The Myth & Sacrifice Death Statistics | Year One

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Photo: Pexels.com

Somewhere in the dim, dark past – actually it was probably about when Mr Jarvis was dreaming up Deathscent – I was doing a mathematics and statistics degree. Despite pouring several thousands of dollars into that enterprise, I have now ended up working in the classical music industry, so it just goes to show that you never know exactly where you are going to end up back when you’re studying.

However, I thought it couldn’t hurt to get some mileage out of my degree by calculating some useless facts and figures. So therefore, for your holiday reading pleasure, I present The Myth & Sacrifice Death Statistics – Year One.

The goal of these statistics is very simple. I was trying to work out the answer to this question: just which is the Robin Jarvis book that contains the most death-dealing blows of fate to our characters?

We all know that Robin takes a certain delight in messing around with our favourite characters, but was there a way to quantify that?

For purposes of this exercise, I decided to go through Aufwader’s meticulous Book of the Dead eulogies and do a tally of deaths of named characters by chapter. This does cause some problems, because there are books which have large-scale massacres (Thomas being the one that springs to mind) where quite a lot of characters get wiped out in one fell swoop. But exactly how many? We’re not told. It’s just a lot.

So I figured the metric to go by would be – have we been told these character’s names? I also included cases like the opening chapter of The Alchymist’s Cat, where Will is standing at the graves of his dead family. They all have names and have just died, so I figured we’d count them as well. Also, for interests of simplicity, if somebody died in a prologue, that counted as Chapter 1, if they died in an epilogue that counted as the last chapter of the book.

I then did a tally of total deaths in the book. That has led to this table:

Title Total Deaths Most Violent Chapter # of Deaths in that Chapter
The Dark Portal 9 13 3
The Crystal Prison 5 14 2
The Final Reckoning 20 8 7
The Whitby Witches 8 13 2
The Alchymist’s Cat 17 9 4
A Warlock in Whitby 11 13 5
The Oaken Throne 23 4 9
The Whitby Child 6 13 2
Thomas 10 16 3
The Power of Dark 3 14 3
The Devil’s Paintbox 7 16 2
Time of Blood 6 10 3

Looked at in that kind of light, we can easily see that the book that jumps out for torment is The Oaken Throne. Not only does it contain a record 23 deaths of named characters, the record for the most number of named characters being wiped out is in chapter 4. at a whopping nine. This might be a slightly contentious bid for most violent chapter, however, because this is the massacre of Coll Regalis by the forces of Hrethel, which technically speaking happens ‘off-screen’ (so to speak). But by summing up the number of named characters that were set up in chapters 2 and 3, we lost 9 people in that one off-screen massacre, so it wins the bid.

A similar instance occurs with the next most violent chapter, which is in The Final Reckoning, where Holeborne also gets wiped out off-scene by the rat army, who take out a large number of characters with names.

Finally, for those who are visual learners, here are the death statistics in a graph …

death stats - year one

Of course, this is purely based on quantitative analysis. If we were to have a more qualitative survey, I’d be asking our readers this question: out of the all the characters who died in a Jarvis book we read this year (we still have some pretty unpleasant books left to go in Year Two!), which one traumatised you the most? I’m casting my vote for Piccadilly, because I can still remember the shock of that chapter in The Final Reckoning, but Oswald would be a close second.

But if you would like to jump in on the comments and leave your answers, I’m sure all of this will be most enlightening in giving us a fuller understanding of the devastation and destruction that Mr Robin Jarvis has wreaked across communities of small rodents and quaint seaside towns.

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Best Yule Wishes from Myth & Sacrifice!

Greetings from Aufwader: At the beginning of this year I probably would have opened this post with something like ‘Salutations one and all! Well met, fellow intrepid rereaders!’ but I think at this point, those of y’all heathens that’re left know Matt and I well enough that we can dispense with those sorts of flourishes and get right down to the, er, bone and gristle.

