• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

The Dark is Rising


Story weaver
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Merriman did say the clock was being destroyed since it was no longer needed. This alone would make it plausible that Hawkin would fear being destroyed once he would no longer needed even though there are ample examples of people being willing to destroy some things they think aren't needed being unwilling to kill any of their fellow humans.

For example, there are plenty of people who shred documents to protect their secrets but most of them wouldn't want to shred people for that reason,, or any other.

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
The problem is when you're also aware you've been operating as a human failsafe charge if things go wrong. It doesn't necessarily encourage you to expect to be viewed as having much value afterwards.


Story weaver
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Betrayal, part 3

The Stantons sing one last carol, then leave Huntercombe Manor. Will pauses to stare at the stars, which he now knows well. To Mary's amazement he comments on how bright the Pleiades are.

Will doesn't resply to Mary, instead contemplating how much he's changed in the last few days.

Once they're back home Will lies on the hearth rug, staring up the chimney.

Mrs Stanton offers everyone a couple of mince pies. Nary points out that Jamie had six at the manor and warns James he'll get fat

James strongly implies he thinks Mary is fat. The narrative says she's recently started worry about her weight.

Snarling, Mary advances on James, but Will reaches up and grabs her ankle, pulling her down on top of him.

Mrs Stanton tells them both to mind the fire.

A pretty mild reaction to this kind of horseplay, confirming that the Stantons are strict parents, so are unlikely to get in the way of his questing.​

Mary notices the signs on Will's belt and asks what they are.

Will claims they're just decorations he made in metalwork at school.

Mary reaches out to touch them, but they burn her.

We've only seen this reaction from those connected with the Dark, suggesting that Mary is too. If she is, this is Cooper playing fair with the readers. Also, doing metalwork might be enough to qualify Will as a smith, for occult purposes, so could prove significant.​

As William and Mary stand up she asks him if he'll make her one for a broach, which Will thinks is typical of her.

Everyone goes upstairs, comes back down with presents for under the tree, then returns upstairs.

Will and James always share a bedroom on Christmas Eve. They like being able to whisper to each other.

As he does every Christmas Will curls up in bed, promising himself he'll stay awake.When he wakes up the next morning he can feel presents piled round his feet.

Here this chapter ends.

In this section as a whole the main thing I noticed is the cosy warmth of the Stanton family, which gives Will a stablw background and will affect alny plot lines innolning Wills family.

At the start of this chapter Merriman makes it clear that the Old Ones are born to serve the but the Riders of the Dark choose to serve

As for the rest, you may have noticed I couldn't find ,much to say about it. Any else want to comment.

The next chapter is 'Christmas Day', hopefully coming soon.​


Story weaver
RPGnet Member
Validated User
And now, nearly two weeks later, it's time to begin Christmas Day.


Christmas Day

The first thing Will does is unwrap a single present, a large box he suspects is from Stephen. The rest won't be opened until after dinner, a family custom.

Under the wrapping paper Will finds a crate, full of dead palm leave. Searching through them he finds an antler, which gives him the same feeling as the presence of other Old Ones. There's a letter next to it, from Stephen. one of his brothers.

Summarising, Stephen begins by describing a carnival he saw in Kingston, Jamaica, where he'd met an old man. This stranger addressed Stephen by name, then gave him a present for Will. When Stephen asks why he's told that the families of Old Ones have a similar look.

The man then vanished into the crowd, then returned wearing Will's present Christmas present. Stephen felt compelled to send it to Will for a Christmas present even though he didn't think it would be Will's first choice.

Will is pleased by this, but when Mary starts demanding he open his actual present he realises he's been looking at Stephen's present for the last five minutes, holding everyone else up.

So will, the youngest Stanton, gets to open his present first, meaning everyone else is likely to be paying attention to him. This suggests the plot won't involve Will keeping his present secret.​

The actual present turns out to be a grotesque carnival mask, with antlers, canine ears, and a face not quite human, Looking at it Will decides it has some strong connection with the Old Ones.

If this is meant to represent some figure from British folklore then Herne is the most obvious candidate, but not quite the only one. Which one Cooper picks will give some idea how much research she did.​

Mary backs away from the mask. Mrs Stanton, Paul and Gwen stay silent. Mr Stanton and James both think it's weird. Max comments on its eyes, then Barbara asks what it's for.

So Mary backed away from a mask connected with the Old Ones, the only one in her family who does, another sign she's likely to have some connection with the dark, willing or unwilling.​

While Will explains that it's a West Indian carnival mask James looks inside it, then tries getting Will to wear it.

