Septimus Heap, Book One: Magyk

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The Magyk Begins Here

Septimus Heap, the seventh son of the seventh son, disappears the night he is born, pronounced dead by the midwife. That same night, the baby's father, Silas Heap, comes across an abandoned child in the snow -- a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take her into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?

Curriculet Details
60 Questions
93 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This Curriculet, written for a sixth grade audience, includes text annotations that help the reader visualize setting and character, and prompt thinking about characteristics of the fantasy genre. Embedded videos explain protagonists and antagonists, and foreshadowing. Questions throughout the text explore plot development, vocabulary in context, and connections to other works of fantasy.

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1: Something in the Snow

A moat is a man-made body of water that is built around a castle for protection.  (This annotation contains an image)
Here is illustrator Mark Zug's interpretation of what the Ramblings might look like. Notice how it seems like a happy place. (This annotation contains a link)
Read the following passage from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis that describes how one of the main characters passes from the real world into a magical world that she didn't know existed.Looking into the inside, she saw several coats hanging up - mostly long fur coats. There was nothing Lucy liked so much as the smell and feel of fur. She immediately stepped into the wardrobe and got in among the coats and rubbed her face against them, leaving the door open, of course, because she knew that it is very foolish to shut oneself into any wardrobe. Soon she went further in and found that there was a second row of coats hanging up behind the first one. It was almost quite dark in there and she kept her arms stretched out in front of her so as not to bump her face into the back of the wardrobe. She took a step further in - then two or three steps always expecting to feel woodwork against the tips of her fingers. But she could not feel it. "This must be a simply enormous wardrobe!" thought Lucy, going still further in and pushing the soft folds of the coats aside to make room for her. Then she noticed that there was something crunching under her feet. "I wonder is that more mothballs?" she thought, stooping down to feel it with her hand. But instead of feeling the hard, smooth wood of the floor of the wardrobe, she felt something soft and powdery and extremely cold. "This is very queer," she said, and went on a step or two further. Next moment she found that what was rubbing against her face and hands was no longer soft fur but something hard and rough and even prickly. "Why, it is just like branches of trees!" exclaimed Lucy. And then she saw that there was a light ahead of her; not a few inches away where the back of the wardrobe ought to have been, but a long way off. Something cold and soft was falling on her. A moment later she found that she was standing in the middle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air.How is the fantasy world of Magyk different from the fantasy world described above? 
Why did Gringe look at the penny "as though it were a rather nasty beetle"? 
Click this link to listen to an audio sample of the text you just read. Think about how the experiences of reading and listening to the text were different.  (This annotation contains a video)
Silas is asking himself a series of questions. These questions are central to the development of the plot line. As you continue reading, pay attention to how these questions get answered. 
Compare and contrast the experiences of reading the text and listening to the audio. 

2: Sarah and Silas

The series is named after Septimus Heap, although his character seems to have died in the first chapter. As you read on, pay attention to who the protagonists and antagonists are.  (This annotation contains a video)
This story has many characters. Each time a new character is introduced, pay attention to the details that are given about that character and think about what role he or she might play in carrying the plot forward. 
A pontoon is a floatation device that can carry a heavy load. The cafe that Sally owns is floating in the river. Here is a picture of a modern day pontoon. (This annotation contains an image)
An Apprentice is someone who learns a skill or trade from a master craftsman. In this case, Silas was Alther's Apprentice in Wizardry. 
What news did Sally Mullen bring to Sarah? 
The author, Angie Sage, was asked why she chose to change the spelling of certain words in the text. Here is her answer: "When I first wanted to write about magic, I realised that I did not like the way the word looked. It reminded me of embarrassing magicians wearing fake moustaches and doing tricks with handkerchiefs and pulling coins out of people’s ears – not a good image. But I loved the old way of spelling magic: Magyck. I thought that was so much more mysterious and powerful, and gave magic back its dignity. So I took that spelling and changed it just a little to make it belong especially to Septimus’s world. And then I carried on doing that with words relating to Magykal and supernatural things. Many of the different spellings in Septimus Heap are in fact the old way of spelling these words. " 

3: The Supreme Custodian

Which technique is the author using to describe the items that are in the Heap's house? 
The battle between good and evil is a common theme in fantasy literature. Because the Heaps represent the "good" in this story, begin to notice the characteristics that the author describes that make them good. In this section, we can tell that the Heaps value learning and knowledge from their large collection of books. We can also tell that family is important to them, based on the way they have set the table for Jenna's birthday. As you continue to read, pay attention to the characteristics of the good and evil characters and how the author differentiates them. 
What is the author suggesting by saying that the Crown sits crookedly on the Supreme Custodian's head? 
Here is Mark Zug's idea of what the Supreme Custodian might look like. What does his facial expression tell you about his character?  (This annotation contains a link)
What can you conclude about how the Assassin is feeling? 
This story is told in third person point of view. Because the narrator can describe the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters and not just one, we describe this as omniscient, or all-knowing. What can you tell about each character's role in the story by reading what that character is thinking or feeling? 
A Necromancer is someone who uses magic to communicate with the dead.  
Without changing the meaning of the sentence, ungallant could be replaced with 

