Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Alison wanted to say that she would go with him, but she held back. The moment passed and she was to regret it for the rest of her life.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: What really caught me at the start of this chapter was Whortle joyfully playing in the mist. It’s a small moment, but one laced with sombre foreshadowing – none of the Fennywolders, least of all our young hero, have the slightest inkling of the terrors that mist will hold for them but a few short months later.
We see this grim foreshadowing again when Figgy tells Jenkin that ‘his head could fall off and we wouldn’t care’. It’s really quite grisly considering the manner of Jenkin’s death (and that too will come all too soon). It’s also pretty painful to see Jenkin become so angry over Hodge mocking Isaac Nettle – we know the Nettles will never have a chance for reconciliation and that Mr Nettle will end up a shell of his former self, having lost his son before time without ever really being a proper father to him. Then there’s the business with Alison, which really speaks for itself. Mousey soap opera at its finest and most miserable!
Matt’s Thoughts: Somewhere, amidst all the frivolity of two groups fighting over a raft, a great pall of tragedy lurks. It starts with Whortle and Co being somewhat oblivious to the source of Jenkin’s pain. (Granted, it’s not helped by his own sense of self-blame as well. The moment where he describes his father as ‘better than the lot of you put together’ is heart-rending.)
But the grand irony is that Alison, despite all the damage she will do, actually does understand what’s going on for Jenkin and has a perception that others do not. Good qualities are not doled out equally in the Jarvis universe, with good and bad qualities existing side-by-side in many of his characters. (Except for Twit, who – whatever you may query about his intelligence – is pure sunshine.)
And then, finally, the oath. We’re not saying that this oath necessarily caused the problems of The Crystal Prison – we know too well the source of the issues there – but there’s yet another dose of grim irony that they unwittingly swear a doom upon themselves that actually does transpire in just a few months.