Teacher Notes – Into Tordon

RECOMMENDED FOR ages 8 to 14; years 3 to 8

Learning Areas: English, Arts, History, Computers/
Technology, Music
General Capabilities: Literacy, Creative and critical
thinking, Intercultural understanding, Problem
solving, Ethical Understanding

• Provide a discussion point for issues around
friendship, family and moral dilemmas
• Examine speculative fiction writing.
• Encourage imaginative writing and world
• Examples of creative thinking and problem
• Analyse language use and how it can create
different moods and tension.

• Family and friendship
• Moral Dilemmas
• Conflict Resolution
• Problem solving
• Learning about differences in culture and
• Survival skills
• Safe use of technology
• Environment and sustainability

These notes may be reproduced free of charge for
use and study within schools but they may not be
reproduced (either in whole or in part) and
offered for commercial sale.

Paperback | Nov 2016 | MidnightSun Publishing
| 9781925227147 | 256pp

For more information, please visit:

To arrange a school visit, please use the contact
form on www.zfkingbolt.com

Into Tordon
Z.F. Kingbolt

Into Tordon is a gripping look at a not too distant
future where the line between games and life
begins to blur. The characters are honest and real
while the pacy plot carries the reader along on a
fun, challenging and sometimes frightening journey
where discovering the truth becomes the only hope
for freedom. Through an exploration of tolerance,
trust and friendship, the characters are challenged
to face truths about themselves and others that
can be confronting but rewarding. Moral dilemmas
also provide the setting for discussion about serious
subjects such as physical conflict, trust, intercultural
understanding and cyber safety.

“An impressive debut! The narrative doesn’t falter,
and middle-grade readers will delight at how quickly
they are thrown into the action of the story. Into
Tordon is a pacy, exciting read that middle-grade
readers will love getting sucked into.”
– Bec Kavanagh, Books+Publishing


What if the game were real?

Thirteen-year-old Beth has been waiting for weeks
to play in the anniversary championship of her
favourite online game, Tordon. Now tribes of beast-
men roar through her speakers, mutts bark and her
avatar materialises onscreen.

Game on!

After Beth tries the riskiest move in Tordon’s history,
the game sends her a mysterious message: Only
champions dare to enter. Enter what? To find out,
she meets her gaming nemesis Zane outside the
house of Tordon’s famous designer.

Unexpectedly, they’re sucked into a strange world
where they must push their skills to the limit to

With riddles, a multitude of dangerous creatures,
exotic cultures and scientific impossibilities, the
two of them must face challenge after challenge if
they’re ever to return home.

ZF Kingbolt has had a varied career including lawyer,
scientist, engineer, journalist, biologist, aid worker
and teacher, so it took a while to discover that
writing books was the best thing ever. A
slitherphobe, Kingbolt hates snakes and burnt toast,
but loves gaming, technology, geology and

Into Tordon and author ZF Kingbolt are the
creations of nine writers who decided to join forces
and create stories that will engage and entertain
young minds. The authors met through Sydney’s
Northern Beaches Writers’ Group. All successful
writers, but with a diverse range of other jobs and
interests, collaboration was always going to be a
challenge. Instead of hindering the creative process,
this breadth of experience instead allowed the many
worlds within Tordon to be born.

The authors are Leah Boonthanom, Tracey Jackson,
Tony McFadden, Mijmark, Kristin Prescott, Zoya
Nojin, Zena Shapter and Kirsten Taylor.

The authors are all available for school visits. For
more information go to www.zfkingbolt.com


Curriculum Areas: English, Art, History

World Building

Discuss the various worlds of Into Tordon. Ask them:
Which is your favourite world?
Which world would you like to go to and why?
Choose one world/chapter. What do you like most
about the setting?
How is it different from where you live?
What do you like/dislike about it?

Questions and activities
• Ask students to draw one of the worlds from
Into Tordon.
• Why not ask them to draw a fantasy world of
their own creation.
• Students could write about their world. Ask
them to imagine they are looking around. What
do they see? What colour is the sky? What is the
temperature? How does the ground feel? What
time is it? What type of people live there?
• Discuss the various characters/monsters of Into
Tordon with students.
• Have students design and make masks of their
favourite ‘monster’.
• Have students create a character they would like
to see appear in Into Tordon.

Then and Now
Read Chapter 14. In this chapter Bethlyn and Zane
are exploring a playground. In their own world,
playgrounds have fallen into disrepair because of
the popularity of online games and the increase in
skin damage by the sun.

Questions and activities
• Discuss what playgrounds looked like 20 years
ago and 50 years ago compared to now.
• Look at pictures and talk to parents or
grandparents about what they liked doing as
a child.
• Have students design/draw their idea of what a
playground might be in 20 years from now. How
could technology impact how we use outdoor

Riddles & Brain Teasers
Throughout Into Tordon, Bethlyn and Zane must
solve riddles or brain teasers to survive.

