Character Analysis: Robin Goodfellow


Puck, or Robin Goodfellow is most widely known from William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but this is not truly his first appearance, Puck has actually been around in English folklore as early as 1531. The name “Puck” first started as a representation of all mischievous sprites who lead villagers deep into faery if they stray from the path, and many believe “Robin Goodfellow” to be another name for Satan, though this is generally reserved for those with extremely active imaginations. Puck soon became the representation as the sole jester of the Fairy court, ruled over by Queen Titania and King Oberon; it is this representation in Shakespeare’s play that first grabbed my attention.

I was recently texting with Britt and Kiki and had mentioned that I had yet to read The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, my first question was, “Wait, is Puck a character?” Kiki responds with a “yes,” and I immediately text back, “sold.” That was really the point where I realized that there are some things in literature that are a sure thing for me, dragons, Celtic lore, and apparently, Puck.

I’m not sure what it says about me that one of my favorite characters in literature is one of the most mischievous and spiteful characters written, but some argue that he is simply playful and harmless so let’s go with that for the sake of saving some face – though as I am already team Slytherin and Lannister, I’m not sure there is any going back. I think my adoration of this character comes from the fact that though he is deemed a servant in the land of Faery, he is one of the cleverest beings there; he is cunning, witty and for the most part, extremely jovial and light hearted. I think I am particularly fond of his duality as he is mischievous but also endearing in the way he cares for some, predominately King Oberon, and Jack o’the forest, from R.F. Long’s The Treachery of Beautiful Things.

“I am that merry wanderer of the night.”

As a lover of Shakespeare I can’t write this post and not encourage you to read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In fact, I will even approve if you watch the movie because there is a 1968 version that stars Helen Mirren and Judi Dench! Or, if you want something more recent, there is another film version from 1999 starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Christian Bale, Calista Flockhart, and Stanley Tucci.

In literature, Puck has been represented in a few different ways, as I mentioned above, he is a character in The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. Puck is also a main character in The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long, The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley and has a brief appearance in Neil Gaiman’s representation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in his Sandman series. I adored this representation so much that I am ordering a print of the artwork featuring Puck to hang on my wall.


What a fun post this was, if you didn’t take part in our character analysis I would still love to hear from you about one of your favorite characters in literature. Additionally I would love to know if there are any representations of Puck that I am missing in literature or media!

Review: The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

TreacheryofBeautifulThings_JKT.inddTitle: The Treachery of Beautiful Things

Author: Ruth Frances Long

Publishing Information: April 16, 2012, Dial Books

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Fairytale

Series information: Standalone!

Format: Hardcover, 363 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Fans looking for a magical tale about love, jealousy, mischief, and happy endings.

As Jenny and her brother Tom were walking through the woods on their way home one day, her brother was taken by the woods. That’s right, he wasn’t abducted in the sense you would think, but quite literally, the woods reached out and swallowed him whole. Before Jenny is able to leave for college she comes to the conclusion that she must make peace with the woods, so she travels back to the place where her brother was taken, and is then taken by the woods herself.

Thankfully (in my opinion) Jenny finds herself in the land of faerie and finds that her brother is now a grown man, and the lover of Queen Titania. Jack and Puck (yes – that Puck) do their best to convince her to leave the wood but she refuses, determined to rescue her brother before leaving. Thankfully she is not on her own as Jack and Puck realize that she isn’t leaving and therefore do their best to keep her safe.

I loved these characters. Jenny was determined and intelligent, but also flawed. She found herself in trouble and did her best to finagle her way out of tricky situations but I found her distress believable as she did need saving on more than one occasion. Jack o’ the forest was quite possibly my favorite. He was complicated in the sense that he believed (and some could argue) that he was not the hero of a tale, but a man bound by duty who did not always fall on the pure side of the line. Additionally, I found their romance to be believable and fun to watch unfold. It wasn’t instantaneous, but sweet and not without fault. More importantly, though the novel didn’t revolve around their romance, it was still a subtle, yet important aspect and fleshed out the novel beautifully. I was particularly fond of Puck, who you may remember from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He was the same mischievous, and fun character that I remembered but I found him to be more layered in this novel. I don’t know what it is but when he did something “good” I found my heart skip a beat a little. I liked what the author did with her secondary characters, Tom was extremely interesting in how his music took an important role in creating his character. Titania was fiercer and slightly more evil than I remember (for reasons I can’t divulge here), she was more in charge of Oberon, who truly just seemed to love the queen and be at a loss on what to do with (and without) her.

