The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

The Warding of Witch World

6th Novel in the [Witch World: The Turning Series] by Andre Norton 

See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index] N/A - Published in late 1996

[Expanded Reading Order] [Bibliography Page] [Read it Here[Return to Contents]

Edition Used for Analysis:  

(1998) Published by Warner Aspect, PB, 0-446-60369-4, $6.50, 590pg ~ cover by Kevin Johnson


During the past three decades, millions of readers have thrilled as master storyteller Andre Norton and her collaborators have woven the immense, vibrant, and living tapestry of Witch World—that realm of untamed magic and limitless adventure, where witches make mountains dance, and sorcerous gates draw forces of good and evil from other universes. But never before has Witch World been evoked in such depth, such scope, such brilliance as in this, Andre Norton's final novel of her beloved saga.
Simon Tregarth returns, leading a planet's heroes in the final war against the Dark, as the classic fantasy series rises to its monumental, breathtakingly grand climax . .
The witches summon the mighty to Es: Lord Tregarth and his wife, Jaelithe; War Marshal Koris and Lady Loyse of Gorm; the famed adept Hilarion and sorceress Kaththea Tregarth; Dahaun of Green Valley; and many others of power. Allies and former enemies face a crisis greater than the Turning, a threat worse than the Kolder, an apocalypse beyond the Great Disaster. The Magestone, the Key to the pandimensional gates, has been lost to Otherspace . . . Now all the gates are open.
And an infinite flood of evils is about to wash across the world. The known gates can be warded and watched. But heroes of the Light, chosen by their talents, must dare unknown dangers beyond all charted lands, seeking to close gates in a desperate race against the Dark.
Traveling south of Estcarp and Escore, Keris Tregarth, Destree the Voice of Gunnora, the part Navajo Lady Eleeri and their companion join an alien giant to traverse deadly jungles, searching for the lost city of the First Adept . . .
With Garth Howell fallen to the sway of the Dark, lhycus the Protector, Pirdun of Gryphon Eyrie, the werepard Kethan and their small band must go west of Arvon and the Waste to battle the gate—born Power of the Black Mage.
Questing north beyond Alizon and End of the World, as icebergs magically force innocents to the demon isle of Dargh, travel Lord Simond and Lady Trusla of Tor Marsh, guided by the witch Frost and a Latt shaman, to challenge a possessing, all-powerful being who has waited since the dawn of time for her freedom—and her revenge . . .
Power and peril lurk at every step, Death will be their companion, and if anyone fails, the Witch World is doomed.
Andre Norton's life work, which became a labor of love for an elite corps of top fantasists, crescendos to a stunning, magnificent conclusion.

Timeline Points:

