War in Hagwood | Chapter 6

wihWarning: Contains Spoilers!

“Fight well, my love in the sky,” Meg said softly.

Aufwader’s Thoughts: As peculiar in Jarvis canon as this book is, there are also quite a few moments and motifs that typify Robin’s work as a whole. Case in point, this chapter’s fantastic illustration of the gentle, quavery Tower Lubber brandishing a full-on axe and an honest-to-goodness sword, ready to smite a few foes or so perish in the attempt. Throughout this project, we have seen frail, unassuming, or otherwise unprepossessing characters take up arms – be they literal or metaphoric – in defense of all they hold dear. It’s quite heartening, in a way, to know that even in this era of Dancing Jax, old-fashioned sentiments like nobility and honour are still in evidence in the worlds of Robin Jarvis.

Sadly, said sentiments are also rather likely to get one killed, and the Tower Lubber’s death, too, is classic Robiny drama. Of course he was going to die tragicaly on the battlefield. After all, what would the myth of Clarisant and Tammedor be without the prince’s final, heroic, sacrifice? 

Matt’s Thoughts: The Jarvis approach to violence was thrown into relief in this chapter because I read it just after re-watching The Return of the King with my oldest two kids. It struck me that the story, despite being long and having a lot of bone-crunching violence – pretty much all of it bloodless – is relatively kind to its main characters. I realised that only one main hero character with a name was dead by the end of the whole film. (That’s Theoden. I don’t really count Denethor as much of a hero, even if he wasn’t on the side of evil.)

Meanwhile, here we are, chapter 6 in a book with 19 chapters, and the Tower Lubber has been brutally slain plus a whole bunch of (relatively) innocent bogles. I feel that this book simply has a level of sadism in it that almost eclipses anything else in the Jarvis canon except for the fact that Mr Jarvis seems to be having a bit of fun with it.

After all, the scene where Dedwinter tells Rhiannon that he can’t think of anything that would make the Redcaps come down and then she kills him – that’s sort of funny in a black way, isn’t it? Would Martin McDonagh write like this if he decided to make a kids book?

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