Why?!?! - An Author's note

For a final project in Fantasy Fiction (check out sf@sf- its a great resource for everything fantasy and sci-fi) I decided to do a timeline. But I couldn't do any ordinary timeline, right? I mean, that would be entirely too easy.

So for your pleasure, and my pain, this is a timeline showing the progression of magical education since A Wizard of Earthsea was published in 1968-- to see if apprenticeships have died in the wake of the magic school phenomenon... or if they're coming back. Or even more interesting, if they never left in the first place.

And even though this is for a class, I plan on working on it for.. well, forever. So any and all feedback is welcome, and appreciated.

Enjoy the journey through time, my weary travelers. Because here... we... go!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

1988- Horowitz & Groosham Grange

20 years after Earthsea, Anthony Horowitz brought us Groosham Grange...

One of the Goodreads members (her name is Cathrine Bonham) provided a very nice summary: 

" When David Eliot is expelled from an elite private school his father gets a mysterious letter in the mail from a boarding school with a creepy name. And so poor David finds himself shipped out to Groosham Grange a school where the teachers are all monsters and the students all act like their under a spell. With fellow first years Jill and Jeffery, David must find a way to get out of Groosham Grange before Groosham Grange gets him" 

Magic school in this context is very different from the types of magic school that appear previously on the timeline. Unlike Earthsea and The Worst Witch, the school Groosham Grange is not definitively good.. or evil. 

This is different. Instead of having a school that magic users attend and are taught "good" magic, the emphasis in Groosham Grange seems to be on the learning, with a kind of "let's see where we end up" attitude. 

"All right, I admit it. We are, frankly, evil...Mr. Fitch and Mr. Teagle have won awards for being evil...But what's so bad about being evil? We've never dropped an atom bomb on anyone. We've never polluted the environment or experimented on animals or cut back on entitlement programs for the disadvantaged. Our evil is rather agreeable. Why do you think there are so many books and movies about us? It's because people like us. We are actually rather pleasantly evil."  (quoted by Megan on Goodreads)

While Horowitz may be exploring what constitutes evil, there is a certain wisdom there. Maybe it isn't the actual knowledge we gain, but what we do with it. And, I suppose, on your definition of evil. 

"At the end of the book we learn that David and Jill 'would both be taking their first 'O' levels in the summer: Telepathy, Weather Control, Wax Modelling and (the trickiest of the four) Advanced Blood Sacrifice,'" - Pat Pinsent (paragraph 1, Curriculum) 

This aspect of the Groosham Grange school seems pretty normal. There are standardized tests that the students have to take to show what they've learned, which is something that we don't really see with apprenticeships in magic. Even in Earthsea, Ogion didn't test Ged to see what he learned-- Ged had to go through that with formal schooling. 

So does school mean standardization? Does education mean that we have to use methods to systematically test what student's have learned? 

Well, apparently Groosham Grange thinks so. 

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