  1. p1. Prologue One. Escore-Alizon Border
  2. p2. Simon Tregarth, Kyllan, Wegan (a Renthan), Hattaran, Varse, & Jonka (Green People), Yonan, Urik, Sentkar (a Borderer), Denner (out of Lormt), Keris (Dahaun & Kyllan's son) on patrol. Keris has a twin sister.
  3. p3. Grey Ones attack.
  4. p9. Simon and Jaelithe have been helping to police Escore for the past year.
  5. p10. 'It was Rarapon, once linked with the traitor Denzil, and as eager as that damned one to regain power.'
  6. p10. The events of Falcon Hope are mentioned: 'Lately also that invasion overseas made by strange seagoing race of fanatics whom only the skill, blood, and courage of Falconers and Dalesmen together had stopped.'
  7. p11. 'Nor did he understand then that the ancient Mage Key had vanished from this plane of existence. It left behind uncontrolled, unwarded gates against which there would be no defense save the bodies and minds of those doomed to struggle through the days to come.' (see: The Magestone)
  8. p12. Prologue Two. Arvon, Kar Garudiyn (Castle of the Gryphon)
  9. P13. The story takes place a year after Songsmith: "They had all gotten over the shock Trevor had provided last year, or at least were no longer overridden by it.' 'For, having been broken, that power which had tightly held mother and unborn child released time as well as captives, and in the weeks following his birth Trevor had caught up bodily and mentally with the years he had been denied.'
  10. p14. 'Perhaps the greatest difficulty of all was the fact he [Firdun] had not been named to the Champions of the Gryphon. Eydryth's own father Jervon had not been among them…' 'But Trevor–yes, the newborn–had been named to their chosen circle, though he was but a child.'
  11. p16. A wave of power strikes. (see: The Magestone)
  12. p18. Prologue Three. Shrine of Gunnora, South of Var.
  13. p19. Destree n'Regnant- Voice of Gunnora and the cat Chief. (see: Port of Dead Ships)
  14. p21. Lambert o' th' Mill: "This here shrine of th' Lady, why, 'tis said it was set right here that there be a strong place of Light against the Dark from the North."
  15. p22. Trimble: "Long ago our kinfolk fled 'ere to be away from such danger."
  16. p26. Destree meets Gruk.
  17. p27. The wave of power hits. (see: The Magestone)
  18. p29. Chapter One. The Ingathering at Es City.1
  19. p29. The Citadel of Es City is pentagon shaped and the city is surrounded by a wall with 4 gates.
  20. p30. Dahaun arrives in Es City with the Green PeopleKrogan & Sulcar captains. 'For three days they came. Only once did the city guard not retreat to give passage.' Eleeri & Roman arrive with the Keplians.
  21. p31. 'For some six days more the ingathering continued. Supply-filled boats came from west and east along the river. There was such a demand for food stuffs that farmers as far away as Gottem sent their surplus…' Squads of Borderers, a group of  Falconers (very trail-weary) arrive.
  22. p31-32. 'Almost as startling as the coming of the Keplian riders was the arrival of a body of witches escorted by troops wearing the badge of Marshal Koris. Witches had not been seen too much of late years. The strain of the Turning had depleted their ranks. Many of the oldest and most authoritative had either died or been left empty of brain after that effort. The small core left had withdrawn to their own place of training, the Place of Wisdom.' (see: Three Against the Witch World)
  23. p32-33. Keris in Es. 'There was much talk of a Lady Mereth…' Mention of events in The Magestone.
  24. p33. Keris, Ethatur [sic] of the Valley, Dahaun, Kyllan, Kemoc, Orsya, Anner Osberic, Koris.
  25. p34. Gull, Simon & Jaelithe, Loyse, Duratan (Marshal of Lormt), Hilarion.
  26. p35. Kaththea. Alon mentioned living in Arvon now Songsmith.
  27. p37. Alon (over communicator): "And Garth Howell is shadowed. They have those among them who can well choose to reach for the Dark."
  28. p38. Koris: "There was also but months ago that sweep of ships and men out of nowhere." "Had it not been for the Falconers and brave Dalesmen they might have found foot hold here." (see: Falcon Hope)
  29. p39. Kelsie: "My Gate I know–it lies in Escore." The Gate of the Cat, Eleeri The Key of the Keplian.
  30. p41. Chapter Two. Krevanel Hold, Alizon.
  31. p41. Liara (Kasarian's sister).
  32. p56. Chapter Three. Lormt.
  33. p56. Keris meets Lady Mereth.
  34. p63. Keris, looking at map: 'This was south of Karsten – and he knew well the fate of that single gate symbol on the edge of the sea itself. His own clan, the Tregarths, had helped destroy that horror of a portal little more than a year past.' (see: Port of Dead Ships)
  35. p63. 'In fact there was already a known one [gate] near the new border on the southern side, sketched in by the Lady Eleeri.' 'There she had entered, to travel north and west into the fringe of Escore.'
  36. p64. '"Lady" he [Keris] said with all respect to this maid [Mouse] who was perhaps ten years or more his junior…'
  37. p65. "Since we are naming names–I am Mouse." (see: Falcon Magic)
