The Final Reckoning | Chapter 10

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Warning: Contains Spoilers!

‘My name is Piccadilly,’ he shouted proudly, ‘and by the power of the Green Mouse I banish you forever!’

Aufwader’s Thoughts: There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth in a moment, but first, I feel I must point out the opening scene of this chapter in which Audrey is caught preening herself. For our heroine, this small sequence is the beginning of the end of her coming-of-age.

Gwen is understanding about Audrey’s desire to make peace with Piccadilly (for which my love for that little mousemum reaches new heights) but she also makes a very percipient point that, I’m sure, resonates with many of us. Audrey can do nothing to change her situation. She is married to Twit for good or ill until the grass grows green over them both, but instead of drowning in despair and feeling sorry for herself, she should try to accept that which she has no control over and find what harmony she can within herself.

Harmony seems rather distant, however, in the face of Audrey’s final meeting with Piccadilly. Ow! I tell you what, OW! If you’re wondering what that ripping noise is it’s the sound of my heart being shredded into tiny pieces. I bet I wasn’t the only one yelling ‘JUST TELL HIM!’ out loud during this part. Nor, I surmise, was I the only one groaning in frustration when Thomas and Arthur appeared at precisely the wrong moment to drag Piccadilly to his doom. And Barker! Shame upon ye, shame and fie!

On to the weeping and gnashing of teeth, then. I admit I’ve been putting it off. Honestly though, for an epic showdown between two main characters you could not wish for a more dramatic setting. The mice fleeing for their lives; the vicious wraiths of the Unbeest shrieking in fury; fire blazing and snowstorm whirling and Piccadilly, oh Piccadilly, consumed with bitterness and the lust for vengeance, turning back at the last minute to avenge or so perish in the attempt.

If the finale of The Crystal Prison was like an opera, Piccadilly and Morgan’s ‘Duel in the Storm’ is like a painting. White, for the blizzard. Black, for the grappling silhouettes of the fated nemeses, locked in their final, dreadful reckoning. Gold for the flash of Audrey’s brass, silver for Piccadilly’s trusty knife. Red, for the dying flames and the bright wounds and the twitching claws of an old, tired rat who saw no other way out.

An ending for Jupiter’s left claw, and an end to hope with the sudden and merciless murder of our young hero. The detail that hurts me the most is that he died with his little face ‘turned heavenward.’ Green keep you, Dilly-O. You will be missed.

 

Matt’s Thoughts: In almost every Jarvis book there seems to be one chapter that sears its way onto my brain. And there’s possibly even a statistical consensus amongst many of us fans what The Chapter is in each book. (Maybe?)

So if the Blackheath Ritual was the shocker from The Dark Portal, and the Audrey/Twit Wedding was the one from The Crystal Prison, then this would be a strong candidate for That Chapter in The Final Reckoning.

There was simultaneously no preparation and every preparation for this happening. In one sense, we would expect – in almost any other book aimed at young readers – that young Piccadilly would have his death-defying encounter with Jupiter and get rescued / escape at the last minute. (Especially since he’d survived that extraordinarily powerful Semi-Final Round with Morgan.) But, no. A few strokes of the old Jarvis pen – or did you break our hearts on some accursed old Mac or PC, Robin? – and Everyone’s (Arguably) Favourite Character is obliterated.

And then we realise that it’s all been set up. The awkward romance between Audrey that went nowhere, the last conversation that she’ll always regret, his deep scepticism about the Green Mouse that transforms itself into faith at the last minute, his move from vengeance to grace and forgiveness. All of it rushes back and reminds us that, for all of us, we never do know when our number is up. Or if not ours, those whom we love.

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22 thoughts on “The Final Reckoning | Chapter 10

  1. Two things about this chapter.

    First: Poor Audrey. I never fully understood Gwen’s advice in this chapter. She must know Audrey’s marriage wasn’t one of love, but necessity. Why SHOULDN’T Audrey pursue Piccadilly? Does divorce not exist in this world? Even TWIT doesn’t expect her to be faithful to him. I always found it weird that Gwen gave her daughter this kind of advice. And for Audrey herself, I find it hard to believe she could ever embody “accept your lot” with any conviction.

    Also, yes. Their final conversation is BRUTAL when you know what’s coming next.