So, first and last order of business: an enormous, gilt, jewel-encrusted thank you to my aforementioned co-blogger, without whom I would not be writing this tonight; to Mr Jarvis, without whom this whole enterprise would never have been; and to everyone who has followed this ambitious and somewhat harebrained scheme to blog through the first half of Robin Jarvis canon in 2017.

In all honesty this year has been something of a choppy sea for me, but through it all, the reread has been a beacon of hope and looming deadlines. I have learnt a great deal and grown a great deal through the first half of this great grand Robiny journey, and all I can hope for is that everyone reading this has taken something positive from the project, be it tall or meek. A berrybrew toast to you all, and warmest Yuletide wishes!

 

Greetings from Matt: I was feeling extraordinarily lazy for this post and decided to just record my Christmas greetings to the extended Jarvis family via video!

A Quick Announcement

Hey everyone,

Before we start up The Crystal Prison, we’d just like to do a quick plug for Mr Jarvis’ upcoming book. Of course you’re all probably aware of this, but here’s a little reminder that you can pre-order The Devil’s Paintbox, the second book in the awesome Witching Legacy, which comes out in March!

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Is that a river of blood?!

Also, we discovered that the goodly folk of Egmont UK are bringing back The Whitby Witches in June of this year! Robiny books with new covers are our kryptonite here at Myth & Sacrifice, so we’ll be in for that as well. This edition’s sparkly new cover is by Rohan Eason – definitely one for collectors and fans of The Witching Legacy alike.

 

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‘Ware ye the Lords of the Deep and Dark!

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has been reading along with us and commenting so far; your wonderful discussions have brought the Great Grand (Re)Read to life and made Myth & Sacrifice everything we hoped it would be and more. We hope you’re as excited as we are to enter the chilling world of The Crystal Prison!

The Myth & Sacrifice Spoiler Policy

 

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‘Is that a spoiler I hear? Any who DARE to spoil shall serve ME on the other side of the candles!’ 

Matt here. While policy documents are normally a bit formal, I wanted to start this one with a story.

This story took place about 18 months ago. I’m halfway through Freax and Rejex (Book 2 of The Dancing Jax Trilogy, which we’ll be looking at next year). The book is absolutely blowing my mind. It’s intense, so exciting, so dark. I can’t tell what will happen next. It’s just brilliant.

Because back then there was no such thing as a website where people would blog and discuss Robin Jarvis’ books on a chapter-by-chapter basis, the only person in the world that I could think of at that time to talk to was my sister, who also still loves reading a Jarvis book. She’d read the Dancing Jax series a little before me, so I knew it would be safe to text her.

I’ve sadly lost the original texts – probably due to something like dropping my old phone – but our correspondence went something like this:

Matt: How awesome is Freax and Rejex? This book is *blowing my mind*.

Matt’s Sister: Yeah, but I can’t believe that [one of the main characters] had [something particularly unpleasant happen to them] … you had read that part, right?

Matt: Umm … no.

Matt’s Sister: Oh, sorry!

And in that manner, one of the biggest ‘AARGHH!!!  NOOOOO!!!’ moments of Freax and Rejex was completely ruined (and, yes, for those who have read the book, it was that moment).

So, to avoid that happening to any of the adventurous people who might be joining the Jarvis world for the very first time, I thought we’d just be upfront about our spoiler policy, so that we can maximise the fun for everyone:

  • Our policy will be to never spoil ahead, but in every post we will be more than likely spoiling the chapter.
  • So read the chapter before you read our posts!
  • Likewise, keep your comments and discussion to the chapter at hand. If you want to talk about something that you know will be coming up in a later chapter, save it till then.
  • If, in your enthusiasm, you inadvertently post a comment that could spoil major plot points for newbies, we reserve the right to delete your comment.
  • But we will let you know ASAP so that you can get a revised non-spoilery comment up.

Hopefully, these rules won’t be too arduous. And I’ll be honest, I envy anyone getting the chance to watch these plots unfold for the first time. It’s going to be awesome, people! I can’t wait.

One Week To Go!

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Yeah, we understand that you’re a bit annoyed that you didn’t get an initial invite to the Robin Jarvis Great Grand (Re)Read, but it’s not too late to join up!

