Study Guide

Guards: Ungolad and Terne in The Goose Girl

By Shannon Hale

Guards: Ungolad and Terne

Ani's guards-turned-traitors not only help Selia steal Ani's identity, but also try to arrange the princess's funeral and kill anyone who stands in their way. Talone confides in Ani that he doesn't really trust Ungolad and his buddies:

"I was hesitant to accept Ungolad's company when he volunteered. He has always been a little unpredictable, and traders' escorts often garner as little respect as mercenaries. But he is a member of the royal army now, and he has been to Bayern before." (4.12)

Hmmm… if only Talone listened to his gut on that one. These sketchy fellas quickly turn the tables on Ani when Selia decides she'd rather wear the crown than bow down to the real princess all her life.

But why are the guards so ready to help Selia at the drop of a hat? Do they agree with her assessment that royalty is earned instead of a right? Or are they just convinced by Selia's super-persuasive people-speaking skills?

Ungolad has a relationship going with the wannabe princess (Selia), so we get that he's probably trying to sweeten the pot with his honey by helping her with her little murderous plan, but we're never really given an answer about why the guards decide to hitch their wagons to Selia's star in the first place. We suspect her people-speaking skills are partly to blame, but we also have a hunch that these guys just aren't that pure of heart in the first place.

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