Year of the Griffin (Derkholm Series #2)

Year of the Griffin (Derkholm Series #2)

by Diana Wynne Jones


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Year of the Griffin (Derkholm Series #2) by Diana Wynne Jones

It is eight years after the tours from offworld have stopped. High Chancellor Querida has retired, leaving Wizard Corkoran in charge of the Wizards' University. Although Wizard Corkoran's obsession is to be the first man on the moon, and most of his time is devoted to this project, he decides he will teach the new first years himself in hopes of currying the favor of the new students' families—for surely they must all come from wealth, important families—and obtaining money for the University (which it so desperately needs). But Wizard Corkoran is dismayed to discover that one of those students—indeed, one he had such high hopes for, Wizard Derk's own daughter Elda—is a hugh golden griffin, and that none of the others has any money at all.

Wizard Corkoran's money-making scheme backfires, and when Elda and her new friends start working magic on their own, the schemes go wronger still. And when, at length, Elda ropes in her brothers Kit and Blade to send Corkoran to the moon . . . well . . . life at the Wizards' University spins magically and magnificently out of control.

This breathtakingly brilliant sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm is all one would expect from this master of genre.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064473354
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/07/2001
Series: Derkholm Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 353,166
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones (1934‒2011) wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books are filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Nothing was going right with the Wizards' University. When High Chancellor Querida decided that she could not change the world and run the University as well, she took herself and her three cats off to a cottage beside the Waste, leaving the older wizards in charge. The older wizards seized the opportunity to retire. Now, eight years after the tours ended, the University was run by a committee of rather younger wizards, and it was steadily losing money.

For forty years before that, the University had been forced to provide for Mr. Chesney's offworld Pilgrim Parties. Wizards had also been made to provide magical events for the tours. Tourists from the next universe had come in droves every year, expecting to have adventures with elves, dwarfs, dragons, and the powers of darkness, and most years this left the world laid waste. The wizards then had to put it straight for the next year. Mr. Chesney, whose orders were backed by a powerful demon, had been very strict in his requirements, and he had paid for this service in gold. When almost everyone in the world united to put a stop to the Pilgrim Parties, the payments naturally stopped, so it was small wonder that the University was short of funds.

"We need to make the place pay somehow," the Chairman, Wizard Corkoran, said anxiously at the beginning-of-term meeting. "We've raised the student fees again—"

"And got fewer students than ever," Wizard Finn pointed out, although to hear the shouts and the bang and scrape of luggage from the courtyard outside, you would have thought most of the world was currently arriving there.

"Fewer, yes," Corkoran said, looking atthe list by his elbow, "but the ones we have got must all come from very rich families, or they couldn't afford the fees. It stands to reason. I propose we ask these families for money, we could put up a plaque with their names on. People like that."

Wizard Finn shot a look at the lovely Wizard Myrna, who turned down the comers of her shapely mouth. The rest of the committee simply stared at Corkoran with different sorts of blankness. Corkoran was always having ideas, and none of them worked. The students thought Corkoran was wonderful. Many of them imitated his style of wearing an offworld necktie over an offworld T-shirt—both with pictures on-and did their hair like Corkoran in a wavy blond puff brushed back from the forehead. Quite a few of the girl students were in love with him. But then they were only taught by him, Finn thought gloomily. They didn't have to wrestle with his ideas of how to run a university.

"We can't afford a plaque," said Wizard Dench, the Bursar. "Even with all the fees paid, we can only just afford to pay the staff and buy food. We can't afford to mend the roofs."

Wizard Corkoran was used to Dench saying they couldn't afford things. He waved this away. "Then I'll float a commemorating spell " he said. "We can have it circling the Spellman Building or the Observatory tower-transparently, of course, so it won't get in the way." When nobody said anything to this, he added, "I can maintain it in my spare time."

Nobody said anything to this either. They all knew Corkoran never had any spare time. All the time he could spare from teaching—and much that he couldn't spare, too—went to his research on how to get to the moon. The moon was his passion. He wanted to be the first man to walk on it.

"That's settled then," said Corkoran. "Money's bound to pour in. If you just take my first-year tutorial group, you can see the possibilities. Look." He ran a finger down the list beside him. "There's King Luther's eldest son—he's Crown Prince of Luteria, and he'll own all sorts of land—Prince Lukin. And the next one's the sister of Emperor Titus. At least I believe she's his half-sister, but I'm sure we can prevail on the Empire to make a large donation: Then there's a dwarf. We've never had a dwarf before, but they all come from fastnesses stuffed with treasure. And there's this girl Elda. She's the daughter of Wizard Derk, who—"

"Er—" began Finn, who knew Elda quite well.

