King of Shadows


Susan Cooper

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Have you read Shakespeare? What was your impression of Shakespeare as a person and as a playwright before reading this book?
  2. What kind of director is Arby? Why do you think he acts this way?
  3. Nat avoids telling other actors about his family life. What is your understanding of what happened to his parents?
  4. What is it about acting that attracts Nat to it? How does it help him deal with his personal problems?
  5. When Nat goes back in time, what is happening in the present day? Who is the boy at the hospital?
  6. When Nat meets Shakespeare he says it's as if someone said, "Say hello to God." In your life, who could you meet that you would be as impressed with. A celebrity, sports star, historical figure?
  7. How does Roper become an enemy of Nat's? How does Nat make peace with him?
  8. Shakespeare writes a sonnet in honor of Nat on oage 105. Read it outloud and discuss the meaning of the poem.
  9. Does Nat make a good Puck? In what ways does he embody the role?
  10. Parts of A Midnight Summer's Dream is included in this book. Did you like that? Did you gain a better understanding for that play?
  11. How does Nat save Shakespeare's life?
  12. In the end, how do we know what happened to Nat could be true?
  13. What is the significance of the title King of Shadows?


Take turns reading a number of Shakespeare's sonnets out loud. Assign book group members parts in A Midsummer Night's Dream and try reading some scenes together.

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