Hello. This page is one of several that I've wanted to make for a while now. In this page, I hope to express my thoughts on the parts of the book that either impress me(as being well-written and coordinated) or don't make sense to me. Essentially, this is a critique/appraisal.
I will first start off by saying that whatever I might say about the book Triss that is derogatory, I still think it is a very fine book and one of Brian Jacques' "classics". I strongly recommend it as an overall well-written book.
Trisscar Swordmaid vs. Princess Kurda
- The first point I want to make about the book, that I consider is a/the confusing paradox of the book, involves the abilities of the character Trisscar herself. My query is this: if Princess Kurda had grown up around and using sabres and all types of swords and was the "Blademaster"(so to speak) of Riftguard, then how was Triss able to best her in single-combat with swords? It's true that Triss also grew up around swords, but there's no way, or evidence that suggests she had access to use them. She would not've been allowed to even if she tried to practice them every day like Princess Kurda.
I've come up with several reasons one might give to explain Triss' miraculous knowledge of swordsmanship and ability to beat a champion swordbeast, and proved them wrong(I think).
01). One could say that Kurda was just having a bad day, having lost all her ratguard and freebooter army, and say that Triss won by luck(if such a thing were to exist).
02). Another reason one might give, that sounds "more" plausible, is that Kurda lost because she had never really faced an armed and determined foe before. This is probably true in part, but it's weak with the fact that she was still the best with a sword- certainly better than Triss- and Kurda proved through her conduct that she was also brave and did not shrink from a foe( with the exception of the three adders). So the fact remains that she was presumably at least as good at fighting an average foe, as Triss.
03). One could resort to mentioning Triss' father Rocc Arrem, the best swordbeast of his time. That reason would be invalid with the fact that Triss only knew her father when she was young, and she couldn't even remember him much.
04). Lastly, someone could mention the Sword of Martin the Warrior(which Triss used in the swordfight) and how it surpasses all other blades, including that of Princess Kurda. Though as you know, the sword has no magic or power of its own and it's improbable that the Spirit of Martin the Warrior aided her personally. The Redwall books stress that "it is not the weapon, but the beast who wields it" and as you know, a weapon cannot be used well without knowing how to use it firsthand(practice and experience) and Kurda had the upper hand in that field.
- While I was thinking about the problem I have with Trisscar's fighting abilities, having just listened to the audiobook again almost twice consecutively, it struck me that the character Triss made a fine heroine up until shortly after she reached Redwall. I can't exactly say why, but I think that for me, it happened at the beginning of chapter 34, when she met Skipper and was asked to take up Martin's sword. Maybe it was the taking up of the role of Abbey Warrior and a loss of femininity that changed her. Then there's the whole "Trisscar Swordmaid" thing. Don't you think it's a bit odd her being called Swordmaid, when she doesn't even get a sword until 4/5ths through the book? That kinda plays into the whole idea I previously went over, about how she was able to use Martin's sword so well against Kurda. I dunno, I guess it could just be that she was scarred by her life as a slave that makes her seem changed to me.
- I think that's the gist of what I have to say about all that, and I think the book could use a little more material toward Trisscar's swordsmanship. That was the primary point of this essay/discussion and if you're going to help discuss with me and give your opinion(which I would greatly like) then I recommend it's on this.
The Back-Entrance to Brockhall
- Now here's another thing puzzling me. I'll see if I can elaborate it well enough. Concerning the back entrance into Brockhall and the greenstone covering it; the book says that when the party of woodlanders found it in Mossflower, it had Riftguard Script on it telling to "turn halfway and slide south". Well, the book gives no explanation as to how it got there. The logical assumption would be to guess that King Sarengo had left it scrawled into the stone when he made the first voyage to plunder Redwall Abbey. Though if you think about it it doesn't really make sense(at least, not to me). How did Sarengo know which way to turn the stone in the first place? It obviously wasn't carved there previously, or it would've been on the old parchment maps that Mokug had. Possibly he experimented and found out(even though the stone took great strength to turn), though that doesn't really get us anywhere because the adders would've heard and attacked them(as adders do).
