Young Adult

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The Ruins of Gorlan

2006, John Flanagan


The Ruins of Gorlan is the first novel in the Ranger's Apprentice series written by Australian author John Flanagan. It was first released in Australia on 1 November 2004, and in the United States on 16 June 2005. Flanagan first conceived the world of the novel in a series of short stories he wrote for his son to incite his interest in reading. Ten years later, he decided to turn them into The Ruins of Gorlan, the first book in the Ranger's Apprentice series.

The Ruins of Gorlan was originally a set of short stories written by author John Flanagan for his son Michael to encourage him to read. Flanagan wrote one story each week for twenty weeks. About ten years later, Flanagan returned to these stories and decided to write them into a full-length novel. The character Horace was based on Michael's friend Jeremy, but in the original short stories Flanagan made Horace the villain. In the stories, Horace disappears after Will saves his life on the boar hunt, while in the novel, Flanagan was able to make Morgarath the main villain and "rehabilitate" Horace to keep him as a main character. Flanagan thought that the idea of a bully being bullied was a strong concept that was not in the original stories and was later incorporated into the novel. He planned this parallel storyline in Battleschool to develop and show how Horace could help Will through his "linear thinking". Flanagan was careful to make the distinction that Horace was not stupid, since he was, in fact, a straight thinker which helped balance Will's wild thinking. Will was based on Michael, and shared some of his physical attributes, including his small stature and agile movement. Most importantly, Flanagan wanted to show his son that there was an advantage to being small and that not all heroes have to be tall and muscular.

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