Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Young Whortle could not believe his eyes. Deep down in the pool, a soft radiance was flickering – the spirit was ascending.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: This lovely, ethereal chapter reminds me of the mystical Midsummer celebrations that Audrey witnesses in The Crystal Prison, and leaves just as many questions on the still night air. Where are the water voles and their master going, now that the Glinty Water is no longer glinty? Was it the removal of Amnemsis’s protection which left Fennywolde open to the evil of Nicodemus? What relation, if any, does the Green Mouse have to all of this? And, most importantly, did Woppenfrake just fix up with Amnemsis to have Whortle brought back from the dead during the Deptford Mice finale?
I mean look at that scene. An ‘unspoken question’ passes between Woppenfrake and the spirit of the Glinty Water. Amnemsis does the sparkly-eye thing at Whortle, who feels very cold suddenly, and then much better. Woppenfrake seems relieved about something and thanks Amnemsis profusely. I’m just saying, it all seems a little over-the-top for the granting of a magical slingshot.
Remember, Woppenfrake was the one who got closest to Whortle, who seemed more attached to him than the other water voles, and who expressed the most regret to them about Whortle’s fate, wishing he could save him from a premature death. Could it be, after all the gleeful foreshadowing and smug Crystal Prison references, that Robin has decided to have half a heart and take pity on Whortle after all?
Gosh, I hope not.
Matt’s Thoughts: I think the strangest aspect of this book to me is that there simply isn’t an antagonist. Now that it’s been made clear that the voles aren’t sinister creatures, this story is simply what it is: a tale about Young Whortle and the time he really wanted to win the Head Sentry prize.
Fleabee’s story had more of a dark impetus to it, because there was the chance that she would be killed by the end of the book, whereas there have been no real life-threatening situations here. Any obituaries Aufwader writes will have to be for characters who died a long time past!
But it is a great reminder that the characters and places of the Jarvis Universe(s) are big enough to contain all sorts of stories. Perhaps we only hear the most dangerous ones in his books, but there is plenty going on in these worlds while the book is closed.