The Wolf of Tebron, Gates of Heaven Series #1The Wolf of Tebron, Gates of Heaven Series #1
C.S. Lakin
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Interview, Excerpt

A young blacksmith must undertake a perilous journey to the four ends of the world to rescue his wife, who is held captive by the Moon. Along the way, he befriends a powerful wolf who encourages, protects, and ultimately sacrifices his life to save his human friend. A stirring allegory of God's love in classic fairy tale tradition.


 The Wolf of Tebron Discussion Questions: by C.S. Lakin


1) The element of evil is portrayed in the book as a dark, nebulous force that appears first in the attack against the wizard, which forces him to go into hiding as a wolf. We learn the wizard has been fighting this evil for eons. Throughout the book, this presence of evil keeps reappearing in Joran’s dreams, and whisks him away as captive to another realm. What does the wizard tell Joran about this evil and its source? How does the Bible refer to evil as darkness? (Read Eph. 6:12). What other things does darkness symbolize in the Bible? (Cf. John 1:5; 12:46; Rom. 13:12; 2 Cor. 6:14; Col. 1:13; Rev. 16:10.)



2) The Moon is a symbol of lunacy in the book, but she is also figured as a vicious enemy who is holding Joran’s wife captive. G. K. Chesterton is quoted in the book by Ruyah: “The Moon is the mother of lunatics and has given to them all her name.” The word lunatic is derived from luna, or “moon,” as some long ago believed the moon caused madness, and even today the tidal pull of the moon is thought by some to influence moods. How does Joran battle with the Moon and what does he have to “loose” to conquer? Cielle also hums and sings songs that have moon themes. Can you identify any of the songs, poems, or nursery rhymes?



3) The goose woman calls Joran “little cub,” and even his mother uses that appellation in addressing him. Why do you think they call him that?



4) The goose woman tells Joran he has trapped Charris with his anger. What did she mean? What does Joran learn about his anger and how to contain it? In the book, Joran must loose three keys before he can rescue his wife. How does this compare with the way God transforms our “old selves” into new creations made in the image of his Son?



5) The book is full of metaphors about dreaming. Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, said, “Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Waking and dreaming are themes woven throughout the book. Joran is plagued by his dream; he searches the world for Charris, often feeling he is in a dream. And it is in his dream where he must find Charris to finally “wake up.” Ruyah says, “The center of man’s existence is a dream” (Chesterton). What do you think Chesterton meant by that? Ruyah tells Joran that humans are walking about as in a dream, forgetting their names and who they are (also Chesterton). Wordsworth said, “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.” How do those verses aptly describe humanity’s state today, and what is Ruyah’s hope for mankind in the future?



6) Another thought about dreams: At the end of the book, Joran realizes he is both the dreamer and the dreamed. Earlier, Ruyah tells him that the Creator is the great dreamer, having dreamed the world into existence. Joran finally realizes he can dream while wide awake, “and that made all the difference.” What do you think he means by that?



7) One of the themes of the book involves honor. The animal world follows an honor code, faithful to the perfect law of freedom. What is that perfect law and do humans follow it? The phrase is taken from James 1:25, a verse that implies that God’s law results in freedom. Jesus said by following him, one would be truly free (John 8:31–36). What does he mean when he says, “If the son makes you free, you shall be free indeed”? Explain what Ruyah means when he says the law of nature binds, but also frees?



8) When Joran complains about being confused, Ruyah quotes Chesterton: “The world does not explain itself.” He then quotes C. S. Lewis: “It is no good looking for a simple answer; after all, real things are not simple.” What is the wisdom in adopting that point of view as we go through life? In what way are real things not simple? Chesterton seemed to feel mysteries in life are a good thing, and implied that God allows mysteries when he said, “The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.” What do you think he meant by that?



9) Chesterton, in a sense, encourages us to be mystics. Just what is a mystic? Ruyah quotes him: “The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious and everything else becomes lucid.” If one allows for mystery in God, how does that belief make everything in the world lucid?



10) Ruyah says (quoting Chesterton): “The vision is always solid and reliable. The vision is always a fact. It is reality that is often a fraud.” Chesterton spoke of this in the context of comparing imagination and fantasy with what is considered in society to be practical, logical reality. Chesterton was told when he was young that, when he grew up, he would give up all those abstract, imaginary dreams and get down to reality, which meant leaving his dreams behind. But he felt that point of view was wrong, and that treasuring imagination and “vision” was vital in life. How are the things “seen” in this world often the fraud, whereas the “unseen” things are more solid? (Cf. 2 Cor. 4:18).



11) Ruyah quotes Chesterton’s words: “The perfect happiness of man . . . is an exact and perilous balance; like that of a desperate romance. Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt to enjoy them.” This is a huge underlying theme of the book, as Joran seeks to find perfect happiness. C. S. Lewis said (paraphrased by Noomah): “In man’s life, as in everything else, happiness is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find happiness in the end. But if you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth—only wishful thinking and, in the end, despair.” What qualities must we bring to a search for happiness, and why might we not find it by looking for it? What does the Bible say will bring true happiness?



12) C. S. Lewis said, “The longest way ’round is the shortest way home” (possibly quoting from an Irish proverb). How did Joran take “the long way ’round” to get right back where he started? How does this imply that our life journey may take some wrong turns before we arrive at our final destination? And why is a long road sometimes the best?



