Haroun and the Sea of Stories | Study Guide

Salman Rushdie

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Course Hero. "Haroun and the Sea of Stories Study Guide." Course Hero. 10 May 2019. Web. 13 Aug. 2022. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Haroun-and-the-Sea-of-Stories/>.

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Course Hero. (2019, May 10). Haroun and the Sea of Stories Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 13, 2022, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Haroun-and-the-Sea-of-Stories/

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Course Hero. "Haroun and the Sea of Stories Study Guide." May 10, 2019. Accessed August 13, 2022. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Haroun-and-the-Sea-of-Stories/.


Course Hero, "Haroun and the Sea of Stories Study Guide," May 10, 2019, accessed August 13, 2022, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Haroun-and-the-Sea-of-Stories/.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories | Plot Summary

See Plot Diagram


Trouble in the Khalifa Household

Haroun Khalifa lives with his father, the famous storyteller Rashid Khalifa, and his mother, Soraya, in the country of Alifbay. The Khalifas live in the lower level of a small house in a city so sad it has forgotten its own name. Rashid travels all around the country telling stories, and sometimes Haroun accompanies him. Haroun is amazed at his father's ability to tell complicated stories without losing track of their various threads. Unfortunately, all this traveling means Soraya is often home alone, and she becomes unhappy. She leaves her husband for Mr. Sengupta, an upstairs neighbor. Both Haroun and Rashid are deeply grieved by her departure. Haroun loses his ability to focus on anything for over 11 minutes, and Rashid loses his ability to tell stories.

Journey to Kahani

Haroun and his father travel to Dull Lake in the Valley of K as passengers in the mail coach of Mr. Butt. There, they stay in a fancy houseboat provided by Mr. Buttoo, a smug politician. The first night on the houseboat, Haroun accidentally catches a Water Genie named Iff. Iff is attempting to shut off Rashid's subscription to the Streams of Story. Evidently, Rashid's subscription has been discontinued. Haroun steals Iff's Disconnecting Tool and demands to be brought before the Walrus, whom Iff says can straighten out the subscription problem. Haroun refuses to give the tool back until Iff complies. Iff takes Haroun to a secret second Moon of Earth called Kahani, flying on the back of a mechanical Hoopoe bird named Butt. The hidden Moon is covered in an ocean called the Ocean of the Streams of Story. The stories in this ocean are like colorful currents in the water, but they can be lifted out and given to people who need inspiration. The rotation of the Moon is such that one side is always facing the sun and one is always facing away from the sun. The light side is the Land of Gup, where inhabitants are noisy and talkative. The dark side is the Land of Chup, where inhabitants are silent.

Khattam-Shud's Nefarious Plan

Iff and Butt the Hoopoe take Haroun to Gup City, where he meets two Plentimaw Fishes, Goopy and Bagha; Mali, a Floating Gardener who tends to the stories in the Ocean and keeps them healthy; and Blabbermouth, a female Page to Prince Bolo disguised as a boy. Haroun learns that a fearsome villain, Khattam-Shud, rules the Land of Chup and has begun a war against the Land of Gup and the Ocean itself. He has kidnapped the Princess Batcheat of Gup and is preparing to sacrifice her to an idol named Bezaban. He is also systematically poisoning the Ocean with a dark, toxic pollutant and is targeting a part of the Ocean known to be the Source of Stories, called the Old Zone. His evil plan is to end stories and storytelling forever. Prince Bolo, Batcheat's fiancé, desperately wants her back. The rest of the Guppees are divided as to whether saving her or saving the Ocean is more important. But they know Khattam-Shud must be defeated and they prepare for battle. In the midst of the preparations, Rashid also arrives on Kahani.

Meeting Mudra

The Guppee forces arrive in the Twilight Strip, an area between the two lands and near the border of the Land of Chup. They encounter Mudra, a Shadow Warrior who speaks an ancient language made of gestures rather than speech. Mudra had been second-in-command to Khattam-Shud but had parted ways with the villain in order to pursue peace rather than war.

Meeting on the Dark Ship

Since there are two missions—saving the Princess Batcheat and saving the Ocean—the Guppee forces split up. Most go to rescue the princess, but Haroun, Iff, Mali, and Butt the Hoopoe go to the Old Zone to spy on Khattam-Shud's operations there. Goopy and Bagha also begin this journey but can continue only a short way because they cannot swim in the increasingly polluted waters. However, they are soon captured by Chupwala forces and taken to a Dark Ship on which large vats of poison are being made. They are taken before Khattam-Shud, who turns out to be Khattam-Shud's Shadow. The Shadow has grown to be like a person and has separated from the original Khattam-Shud so the villain can be in two places at once, overseeing two evil plots. Shadow Khattam-Shud shows them that he is not only making poisons to poison all the stories, he has also made a great Plug with which to plug up the Source of Stories.


Working together, Haroun and his friends make a daring escape from the Dark Ship, and Haroun dives down into the Ocean. He sees the Plug, but it hasn't yet plugged up the Source of Stories. Knowing he has very little time to save the Source, Haroun pulls a small bottle of Wishwater out of his pocket. Iff had given him this special water earlier and he had forgotten about it. Haroun drinks the water and wishes for the Moon Kahani to turn so the Dark Ship is fully in the sun. His wish comes true. The sunlight dissolves the shadowy black magic of Khattam-Shud, including the Dark Ship and its cauldrons of poison. Mali, Iff, Haroun, and Butt the Hoopoe escape.

A Happy Ending

Meanwhile, the Guppee army must face Khattam-Shud and his Chupwala army in order to rescue Princess Batcheat. The Guppee army wins an easy victory, owing to the disunity and distrust among the Chupwalas, who quickly scatter. When Haroun's wish causes Kahani to turn so that Chup faces the sun, the Citadel of Chup and its idol Bezaban collapse, killing Khattam-Shud in the process.

After a victory celebration, Haroun and Rashid return to Earth. Surprisingly, only one night has passed while they were on Kahani—almost as if Kahani were a strange and wonderful dream. They return to their sad city, which has magically become much more cheerful and even remembers its name—Kahani. When they arrive at their house, Soraya is there, having left Mr. Sengupta.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories Plot Diagram

Falling ActionRising ActionResolutionClimax123456789101112Introduction


1 Haroun Khalifa and his family live in a sad city.

Rising Action

2 Haroun's mother Soraya leaves Rashid for another man.

3 Famous storyteller Rashid loses his ability to tell stories.

4 Haroun travels to Kahani to get Rashid's stories back.

5 The Ocean of the Streams of Story is poisoned.

6 Princess Batcheat is taken captive.

7 Haroun sets out to help save the Ocean and the princess.

8 Haroun and his friends are captured by Khattam-Shud.


9 Haroun makes a wish and the Ocean is saved.

Falling Action

10 Princess Batcheat is rescued.

11 Peace is achieved.


12 Haroun and Rashid return home and find Soraya.

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