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The Capture

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The Capture
GoGH1 - The Capture
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Cover Art: Richard Cowdrey
Cover Design: Steve Scott
Publish Date: June 1, 2003
ISBN Number: ISBN 978-0-439-40557-7
Soren is captured and taken to a dark place called an orphanage, but he knows it's something far worse. Soren and his friend, Glyfie must resist the Orphanage's forces and learn one impossible thing: how to fly.

The Capture is the first book of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series.


Soren is born in the forest of Tyto, a tranquil kingdom where the Barn Owls dwell. But evil lurks in the owl world, evil that threatens to shatter Tyto's peace and change the course of Soren's life forever. Soren is captured and taken to a dark and forbidding canyon. It's called an orphanage, but Soren believes it's something far worse. He and his friend Gylfie know that the only way out is up. To escape, they will need to do something they have never done before—fly. And so begins a magical journey. Along the way, Soren and Gylfie meet Twilight and Digger. The four owls band together to seek the truth and protect the owl world from unimaginable danger.


The eyecatcher at the beginning of the book which shows an illustration of Soren being carried away by a St. Aggie's patrol (See Gallery). The quote at the bottom of the page reads:

"...and then the forest of the Kingdom of Tyto seemed to grow smaller and smaller and dimmer and dimmer in the night..."


The book starts off within the moment when Soren is falling from the tree and is plummeting towards the ground. He tries to attempt to save himself by beating his underdeveloped wings, but fails. Suddenly he starts recalling every memory from his short life:

Soren, a Barn Owl, was born in the forest kingdom of Tyto two weeks prior to the start of the novel as the middle child of Noctus and Marella. The first chapter described Soren's memories of Eglantine hatching and his time spent in the nest with his family as he fell from his fir tree home. Soren was then picked up by an owl patrol from St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls (St. Aggie's for short). During the flight to the "academy," Soren met another stolen owlet: a young Elf Owl named Gylfie. She had lived in the desert of Kuneer and had fallen out of her nest after having tried to fly before she was ready. After their initiation into St. Aggie's, the two owlets met once again in the glaucidium, where all owlets were to participate in the sleep march. Gylfie and Soren deduced that the owls of St. Aggie's were moon blinking all the owlets by having them march under the full moon and by repeating their own names.

Therefore, any moon-blinked owl would lose all sense of individuality and become the perfect slave for St. Aggie's. To counter this tactic, Gylfie and Soren pretended to march, but stayed in the shadows of the glaucidium. As time passed, Soren realized that he hadn't slipped from the nest but that Kludd, Soren's older brother, had pushed him out. Soren and Gylfie were then assigned to the pelletorium to pick out flecks and other items out of pellets. After asking what flecks were, Soren was subjected to laughter therapy and had his feathers plucked out. During Soren's laughter therapy, Gylfie discovered the library of St. Aggie's, which was in fact a storage room for all the flecks and other items. Most importantly, it was close to the sky: a perfect escape.

However, Soren's laughter therapy put a damper on any of Soren and Gylfie's hopes to escape quickly but Gylfie decided to wait with Soren despite being almost ready to fly. Despite the two owlets best efforts, they were caught hiding from the moon and were subjected to moon scalding: an even more powerful tactic than moon blinking. Soren recited the legends of Ga'Hoole to protect the both of them and then they gave Skench, the Ablah General of St. Aggie's, and Spoorn, her first lieutenant the impression that they were perfectly moon blinked. This ensured them a place together in the glaucidiums and more special assignments such as jobs in the eggorium and hatchery, a place where owl eggs were kept. Gylfie soon discovered that Hortense, another owlet also known as 12-8, was not moon blinked either but was acting as an infiltrator in the hatchery. She rescued owl eggs and gave them to eagles to return to their rightful places because of a physical disorder that kept her the size of an owlet, despite being a fully mature owl.

Despite her courageous actions, she was caught smuggling out eggs and was pushed off a cliff to her death by Aunt Finny, Soren's twisted pit guardian. Though the grief of Hortense's death was hung over the two owls, the pressure to escape was escalated when vampire bats arrived to suck the blood of groups of St. Aggie's owls which in fact, drained them of nutrients and made their feathers wither, rendering them unable to fly. Soren and Gylfie then deduced that Grimble, a guard of St. Aggie's, was also not wholly moon blinked. Upon Grimble's status being discovered, he recounted his story of him being recruited by St. Aggie's for being a skilled fighter when had killed Ork, a former contender for leadership in St. Aggie's when he had tried to kidnap Grimble's daughter, Bess. Grimble had resisted like Soren and Gylfie but had lost his strength and his family eventually didn't recognize him and then vanished all together.

He also revealed that St. Aggie's only aim was to take control of every owl kingdom in the world. With that thought, Soren and Gylfie persuaded Grimble to teach them how to fly. Eventually, Soren and Gylfie staged their escape from the library, but were found by Skench in full battle regalia. However, she was slammed against the library wall by an unknown force which allowed the two owls to escape. Unfortunately, Grimble was killed by Skench during the escape. As they stopped in a tree for a night, they met Twilight, a lone Great Gray Owl who was orphaned as an owlet but raised by the ideals of the "Orphan school of Tough learning." They decided to look for the Great Ga'Hoole Tree and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole together to inform them of the treachery of St. Aggie's. Before doing so, Soren and Gylfie decided to see if their parents were still alive and well. They flew to Tyto and Soren's fir tree home, but none of Soren's family were there.

On the upside, Mrs. Plithiver, Soren's family's nest-maid snake, was found; she confirmed Kludd's true nature and suspected that he pushed Eglantine out of the nest as well after having driven her away. As they entered the Desert of Kuneer, they met a Burrowing Owl named Digger who told them that Jatt and Jutt, cousins who served St. Aggie's, had snatched Digger's older brother, Cunny, but then ate Digger's younger brother, Flick. Digger accompanied the three owls in search of his old home from which he ran after the attack. Then, a St. Aggie's patrol arrived consisting of Jatt, Jutt, and a Western Screech Owl by the number of 47-2. The four owls proceeded to defeat the patrol who had chased Digger with the assistance of Hortense's eagles, Streak and Zan. Digger gave up his search after the eagles told him of his parents' deaths. From that moment on, all four owls swore a silent oath to be a band forevermore and flew off into the night to continue their quest to find the Guardians of Ga'Hoole.

Behind the Scenes

  • This is the first of six Guardians of Ga'Hoole books to include illustrations of the main characters as well as minor characters on the insides of the book's front and back cover.
  • The owl on the cover of The Capture appears to be Skench.
  • There is an unused alternate cover art for this book (see Gallery).
  • On the cover it shows Soren being snatched by a St. Aggie's owl, mirroring the events in the storyline.
  • This is the only book that has Soren technically as an "owlet." In The Journey, The Rescue, and The Siege, he is still fairly young and just getting started at the Great Tree (although he had left his mark on the tree by then), but fully fledged. In all of the rest, he is an adult owl, fully grown and ready to serve.
  • On the cover, behind Skench is the moon in full shine. This is possibly because it is a night for moon blinking the owlets.



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