We hope that you all had a wonderful time over the Christmas / holiday season with exciting plans coming up for New Years!

We’ve been polishing mousebrasses and sharpening peelers madly over the last few weeks getting ready for launch and I think it’s no secret to say that we cannot wait to begin (re)reading The Dark Portal with you all next week.

For everyone who’s already lit up our comments section with your thoughts on front covers, illustrations, editions, plays of Robin’s work and other such stuff, we want to say THANK YOU! Keep it coming.

We’ll post our Myth and Sacrifice Spoiler Policy in a few days, so we can make it as fun for everyone, old Jarvis die-hards and new-to-the-folds alike. Then our first post on The Dark Portal will go up on Monday 2 January 2017. Yeah!

In the meantime, you have a great New Years’ and we thought we’d leave you with this Deptford Mice Trilogy trailer, which Mr Jarvis put together a few years ago when he discovered that he could actually draw his characters on a computer as well. While it shows some of the classic images, it also has a few that we’d never seen before (such as Piccadilly standing on Piccadilly tube station). Enjoy!

Two Weeks To Go & A Call To All Robiny Folks

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‘Mouse in the Green, let him come back to me // Lord of the forest and Lord of the sea…’

 

Greetings all, Aufwader here! While Matt soaks up rays in balmy Australia, up here in the bleak frozen north of the UK there’s only a few days to go until Midwinter. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we’re just short of two weeks until the Great Grand (Re)Read begins.

This post is aimed at those worthy stalwarts who are already Robin Jarvis fans. Whether you were washed in on the heels of Scaur Annie this summer, or bought a hardback of The Dark Portal from Borders when it was first released, this project would never have been conceived at all if not for you.

You attend Mr Jarvis’ talks and book signings; you collect first editions and mysterious, obsolete audio cassettes. Many of you grew up with Audrey and Madame Akkikuyu, Edie Dorkins and Jennet and Nelda. Some of you checked out The Whitby Witches from the library, hidden beneath your other books so that your disapproving parents and teachers wouldn’t ask what the appeal was in a story that seemed so grotesque. A few of you are writers and artists and creators of all kinds today because once, when you were young, you read about a gawky, sickly mouse called Oswald who was brave.

Who else remembers Robin’s old ‘Dare to be Scared’ website portal with Jupiter’s glowing eyes, or has a hand-painted poster advertising only the first two books of the Deptford Histories tacked to their wall? Who wrote fan-mail covered in wobbly drawings of squirrels with oaken shields and rats with potato peelers lashed to their arms?

My copy of Fleabee’s Fortune has a drawing by the original owner under the dramatis personae at the front. It shows a grim-looking character called Badhanda; ‘a young ratgirl who can’t wait to peel her first mouse.’ When I first acquired that copy I was still quite young, many years away from the trip to Greenwich which would spark Beyond the Silvering Sea, but it was that drawing which made me begin to think that maybe there might be other Robin Jarvis fans out there. That maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t the last of the aufwaders.

It didn’t matter to me that the previous owner of Fleabee’s Fortune had given their book away. The point was that they had enjoyed it enough, become immersed enough, to want to create their own story. (In any case, Fleabee’s Fortune is meant for younger readers. To this day I like to think they moved on to the Deptford Mice Trilogy proper and become thoroughly embroiled).

The Great Grand (Re)Read is for bringing in new blood, so to speak, but it’s also for every Badhanda out there. For everyone who reviews Mr Jarvis’ books on their blogs, who participates in, or simply enjoys, Silvering Sea, who pesters Robin on Twitter for details of their favourite characters, who will probably comment at length on this post. This project is your chance to relive the wonders and woes of the Robin Jarvis canon, to experience those series’ which you haven’t yet got around to reading, and to bring your own Robiny histories (be they great or small) to the party. Come ye in, have a bowl of berrybrew, and welcome!

Three Weeks To Go & Why You Should Read Robin Jarvis

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Hi, Matt here! So we are just short of three weeks away from beginning The Dark Portal! While I know many people on this blog are super-keen fans already of Mr Jarvis and his fantastic imagination, a few of you might be newer.

