Study Guide

Selia in The Goose Girl

By Shannon Hale


Traitor, imposter, wannabe—call her what you want, but we really don't care much for Selia because she takes stuff that isn't hers and hurts people in the process. Still, though, you can't deny that this is one chick who tells it like it she sees it. For instance, she says right to Ani's face:

"What a horrid title, lady-in-waiting. I have waited and waited until I thought my bones would crack and my muscles freeze and my mind shrivel like a raisin. And there you were, with horses and tutors and gowns and servants, and all you did was hide in your room." (4.37)

Now we're not saying we agree with her methods (mutiny in the middle of the woods isn't cool), but the girl sure does have a point here. Ani complains a lot about being a princess, and doesn't want her title or anything that goes along with the crown—and yet, from where Selia's sitting as her servant, being princess doesn't look half bad. In fact, it's pretty much all she's ever wanted.

And unlike Ani, Selia has not only the interest, but some of the relevant skills for being royalty too. Right from the beginning, we're told she—like Ani's mom, the queen—has the gift of people-speaking, which means she's quite good at getting other people to see things her way. Also unlike Ani, though, Selia doesn't use her power for good.

When it comes to manipulating people for what she wants, Selia will do whatever it takes, even if what is takes is killing people. Still, what Selia says about royalty might be worth considering. When she's decided that she'll be the princess from now on, she tells Talone, "'Royalty is not a right, Captain'" (4.133)—and sure enough, she acts as princess until Ani summons the courage to take this position away from her. Royalty isn't just about blood, in other words—it's also about behavior, which Selia fully understands.

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