  38. p67. 'The Sulcar had gone first…' 'So had gone Koris's son Simond, his Lady Tursla, and the witch Frost–all jewel chosen. They headed north…'
  39. p69. Chapter Four. Karsten.
  40. p70. Denever: "Rus." 'The evil birds, their naked blood-red heads agleam in the sun, were spreading out, speeding towards them.'
  41. p71. Jasta [Keris's Renthans companion]: "The rus are said to serve the Sarn, but Sarn have never been known to ride this far south."
  42. p81. Chapter Five. Unknown Land South of Var.
  43. p90-91. Destree: "There is but one village of people in this valley. They are very simple folk, but long ago their kind were hunted by monsters and so they fled south."
  44. p93. Chapter Six. Karsten Southward.
  45. p93. The Keplian valley. (see: The Key of the Keplian)
  46. p96. 'They were over the border of Karsten and now they wound toward the southwest. To the east lay the end lands of Escore…'
  47. p106. Chapter Seven. Karsten, Southeast of Var.
  48. p109. Liara: 'Remembering the map at Lormt, she made a guess or two and though she must be close to the southern border of Karsten. There was supposed to be a small nation south of that–mainly of seafarers–called Var. Not of the Old Race, either–would it be wise to strike farther west and try to find refuge there?'
  49. p110. Liara captured by Grey Ones.
  50. p112. A Sarn Rider takes over.
  51. p118. Chapter Eight. Unknown South Karsten.
  52. p121. Mouse, Eleeri, Romar, the Keplians, Jasta the Renthans, & the falcons of the Falconers wall off an evil gate by thrice circling.
  53. p122. 'They must be close to the South border of Karsten…'
  54. p131. Chapter Nine. Lormt, South Karsten.
  55. p131. Gull: "Mouse is one such as comes to us perhaps once in a hundred generations. She will be one of the greatest All Mothers we have ever had."
  56. p140. Jasta: "We remember Sardox, for it was he who wrought until he brought forth the Sarn Riders, and worse."
  57. p141. 'He [Keris] tried to fix his mind more on that huge, hairy creature which companied with the priestess. It was totally unlike any he had ever seen in Escore, which was alive with oddities, for it was there that the most unscrupulous of the adepts had wrought that greatest evil of all, dabbling in he very stuff of life to form new species for their profit or pleasure. He knew well the earth-dwelling Fos, the water-needing Krogan, the Flannon. Jasta, good friend and comrade, was also of such begetting. And there were the Grey Ones, the rasti, the Sarn…"
  58. p143. Chapter Ten. The Mountain Ways South of Varn.
  59. p157. Chapter Eleven. Into the Unseen, the Unknown, Southward.
  60. p169. Chapter Twelve. Jungle Passage, Unknown South.
  61. p183. Chapter Thirteen. The City Lost to Memory, South.
  62. p195. Chapter Fourteen. Blood Magic, Forgotten City.
  63. p197. 'Mouse had faced evil before. She had helped to destroy one of the ancient vile traps, and that by instinct alone, for she had had no true training then.' (see: Falcon Magic)
  64. p207. Chapter Fifteen. Lormt, South, the Forgotten City.
  65. p220. Interlude: Lormt.
  66. p224. Jaelithe: "As the witches held the power in Estcarp, so we knew that there was our balance in Arvon. But between us there was no communication after the Great War. They had adepts among them and they gave more power to men." Further info on Garth Howell follows.
  67. p226. Chapter Sixteen. Arvon, Gryphon Country, Northwest.2
  68. p228. 'The Creature was plainly female and well above any of his captors as to height. It was not running but proceeding in great bounds, during which it spread heavily feathered arms which served to keep it aloft for long spaces. There were patches of feathers also on the lean body and the head bore an erect crest, while the four digits which might be termed "hands" were long and evilly taloned claws.' (A Winged-Ones, possibly the same one from Zarsthor's Bane.)
  69. p235. "I have been known by several names. Your [Firdun's] father will call me Neevor at our meeting—"
  70. p238. Neevor mentions "Norseby Abbey" and "Dame Rutha, who has lately become healer mistress" in the Dales.
  71. p240. Chapter Seventeen. Arvon, Reeth, Gryphon's Eyrie.
  72. p245. Herrel: "Kar Garudiyn [sic] is a three-day ride."
  73. p248. Jervon: "Silvermantle… lay farthermost to the west."
  74. p249. Kioga history of their arrival in Arvon through a gate.
  75. p251. Sylvya– "Am I not the last of my kind?"
  76. p253. Chapter Eighteen. Arvon, Gryphon's Eyrie, Silvermantle Holdings.
  77. p257. "Ibycus!" 'The man [Kethan] greeted Neevor gladly.'
  78. p260. 'That a party from Garth Howell had now been traced as taking nearly the same path seemed to Ibycus-Neevor (who now went by the first of his names) to urge that they follow.'
  79. p264. 'Above him where silver-touched clouds gathered, thickened, towers grew plainer, and the castle from which they arose took substance. Now the whole building, huge as it looked, glowed green with ripples of silver, as if it were fashioned from some unknown stone. Also—as it grew solid, so did it no longer hang above him [Firdun].' 'Now once more he [Firdun] was drawn forward, toward that tall foregate between two towers.' 'The castle gate was open.' Elysha arrives in a castle on a cloud. (see: Horn Crown)