    Second: Piccadilly. The first time I experienced his death (and the end of this book, actually, though I’ll give no spoilers away) I was so upset I ended up blocking it out. It went against everything I’d come to expect from books. Piccadilly wasn’t supposed to DIE. He was supposed to win. Defear Jupiter and find his way back to Audrey! But no, he dies. And his confrontation with Morgan is one to remember. Piccadilly comes so close to murder – and as I discussed with Aufy yesterday – how INTERESTING would it be if he had?

    Also, I have a question. Will we be reading the almanack during this reread? I wanted to add something related to the rat zodiac, but not if it’ll count as spoilers!

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    • Yes, it is odd that the possibility of Audrey divorcing Twit never pops up. When she’s determined to confess her love to Piccadilly before he can leave again, Gwen treats it as a moment of madness on her part. Like she’s tormenting herself with fruitless fantasies of something that can never be and needs to let it go because she’s only hurting herself emotionally.

      The best answer I’ve come up with is that this is a cultural or religious thing. Divorce simply doesn’t exist for mice and Audrey starting a relationship with Piccadilly despite her marriage would doom them both to become outcasts wherever they went.

      Neither of which stops me from wanting those lovebirds to decide “You know? To HELL with what everyone else thinks! The world is wide so why don’t we run away and live a life of adventure? We’ll wear domino masks and come up with a pair of outlaw names for ourselves…”

      As a matter of fact, I have a headcanon on what would have happened if Piccadilly murdered Morgan. I’ll save it for later though…heh, heh…

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  2. I always thought that Gwen’s ‘accept your lot’ speech perhaps came from her recently-accepted grief over Albert. We don’t see her go through the grieving process directly, but she must have had a lot of internal growth and soul-searching to have come to a point where she’s now advising Audrey and being more friendly with Thomas. (Or maybe Gwen has her own regrets from youth that have nothing to do with romance?)

    Yes, we will be going through the Almanack one month at a time next year! It’ll be in conjunction with the trilogies we look at in the second half of the project.

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    • I’ll save my almanack thoughts for next year then (if I remember)!

      And you’re probably right about Gwen. I mean, we all make mistakes in thinking, especially when we’re still in the process of growing and overcoming past hang-ups (which… is practically always happening haha) I think I have a tendency to compare fictional mother/daughter relationships with my own mum and I a little too much, which is why I just can’t fathom this particular bit of advice.

      It’d be interesting to think more on Gwen’s past!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Aufwader: Bravo. You have done it again. I could not capture the essence of the duel in the storm with anything approaching the eloquence of your writing. You described the illustration which accompanies this tragic chapter so perfectly. In a single sentence, you actually draw sympathy from me. Sympathy for Morgan who finally reaches the end of his long and twisted rope and stabs himself through the heart. As vile as he was, I can’t deny loving him as a villain. He went out proud, choosing to cut the strings which had bound him rather than continue to be a puppet, dancing helplessly to Jupiter’s tune. What a memorable end for one of the most truly stand-out rats in the saga.

    Matt: What makes the outcome of this chapter so shocking to me is everything that has been leading up to it. Piccadilly has all the appearance of being the hero of this story. He starts out as just another forager but the Great Thane wisely recognises that he has potential to be a great leader. He alone survives the attack which destroys Holeborn and swears to avenge his people. He joins the group who are working against the evil overlord, defeats the righthand rat in one-on-one combat and finds the magic amulet that might stand a chance to saving the world. Piccadilly even has romantic feelings for Audrey, the leading lady who has been the heroine to his hero since the trilogy began. Yes, all the pieces are in place for him to destroy The Unbeest and return home to the welcoming cheers of the mice. Then the table is flipped over and the pieces are scattered across the ground, leaving us without a clue as to how this story is going to end.

    My heart hurts like hell as Audrey weeps desolately in her mother’s arms. Piccadilly is right outside and she can’t go to him. She just can’t. As much as she hates it, the same promise that rescued her from dangling at the end of a rope will always keep her apart from the grey mouse she longs to be with. Twit saved her but survival has ensured that Audrey is doomed to lead a lonely life, forever deprived of the joy of a paw joined with her own.

