Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Then Mr Woodruffe, the King of the Field, strode forward and, amid loud cheers, declared the Fennywolde games open.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: Even amidst the celebratory atmosphere, the mischief of Whortle’s friends, and all the fun and excitement of the day, there is still a melancholy undercurrent to this chapter. While Twit waves at his proud parents and the Burdock brothers caper about, Mr Nettle shows no support for Jenkin whatsoever, even when he wins the meadow race.
This is really just another sad thread in the tapestry of their relationship, and we can see how this sort of treatment has made Jenkin strive all the harder for his father’s approval over the years. Considering Mr Nettle’s change of heart following Jenkin’s death in The Crystal Prison, it is all the more depressing to think that the Meadow Race is one more family moment the Nettles have missed out on.
Matt’s Thoughts: And as if nothing dark and mysterious has occurred, we’re back to the craziness of the Fennywolde Games. There’s a bit of a mean streak that runs through the Wolf Killers and their antics, isn’t there? But it’s one with a cheeky sense of humour, especially the Burdock Brothers and their scuffle over the suggestion that Dimsel Bottom might like Uriah.
Now, remind me, because it’s been a while since I read Crystal Prison, but was Isaac Nettle always like this? Or was it the loss of his wife that sent him into his miserable state of pietism? You feel his strictness is a way of controlling pleasure (both his own and that of others), because if you don’t have too much in life to enjoy, you haven’t got as much to lose.