Will declines, sensing it's not the right time.

Just as Mrs Stanton is starting to open her present there's a knock at the door, the first time anyone has disturbed the Stantons on Christmas Day.

Mr Stanton goes to the door, greets the unexpected visitor warmly, then invites him in. When he turns round to face his family he has a small package in his hand, clearly given to him by the man.

He introduces the man to his wife, calling her Alice and him Mitothin, then starts introducing his children to Mitothin.

In England the traditional convention for introductions was that the person of lower rank would be introduced to the person of higher rank at that place and time, not vice versa. A private would normally be introduced to a general, if they were introduced at all, Vicars were introduced to bishops, knights to earls and so on. There were exceptions - a general might be introduced to a private if that private had done something truly exceptional, in a way that mattered to the military - but such exceptions were rare.

There were no formal rules for this - the etiquette guides didn't invent the code from scratch, they just described it, sometimes adding minor embellishments - but everyone in 'polite society' knew their place, and could get quite offended is introduced to someone they thought to be of lesser status.

This system is largely dead now, but not when Cooper was young. If she was influenced by this system, even only subconsiously, then Mr Stanton introducing his own children to Mr Mitothin in their own house shows how highly he thinks of Mr Mitothin.

Also, this the first time we've got a name for Mrs Stanton, completing the set. It'd be a little surprising if these name turned out to be relevant, but it's nice to know.​

When Will hears Mr Mitothin's voice he finds it vaguely familiar. Looking up, he recognises the visitor's silhouette.

Mr Mitothin is the Black Rider, the first Lord of the Dark.

Mr Stanton starts introducing Will to the Black Rider, which makes Will furious. He immediately freezes his family, then confronts the Black Rider, ordering him to leave.

The Black rider doesn't. He just smiles and say that since Mr Stanton, master of the house, invited him in, he can come in freely.

Will attempts to look into the Black Rider's mind, but fails. When he starts groping for magic strong enough to break the Dark's power, the Black Rider just laUghs, then tells Will that if he used magic that strong he'd blast his own family outside time and that he is not yet one of his masters, so cannot yet master either the higher magic or the Black Rider.

Saying 'yet' here makes this fairly good news for will, since it implies he will be able to master both, once. Since it seem unlikely thay the Black Rider would actually want to give good news, he might be under some obligation.​

Will tells the Black Rider that he's afraid of will's masters, but the Black Rider respod with message of doom for Will to relay to them: '.. all the things of power they hope to possess we shall take from them, the grail, the signs and the harp. We shall break your circle. And none shall stop the Dark from rising.

Since the Black Ride only said 'none' not 'nothing', this statement leaves open the possibility that something will stop the Dark's rising, if it doesn't stop it by itself. Compare 'the tide is rising, and none can turn it back', true, as King Canute legendarily demonstrated, but the tide still turns anyway. Basically,'none' only applies to beings at least-human equivalent, not just any thing - sensible, since in cases like this 'none' is a 'contraction of 'no one.'

So this statement isn't as ominous as it sounds. Clearly the Black Rider doesn't use English with particularly great precision, so perhaps a pedant could trap him with his own words. I wouldn't want to try it, but any port in a storm.

Also. talking about things of power doesn't really feel right, not to me. They are technically things but so is a bag of turnips. The should be some less generic term for them, but right now I can't think of one.​

The Black Rider unfreezes the Stanton family, restoring the bustle of Christmas, an act Will is powerless to stop. Mary is partway through asking what the box is and Mr Stanton is finishing introducing Will to his guest.

Will and the Rider exchange greetings, then the Rider tells Mary the box is a gift for her mother which wasn't finished in time for her father to bring it home.

Mrs Stanton invites the Rider in for breakfast, but Will rudely objects.

The Rider tells Mrs Stanton that he can't stay, since he on the way to spend the day 'with friends, then compliments Mary on her hair.

She shakes it, showing it off.

The Rider plucks a single strand of May's hair from his sleeve.

Hair is as personal as blood, and can be as magically potent. Since this hair was shaken loose in an act of pride it may well be just what the Dark needs to touch her, despite Will best efforts to keep her safe.

On that mildly ominous note, I'll end this part.

Any thoughts on the mask Stephen felt compelled to give to Will, the significance of the hair Mary unwittingly gave to the Rider, the way Will and the Rider interact, or anything else that take's your fancy.

There are now only 14 pages left in this chapter, so hopefully it will be done before this thread reaches its first birthday. After that, there will be four more chapters, then three more books.

