Study Guide

The Alchemyst Fear

By Michael Scott


Be afraid, be very afraid. After all, an evil magician has just stolen the secret to your immortality. Or your awesome boss has just told you that you hold the key to either saving the world or destroying it. Or a man made of clay has just whisked you off to a cell in Alcatraz. Okay, okay, you get the picture. All the characters in The Alchemyst are scared of something, and for the most part, each of them must come face to face with that fear at some point in the novel. But being scared is totally cool. After all, Nicholas Flamel tells the twins, there is "no shame in fear." What matters is how each character handles that fear.

Questions About Fear

  1. Is Dr. John Dee a coward for being scared to go first into battle? Or is that just good thinking? Where is the line between courage and wisdom in this book? And what is Flamel's position on retreating? How does that fit in?
  2. Niccolò Machiavelli, a Renaissance political philosopher, once said it is better to be feared than loved. Do you agree? How do you think our characters would answer this question? And which one is stronger in this book—fear or love? 
  3. Scatty says that those of her vampire clan are the finest warriors because they cannot feel fear, but that means they also cannot experience love, or enjoy feeling happy. Do you agree that the best warriors are those who cannot feel? Or is that sacrifice too high a price to pay?

Chew on This

Scatty is, well, an idiot. It's better to feel—even bad things—than to feel nothing at all.

Without unfeeling characters like Scatty, the twins wouldn't have survived very long. We need people who are callous and cold to keep us safe.