“Beware a kiss, he told her. Kisses are powerful things. You expose part of your soul.”

It is really not question that I was bound to adore The Treachery of Beautiful Things. I mean, lets be serious, any novel that has characters from Shakespeare’s plays is bound to be an Alyssa book, not to mention the swoons, and hello? The whole thing takes place in a forest. I LOVE FORESTS. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I loved the book for those reasons but I am no fool, there has to be some uniqueness in a novel for me to have full out adoration, and friends, The Treachery of Beautiful Things has all of those things! The fey world was beautiful, intricate, and at times a tad creepy, the characters were layered and interesting, not once was I bored while reading throughout this novel. I do have to be up front here and say that though I did appreciate the way the novel ended, it wasn’t how I pictured it in my mind, nor was it the ideal ending that I had hoped for. That isn’t to say it wasn’t appropriate or lovely, because it definitely was.

Ruth Frances Long writes glorious prose, she has an innate ability to weave words together to create something magical and I can hardly wait to see what she write next, though I must admit I would like some more Jack, please!!

Review: Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay

Title: Romeo Redeemed

Author: Stacey Jay

Publishing Information: October 9, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings

Series information: Book 2 in the Juliet Immortal Series

Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

Source: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Fans of Shakespeare, romance, and tragic heroes


Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart (Via Goodreads).

Warning! There will almost definitely be spoilers for Juliet Immortal in this review, be wary as you read! Also, if you haven’t read Juliet Immortal, go ahead and read it because it’s quite lovely. 

Romeo is dying. Actually, dying is an understatement because in actuality he is beginning to decay from the inside and it really isn’t pretty. As his body decays, his mind still holds the guilt for every bit of turmoil he realizes he forced Juliet into. You see, back when Romeo and Juliet lived in Verona, back when he tricked her into killing herself, he really thought he was saving her. He trusted The Friar and believed he was helping Juliet escape from a life of shame and exile. The Friar lied to Romeo and told him that Juliet was going to be living free from sin in Heaven. Unfortunately we know this is not what happened and it was through Romeo’s actions that Juliet suffered.

Finally, after Juliet’s (second) demise, Romeo is given a chance at redemption. He must save Ariel, yes the same Ariel whose body Juliet inhabited in Juliet Immortal, and turn her from the darkness she is slowly falling into. The irony and complication in this task is that Romeo is inhabiting Dylan’s body and in order to save her from the darkness, he must make her fall in love with him. Those of you who remember Dylan from book one can grasp the severity of this cause as Dylan is a jerk (to say the least) and Ariel has an extremely hard time trusting him. The worst part? Romeo has three days. Three days to turn Ariel into a trusting individual, Three days to make Ariel love him, and three days to save them both.

I’m going to be honest here, I really love tortured male leads. I love the whole “I am not worthy” and the angsty, long-haired, “I have a serious edge but really I will snuggle your cat when you’re not looking” kind of guy. It’s just my thing. So Romeo? He’s my kind of dude. He is apparently Ariel’s kind of dude as well because it doesn’t take long for her to fall for him too, and let me tell you Ariel was quite the character herself. In fact, one of my favorite things about this novel was the characterization of Ariel. She had some major STUFF going on in her head yet she was still written like a teenage girl filled with “normal” teenage insecurities. There were moments in the story where there was no doubt in my mind that she and Romeo were destined to be together and it was not because of their mutual goodness. Instead, Ariel stood out at times as a perfect match to Romeo’s dark nature, she was quite kick-ass, and at times, a tiny bit scary. I really fell into their romance, they were even more passionate and “meant to be” than Juliet and Ben from book one and I adored the way that one played out.

“Set me as a seal on your heart,” I whisper against her lips. “For love is as stong as death.”

