Macdonald Hall

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

A series of novels written by Gordon Korman about Crazy Awesome Bruno and his best friend Boots.

Bruno and Boots attend a boarding school called Macdonald Hall. Generally, the books feature Bruno trying to achieve some goal using some crazy plan, often getting the entire student body involved as well. Boots will usually try to keep his friend in check, but it rarely has much of an effect. Hilarity Ensues.

Books written in this series are as follows. The first is the original title (published in the late seventies/early eighties), the second is the republished title (published in the 2000s):

  • This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall/This Can't Be Happening!: The Headmaster declares that Bruno is a bad influence on Boots and therefore they can't be roommates any more. Bruno tries to convince the Headmaster to let them room together again.
  • Go Jump In the Pool!: Bruno is irritated that Macdonald Hall has no pool, unlike its rival York Academy. Even worse, some of the students' parents are thinking of pulling their kids from the Hall due to the poor athletic program. Bruno decides to solve this by raising money to buy a pool.
  • Beware the Fish!: Due to budget problems, Macdonald Hall is in danger of closing down. Bruno's plan is to do something that will gain the Hall publicity.
  • The War With Mr.Wizzle/The Wizzle War: An obnoxious man, Mr. Wizzle, takes charge at Macdonald Hall, instituting a dress code and generally annoying everybody. Even the Headmaster doesn't like the guy. Naturally, Bruno tries to find a way to get rid of him.
  • The Zucchini Warriors: Macdonald Hall acquires a football stadium and starts a football team.
  • Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood/Lights! Camera! Disaster!: A film is being shot at Macdonald Hall, and Bruno is determined to be in it.
  • Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall/The Joke's On Us: There's a practical joker, but it's not Bruno and Boots. They try to find the real joker before they end up expelled.

Despite the similar sounding name, there's no connection between this and Mac Hall the webcomic.

Tropes used in Macdonald Hall include:

  • Action Girl: Cathy Burton. "The riot squad is afraid to come back here! We're SOMEBODY!"
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: What happens to Elmer in The Zucchini Warriors.
  • Arranged Marriage: The solution to The Wizzle War.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: Mr. Sturgeon.
  • Berserk Button: Mr. Wizzle from The Wizzle War seem to be good at pushing these.
    • Don't shorten Wilbur's last name or take away his food.
    • Leave Elmer's science experiments alone if you know what's good for you.
    • It's not a good idea to switch Chris out of his art courses.
    • Mark is the only one that touches the printing press.
    • It's also a bad idea to force Bruno Walton to put on a tie, make him get up before 9am, and insult the school in his hearing. Also, York Academy.
    • For a non-Wizzle example: Do not, under ANY circumstances, threaten the innocent young girls of Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School for Young Ladies.

Miss Scrimmage: "What do you mean coming over here in the middle of the night and frightening my sweet, innocent young girls?
Police Officer: "Lady, GODZILLA couldn't frighten these girls!"

