Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘Mortal speck of bone and flesh!’ the Goddess roared. ‘You have earned my attention and you will suffer.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: Oh boy oh boy, a nice big showy fight! Fire in the sky, Mabb screaming, voles getting possessed and mice getting hanged and everything going to pot! Horror, tragedy, doooooom! I feel like Scabmona at the Goregut festival. What a delight.
There were two details which caught my eye in between all the zap zap and floom floom, and they are these: Virianna describes herself as a ‘Daughter of Thamesis’, and makes mention of a prophecy wherein ‘the final end shall be shaped’ at Fennywolde. The powers of Light and Dark will apparently do battle, and ‘a God shall perish’ during this cataclysmic conflict.
The ‘Daughter of Thamesis’ thing is some solid in-universe lore – that would be the Thames Virianna is referring to, implying that it was once one of the Green’s sacred sites. This carries neatly into that scene at the start of The Crystal Prison where the river rejects Jupiter’s corpse, and brings with it the suggestion that, however polluted it will become by the time the Unbeest rears his ugly head in The Final Reckoning, a hint of the Green’s power might still remain there.
Virianna’s prophecy, however, is a giant great wodge of foreshadowing. She is clearly describing the finale of the unpublished fourth Deptford Mice book, and since we know that that would have involved the return of the Raith Sidhe in full force, it may well be Mabb who meets her end at Fennywolde.
For the time being, however, the powers of the Green are not enough to save poor old Fenny from the noose, and Young Whortle will never see his beloved home the same way again.
Matt’s Thoughts: We’re back in solid Jarvis territory with this chapter. It’s got everything – a spectacular reveal of the truth about Fenny, the grand tragedy of Virianna, the return of Mabb.
But the best thing about this chapter is how it makes the story even more complicated. Woppenfrake’s faltering step near the end of the chapter could take on a couple of meanings. On the one hand, it might mean that he is feeling sad, remembering what happened to his mother. On the other hand, it could mean that he is full of barely contained hatred for the mice and Whortle is in big trouble hanging around with him and his brothers.
Either way, we can never go back to the happy field.