Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Standing by the entrance of her tent, Madame Akkikuyu was trembling. She had done many foul and heinous deeds in the past, but this was one of the worst.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: The thing about the Deptford universe being so developed is that there’s always going to be those moments where you look at what happened in the original trilogy and slot yet another tragic detail to yet another tragic character’s backstory. In this case, it’s now abundantly clear how Madame Akkikuyu, hardened ratwitch, ended up so moved by Audrey. If Akkikuyu never attended Firstblood that year, she never saw the outcome of Fleabee’s fortune, and the guilt over sending a young rat to her death must have been gnawing at her ever since.
This is a parallel to Thomas, who sees Woodget in Twit, but not in a way that is any good for either mouse. Just as the guilt of Woodget’s ‘death’ is a worse punishment for the midshipmouse than if he had died on his Scalian adventures, Madame Akkikuyu ends up dwelling on Audrey and, in her unhinged state in The Crystal Prison, putting her on a pedestal in some ways. Now we understand the origin of that guilt – Akkikuyu sees hapless, innocent Fleabee, the ratling she believes she killed, in Audrey.
Who knows, perhaps Thomas might have had a chance to rescue Twit from something, exorcising his Woodget-shaped demons in the process. But, whether Fleabee survives her book or not, we know that Madame Akkikuyu’s self-forgiveness came in her sacrificing herself for Alison Sedge, who herself took Audrey’s place in Nicodemus’ plans. Still, it doesn’t make the end of this chapter any easier.
Matt’s Thoughts: I’d completely forgotten about Mongolian gerbils as well. But I would agree that chocolate fingers work well in any language.
But the really interesting thing here to me is the mention of Mabb. It reminds me of something that I’d long-forgotten which is that way back when I was first reading The Dark Portal, I had no idea that the Raith Sidhe were actually real. They could have just been an interesting side detail to cause more conflict among the rats between Jupiter-followers and followers of the Three.
It’s not really until the dying Starwife calls Old Barker by his real name – Bauchan – that we as readers realise that there is a whole extra depth to the mythology. There’s not just Jupiter and whatever he is doing. The Old Gods are real. So Jupiter, in taking command of the sewers, did not just take charge of a bunch of rats, he managed to somehow take down their deities at the same time.
By the time we get to The Oaken Throne, we know they’re all real, so when Lord Hobb shows up, it’s no big surprise.
But I’m pretty sure we haven’t had an appearance yet by Mabb, have we?