JESSICA DAY GEORGE
h Whenever Castle Glower became bored, it would grow a new room or two. It usually happened on Tuesdays, when King Glower was hearing petitions, so it was the duty of the guards at the front gates to tell petitioners the only two rules the Castle seemed to follow. Rule One: The throne room was always to the east. No matter where you were in the Castle, if you kept heading east you would find the throne room eventually. The only trick to this was figuring out which way east was, especially if you found yourself in a windowless corridor. Or the dungeon. This was the reason that most guests stuck with Rule Two: If you turned left three times and climbed through the next window, youâ€™d end up in the kitchens, and one of the staff could lead you to the throne room or wherever you needed to go. Celie only used Rule Two when she wanted to steal a 1
treat from the kitchens, and Rule One when she wanted to watch her father at work. Her father was King Glower the Seventy-ninth, and like him, Celie always knew which way was east. And also like him, Celie truly loved Castle Glower. She never minded being late for lessons because the corridor outside her room had become twice as long, and she certainly didn’t mind the new room in the south wing that had a bouncy floor. Even if you could only get to it by climbing through the fireplace of the winter dining hall. King Glower the Seventy-ninth, on the other hand, valued punctuality and didn’t enjoy being late for dinner because the Castle had built a new corridor that ran from the main hall under the courtyard to the pastures, and all the sheep had wandered inside to chew the tapestries. He also didn’t particularly like waiting for hours for the Ambassador of Bendeswe, only to find that the Castle had removed the door to the ambassador’s room, trapping the man inside. Of course, the king had to admit that there was usually some strange logic to the Castle’s movements. The Ambassador of Bendeswe, for instance, had turned out to be a spy, and the sheep . . . well, that had all been mere whim; but there was still logic to be found if you looked hard enough. King Glower admitted this freely, and he made it clear that he respected the Castle. He had to; otherwise he would no longer be king. The Castle didn’t seem to care if you were descended from a royal line, or if you were brave or intelligent. No, 2
Castle Glower picked kings based on some other criteria all its own. Celie’s father, Glower the Seventy-ninth, was the tenth in their family to bear that name, a matter of tremendous pride throughout the land. His great-great-greatgreat-great-great-great-great-grandfather had become king when Glower the Sixty-ninth’s only heir had turned out to be a nincompoop. Legend had it that the Castle had repeatedly steered the old king’s barber to the throne room via a changing series of corridors for days until the Royal Council had him declared the next king, while the young man who should have been Glower the Seventieth found himself head-down in a haystack after having been forcibly ejected from the Castle through the water closet. King Glower the Seventy-ninth, Lord of the Castle, Master of the Brine Sea, and Sovereign of the Land of Sleyne, knew when to leave well enough alone. He married the beautiful daughter of the Royal Wizard when the Castle guided them into the same room and then sealed the doors for a day. He paid attention when the Castle gave people larger rooms or softer chairs. When his older son, Bran, kept finding his room full of books and astrolabes, while his second son Rolf’s bedroom was moved next to the throne room, King Glower sent Bran to the College of Wizardry, and declared Rolf his heir. And when little Celie was sick, and the Castle filled her room with flowers, King Glower agreed with it. Everybody loved Celie, the fourth and most delightful of the royal children. 3
Read the first chapter of a magical series from Jessica Day George about a castle that can build itself . . . and the children who will defe...