"Wizard Derk is a wealthy and important man," Corkoran continued. "Did you say something, Finn?"

"Only that Derk doesn't approve of the University," Finn said. It was not what he had been going to say.

"Obviously he changed his mind when he found his daughter had talent" Corkoran said, "or he wouldn't be paying for her to come here. All right. That's agreed then. Myrna, you're married to a bard. You know how to use Powers of Persuasion. You're in charge of sending a letter to the parents of all students who—"

"I,—er,—have another ideal" Wizard Umberto put in from the end of the conference table. Everyone turned to him hopefully. Umberto was quite young, rather fat, and almost never said anything. The general belief was that Umberto was a brilliant astrologer, except that he never said anything about his work. He went pink, seeing them all looking at him, and stammered. "Oh. Er. I think we should, well, you know, be able to set up a scheme to let people pay for magical information. You know, come from miles away to be told secrets."

"Oh, don't be silly, Umberto." said Wizard Wermacht. Wermacht was the youngest wizard there, and very proud of the fact. "You're describing just what we do, anyway."

"But only for students, Wermacht," Umberto stammered shyly. "I thought we could, er, sell everyone horoscopes and so forth."

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

Robin McKinley

I love Diana Wynne Jones. Read this book. Read all the other ones, too.

Megan Whalen Turner

Diana Wynne Jones chooses the most outlandish subjects and treats them with such aplomb that the reader never blinks. She always gives you characters you believe in from top to bottom and a world whose details you recognize inside and out. Her prose is transparent without ever being ordinary. Her humor is deft. All the worlds that Jones creates have her trademark integrity. -- Megan Whalen Turner

Lloyd Alexander

"I found Year of the Griffin filled with splendors and delights, sparkling plays of wit, and high flights of fancy—in short, Diana Wynne Jones at her best."

Reading Group Guide

Year of the Griffin

By Diana Wynne Jones

It's been eight years since the Wizards' University was rescued from the last of its Pilgrim Parties -- staged tours where paying participants visited frightening outer realms. But the school's problems are far from over. The buildings are falling apart, the staff and students are disgruntled, and the university is nearly broke. To top it off, the new first-year class includes a runaway prince, a golden griffin, a revolutionary dwarf, and a cast of others who are studying to become wizards while running for their lives. In this exciting sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm, six students must face their darkest fears and try to survive.

About the Author:

Diana Wynne Jones was raised in the village of Thaxted, England. She has been a compulsive storyteller for as long as she can remember, enjoying most ardently those tales dealing with witches, hobgoblins, and the like. She lives in England.

Questions For Discussion:

  1. Each of the six students comes to the University to learn about wizardry, but all but Elda must keep their studies a secret in order to stay out of danger. What risks do Felim, Ruskin, Claudia, Olga, and Lukin each face? Why is it worth it to them to risk the dangers ahead? How are the dangers they face similar?
  2. When Derk pays a visit to his daughter Elda, he explains that the faculty doesn't encourage creative thinking. He advises the students that "for every one way of doing things...there are usually ten more" and to "examine everything you're taught." What does he mean bythis advice? Why is examining what is taught important? When does it hurt the students to do so? Is it worth it to challenge what they have been taught? Why or why not?
  3. When the students attempt to create their own spells to protect Felim from assassins, each puts a piece of himself into the mix. What kind of spell would you create if you needed to protect someone? How would it work and how would it reflect who you are?
  4. By creating their own protection spells, the six students are breaking the University rules. When is it okay to break the rules, and when should they be obeyed? How do you know the difference?
  5. Elda is a griffin, which is a creature that is part eagle, part lion, and part human. Claudia is a mix of the Empire race and Marshfolk race. How does being of mixed-race heritage affect these students? Name an instance where they suffer from discrimination. Name an instance where having diverse backgrounds helps them.
  6. After Elda bravely carries Wizard Corkoran to capture the assassins, he plays the hero without giving her even a word of thanks. Elda aches from the work but also from the hurt of being treated badly by Corkoran. She says she suffers most from disillusionment. What does she mean by this? When have you ever felt disillusioned?
  7. Elda is very close to her parents and her siblings, who bond together to help save the University and their friends. On the other hand, Olga is embarrassed to be related to her father, an evil pirate, although she says she "still loves him, in a twisty sort of way." What does she mean by this? Are there other members of the group who can't get along with their families but still care for them? Why do they feel this way?
  8. After Olga and Lukin pretend to be engaged to make the deal with the dwarfs, Olga is angry with Lukin. Why do you think she is upset? When Lukin can't understand it, what do you think his friends mean by "if you don't know, we can't tell you"?
  9. Wizard Corkoran is never concerned with the effects of the spells or actions he produces -- he's only interested in making time for his own interests. On the other hand, Querida uses her wizardry to fix the problems of the past and make the world habitable again. Discuss how these wizards view their powers differently. How could Corkoran have prevented some of the problems that befell him if he had been more like Querida?
  10. Toward the end, Claudia and Lukin both resolve their jinxes. How do they do it? Do you think people create their own jinxes? Think of a jinx that you have that you might be able to solve by yourself.