    For such a small field-mouse, Twit casts a remarkably long shadow from his golden kingdom faraway. What would he say if he could see Audrey’s tears? Would he tell her that it’s okay, he understands that she will never love him? That she had his blessing to go and be happy even if her joy leads her into the arms of another mouse? Would the whole thing be Twit’s choice at all? How do the laws surrounding a union between two mice work anyway? If Audrey confessed her feelings to Piccadilly and ran away with him, would her actions sever her from the protection of The Green Mouse forever? Would she be considered a traitor to her God and become an outcast from her community, never allowed to see her family or be part of their lives ever again?

    Jupiter did say that if Audrey was permitted to marry, she would become bound by the Greenlaws which would shield her from his evil plan. If those laws granted the mousemaid protection from the disembodied spirit, could they also punish Audrey for violating her promise? Even though the poor girl is sobbing her heart out, Gwen never raises the possibility of getting the marriage annulled, suggesting that divorce is a thing that the mice have no concept of whatsoever. Would there be dire consequences for Audrey deciding to pursue a romance with Piccadilly despite her unhappily married state? Or does Audrey simply agree with Gwen that to betray Twit would be an unforgivable sin?
    Either way, this is a terrible fate for Audrey. Whether Jupiter is banished from this world or transforms it into a lifeless wasteland, a fairy-tale ending really isn’t on the cards for poor unhappy Mrs Scuttle. Then again…if you think any book written by Mr Jarvis has anything that remotely resembles a happy ending in store for the protagonists then I’m sorry. But you really haven’t been paying attention…

    Would Thomas have accepted Audrey if she had stepped forward, demanding to be included in the group bound for the power station? Given the scowl he responded with when Gwen picked up her rapier and bluntly stated that she would fight for her daughter in Book One, I’d say that he would have shaken his head in response. What do you think would have been the outcome if Audrey had slipped away and followed the group in secret? Considering that the mousebrass was given to her, that she was the mouse who used its magic to overcome Jupiter the first time, would the horrifying events have played out differently as a result of her involvement?
    As the group prepares for their journeyto the power station where both an old enemy and their only glimmer of hope await, Piccadilly must endure a painful conversation with Audrey. I wish that she would tell him everything. Clear the air about what was really going on in Book Two. What she wanted to tell him at the party just before he slipped away in the night, how she was forced to go to Fennywolde against her will and wanted more than anything for him to come with her, the horrors she faced in the golden kingdom.

    I understand why Audrey feels that she can’t say all these things to Piccadilly. Revealing that she’s in love with him but they can never be together would be opening a can of worms. Once she blurted out her feelings, she could never unsay it and would have to deal with whatever happened as a result of that impulsive decision. What would Piccadilly do if he knew the truth? He’s turned his back on our lord, The Mouse In The Green, which means that respect for the Greenlaws would be the last thing he’d give a damn about. Perhaps he would stare at Audrey for a moment, realising what she’d said, then clasp her paw and whisper that she should come away with him? Oh my!
    Gwen may have a point when she quietly tells Audrey that it’s better for Piccadilly not to how the truth. I hate, detest and loathe anything which keeps the star-crossed lovers apart. But I can see Gwen’s point. The Brown family has been put through the emotional meat-grinder since her husband was lost to The Grill. The last thing they need is for a new outbreak of emotional turmoil as Piccadilly and Audrey ran away to live as outlaws together. As deeply as I would love to read about their adventures as a mousy Robin Hood and Maid Marian, it would be terrible for Gwen to lose Audrey again.

    Even Barker ships Piccadilly with Audrey who blushes so profusely that the embarrassment is visible through her fur! You see, everyone? Even a faceful of fur can’t hide her love for the rebellious grey mouse who has stolen her heart! But my grin fades when Piccadilly turns and walks away, not noticing the tears which glisten on those furry cheeks. Oh Piccadilly…turn your head and look back and you’ll see a mouse whose heart is breaking as you walk out of her life once more! Look back, you fool! Look back! He’s not going to look back, is he? Uuuuuurgh!

    At the power station, Morgan finds himself surrounded by a circle of grim-faced mice who have come for the mousebrass and are determined not to leave without it. As Piccadilly stands glaring with savagely clenched teeth, dying for an excuse to use the knife he wields, Thomas orders Morgan to hand it over. Realizing why the mice have come, Morgan throws back his head and guffaws. He knows something they don’t. And that something has been slipping out of the power station as silently as the approach of death itself.

