February 1st, 2002
I've been thinking a bit, after reading 'The Taggerung', there are now 14 tales of Redwall (and two poetry books), so I think it's time for some rationalisation on the point of statistics. What I plan to do with this editorial is to examine some of the 'trends' (not used in the way of fashion) and patterns. You may be wondering what the point of this is, but do not fear, there is method in my madness. What I'm going to try and do is to try and predict (here I go again) some the future of Redwall by looking at its past.
If I had written this editorial just a few months ago, I would have said that the page length of a tale of Redwall (on average) has gone down, but with the release of 'The Taggerung', this has all changed. It is hard to say whether this extreme length is just a one off due to the almost prenovel where Deyna is kidnapped, but I think that is rubbish. Even without 'Book 1', the page count would be 373, not particularly low, and this is a book which has a relatively minor second storyline.
So, I believe a more medative approach is needed. I plan to use moving averages and a trend line to discover what direction book lengths are travelling in. Just for the pedantics out there, I will show my working, with the answers in bold.
Firstly the book lengths in chronological order:
387 (Mariel of Redwall)
375 (Martin the Warrior)
336 (The Bellmaker, the lowest ever)
360 (The Outcast of Redwall)
406 (The Pearls of Lutra)
358 (The Long Patrol)
374 (The Legend of Luke)
370 (Lord Brocktree)
437 (The Taggerung)
From that it seems quite confusing, but if you convert it into a three point moving average, it becomes a far clearer picture:
Now, the pattern is much clearer. This information suggests that the page count is on the up. Now, if I plot this information on a graph, and I draw a trend line, it suggests that the next figure would be about 420. If this were true, then the page length for Triss would be about 453. This is quite an unrealistic figure, but it suggests a possible rise in page lengths.
No. themes/key storylines.
What I mean by this title is, well, let me give an example. In 'The Taggerung', there are three key storylines which run most of the way through the book: Deyna, Gruven's attempts to become the Taggerung (this includes the search for Deyna and the mini siege), and Mhera's search and her becoming Abbess. You could claim that there are more storylines than this, but these are the key ones which run most of the way through the book.
Now, I will create a little tally of the number of books with each number of storylines.
1 key storyline:1(The Legend of Luke) 1
2 key storylines:6(Redwall, Mossflower, Mattimeo, The Outcast of Redwall, Marlfox, Lord Brocktree) 6
3 key storylines:6(Mariel of Redwall, Martin the Warrior, The Bellmaker, The Pearls of Lutra, The Long Patrol, The Taggerung) 6
4 key storylines:1(Salamandastron) 1
So, it averages at 2.5, that's about what I would expect.
If someone were to ask you what the most common species of a heroic character is, you would most probably say mice, unless you had only read a very selective handful. But, I have noticed something: in the five most recently written tales, the only one to have a mouse as one of the key characters is 'The Legend of Luke', and even that is already preset by other tales.
This is not so much a statistic, but an examination of data. It seems as if Brian Jacques has veered away from using mice as main characters. I wonder whether this is deliberate or not. Who can say but the man himself?
It doesn't surprise me at all that, in the handwritten notes on 'Triss' and 'Loamhedge'(unofficial title (doesn't that seem to have become part of its name)), that there is no mention of any mice. In fact, otters, hares, a badger, two squirrels, albino ferrets, rat guards, and a gang of bumbling vermin are mentioned, but no mice. I'm not at all suggesting that mice have been wiped out of Redwall country, but it just seems they are being given more minor roles in the tales.
I feel that pretty much sums up what I wish to say. I hope what I've said makes sense, and you might even have learned something new (e.g.. Moving Averages).
Until another time