  80. p265. Chapter Nineteen. Southwest into the Waste.
  81. p266. "Since my dear master here"—she nodded toward Ibycus—"has not seen fit to introduce us properly… I am on one of the secrets out of his past, Elysha, who fetched and carried and craved such crumbs of wisdom as he let fall for my taking. We parted somewhat storm-ily, I remember. However, I have made very good use of the days since, Ibycus, as you will come to see."
  82. p273-275. Ibycus destroys Vastar gate.
  83. p278. Chapter Twenty. By Moon Power, In the Waste.
  84. p281. Kethan: "They [the party from Garth Howell] went north."
  85. p282. 'Her [Aylinn] petition must be very old, delivered in the nearly forgotten world lore she had learned in Linark.'
  86. p284. Ibycus: "Ah, where are you, Gweytha, now, I wonder? Your court stands well against time, even though you no longer reign here…"
  87. p287. Aylinn: "Still the talent arose in me when I was very young and my mother fostered it–sending me to Linard [sic] of the healers for learning. But their First Lady found that I was Moon-touched also…" [This is a typing error. See page 282 & 320.]
  88. p289. "Rus!" Elysha spat out. "This is their nesting place."
  89. p291. Chapter Twenty-One. The Hold of Sassfang, the Waste, South.
  90. p292. Kethan see illusion of 'Old Wife Zenda' who was cook at Reeth.
  91. p296. Kethan meets Uta. (see: Zarsthor's Bane)
  92. p299. Uta gives her name.
  93. p303. Chapter Twenty-Two. The Fane of the Three, the Waste, West.
  94. p308. The history of Ibycus & Elysha's first meeting.
  95. p312. 'Sassfang'- the name of the Varks woman.
  96. p312. Aylinn: "Laran" the name of trees in grove. (see: Zarsthor's Bane There the blossoms are called "White Heart".)
  97. p315. Chapter Twenty-Three. The Meeting in the Waste, West.
  98. p318-319. Kethan dreams of Uta's human form.
  99. p320. Kethan: "We are not blood kin, but fosterling. I am were, as you well know. Aylinn was raised daughter to my mother, who is a wisewoman and healer. Discovering she had great talent she was sent to Linark–and there discovered she was Moon called." [Actually, this is incorrect. Aylinn is Kethan's father's half-sister's daughter making them cousins.]
  100. p324. A stranger: "The urings will not be returning to His call!" Strange creatures from The Waste.
  101. p325. Elysha recognises the stranger- "'Tis young Hardin of Hol, Silvermantle."
  102. p327. Lord Prytan- Hardin's father. "urings" mentioned again.
  103. p328. Chapter Twenty-Four. Gryphon's Eyrie, Arvon, Western Trail, the Waste.
  104. p333. Elysha: "Hardin, son of Ylassa…" "Last midsummer we shared a guesting cup."
  105. p334. 'Jakata' the name of the evil mage with steel coloured eyeballs.
  106. p336. The events of what happened in Garth Howell.
  107. p338. Chapter Twenty-Five. The Wellspring of Evil, the Waste, West.
  108. p342. Hardin: "He was Salsazar, of Jakata's guard." A tortured & dying man they find.
  109. p349-350. Kethan again dreams of Uta.
  110. p350. Chapter Twenty-Six. The Web Lands, The Waste, West.
  111. p355. Web riders (giant spiders) and giant sand worms attack.
  112. p363. Chapter Twenty-Seven. The Wing Ways, the Waste, West.
  113. p372. "Poquen" (a tiny woman Kethan saves). "Yil" (her mate?)
  114. p373. 'Though Ibycus had no dealings with Garth Howell–not since the day they stood for the Dark in the great battle…'
  115. p374. Chapter Twenty-Eight. The Seeking, the Waste.
  116. p387. Chapter Twenty-Nine. The Road to the Land of the Dead, the Waste.
  117. p397. Chapter Thirty. An End and a Beginning, the Waste.
  118. p409. Interlude: Es Port, Es City, Estcarp.
  119. p415. Chapter Thirty-One. Korinth, North of Alizon.3
  120. p427. Chapter Thirty-Two. Korinth, the Northern Sea.
  121. p439. Chapter Thirty-Three. The North Sea.
  122. p451. Chapter Thirty-Four. West Coast Voyage, North.
  123. p463. Chapter Thirty-Five. End of the World, North.
  124. p474. Chapter Thirty-Six. The Reading of the Runes.
  125. p485. Chapter Thirty-Seven. The Drawing in of the Dark, North.
  126. p496. Chapter Thirty-Eight. Into the Land of Ice, North.
  127. p508. Chapter Thirty-Nine. The Lair of the Ice Worms, North.
  128. p519. Chapter Forty. The Ice Palace, North.
  129. p528. Chapter Forty-One. A Meeting of Powers, North.
  130. p539. Chapter Forty-Two. Into the Halls of Ice, North.
  131. p551. Chapter Forty-Three. Through the Mists of Time, North.
  132. p561. Chapter Forty-Four. The Ship out of Time, North.
  133. p572. Chpater Forty-Five. Gate Fall and New Day's Dawning, North.
  134. p584. Epilogue. Es City, Estcarp.
  135. p584. 'The seasons had turned and once more it was spring, even though few signs of a renewing world showed within the age-old capital of Estcarp.'
  136. p590. Koris: "The gates are closed."


