Study Guide

Alanna: The First Adventure Friendship

By Tamora Pierce

Friendship

Raoul smiled. "We're your friends, Alan. Stop thinking we're going to jump on you for the least little thing." (5.36)

So wait, being in a group of friends doesn't mean you're supposed to act like their clone all the time? We're pretty sure Alanna didn't get the memo on this one, since she always seems afraid that her friends will reject her for the smallest difference.

George looked at her for a long moment. Finally he replied, "And why do you find it so hard to think someone might like you and want to do things for you? That's the way of friendship, lad." (5.172)

Alanna clearly hasn't had many friends, because she doesn't seem to understand that friends do nice things for each other. Like, sometimes they willingly face a freaky group of immortal child-eaters just because they like you, you know?

"But Maude said I should use my gift for healing…I didn't listen to her." Alanna's voice was soft. "I disobeyed her, and one of my friends died." (4.120)

Okay, there may be one positive side effect of having friends: you'll never be hurt. Hm. Yeah, we still think Alanna's better off with a robust social group.

She dozed off during her meal. Gary steered her to a small library afterward, reminding her of the studying she had to do for the next day. He helped her with the poem, then left her on her own to deal with the mathematics. (2.134)

Gary's being a good friend to Alanna when she first arrives at the palace: he shows her around, makes sure she gets fed, and even helps her with her homework. That's a true friend for your—although, TBH, we think he'd be a little better if he'd stuck around to do her math.

George sighed and sat down. "I've known nobles who thought I should be grateful for their friendship—grateful enough to do them all sorts of favors. They wanted a kept thief, not a friend." (3.189)

Turns out there's a difference between a friend and someone who happens to owe you a favor. George tells Alanna that he tries to avoid nobles who want a pet thief to do their bidding. Aww. Wonder if he's fuzzy?

"He'll find out who stopped Jonathan from dying' durin' the Sweatin' Sickness. He'll make friends and sow favors. He'll take King's people and make them his people. He'll get rid of some who would never come to him. Then he'll strike." (6.264)

Brrrr. Someone turn up the heat, because George's description of Duke Roger's ambitions is ice cold. Duke Roger is making friends and sowing favors, all so he can call them in when he's ready to pursue his own goals—like, for example, taking over the throne.

"Till then, why look a gift thief in the mouth? I can be a good friend to those who keep faith with me." (2.196)

We see what you did there. George's offer of friendship seems pretty attractive with or without the word play. After all, who wouldn't want to hang with the King of Thieves? He's got to have the best stories. Plus, we hear the loot is pretty.

Her friendship with the knight had deepened steadily, until she was spending some nights playing chess with her older friend rather than joining the Prince and his circle. For one thing, Myles told fascinating stories. (6.89)

What's with alcoholic mentors and feisty warrior girls, hm? Myles mentors Alanna as she figures out courtly life, while she provides him with emotional support through what we suspect is a prolonged (and problematic) drinking problem.

He put a hand on her shoulder. "You may have noticed my friends call me Jonathan, or Jon." (3.239)

When Alanna gets to drop the "Highness" title and call Jonathan by his first name, you know they're friends. What do title or rank matter between friends? Either you're friends with someone, or you're not, and all the fancy titles in the world won't make a difference.

He ruffled her hair. "I believe you. Don't forget your friends when you're a legend." (7.232)

The heir to the throne telling Alanna not to forget her friends is somewhat ironic, right? But Jonathan's approach to friendship helps show us what a standup guy he is: he may be a prince, but a friend is a friend.