Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘Ah’ll not let owt take thee from me, not while theer’s life in my bones.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I remember the scene with the gull’s eggs in lurid detail. I remember it giving me the absolute frights, I remember the way Prunella Scales made Ben sound as if he really was about to be sick from sheer horror, and I remember almost feeling that way myself as a young listener.
This is pretty uncharacteristic for me. There’s very little in Robin Jarvis canon that genuinely terrifies me (usually it’s more of a ‘woo yeah, rip his head off!’ situation …once a cultist, always a cultist, I suppose) but the scene with the serpents hatching from gull’s eggs really stuck with me. That in itself is odd, that I, a confirmed reptile, should be so twitchy about snakes. But it’s not really the snakes themselves that are scary in this scene.
I think what makes this particular omen of the Deep Ones so striking is how plain weird it is. It’s like something from the borders of a medieval manuscript; an almost Biblical sign of an all-powerful deity’s displeasure, like toads falling from the sky.
The sand in Miss Boston’s room and dead fish on the beach, while alarming, were pretty par for the course in terms of Things You Might Expect From A Triad Of Sea Gods. Snakes hatching from gull’s eggs and then throttling the poor birds in a grotesque parody of the Mother’s Curse, however, is more than just abhorrent. It requires consideration, the careful singling-out of a specific pair of victims, and a deeply malevolent intent to cause actual mental trauma. The Lords of the Deep and Dark are not here to mess about, and I don’t like to think too hard about what else they might have up their watery sleeves!
Matt’s Thoughts: I’ll be straight up: this chapter made me cry. First you have Ben and Nelda talking to one another again, and her realising that he can understand her predicament and be a friend. And then we get a second moment of mushiness at the end with the dramatic entrance of Tarr.
That said, just in case you were worried he was getting soppy, there is of course the hideous prospect of gulls’ eggs with snakes in them (which adds another layer to Mr Jarvis’ serpent mythology). It’s also just creepy all round. Or if not creepy, at least something that would get morbidly re-shared on YouTube if it featured in Planet Earth Season 3.
But, anyway, so glad to know that relationships are being built back up. Which probably just means Robin is planning something dreadful for these characters in a chapter or two (I really don’t remember how this book pans out!), but I’ll try not to think about that …