(urth) dead rabbit and fox in Ieuan's room

Marc Aramini marcaramini at gmail.com
Fri Jan 5 15:47:08 PST 2018

When Bax first comes across the younger set of twins, he makes "Emlyn" drop
his light and flee through a closed window, ghost-like. Later, "Ieuan"
beats him and kicks him (though he also does damage to that boy). When he
sees Emlyn again, he hits him with a stick he cut for a fishing pole three
times. Emlyn tricks him, and then Bax "took three hard blows from my own
stick" - the damage between these characters is always tit for tat. Ellyn
thinks that Bax might be Ieuan here, and thinks "you'd have a sword or a
knife" (Bax will get both later).

Later he is walking with "Emlyn" and leaves him for a second to peer into
Ieuan's bedroom - in it, he notes "A dead animal on the floor appeared to
be a rabbit; another, sprawled over a chest, was clearly a large fox."
Given that later Lupine will give Doris's car keys to him and they will
feature a pink rabbit, the dead animals here seem somewhat prophetic.

I think Ieuan and Emlyn are parts of Bax that want to embrace different
parts of their nature. When Emlyn sees Winkle face to face he promises her
he will never force her. When Bax meets Lupine, he promises he will never
force her. When Lupine meets Bax, she says that she likes him. When Kiki
meets Bax, she also says that she likes him. The morning after that strange
trip to Lakeshore he meets with both Ieuan and Emlyn at different times,
though both call themselves Emlyn. One wants to talk about the werewolf,
the other introduces him to the werewolf. At one point Emlyn asks if Bax is
their father, who he says is good at disguises. When Nick the butler, who
is supposed to eventually be revealed to be Mr. Black, speaks of himself,
he says that he is " a thing, if you will allow the word. A thing rather
less fine than your sword, sir. .. Only a thing, like your sword, that
strives to serve you." (256)
He goes on to say:
 "[Nicholas] was made first, and I subsequently. We were grown in the same
trough, sir. Our creator was their father, sir. Zwart is, or was, his
common name."
"You think he may be dead?"
The old man cleared his throat. "You, um, sir. Or the boys, sir. Emlyn, I
would think. Or both, sir."
"I did not kill him, Nick ... I shot a wolf. (258)

Later he winds up somehow being Zwart Black, who is Alexander Skotos,
according to Bax, but here we see that the butler's words might make sense
in another way, if he is just an object in a story created to serve the
purpose of Bax. Ieuan, Emlyn, and Bax might be three in one. When Bax asks
if Zwart is dead, the old man does not actually use the verb "killed," but
his answer could even be to provide the object to the previous sentence:
"You think he may be dead?"
[I think he may be] you, um, sir. Or the boys, sir. Emlyn, I would think.
Or both, sir."
The struggles between Bax and the twins is perhaps one for internal
dominance. However, granting them anything beyond a metaphorical reality to
illustrate the previous relationship of Bax and George seems somewhat
unwarranted, save for the Hound of Horror stories and an inability to
contextualize Lupine.

Do the dead rabbit and fox in Ieuan's room indicate that Winker and Doris
will "die" when Ieuan's coldness comes to power in Bax? Can the fox spirit
be corrupted into something more deadly? After the penultimate struggle
with the wolves on his way back from Lakeshore in a letter to Millie, with
no mention of Mary King, Bax says that the second determining incident that
occurred in the morning involved Emlyn introducing him to a woman he
admired: "She was Lupine, the psychotic I had met beside the river." It
seems to be the mirror image of a talk he has with Ieuan in a previous
letter, who wants to talk about the werewolf and feels he might be blamed.
Bax tells him that he cannot deceive him: "You should try to become
accustomed to that, to internalize it." (181) He also says, "I recognized
myself at once." (180) These meetings are frustratingly left inconclusive,
ending with Bax asking why he came - "the werewolf, but that was while you
were playing your brother. why did you really come?" (182)

 Can anything be made of the dead rabbit and fox in Ieuan's room?
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