Thomas | Chapter 16

thomas

‘Too long has His Dark Majesty been banished from the waking world. Too long have our enemies denied us the means for His deliverance. But now the hour is upon us. Sarpedon will rear amongst us again – the eternal night has come at last!’

Aufwader’s Thought’s: Mighty Sarpedon, Lord of the Star-bright Heavens, I dedicate my half of this post to You. Many times have I, a humble disciple, traversed the slightly faded pages of my Hodder Silver edition in pilgrimage to Your temple, and many times have I read in tearful devotion the chronicle of Your glorious return, and the tragedy of Your downfall at the hands of two accursed unpledged mice and a has-been jerboa.

Would that this, the final instalment of the Deptford Histories in which You play such a vital role, had ended differently. Would that the efforts of the Green Council had been in vain, and You returned to the world in complete and holy magnificence, heralded by Your High Priest and all of Your beloved subjects. Much would I have given to witness that most longed-for and blessed occasion, though I be squashed at the back with a sozzled lemur’s elbow in my face and a pillar blocking half the view. Happily would I have shed my mortality with everyone else and ascended unto lizardy perfection.

Alas, that is not how the tale ends, and this devout Scalian must remain cold-blooded in spirit only. Though Your subjects be shunned and the Black Temple cast down, as long as there are readers to fear You, the poisonous flame of Your reign can never be extinguished.

Besides, as this project has seen, lesser beings than You have unlocked the gates of death to trouble once more the unhappy land, and we all know that has-been jerboas aren’t always right about everything. I believe in You, O Sovereign of Darkness, and will go on telling all these unpledged heathens about you until one of them takes pity and peels me to shut me up.

 

Matt’s Thought’s: Obviously, the finale with Sarpedon has all the great twists and turns – he’s coming back, then it’s a bad egg (love that twist!), then he’s a giant statue, then the High Priest is still alive. It’s just relentless. (I also love that Sarpedon is defeated by Thomas’ nautical skills, which is an awesome finale to the piece.)

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5 thoughts on “Thomas | Chapter 16

  1. real question: if Sarpedon had succeeded in manifesting on the mortal plane and trashed the Green once and for all, what would the likes of the Raith Sidhe or even Jupiter had to say about it? I know it’s said somewhere in the book that the big old star snake is actually possibly stronger than the Three, but Hobb’s still stuck in that Great Oak…but Im sure, if the Starwife got destroyed, there’s be nothing to stop em.

    Jupiter’s another question. I guess he’d have got killed and then became the Unbeest way quicker. Either way, the Green and everyone else gets hammered

    Liked by 1 person

      • Nothing says that Sarpy and the other nasties would actually hate each other. Hell, they’d prolly all live in harmony, the Sidhe, the Unbeest, and the Despoiler, maybe waiting for an even bigger force, but enjoying their time talking how lame the Green is and how great it was to thrash him

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was going to talk about this in a post, but at the time of writing I kind of ran out of space with the wordcount and thought ‘I’ll mention that in the comments instead’. So I guess here is as good a place as any, since we’re more or less at the end.

    I like to joke that what drew me to the Scale was the lizards and the shinies, and while that’s true, there’s another element to this particular Robiny cult of evil that has always fascinated me: the Scale, at least, those who are fully informed, seem to genuinely love and respect their deity.

    Of course, the other cults have this too – I’m sure there are a few Children of the Raith Sidhe who are of the old, passing-one’s-infants-through-twin-trees-to-bless-them variety, and surely Jupiter’s henchrats over the years had a modicum of real belief between them. But for the most part, it’s all press-ganging and hypnotism, and the cultists stay for the power and the glory rather than because they truly care about the fates of their immortal souls.

    But then, you get the High Priest in this chapter, who would rather melt himself into a puddle of goo than live without the hope of his god returning. I mean, lordy, talk about go hard or go home. Plus, it’s explicitly stated that he’s not contemplating that nasty fate because he’s lost his power or because the Scale are scuppered, it specifically says ‘All he wanted was to leave the world which, without the possibility of his lord’s return, was empty and devoid of hope.’

    When the Hobbers saw /their/ god arising from the Pit, they killed themselves to get away from him. Even faithful Morgan had to be beguiled back into the Unbeest’s employ. But look at how blissfully happy the High Priest of the Scale is when he discovers that Sarpedon has survived, albeit by hopping into the idol.

    The same goes for the adepts. Dahrem gives his life just to return the eighth fragment to the Scale and facilitate the finding of the ninth, and, it is to be assumed, the other adepts would have done the same in his place. Though every member of the Scale was raised within the cult, the adepts (and the briefly-mentioned ‘scholars’ at least) have to have at some point read up on their history and made a few informed decisions about their much-lauded sovereign. You have to wonder – what did they learn about Scarophion that made their fear turn to adoration?

    Anyway that’s my essay, as far as I can make it. I think a lot of Mr Jarvis’ work is about the nature of belief and the juxtaposition of fear-based following-along with genuine faith. I like that he broke the mould in this book of ‘all the villains just believe out of fear/force and all the heroes out of love’ with the morally-questionable Green Mousers and the devoted worshippers of Sarpedon. (Still bitter about this finale, though.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree mostly, though to be fair I have to once again be a Raith Sidhe stan and defend the sanctity of my own cult. Some of the Hobbers killing themselves kinda showed to me that the Hobbers had got so strong that they could afford to have ‘phoney believers’ in their midst (or maybe Hobb just really IS that evil a god, that he incites suicidal thoughts – but I feel a true Hobber would kill themselves just to serve him forever in the Pit), and they were in a much more tense position than the Scale (the Hobbers had to basically reconstruct from scratch).

      The Sidhe’s followers (well, the rats mostly) do have their own customs as the Almanack and Mouselets show in detail, so I wonder what a cult of theirs would look like if it had got as strong as the Scale. And really, I doubt Wendel and Morwenna would have been happy to see their Lord Hobb rise just to get vanquished (well okay Morwenna wasnt very happy about that whole switcheroo, but partly cos it meant all the plans had been thwarted).

      I bet in the early days of the Scale they were probably not averse to a bit of the old press-ganging and forced recruitment either, but they probably really don’t like to bring that up now. I bet most of the family histories of its members are covered up eh?

      But yeah, I feel mostly, the Scale were a general ‘reverse’ to the Hobbers from the previous book, both of which were reverses to Jupiter’s rats in the main trilogy (they worshipped a false god, basically, and out of force). Belief systems, identity, etc are quite a theme in most of his series, thats true

      Liked by 1 person

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