Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘For failing me, you shall never find rest; always and forever will your mottled skin be in the service of another, and grant that he is less merciful than I’.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: There’s a lot to talk about here, and all of it is my absolute favourite thing – I even had a hard time choosing a quote for this post because there were so many legendary moments. As I mentioned in the Up Next Reminder for this book, I first heard it on tape, and in this instance I am very glad. I think that was in part what made it so memorable for me, and what made my eventual discovery of the physical book all the more special and enjoyable.
Let’s begin with Mulligan. He arrived in my ears bellowing about ‘scaly heathens’, and though I did not yet know to who or what he was referring, he certainly made an impression. To me at least, he is one of the most stand-out characters in the entirety of the Deptford Histories. He is certainly as strong a personality as Thomas later becomes, and from the moment we encounter him it’s clear that he has many intriguing adventures both behind and before.
Then (hoho, heehee) we have the introduction of our first villain, and of the bumbling rat lackeys. This is an almost nostalgic hark back to the bad ol’ days of The Dark Portal. Pigsniff, Clunker, Mouldtoes, Lice-magnet, and Mo- I mean, Spots, are at least as verminous and cruel as any trueborn Deptford rogues, and, hilariously, they are equally inept. The tussle on the harbour was as messy and as much fun on tape as it is in book form, the sudden appearance of Thomas just as thrilling, and Mulligan’s excuses about the severed tail just as questionable.
And finally, Morgan’s curse! Who else clutched their face and wheezed over how good a twist that is? It is. So good. It’s been any number of years and I’m still totally slain over that twist. Ever since I first heard it I have had the theory that when Morgan breathes his last in The Final Reckoning, the ‘he’ that he plans to ‘get one over on’ by his sudden death is not, in fact, Jupiter, but his first master; the cowled figure who condemned him to a lifetime of subservience on a misty quayside in Cornwall many, many years ago. Who’s with me?
Matt’s Thoughts: Great theory, Aufwader! There is a word – and it completely escapes me as I write this – for what happens when a movie-maker or TV show-runner comes up with a new sequel or a new episode of a TV show that suddenly revises the mythology of the earlier films or episodes.
In some cases, this totally annoys fans who believe it’s just badly cobbled in afterwards. LOST was one such show where you could never tell whether they were just making stuff up or had really genius ideas planned all along.
And so there’s a bit of that with the Morgan back-story, isn’t there? Mr Jarvis may not have had the exact idea of a rather vicious creature with golden blades back when he wrote the original Trilogy. (But then he did have the idea of Woodget, so he may well have.) But regardless, it fits in seamlessly to the Mice mythology and enhances the original.
Also, another example of Robin’s chapter escalation – at the beginning, it’s all sort of slightly comical, with poor old Woodget being sold useless trinkets (and falling for all of it!) but by the end, it’s all rather bloodthirsty.
Finally, completely agree with Aufwader about the awesomeness of Mulligan and how he is the type of character that we know Thomas will become. (I’m quarter Irish as well, so I feel a slight extra connection to him as a character just because of his accent!)