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?