  • Big Eater: Wilbur Hackenschleimer
  • Blue Blood: While not exactly royalty, George Wexford-Smyth III definitely comes off as this.
  • Boarding School: Where the story takes place.
    • One-Gender School: Macdonald Hall for the boys and one across the street called Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School for girls.
  • Canada, Eh?: The books are proudly set near the (fictional) town of Chutney, Ontario, just a relatively short distance from Toronto.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': At the end of the day, after all the madness is said and done, Bruno and Boots usually get in trouble for their actions.
  • Captain Oblivious: Mr. Fudge, the housemaster of Bruno and Boots' dorm.
  • Celebrity Star: Jordie in Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood.
  • Characterization Marches On: In This Can't Be Happening!, Boots enthusiastically goes along with Bruno's mad schemes. In later books, he's the Only Sane Man trying to talk Bruno out of his latest Zany Scheme.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: George Wexford-Smyth III plays a some-what important rule in the first book, but only appears in the second to comment on how 'vulgar' their events are (not knowing what is going on) He manages to invest all the money Bruno and Boots made beforehand into one of the richest Canadian mining companies, Lorelei Mining, giving them more than enough (around 2 million in the old copy of the book or around 65 thousand in the 2003 version) to build a pool)
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Mr. Sturgeon and Gloria Peabody
  • Dean Bitterman: Averted. Mr. Sturgeon cares deeply about his students.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Peabody
  • Distaff Counterpart: Cathy and Diane at Miss Scrimmage's, to Bruno and Boots.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Gloria Peabody
  • Earthquake Machine: Naturally, Elmer has a minor one already built to stick in Wizzle's home to freak him out.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Boots' real name is Melvin.
  • Fictional Country: The flag of "Malbonia" is mentioned in the first book.
  • Fundraiser Carnival
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Bruno and Boots, naturally.
  • Invented Individual: G. Gavin Gunhold in The Wizzle War
  • The Jinx: Bruno, to Perry Elbert.
  • The Klutz: Sidney Rampulsky. Especially in a tie.
  • Large Ham: Bruno and Cathy
  • Loophole Abuse: After Cathy is discovered moonlighting in the football team in The Zucchini Warriors, they attempt to argue that there Ain't No Rule saying girls can't play. The referee points out that there is a rule saying that all the players in the school team have to be students at the school.
  • Meaningful Name: Miss Scrimmage. Comes in handy in The Zucchini Warriors when the cheerleaders use the name "The Line Of Scrimmage."
  • Mistaken Identity: Bruno and Boots try to force this by pretending to be George Wexford-Smyth III and Elmer Drimsdale in order to frame them for a panty-raid at Scrimmage's, in a ploy to get back together as roommates in This Can't Be Happening At Macdonald Hall! Mr. Sturgeon is not fooled.
    • Played completely straight in Go Jump In the Pool when Wilbur sells Miss Scrimmage's shotgun at the garage sale, and she gets arrested for armed robbery later than night.
  • Nerd: Elmer Drimsdale and Mr. Wizzle.
  • Not Me This Time: The premise for Something Fishy- there's a prankster loose on campus, and it's obvious to everyone that it's Bruno and Boots again. Except it's not them.
  • Only Sane Man: Boots
  • Opposites Attract: There's never any explanation to how Bruno and Boots became such good friends amid driving each other crazy at times.
  • Panty Thief: Bruno and Boots try to frame Elmer and George as this.
  • Rich Bitch: George Wexford-Smyth is a male version of this, occasionally developing more depth and then going back to being mostly a jerk.
  • Save Our Team: Subverted: Coach Hank doesn't work miracles on a bunch of sports-apathetic Canadian boys, the girl from the school next door does.
    • Arguably, Kevin Klapper plays this trope straight.
  • School for Scheming: Local law enforcement suspects Macdonald Hall of being this in Beware The Fish.
  • Serious Business: The war games Miss Scrimmages' held in The Wizzle War had fortresses, traps, (water) guns, and (water) balloons. Even the pouring rain and fog didn't keep these games from being played.
  • Signs of Disrepair: In This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall!, Miss Scrimmage accidentally shoots the sign outside her school that reads, "Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School for Young Ladies", changing the word "Finishing" to "Fishing".
  • Sleep Learning: In The War With Mr. Wizzle, the girl students try to change the behaviour of teacher Gloria Peabody by playing tapes telling her to be nice while she sleeps. Unfortunately they just make Peabody even crankier because she's not sleeping properly.
  • Stop or I Will Shoot: Miss Scrimmage and her shotgun.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Cathy does this in order to join the football team in The Zucchini Warriors.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Cathy and Diane, though Cathy is more of The Ladette.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Zucchini sticks in The Zucchini Warriors, but only for the Manchurian bush hamsters. Everyone else, including Hank the guy who owns the zucchini stick company, hates to eat them.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Mr. Wizzle
  • Work Off the Debt: Happens to Bruno and Boots when their schemes to be reunited in This Can't be Happening! start costing the school money.
  • Writing Lines: In The War With Mr. Wizzle, the new Pointy-Haired Boss of an assistant principal introduces lines as a standardized universal punishment. The students retaliate by picking a handful to write everybody's lines for them, giving the other students time to sabotage Wizzle's computer, make an Invented Individual, and so on. (The kids who get picked to do lines soon begin to resent the ones who got assigned to the fun stuff, but they prevail anyway.) By contrast, the Headmaster, Mr. Sturgeon, whose power the students respect, disapproves of lines and prefers to impose lengthy essays as punishment.
  • You Are Grounded: Happens to Bruno and Boots a lot.
  • You Go, Girl!: Cathy in The Zucchini Warriors
  • Zany Scheme: Bruno is a big fan.