For Example:
‘What can you have anytime, but never hold?’
(Chapter 14)

‘From the start of evolution,
To the end of time and space,
The start of earthly equinox,
Points to the end of base.’
(Chapter 20)

Questions and activities
Have students read the riddles above. Ask them:
• What is a riddle or brain teaser?
• How would you go about solving these riddles?
• Have students make up their own riddle. It
could be about something in the classroom or
playground. Then swap with other students and
see if they can solve them.

Tips for Writing Riddles
1. Choose an answer. It needs to be
general and clear in your mind!
2. Brainstorm your answer. Write
down words and phrases you
associate with the answer to
your riddle.
3. Think like the object. Try describing the world
from your answer’s point of view.
4. Use figurative language. For example use ‘like’
or ‘as’.
Eg: “I reflect like a mirror” (answer: water)
Source: http://www.readwritethink.org/

Curriculum Areas: English, Drama

Learning about friendship is an important part of
Bethlyn and Zane’s journey. As they discover, it
certainly isn’t easy, especially when you simply
don’t get along.

Questions and activities
Read through EXTRACT 1 with the students.
Ask them:
Is Beth and Zane’s behaviour acceptable?
How could Beth and Zane have handled the
situation differently?
What would you do if someone confronted you in
that way?

Have students role play this scene or an interaction
like this. Discuss:
• How does it make you feel?
• How would you have behaved differently?
• What would you do next? Would you take the

Read through EXTRACT 2 with the students.
Ask them:
How has the relationship between Beth and Zane
Why do you think they are treating each other
differently now?

Friendship Activities
Discuss students’ past experiences with friends. Ask
• Have you ever had trouble with a friend? How
did you resolve it?
• Ask students to write a story or poem about
their experience.
• Ask students to draw a picture of what they
most enjoy doing with their best friend.
• Have students write a letter to a friend, telling
them about an experience they remember or
enjoyed with that person and why.

EXTRACT 1 (Chapter 3)
‘He means,’ said Zane, grabbing 6thDan’s
sword, ‘that no true champion would jump off a cliff
to win. Dying in the heat of battle is fine. But to win
like you did is cowardly.’
The blood rushed to Beth’s face. ‘But that’s
not what you said in the chatroom.’
Zane rolled his eyes. ‘Only idiots say what
they really think online.’ He swished the sword
around his body.
‘Okay, give it back now,’ said 6thDan, trying
to snatch the sword.
‘Go 007!’ said VlahPaul with a laugh.
Beth stepped forward, sick of them all. There were
no friends to be made here. ‘Give it back, Zane.’
‘Why, you gonna win it back by throwing
yourself off a cliff?’
‘You know,’ said Beth, clenching her fists, ‘it’s
called strategy. Sometimes you have to make
sacrifices to win. The championship might be
configured that way for all we know.’
Zane pointed the sword at the house
opposite them. ‘Go on then.’
‘Go on what?’
‘Go ask.’

EXTRACT 2 (Chapter 13)
Zane glanced sideways at her. ‘Well…’ He
looked away again. ‘Nah. You won’t like it.’
‘What? Why?’
‘Because you’re gonna have to trust me and I
know you won’t do that.’
‘Just tell me.’
‘Okay. So I tie these roots around you, hook
them over that one running across this ledge and
lower you down. You grab the glowing egg thing, I
haul you up, then we’re out of here.’
‘That’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard. A root
will never take my weight. And you don’t have the
strength to lift me.’
‘You got another idea?’
She searched the cavern, then glanced back
at Zane who flexed his arm muscles. ‘Come on, I’ve
been to survival camp. I can hold you. Trust me!’
She paused, but there really was no other
way. ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’

Curriculum Areas: English

Conflict Resolution
Students are being increasingly exposed to physical
and emotional conflict on television, in games and
through books.
Throughout Into Tordon, Bethlyn faces instances of
physical contact, which culminate in her
confrontation with the Chameleon.

Questions and activities
Read the following extract from Chapter 23
The Chameleon smirked. ‘You have to kill
me to defeat me.’
‘What? You don’t have a sword. I’ve won.
Now let Zane down and show us the gateway.’
She waved her sword at him, hoping to
drive him back.
He simply stood his ground. ‘Do it,’ he
hissed, his hands by his side.
‘Do you want to die,’ she tapped her head,
‘in here?’
‘You want to go home, don’t you? I’m only
trying to help. This is the way.’
Beth bit her lip, then stared at the Chamele-
on and let the tip of her sword drop to the ground.
‘No, killing you is not the answer.’
‘Yes, it is!’ His eyes flared with anger.
‘All I want is my friend back and to go home.’
She stepped around him, closer to the tree. ‘I don’t
want to kill you. I’m not going to kill you.’
‘You have to!’ Flecks of spit shot from his
mouth and stuck to his moustache. ‘That’s what
winners do, they kill their enemies!’
Beth nodded at the bushes where his sword
had disappeared. ‘Then make me!’