13) How does Ruyah show his love for Joran? How does his sacrifice mirror God’s as he gives his life to save Joran? Joran is instructed to put his heart in the moonshell, but Ruyah insists his own heart (Ruyah’s) must be used instead. What does Ruyah mean when he tells Joran, “But, I am your heart”?



14) Discuss the allegories of Ruyah compared with Christ in: his sacrifice, his position of power, his resurrection and transformation, and his authority over evil.



15) Joran is told that love is an affair of the will (Lewis). What does that mean? Can you love someone you don’t like, and how does this kind of love reflect God’s love for humanity? How is love demonstrated by action? (John 3:16; Matt. 5:43–48).




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 Discussion Questions Shop
Discussion Question Index


 • Abigail: Jill Eileen Smith
 • Abigail's New Hope: Mary Ellis
 • Against All Odds: Irene Hannon
 • Against the Tide: Elizabeth Camden
 • Almost Forever: Deborah Raney


 • Blue Moon Promise: Colleen Coble
 • Blue Widow Brides: Maggie Brendan
 • Breach of Trust: DiAnn Mills
 • (The) Bridesmaid: Beverly Lewis
 • (The) Bridge: Karen Kingsbury
 • Brigid of Ireland: Cindy Thomson
 • Burn: Ted Dekker


 • (The) Calling: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • (The) Chance: Karen Kingsbury
 • Chasing Mona Lisa: Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey
 • Chasing the Sun: Tracie Peterson
 • Choices of the Heart: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate: Diana Wallis Taylor
 • Critical Care: Candace Calvert
 • Crossing Oceans: Gina Holmes


 • (The) Dance: Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
 • Deadline: Randy Alcorn
 • Deadly Devotion: Sandra Orchard
 • Deadly Ties: Vicki Hinze
 • Deception: Randy Alcorn
 • (The) Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow: Olivia Newport
 • (The) Discovery: Dan Walsh
 •  Dolled Up to Die: Lorena McCourtney
 • Demon: A Memoir: Tosca Lee
 • Digitalis: Ronie Kendig
 • Dogwood: Chris Fabry
 • Double Minds: Terri Blackstock
 • Dying to Read: Lorena McCourtney


 • Fair Is the Rose: Liz Curtis Higgs
 • Freefall: Kristen Heitzmann
 • Frontiersman's Daughter: Laura Frantz


 • Gift of Grace: Amy Clipston
 • Gone South: Meg Mosley
 • Grace: Shelley Shepard Gray


 • Havah; The Story of Eve: Tosca Lee
 • Heart's Safe Passage: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Highland Sanctuary: Jennifer Hudson Taylor
 • Hope of Refuge: Cindy Woodsmall


 • Intervention: Terri Blackstock
 • Into the Whirlwind: Elizabeth Camden
 • Invisible: Ginny Yttrup
 • Iscariot: Tosca Lee


 • (The) Jewel of His Heart: Maggie Brendan
 • June Bug: Chris Fabry


 • Katie's Way: Marta Perry
 • Killer Among Us: Lynette Eason


 • Lady in the Mist: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Lady of Bolton Hill: Elizabeth Camden
 • Lady of Milkweed Manor: Julie Klassen
 • (A) Lasting Impression: Tamera Alexander
 • Leah's Choice: Marta Perry
 • The Lesson: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • Lethal Remedy: Richard Mabry
 • Life in Defiance: MaryLu Tyndall
 • Like Dandelion Dust: Karen Kingsbury
 • Lonestar Sanctuary: Colleen Coble
 • Lonestar Secrets: Colleen Coble
 • Love Amid the Ashes: Mesu Andrews
 • Love at Any Cost: By Julie Lessman
 • Love Calls: Lorna Sielstad
 • Love in a Broken Vessel: Mesu Andrews


 • Making Waves: Lorna Sielstad
 • (A) Memory Between Us: Sarah Sundin
 • Moon in the Mango Tree: Pamela Ewen
 • Moonlight Masquerade: Ruth Axtell
 • (A) Most Peculiar Circumstance: Jen Turano
 • My Heart Remembers: Kim Vogel Sawyer


 • Naomi's Gift: Amy Clipston
 • Never Far From Home: Mary Ellis
 • Nightshade: by Ronie Kendig
 • No Place for a Lady: Maggie Brendan
 • (A) Noble Groom: Jody Hedlund



 • Paper Roses, by Amanda Cabot
 • Plain Jayne, by Hillary Manton Lodge
 • Preacher's Bride: Jody Hedlund
 • Promise of an Angel: Ruth Reid


 • Rebekah: by Jill Eileen Smith
 • Redeeming Love: Francine Rivers
 • Redemption: Karen Kingsbury & Gary Smalley
 • (A) Reluctant Queen: Joan Wolf
 • Remember to Forget: Deborah Raney
 • Remembered: Tamera Alexander


 • Sarah's Gift: Marta Perry
 • Shadows of the Past: Patricia Bradley
 • Simple Choices: Nancy Mehl
 • Simple Deceit: Nancy Mehl
 • Slow Moon Rising: Eva Marie Everson
 • Someone to Blame: Susanne Lakin
 • A Sound Among the Trees: Susan Meissner
 • The Sweetest Thing: Elizabeth Musser


 • Tailor Made Bride: Karen Witemeyer
 • That Certain Summer: Irene Hannon