4: Marcia Overstrand

Here is Mark Zug's interpretation of Marcia Overstand. Her facial expression and body posture suggest confidence. (This annotation contains a link)
In the following paragraphs, the author will describe how the Ramblings have changed since the Custodians took over on day one. What does the description tell you about the Custodians? 
What are some of the ways that the Ramblings have changed since the Custodians took over on Day One? 

5: At the Heaps

Think about why Silas Heap's door did not open to Marcia Overstrand's command. As you read, pay attention to details that describe the relationship between Silas and Marcia. 
Here is Mark Zug's illustration of what the Heap's spying neighbor, Linda Lane might look like.  (This annotation contains a link)
The author is revealing Jenna's story through the following dialogue. Pay attention to the events that led the Princess Jenna came to live with the Heaps. 
In folklore from various regions of the world, including Ireland and United Kingdom, the seventh son of the seventh son is said to be granted magical powers.  
Summarize the events that led to Jenna coming to live with the Heaps. 

6: To the Tower

Here is a color illustration of the Wizard Tower done by Mark Zig. (This annotation contains a link)

7: Wizard Tower

In the fantasy genre, a common theme is growing up, or Coming of Age. As you read on, pay attention to how Jenna and the other characters mature and come of age in response to the events in the story. 
Select one quote from the beginning of this chapter that explains a magical element in the Wizard Tower. 
Fixing a hole in a sock is called darning. You can tell from Jenna's socks that her family was more likely to reuse socks over and over instead of throwing them away and getting new socks. (This annotation contains an image)
Who is Galen? 
Whose point of view is represented in this paragraph? 
You can tell by the context clues that the word, "begird" means to create a circle around something. 

8: The Rubbish Chute

What effect does the author achieve by repeating the phrase word past? 

9: Sally Mullin’s Cafe

"Eloping" means running away with a lover for the purpose of getting married. Obviously, Sally is mistaken in her interpretation. 
Why did everyone fall quiet? 
A quay is a landing place, especially one of solid stone, constructed along the edge of a body of water.  (This annotation contains an image)
The author, Angie Sage, has said that she based a lot of the fictional setting of this story on the real-life location of Cornwall England. Here is a picture of the landscape of Cornwall. You can almost picture where Sally might have stood as she watched the boat disappear into the night.  (This annotation contains an image)
The author is using foreshadowing to suggest the events to come.  (This annotation contains a video)

10: The Hunter

How does the author's word choice build tension in the beginning of this chapter? 
Without changing the meaning of the sentence, the word eluded could be changed to 
In this paragraph, the author is describing what the Hunter is doing by using long, slow sentences. Think about what this tone suggests about the Hunter. 
This description shows 

11: The Trail

A tankard is a type of mug that usually has a lid. It can be made of wood, metal, or ceramic. (This annotation contains an image)
What role did the Northern Traders play in advancing the plot forward? 
Think about the conflict between good and evil. In this paragraph, the Apprentice wants power, attention, and revenge. How do these qualities reflect the evil side of the conflict? 
The author most likely chose the word snaking instead of spreading to emphasize 

12: Muriel

A marsh is a type of wetland that can be found along lakes, rivers or streams. It is a transition between the water and land. Unlike swamps which have trees, marshes usually have grasses and reeds.  (This annotation contains an image)

13: The Chase

The author builds tension in this episode by describing how 
Words and objects in mirror image are in reverse. Make a prediction about how the spell might turn out.  (This annotation contains an image)

14: Deppen Ditch

Which two factors influenced the Hunter realizing the Muriel they had been chasing was a projection? 
Make a prediction about how the Apprentice's lack of Magykal talent might impact the plot. 

15: Midnight at the Beach

Pay attention to the news that Alther shares with Silas, Marcia and the children. How does this information advance the plot? 
Alther said all of the following EXCEPT 
Even though Alther is telling the story, he is speaking in the voice of a Wendron Witch. Instead of referring to himself in the first person using "I," "me,"and "my," he calls himself Alther Mella. 
When did DomDaniel say he would return? 
Fantasy stories often have imaginary creatures. As you continue reading, try to get a picture in your mind of the creature being described. 

