The Golden Door and The Silver Door Discussion Guide
- Grades: 6–8
About this book
About this book
About the Books
Flying beasts with leathery wings and wicked teeth, the skimmers come after sundown, preying on the citizens in the walled city of Weld. Each night, families huddle in their beds, hearing the rasp of claws against their tightly sealed windows. For generations, the citizens of Weld protected themselves from monsters by fortifying the massive wall around their city. But there’s no protection against beasts that can fly. In a desperate move, the Warden of Weld calls for volunteers to leave the city and find the enemy sending the skimmers. Weld’s heroes sign up for the task and leave Weld one by one. But they never return.
Rye is too young to volunteer, but his two brothers have signed up before him. Rye can feel them outside the wall, crying out to him in his dreams. And he’ll do anything to save them. When Rye fakes his age to volunteer, he is presented with three magic Doors—one gold, one silver, one wood—that are the only way out of Weld. Each door could lead to Rye’s brothers or into unimaginable danger. The choice is his, and the adventure is just beginning. Read the entire stunning trilogy.
The Golden Door
Three magic Doors you here behold. Time to choose: Wood? Silver? Gold?
Rye stands before three Doors, about to step out into the unknown. He’s lived his whole life safe inside the enormous wall that rings the city of Weld and protects against the terrible dangers outside. Now, Weld is under attack from skimmers, flying beasts that kill in the night. If the enemy sending the skimmers isn’t found, the citizens of Weld are doomed.
But that’s not why Rye has volunteered on a mission to leave Weld and stop the skimmers. His real goal is to find his two older brothers who volunteered before him and never returned. Now Rye must open a Door and begin a perilous quest that could save his brothers…or cost his life.
What if you grew up inside a city but were never allowed to leave it? What do you think would be the worst part? What circumstances would make this necessary?
- After reading chapter one, discuss everything you know about Rye’s family, the city of Weld, and the skimmers. What was the most interesting fact you learned?
- Why does Dirk accept the quest? What purpose will it have? Do you think he should leave his family or not? Would you?
- Explain what happens to Dirk, Joliffe, and the others. How is this followed by even more tragedy? What is Sholto’s response to this grim news? How can people react to news so differently?
- Describe Rye’s visit to healer Tallus. What does he learn? What is he encouraged to do? Would you be willing to do what the healer suggested or not? Why?
- What does Rye try to save only to have skimmers destroy? How will this change his life forever?
- Explain what happens at the Keep. How does it help Rye make up his mind? Is the lie he gives the authorities justified?
- Describe the choice Rye must make once he’s volunteered. What complicates his choice? Who will also be a victim of his decision? Why must she be included?
- Who is Rye’s companion on his quest? How did she join him? What beings do they encounter in the Fell Zone?
- How do Rye and Sonia escape the lizards? Why is Sonia indebted to Rye? Which part is your favorite so far?
- Describe the Fellan. What do they give Rye? What signs were they waiting for and why do they think Rye is the answer? In what way does Rye seem special?
- How are Rye and Sonia guided through their journey in the Fell Zone? What path do they take? What obstacles and villains do they run into along this part of the journey?
- How does the author end nearly every chapter? What do cliffhangers do for the reader?
- Why does Rye think that the magic is not meant for him? How does he use the magic to survive the attack of the horned beast, or bloodhog? Who else comes to his aid?
- Would you rather live beyond the Wall of Weld with the unknown (and terrifying monsters) that exists and have freedom, or live inside with only the skimmers to contend with? Defend your answer.
- Who is FitzFee? List the many ways he helps the young, lost travelers. Star the two things on your list that you predict will be the most important in the story.
- What does Rye discover from eavesdropping on Nanion and FitzFee? Do you think Olt is the enemy Rye is seeking or not? What clues do you have so far that Olt is evil?
- Who are the Gifters? Why have they returned to Fleet? What have they discovered in a letter from Faene? What does that show Rye as well?
- Why is it so difficult for Rye to remain hidden in the bell tree and not try to rescue Sonia and Faene? What does he learn about Chieftain Olt? What must Rye do to save his friends?
- Describe the city of Oltan. What exactly will happen on Midsummer Eve? Why is this event so necessary for its leader’s survival?
- What magic does Rye use inside the tavern called The Flying Fish? What new information does he learn from its patrons? Would you like to have this cloak? Where would you go? What would you listen for?
- What clues does Sonia leave for Rye to find her? Who does Rye discover at the end of the blue pebbles? Is he a nemesis? What makes a good one?
- What has Olt done to trick the rebels? Does Rye reach Dirk in time to stop him? What happens to Dirk? What does Rye do?
