The Icebound Land
Book three in the Ranger's Apprentice series
As unusual as it is, the most prominent character would be Will's master Halt. Even though the story revolves around Will's absence, a major turning point in the story is due to Halt. Halt is a dark man, but Will was like a lighter in his darkness. He used to be a man that was surrounded by his angst and seriousness, but Will showed him true happiness. Halt wasn't allowed to go after Will because there was a major criminal on the loose, but Halt couldn't take it much longer. He committed treason by publicly insulting the king and getting the banished from the kingdom. But his greatest sacrifice was getting discarded from the Rangers. His whole life rested on his loyalty and membership with the Rangers and by committing treason, he was ungracefully and shamefully kicked out of the Rangers. The Oak leaf was the symbol on a pendant that all great members of the kingdom of Araluen. Halt gave up this pendant and this showed how much he cared for Will.
The author uses a style that is similar to third person omniscient, but is still limited. What he does is he tells the story from each characters' perspective to help convey each of the characters' feelings and thoughts better without giving away to much. This makes you feel like you know everything that is going to happen, so when something unexpected happens, it adds more to the feeling of surprise. The multiple signs represent how each characters' view is represented.
A major part to the plot was Will's disapearence. The main conflict was between Will being gone and Halt trying to find him. Will was trying to escape from his Skandian master with his companion Evanlyn. His efforts were in vain and if it were not for Evanlyn, he would have died from his slave work. Meanwhile Halt wasn't having much luck either. After word spreads that Horace, the great knight apprentice, is with him and in Skandia, rouge knights from all over challenge him. Eventually, an ambush from a knight in the area render them totally defenseless and are taken captive. This suspense leads up to the next book.
The main theme behind The Icebound Land is that the right path might not be the easiest path to take. Halt demonstrates this by giving up his position in the kingdom for Will. The picture represents this because the two hands grasping each other represents how Halt is going to do what it takes to be with Will again.