Highlight of the Lonesome Night: October 3rd

[For the October 2nd highlight, click here.]


October 3rd

Zelazny hooks readers via the mysterious nature of the “Game” afoot, and the as-yet unanswered question of what it means to be an “opener” or a “closer.” But matters begin to grow clearer in the October 3rd chapter, albeit by subtle means. Snuff narrates that his master Jack went out “hunting” for ingredients that night, wearing a cloak and wielding a blade. Zelazny isn’t so blunt as to come right out and state it, but the reader at this point can intuit that this late-19th character operating in the vicinity of Victorian London is actually a fictionalized version of Jack the Ripper. The chapter’s vital clue, though, appears a few paragraphs later. Checking out Crazy Jill’s residence while out prowling the neighborhood, Snuff notes: “The broom beside the rear entrance was still warm.” The implication here is that Jill is a broom-riding witch. And suddenly the name of her pet grows quite significant, since  “Graymalkin” was also the moniker of the feline familiar of the Third Witch in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The dropped hint that the colorful, communicative animals in Zelazny’s novel are supernatural familiars (called upon to assist their respective masters in the Game) constitutes the October 3rd highlight.

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