- Who saves Rye? What does Rye learn about his magic objects? What terrible things did Rye witness inside the fortress?
- How does Master Hass help Rye prepare for the next challenge in his quest? What’s at stake if he does not succeed? What magic object helps him in the water?
- Describe the beginning of the brutal ceremony. Why must Rye wait for the right moment? What does he realize about Dirk while waiting for his chance?
- Why can’t Rye save his brother or himself? How does he stand against the sea serpents? How long must he hold them at bay?
- In the end, what happens to Olt and his head soldier, Bern? How does Rye save his brother and his friends?
- Predict what you think will happen in the next book. Which door will Rye open next? Will he find Sholto?
- Which chapter was your favorite in book one? Why?
- What qualities make Rye a hero? Do you think he is more or less of a hero than his brother Dirk? Why?
The Silver Door
Rye has only been outside the walled city of Weld once in his life. He left through the golden Door, one of three magic Doors that are the only way in and out of Weld, and the journey nearly killed him. Rye and his traveling companion, Sonia, managed to return alive, but their mission was a failure. Rye was unable to find the enemy sending flying beasts to attack the innocent people of Weld.
Now Rye and Sonia must gather their courage and venture outside of Weld once more. This time, Rye will choose the Silver Door, a Door carved with the figures of terrifying monsters. Rye and Sonia must find a way to survive the dangers that await them. If they fail again, all of Weld will pay the price.
Brainstorm everything you remember about Rye and his companions from Book One. Also, list everything you remember about the setting and conflict too.
- Discuss the journey back from Oltan. Why do they stop in Faene’s hometown of Fleet? What message is discovered? Why and how was it disguised?
- How does Rye use the fifth power to travel through the Fell Zone? Of all the bits of magic in his bag, which would you find most useful? Explain why Faene decides to continue traveling with the trio instead of staying with FitzFee.
- How do the explorers travel through the Keep? List all the important information Rye learns as he travels through the Keep. Circle the item that you think will be most important as the book unfolds.
- Who is Annocki? What does Sonia expect from her? Why is she so familiar with this important person of Weld? What is Annocki’s reaction to Faene? Why?
- Why does Faene stay behind with Annocki? How do the others leave when their escape route is compromised?
- Which Door is Rye attracted to? Why must he choose another? Which Door would you be most tempted to go through? Why?
- Describe the landscape beyond the silver Door. What discoveries do the companions make regarding Sholto? Why do they hope some of them have not been left by Sholto?
- Describe the wasteland. Why is Rye suddenly questioning his intuition? Is it ever wise to do so?
- Explain the harsh landscape of the Saltings. What are the threats in this climate? How do people survive here? Who does the troupe meet there? What do they learn from him?
- Why is the troupe attacked by the people in the Saltings? What magic helps them survive the attack? What does Bones believe about them? Why?
- Where does Cap lead Rye, Dirk, and Sonia?Why do they decide to follow him instead? What do they learn? Why is Four-Eyes an important character? How do they become stowaways?
- What clues does the troupe have that Sholto has died? Why would there be no body to identify? Is this the harshest landscape the heroes have come across yet? What makes you think so or not?
- How is the trader, Four-Eyes, a cheat to Bones and his people in the Saltings? Why does the trio decide not to help them? What’s their plan?
- Explain what happens on Four-Eyes’ truck. What questions do the heroes hope are answered at the end of their journey?
- Who exactly are Bird, Bean, Chub, and Itch? What is their quest? How do they rope Rye into going along with it? What is at stake if he does not help?
- Describe the Diggings and its purpose. How does Rye secure the slaves? How was the secret code a part of it?
- How are they captured? For what purpose will they be used? Describe the nemesis in this chapter. What makes a good nemesis?
- Where are the prisoners being taken? Which character in the story has been the most malevolent so far? Why? What surprise awaited the end of chapter nineteen?
- Is Sholto in control over his own mind or not?How do we know? What is the plan for the captives? How do they hope to escape?
- How does Dirk find them? Why does Dirk urge Sholto to listen to their youngest brother?
- Why do you think Sholto doubts Rye’s magic? What was Sholto’s plan to destroy the new skimmers? How is this generation of skimmers even more destructive than the last?
- How does Rye use his magic pouch to defeat the evil forces in this part of Dorne? Which beasts do you find most terrifying so far?
- How do the brothers plan to help Sonia and the other prisoners escape? How does Sonia sacrifice herself to the plan? What steps will they take? What could go wrong?
- How do they use the magic elements to get the prisoners out of the dangerous situation? What goes wrong?
