The Orchard of Hope: Reading Group Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever felt like your hope was being eaten alive? What does that feel like?
  • Why is hope symbolized as a fruit? Do you think it’s also symbolic that hope trees continually bloom and produce fruit instead of going through a uniform change from flowering to bearing fruit?
  • What draws the groupies to Roland? What benefits, if any, do the groupies receive from following him? Are these followers a positive or negative thing for Roland?
  • How do you think Kelsey’s knife was made or where do you think it came from that it can cut magic spells?
  • What do you think of the garments of the Sisters of Wisdom (sewn together with the threads of learning, etc)? Would you like to have clothing made of those things?
  • How do you think Nicholas feels to be left behind when the group leaves on their quest? Does he understand his role?
  • Why do you think the dwellers in the City of Eternal Beauty polish away the imperfections that make something unique? Are things more valuable because they appear unblemished? Is there a way that blemishes could add value to something?
  • Do you think it’s possible for the people in the city to learn that the flame takes away their beauty instead of enhancing it? Are there things in our world that are like the flame?
  • Would it be fun to cross the Sea of Laughter? Do you think that death is relief to people who can’t stop laughing on the sea? How would you handle uncontrollable laughter if you had to cross the sea?
  • Do you think of yourself are more similar to the Sisters of Mercy or Brothers of Discipline? Would you attempt to negotiate with the wolves? Would you fight them? Or would you handle the situation differently?
  • In your opinion, is Moss crazy? Is it possible to learn useful skills from a crazy person? What would you do if you had a teacher like Moss?
    Why do you suppose Moss brought Newton to life? Is Newton useful to him?
  • Why are wolves often portrayed negatively in literature (the big bad wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, for example)?
  • The Evil Sorcerer tells the same story over and over to make it more powerful. Do words have that much power in your life? Is the power of words limited? If so, how?
  • Do you think the king is powerful enough to ultimately defeat the evil sorcerer? What advantages does he have in this effort?
  • Kelsey’s symptoms are the real cause of her pain, but there is no actual injury. Do you think that people sometimes live in pain because of a perceived injury? Can you think of examples of a situation in real life?