April 17th, 2001
Don't worry, I've gotten over the paranoia of sensationalism. I hope I didn't upset anyone with my previous editorial, it was just an observation! I really should stop myself saying things like that. Maybe I should employ some 'gob-guards'. Anyway, please don't take the previous editorial too much to heart. It was just an observation and I still enjoy Redwall to the same degree as I ever did and I hope you do, too.
Moving on to my point of thought now, Taggerung! I'm so excited and I can't wait until September, so I've decided to try and make a few loose predictions to whet my appetite!
First, I'm going to try and pin down the possible time periods. Well, Brian Jacques said:
"I like writing new characters in all of the time -- I like some of the old ones, but my next book is called The Taggerung, and that's a completely new turn of events."To me, this suggests that there will be quite a few new characters. "Now what does this tell us?" I hear you cry. Quite a bit, actually! For a start, we know that it is not going be in the time period of Mariel to the events of 'Salamandastron'. Why? Because most of the characters would overlap from other books. This can also be applied to the time between 'Redwall' and 'Marlfox'. As the Taggerung would've had to be stolen from the Abbey, it can not be between the times of 'Lord Brocktree' and 'Outcast of Redwall', as the Abbey would not have been built. Anyway, Brian Jacques would have probably mentioned it already if it was that early on. So, that leaves me with three time periods; 'Outcast of Redwall' to 'Mariel of Redwall', 'Salamandastron' to 'Redwall', or 'Marlfox' onwards. The least likely is 'Outcast of Redwall' to 'Mariel of Redwall', as it is measurable in generations (Lord Rawnblade and Mother Mellus are great grandchildren of Sunflash the Mace). Now, I think it is quite unlikely that he has gone for 'Salamandastron' to 'Redwall', as it doesn't seem to be his style anymore to write anything between 'Outcast of Redwall' and 'Redwall'. This may be because books written in this period have to relate to Redwall as a young Abbey and this could become tedious after a while. Also, there is another reason why he may not wish to write after 'Salamandastron'. Because, in 'Salamandastron', Salamandastron is actually captured and taken over by vermin and a great majority of the hares are slaughtered, leaving Salamandastron with a depleted force (only 40 before hand). But, if 'Salamandastron' and 'Redwall' were linked in time correlation, then it would Salamandastron a few generations to go from low numbers to such high ones as 600 in 'The Long Patrol' (and that's after battling a 1,500 strong Rapscallion army, not including members of the roaming Long Patrol). This seems like an incredibly difficult feat, even if the hares breed like rabbits.
Though there is one minor problem if he goes in after 'Marlfox': the shrew logboats! Dippler said he would get rid of them and have boats built like the 'Swallow'. This may seem a bit odd to some readers, but I'm sure Brian Jacques will over come this!
Of course, there is one avenue I haven't examined yet and that is the possibility that it is in a time period we cannot relate to other books!
Now, I'm going to try and make some predictions about the characters.
The most obvious character is the Taggerung himself. It's a 'he', by the way. It is unknown whether he will actually be totally evil, Veil-like evil, or just oppressed. He's an otter!
Now, he is the only character we know for certain, but, there are a few others we can guess about:
First, a vermin tribe. Unlike most tribe leaders, he will probably be cunning. Every story needs a cunning villain! Secondly, there will probably be a pair of low ranked vermin who will give us an insight into the feeling in the vermin camp. They will probably follow in the footsteps of 'Sneezewort and Lousewort', and 'Ripfang and Doomeye'. This a devise which Brian Jacques has only really started applying in the last few years. It was not used a great deal in 'Marlfox', but, I think that was mainly because there were enough personalities in the Marlfox siblings to sustain a sub-story in the vermin camp. In 'The Legend of Luke', again, the devise was not used. But, I think this was for different reasons. The focus of Luke's tale was, as you would expect, not on the vermin, but the hero, Luke himself. My third predicted character is this: the sidekick! The hero, whether it is the Taggerung himself or someone else, will probably have a sidekick who gets him or her out of scrapes. Someone like Gonff or Dotti.
Aside from these characters, there will probably be others, depending on which book it follows on from. If it is following on from 'Salamandastron', then Mara will almost certainly be the 'Badger Guardian'. Samkim and Arula will probably be around, with Samkim most probably wielding the sword of Martin. If you don't want a big part of the plot possibly spoiled, don't read the next sentence in italics.
