Warning: Contains Spoilers!
At his feet was the body of a mouse.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I had a bit of a chortle reading the scene where Arthur is temporarily initiated into the Fennywolde community as a sentry. I’d forgotten about it, and I realised that since I’d read The Crystal Prison last (a few years ago, certainly) I’d had a similarly haphazard-yet-meaningful experience. Oddly enough, it also took place in high summer.
Those of you who read Beyond the Silvering Sea will already know this story, but for any who don’t, let me summarise. Last year, a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Mr Jarvis at a local book festival. Being the die-hard fans that we are, we had both brought him tokens of our esteem to surprise him during the signing.
My friend had made the Anti-Owl Charm in craft clay, because Mr Jarvis had previously mentioned that it was his favourite mousebrass design. Since I was wont to present him with outlandish fanart projects, I had decided to go all-out and draw him his very own coat of arms to mark this extra-special occasion. There’s a bit of story behind that (read it here) but the point that I’m getting to is that I had also, somehow, at some point and possibly as a result of my mum’s earnest insistence the day before, decided that a coat of arms was a bit lacking on its own, and that Mr Jarvis ought to be knighted along with it.
The scene of Arthur being ‘sworn in’ is, funnily enough, not dissimilar to what transpired that day. I made up a few suitably ceremonial-sounding words on the spot. Mr Jarvis was surprisingly game for the lark and graciously allowed me to ‘dub’ him with a pen my friend had brought. None of us could keep a straight face. The festival staff in the vicinity applauded. Unlike Arthur’s sentry duties, however, Sir Robin’s knighthood is by no means a temporary honour. Truly, it was the Green, and not I, who bestowed it upon him!
Matt’s Thoughts: Three comments on this chapter:
- It just finally dawned on me that the Fennywolders have a democratic monarchy. I wouldn’t want to read any political views of Mr Jarvis into this, but the idea that the Royal Family would change every year based on a popular vote is somewhat awesome. That said, I really like Mr Woodruffe as a character. He walks a fine balancing act between recognising that the Green Mouse and the ways of Fenny need to be respected – but he never tips over into being an Isaac Nettle. He is, in short, a balanced leader that is good for everyone. (I’d wear a ‘Mr Woodruffe for King’ t-shirt.)
- I quite enjoy the catty (pun intended) interaction between Audrey and Alison. The two of them are quite equal sparring partners when it comes to their tongue. But then again, that causes part of the problems when we get to …
- The murder of Hodge. (I got, what, all of four chapters to enjoy having a character named after me? Thanks, Robin!) But what I enjoy reading this book now is that I can see Robin is again throwing in another normally adult story trope into a kids’ book. In this case, it is the serial killer mystery thriller. Ever since Jack the Ripper took to the streets, we have always been terrified and fascinated by unseen killers, picking off victims at random. And how many open with the finding of a body, killed under mysterious circumstances? (I just can’t think of the last time anybody did it with mice.)
Well, we can’t stop reading now, can we? On to Chapter 10!