'The Drowned Woods' Book Club Readalong Day 5!

By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @bewareofthereader

Welcome back to the fifth 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 16-20 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 continues...

Chapter 16:
The creature is a Ceffyl Dwr, and there is a herd of them. They run, and Fane discovers that iron can destroy them, but before they can escape Emrick is taken and killed. They enter a tunnel where Gryph lays down iron shavings so the creatures can no longer follow. After some time they stop to regroup, Ifanna accusing Renfrew of not being a good leader by bringing Emrick on the journey.

Chapter 17:
They make a treacherous climb, the spring tide quickly coming in behind them. Using the last of their strength they emerge from the caves on the shore.

Chapter 18:
They rest for a while, needing to gather their strength back. When Mer goes in search of a stream to refill their water she sees a finch, which flies away, dropping a feather made of gold. Mer feels something strange about the water she finds. Trefor follows, laps at the stream, and sneezes. The water is full of more magic than she has ever seen. She decides to follow it.

Chapter 19:
Mer and Trefor follow the stream to the Well…but it’s not a well like they were imagining, but a Wellspring. It’s completely pristine, no sign of animal footprints or tampering. In the clear water she can see the treasures beneath, and questions whether the magic is coming from the artifacts or the water itself.

With the rest of the party present Mer touches the water, feeling for its power, and she feels herself becoming one with it. She is yanked away, hitting the ground hard with her back - Ifanna had pulled her back as she was trying to put her head beneath the water.

Mer tries to part the water with her magic so that someone can go in and grab the treasures, but when she does so the water ripples and it feels to Mer like she has awakened something very strong and ancient. Before they can get back droplets of water surround Mer, and she feels like she is sinking.

Chapter 20:
Mer has a nightmare of the time the prince branded her in the dungeon, but in that instance she was not able to use her magic to protect herself. This time, she pulls at her magic and breaks free, waking in the grove around the well. The others are all asleep, also trapped in the nightmares the Wellspring's magic has created. The only other person awake is Fane, whose magic must have also protected him.

Mer starts to pull the magic water droplets from Ifanna’s lungs, and when she touches them she is sent into what Ifanna is seeing. It is the scene in which Ifanna betrayed her. Ifanna offered her to the guards in exchange for a cart load of 30 people who were going to be sentenced to hard labour for no reason. And she did what was best for the guild. Ifanna would always choose the guild. They are wretched out of Ifanna’s vision, and Mer moves on to helping Gryph.

In Gryph’s memory she sees him in a small house with a dead baby and a dead body on the bed. He is from Gwynedd and they drank from a poisoned well. She jerks the water from his lungs and moves on to Renfrew. In Renfrew’s vision she sees him meeting with the prince who has asked him to do something that he refuses, Renfrew referencing the deal the prince’s father made with the Otherking. She sees in the map on the table that Gwaelod shouldn’t be - the magic of the Wellspring is keeping the ocean at bay.

Once Renfrew is awake Gryph starts pulling jars of blasting powder out of his bag, and it becomes clear that they aren’t here for treasure - but to destroy the Wellspring therefore unleashing the ocean on the land. It’s a suicide mission.


  1. Do you think Gryph has made the connection between the poisoned well and Mer?
  2. What do you think Mer will do now that she has realized the real purpose of their mission?
  3. Do you think Mer’s powers will somehow help protect them from what is about to happen?
  4. Renfrew’s plan will seemingly kill many people - do you think there’s an alternative?

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