Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Sting not me.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: Okay first of all Hagwood is clearly the heart of Raith Sidhe territory. I don’t care what any of us have said about Jarvis Universe Theory or the fact that weasels, rats and other vermin are devoid of the powers of speech in this trilogy. There’s Hobbers in them there woods, Frighty Aggie is a servant of Mabb, the werlings themselves are the distant descendants of Bauchan, and that’s final.
Back to the business at hand, and I can’t lie, I do still get a tiny frisson of fear on reading this chapter. I’m not especially anti-insect, no spider phobia nor wasp aversion do I possess, yet Frighty Aggie just gets me somehow. It’s probably something to do with the fact that she’s apparently still aware in there – I could talk about Robin’s favourite ‘loss of self’ theme here, but I already said way too much on that during The Raven’s Knot, and will likely say more ‘ere this reread is concluded.
I’ll just leave you all to consider that it was probably convenient for the Wergle Masters of yore to convince themselves, and the werling community, that Agnilla Hellekin had become a remorseless monster devoid of will and conscious thought, and so the only compassionate thing to do was to banish her. After all, compared to her gift, the most skilled elder amounted to nothing, and their long and august institution would be threatened. Better for everyone if she were cast out, and her memory fashioned into a cautionary tale. Great grand ambition must have limits.
Matt’s Thoughts: And about this chapter is when the book suddenly shakes off any hint of cuteness and launches full on into the intense, dark story it’s going to become.
Again, like Morgawrus, Frighty Aggie is another Jarvis monster introduced without an illustration. But the description is vivid enough in this case, that we can imagine it quite easily.
I also like the way, despite the viciousness of the attack, that no one actually ends up dead. Instead, we have that strange moment with Finnen instead and Aggie’s sinister chuckle. And so what starts as a monster encounter becomes a bigger question.