Monday, July 25, 2016

Robin Jarvis’s witchmaster Nathaniel Crozier: Part III

The return of Nathaniel Crozier
A Warlock in Whitby ended with the defeat and destruction of Nathaniel Crozier. He left two devastated people behind him; Jennet is shattered emotionally and Miss Boston physically.

The Whitby Child, the final book in the Whitby Witches trilogy, describes Crozier’s efforts to return from the dead. He has done a deal with an evil supernatural entity: he will be restored to life in return for Ben’s death.

Crozier uses his coven of witches to perform rituals and run his errands, which include more attempts to murder Ben. Jennet is drawn into the coven; Nathaniel has left her in such a bad state that she has no defences against their plots.

It all – eventually - ends well for most of the characters, after a lot of action, horrific incidents, suffering and supernatural intervention, both malign and benign.

Roselyn Crozier returns temporarily to get her revenge; Nathaniel Crozier is permanently destroyed. The members of his coven are released from his control to make new lives for themselves. Miss Boston, who early in the story recovers from her stroke, cheats death a few more times but her life finally comes to an end. She is 93 years old, and she is no longer needed to defend the children.

The future for Jennet and Ben is very good: their parents are restored to life.

The only thing that Nathaniel Crozier ever did to make the world a better place was to (inadvertently) redeem the Gregsons. There is a happy ending for this couple, who continued to be good neighbours to Miss Boston while she was still alive. They repair the relationship with their estranged son. They go to visit him and see their grandchildren for the first time.

Perhaps a horrible experience is necessary for some people to see the light, appreciate what they have and change for the better.

Reading of the huge improvement in the behaviour of the Gregsons is uplifting; reading the descriptions of the effect that Nathaniel Crozier has on women and girls, Jennet in particular, is horrifying and depressing. It adds to and confirms what we know about witches though.

Nathaniel Crozier and Jennet
The way that Nathaniel Crozier treats Jennet is just as bad in its way as his murder of Mr. Roper was.

She is not quite 13 years old; he is 42. Yet he treats her like his girlfriend, raising her hopes and leading her to believe that he loves her and will take her away so that they will be together always. One of the first things that Nathaniel says to her is that many women are addicted to romantic fiction because it helps them to escape the drudgery of their daily existence, thus planting the suggesting that her life is unsatisfactory.

Jennet has romantic fantasies about Nathaniel; she even tells him that she loves him.

He hypnotises Jennet to get some information about Roselyn and her mission in Whitby; he wants her to join his coven so he can use her against Ben and Miss Boston.

He also enlists her to his service because he likes to subvert people’s lives and to get a high yield in suffering out of them. He is a destroyer of vulnerable souls.

Jennet is vulnerable because she is an orphan and Miss Boston, her guardian, is often away, busy with her own affairs or ill. Sometimes Miss Boston is blind to Jennet’s needs. Jennet has a vivid imagination, although her fanciful ideas are often wrong, and this could help to increase her susceptibility. 

Being under Nathaniel Crozier’s influence has a very bad effect on Jennet and the way she feels, speaks and behaves. She is consumed by a powerful enchantment, possessed and controlled by the black magician.

She is horrible to Ben when he tries to tell her about Mr Roper; she will not hear a word against her beloved. This reminds me of Miss Boston’s experience with the police and the doctor when she spoke out against Roselyn Crozier.

She even physically attacks her little brother when he says that Crozier is insane, and adds insult to injury by accusing Ben of being jealous of Nathaniel. Jennet even believes that one of Miss Boston’s friends is jealous of her. She says some very hurtful things:

“…he loves me and not a wrinkled old prune like you! Did you honestly think he would fancy a dried up spinster… why should he even look at you when nobody else ever did?

This could be Crozier himself speaking.

As is his modus operandi with women, he starts by fascinating, charming and beguiling Jennet and raising her hopes; later, he turns on her and tells her what he really thinks of her. He says:

Will you never stop pestering me – you boring child? Your constant simpering grates on me. What does it take to be rid of your pathetic attentions – shall I throttle you as well?

Jennet comes to her senses; she sees his true nature; she sees that he is strangling Miss Boston.

Unfortunately, even his death doesn’t completely break the spell. Jennet is left in a very bad state.

