Warning: Contains Spoilers!
[S]eated upon … the majestic thrones were the shadowy, writhing figures of the Lords of the Deep and Dark.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: This is my favourite chapter in this book and probably one of my favourite approaches to ‘mortals meet their gods’ in a fantasy setting that I’ve ever come across. We all love Tarr and Miss Boston and we all agree that despite their faults they can both carry through when it’s called for, so it seems quite fitting that they should be the ones to take the Lords of the Deep and Dark to task.
Tarr and Miss Boston’s journey down to the depths is marvellously cinematic, with the swirling waves and undersea wonders, and I love how everything almost reads with a greenish, ocean-turquoise tint once their heads dip beneath the surface. The cathedral-like cavern of the Triad is also a glorious feast for the imagination, though it seems a shame to me that such beauty should be wasted on such a trio of salty, belligerent curmudgeons as the Deep Ones are.
Speaking of, I just love that moment where Miss Boston lays down the law at them as if they were three misbehaving pupils in her class. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that Miss Boston really says a lot that needed to be said there, and despite that the Deep Ones take as good as they get, the sound telling-off they receive is ‘good enough for them’, as Aunt Alice might say.
When I first listened to this story I had not yet been exposed to the idea of cosmic horror, or indeed that ‘tentacled abomination’ business that so many creators in that vein now go in for. To me, the reveal of Irl was almost a completely new thing, and was uniquely horrifying. It still makes my skin crawl a bit to read about his many eyes, though my heart bleeds for the countless ages of suffering that most worthy of aufwaders has been forced to endure.
This is a chapter full of well-orchestrated ups and downs, for the sad part is that Tarr and Miss Boston’s deep-sea tour fails in its mission. Ben might have the amulet of Irl, but Nelda and her unborn child are now even more doomed than before. Deeps bless them, indeed! Not likely.
Matt’s Thoughts: Well, there goes the budget for a TV series, as Mr Jarvis takes us all epic and IMAX down to the throne room of the Lords of the Deep and Dark. There’s something awe-inspiring about the whole thing, especially since they have been such shadowy figures. (I mean, if they’d never made an appearance, that wouldn’t have surprised me – they are, after all, such shadowy figures lurking in the background quietly pulling strings that affect everyone.)
It’s also just great, because we have two such elderly characters (Miss Boston and Tarr) showing there is nothing aged or feeble about their courage … I also find it interesting that there are three rulers of the Deep and Dark. I have often thought that maybe we’d have a lot less in-fighting and politics if we got a representative from two of the major parties to run the country (we have two major parties in Australia plus a bunch of smaller ones) so they could spend more time governing and less time trying to harangue the opposition.
But then again, the last historical time I heard about two rulers was Julius Caesar and Pompey, and look how that turned out …
I would love to know more of the story of Irl as well but again, like much of this story, there’s so much mythology being made in the present day, there’s no time left to dive into the mythology of the past!