WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the sixth book in the “Ranger’s Apprentice” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Will Treaty, a young Ranger in the kingdom of Araluen, wants to free his friend Alyss from a traitorous nobleman named Keren, who is keeping her imprisoned in Castle Macindaw. Macindaw is a fortress in Norgate Fief, a section of land protecting the northern border of Araluen from invasions by the Scotti warriors in the neighboring kingdom of Picta.

Keren wants to rule Norgate Fief. In order to gain power, he has poisoned his uncle, Lord Syron, who now lies near death in Castle Norgate. Keren also poisoned Syron’s son Orman, but he is recovering in Grimsdell Wood with the local healer Malcolm.

Will is the only authority figure who can oppose Keren and lay siege to Castle Macindaw. He finds some shipwrecked Skandian warriors who owe him a favor. Their leader, Gundar, agrees to fight with Will against Keren.

In Macindaw’s tower, Alyss waits patiently for Will to contact her. Keren has interrogated her numerous times. Since he uses a blue gemstone to hypnotize her, she always answers his questions truthfully. Alyss is a clever Courier, a diplomat who serves the king, so she keeps a lantern in her cell to send coded messages to Will in Grimsdell Wood. She also keeps a small vial of acid to slowly corrode the bars of her cell, day by day.

Will shoots a hollow arrow through Alyss’ window, an arrow containing a note and a small black pebble. Malcolm the healer says that if Alyss concentrates on the pebble instead of on Keren’s blue gemstone, she’ll be able to resist his influence the next time he tries to hypnotize her.

Will also hears that an unknown knight has been seen in the area, and when he goes to the local inn to investigate, he’s delighted to discover that the knight is his childhood friend Horace. Horace is a skilled knight sent by Crowley, the commander of the Rangers, and Halt, Will’s mentor, to aid Will in bringing down Keren. Horace understands siege techniques well, but doesn’t think that a fighting force consisting of himself, Will and 25 Skandian raiders will be enough to overthrow Keren’s men in Macindaw.

Keren comes to Alyss’ cell to question her, but by holding the black pebble and focusing her mind on Will’s image, she avoids being hypnotized. Keren thinks she’s in a trance when she hears that the Scotti general MacHaddish will arrive at Macindaw within a few days. Keren plans to allow the Scotti to invade Araluen so that he can get money and buy a title for himself.

Although Keren wants to back out of his plans for betraying his country to the Scotti, his poison finally kills Lord Syron. Now that he has actually murdered a relative, he doesn’t feel that the king of Araluen will forgive him. Alyss uses her signal lantern to tell Will about MacHaddish’s visit.

MacHaddish and a small group of warriors visit Macindaw to consult with Keren, and when they leave, Will attacks them. After a skirmish with the Scotti warriors, Will tracks a wounded MacHaddish through the woods and nearly loses in hand-to-hand combat with him. Horace arrives to help Will, and the two lead MacHaddish and a few other injured Scotti to the Healer’s Clearing, Malcom’s camp in the woods.

In order to get information from MacHaddish, Will asks Malcolm to arrange an unusual interrogation. Malcolm is a master of deception as well as a great healer, and he dresses up as the legendary sorcerer Malkallam in order to scare MacHaddish. Malcolm tells MacHaddish that a Scotti demon is loose in the woods.

Meanwhile, his assistants hide in the woods, using sound and light projections to display a demon’s head and other frightening illusions. Malcolm says that he will allow the demon to attack MacHaddish unless MacHaddish reveals all the battle plans that he made with Keren.

MacHaddish says that the Scotti, led by a man named MacFrewin, will come through the mountain pass from Picta in three weeks. They will occupy Castle Macindaw and use it as a base of operation. They intend to occupy all of Norgate Fief and then attempt to expand their reach throughout Araluen.

This information spurs Will into action. He knows he must occupy Castle Macindaw before MacFrewin arrives, or else the Scotti’s invasion will succeed. Will develops a plan for Malcom to distract Keren’s men with a scary illusion on one side of Castle Macindaw while the Skandians use ladders to scale the other side and sneak in.