Or might be those friends of mine who I pestered via Facebook. And email. And in real life. (I can be super-annoying when I start a project like this!)

But however you came to this blog, if you are new to the world of Robin Jarvis, I wanted to give you a bit of a heads up on what you are in for. Below is the email that I sent to all my friends, doing my best sales pitch to persuade them to join up and it pretty much sums up  why I think you’ll enjoy the Great Grand Robin Jarvis (Re)Read!

(Next week, Aufwader will present her call-out to the existing Jarvis fans telling them why they will thoroughly enjoy re-reading the Jarvis canon.)

Email Subject: Are you looking for your next YA read?

Hi folks,

I know a few of you out there are still fans (perhaps even avid ones!) of YA fiction. You were there for all the Harry Potters. You’ve lived through a few Unfortunate Events. You’ve been through the Wardrobe. You’ve heard the call of the Mockingjay. You might have even got into a fight over Edward vs Jacob. (We’ll leave that one in the past.)

So with a new year coming up, I wanted to invite you to join an online book club to read the works of English YA author, Robin Jarvis. I’m joining forces with a blogger from the UK and starting in January 2017 we’re going to be reading through one Jarvis book a month over the next couple of years and discussing his books chapter-by-chapter. (They are those kind of books.)

If that’s enough to get you in, jump over to https://therobinjarvisportal.wordpress.com and sign up for email updates! Otherwise, for those who have further questions:

Who is Robin Jarvis?

Robin is an English writer, based in London, who writes stories of dark fantasy and magic set mostly in various parts of England. He’s written over 20 books since the end of the 80s, including popular trilogies such as The Deptford Mice, The Whitby Witches, and the Dancing Jax series.

What kind of stories are they?

Robin’s stories nearly always feature:

  • Small, innocent heroes
  • Who are (often) anthropomorphic creatures
  • Who have to find an inner strength to face up against unspeakably evil villains
  • With lots of dark occult magic
  • And even more violence
  • And half of the good guys will have died tragically trying to defeat evil by the end of each series.

So with a description like that, you should know instantly whether you’ll like them or not, right?

For me personally, they remind me of the great animated films that I grew up with in the 80s (back when kids’ movies were a little bit more scary and magical), if they had been allowed to get even more scary and magical.

If they’re such good stories, how come I’ve never heard of him?

The short answer is that you probably live in Australia like I do! Jarvis books have been notoriously hard to find Down Under and a few of his older titles have sadly gone out of print.

My own theory is that when Jarvis started writing in the late 80s, young adult fiction as a genre was smaller and more light-hearted. (Think Roald Dahl.) But two decades later, J.K. Rowling proved that YA readers could take a great deal of darkness in their stories, and now it seems like every YA book features a dystopian future, incredible dark magic, evil villains, love triangles and favourite characters dying.

In other words, he was ahead of his time when he started writing and perhaps got lost in the crowd a bit in today’s day and age.

Having said all that, many of his books have been bestsellers in the UK and readers like myself that enjoyed his books as a kid have stayed firm fans and kept reading Jarvis into our adult years as well. He still continues to write books to this day (he’s working on a series called The Witching Legacy as we speak) and, I’ll be honest, he’s only getting better as he goes along. His recent Dancing Jax trilogy was one of the most astonishingly brilliant pieces of fiction I’ve seen in a long time.

Are they suitable for me to give to my kids?

Probably depends on the book. The series we’re starting with, The Deptford Mice Trilogy, in my opinion, would be good for the 8-to-12-year-old camp. For one of his later series, the Dancing Jax books, I would want to suggest older teenagers.

But because of the rather full-on nature of his writing, it would really come down to what your kids are ready for and what you allow them to read!

All right. I’m sold. Remind me again what I need to do?

  1. Go to robinjarvisportal.wordpress.com and sign up for email updates.
  2. Buy yourself a copy of The Dark Portal in readiness for January. (Chat to me if you’re having trouble tracking that down.)

Cheers,

 

Matt