Somewhere in the dim, dark past – actually it was probably about when Mr Jarvis was dreaming up Deathscent – I was doing a mathematics and statistics degree. Despite pouring several thousands of dollars into that enterprise, I have now ended up working in the classical music industry, so it just goes to show that you never know exactly where you are going to end up back when you’re studying.
However, I thought it couldn’t hurt to get some mileage out of my degree by calculating some useless facts and figures. So therefore, for your holiday reading pleasure, I present The Myth & Sacrifice Death Statistics – Year One.
The goal of these statistics is very simple. I was trying to work out the answer to this question: just which is the Robin Jarvis book that contains the most death-dealing blows of fate to our characters?
We all know that Robin takes a certain delight in messing around with our favourite characters, but was there a way to quantify that?
For purposes of this exercise, I decided to go through Aufwader’s meticulous Book of the Dead eulogies and do a tally of deaths of named characters by chapter. This does cause some problems, because there are books which have large-scale massacres (Thomas being the one that springs to mind) where quite a lot of characters get wiped out in one fell swoop. But exactly how many? We’re not told. It’s just a lot.
So I figured the metric to go by would be – have we been told these character’s names? I also included cases like the opening chapter of The Alchymist’s Cat, where Will is standing at the graves of his dead family. They all have names and have just died, so I figured we’d count them as well. Also, for interests of simplicity, if somebody died in a prologue, that counted as Chapter 1, if they died in an epilogue that counted as the last chapter of the book.
I then did a tally of total deaths in the book. That has led to this table:
|Title||Total Deaths||Most Violent Chapter||# of Deaths in that Chapter|
|The Dark Portal||9||13||3|
|The Crystal Prison||5||14||2|
|The Final Reckoning||20||8||7|
|The Whitby Witches||8||13||2|
|The Alchymist’s Cat||17||9||4|
|A Warlock in Whitby||11||13||5|
|The Oaken Throne||23||4||9|
|The Whitby Child||6||13||2|
|The Power of Dark||3||14||3|
|The Devil’s Paintbox||7||16||2|
|Time of Blood||6||10||3|
Looked at in that kind of light, we can easily see that the book that jumps out for torment is The Oaken Throne. Not only does it contain a record 23 deaths of named characters, the record for the most number of named characters being wiped out is in chapter 4. at a whopping nine. This might be a slightly contentious bid for most violent chapter, however, because this is the massacre of Coll Regalis by the forces of Hrethel, which technically speaking happens ‘off-screen’ (so to speak). But by summing up the number of named characters that were set up in chapters 2 and 3, we lost 9 people in that one off-screen massacre, so it wins the bid.
A similar instance occurs with the next most violent chapter, which is in The Final Reckoning, where Holeborne also gets wiped out off-scene by the rat army, who take out a large number of characters with names.
Finally, for those who are visual learners, here are the death statistics in a graph …
Of course, this is purely based on quantitative analysis. If we were to have a more qualitative survey, I’d be asking our readers this question: out of the all the characters who died in a Jarvis book we read this year (we still have some pretty unpleasant books left to go in Year Two!), which one traumatised you the most? I’m casting my vote for Piccadilly, because I can still remember the shock of that chapter in The Final Reckoning, but Oswald would be a close second.
But if you would like to jump in on the comments and leave your answers, I’m sure all of this will be most enlightening in giving us a fuller understanding of the devastation and destruction that Mr Robin Jarvis has wreaked across communities of small rodents and quaint seaside towns.
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