    The ice zombies have always been one of my favorite thing from The Final Reckoning! How the heck did our esteemed author dream up those monstrosities? Ghosts. Wraiths. Specters. Call them what you will, they have risen again and The Deptford Mice are now faced a terrifying new threat. We shan’t get to see the ice zombies depicted in an illustration for another chapter or so but that hardly matters. The narrator paints a nightmare-inducing portrait of Morgan’s ghastly new lads. Their hollow eye-sockets are portals to the shadow of the void. Their fur is stained with the blood that came spilling out of them when they were impaled. They’re armed with none other than the icicles which killed them. Who ya gonna call? Someone else!

    When Thomas declares that the ghosts can’t hurt them, Morgan mockingly refers to him as a sea-squeaker. Umm…how does the piebald rat know Thomas used to be a sailor?

    The tables have turned against The Deptford Mice who can only run for their lives as the spectral horde charges across the snow, ice spears raised in claws that are devoid of life but filled with the joy of murder. Come to think of it, the Japanese edition of The Final Reckoning DOES show the ghostly rats menacing the mice while Morgan looks on with a smug grin. The artwork is much more cartoonish in flavor than the English edition but still, the artist captured the sense of horror so well. The ghosts aren’t dangerous just because Thomas can’t slice them to ribbons with his sword. Arthur has it right when he screams that there are just too bloody many of them. And that’s just what we see in the German Edition’s illustration. Countless spears are aimed straight at Arthur, Thomas and Piccadilly whose minds are clearly battling to comprehend this new horror.

    I chuckle heartily along with Piccadilly when he tells the specters to go haunt a house. Good one, man! You hear those woebegone howls? You burned those spooks bad!

    Then Barker gets his attention, pointing to the flag which is still raised in the claws of the ghostly standard bearer. Piccadilly looks up and discovers that it’s no flag at all. It’s the skin of his friend, Marty, who never made it back to Holeborn and was the first mouse to die in the attack.

    And suddenly we’re not laughing anymore.

    Morgan…your time has come.

    The moment when Piccadilly charges across the snowfield to kill the piebald rat is so bleakly clear in my mind. If I had the chance to direct the movie version of this book, here’s how it would play out…please forgive me if the paragraph below strikes you as being too cheesy for words…

    All sound fades away. The wind’s mournful howl and the screeching of the wraiths. All of it is drowned beneath the epic music which has begun to swell. Lyrics are sung and they tell the story of a lone warrior, a knife in his paw and the desire for vengeance in his heart. The camera follows the distant mouse from a profile perspective, focusing on the bounding steps he takes across the ice. He slips and falls, sliding across the ground where he comes to rest in a panting heap. We get a glimpse of his face which is streaked with fluid, though we cannot be sure whether it’s melted snow or tears of anguish.The camera moves to the sky behind him and we see a ghostly vision of Audrey painted there like an Aurora before our perspective moves to the sky ahead where Morgan’s own face jeering face is revealed. We get a shot of Piccadilly’s fingers digging trenches in the snow as they slowly clench with rage. Then he lurches back to his feet, fuelled by the fire of unquenchable hatred for the piebald rat who has taken so much away from him. Whew! Like something you’d see in the climac episode of an anime, am I right?

    I’m so glad that Piccadilly swallowed his hate and chose to spare Morgan’s life. I can’t imagine how badly he wanted to drive that knife into the rat’s black heart. But instead, he slips the weapon back into his belt and steps away. He had to walk away. Break the cycle of violence. That was the only way he could truly beat Morgan without becoming Morgan himself and killing everything that Audrey loves about him.

    With the chord of the mousebrass wrapped around his fingers, Piccadilly is finally ready. The time has come to enter the cathedral of eternal winter and confront the fiend who has lain at the heart of this insanity. The excitement is off the scale. Our hero walks through a chamber where the ground is so cold that it feels like he’s walking on knives. A brave challenge is met by a rumbling growl and high above the grey mouse, the face of Jupiter manifests in a strangely elegant process which reminds me of water dripping from the edge of a roof and slowly forming a frozen puddle. By the end of this process, I’m holding my breath as The Unbeest asks who this mere mortal is to challenge him. The entire world seems to join me as Piccadilly looks evil in the eye and speaks, telling Jupiter that his day is done.

    Oh.

    My.

    Gosh.

