About The Iron Trial
Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail. All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him. So he tries his best to do his worst—and fails at failing. Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future. The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come.
- What does Sarah carve into the ice before she dies? What does it mean? How do her words shape Call’s life?
- Who was Verity Torres and why is she important to the Magisterium and its history?
- Call makes it hard for someone to be his friend. Why does he do this? Cite three examples from The Iron Trial to back up your answer.
- The themes of teamwork, uniqueness, and friendship are found throughout The Iron Trial. Cite two instances of each of these themes and why each one is central to the story.
- What is a Makar? How does someone become one?
- Call fails at failing the Iron Trial. How does this make him feel? Why does Master Rufus choose him as one of his apprentices even though he comes in last place in the Iron Trial?
- Identify the character who says: “Who would desire to be human? Human hearts break. Human bones shatter. Human skin can tear.” What does this statement mean and why is this person important to Master Rufus?
- How does Call’s experience of living with his leg injury make him a better magician? Does it ever hinder him? If so, how?
- What qualities make Call, Tamara, and Aaron good friends for each other?
- Who is Constantine Madden? How does his legacy affect the Magisterium?
- On more than one occasion, the Masters at the Magisterium say: ”Without focus, power is nothing.” What do they mean by this statement?
- Master Rufus threatens to bind Call’s magic. Explain what it means to bind someone’s magic. What circumstances would cause the Masters to do such a thing?
- What is an elemental? How does someone or something become an elemental?
- The Iron Trial ends with a big twist. What is the twist? Look through the book again and find three times this twist is foreshadowed.
About The Copper Gauntlet
In the second installment in the New York Times bestselling series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, The Magisterium, Call and his friends discover that the Alkahest—a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic—has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes—and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.
- Describe Call and Alastair’s relationship. How does it change over the course of the story?
- Citing passages from The Copper Gauntlet to back up your answer, how does Call feel about his true identity? How is this both a good and bad thing for Call?
- Why is the Alkahest so valuable to the Magisterium?
- Call does not want his friends to get hurt or even die because of him, yet he lets them join him when he leaves the Magisterium to find Alastair. Why does he agree to let them come? Is Call a better magician with or without them? Why or why not?
- The theme of loneliness is prevalent throughout The Copper Gauntlet. List three characters who are lonely and explain why each one feels this way.
- Explain how a magician can become Devoured. How does Call rationalize that being Devoured may not necessarily be a bad thing?
- How is Call and Tamara’s friendship in jeopardy in The Copper Gauntlet? How did they resolve this?
- Call gets angry with Tamara for lying to him, yet he lies to Tamara. Are either of their lies justified? Why or why not? Is one of their lies more acceptable than the other?
- Using information found in the book, explain how the Chaos-ridden came to exist. Are they good or evil? What happens if they aren’t controlled? If they cause destruction should they be punished? Why or why not?
- While practicing with elemental magic, Master Rufus tells Call to “always control the circumstances. Other people will react to them, but if you control them, you’ll have the upper hand.” What does Master Rufus mean by this statement? Give an example from the book of Call controlling the circumstances around him. How does Call find out that he, like Aaron, is a Makar?
- Choose one theme that runs through both books and explain how it emerged in The Iron Trial and how it continues to evolve in The Copper Gauntlet.
- Why does Jasper tell the Assembly what he does at the end of the book?
- What do you think will happen in the next book in the Magisterium series?
- The Magisterium series is told from Call’s point of view. Choose one scene from the series and rewrite the chapter from another character’s point of view.
- The elements—fire, water, earth, air and chaos are featured throughout the Magisterium series. Create your own symbols for these elements and explain why you chose each design.
- Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have created a very detailed world in the Magisterium books. Pretend you are a Hollywood producer turning this series into a movie. List all of the characters from the books and write down a real person—someone you know or someone famous—you would cast for each one. Describe, in pictures or in words, your set design, and then compile a music playlist for your movie. Finally, create a poster and tagline advertising your movie. Present your movie production plans to the class.
- Two authors—Holly Black and Cassandra Clare—co-write the Magisterium books. Collaborate with a classmate and write a short story featuring at least one character or event from the books. Share your stories with the class.
Discussion Points Common Core Connections
The Discussion Points address the following Common Core State Standards for Reading Literature.
Key Ideas and Details — Grades 3–7 RL.1–3
Craft and Structure — Grades 3–6: RL.4–6; Grade 7 RL.6
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas — Grade 4: RL.7; Grades 4–7: RL.9
Range of Reading Level of Text Complexity — Grades 3–5: RL.10
Extension Activities Common Core Connections
The Extension Activities address the following Common Core State Standards for Reading Literature.
Text Types and Purposes — Grade 3: W.1–3a; Grades 4–6: W.1–3e; Grade 7: W.7.1–1c, 2–2d, 3–3e
Production and Distribution of Writing — Grades 3–5: W.4–6; Grade 6: W.4–5; Grade 7 – W.4–6
Research to Build and Present Knowledge — Grade 3: W.7–8; Grades 4–5: W. 7–9b; Grade 5: W. 7–9b;
Grade 6: W. 7–9; Grade 7: W.7–9a
Speaking and Listening:
Comprehension and Collaboration — Grade 3: SL.1, 2, 3–5; Grade 4: SL.1–2; Grade 5: SL.1–1d; Grade 6:
SL.1–2; Grade 7: SL.1
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas — Grade 4: SL.4–6; Grades 5–7: SL. 4–5
About the Authors
Holly Black is the bestselling author and co‑creator of the bestselling The Spiderwick Chronicles series and won a Newbery Honor for her novel Doll Bones. Her other books include The Good Neighbors graphic novels, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Curseworkers series, and the novels Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside. Find Holly on Twitter @hollyblack.
Cassandra Clare is the author of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, two bestselling young adult series. A major feature film, City of Bones was created from the eponymous first novel in The Mortal Instruments series. Born overseas, she spent her early years traveling around the world with her family. You can follow her on Twitter @cassieclare.
Discussion guide prepared by Mary Kate Doman, Children’s and Young Adult Book Consultant, Author, and Professor.