Artham must die

::SPOILER WARNING:: If you’ve not read the first three Wingfeather Saga books, please ignore this post. Instead, go buy the books!

Andrew Peterson’s fourth and final Wingfeather book is due out on July 22, and for Kickstarter supporters, the delivery date is even sooner—perhaps next week! While i’ve been busy working on a more serious look at themes of brokenness and New Creation innocence in Peet the Sock Man’s character arc, that work is now finished and submitted, allowing me time before the book is released to make a few predictions and speculations about what might happen in the last installment of this beautiful YA fantasy series.

  • Artham must die. i say this for many reasons, such as a) basic hero’s journey story structure—Janner, the hero, has to take on the role of Throne Warden and so Artham, the mentor, has to go; b) he needs more complete healing than he can find in Aerwiar; c) he’s a Throne Warden without a king—his service is done. (i would also accept the death of Podo, but i think Artham makes a much better choice. There is, of course, the option of both of them dying, but that might be a little much for a children’s story, although i’d never accuse AP of pulling punches just because his readers are young. Goodness knows he’s had no mercy on me.) But his death will be redemptive and beautiful and the best kind of heartbreaking and my heart is soaring to think of it, no matter how i love him. i predict further that he’ll get to keep his wings, and i believe that death will expand and deepen his poetry in ways none of us can yet comprehend or imagine. i also think that Janner will be on hand for his passing, so that Artham can intentionally hand over the Throne Warden mantle, and that will give Janner strength as he goes on without his uncle to guide him.
  • Alma Rainwater, who “never made it out of the castle,” is still alive. (After all, Esben “never made it out of the castle” either; saying that is just like saying “they’re clearly alive but we haven’t seen them in years.”)
    • The fact of Alma’s survival will complicate the need for Artham to die. (That might account for some of the 523 pages in this massive tome, although i will note that this is a children’s story and not a cheap soap opera.)
  • Leeli will be healed by the making stones. (Kalmar—i don’t know about him. i can see that going either way, and the question of what will become of both his and Artham’s Fangishness is of great interest to me, and one i address in my essay.)
  • Sara Cobbler will find homes for all the orphans (except possibly Borley, who might stick with her), and then make her way across the Dark Sea of Darkness to be reunited with Janner, possibly carried thence by Artham. She does have bright diamond eyes, you know. (i want to predict that Maraly Weaver and Kalmar will marry one day, but i think she needs a lot more time with Gammon before she leaves Skree, so that may or may not come into the last book. Depends, i think, on whether there’s a jump forward in time in an epilogue. i do think it’d be fun to be introduced to the next generation of Wingfeathers, but i also prefer books that don’t end too tidily, and “here’s where they ended up” epilogues leave so little scope for imagination.)
  • Nia and Rudric will have some difficulty with the fact that he killed her werebear husband. At the very least they’re going to have to put a hold on their wedding plans; she needs to grieve and he’s gotta feel super awkward, even though Kalmar pardoned him. Plus, they’ve got a war to wage. i don’t know what Andrew will do with that, so this isn’t much of a prediction. And too much focus on their relationship would be inappropriate (although it would also explain a few of those 523 pages).
  • There is going to be some difficulty with the gargan rockroach. That may or may not make it into the book, but it is a serious problem—make no mistake.
  • Nurgabog will have one last contribution to make, although i would not speculate on what that would be. Hopefully, for her sake, it has nothing to do with the gargan rockroach.
  • Somebody (Claxton Weaver?) will trust a Squeeblin and pay for it dearly.
  • Bonifer will resurface somewhere. i’m going to go out on a limb and say Gnag probably won’t be happy with him. And where did the First Book get to? How damp is it now? Is it still readable? Again, none of that is a prediction, but it needs to be addressed.
  • The stone keeper will turn out to be Gnag’s mother.
  • Gnag will be revealed to be a former Throne Warden. (i’m prepared to be wrong about this; until we met Esben, i thought he was Gnag. Part of me still does, although that’s clearly impossible, not that mutually exclusive things cannot both be true—just look at year four of the Rixi Letters. And if Bonifer hadn’t known Gnag’s mother, i’d guess Gnag to be Ouster Will.)
  • Podo will make friends with Hulwen and will go gladly to his death in the Sea, knowing that all is forgiven. But not before wreaking some bloody havoc on Gnag’s forces, and not before she is restored by Tink’s kingly use of the healing stones. (And yes, i realize that this might contradict the first item in this list.)

Hmm… what else…

  • Oh, Gnag and his Fangs will be defeated and Anniera will be restored.

(i’m not sure what Anniera being restored will actually mean, mind you; it seems that nearly everyone is dead. Except Alma. And Armulyn—i hope we see him again. Maybe the Hollowsfolk will learn wisdom and grace from their upcoming trials and become, in a way, the New Anniera.)

There you have it, kiddos. Now go forth and read. i can’t wait to soak up every page of The Warden and the Wolf King (and find out how wrong i am about several of these items—although i’m totally not wrong about Artham).

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