Until next time.​

Jeremy Kopczynski

Registered User
Validated User
I could comment but anything I want to say would be spoilers. At my first reading the things that jumped out to me was the 'blast the family' out of time bit. It in my reading emphasized why the fought they way they did. Collateral damage would be a pain to deal with, at least for the Light.


Registered User
Validated User
The invitation thing is true of many spirits and vampires, and used in Dresden Files and other books. You can't come into the home without an invite. Too bad Mr. Stanton invited him in whenever he wants, and Mary's hair allows him access without actually entering the house.

Unka Josh

Social Justice Chimera
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Even reading this for the first time, I caught the hair-plucking as a significant detail.


Story weaver
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I could comment but anything I want to say would be spoilers. At my first reading the things that jumped out to me was the 'blast the family' out of time bit. It in my reading emphasized why the fought they way they did. Collateral damage would be a pain to deal with, at least for the Light
Makes sense. Since the Dark cares less about collateral damage it can effectively hold the world hostage, a fairly common tactic for the more powerful villains.


Story weaver
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Christmas Day, part 2

The rider comments on the tree visible from the window, so Mary pulls him over for a better look.

Mary is currently thirteen and it's Christmas Day, when children are expected to be a little more excitable, so treating a guest like this would be pretty normal.

Also, something I left out earlier, since I'd forgotten about this later reference. This tree is known as a royal tree, because Charles I was said to have hidden in it during the Civil War. This could easily be a bit of local colour, with no real significance, but being mentioned twice suggests it could have some later significance.​

Will tries not to think about the mask, worried that the Rider might be able to see it in his thoughts.

The Rider doesn't bother looking. Instead they comment on the ornaments on the tree, caressing the one made for Mary, which is currently hanging upside down.

Mr Stanton gives his wife a bracelet and ring, both in the box the Rider brought, which sets Will worrying about the dangers of using jewellery the Rider has touched.

Since Will has read the book of grammarye his concerns are probably well founded​

When Gwen asks about the Rider Mr Stanton tells her that the Rider is a diamond dealer who he's known for a couple of years, then describes meeting him the previous day.

After breakfast Will realises he can no find Stephen's letter, and suspects the Rider's main purpose in his house might have been taking it.

Since the letter is signed by Stephen and addressed to Will it could plausibly be used to attack either of them.

How much of what Mr Stanton is true? Has the black Rider really spent two years trading with him, or did he just edit his memories Neither option is good.​

Soon, the snow is falling again. Mr Stanton and Max both comment on how unusual this is, and the negative effects it will have.

Paul enters and tells everyone that he's off to ring the bells, despite the weather, then asks if anyone else is coming.

Max says Will and James will both be singing at the church, calling them the nightingales

Gwen tells Max that if he peels the potatoes Mrs Stanton might have time to visit the church too.

A little later, five of the Stantons head off to the church together: Mrs Stanton, Paul, Mary, James, and Will.

James makes it clear that he thinks that Mary's only going with then to avoid her homework.

Will suspects that the snow is a warning sent by the Dark.

If it is, it's probably aimed at the Old Ones, since mundane humans are unlikely to even be aware it exists. In effect, the Dark's telling Will it's going to attack and daring him to stop it​

There are fewer cars parked outside the church than usual because of the weather

Will and James enter the church together, put on their surplices, then join the choir.

For brief moment the music sounds discordant to Will, shaking him enough that James notices. For the rest of the song Will tries to convince himself that nothing happened,

This kind of reaction doesn't exactly make Will look good. Did Cooper intend him to be someone who hides from the truth?​

As the service ends Will starts hearing the same sound he heard when the Dark was beseiging the Lady's house. He's surprised that the Dark can attack a church, then realises that all churches of any religion are vulnerable to the Dark, because they're where people think most about the Light and the Dark.

Since it says 'any religion' this probably applies to mosque, synagogues and so forth. Not saying this explicitly is another indication of how much things have changed since these books were written.​

Will checks the signs on his belt but they are not unnaturally hot or cold.He decides this means the church is neutral ground in the battle between the Light and the Dark.

The choir head for the altar, singing 'O come, All ye Faithful,' but this doesn't help. Will can sense there's something from the Dark lurking outside, and that he will have no help facing it.

Next everyone files out of the church.

Here we get a list of people from the congregation who Will recognises. Rather than just repeat the text I'll summarise.

