Thoughtful Thursday: Gifts

In Season 4 of Syfy’s space opera Killjoys, Da’vin Jacobis gives his thirteen-year-old son Jak, who was born six days ago (it’s a long story) a picture. He is sending Jak to hide out with his former-evil-overlord mother (again, long story). He doesn’t want Jak to forget him, so he gives him the only photo of himself he has — his old military ID.

It’s a touching moment, and a sweet gift.

Quest stories often include the giving, or exchange, of gifts. Some gifting follows, more or less, the steps of the Hero’s Journey, one template for a quest. Often, that gift is some sort of weapon. Sometimes it’s magic, or knowledge. A gift can be an inheritance, a legacy the giver never had time to explain. Often the gift is a mystery.

Gifts can be perilous. Not all of them can be trusted. Sometimes the gift is a betrayal. Sometimes the receiver of the gift doesn’t value it enough. (It wasn’t a gift, but Shadow’s treatment of the lucky coin in American Gods is one example.)

Which book, movie or series had the best gift? Please share your ideas in the comments. One commenter with a USA address will be gifted a book from our stacks.


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Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at deedsandwords.com, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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21 comments

  1. In THE LIGHTBRINGER, Kip is gifted a deck of Nine Kings cards to play against his grandfather. This is not only fun and relevant to today, but is also a crux of the series. This is how Kip gets to know his grandfather (for good and bad), practices military strategy, and learns secrets about the Chromeria. Does not get any better to me.

  2. Noneofyourbusiness /

    Much as it pains to me to look back on my childhood escapes into “Harry Potter” now, I always thought the Invisibility Cloak and Marauder’s Map were great gifts.

  3. Zina Vassar /

    In “Cemetary Boys”,by Aiden Thomas, the main character is transgender, female to male.His community of witches won’t allow him to be initiated into their order representing Lady Death to help release souls to the other side, which will also allow him to return to visit relatives after he is deceased during Day of the Dead.

    His cousin gives him a portajes, which she made herself. Though she is female and destined to be a healer, she does not want to sacrifice animals, because she is vegan and decides to work with her Father instead fashioning portajes,i.e daggers that allow male witches to cut the cords that bind souls to Earth before they become monsters.

    Not only does Lady Death initiate him, using the portajes, bearing her image, but only is he accepted by his covenant, but stops an ancient evil from returning to Earth, saves souls of his ancestors, but he performs a service that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

  4. The Distinguished Professor /

    Lord Commander Jeor Mormont’s gift of his family’s Valyrian steel sword Longclaw to Jon Snow in “A Song of Ice and Fire” is touching, especially how he had the bear’s head on the pommel changed to a wolf’s head.

  5. Rebecca Fisher /

    I’ve always enjoyed reading about the gifts given to the Pevensie children in the Chronicles of Narnia, because the more you think about it, the more strange the whole thing is.

    Not only are they given to the children by Father Christmas (!!) but they don’t really have much plot-relevance. Lucy uses her healing cordial a couple of times, but she’s also given a dagger that never gets mentioned again after she receives it. Peter uses the sword, but Susan never gets a chance to use the bow and quiver of arrows. Her horn plays an important part in the direct sequel, but by the third book all the “very important” gifts have been phased out… even though hypothetically they *should* have been passed down through Caspian’s line.

    /Random thought of the day.

  6. Does anyone remember, “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief”? After Percy is accused of stealing Zeus’ thunderbolt, Luke “gifts” Percy with a pair of flying sandals. Unlike in the movie, Percy never gets the chance to wear them. Later on, it’s revealed to Percy, Annabeth and Grover that Luke hexed the sandals so that Percy could die from an “accident” while using them. If anyone else hasn’t read the series, then I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you.

  7. Jillian Williams /

    There’s some awesome gifts that have led to some epic story arcs. Like the jam in the way of kings. The best is definitely the time turner in Harry Potter. Hermione got so much use out of it and it was literally the perfect gift for her and really, who wouldn’t want the ability to go back in time?

  8. John Smith /

    I will say the little gold shoes in “The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes” by DuBose Heyward.

  9. Lady Morar /

    Lief’s mother also gifts him an invisibility cloak in the Deltora Quest series (by Emily Rhodda).

    The phial of starlight that Galadriel gifts to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. He and Samwise got good use out of that against Shelob, among other times not adapted in the movie.

  10. BravoLimaPoppa /

    The best? Butterbugs.

  11. I just realized that no one has mentioned the most infamous “gift.” Remember the “gift” Pandora was given?!

  12. Sethia /

    In The book of Three Gwydion gave Gurgi a pouch with never ending crunchies and munchies.

  13. Zina Vassar, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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