- In the end, what happens to the captives and the heroes? Have the brothers saved the city of Weld for good yet or not? What do you think they will do next? What makes you think so?
Talking About the Books
- How do the settings in each book impact the conflict in the storyline?
- Which monsters did you find most terrifying?
- How has the relationship changed between Rye and his brothers? Between Dirk and Sonia?
- In both books, Rye finds friendship and aid in unlikely places. Compare and contrast the characters of FitzFee and Bones. What purpose do they serve in the story?
- Do you think Sonia is as much of a hero as Rye or not? Why? Are her motivations as sincere?
- Discuss the nemesis in each story. Which one is more frightening? Why?
- What details about the worlds are your favorites? Which magic element? Why?
- Compare Sonia to the roles the other female characters play in the novels. How is she different from typical young women in her world?
- Would you be willing to volunteer to discover the source of the skimmers? Where would you be willing to go to save your own hometown?
- Compare these novels to other fantasy-adventure series you love. What makes a great fantasy novel?
Activities Inspired by the Series
Prediction is a great skill to hone. Good readers do it naturally while developing readers need to acquire the habit. Have students write predictions as questions at the end of each chapter. Remind them that predictions should be based on the logic of the story, they should be detailed, and it doesn’t matter if they turn out to be wrong. Discuss the predictions each day in pairs and also discuss whether previous predictions turned out to be accurate or not.
Using the monsters in the series as inspiration, write a description of another type of monster that could plague Rye and his companions. What elements make the most hideous monsters? How do you bring them to life in words?
Sketch your favorite scene from the book using pencil or colored pencils. In a brief paragraph, explain the scene’s significance to the story and why the setting appeals to you.
Other Books to Compare and Contrast
Bradford, Chris. The Way of the Warrior (Hyperion, 2011). Written by a black belt in taijutsu, the secret fighting art of ninjas, The Way of the Warrior brings the world of the Samurai to life through Jack Fletcher. To ensure his own survival and that of his friends, Jack must defeat the ninja Dragon Eye and execute the sword technique known as Two Heavens with mastery.
Cashore, Kristin. Graceling (Harcourt, 2008). Katsa is more than a girl in her realm, she’s a dreaded graceling, gifted with the ability to fight. Her uncle, the king, is using her gift to maintain absolute power over his realm. What he doesn’t know is that Katsa heads a secret council that offers justice over cruelty.
Dashner, James. Infinity Ring Book One: A Mutiny in Time (Scholastic, 2012). Three kids must save the future by traveling back in time with a magical device known as the Infinity Ring to help them. An ancient secret society known as the Hystorians reveal that history as they know it is off course. Can the three save the future by fixing the past? Can they stop Christopher Columbus from losing his life to mutiny?
Flanagan, John. The Ranger’s Apprentice (Philomel/Penguin USA, 2005). All his life, Will has dreamed of being selected for a knight during his fifteenth year as a ward of the castle. Instead, he’s chosen as an apprentice to the mysterious sect known as Rangers and begins his training in skills that will ultimately be used to try to save his master and the realm.
Gordon, Roderick & Williams, Brian. Tunnels (Chicken House/Scholastic, 2007). Will and Chester discover a whole Victorian society living under the modern streets of London. The citizens of this underground world are controlled by the mysterious Styx. The boys discover Rebecca, Will’s lost sister, and seek to find their missing father through the creepy series of caverns below.
Riordan, Rick. The Red Pyramid (Hyperion, 2010). Carter and Sadie are siblings who have been raised apart after their mother dies. Carter has traveled with their well-known Egyptologist father while Sadie was raised by her grandparents in London. Everything changes when their father releases five Egyptian gods by destroying the Rosetta Stone inside the British Museum. Now the two must unite to save not just their father, but the world, from Set’s evil plan.
Riordan, Rick. The Lost Hero (Hyperion, 2010). Three new demigod heroes, Jason, Piper, and Leo, are introduced to fans of the Percy Jackson series as they try to understand their new-found powers and defeat the cast of Greek Gods who plague their quest to save Queen Hera before Zeus himself loses power.
Rodda, Emily. Deltora Quest: The Complete Series (Scholastic, 2008). Millions of copies of the Deltora Quest series have been sold worldwide in eight separate volumes. This combines all the action into one book! Leif, Barda, and Jasmine must find the seven gems for the magic belt of Deltora to keep the evil Shadow Lord from invading and enslaving its people.
About the Author
Emily Rodda is the author of the New York Times bestselling Deltora Quest series, with more than eight million copies of her books in print. Winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Award (Younger Readers) a record five times, Emily lives in Sydney, Australia.
Discussion guide written by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.