Warning: Contains Spoilers!
However much he wrote or drew, there were always empty pages left, and although he kept the book his entire life and used it every day, he never filled it.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: At the start of this chapter we can see shades of the Isaac Nettle who will try to have Audrey burnt alive, lead a murderous mob, and push his own son to run away from home. Earlier in the book he was more of a figure of ridicule than real threat, and in some ways I’m pleased to see that that was only temporary. A character as grim and realistically Puritanical as Nettle doesn’t deserve so mild a punishment as to be brushed under the figurative rug as comic relief. The way he twists the will of the Green to suit his own ends is also a stark contrast to the truly sacred power of the Ancient, the water voles, and the Glinty Water.
On a lighter note, considering what Mr Jarvis said in the comments a few chapters ago, it’s kind of heartwarming that he let Todkin have his own book after all. As for Whortle’s gift, I think he does have one, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Matt’s Thoughts: I’d love to know where the Giving of Significant Gifts came from in fantasy literature. It’s a memorable feature of some of the classics of the genre – Father Christmas handing out the gifts in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe; Galadriel bestowing useful items to the Fellowship of the Ring.
Does it have its origins in something deeper? Tales of the gods bestowing magical items upon men? I don’t know of anything quite like it in Christianity, though you do get the odd item that can temporarily channel the power of God, such as Moses’ staff.
I tried using Google but nothing came up from a quick search to indicate that this is a story theme. But if anyone else out there with more knowledge can enlighten me on this topic, I’d love to know more.
If nothing else, this scene adds to the tragedy of this book, because the gifts give the impression that these guys will go on to become heroes – not be slaughtered by a roving corn dolly a few months later.