Terrouge E-zine Archives
Creatures in the Spotlight: Part One
How do Redwall creatures act? What are their personalities and temperaments? It's become sort of obscured for ROC fans, who know the creatures better as friends online than as characters in books. And most Redwall fans online certainly do not always, if ever, act as the species they have chosen.
Rats are perhaps the best understood. They are cruel and heartless, and usually brainless as well. They are not a favorite of online fans, who prefer the more quick-witted species of fox, weasel, and stoat, but they are used more than any other species in the Redwall books. They are usually only mediocre fighters, and are best with swords and sabers, although the famous rats of Sampetra carried only tridents. They talk with a seafaring accent, with frequent profanities. The most famous rats from the Redwall books were Cluny the Scourge, from Redwall; Damug Warfang, from The Long Patrol; and Gabool the Wild, from Mariel of Redwall.
Foxes, however, are also well-played. Their moral standing varies more than any other 'vermin' species. Chickenhound, for example, dealt information to Redwall as well as Cluny's army before becoming Slagar. Damsontongue, from Outcast of Redwall, wasn't so horribly evil, either, nor was Lantur from Marlfox. Dethbrush, from Salamandastron, however, and and Mokkan the Marlfox, were another story altogether, being some of the crueler characters in the books. They never seem quite as evil or brutish as the other species of vermin, and are a favorite of ROC fans, both as vermin and woodlanders. They are certainly the most cunning of all the species, and possess a certain finesse and cruel, but intelligent, elegance, that sets them apart from the uncivilized rat. They speak in general with the same British accent as mice. Their abilities in terms of weapons vary greatly; most use swords or sabers like rats; they are also adept at throwing weapons, like knives, darts, and bolas.
The best-known foxes were the Marlfoxes from the book Marlfox, particularly Queen Silth and Mokkan; and Urgan Nagru from The Bellmaker. The only important pine marten in the entire series, Ublaz the Mad-eyes, had a very fox-like personality, although pine martens are closer in appearance to ferrets and stoats.
Wildcats are much like foxes, in that their moral standing varies. They can be cruel and ruthless, or kind-hearted and gentle. They are swift, powerful, and cunning, and can fight generally with swords or with their teeth and claws. They speak with a 'civilized' accent, the same as mice and foxes. The most famous wildcats were Tsarmina, Verdauga, and Gingivere.
Weasels, ferrets, and stoats are the middle ground between the two extremes of rats and foxes. They possess a measure of the intelligence of foxes, and the brutishness of rats. The exception to this rule was Vilu Daskar, from Legend of Luke, who was even more 'foxish' (extremely intelligent and utterly ruthless) than anything else. They speak with a variety of accents, some like rats, and some like foxes. They tend to use solely swords and daggers. The most famous from this group of very similar species were Swartt Sixclaw, from Outcast of Redwall; Ferahgo the Assassin, from Salamandastron; and Badrang the Tyrant, from Martin the Warrior. Reptiles tend to vary.
Toads are like rats, only more slow-witted. They usually carry tridents. They speak in a stupid-sounding, primitive dialect, and are usually featured only in roles of capturing questors in the vicinity south of Salamandastron, who are consequently rescued, and the toads are then fed to eels. Although it is rare that anyone remembers the name of a toad, the most famous was King Glagweb, from Salamandastron.
Lizards and small snakes are much like stoats, weasels, and ferrets in that their intelligence is mediocre, but rather than being fierce fighters (they have never, to my recollection, carried a weapon in the books), they usually act as spies for the toads, frequently reporting the whereabouts of woodlanders. Large snakes, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter.
All the large snakes in the Redwall books to date have been poisonous. They carry no weapons; their poisonous fangs and hypnotic eyes eliminate the need for that. Besides! , they have no limbs. The most famous was the great adder, Asmodeus, who nearly killed Chickenhound and Matthias.
Only one species of the many varied types of birds are invariably evil: crows. They inhabit a large pine grove north of Redwall, and attack passerby. Their only weapons are their beaks and claws. They are much like toads in speech, and in temperament; both are stupid, speak primitive dialects, and exist only to cause trouble for the good guys. Besides their pine grove, they have rarely been seen anywhere but Castle Marl, where they served the Queen Silth. If I remember correctly, we have been given the names of no crows, except perhaps a few in Marlfox.
The one thing all vermin have in common? They always lose. :-) Look forward to Part 2 of this article in the April issue of Terrouge Ezine!