    This. Just this. Soak up the atmosphere. Look around at the chamber where this confrontation between a God and a mortal is unfolding. Think of the journey our hero has endured to reach this moment and of every life-changing ordeal that forged him into the mouse who now stands here. This is the most epic thing ever. This is genius. By all rights, THIS deserves to be the final reckoning which Book Three is named after.
    Which is exactly what makes the outcome so shocking to us all.

    Just as Audrey did before him, Piccadilly defies Jupiter. He won’t run away. He’s not afraid. He has placed himself in the paws of the Green Mouse in whose name he shall banish Jupiter from this world forever. With one last prayer for strength, he throws the anti-cat charm, knowing that the fate of all living creatures is riding on this. The amulet hurtles through the air, spinning and shining as Piccadilly’s cry of joy goes with it…only for Jupiter’s wintry breath to bring both the amulet and everything it represented crashing down at the mouse’s feet in a hundred broken pieces.

    As Piccadilly stands dumbfounded in the shadow of The Unbeest, a thousand questions whirl around in my mind.

    Would the mousebrass have defeated Jupiter if it had the chance to reach him?

    How about if Audrey had been here to throw it a second time?

    Or was the mousebrass never anything more than a token of false hope?

    Had Jupiter has grown too overwhelmingly powerful for its earthly magic to stop him?

    Does the amulet fall to the ground like a cheap toy because The Green Mouse is dead and cannot channel his power through it?

    What of Jupiter’s mocking offer to let Piccadilly scurry away unharmed?

    Was it at all sincere?

    Or was The Unbeest simply distracting him while the army of ghosts came creeping in through the window and cut off the mouse’s escape route?

    Whatever the answers to my questions may be, the tragic outcome of the quest for the mousebrass and my favorite mouse’s life are both one and the same. Piccadilly is trapped. As the circle of death closes around him, spears are raised in lifeless claws and deadly aim taken. No. This can’t be real. He’s got to get out of this. There’s a way. One last miracle. There has to be because this isn’t how it’s supposed to go. He’s supposed to get away and rejoin the others, hugs Audrey who will finally confess that she loves him. Finally united in spite of everything that tried to keep them apart, they will find new strength and continue the fight against Jupiter. There’s a way back from this. For Piccadilly and for Audrey. For everyone.

    Right?

    Wrong.

    The spears hurtle through the air and find their target.

    Piccadilly dies because this isn’t that sort of story.

    It never was.

    I’m a poor romantic fool who tricked himself into believing anything else.

    Barker is conspicuous only by his complete absence. Let’s be real here. Piccadilly was useful to him but they were never friends. Now that the mouse can no longer serve the old rat’s purpose, he has been abandoned to his fate, cast aside like a tool that has broken. Nothing more and nothing less.

    Sir Robin…why?

    Why would you do this to Piccadilly and Audrey?

    To us?

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  4. For those who are interested: the first two books were written long hand and then typed up on a bog standard portable typewriter and the pages submitted with so much tippex that my editor begged me to get a word processor. And so this one was written on a primitive Olivetti which, even though it had a monitor, was little more than a glorified electric typewriter, as it’s memory could only hold about ten pages of text at a time and everything had to be stored on floppy discs (my, how far technology has come!) Still, it was a gentle introduction to working with a computer and for quite a few years afterwards I could only work with white text on a black screen. Happy days.

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    • If you don’t mind my asking, did it take long to plot out the entire trilogy? I remember you saying that you knew what every mouse’s fate would be before you got cracking!

      Losing Piccadilly like that hurt me. But at least I can rest easy, knowing that he’s in a better place. Uhhh…right?

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      • I genuinely can’t remember. I did draw out the entire first book as a sort of story board first, which must have taken a while, but it’s 30 years ago now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is c-r-a-z-y to realise just how long has passed since I stood trembling before The Dark Portal for the very first time. And the story has lost none of its enthralling power over me since then.

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    • Glad we could give you a bit of nostalgia about the old computer!

      As for Piccadilly and his planned demise, you remind me of the preface to Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. He said something along the lines of when he started writing the book, he was planning to kill everybody off but some of his characters just took on lives of their own and managed to cheat their doom somehow.

      Sounds like he needed a less fatalistic author. But if he was written by someone else we would never have liked him as much …

      Ah, the philosophical bind that all Jarvis readers find themselves in! 😉

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    • I was so upset by Piccadilly’s death I named my pet mouse after him (although in the end, she died too haha)

      So interesting to see what you had to work with back then! I remember my mum getting her first typewriter. State of the art!

      Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, it has always seemed suspect to me how Audrey insults Piccadilly in The Crystal Prison, seemingly against her will. She even wonders if the Starwife put a spell on her. Maybe the old squirrel knew that romance would only get in the way of her successor’s destiny, hmm?

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    • Whatever you do, don’t go into the attic! You can just about guarantee that your poor old Olivetti is possessed by the forces of evil at this point. One peek at that monitor and you never know what sort of long-dormant nightmare might be unleashed.

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  5. I’m late to the party again, but gonna add my thoughts anyway.
    I feel EXACTLY the same as everybody else here about Piccadilly. Exactly the same.
    However, the would-be author within me recognises that, had Piccadilly survived and had he and Audrey lived out their happy ending, this story, like the thousands of other happy-ending stories I have consumed across the decades, would have been relegated to the ever-expanding list of Books I Have Definitely Read But Cannot Possibly Remember What They Are About Even If My Life Depended On It.
    What annoys me the most is that, having started off on his dark path of revenge that I believe I said a few chapters back was going to result in an unhappy end for young Piccadilly, he chooses mercy instead of bloodlust at the last moment! The Piccadilly we know and love was actually still in there…..but then he dies anyway. I’d have been more satisfied if he had shredded Morgan himself first. 😒😒😒
    As a final note, I think it is getting close to impossible for the children of this generation to appreciate Audrey’s struggle. “She doesn’t love Twit! Why not just divorce him and be with Piccadilly?” I hear. And indeed, in a world that no longer holds marriage vows sacred, why not?
    But what if marriage vows actually were sacred? 🤔 I believe they are, and so I get where Gwen is coming from when she speaks with Audrey.
    …..even though a small part of me is still all like, “Not fair!” 😂😂😂😳😭

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    • As a child I was brought up to consider marriage vows sacred and didn’t really understand the concept of divorce, so when I first read the scene between Audrey and Gwen, it made sense to me that mouse marriages might be absolutely binding. (Besides, the mice seem to operate in a vaguely Regency-ish culture where it’s still acceptable to wear mutton-chops – looking at you, Thomas – and the young people socialise via organised dances, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that the restrictions of Regency women would apply to Audrey).

      Coming back to it now, I agree that the idea of Audrey and Piccadilly running off together (greenlaws and elders be damned) is rather romantic, but we all know it’d never happen. I reiterate on what I said during our reread of The Crystal Prison; Aud and Dilly-O aren’t really made for each other long-term.

      Sure, they’re young and in love now, but what about years down the line when Piccadilly’s mischievous antics get him into real trouble and Audrey is left to bring up their children alone? Or when their outcast status means that they have to turn to crime or starve? Plus, Twit might accept Audrey choosing another, but I daresay a few of his Fennywolde friends and neighbours happily tying the knot might sour his outlook just a little as time goes by. Excuse my being dreadfully fatalistic, but perhaps it’s better that Audrey and Piccadilly never had the chance to confess their love. Forever will Dilly-O stay in Audrey’s heart as a bittersweet memory – her first love, young and handsome and immortalised in death.

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      • Did Piccadilly and Audrey ever have a chance of being together? Or was fate conspiring to keep their paws from joining at every possible turn?

        I really love the idea of them running away together. Even though you’re right in saying that it would probably never happen canonically, I can still dream about them having all kinds of badass outlaw adventures in the forests and cities they pass through on their epic journey without a destination.

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      • I would agree. But not being together is also that very British noble sacrifice thing as well. You see it a lot more in old movies and stories, where for various social reasons, a couple can’t be together even though they love one another. It hearkens back to a time when personal happiness always came second to social structures (the idea being that we might not all end up happier, but overall everything would be more stable).

        Whereas the last 50 (and particularly the last 20 years) have been more marked by the idea that personal happiness and self-actualisation is the highest aim of society.

        So when Twit offers to marry a girl he knows doesn’t love him, it’s a noble sacrifice for him because that’s him off the marriage market. (And darkly ironic that he *does* marry the girl he loves but she doesn’t love him back.)

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      • What you said there about the future Audrey and Piccadilly might have had brings to mind thoughts regarding similarly star-crossed lovers Rose and Jack from Titanic. Audrey, like Rose, will always see her lost love as the perfect man without their relationship having been sullied by time. It may in fact be better that way.

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