So that's all for that, let me know what you think.
Zassaliss, Harssacss, & Sesstra
*These three guys, the adders; it seems like up until the big battle in and around Brockhall, these three terrors of Mossflower were feared by all and it was said that no beast(or beasts) could face them. That's why the Redwallers enlisted the aid of Ovus and Bluddbeak- to no avail. It seems to me, that all this aura of fear, evil, and deadliness, was wasted, for in the final battle, the serpents were killed in less than half a page, by inexperienced fighters. Just thought I'd point that out.
Points I Found in This Book
These are just some observations I made concerning this book.
- Firstly, about Drufo; I think his death was unavoidable and a course of nature to this book. Jacques had to paint Kurda as the cold-killer she was, and give Trisscar a primary reason to desire and develop a driving sense of vengeance which would keep her relentlessly pursuing Kurda. After all, the Princess did kill Triss' old friend. In retrospect though, I guess it just seems odd thinking about how such a secondary character could play such a big part, just by being dead, and that his life was only there in the first place, for the sake of Triss.
- Secondly about Sagaxus; Jacques did a great job maintaining an unwritten badger trend, in this book. I'm talking about how whenever there is a young male badger with a father, in one of Jacques' Redwall books, he always manages to separate them effectively. In Triss, Sagax successfully runs away from his father and is able to keep his distance by staying at Redwall. I'm not saying he never wanted to see his father or be near him, but it certainly happened that way. I mean, to the extent that they didn't see often.
- Thirdly, something I wanted to mention, but won't really touch on is the matter of how Shogg the otter was able to navigate and manage the ship that had escaped from Riftguard with Triss and Welfo, without having used a ship before.
Now, here's some more optimistic things I have to say regarding the book and it's characters.
Captain Plugg Firetail
- Wow, what a guy!! He's definitely one of my favorite villains and one of my favorite characters. Not only was he narrated well, but his villainous sense of humor was hilarious. His taking to Scarum as a gentlebeast and "h'eddicated rabbit", his crew's fierce loyalty to him, and his well-written feud with Princess Kurda all added to making him(a relatively unimportant char) into someone I missed, after his sorry demise. I know it would've ruined Triss' revenge, but I would love to've seen him defeat and kill Kurda when they finally clashed. RIP Cap'n.
Bescarum Lepuswold Whippscut
- As hares go, Scarum is similar to the average gluttonous hare, with one exception; he goes beyond the norm. and steals food regularly. If it weren't for that defect, he'd be a more likable character. It actually makes him look quite selfish, when stealing a pie that was to be given to the dibbuns, ravaging the Migooch tribe's banquet feast, and eating the majority of the supplies aboard the Stopdog. Another fault I find with him, is his blaming things(primarily food theft) on Sagaxus. I know you can say, "well, he's just joking", but he does it enough to make it clear. The sad part about that, though it's not pronounced, is that it makes it appear that Scarum's relationship as friends with Sagax, actually changes from beginning to end and it seems they're indifferent toward each other. While in the beginning they were running away together.
Poems, Songs, Riddles, ect
- I will say this, Brian Jacques did a good job setting up the poems, riddles, songs, and suchlike poetic pieces in this book. So much so that I think this might be the best book example of those that Jacques put into a book. I'm not saying that they're all outstanding, but that they're all either not-bad, or somewhat good. It's more of a thing with averages; because it doesn't have many dislikable or boring renditions, it is therefore quite good.
A Great Scene in Triss
- I just thought I'd say something about a certain scenario in Triss that I thought both captivating and well-made. This is in Chapter 13 when Malbun and Crikulus are searching at night for Brockhall. When the serpents are closing in on them and they run for their lives. I think this climatic scene is very well made and similar to a thriller/horror scenario. Though I've gotta say, I think Malbun and Crikulus' pitiful lying afterwards was inexcusable and distasteful.
Guddness gracious! I think that's all. If I have more to say, I'll update this. I REALLY hope you enjoyed this, and if actually read all this, than good for you! I'd like to make this into a lively discussion, so please comment.