* Jolly Mr Hutton, retired director
* Tiny Miss Bell, former teacher
* Jolly Mrs Hutton
* Mrs Pettigrew, postmistress
* Lugibrious Horniman, foretelling doom

Any of these characters could potentially become involved in the plot, or they might all be red herrings.​

The rector, Mr Beaumont, is the last to leave the church, switching off the lights inside as he does, then starts talking to Paul

While Will is waiting for him, he notices Farmer Dawson, Old George, George's son, and his son's wife standing by an old font: four fellow Old Ones, all ready to support WIll against the Dark.

Will tries to think of some way to get them to a safe distance outside before the Dark attack, but before he can senses 'destruction and chaos, the heart of the Dark' all around. Its voice is now loud enough that 'even humans' can sense it.

This wording suggests that either the narrator or Will don't think of Old Ones as human. If Will's stopped thinking of himself as human, that's an ominous development.

Also, we now have a slightly better idea what kind of evils we can expect from the Dark.​

Paul staggers and the rector staggers towards the door, attempting an exorcism.

John explains to Will that while the Rector is brave, he has no place in the fight against the Dark, despite it being his church.

Paul and the rector now look like frightened animals, so Will soothes Paul while Mrs Dawson soothes the Rector, then they both join the other Old Ones.

Farmer Dawson tells Will they need to protect Paul and the rector since otherwise they will be be driven mad by the Dark, and that only Will has the strength to do this.

Will realises this implies he can do things other Old Ones can't, then calls on the Gift of Gramarye to protect his brother and the rector by putting a barrier round their minds, a barrier which is unbreakable but leaves them completely unable to communicate. Since barriers such as this can only be removed by the person who placed them, Will know he's risking leaving his brother in this state permanently, but considers the risk worthwhile.

If Will loses to the Dark Paul is probably doomed, so this is a fairly reasonable gamble, at least from Will's perspective. Paul might have viewed things diffrently, given the choice.​

Will joins his fellow Old Ones in the church doorway, forming a Circle.

The Dark drives a flock of rooks to attack the Old Ones physically while bearing down on their mins, a two-pronged assault Will know he could not have withstood alone.

Even with the aid of his fellow Old Ones Will can't do more than hold the Dark back.

Will is terrified by the thought of what defeat might mean, then realises he has half the Signs, ao steps outside the circle and holds up his belt, letting the Signs on it work for themselves.

Silence falls.

Farmer Dawson says this is the first time since the grail was lost that he's seen the dark held back by anything other than the minds of the great ones.

The most obvious candidates for being a 'great one' are Merriman and the Lady, but Will may well end up there too, since he's the hero.​

Will notices the Signs are still glowing, so tells them to be still.

The other Old Ones stare at this, but Will understand what's happening. The Signs are trying to send him a message, but he can't get through to them.

Farmer Dawson points at the wall above the altar, and tells them to look.

That section of wall is now glowing, just like the signs.

Will realises that this means the fourth Sign is just behind the wall, then explains to Dawson that he needs to get it now since he won't be able to find it when it's not glowing.

When he pulls it out he sees that it's made from flint, and that it formed naturally, 15 million years ago, rather than being shaped by human hands.

Will goes over to Paul and the rector to wake them, but they're not where they were when they were frozen. They've been laid down in one of the pews instead. To them it seems like they've just been teleported from the doorway to the pew, leaving them briefly confused.

The rector and Paul both realise that they are no longer being attacked by some unseen force. When the rector attributes this to the sign being a Christian cross Old George immediately tells him this cross is far older than Christ, sparking a short philosophical/theological discussion, which leaves the rector whether Will should be 'exorcised or ordained', and Paul looking at looking at Will with 'fearful remoteness'.

This discussion probably went over most of the readers' heads, so the details don't matter. It's just a way to show that Will can now talk authoritatively by the nature of reality, intended the impress the reader​

Will is disturbed by Paul's reaction, and wants to keep his two worlds apart, so tells both Paul and the rector to forget.

The rector and Paul pick up their conversation from just before the Dark attacked, as if nothing had happened.

Here, with just seven pages left in the chapter, I'll end this part.

I think I've covered everything important in my comments already, though I might come back to some of the issues raised here later. Any of you want like to comment?

Hopefully, the rest of this chapter will be ready by next weekend.​

Jeremy Kopczynski

Registered User
Validated User
This is one of my favorite chapters of the Dark is Rising. I am not sure why though. I know I like that every religious place of worship is neutral ground since that is where people contemplate the Light and the Dark. It seems they are moral or associated with moral forces.
Top Bottom