A Warlock in Whitby | Chapter 8

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Warning: Contains Spoilers!

But perhaps it was more than that, for not once did the thought of forgiveness enter anyone’s mind – the destruction of the third guardian had already wrought an unpleasant change in the townsfolk.

Aufwader’s Thoughts:  Poor Ben! I suppose he was never going to get away with his plan to reveal Nathaniel to the world, but it’s just galling to watch him ruin things completely by accident. It’s also such a fright for us as readers to have Nathaniel be right there in the kitchen, slurping his coffee as if he wasn’t plotting in deeply melodramatic fashion to unleash an unfathomable evil from its age-old fetters only hours ago. After last chapter’s otherworldly scene, his oily nonchalance comes across as even more sinister. We suspected there was something nasty about this guy, but now we know the truth.

The reason that this is my third Chapter of Nameless Dread is mainly due to the dredger scene at the end, but on reread I really appreciated how skilfully written Ben’s encounter with Mr Roper is. In a few paragraphs we can infer that not only does he know and understand what Ben is talking about, but that he is in some way directly involved, and that he is trying to shield Ben from the danger that he now finds himself in, however vain an effort that may be. I suspected in Chapter 5 that Mr Roper might be a bit too nice for a Robin Jarvis book, and now we can only hope that he doesn’t meet a similar fate to the Gobtrots in The Alchymist’s Cat!

It doesn’t matter if you’ve read it before a million times, the scene where the men dredge up that giant scale is still wonderfully spine-tingling. My favourite part has to be at the very end, where they all agree that they did not just see that and quietly go home to think about what they definitely did not just see. This time around I noticed that one of the men was named Peter Knowles – I have to wonder if that might be a reference to Lucy Boston’s son Peter, who illustrated the Green Knowe books?

 

Matt’s Thoughts: SO MUCH TO LIKE in this chapter. First up, a bit of sly Jarvis humour with the cranky Vicar scene. But just as quickly, the smiles fade when we have the horrendous scene with Crozier in Miss Boston’s kitchen. (And speaking of Miss Boston – what’s happening to her? I’m still in suspense about what’s going on with her London subplot.)

While there have been occasions when Jennet hasn’t always believed Ben straight away, the idea that she is enthralled (still mega-creepy, BTW!) by Crozier is really nail-biting. It essentially means that bit by bit, Ben has been isolated away from everyone that could help him. (Which, of course, is all due to the diabolical plotting of Mr Jarvis.)

My son just turned eight a few days ago – trust me, eight years old is not very old. So my heart goes out to Ben having to wander around bearing the weight of a) an ancient curse that he didn’t lift, b) being the only one aware of a warlock being in town plus c) still able to see ghosts everywhere (even though that doesn’t feature much in this story so far). It’s not great.

Which is what makes it so sad when Mr Roper seems to dismiss Ben’s concerns. But then we realise, in the moving finale to that scene, where he says what looks very much like a final goodbye, that maybe there is more going on than we realise.

And then, finally, the bit with the dredger which is a nice bit of foreshadowing that just makes the whole thing even more exciting. Isn’t this book just a cracking read?

And my Mr Roper sea-music dedication today is by a famous German composer, who nonetheless visited Britain several times. On one of those occasions, he went up to tehHebrides and was gob-smacked by the awesome sight of Fingal’s Cave. He then had to write an overture about it, because it was so good. The composer was, of course, Felix Mendelssohn and the piece was the Hebrides (or Fingal’s Cave) Overture.

Hope you like it:

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3 thoughts on “A Warlock in Whitby | Chapter 8

  1. The whole thing of “no one believing a child when they say they’re in danger/feel threatened” is SO SO SCARY and upsetting to me. I really feel for Ben in these chapters. Being eight is confusing enough without everything else he’s carrying!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nathaniel basically invading Ben’s home and setting himself up in some mockery of the family is just another oen of the sort of the subtexts this series has (which makes it stick out a lot more from other MG/YA series, and even from Jarvis’s own body of work. Nathaniel is essentially styling himself as the new father of the joint (and given Jennet’s newfound ‘affection’…), with Ben being forced out

    This has precedents in existing horror – whilst I have brought up the infamous Xtro before, with its disturbing themes of awry paternal relationships and body horror, theres an older precedent, Phillip K Dick’s ‘Father-thing’ where a boy discovers his ‘father’ is now copied by an invading entity, and has to convince his friends of the duplicity. Whilst not exactly the same plot, its on the same thematic wavelength imo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but there’s certainly something to that idea. It just makes it many times creepier than it already is to think that Nathaniel has sort of invaded Miss Boston’s house (a sanctuary of white witch power, no less) and made himself comfortable there as ‘person in control’. It’s a very unsettling chapter in many respects, and Ben’s inability to rectify the situation despite his own gifts and protections makes it seem that much worse.

      Liked by 1 person

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