Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Agnilla Hellekin no longer existed. Her mind and will had fallen into that of the hideous nightmare she had become, and so the greatest of our kind was lost.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: In this chapter we learn the nuances and limitations of wergling – the very skilled can master many different species of the same animal, and even pond life, from newts and toads all the way up to fish and river birds, are acceptable. (I wonder if any Wergle Master ever wore the azure mantle of the kingfisher? That bird plays a memorable role in B.B.’s The Little Grey Men, another somewhat underappreciated British classic featuring gnomey folk and their woodland adventures.)
We also learn the numerous hazards – aside from Unseelie fae and wergling into profane abominations by accident – that haunt the lives of the werling community. In Chapter 5, Kernella mentioned that it is forbidden to go beyond the small patch of woodland that the werlings have inhabited for generations, and now we see why. From Frighty Aggie to marauding predators on the night air, sometimes no shape can defend against a sudden, bloody demise.
Matt’s Thoughts: It starts out being all fun and games, this chapter – especially the amusing wergling battle between Master Gibble and Finnen. But a bit later, in the storytelling segment, it’s starting to become more apparent that you don’t have to go very far in this realm of Hagwood before everything suddenly becomes much more dangerous.
In the field, you could get taken by an owl. (And owls have now taken on a new and more sinister significance since the scene with the Smith in the previous chapter!) Wander too far, and you could fall afoul of some other creature. And clearly, this is a thing, given that Liffidia’s dad was carried off by something and both of Finnen’s parents are dead. In short, despite all the comedy, the werlings are living a pretty bleak existence.
Finally, the tale of Frighty Aggie – well, since when does Robin Jarvis ever randomly insert a tale of a monstrous being that doesn’t somehow make an appearance at some stage in the book, right?