educator's guide

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Educator's Guide prepared by Anne Quirk. ISBN: 978-0-316-07865-8. Lord Loss. ISBN: 978-0-316-01233-1. Demon Thief. ISBN: 978-0-316-01238-6. Slawter.

educator’s guide

The Thin

Executioner curriculum connections D Honor D Tolerance D Overcoming Challenges Ages: 15 & up

by Darren


The Thin Executioner Discussion Questions 1. Jebel hates the fact that he is judged by his size, looks, and status. How does he judge Bastina and Debbat Alg? Do his judgments prove to be unjustified? 2. When Jebel first meets Tel Hasani and his family, how are Jebel’s long-held stereotypes of slaves challenged? How does J’An Nasrim help Jebel overcome his rudeness in order to achieve his goal of obtaining a slave to accompany him on his quest? 3. Most of the groups of people that Tel Hasani and Jebel meet have a belief in a God or gods, yet human life seems to be of little value. How is murder justified by the people they meet? Why do the gods they worship condone killing? 4. Why does Jebel’s animosity toward Tel Hasani begin to lessen after the close call on their lives in Shihat? What is Jebel beginning to realize about Tel Hasani? 5. When Jebel risks his life to save Tel Hasani against the Mamlah (page 182) and in the street in Disi (page 270) his actions stem from selfishness. Jebel knows that if he doesn’t save Tel Hasani, Jebel himself will die. How does Jebel’s attitude toward Tel Hasani differ from Tel Hasani’s attitude toward Jebel? What is the basis for the difference? 6. Human greed spawns the violence and bloodshed throughout the story. What do the greed mongers Masters Blair and Bush receive for their final show of greed? Is Jebel justified in what he does? Why or why not? How does the decision Jebel makes affect his future? 7. What do the Moharrag villagers and the bat people have in common? How do Tel Hasani and Jebel use that knowledge to escape from Qasr Bint? How does their connection to animals affect their values in comparison to the other societies Jebel encounters?

8. Jebel’s meeting with Rakhebt Wadak, the god of death, frightens him at first. What deal does Jebel make with him? Is the meeting real or is it a dream? Justify your answer. 9. While Jebel’s resolve wavers as he seeks to complete his quest and reclaim his honor, Tel Hasani never wavers in his desire to save his family from lives of slavery. Of the two, who shows more honor and respect? How do the two men become equal in the end? 10. What do both gods Jebel meets on his quest, Rakhebt Wadak and Sabbah Eid, tell him about their existence and who they are? What does this reveal about the different beliefs of the people Jebel and Tel Hasani meet on their quest? 11. On Jebel’s return he is received warmly by his family and the Wadi Alg. Why don’t any of them really believe that he has completed his quest? Why does the Wadi Alg not question Jebel? 12. When Jebel proves himself by winning the mukhayret and becoming the new executioner, what is the first shocking action he takes? Why does Jebel’s final decision not to execute anyone cause his family great shame? Is there any irony in Jebel’s decision?

The Thin Executioner Activities Quest Encounters

Here’s Jebel…Where do you stand?

Jebel leaves his home in shame and does not say good-bye to his family or offer any explanation for his quest. Ask students to divide into small groups and give each group an equal portion of the book to create a timeline of Jebel’s quest, including the people he meets, the places he stops, the encounters he has, and the growth he experiences along the quest. Then ask students to creatively illustrate their portion of the timeline to display with the other sections, including 3D elements as well as text and images.

On page 347, Jebel says, “I don’t know what I am, but I am not what I was.” His experiences on the quest have changed him to the point that he no longer recognizes himself. In small groups ask students to complete three columns on one sheet of paper. In the first column, students should list Jebel’s beliefs when he started his quest. In the second column, list his new beliefs; in the third column, what happened to change his belief. Have each group create a poster collage visually representing the before and after beliefs of Jebel. Then share and display their collages.

Postcards from the Quest Jebel and Tel Hasani receive help from people along the way, but they are also shunned and abused by others. Ask students to brainstorm a list of people who helped them on their quest and those that hindered them. Then ask students to select one person from the list to write an oversized postcard from either Jebel or Tel Hasani. Express their feelings about what the person did to either help or hinder them and any lessons that were learned from the experience. Have students use cardstock for their postcards and add elements of the postcard format including illustrations. Display the postcards on a bulletin board.

What’s your Theme? Honor, tolerance, friendship, shame, family, and overcoming challenges could all be themes of The Thin Executioner. Ask students to select one of the ideas above, one of their own, or use a famous quote and write a thematic statement and a paragraph justifying it with support from the book. Divide students into groups of four or five to share and discuss their thematic statements and paragraphs. An Artist Rendering The imagery in the book during the fights, in the villages, and in other adventures on the quest can be seen with words in the mind’s eye. Ask students to select a descriptive passage from the novel to illustrate in detail using pen and ink, chalk, watercolor, or pencil. Each student should also write a caption for their drawing. Have students share their drawings with the class.

The Thin Executioner

about the book

ISBN: 978-0-316-07865-8

In a kingdom of merciless tyrants, Jebel Rum’s family is honored as royalty because his father is the executioner. But Rashed Rum is near retirement. And when he goes, there will be a contest to determine his successor. It is a contest that thin, puny Jebel has no chance of winning. Humiliated and ashamed, Jebel sets out on a quest to the faraway home of a legendary fire god to beg for inhuman powers so that he can become the most lethal of men. He must take with him a slave, named Tel Hesani, to be sacrificed to the god. It will be a dark and brutal journey filled with lynch mobs, suicide cults, terrible monsters, and worse, monstrous men. But to Jebel, the risk is worth it. To retrieve his honor . . . to wield unimaginable power . . . to become . . . the thin executioner.

Inspired by The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, international bestselling master of horror Darren Shan takes readers on a thrilling, fast-paced journey into a nightmarish world where compassion and kindness are the greatest crimes of all.

also available: Darren Shan

A Living Nightmare

The Vampire’s Assistant

Tunnels of Blood

ISBN: 978-0-316-60510-6

ISBN: 978-0-316-60684-4

ISBN: 978-0-316-60608-0

Lord Loss

Demon Thief


ISBN: 978-0-316-01233-1

ISBN: 978-0-316-01238-6

ISBN: 978-0-316-01388-8

Educator’s Guide prepared by Anne Quirk.

about the author

Darren Shan grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and wrote his first book when he was in high school. Although that debut effort was never published, he went on to become a full-time writer. His first books for young readers, Cirque Du Freak, an epic saga about warring vampires, became a New York Times bestselling series, which was made into the movie Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. Darren followed up with the gruesome Demonata, also a New York Times bestselling series. His novels have sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Darren lives in Ireland, where he writes and collects art, comics, and film. Darren invites you to visit his website at