16: The Boggart

The creature is speaking in a dialect - probably something similar to an English Cockney accent.  (This annotation contains a video)
A boggart is a creature commonly found in English folklore. A boggart causes mischief including souring milk and making dogs lame. J.K. Rowling also references bogarts as immortal shape-shifters in the Harry Potter novels. Tony DiTerlizz references boggarts as well in the Spiderwick Chronicles. 
By using the word balefully, the author is suggesting that the Boggart is 
A tussock is a small mound of grass or plant growth. (This annotation contains an image)
Describe how the Boggart was useful in helping Silas, Marcia and the children. 
Chapters 1-16 Quiz 

17: Alther Alone

Pay attention to how the author utilizes Alther's point of view to update the reader on plot elements in this chapter. 
Through Alther's point of view, you can see all of the following scenes EXCEPT 

18: Keeper’s Cottage

Think about if there is another reason why Jenna may have confused Boy 412 for her brother, Jo-Jo. 
Hurly-burly means 

19: Aunt Zelda

Think about why Boy 412 seems unsure of his surroundings. How is this setting different from the Young Army? How might the change in setting change Boy 412's outlook? 
Retell one story from the text that may have caused Boy 412 to be a "frightened-looking child." 
A haar is a fog that develops over the sea and is brought to the coast by winds. Here is a picture of a haar settling over a coastal village.  (This annotation contains an image)
What text evidence explains why Jenna is able to forgive Boy 412? 

20: Boy 412

Think about how the ring reacted when Boy 412 put it on his finger. What might this indicate about Boy 412? 
From what or who does Boy 412 feel free? 

21: Rattus Rattus

As you read on, pay attention to what a Message Rat does, and how he advances the plot forward. 
Which of the following statements is true of Message Rats? 
Stanley, the Message Rat, is having a flashback to what his wife Dawine told him. How might Dawnie's warnings preview future events involving the Message Rat? 
What are Silas's two reasons for returning to the castle? 

22: Magyk

When might this charm prove useful to Jenna as the plot moves forward? 
The word exasperation could be replaced with 
Marcia is sensing some strong Magyk in Boy 412. Can you think of a reason his Magyk might be so strong? 

23: Wings

A storm petrel is a type of bird.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does Boy 412 feel he has to lose? 
Do you think that Boy 412 has Magykal powers, or does all of his Magyk come from the ring he found? 

24: Shield Bugs

The word trepidation can be replaced with  
Make a prediction about how and when the Shield Bugs will be used. 

25: The Wendron Witch

Here is an illustration of the Wendron Witches, by Mark Zug. (This annotation contains a link)
Silas's conversation with Morwenna included 

26: Mid Winter Feast Day

The word sedate means calm, dignified, unhurried.  Which clues from the sentence help you determine this meaning? 
A moot is an assembly of people for a debate. 
A jerkin is a close-fitting jacket, usually without sleeves. It can be made of cloth or leather.  (This annotation contains an image)
Think about the theme of good versus evil. What does this interaction tell you about the nature of being on the "good" side? 
Here is what the illustrator, Mark Zug, imagines The Hoe in the Wall tavern to look like.  (This annotation contains a link)

27: Stanley’s Journey

As revealed in the dialogue between Stanley and Dawnie, which of the following facts did Dawnie have wrong? 
Now that Stanley is no longer a Confidential Rat, think about how his role in developing the plot might change. 
How will Stanley's interaction with Mad Jack influence the plot? 

28: The Big Freeze

Think back to a previous episode involving the five Northern Traders. You can infer that the Traders left earlier than expected due to their encounter with The Hunter. 
What word could replace trepidation in this sentence? 
Reread the description of Magogs and try to picture - or visualize - what they look like in your mind. 

29: Pythons and Rats

What can you infer about why the Marsh Python dislikes boots? 
Thaumaturgy and Sortilage are two words that mean magic or sorcery. 
The word abated could be replaced with 

30: Message for Marcia

Marcia wants to travel in the Midnight Minutes. Read on to see if this Magyk works for her. 
Select four words or phrases from the text that contribute to the hopeless tone of the paragraph. 

31: The Rat’s Return

In this sentence, Aunt Zelda is talking about the moon. Is there anything or anyone else in this story that has to leave in order to return? 

32: The Big Thaw

Thinking about the theme of good versus evil, what behavior has the DomDaniel displayed that could be considered evil?  
You can infer that a spot of bother means 
Which pair of words has the closest meaning to the word dejected? 
Who or what do you predict is approaching the cottage? 
What text evidence suggests how Aunt Zelda feels about the Boggart? 
Chapters 17-32 Quiz 

33: Watch and Wait

This is an example of what a boat with a wheelhouse looks like. Try to imagine Boy 412, Nicko, and Jenna as they stand guard on the chicken boat.  (This annotation contains an image)

34: Ambush

What does the series of short, one-sentence paragraphs show? 
Pay attention to how the Nicko, Jenna, and Boy 412 each react to their situation. What do their reactions tell you about their characters? 
What did Boy 412 do that shows he is on the side of good? 

