Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Robin Jarvis’s witchmaster Nathaniel Crozier: Part II

The end of Nathaniel Crozier’s visit to Whitby
We left Nathaniel Crozier just after he had tortured and killed poor old Mr Roper.

His next evil deed is to send the horrible fish demon he has secured to his service to kill Ben, so that he can then destroy the magical artefact that Mr Roper passed on to the little boy.

Luckily, the monster follows the wrong trail; it kills another boy instead. ‘By chance’, this is someone who has bullied Ben in the past.

Miss Boston returns from a harrowing visit to London, and finds that all hell has broken loose because Nathaniel Crozier has destroyed two of Whitby’s guardians. Once again, she decides that she must confront an evil newcomer who is about to destroy Whitby. This at the age of 92: if she isn’t a good role model for older ladies, I don’t know who is.

Miss Boston knows that she has taken on what looks like an impossible task, but she sees it as a good sign, a sign of weakness, that the appalling man wanted her out of the way and used his agents to try to destroy her in London.

She has an advantage in that Nathaniel Crozier underestimates her. He never has a good word to say about anyone - he called his wife Roselyn stupid and greedy and Miss Boston an odious hag - and he thinks of Miss Boston as a senile, dabbling amateur.

Crozier would get on well with Lord Voldemort, who also underestimates the opposition and believes that “there is no good and evil, there is nothing but power and those too weak to seek it”. Crozier boasts of being a master of control and domination; he scorns limits and warnings – they are for the weak.

He awakens an evil sea monster and temporarily forces it to obey him. He plans to use it to help him either rule the world or destroy the world. He ends up being destroyed himself, by arrogance and over-estimation of his powers.

Once again, Miss Boston destroys her enemy. She overcomes her uncontrollable despair and physically attacks Crozier, distracting him long enough for his spell to break. He is unable to resume control. He is caught in his own trap and gets a taste of his own medicine: the monster turns him to stone and shatters him, just as he smashed the stone head. This is poetic justice. Before his death by calcification, he is revealed as a coward: he begs the monster to spare him.

Unfortunately, Miss Boston herself is almost destroyed too. Not only did Nathaniel almost strangle her, but the efforts needed to return the sea monster to the depths were too much for her strength. A Warlock in Whitby ends with her being brought back home in an ambulance. She is weak, bedridden and cannot speak.

We have not seen the last of Nathaniel Crozier. Although he is dead, his spirit lives on and he does great damage via the women he has enthralled. Before we come to that, there are some more episodes in A Warlock in Whitby that are of particular interest.

The Gregsons see the light
One good result of Nathaniel Crozier’s reign of terror in the Gregson’s household is that once the immobility spell wears off and Mr Gregson is restored to consciousness, Mrs Gregon’s behaviour towards him – and her neighbours – undergoes a huge change for the better. Living in fear of Crozier has tamed her and destroyed her aggression, making her a better person.

She had promised herself that if Crozier ever let them go, she would never shout at her husband again. For the first time ever, she appreciates and cares about him. She is a reformed character; she keeps her word and this has a positive effect on her husband.

The formerly unpleasant and lazy Mr Gregson helps bring Miss Boston’s bed downstairs and presents her with some snowdrops on her return from hospital; Mrs Gregson helps to sew some new curtains for her.

This is all very touching and encouraging.

Miss Boston’s visit to London
Miss Boston goes to visit a friend of hers, an old lady called Patricia, who is very ill.  She finds a nightmare scenario in operation. Her friend is being held hostage; she is confined to bed and is in the power of and being intimidated by a horrible, sinister, hostile nurse who is more like a jailer. Patricia is a widow and a white witch; she has had a good life but somehow all her avenues have been closed and she and her home are in the hands of enemies.

It is painful to read about cruelty to and exploitation of weak, vulnerable, helpless, bedridden people who have no one to look after their interests.  I have written about how Maria Callas and the Duchess of Windsor ended up like this. I learned recently that something similar happened to Taylor Caldwell.

Miss Boston brightens Patricia’s final hours despite the efforts of the nurse, who is under Nathaniel Crozier’s spell. Miss Boston escapes death at the hands of the nurse, although her friend is not so lucky.
It is a very dark and chilling episode in the story, and a warning about what might happen to unprotected, isolated people.

More warning signals and red flags
Just as Nathaniel Crozier must seek permission to enter someone’s home, he may be required to give warnings to intended victims. 

Unfortunately, some people can only see these things in retrospect, after the damage has been done; they may not have much in the way of knowledge or defences against his powers either.

Another possibility is that perhaps he cannot avoid affecting people badly.

Either way, it is best to look out for similar warning signals and avoid anyone who generates them.

We first see an example of this when Crozier arrives at Whitby and gets off the train. He notices an attractive girl ahead of him and stares hard at her. She feels a chill, and shivers. She feels a tugging and searching sensation. She has a lucky escape: he releases her from his spell because he has come to Whitby for a specific reason and must not attract attention.

Mr Gregson feels an inexplicable twinge of fear when he first sees Crozier. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with him, but his wife overrules him. In this case, it is all for the best in the long run.

A terrible drowsiness comes over Miss Boston when she is being interrogated by him. Although she didn’t reveal the last name of her friend, Nathaniel mentions it when he sees her on her way to catch the train to London. She doesn’t see the significance of this, and has only a vague feeling that she has heard the name of Crozier before. It is very important not to let such things go.

Still to come: the witches and The Whitby Child
There is much more to say about Nathaniel Crozier as witchmaster and the women who do his bidding. The final article will cover this topic.