Thorn Ogres of Hagwood | Chapter 4

Warning: Contains Spoilers!

Perrun lanssa dirifeen, tatha titha Dunwrach.

Aufwader’s Thoughts: So we learn that the insect world is forbidden to the werling folk, and that those who try to flout this law end up as nightmarish hybrid creatures, banished beyond the Hagburn. Yikes! Gibble’s little rhyme about Frighty Aggie has strains of ‘for the Hobbers are dancing nigh’ in it – here, evidently, we have another nursery bogey who really does lurk in the wild dark wood.

Following this grimness, there’s the amusement of the young werlings trying to master their art for the first time. I like that Tollychuke is first to succeed – he may not be the wittiest pupil in attendance, but he’s good at the most important skill of his kind, and deserves respect. In some ways he reminds me of Twit, and I’m going to hazard that he might end up doing something quite grand for all Hagwood before this trilogy is over.

Finally, something has been nibbling at me as I’ve been rereading this book, and it’s this: why is the young werling’s first shape the mouse, and not, say, the squirrel? The werlings as a community are more alike to squirrels than to any other animal; they live in trees, consume nuts and seeds, have a natural acrobatic ability, and some of them even have tufty ears. Surely the shape of the squirrel would be an easy hop for a beginner? Then again, their tutelage seems to be all about chucking them in at the deep end, so maybe the decision to start with mice was the intentional sadism of some Great Grand Wergle Master of the distant past. I wouldn’t be surprised!


Matt’s Thoughts: Poor old Gammy! I totally feel like I wouldn’t get the hang of wergling on the first go either.

So is it mean that I got a little chuckle from him fainting at the end?

2 thoughts on “Thorn Ogres of Hagwood | Chapter 4

  1. Originally Gammy didn’t faint. I had him straining so much that he erm… filled his pants. Luckily the publishers thought that might be a tad too much, so I changed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So now we find out that there are risks that come along with wergling, and that it can be dangerous to the unwary. It’s very frightening to think that one could lose control over their own body and essentially become a prisoner within it. That’s what could happen to a werling who shapeshifts into the wrong thing. Though Master Gibble is harsh in how he teaches them, it looks like it is especially important for these rules to be understood by all those who plan to wergle.

    I think the Frighty Aggie rhyme is reminiscent of the Hobber rhyme too. But wow – “Catch my brother or eat my mother” – it’s every werling for himself, apparently! It’s yet another indication that the race of werlings are not (at least overall) as peaceful and good as they initially appear.

    And yes, I couldn’t help but giggle slightly too at Gamaliel straining so hard to wergle that he fainted… but if that original version had been left in I’m afraid I would have had to burst into hysterical laughter instead. 😛


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