Study Guide

The Goose Girl Plot Analysis

By Shannon Hale

Plot Analysis


Casting Crowns

Ani's got the life… too bad she doesn't see it that way. She might be a crown princess and all, but she wishes her mom (a.k.a. the queen) didn't put so much pressure on her to be regal. Ani would rather spend her day with animals—like her beloved horse, Falada—than play princess all day long. So when her mom ships her off to the nearby Bayern on royal duty, she's more than a little upset to leave her home country and everyone she knows and loves.

Rising Action

Blazing Trails

Things get heated on the trail to Bayern, when Ani's bestie and lady in waiting, Selia, decides to take her for all she's worth. Literally. Selia plots with the other guards to steal Ani's nice dresses and Crown Jewels and make everyone in Bayern believe she's the crown princess instead. Ani barely makes it out with her life, and when she gets to Bayern, has nothing to do but take work as a goose girl for the king.

Honk. Ani spends most of her time with the geese and the other palace workers. She's pretty much settled into her new life, even if she does miss the warm baths and servants waiting on her hand and foot. Ani meets a handsome palace guard named Geric and strikes up a friendship with him. Since Selia kills Falada, and Ungolad and his men are still after her though, Ani figures she'll travel back to Kildenree when the weather warms up. She's got nothing left to do in Bayern.


Duck, Duck Goose

When Ani hears that Selia is convincing the Bayern king to launch an attack on Kildenree, she knows she's got to do something, so she and her newfound forest friends decide to crash Selia's wedding to the Bayern prince. Ani's in for the surprise of her life, though, when the prince is actually none other than her crush, Geric. At first no one believes Ani that she's the real deal, but Geric hatches a plan to listen in to Selia and Ani in secret and he finds out the truth.

Falling Action

Wedding Crashers

Geric and the king leave Selia and Ani to sort out who's who amongst themselves, and once they're gone, Selia freely discusses her evil plan to oust Ani and live the rest of her life as royalty. Geric and his father haven't gone far, though, and are actually eavesdropping on the conversation—so they hear Selia's confession, and realize that Ani is the rightful princess. Phew.


Happily Ever After

With Selia out of the picture, Ani can finally be herself again. She moves back into the palace and convinces the king that he really shouldn't launch an attack on Kildenree, no matter what Selia told him—eventually, he agrees. The best part? Ani gets to be with Geric now too. Even though she wasn't initially so pleased with the idea of moving away to Bayern to marry the prince, now she couldn't be happier about it. And that, Shmoopsters, is what we call a happy ending.

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