‘Thomas!’ the maidens cried, taking up the name and singing it with their silvery voices. ‘A fine, sturdy title. Thomas Triton we now call you. A friend of the sea-daughters.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: Mermousemaids! Halia! Dias! Enalus! Metaneira! Myrtea! Carmanor! Zenna the librarian’s daughter!
The mermice are some of the most intriguing characters in all Robiny canon, putting the ‘Myth’ into ‘Myth & Sacrifice’ and then some. I suppose it stands to reason that if there is a ‘secondary crew’ of mouse mariners on board most ships, then there must be sirens to go along with them, but if you really stop to think about it, the fact of the mermice brings up a plethora of interesting questions about the wider Deptford universe.
For instance, are there other mer-creatures? Are there merrats, merstoats or sundry other mervermin to entice the grog-fuddled wits of pirates and buccaneers who may not, in fact, be mice? Alternatively, are the sea-daughters able to change their appearances to beguile any creature of ‘the clay’ who might lean too far overboard? Robin’s favourite themes of transformation and deceit do show up very strongly in this book, after all.
Further fascination lies in the idea of the maidens’ grim-sounding father and his halls beneath the waves. There he rules, unnamed and unknowing, a watery enigma about whom only Mr Jarvis probably kens the whole truth. To be honest I like the ambiguity of the mermice and their mysterious undersea doings so much that I don’t think I ever want to know more about them. I am content to consider Halia a secret devotee of the Scale and Zenna the one being in all creation for whom the Lord of the Frozen Wastes has a soft spot, and leave the rest to the murky depths.
(The same cannot be said of Mulligan’s adventures, however. There’s a whole series lying in wait there!)
Matt’s Thoughts: I was a bit afraid that the interactions with the sirens was going to end worse than it actually did, but I feel like there is more to come on this particular subplot. (And like our characters, it’s rather foggy to me how this is all going to play out!)
But can I quickly say that I love the way all the human legends that are thrown in here have a rodent equivalent. So instead of being human sirens, of course they take the form of swimming mice. I hadn’t extrapolated it out to mer-stoats like my blogging colleague, but now that she mentions it …