'The Drowned Woods' Book Club Readalong Day 1!

By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @a.o.tales

Welcome to the first day of our book club readalong for OwlCrate's August book, The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones!

Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 1-3 of The Drowned Woods, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.

Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box! Don't forget, you can also post about the readalong on Instagram with the hashtag #OCTheDrownedWoods for another chance to win!

The story begins...

The farmer’s fifth daughter has magic - the ability to manipulate water. And when wind of this gets to the prince, a spymaster takes her away. She discovers that her magic is not only good for fun and games and helping her family’s crops, but also for protecting herself when others will not.

Chapter 1:
Mer has been serving at a tavern called The Scythe and Boot for a time, always on the run. But when Renfrew, the old spymaster and closest thing she has had to a father since being taken from her home, appears, she decides it’s time again to flee. He corners her in her rooms, revealing he has left the service of the royal family (by cutting off the finger with the signet ring that had been permanently affixed). He asks her to help him with one last job, in exchange for enough money for her to be free to go anywhere she wants. But when he tells her the prince has killed all the remaining water diviners in the isles, Mer knows it’s time again to run - that she can’t afford to help Renfrew. Before she can duck out of the tavern a drunk patron grabs her and then attempts to stab the cook, bringing out Mer’s instinct to disarm. The only problem is in doing so she reveals the brand by her left eye marking her as property of the royal family, prompting the soldiers to cuff her in iron, cutting off her link to her magic.

Chapter 2:
Once delivered to the castell as a child Mer was mostly left to her own devices as the prince didn’t have a use for a kid. Taking to wandering by herself at night, she decided to use her magic to enter the locked door of the war room, a room she was specifically not allowed inside. Discovered by Renfrew, instead of being angry, he asked her if she wished to learn to read. Her training began.

Renfrew breaks into the prison carriage holding Mer, and makes a final plea to her. Together they will take away the prince’s power by stealing the magic from the well that protects the castell, and in doing so they will gain enough riches for Mer to flee far beyond Gwaelod. Mer agrees.

Chapter 3:
Fane and Blodeuyn fight, but it is very clear to Blodeuyn that threw the match. It is then that it is announced that the Blaidd, a fearsome mercenary, is looking for an opponent and Blodeuyn is determined to get revenge for her cousin. The Blaidd killed her cousin’s adopted child. In the ring it is clear Bloedeuyn has no chance, but before the Blaidd can kill her Fane steps in, and using his cursed magic he easily defeats the Blaidd, sharing the winnings with Blodeuyn before leaving the ring. He thinks of the bargain he made: Seven years of service for seven human lives. The Blaidd was his third.

Outside the fighting ring Fane finds Trefor the corgi - a dog the locals seem to fear. Before he can find a place for a bite to eat Fane is approached by Renfrew and Mer, who have a proposition for him. Trefor is also sneezing wildly, something that only happens when magic is around. As the Blaidd’s friends appear in the street Fane agrees to sit and listen to what they have to say.



  1. What do you think Fane’s “Seven years of service for seven human lives” bargain means? Why do you think he made it with?
  2. Why do you think Mer is so intent to never return to Gwaelod?
  3. Why do you think Renfrew also took the drastic step of removing his own finger in order to leave? What do you think changed his alliance?
  4. Did you enjoy the first section of the book?

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