Juliet Immortal was full of some plot twists, most of which I saw coming. The glorious difference in Romeo Redeemed was that I really didn’t see the twists in plot, and character, coming. I was happily surprised at how things progressed and I really loved the way the novel concluded. The ending in this novel was in no way a rushed epilogue but things progressed a little slower and unfolded in a really wonderful way.

It is often that I enjoy sequels more than book one in a series. In the case of Romeo Redeemed I can’t say that I enjoyed the sequel more simply because for me the novel worked as a wonderful compliment to Juliet Immortal, not so much a continuation of story but more of a necessary companion. The duality between book one and two was apparent and in retrospect I really can’t see reading one without the other. Romeo Redeemed was a delicious read, it was equal parts of romance and intrigue and I highly recommend you give it a chance.

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

Happy 448 birthday, William Shakespeare!
William Shakespeare
April 23, 1564 – April 23, 1616
Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare,
To digg the dvst encloased heare.
Bleste be ye man yt spares thes stones,
And cvrst be he yt moves my bones.
Four centuries after he wrote them, the works of William Shakespeare continue to entertain and intrigue audiences around the world. Shakespeare’s genius permanently shaped the English language, while his knowledge of the human mind and heart speaks to us across the years. Love him or hate him, it is no question that he remains one of the most influential writers in the English language.
Those who know me know I am a little in love with Mr. William Shakespeare. I was lucky enough to be in DC last year and spent a luxurious amount of time in the Folger Shakespeare Library. I had hoped to go back this year for William’s birthday celebration but alas! I am burdened with responsibilities!
Thankfully, you’re not here to be burdened by anything, so let’s focus on the fun…
First, some fun facts about Shakespeare:

1. Nobody knows Shakespeare’s actual birthday. Scholars think he was born on April 23, 1564, three days before his baptism was recorded at a church in Stratford, England. Strangely enough, his death in 1616 also occurred on April 23.

2. As far as we know, he never went beyond grammar school, probably finishing in his early to mid-teens. In those days, grammar school was way more advanced than now: Students learned Latin, math and religion; they read classical literature and studied using a hornbook (paper glued to a piece of wood and covered with clear animal horn)

3. Shakespeare applied to the College of Heralds for a coat of arms for his father. A coat of arms was a symbol of higher rank in British society. The Shakespeare family’s coat of arms has a spear in the middle and a falcon on top. Shakespeare inherited the coat of arms when his father died and was then permitted to call himself a gentleman.

4. Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway, had three children: Susanna and twins Judith and Hamnet. The twins were named after neighbors who named their son William. Although Hamnet died at age 11, his name lives on: It was sometimes written as Hamlet, the title of one of his father’s greatest characters and plays. Shakespeare’s last descendant, a granddaughter, died in 1670.

5. “Shakespeare” was spelled 80 different ways, including “Shaxpere” and “Shaxberd.”

6. Shakespeare is the most translated author ever. His work is read in at least 80 languages, including Chinese, Italian, Armenian, Bengali, Tagalog, Uzbek and Krio (spoken by freed slaves in Sierra Leone).

7. Shakespeare is thought to have written 39 plays. About half were printed in small booklets before his death. But some of his most famous works, including Macbeth and Julius Caesar, were not printed in his lifetime. They would not have been handed down to us had not two men in Shakespeare’s acting company—John Heminge and Henry Condell— printed 36 of his plays in a book called the First Folio. When the book was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, it sold for 1 British pound (several hundred dollars in today’s money). One sold in 2006 for nearly $5 million.

8. While most people regularly use about 2,000 words, Shakespeare used more than 25,000 in his writing.

9. If you do a Google search on “Shakespeare,” you get more than 44 million results.

10. Did Shakespeare really write Shakespeare? Some people think that other authors wrote the works credited to him. This is a debate that likely will continue.

Originally appeared in “10 Ways To Be Or Not To Be A Shakespeare Expert” in the Washington Post by Ellen Edwards.

“You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!”

