Thorn Ogres of Hagwood | Chapter 9

glamalielWarning: Contains Spoilers!

“Inside the box, pulsing and beating by loathsome craft – was Rhiannon’s very own heart.”

Aufwader’s Thoughts: It’s just occurred to me that the werlings might have another, unspoken power. What if, along with their shapeshifting gifts, they have the ability, like the little folk of old, to make mortal and immortal alike forget them, once they have passed by? If ever they possessed such a talent it must have waned over the ages, but it’s something to consider.

The Smith’s account of the terrors of the Hollow Hill definitely has its roots in traditional fairytales. As with the character of the Smith himself, here we see Mr Jarvis working with established motifs and themes in the story of vengeful Lady Morthanna and her unfortunate family. In this case, we have Snow White through the Robiny lens – Rhiannon, fairest and most jealous in the land, extracts her own heart in order to claim the throne. It’s all rather grim, if you ask me, and I don’t like the Smith’s chances if the Unseelie Court catch up with him.


Matt’s Thoughts: And so the back story is laid out. Dark secrets, siblings jostling for the throne and a (literally) heartless villainess. I’ve said before that the secret to Robin Jarvis books is that, instead of pitching strong, larger-than-life heroes against evil, it is small, fragile ordinary characters, like mice, children and werlings, who often do the great deeds.

It reminds us that any of us might be called upon – at very short notice – to have to show courage and tenacity. Whatever the consequences. And, speaking of consequences, we have a very Jarvis piece of foreshadowing in that last sentence: ‘Before morning, one of them would be slain.’

One thought on “Thorn Ogres of Hagwood | Chapter 9

  1. I knew the story of Rhiannon (a.k.a. Morthanna) reminded me of something I couldn’t quite place and yes, Aufwader, you’re right! Aspects of it do very much resemble the story of Snow White! We even have heroic diminutive characters ready to step up and help defeat the evil queen.

    By the way, in the midst of all the action in the narrative, it’s easy to miss the part about Clarisant and her lover disappearing, never to be heard from again (and its implications). I know I did initially. Could they still be out there? Hmmmm… 🙂

    It’s at this point we understand that in this world there are far more dangers out there for the werlings than even the monstrous Frighty Aggie. In the grand scheme of things, their small land is a mere speck. Horrors they never imagined are about to be set loose upon it, courtesy of the paranoid Queen Rhiannon. And Robin, the ever-sadistic omniscient narrator, lets us know that “Before morning, one of them would be slain.” 😛 The stakes are now higher than ever!


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