So perished Mulligan, the last of his line, and penultimate custodian of the ninth fragment.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I loved the scene with Woodget and Zenna so much that it was the first drawing I ever posted on Silvering Sea. The mermouse and her shadowy realm suggest, but never explain, some fundamental things about the Deptford universe. Though I said earlier that I don’t really want to know anything more about the sea-daughters, those ‘nameless spirits and cloistered intellects’ of the deep dark oceans are definitely something to mull over.
Of course, what everyone really remembers about this chapter is Mulligan’s grisly demise. I will happily clutch my pearls with the rest of you over any number of distressing Robiny deaths. Piccadilly? Ouch! Oswald? Get me a hanky to mop my tears! Dab? Vesper? Tysle? Squirrels in the Ring of Banbha? Dreadful, awful, horrific, don’t even talk about it!
Almost any manner of morbidly-imagined exit can make me wince in the right circumstances, but the black blood of Sarpedon runs in my veins, and I’m sorry everybody but however much I like Mulligan, I honour the Dark Despoiler more. Take that, Green Council! Take that, goody-two-shoes wholetails! May your paltry endeavours crumble before your eyes!
On a more wholesome note, bless Woodget in this chapter. Look at him, being all stoic and getting on with things despite that he’s just been in an honest-to-goodness shipwreck and almost drowned. His character journey is similar to Vesper’s in some ways, in that he slowly loses his naiveté as a result of the suffering he endures. It’s heart-rending to read, even for a jaded old reptile such as I. Fare you well, Master Pipple. May you come out of this chapter’s cliffhanger with your fluffy little head still attached to your shoulders.
Matt’s Thoughts: What a dark and devious co-blogger I have …
But I must admit, was there any precedent anywhere in the realms of anthropomorphic animal tales for inserting this sort of body horror? I feel with the original Mice trilogy that the violence was visceral but within enough bounds that it could possibly become an animated film (albeit of a darker shade).
However, by the time you get to Thomas, I feel like Mr Jarvis had worked out his readers’ limits and how far he could go – and then just goes there. It’s violent, it’s high stakes, it reels us right in. Someone like Nathaniel Crozier might well be one of the darkest villains, but the Scale have a love of violence and suffering that puts them in a class of their own as Jarvis villains.
Anyway, I can’t natter when we’ve got a chapter ending like that hanging over our heads (gag intended). Onwards!