Blog Archives

Big News from Jennifer Nielsen and Muggle Quidditch

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

So first of all we got a very kind note from Jennifer Nielsen…

Okay, so I really love this. What an awesome idea and the map already looks very cool. It’s a sad thought that AFFL is coming to a close, but with you in charge, I have no doubt that your next group will be even greater.


For Kenna and Abby, what I’ve done is come up with 25 names they can use for the map, placed however they think is best. I’ll leave it to your group to come up with other place names. Sometimes it’s helpful to go to an actual map and see how other places name their towns. Also, think about the personalities of the different countries and that can help in determining the sound of the names.


If it’s helpful, know this about the countries:


Bymar tends to be a very good country. It has limited resources but is loyal to its friends. They are a reliable ally.

Gelyn is not a war making country, but they are highly motivated by trade and finances. Their part in the war was to secure access to the northern border of Carthya to widen their trade routes.

Avenia are war mongers, thieves, and pirates. If modern day thieves and gangs started a country, this would be it.

Carthya is rich in resources and has traditionally been safe due to its friendship with Bymar and Mendenwal. It is probably more philosophically advanced, though has not been militarily prepared over the last generation.

Mendenwal is large in area and resources. It is a financially strong country and more advanced in their technology. However, with an aging king, they are due for big changes in the future. 


So here are the place names I’ve come up with. If I ever continue this series, be aware that I may end up using these. And I would love to see your finished map that includes names you’ve come up with as well. Thank you for letting me be a part of this project!


These are the numbers for each country that we need names for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABymar – 4 (Lyneth, Odella)

Gelyn – 11 (Borsten, Grymshuck, Dinari, Kellinton, Tickabinga)

Avenia – 14 (Devil’s Hook, Pockit, Batchtown, Crew Haven, Corkscrew)

Carthya – 7 (Ashvale, Wynwood, Sunchester, Rowbury)

Mendenwal – 34 (Lowenthal, Eekenbleek,  Shapper’s Glen, Harrenshade, Fidelio, Balystook, Vendingham, Twinbridge, Racketts)



Best wishes,


Jennifer Nielsen

How about that?


The other big news is our Muggle Quidditch game that we will play next Wednesday.  AFFL will play under the name The Purple Puffskeins.  I have attached a note to help parents understand what we are up to and invite you all to a celebratory/victory trip to Goodberrys.

SMS Guys Read Muggle Quidditch End of the Year Spectacular

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Read on,

Mr. H


The Battle of Falstan Lake

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

Yesterday we had another AFFL meeting and attempted another round of our Shadow Throne Tracking Challenge.  Depending on your point of view it either went extremely well or extremely bad.  I chose a member called Travis to run out and hid somewhere on campus.  We only gave him four minutes, as we thought it would allow us to catch up to him easier than the eight minutes we gave Rachel the first time we tried this game.  The shorter time did not seem to help us, as we did not find Travis until after our club meeting was over 40 minutes later!   I’m still not convinced that Travis was ever planning on coming out of his hiding place.

But here are few shots from his point of view in the best spot to hide ever…

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Oddly haunting aren’t they?

After giving up the hunt for Travis we decided to try one quick round of our Battle of Falstan Lake idea.  I have to say that I am really proud of this idea and in the first attempts it seems to have worked out fairly well.  I’m sure you have all read The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen, if not go read the whole Ascendance Trilogy right now, if you have I hope you remember the Battle of Falstan Lake.

Here is an introduction to what we were up to in this challenge…

And here is a video of a few of our early attempts to blow the dam…

Now I also tried to capture some of the throws using the slo-mo tool on my camera phone.  I then went about attempting to make a video with those files at home. It seemed to work, but then my computer froze and I lost the video.  But don’t despair, I tried again and have some great footage from our Grand Finale.  Check it out…

So we had some fun, well all except Travis, who won the Tracking Challenge but spent the meeting staring at the back side of a bush.

See you next week.

Read on,

Mr. H

Shadow Throne Tracking Challenge

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

At our last AFFL meeting we attempted our second try at a tracking game based on The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen. In the story a few characters have to track Amarinda through the woods. We have adapted that scene to fit our AFFL sensibilities.

Check out our video of this attempt.  You will find we need to amend the rules just a touch, or spend some time in tracking school.

Next week we are going to try again with another AFFL member hiding and the rest of us hunting.  I hope it will work just a tad better with the few tweaks we are working on.

We are also working on a challenge based on the Battle of Falstan Lake, also from The Shadow Throne.  Check back soon to see what we get up to.

Read on,

Mr. H

Ascendance Trilogy Cover Challenge

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

As we begin The Shadow Throne, or book three in the Ascendance Trilogy, I thought we would look at the different versions of the covers.  Take the following poll and share your thinking.


Mr. H