The Whitby Child | Chapter 3


Warning: Contains Spoilers!

‘Thus do the Deep Ones reveal their displeasure.’

Aufwader’s Thoughts: I’ve always thought this, but the scene where Miss Boston meets the ‘divine being’ (let’s call him a cherub for now) kind of gets more unnerving the more you read it. I know that it’s supposed to be an antithesis to the ambiguity of the Lords of the Deep and the evil of Morgawrus, but there’s something disquieting about how Miss Boston is meant to be having a rapturous holy visitation, and yet the flowers are ‘like a river of fire’ and the garden becomes ‘too bright to look at’.

Matt mentioned earlier that the ‘Blessed Be’ in Patricia’s Book of Shadows reminded him of the way that phrase was used with deeply sinister intent in Dancing Jax, and for me, the scene with the cherub has the same effect. The way in which Miss Boston slowly slips into a seemingly delightful altered state made me recall a similar (and very frightening) process that certain characters in the Dancing Jax books undergo, and although Miss Boston seems perfectly content, there’s a little voice at the back of my mind that says ‘no, Aunt Alice, don’t listen!’

It’s all a little too aggressively blissful, and reminds me also of the visions of the Green which appear in the Deptford Mice and Histories. To me those always came across as dreamlike and unearthly in a way that was not quite comfortable – one got the impression that while things might be sunshine and rainbows just then, the Green Spirit could turn to anger very quickly, and so it is with the cherub as well.

On reread I was especially struck by the way in which the otherworldly being brushes aside Miss Boston’s selfless desire to remain alive for the sake of Ben and Jennet, and grows resentful when Ben arrives to awaken his guardian. Surely a truly divine being would respect Miss Boston’s decision? Surely it would not leave the garden in a drab and colourless state, being a giver of life and grace? Readers, what do you think of all this?


Matt’s Thoughts: I’m starting to wonder what Miss Boston was like as a girl. There’s a slight streak of meanness that runs through her veins, looking at the trick she played on Sister Frances! (Who, mind you, did show up to a party uninvited and scoffed half the food …)

But meanwhile, what about these mysterious women owning shops in Whitby? Is this more of Nathaniel’s coven? Is he going to come back from the grave? I really can’t remember, but I’m getting anxious thinking about an undead Nathaniel … Because between the gift of two-headed fish coming from the Lords of the Deep and sinister women in a coven, it doesn’t spell good news for anyone …


2 thoughts on “The Whitby Child | Chapter 3

  1. The theology of the various Jarvis works has always been interesting. Deptford Mice/Histories had no real references to God (even if the Green Mouse counts, he’s indebted to ‘pagan’ concepts way more IMO, not ignoring how his pal is the Lady of the Moon) but plenty of references to Hell and Satanic imagery; Jupiter being a ‘Satanic Majesty’, portals to Hell (and demons) in Alchemist’s Cat, Hobb in Oaken Throne, even Sarpedon in Thomas (a certain snake in the Garden of Eden – though admittedly, thats very loose, theres other beliefs with way more direct world-destroying serpents)

    Here in Whitby, there’s no references to Satan (unless you count witchcraft, and the fable of the ‘charming man’), and the Lords of the Deep and Dark have no real links to any religious belief, but here we have God and his angels already, in a very Christian form too. Not even getting into how most of the story is set around an abbey…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I must admit, Jarvis’ theology has become more and more interesting to me over the years. (Especially once we get to the Jax books, but I’m sure we’ll have more to say about that one when we get there!)

      Liked by 1 person

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