Sorcerer's Notes:
The 3 Prologues seem to take place at the same time as the Magestone leaves the Witch World. (see: The Magestone)
If this book really takes place only a year after Songsmith it presents severe continuity problems since some characters (like Keris) should not be old enough to be riding about and fighting (he appears to be about 16 here if he thinks he's about 10 years older than Mouse). If it truly does take place when Songsmith is supposed to be set (30 years after the Turning) then this makes more sense, especially given that Eleeri shows up later (and her story was also set 30 years after the Turning). Unfortunately there is no way Songsmith can take place 30 years after the Turning and still be consistent with the ages and events of other books. At best Songsmith takes place seven years after the Turning.
The story itself could take place in the same year as the events of Falcon Hope since it's mentioned that while Simon is thinking of gates he thought how "lately also that invasion overseas made by strange seagoing race of fanatics whom only the skill, blood, and courage of Falconers and Dalesmen together had stopped" (p. 10). There's nothing inconsistent about him knowing this since the invasion by the Sultanites occurred in late winter and early spring - word of what happened probably spread quickly. Falcon Hope, however, is definitely placed eight years post-turning. Even granting another full year, the story could not happen more than nine years after the Turning.
If the reference to it being thirty years after the Turning is ignored in The Key of the Keplian the story itself could take place within the same or similar time-frame to that of Songsmith, that is The Key of the Keplian could take place around the same time Songsmith takes place. This actually makes a bit more sense given that Jerrany is 30 but his mother was wed shortly before the Horning (which takes place about twenty-four years before the Turning). Though Jerrany's parents are of the Old Race it seems unlikely they'd wait twenty-five years before having their first child.
To Rebuild the Eyrie Takes place some time after the Turning, but it is unclear when. Eirran is 18 and Yareth is not much older. The two could have had Mouse shortly after they settled down. Mouse is six in Falcon Magic and could be at least seven by the time of Warding as long as her parents were both born before the Turning.

1. This novel can really be split into 3 books which take place concurrently. This is the beginning of "Book 1".
2. This is the beginning of "Book 2".
3. This is the beginning of "Book 3".

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Dream Pirates' Jewel

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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