Who doesn’t love Shakespearean insults? Click here to generate your own!
Let’s not forget about those book to movie adaptations! Personally, Shakespeare in Love was my favorite though I know many who would argue that Romeo and Juliet starring a young Leo is the best. What we have all agreed on thus far however is that the newest movie to bring the bard to the big screen was a big ‘ol flop and had me throwing popcorn at the screen! Anonymous, you remain a thorn in my side and frankly I want those two hours of my life back. Now it is nearly impossible to talk about Shakespearean films without talking about Kenneth Branagh (yes, I do mean Gilderoy Lockhart for those Harry Potter fans.) He is a master and his adaptations are probably my favorite Shakespearean films ever!
Want to learn more about William Shakespeare?
Check out this amazing Wiki filled to the brim with all things Shakespeare!
Or, check out these resources:
Shakespeare: A Life by Honan Park
How are you celebrating the Bard’s birthday?

Review: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Title: Juliet Immortal

Author: Stacey Jay

Publishing Information: August 9, 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance Retelling

Series information: Book 1 in the Juliet Immortal series

Format: Hardcover, 307 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Fans of Shakespeare looking for a stronger heroine than Juliet Capulet

“She will fight for light, and he for dark, 
Battling through the ages for love’s sweet spark. 
Wherever two souls adore truly, you will find them, lo, 
The brave Juliet and the wicked Romeo.” 
             – Medieval Italian ballad, author unknown
Juliet Capulet didn’t take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, who made the sacrifice to ensure his own immortality. But Romeo didn’t anticipate that Juliet would be granted eternal life as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For seven hundred years, Juliet has struggled to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent, while Romeo has fought for the dark side, seeking to destroy the human heart. Until now.

Now Juliet has found her own forbidden love, and Romeo, O Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy their happiness.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am madly in love with both William Shakespeare and strong female characters. Shakespeare writes many strong female characters into his works but in my opinion Juliet Capulet is not one of them. Many of you are thinking of the way in which she defies her family to be with her one true love and when she finds him dead she takes her own life, defiant = strong, right? Wrong! Eek, Willie you had me up until that point…though I can imagine the grief and utter loss Juliet felt at seeing Romeo dead I can’t help but want to slap her in the face with some reason! You are on the brink of womanhood! There are other fish in the sea! “There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours.” (Princess Bride, anyone?) But alas, I was not there to slap some sense into young Juliet so she falls dead by her own hand…or does she?!

Juliet Immortal is a completely warped and amazing tale of Romeo and Juliet in which Juliet does not die but is killed by Romeo to ensure immortality and entrance into the Mercenary ranks as an emissary of darkness. Romeo’s plan is thwarted however when Juliet is also granted an immortal life in which she spends eternity as Romeo’s enemy. Their assignments puts them into the bodies of two mortals on earth, Romeo’s job is to convince lovers into killing one another, while Juliet is there to ensure that they remain in love and eventually reach the point of “true” love. This assignment is different from the moment Juliet, trapped in the teenage girl Ariel’s body, meets Ben. Juliet fights her nearly overpowering feelings for Ben because she soon finds out that the two lovers she is meant to save are Ariel’s best friend Gemma and her new boyfriend, Ben. Meanwhile, Romeo is going out of his way to try and woo Juliet and it seems that he really does love her despite his crazy. He senses something is different about this trip as well and does his best to warn Juliet of impending danger. She attempts to stick to her mission until her feelings for Ben take over and she has no choice but to let true love take over. This eventually leads to a pretty awesome ending that I kind of saw coming, but loved anyway.

The author totally rewrites the Juliet character into a character that I LOVE, she is strong and sees that her love for Romeo 700 years prior was just teenage fantasy. In short, I want to high five this Juliet and not slap her! I also really loved Romeo, he was totally the semi-crazy bad guy that was also secretly sweet and just yum. It was also so cool how Stacey Jay alluded to Mr. Willie Shakes and his part in the original story..

“That horrible play. That contemptible, lying play he helped Shakespeare pen all those hundreds of years ago when he first twisted our story to fit his agenda. It worked far too well. Shakespeare’s enduring tragedy did its part to further the goals of the Mercenaries – glamorizing death, making dying for love seem the most noble act of all, though nothing could be further from the truth. Taking an innocent life – in a misguided attempt to prove love or for any other reason – is a useless waste.”

When I first read this I thought that it was a standalone novel but after perusing through Stacey Jay’s website it looks like a sequel titled Romeo Redeemed will be coming out this year! I am pretty intrigued to see where Jay takes Romeo and I am excited to see him in a softer light.