Fans of Pixar’s Onward may walk away from the film wishing the realm Ian and Barley Lightfoot live in is real. At the very least, they may wish they could play “Quests of Yore,” the game in the film that Barley is obsessed with that is based on the real history of their realm. Barley carries a guide from the game with them on their adventure and now you can have your own copy with Onward: Quests of Yore from Disney Press.
Similar to Gravity Falls: Journal 3 and Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Magic Book of Spells, this is an in-universe book that contains the legends of the realm, spells, and information about magical items and creatures. Since this is Barley’s personal copy, he and Ian have made some annotations within the pages. What the film didn’t show is that as they went on their quest, they made notes in the book about their experiences.
Okay, that last part is maybe a stretch, as we never see them write in the book during the film. It does include some duct taped additions, though, including the lists we see Ian make and the colored placemat from The Manticore’s Tavern. In addition, Ian and Barley have taped in some drawings they did of their adventure or characters they met.
Through reading Onward: Quests of Yore, you get the plot of the film in bits and pieces from the handwritten notes from Ian and Barley. Author Rob Renzetti has cleverly laid out the contents of the game guide in such a way that it becomes relevant to those parts of the linear story. For example, there are three sections on spells, one for beginners that includes Ian’s earlier spells, like “Aloft Elevar,” one for moderate experience like “Magnora Gantuan,” and one for experts like “Voltar Thundasir.” These spells appear in the story in that order and coincidentally, readers reach those pages as Ian and Barley need them on their quest.
If you’re a fan of Pixar in-jokes, Ian and Barley have also added some personal items from their journey in the book. Paper ephemera and stickers from the realm appear on screen for a few seconds and might not even be in clear focus, but you can take your time and read the ones included here. It’s fun to see these items up close and without a time limit because so much work went into creating them and it really shows.
Set forth on your own quest through Ian and Barley’s realm with Onward: Quests of Yore from Disney Press. This full-color book includes fantastic artwork that feels like it belongs to the game in addition to artwork provided by Ian and Barley themselves. This is a fun way to revisit the world of Pixar’s Onward from the comfort and safety of your home. Those that haven’t seen the film should note that while they get the story by reading it, it will likely be a bit confusing without knowing the full story. Another book I recently reviewed, Onward: The Search for the Phoenix Gem, is a fun way to read the full story through the vantage point of a different character in the film.
And if you’re eager to play your own Quests of Yore game, one is coming this fall from The Op.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.