Customer Reviews

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Year of the Griffin 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Jolliday More than 1 year ago
I read this book about a thousand times before I bought it. I've always wanted to own it and kept putting it off--but now that I have it, I'm not sorry. The story uses some of the characters from Dark Lord of Derkholm, but it is an entirely different kind of story. Instead of being large and epic, most of the action takes places within the walls of the Wizard's University. In fact, the book is a fairly accurate picture of what goes on at universities, especially for freshmen. And yet at the same time, Diana Wynne Jones manages to weave in magic so that it is an absolutely essential part of the story. If you're looking for a break from fantasy norms that is still grounded in old traditions, this book won't disappoint you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is AWESOME! When I finished 'Dark Lord of Derkholm' I didn't want to read this one. I was so depressed that it was over, and most authors can't pull off the second book. But Diane totally did it! I was mad that this book was only about Elda, I wanted Shona, Blade, Kit, Callette, Lydda, and Derk back! But Diane adds 5 kids that become Elda's friends, and they almost make you forget about the others! To make the book even better all our old friends come back and make appearances! This book is better than the first! I hope there's a sequal?
wizardsheart on LibraryThing 1 days ago
While not quite as wonderful as the first book, Dark Lord of Derkholm, it is still a worthy book by Dianna Wynne Jones.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I you frget about my character JP
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you know where gf part 18
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The house of the courageous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Diana Wynne Jones has been one of my favorite fantasy authors since I was very young. This book is a great sequel to the Dark Lord of Derkholm. Once you read one of her books, you will want to read more!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Dyanna Wynne Jones has writen many books, and by far my favorite have been The Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin. Evreything falls together in the plots, as as said before by other reviewers, even the tiny, miniscule details. The part with the assassins is hillarious!! ('You cannot let me drown in orange juice. It is not a manly death'). They show what happened to Kit, Callete, Blade, Don, Lydda, Shona, and even little Elda. It makes me want another sequel, if she wrote one that would be AWESOME!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book because the Dark Lord of Derkholm was so good. Plus this is also about griffins. It was even better then the first one! It is eight years after Dark Lord of Derkholm and Kit and Blade are some of the most powerful wizards in the world (no surprise there. They always seemed talented.) It is about Derk's griffin daughter Elda and her friends at Wizard's University as they struggle to survive their first year. This book is full of excitement, likeable characters, and it's kind of funny, too. GREAT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is even better than the first but the first also has my favorite character Kit they said that the is an adult book but thats only because they used big words. but its still the best book ive read all year
Guest More than 1 year ago
Diana Wynne Jones is amazing! I had only discovered her books last year, but after reading the Chronicles of Chrestomanci I went looking for more and more of her books! I loved this book and I'm dying for a sequel, or if there is one already, email me and tell me the name of it:).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the perfect sequel to The Dark Lord of Derkholm. It had everything anyone could want in a teen fantasy book: Comedy, A good plot, Great Charectors, Romance, and fantasy things. And it all fell together in the end, every last bit you thought was useless info. Diana Wynne Jones is a great author! Everyone should read this book! *Praise Diana!* Email me if you share my feelings about this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book, fantasy or otherwise, I have ever read . The ending was good and left me waiting for a sequal . The details were amaizing . And in the end, all those little details you never thought would be used fell together like a completed puzzle .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Inner Harry: What now im a wizard byatch) outer Harry: So im a wizard?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She flies in with a deer and drops it on the pile