The Final Reckoning | Chapter 13

 

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Warning: Contains Spoilers!

The albino was no longer afraid. This was his destiny and he accepted it courageously.

Aufwader’s Thoughts: The moment you read this chapter title, you just know things are going to get epic. I envy new readers here because this is one hell of a penultimate sequence. However, beneath the desperate and saga-worthy fight between the House mice, the bats, and the undead wraiths of Jupiter, there is glory of a deeper and more personal kind.

Let’s start with Thomas taking charge on the Cutty Sark. Honestly, bless this mouse. Barely an hour ago he was on his deathbed, freezing horribly from the inside out, and yet he bounces right back as the House mice’s natural leader; posting those who can fight at their stations on deck, giving orders with grim stoicism. Mr Triton knows that the wraiths of the Unbeest are on their way and that none of the mice (himself included) are likely to live to witness the apocalyptic final act Jupiter has planned for that evening, yet he chooses to set an example by putting a brave face on things, and the mice find the strength to go on as a result.

Bless Mrs Chitter, too, while we’re at it. As always, nothing is ever arbitrary in Mr Jarvis’ work, and that gossiping mousewife is no exception. Here we see the gentle and weary core beneath her seemingly-vapid outer shell, and we feel for her as we feel for Gwen, at the end. They are both grieving mothers, and Mrs Chitter has grief aplenty for the fact that she almost lost Oswald once already.

Finally and most painfully, bless Oswald. The Unbeest has grown mythological in his might; he hauls the stars screaming from the sky and commands the very sun to bow down before him, yet still there is one who would seek to do him harm.

When you get right down to it, it doesn’t really matter whether or not Oswald and the bats finally defeat the Tyrant of the Cold. What matters is that sickly, gawky, put-up Oswald; laughing-stock of the Skirtings, disappointment to his parents, albino runt, had the courage to try. In the claws of Orfeo and Eldritch he is calm and determined right up to the end, but do you suppose that perhaps a part of him was constantly surprised by his own daring? Maybe, as Jupiter shrieked in agony and Oswald plunged to his death, he thought, dimly, ‘Oh heavens, will they all be calling me something great and grand now? Oswald Never-knew-he-had it-in-‘im? Oswald the Thin-of-belly-but-stout-of-heart? Oswald the Brave? Oswald the …Mighty? Yes, I do believe I like the sound of that.’

 

Matt’s Thoughts: I’m not sure I have a lot to say except that Oswald was my favourite and I’ll be over in the corner having a sniffle and observing a minute of silence. Such a great showdown, but Mr Jarvis, did we need to lose Oswald as well? Surely, anyone but Oswald?

Sigh. ‘This was his destiny and he accepted it courageously.’

Also, one of those random musical moments, when I was reading this on the train, this track started from the awesome Max Richter remix of The Four Seasons, which (once you get past the first minute, which is sort of a slow intro) seemed to fit Oswald’s last charge quite appropriately:

See you all for the Grand Finale, people!

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9 thoughts on “The Final Reckoning | Chapter 13

  1. Poor, poor Oswald! He will be sorely missed. I dread to think of how Twit will respond, if ever he finds out…

    This chapter is very fast-paced. After Piccadilly’s death, we’re all well aware that nobody is safe. And now that Oswald is gone too… will Jupiter succeed after all?

    I really, really liked Gwen and Mrs Chitter’s interaction early on, that gentle moment of solidarity between two grieving mothers. Lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Speaking of Twit, what do you think is going on in Fennywolde? I’ve always wondered if another group of wraiths is marching on it! After all, Twit foiled Jupiter’s attempt to secure Audrey as a sacrifice and his mogginess has never been one to let go of a grudge, has he?

      I love that moment between Gwen and Arabel too. Despite how insanely epic the action gets, we never lose sight of why we care so much about the outcome of the mice’s struggle. Because we’ve grown to care about them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • From what I can recall of the various bits and pieces Robin has said about Twit’s Progress and the unnamed fourth Deptford Mice book, our favourite country mouse survives the unnatural winter. I reckon most of his community weren’t so lucky, however. (Also, I daresay there’s more in Fennywolde to anger a god of evil than Twit’s actions during The Crystal Prison. I’ll sit on that until we get to the Mouselets next year, though).

        Liked by 1 person

      • For such an apparently peaceful place, a lot has gone on in Fennywolde…

        Will the conclusion to the Deptford Mice saga be counted as the fourth book in the main series when it comes along? What an odd thought that is. Over the years, I’ve grown used to thinking of these books as The Deptford Mice trilogy. But someday, I’ll be correcting myself because it will have became a quadrilogy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It really depends how far away Fennywolde actually is from Deptford, but I’d guess that Jupiter’s wrath didn’t reach the field mice, aside from the missing stars. I always got the feeling that Jupiter’s power was very Deptford-centric, and that’s why he’s going after the sun in the first place.

        But y’never know. I hope we get to find out someday!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I guess the distance between Deptford and the frosty field would prevent any wraiths from getting to Twit during the timeframe of Book Three.

        After all, it’s not like we ever see the ghosts floating or anything like that. They seem to be bound by the same physical limitations which hampered them while they were alive. For example, when they attack the house where the mice live, they have to break down the door rather than just walk through it as we’re used to seeing ghosts behave in stories. I never really thought about that before…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my gosh, it took the story a loooong tiiiime to come back to Oswald and reveal what he’s been up to!

    And now we find that he’s been gearing up to take on Jupiter! We see him don armour of golden flames and lead the bats to the Cutty Sark, swooping in to save everyone from the ghost army! And this is BEFORE he commands Orfeo and Eldritch to fly him right into the very heart of The Unbeest, putting his life on the line in an all-or-nothing attempt to save the world!

    OSWALD THE MIGHTY!

    Oswald dies trying to stop Jupiter, but his death does nothing to tarnish what a hero he was. The imagination he employed in turning the seemingly useless Book Of Hrethel into a powerful weapon and the courage it took for him to do what few other mice would have dared. How far he had come from the mousechild who shivered with fear at the thought of going down into the cellar where the Grill lurked.

    The tears fall like rain as I realise that Piccadilly and Oswald both died without ever having the chance to meet again. I know the two friends would be proud of each other for overcoming their fears and fighting Jupiter to the end. I don’t like to think of them as having failed. The way I see it, they came far closer than anyone else did to bringing the Unbeest down and deserve to be remembered as heroes. White and grey forever.

    As Orfeo and Eldritch fly away with the white mouse no longer hanging from their paws, the Unbeest throws a shadow of desolation across the world which has been forced to before his might. What a bleak moment that final sentence is: Jupiter had won.

    Is there any way to reach that point in the book and continue believing that hope is anything more than a horrible mistake?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The most disturbing thing to me is how Oswald’s “death” did not technically involve him being killed. He was swallowed by the void and doomed to eternal darkness. Apparently, he crossed over to the other side without dying as an opening had appeared and he fell within it. So he is trapped there and simply cannot return, I guess, and that’s rather terrifying when you really think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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