A Warlock in Whitby | Chapter 12


Warning: Contains Spoilers!

‘The Anglo-Saxons called it Blotmonath – the month of blood.’

Aufwader’s Thoughts: This is definitely one of those chapters that would work very well on the small screen. The otherwise cosy and safe environs of Miss Boston’s cottage become claustrophobic with the arrival of Nathaniel and the gruesome Mallykin, and Ben’s helplessness serves to make a bad situation worse. In The Whitby Witches, Miss Boston’s home was a safe place for the children, somewhere they could return to if the world became too threatening and full of supernatural horrors.

Reading this chapter, I remembered Jennet sitting awake in bed during Book 1, hearing the howls of the Barguest outside but protected from its terrible jaws by the charms over the doorway. It’s testament to how the tone of the trilogy changes in this book – and to the threat that Nathaniel presents as the main antagonist – that it is Jennet who has now unwittingly destroyed the protections around the cottage, allowing all manner of supernatural nightmares to enter.


Matt’s Thoughts: Poor old Ben! This time round he gets the trauma of Nathaniel arriving in the house with a Mallykin in tow.

It’s about this point that I realised that it’s quite a clever plot point having Ben with supernatural powers and Jennet being just his ‘normal’ sister. If they both had the sight, then you wouldn’t be able to get the horrific tension of this chapter, where from Jennet’s perspective, she’s entertaining a guest and making cups of tea. From Ben’s point of view, his sister is about to be savaged by a vicious monster. What makes it so effective is complete lack of awareness of the danger that lurks around her.

And then the final scene in the Gregsons … while it’s the destruction of the guardian that is the terrible part that is going to release doom on Whitby, for me, it’s the interactions between the Gregsons that makes this scene so effective. Mrs Gregson, spoon-feeding her husband and begging him not to die and leave her alone. The same husband that, a few days ago, she had nothing but contempt for. While the Gregsons wouldn’t be pleasant people to hang around under normal circumstances, Mr Jarvis invites us to show a moment of compassion (again!) and reminder us that no one deserves to have Nathaniel Crozier happen to them.


5 thoughts on “A Warlock in Whitby | Chapter 12

  1. Its actually symbolic that Nathaniel has the Mallykin as his weapon/sidekick, cos the general tone and content of this book is very definitely in tribute to the sort of media that featured gross slimy monsters similar to it

    Its been noted before that in general, the Whitby saga bears a slight resemblance to Shadow over Innsmouth and whilst Jarvis has apparently never read it, theres definitely another parallel inspiration – all the schlocky, nasty ripoffs that Innsmouth inspired. The 1980s churned out dozens of ‘creature feature’ horror flicks, mostly thanks to the success of ‘Alien’, but these films took the latent themes and ramped them up to eleven – films such as Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World, Humanoids from the Deep (which hammered in the Innsmouth link) and Xtro, where repulsive sexual horror and alien nasties were in the same film

    But here, whats odd is that the grody freak is NOT the nasty slimy monster, but none other than the human villain, Nathaniel. In this chapter he is once again acting as a grotesque parody of a father figure (in Xtro, which has vibes similar to this, the father figure and slimy monster were one and the same, but here they are separated, the abstraction removed) having invaded Ben’s home and is now the new authority…and ‘friend’ to Jen

    Jen’s role (and Judith, and thus Rowena in the previous book) is also another similarity to another 80s horror flick, The Company of Wolves based on Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. In ‘Company’ the link between werewolves and sensual undercurrents was made very clear but again, the abstraction is removed – in Company, the werewolves were the grody creeps (werewolves in general seem to be a ‘male’ monster in pop culture) but here, they’re essentially the victims of a creep (very dangerous victims here)

    Basically, Nathaniel is one of the nastiest characters i think Jarvis has came up with, and maybe in the genre, because hes not an abstraction of the concept (well okay…maybe the magic is too far). And then of course theres Eseau…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I concur, I’m slightly in awe of Derv’s extensive genre film knowledge. (@Derv I don’t always know exactly what you’re referencing, but I don’t mind because it’s opened my eyes to a genre I knew almost nothing about …and its fantastic soundtracks haha.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • All of these films are varying degrees of schlocky and bizarre (well Xtro is more bizarre and personal) and these are the most presentable of most 80s genre stuff (so you comment on ‘trawling the depths is doubly fitting haha)


    • Company of Wolves is definitely a lot more ‘classy’ than the rest of them too (though I’ll defend Xtro to the death) and at the least, very pretty (and its cover of a wolf snout bursting from a man’s mouth always icked me out big time as a kid when I saw it in DVD shelves)


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