Study Guide

Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice) Family

By Joseph Delaney


The first rule of farming is to keep the farm together. You can't just divide it up among your children; it would get smaller and smaller with each generation until there was nothing left. (1.6)

What we've learned from this is that your family will take care of you... unless you're the youngest. Then it's all just hand-me-down clothes until you get booted off the farm. Like Tom.

"You'll always have your family. [...] We'll always be here if you need us." (1.49)

After seeing how poorly Jack treats Tom at the end of the book, and how Ellie bans Tom from the house after dark, we think that 'always' just doesn't mean what it used to mean.

It was a friendly argument, the kind families often have, and I could tell that Dad was enjoying it. (1.54)

Wherever this book takes place, it sure as heck isn't in a Mediterranean country like Greece or Italy. Those arguments are loud and intense. But kind of friendly, we guess.

"Eventually there won't be room for you here. [...] You can't come home." (1.73)

Just because Tom's family wants to support him, doesn't mean they're able to put a roof over his head. To be a part of the family, he has to pull his own weight.

"He'd have known he was dying and that he'd never be able to go home again. That he'd never see his family again." (2.21)

Here, Tom is doing his best to empathize with the ghast of the dead soldier. But he's also projecting his own fears. Tom has just left home, and he's the one who's really sad that he might never see his family again. Or that he might never truly be able to go home again.

"My dad used to beat me for telling lies." (4.1)

The Spook seems to have a totally different family background than Tom does. Yet they are similar in other ways. We guess it's not all nature or nurture. Free will and chance have parts to play, too.

"Family can be a nuisance." (4.28)

Well, that's one way of saying it. We know that Spook's father beat him. So this line shows that the Spook has come to terms with his family, and their attitude toward him. That, or he's putting on a strong face for Tom.

Six brothers had given me plenty of practice at fighting. (6.48)

Families aren't all love and hugs, especially when six brothers have to share one bathroom. That kind of physical rivalry ends up being an asset to Tom's work as the Spook's apprentice.

"You come from a family of murderers and you're a murderer yourself!" (11.72)

Tom judges Alice by her family. Whether he's right or not remains to be seen. But we often think that the behavior of a person's family tells us something about that person. Two hundred years ago, Mr. Darcy thought Elizabeth was trashy because of her family. Today, we think all of the Kardashians must be trashy too. They're guilty by association.

I couldn't ignore this. [...] It was happening to me directly, and it was happening in my own home. I suddenly felt more alone than I ever had before. (13.81-13.82)

Early on, Tom had trouble understanding why the Spook's own brother would hate him so much. Now he's beginning to get it—Jack can't stand Tom, and Ellie is terrified of him, too. Aside from Alice, who may or may not be evil, all Tom really has is the Spook.