35: Gone To Ground

Jenna and Boy 412 disagree about whether the ring is Magyk or Boy 412 is. Which character do you agree with? 
Something that is iridescent seems to change colors depending on the angle by which it is held. This rock is iridescent green. (This annotation contains an image)

36: Frozen

If the Apprentice really were Septimus Heap, that would mean that he has very special magical powers. Do you believe that what the Apprentice is saying is true? 

37: Scrying

"Gibbous" refers to a phase of the moon as it changes from new to full. Aunt Zelda thinks it is a good time to "scry," or to gaze into something for the purpose of seeing past or future. (This annotation contains an image)
The author uses italics to show that this scene is a flashback, which can be seen by scrying into the duck pond in the moonlight. 
You can infer that the Guard who made a joke about the Supreme Custodian's beard 

38: Defrosting

A rogue is a dishonest person or villain.  

39: The Appointment

The author most likely uses "thin as a snake" instead of "thin as a stick" to emphasize that the Apprentice 
Think about how the Apprentice is treating Bert. Is his behavior characteristic of a good character or an evil one? 
Select three words or phrases in the paragraph that contribute to the "uneasy" feeling that the Apprentice has.   
"Big head" has a double meaning in this sentence. It can refer to the literal size of the Apprentice's head, or the fact that he thinks he is better than everyone else. 

40: The Meeting

"Spot on" is a phrase that means "exactly correct." 

41: The Vengeance

The author includes the following dialogue, but does not indicate which character is speaking. As you read, try to determine which character is saying which quote based on what they are saying. 
Which character was initially unsure about going to rescue Marcia? 
You can infer that DomDaniel's wizard hats never fit him because he is unworthy of wearing them. 
Interlopers are intruders, or people who interfere with a situation. 

42: The Storm

The author is using personification to describe the boat.  (This annotation contains a video)

43: The Dragon Boat

Which context clue in this sentence shows that recalcitrant means uncooperative? 
Hieroglyphs are a system of writing in which a picture represents a word. Hieroglyphics were used in ancient Egyptian writing.  (This annotation contains an image)
Hotep-Ra is a fictional character invented by the author. His name comes from the real-life ancient Egyptian architect, Imhotep, and the Egyptian sun god, Amun Ra. This picture shows illustrator Mark Zug's idea of what Hotep-Ra might look like, (This annotation contains an image)
You can tell from the use of italics that this passage represents a memory, or vision of the past. 
Here is Mark Zug's illustration of Boy 412, Nicko, and Jenna afloat on the dragon boat.  (This annotation contains a link)

44: To Sea

The words "kicking, fighting and shoving" give a clue that the word melee means a confused fight. 
Which pair of words from these sentences mean the same thing? 

45: Ebb Tide

It is possible to use prefixes and root words to determine the meaning of the word, "cacophony." "Caco" is a Greek prefix meaning "harsh" or "bad." "Phone" means "sound." Is this a fitting word to describe the noise that the Brownies make? 

46: A Visitor

Which details from this passage support the idea that the Dragon Boat lay majestically? 
Galoshes are boots worn for sloshing around in mud and rain. What does this short sentence suggest about how Marcia feels about her new foot ware? (This annotation contains an image)

47: The Apprentice

Do you feel sorry for the Apprentice, or do you think he got what he deserved? 
In the fantasy novel The Fellowship of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien, the main character, Frodo also comes upon a ring with magical powers. The following words are inscribed on the ring:One Ring to rule them all,One Ring to find them,One Ring to bring them alland in the darkness bind them.How is the dragon ring different from the ring in the poem? 

48: The Apprentice Supper

Do you have any suspicious about who Boy 412 is? What evidences led you to make this conclusion? 

49: Septimus Heap

Think about what Septimus removing his red hat symbolizes. 
In many ways, the character of Septimus Heap has a lot of similarities to the character Harry Potter, created by J.K. Rowling. If you are familiar with the Harry Potter story, how does the highlighted quote applies both Harry Potter and Septimus Heap? 

What Aunt Zelda Saw in the Duck Pond

The text is in italics again, which indicates a vision or memory. Pay attention to what is revealed in this memory. 
Summarize how Septimus came to be Boy 412. 


Here is an illustration by Mark Zug of Mr. and Mrs. Gringe.  (This annotation contains a link)
Here is an illustration of Jannit Maarten's shipyard by Mark Zug.  (This annotation contains a link)
Chapters 33-49 Quiz 

About the Authors

Click here to learn more about the author, Angie Sage.  (This annotation contains a link)
Click on the link below to learn more about the illustrator, Mark Zug. (This annotation contains a link)