Six Degrees: From Questor Thews to Peet the Sock Man
I finally get to choose between two books I’ve actually read this week! J.L. Mbewe wrote about Edmund from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, one of my favorite books from one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis. It was really tempting to go with that one, but Jenelle beat me to the punch by going there first in her post comparing Lucy to Willow. So, not wanting to go to the Narnia well twice in a row, I decided to answer a strange classified ad in the paper and connect to a character from Terry Brooks’ Magic Kingdom for Sale: SOLD!
Now, while I have read this book, it was so long ago that my recollections were very fuzzy. But I did a little refresher course and things quickly came back to me. And the character I chose from this light-hearted tale was Questor Thews the bumbling wizard. And the character he reminds me of is Peet the Sock Man from Andrew Peterson’s On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, Book 1 of the Wingfeather Saga.
Peterson’s story, like Brooks’ is also rather humorous at times, sometimes ridiculously so. It reminded me at times like Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, in that it feels like a “tall tale” at times, or perhaps the works of Roal Dahl would be an even better comparison as the descriptions about the world are at times larger than life, bordering on the absurd.
No one represents the wild and wooly nature of the story than Peet. In contrast to Questor, he comes across as sad and confused, as if something terrible had happened to him or he was not altogether there mentally. However, like Questor, he wears patchwork clothing and is tall and awkward, his body reminiscent of a scarecrow. He also has the odd habit of wearing socks on his hands (thus the reason for his hame). Though he doesn’t have any magic, he seems to have some sort of special power or mystery to him. Peet is also some sort of acrobat, but his stunts come off as odd and strange and that reminded me a bit of the results of Questor’s magic.
The central characters in the story come from the Igiby family. Janner is the protective older brother, looking out for his two younger siblings. Like the aforementioned Tom Sawyer, he has a bit of a rebellious streak as well, often exploring in places he shouldn’t. He’s seems to bear the weight of being the older brother rather heavily, feeling more acutely than most the ache that has been left by his missing father. The Igiby children are raised by their mother Nia, who, in addition to carrying herself with dignity and a steady confidence, happens to be a rather inventive cook.
With the children’s father not present, their grandfather Podo Helmer lives with them on the Igiby farm and helps out as much as he can. Gruff and with a bit of a temper, old Podo is an ex-pirate who is now more concerned with fighting off the pests invading his garden than in searching for buried treasure. But as stiff and stern as Podo can be, when it comes to the children, he’s definitely a softy and would do anything in his power to protect them.
The Igiby’s live in the land of Skree which unfortunately has been overrun by the dreaded Fangs, lizardish men with poison bites and temperaments to match their appearance. Though none of the Fangs particularly like their human subjects, most are content to leave them alone as long as they don’t cause any trouble. All except Slarb, who has a particularly nasty disposition. And when the children accidentally run into him at the wrong time and in the wrong place, they only escape with their lives through Peet’s timely intervention.
Though they aren’t really characters per se, besides the Fangs, one of the most fearsome dangers in Skree are the dreaded Toothy Cows, one of Peterson’s more unique creations. They wander the forest and are not to be trifled with. They are rumored to have the temperament of a hornet’s nest, but with long, sharp teeth and several hundred pounds of angst and fury added on.
The Igiby’s are also helped in their struggle against the Fangs by Oskar the Bookeeper who turns out to be something of an undercover resistance fighter against the Fangs, hiding weapons in his shop for the day when the people will rise up against their scaly overlords.
It’s an interesting story that hearkens back to a more classical fairy-tale style and one I’d recommend. I hope some of these characters will spark a connection in the minds those who choose to rise to the challenge!
Speaking of which, if you are new to this whole Six Degrees thing, here’s an overview of how this cool little meme works. We’d love to have you participate so we can link back to your post!