomes apprentice to Lady Pauline as a courier. Later on it is shown that she too has a soft spot for Will.

Gilan – Another Ranger whom Will comes to know and becomes good friends with. It turns out that Gilan was Halt’s apprentice before Will. He is also the only Ranger wield a sword.

Crowley – The leader of the Ranger corps, Crowley is close friends with Halt, both having served together in the Wars. He is inclined to be lighthearted and adverse to ceremony.

George Carter – George was also a Ward in Redmont with Will. Not much is told of him, except that he takes up apprenticeship as a scribe.

Jennifer Dalby – Like George, Alyss, and Horace, Jennifer, more commonly known as Jenny, was also a Ward with Will before she was apprenticed to Master Chubb as a cook.

Old Bob – Keeper of the Ranger’s horses, Old Bob is as his name implies, old, but that does not mean he’s lost his touch with horses, and Tug is his best horse yet.

Point of View

The story is told in third person view from the perspective of Will.


It is difficult to tell the time period as this is set in a fantasy world, but the location is the Kingdom of Araluen.

Plot Outline

Will, an orphan whose one dream is to become a great knight like the father that he never knew. However, because of his small stature, he is rejected from the Battleschool at Castle Redmont. Instead, the mysterious, arcane, and even feared Halt takes him as an apprentice to the order known only as the Rangers. Throughout his adventures, Will learns that there is more to courage and bravery than a dashing steed, flashing sword, and the honor of knighthood.


What type of conflict do you see in the story? Give specific examples. Distinguish between major and minor conflicts.

man vs. man

Will vs. Horace. Horace is continually bullying Will, whilst the latter takes advantage of his quick wit to prank Horace in return.

Araluen vs. Morgarath. Morgarath is continually trying to weaken Araluen and take over it as revenge for his exile.

man vs. himself

Will vs. Himself. Will enjoys being a ranger, but he feels that he is somehow betraying his father by not becoming a knight.

man vs. animal

Will, Gilan and Halt vs. the Kalkara. The Rangers track the Kalkara, deadly assassins of Morgarath, determined to stop the creatures before they can reach the King.


You can do great things regardless of your size.

Sometimes those who you imagine to be your worst enemies can become your best friends.

Do not trust outward appearance.

It does not take glory and fame to make a courageous and honorable person.

Literary Devices

List at least three different examples of literary devices used in the story.

Foreshadowing – In the beginning of the story, the prologue, Flanagan gives a hint as to what is to come.

Flashback – Also in the beginning of the story, the reader finds Morgarath dwelling on the past.

Simile – During the boar hunt, Flanagan mentions the Baron and the Battleschool Master grinning like schoolboys.

Irony – Throughout the book it is shown that Halt is a war-hero. Everybody expects him to be a large and muscular figure, but in reality he is a rather short man, though his stature does not deplete his character at all.


Write a paragraph of your opinion of this story and why. Rate it as 1-5 stars, 5 being the best.

This is a good story, both in the fact that it is appropriate for all ages, but the fact that it has some extremely well-presented life lessons as well. The storyline is gripping, and Flanagan does an excellent job of describing the feelings of Will as he goes through the momentous events in his life. The one downside to the story is that it is rather predictable, as most stories today are, and though a few unlooked for elements are thrown at the reader, these are only on the side, and the main story follows the standard underdog plot. Aside from that, this is an excellent book, and I would recommend it to anybody looking for a good read. Four and a half out of five stars from me.



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