***FAN SPECULATION-- IF ACCURATE, POSSIBLE PLOT SPOILER! CLICK HERE IF YOU WISH TO SKIP THIS PART!***
I reckon if Samkim is wielding the sword of Martin that he may end up being killed by the Taggerung, creating a greater dilemma for those in the Abbey over whether or not to help the Taggerung!
***END FAN SPECULATION***
Aside from that, I do not think that we will be seeing Abbess Vale again. Why? Because, if we are going to have a load of new characters, I think she will be shown the door for the simple fact that she is one of the less dynamic characters in the Redwall Series (and one who has not grabbed the readers interest like Gonff or Mariel). It is hard to say whether Thrugg and Thruggann will make an appearance, but, if they do they will probably be quite advanced in the seasons. Dumble, not a baby anymore, could make an appearance, but I don't see him as being a dibbun anymore!
Now, I personally feel that it will be set after 'Marlfox' and there are several characters which you can guess will be there with a good degree of accuracy. First, it is most likely that Song (-breeze Swifteye) will be there, probably still Abbess. Same goes for Dann (-flo[we]r REGUBA), probably still champion. Though, if you look back at what I said about Samkim, the same may apply to Dann! I doubt it very much that Cregga will be Badger Guardian. This could be one of the new charecter slots (if she stayed, she would be the third charecter ever to be featured alive in three Redwall books. The other two are Martin 1st and Bella of Brockhall)! My very loose guess is that the new Badger Guardian may be Russano the Wise's daughter, Melanius. But, I do have an even wilder, more tragic theory. Suppose Russano had died or been killed! Well, if Snowstripe and Melanius stayed at Salamandastron, then Rosalaun, his wife, may travel to Redwall and become the Badger Guardian. But, that is very far fetched. Aside from them, I think it will be a whole new batch of characters.
Of course, there is the chance that it will be set just after 'Outcast of Redwall'. If that is so, we may see Bella in her 4th, yes, I repeat, 4th appearance!! The possible main problem with using characters from this period is that, don't take this the wrong way, but, they are a bit bland and only really became interesting in the way they dealt with Veil, a vermin in the Abbey.
Now, I'm just going to make a quick run through of what I guess the basic storyline:
1. Juska tribe predict the birth of the Taggerung.
2. Taggerung is born at Redwall. This probably won't be described in great detail, like with the birth of Veil. He's given a relatively normal name, eg. Mossrudder. I guess there is quite a large chance that the mother may die, to put a little emotion in early on!
3. 'Mossrudder' is kidnapped by the Juska.
4. Search parties are sent out, but, they bear no fruit.
1. The Taggerung is feared throughout Mossflower.
2. The Juska attack either Redwall or, possibly, Salamandastron (If the attack is on Salamandastron, then Redwall will somehow hear of it).
3. There is much tooing and froing in the way these sieges do.
(4. If it is Salamandastron that is being attacked, then someone of some closeness to 'Mossrudfer', ie. a parent or close friend, sets off to find him)
1. A final plan is hatched by the Juska. You know, the same way as at the end of 'Redwall', 'Salamandastron' and 'Marlfox', to overrun either Redwall or Salamandastron.
2. Redwall or Salamandastron are either overrun or they send someone out to challenge the Taggerung. If we are talking about Redwall, then it will most likely be Dann/Samkim. This is where the italic may apply.
3. The parent or close friend stops the Taggerung and tries to make him remember before he was kidnapped. Now, here I'm really, really very unsure what happens. Either Taggerung remembers and sides against Juska or he doesn't and he ends up being killed, quite possably by that parent or close friend. There is always the third option that the Taggerung remembers and ends up sacrificing himself.
4. If the Taggerung remembers and sides against Juska, then there will mostly likely be a feast. If the Taggerung dies, it is hard to say. It is quite possable that at the end there will be a dilemma faced about whether, in the end, the Taggerung was evil (a bit like the Outcast of Redwall).
Please do not take these predictions too seriously. They are only vague guesses and, even if they are true, they are probably only part of the story!!
Whatever you do, don't say that you have read 'The Taggerung' and claim that what I have predicted is the actual storyline. You would probably end up looking very foolish.
So, look forward in eager anticipation to September when it is released.
If you have any information on the Taggerung, please e-mail it to me so I may be able to do a follow up later on.
Once again, I repeat, do not take these predictiona too seriously!