Discuss the extract. Ask them:
• How does it make you feel?
• Do you agree with how Beth handled the
situation? Why?
• Is violence ever the answer, even if you are
trying to help someone else?
• What should you do if someone threatens you?
• What do you know about self-defence?
• Have students work in small groups to come up
with ways to solve a moral dilemma, without
violence, then present them to the class.

Curriculum Areas: English, History, Art, Music

The woman in the black headdress watched
them, then leant back and raised the flap of her
tent. With a wink, she gestured them inside.
Beth hesitated. Dried blood was smeared
down the fabric of the tent. She wrinkled her nose
and Zane shook his head.
The woman’s eyes danced with laughter. ‘Do
not worry, no one has been harmed here. This,’ she
gestured at the blood, ‘is the mark of a good host.
If a guest is grateful for shelter and food, they wipe
their hands from the lamb stew here.’ She stood
and waved them inside, pointing to five fat cushions
strewn on a colourful carpet. ‘Sit and rest. They will
not find you here.’ (Chapter 8)

Bethlyn and Zane come into contact with a number
of different cultures as they journey through the
worlds of Into Tordon. In many instances, they must
form an understanding and respect for the people
and places they encounter, if they’re to make it

Questions and activities
• Ask students to read Chapter 8 and write down
the differences between their way of life and
the way of life portrayed in that chapter.
Consider language, setting, housing, food,
games, etc.
• Ask if anyone in the class speaks a different
• Who has a different cultural background?
• Ask them which family traditions they enjoy.
• Have any students travelled to countries with
different languages or cultures? Were there any
funny moments?
• Discuss holidays celebrated by different

What is Harmony Day? (www.harmony.gov.au)
• How can your school mark Harmony Day?
• Have students plan their own cultural day at
school. They could make flags, bring in food and
dress in different national costumes.

Australian Aboriginal Folklore
Legend of the Suns (Chapter 16)
‘Haven’t the suns always been there?’ asked
Zane, gazing at the dancing shadows.
Kira shook her head. ‘We used to have a
single sun for every day of the week. Then the suns
started squabbling over who was the most
important. Sunday’s sun said she made people the
happiest, by shining on them during their day of
rest. Monday’s sun said people wouldn’t wake for
work without her. Tuesday’s sun said it helped dry
out the harvest. And so on. One day, they all came
out at once, and now they refuse to return to their
old ways. They’re too proud to back down. They
must be defeated or else we will perish.’

Traditional stories often provide a fascinating
insight into different cultures. In many cases these
are passed down from generation to generation, in
other instances they take the form of legend, myth
(a story based on tradition or legend), or folktales.

Australian folklore, its traditions, customs and
beliefs are based on both Indigenous and
non-Indigenous people’s knowledge and experience
of history in Australia.

The Indigenous Australians’ knowledge goes back
tens of thousands of years. This knowledge has its
roots in the ‘Dream times’ or ‘Dreamtime’ stories.
(source www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/).

Questions and activities
Explore and analyse traditional Aboriginal
Dreamtime Stories.
• What is an Aboriginal Dreamtime story?
• Have students discuss any Dreamtime stories
they are familiar with. Eg. “How the Birds got
their Colours”, “The Rainbow Serpent” or “How
the Kangaroo got its pouch”.
• What lessons can Dreamtime stories teach us?

Read an Aboriginal Dreamtime story.
• What is the meaning of that story?
• Have students do their own Aboriginal-style
artwork to illustrate the story.

Have students write and illustrate their own legend
inspired by a world in Into Tordon.

Australian Bush Poems
The written history of a country can take the form
of stories, poetry or ballads. Some of the best
known early Australian storytellers include Banjo
Patterson, Henry Lawson and Dorothea Mackellar.

Questions and activities
• Explore a selection of Australian poems. Eg “My
Country” or “The Man From Snowy River”.
• Discuss the language. What words make these
stories identifiably Australian?
• Have students write a short story or poem
about the Australia they live in now. Ask the:
what do you love most about Australia?

Australian Folk Music

Traditional stories are also often told through music.
Folk music is music handed down within
communities, but which is now shared more
extensively. It often tells stories of the past and is
identifiably geographic.

Questions and activities
• What is Australian folk music?
• From where did much of Australia’s non-
indigenous folk music originate?

Play students some traditional Australian songs.
Eg. “The Wild Colonial Boy” or “Waltzing Matilda”.
• What makes these songs identifiably Australian?
• Look at the lyrics of the song. How does the
language differ from the way we speak today?
• What does the song tell you about the past?
• What instruments would you normally see in a
traditional bush band?

Why not make a time capsule?
1. What is a time capsule?
2. When should future students
open it?
3. What do you think will best
represent life today?
4. Each student chooses one item for
the capsule. It can be an object, letter or poem.5. Decide where to store the time capsule (above
ground may give it a longer life and consider
air/water tight containers).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.