His magic is still at work within her soul. She still dreams about and yearns for the delicious presence of the sadistic, callous man who enslaved her, despite her knowledge of his true character.

Because of Crozier’s influence, she appears old before her time and becomes withdrawn, sullen and miserable. Everything seems flat, stale and unprofitable. She takes no enjoyment in the company of her former school friends; she cannot stand the constant talk about boys and music; she becomes unpopular. She doesn’t care; she just wants to be left alone.

She can’t feel any enthusiasm when people organise a small celebration for her 13th birthday. She doesn’t enjoy it at all; she feels isolated and remote.

She comes to hate living in Whitby; she feels smothered and longs to go somewhere far away.

With this terrible malaise upon her, with the feelings of pain and longing she endures, no wonder she is easily recruited by the women of Crozier’s coven.

Nathaniel Crozier and his circle of witches
The Coven of the Black Sceptre consists of a group of women who are in thrall to Nathaniel Crozier, their high priest.

They are first beguiled then enslaved and controlled. They are also sometimes possessed: they can transform themselves into huge black dogs, hellhounds filled with bloodlust, hatred and the desire to kill. This is why Jennet feels an all-consuming rage and is filled with evil thoughts when she is attacked by some local thugs; she wants to tear the face off one of them. She wants to kill them all.

Most of these women are middle-aged; most are unattractive, single and alienated from normal society. They will do anything for Nathaniel because he liberated them from their miserable dreary lives and gave them something to live for.

He hates and despises them and calls them cattle, but he needs them to run his errands.

They are all delusional. One admits that she is mad: her insanity is borne of love and devotion. Each one of these women believes that Nathaniel loves her; each hopes to get him for herself.

The prose gets purple when they talk about Nathaniel, their beloved:

“… the very mention of his name is exquisite torture to me. He’s the one who burns in my heart and scorches my blood. For him I would do anything, undergo any torment. He is why I breathe, without him I am nothing…I worship that man…my darling Nathaniel - my beautiful bearded god.

There is plenty more of that sort of thing. 

They felt a terrible desolation when Nathaniel was killed; there was nothing more to live for, no driving purpose in their lives; one of them almost killed herself. This makes them seem like addicts with withdrawal symptoms.

No wonder they will do whatever it takes to get Nathaniel back.  

Nathaniel Crozier, his powers, witches, and real life
Nathaniel Crozier is not a very realistic character: I have never met anyone like him in real life.

As originally described, although he has a touch of the dark, demonic hero of a romance novel about him, without his magnetism and glamour he is unprepossessing: his clothes have seen better days for example. His powers cannot be ascribed to his basic appearance and personality; he needs something extra to stop people noticing how unpleasant, evil even, he is and that his clothes leave a lot to be desired. He needs to cast a spell.

Forbidden knowledge has always been his passion; all of his power comes from the black magic techniques and rituals that he learned in Africa.

The women in Nathaniel Crozier’s coven may be slightly stereotyped, but they are much more realistic than he is.

I have actually met in real life women who behave as if they are in thrall to someone like him. Crozier has some characteristics that I have seen in women who appear to be under the influence of or controlled from another dimension by someone or something very sinister, something cruel, evil, contemptuous and unpleasant. They sometimes speak with a vicious edge to their voices, and this has a very chilling effect. He could almost be speaking through them from another dimension.

It seems as if there is a syndrome, or scenario, that is working through them. Much of what they feel, say and do seems familiar and scripted.

The descriptions of Crozier’s witches’ inner states remind me of what I have read in biographies of female writers and in novels. They feel lost and empty; they hate their lives and cannot relate to the people around them; they long for something or someone to rescue them; they may dream about romantic heroes.  Charlotte Brontë is one example; Ayn Rand is another.

Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel, just like Jennet, didn’t appreciate the treats that people arranged for her. It was like wanting bread and being offered a stone.

The witches and their inner states are so well described that when I first read the Whitby Witches trilogy, I assumed that it was written by a woman, but, like Beverley Nichols who created the witch Miss Smith, Robin Jarvis is a man.  I wonder where he got his inspiration and information from.

I also wonder what is going on behind the scenes and who or what is responsible for all this playing the same games and singing from the same song-sheet. Are vulnerable, mediumistic women being selected and controlled or made into fiction writers from other dimensions or the inner world? Are some people born with witch-like personalities?

This needs further investigation.