Keren stops interrogating Alyss when he visits her cell. Instead, he begins chatting with her and discussing his problems. He brings up the fact that if the Scotti occupy Macindaw, she’ll be a prisoner for years. He offers his hand in marriage as an alternative to the slave’s life she would face with the Scotti. She turns him down, saying that she could never marry without love and could never love a traitor.

Will and Horace decide to attack Castle Macindaw at night. As the soldiers on the ramparts of Macindaw rush to watch Malcolm’s illusions in the forest, Will, Horace and the Skandians scale the opposite castle wall and start fighting. As the Skandians rout Keren’s men, Keren himself runs to Alyss’ tower. Will pursues him up the stairs, fighting off several soldiers in the process.

When Will arrives in Alyss’ cell, Keren has hypnotized her with his blue stone again. Keren orders Alyss to kill Will. Alyss is about to carry out the order, but Will confesses that he loves her, which snaps her out of the trance. Alyss throws her vial of acid in Keren’s face, and he stumbles and falls out of the tower’s window. Keren’s few surviving soldiers surrender, and the siege of Castle Macindaw is successful.

In the aftermath of the battle, Alyss spends some time recovering from the shock of nearly killing Will. Will frets that Alyss doesn’t remember that he confessed his love for her, or worse, that she does remember and won’t mention the incident because she doesn’t return his feelings. Alyss vaguely recalls Will saying he loved her, but she’s afraid it was only a dream caused by her own wishful thinking.

Orman regains his health and takes his place as lord of Macindaw again. Reinforcements arrive from Castle Norgate to help make sure that the Scotti don’t try to attack. With his assignment neatly wrapped up, Will prepares to return to Seacliff Fief, his original posting.

Orman sincerely thanks Will, Horace and Alyss for their services to Norgate Fief, and the three friends travel south. They reach a fork in the path, and Alyss travels to Castle Redmont, Horace to Castle Araluen and Will to the Gathering Ground to meet his Ranger mentors and report about the siege of Macindaw.

Will and Alyss both feel uncomfortable as they part ways, each of them having romantic feelings for the other and each thinking their feelings aren’t returned. When Will finishes meeting his mentors and returns to Seacliff Fief, he feels a deep sense of loneliness. His spirits rise when he receives a letter from Alyss that says that she hopes he loves her because she loves him as well. Overwhelmed with happiness, Will rushes to pack a bag and saddle his horse for a journey to Castle Redmont.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

Gundar believes there are spirits and wraiths in the forest. The Skandians reference Gorlog, one of their lesser gods. The Scotti believe in demons, and Will and Malcolm pretend that the soul-eating demon Serthrek’nish is coming to attack MacHaddish so he will divulge his secret battle plans.

Authority Roles

Will and Horace are both about 20 years old and as such have turned from protégés into leaders and authority figures in their own right. Both of them treat the people they command with understanding and compassion, and both strive to find peaceful solutions to problems. Halt, Will’s mentor, and Crowley, the commander of the Rangers, are wise men who respect Will’s skills and offer him valuable advice.

Profanity/Violence

The words h--- and d--n are used, along with midget, to describe Will’s short stature. God’s name is used in vain a few times.

MacHaddish is wounded in a skirmish and bleeds heavily from his arm. MacHaddish cuts Will with a knife. During the siege, arrows, swords and knives wound men. Buttle stabs Trobar, a learning-disabled man with a giant-like frame, with a sword. Buttle pierces Trobar’s side with the sword, then strikes at Trobar’s arm, cutting through skin, muscle and bone. Gundar throws an axe into Buttle’s back, killing him.

Alyss throws acid on Keren’s face, disfiguring him. He is killed when he falls out the window.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Alyss kisses Will.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

10 and up

Author

John Flanagan

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Group — 2007, Random House, Australia; 2008, Puffin Books, USA

Released

On Video

Year Published

2007

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!