22 May 2012

Sword Girls

Who is watching Game of Thrones season 2? 
Thought so.

And who among you think that Arya Stark should get more screen-time because she is clearly the best - the bravest, the smartest, the true-est, the most interesting? 
Thought so.

With that in mind, here is reading list for Arya fans:

by Frances Watts, illustrated by Gregory Rogers


'The squires, who were boys training to be knights, copied Sir Benedict's moves with their wooden practice swords. So did Tommy with the small paring knife she was meant to be using on the potatoes.'
Tommy might be just a kitchen girl, but she is brave and fair-minded and loves swords. And what's more she has a talking cat on her side, so you know things are going to get interesting. But when Sir Walter's special sword is stolen, Tommy, the new Keeper of the Swords, is in serious trouble...

Tommy is a feisty, brilliant heroine, and the Sword Girl books, by the completely lovely Frances Watts, are fabulous read-alone or read-aloud books for anyone who likes swordplay and derring-do and girls being brave and ingenious. (Which is clearly everyone, right? Thought so.) And Greg Rogers's illustrations are totally charming. Best of all, when you've finished Book 1, you can move straight on to Book 2: The Poison Plot.*  We're sure these books would have been huge favourites in the Winterfell library, for Bran (and that other younger brother you never see) as well as Arya.

We think Goldie and Arya would get on like a house on fire. At the very least, they could probably both escape unscathed from a house on fire. Goldie certainly knows how to use the threat of fire to her advantage... She also knows what it's like to cut off your hair and pretend to be a boy, and to escape from a cruel dictator. But for Goldie, the sword she wields is bit of a mixed blessing...

Hermione is obviously incredibly brave, smart and loyal, but we're going to give honorary sword-girl status to Neville Longbottom, because he overcame a lot of obstacles, including under-confidence and body-image issues, to become a brave and trusty warrior who knew how and when to wield his sword for maximum effect.

With a Sword in My Hand by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem & Pat van Beirs, translated by John Nieuwenhuizen
Marguerite's father is desperate for a son. Instead he's stuck with a feisty, stubborn, red-headed daughter who refuses to behave like a lady. Aw yeah. Marguerite fights (and kisses) the boys, she rides like a hellion and, like Arya, she has a fencing maestro to whip her sword skills into shape.

This is an intense and unusual book based on the real life of Marguerite van Male. The Medieval court comes to smelly, loud, beautiful life and Marguerite is an unforgettable heroine. 

Cool and rational, rather than fiery and impetuous, Sabriel might drive Arya crazy. But Arya would have to respect her bravery in the face of Death, her sense of duty and honour, and the fact that Sabriel's sword is not even her most powerful weapon...   Not to mention the fact that Mogget, in the right mood, would be more than a match for a direwolf.


And now, may we suggest you watch the Game of Thrones theme song as sung by the actors who play Arya, Sansa and Bran. 

* Pssst. Sekret news. There are two more Sword Girl books coming in September when Tommy will be starring in Tournament Trouble and The Siege Scare. Everyone pleased? Thought so.

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