370: Redwall

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My Redwall/Jurassic Park crossover fanfic is almost complete!
Title text: My Redwall/Jurassic Park crossover fanfic is almost complete!


This comic references Brian Jacques' series of books, Redwall, which star sapient woodland animals in various high fantasy adventures.

The first panel shows the similarity between the story of Martin the Warrior (from the book Mossflower) and Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. The joke is that while Martin and Aragorn introduce themselves separately, they then go on to describe their particular story, which turns out to be exactly the same for both of them. Subsequently Martin jinxes Aragorn. Jinx is a common children's game that is initiated by shouting "Jinx" after somebody speaks the same word or sentence at the same time as you. That person is then jinxed, with one form of the rules dictating that they are then not permitted to speak until unjinxed by some specific action (usually somebody saying their name). For a similar children’s game, see 392: Making Rules.

In LOTR, orcs are unequivocally and without exception the bad guys, capable only of hate and violence (although to be fair, in some of Tolkien's unpublished writing, orcs are corrupted elves, so it is clear that they are not intrinsically bad). Similarly, Redwall's rats, foxes, ferrets, ermine, and weasels are mostly evil manipulators, while mice, rabbits, squirrels, hedgehogs, and badgers are always the good guys. On several occasions, characters explicitly state that "vermin stays vermin." This is the overarching rule, notwithstanding the rare exception (e.g. Grubbage from Triss). Conversely, one of the so-called "good species" has never become evil in this book series. Though it is more likely than not that this is simply the result of a planet of hats - where a single species all share the same characteristics and personality, so that authors / readers don't have to spend time fleshing out / getting to know every new character - Randall nevertheless indicates that this "moral absolute" is problematic and has some "racist undertones," regardless if it's intentional or not. (Note that Tolkien's work is probably not actually racist—the Easterlings are portrayed as non-evil people who were deceived by Sauron, and the Orcs deliberately modified into evil. However, Orcs do bear a startling similarity to the worst Mongol stereotypes.)

The second panel deals with the fact that Redwall mentions the name of Satan or The Devil 4 times, while it never mentions God or Jesus--somewhat surprisingly, given that the book is set in an abbey, and many of the inhabitants are religious brothers and sisters. Randall then points out that people who protest against Harry Potter because of the series' witchcraft, should take note that Redwall explicitly mentions Satan, although it has had little to no negative feedback from more conservative readers.

In the third panel, Randall comments on Redwall's often-used theme of critical messages being left in riddles throughout the Abbey for the occupants to find when they are in need. Randall suggests that he would use public-key cryptography to encode the messages, instead of the elaborate riddles used in the books (all of which are solved in a matter of days after being discovered more or less by chance, which doesn't exactly make for good security when dealing with sensitive and occasionally time-critical information).

In the title text, Randall jokes that he is making a crossover fan-fiction with Redwall and Jurassic Park.

Redwall was also referenced in 1688: Map Age Guide and 1722: Debugging.


Notes from reading Redwall books for the first time since childhood.
Some of this feels familiar.
Aragorn: Hi, I'm Aragorn.
Martin: I'm Martin.
Aragorn and Martin: I'm here to reforge my broken sword so I can lead an army against the tyrant threatening my people. I live in a world of moral absolutes and racist undertones.
Martin: Jinx!
It startled me when characters mentioned Satan.
Redwall: "By Satan's whiskers..."
Redwall mentions God/Jesus 0 times.
Redwall mentions Satan/The Devil 4 times.
(Harry Potter protesters, take note.)
Even as a kid this bothered me: Why does everyone leave critical secret messages as simple riddles? It's silly to assume the intended recipient will be the only one to find and solve them. I would do things differently.
Matthias: The inscription is a message from Martin!
Brother Methuselah: What does it say?
Matthias: Hang on, it's encrypted with my public key.

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Religious Objections to Redwall do exist

Reading Redwall as a religious child, I got quite angry at all the subtle digs at religion. It's quite clear that the Redwall universe has no gods, other than ascended heroes, who usually just reincarnate anyway. The churches and monasteries don't seem to have any particular reason for existing. All the bad guys are named after notable Christian saints/monks. 16:16, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

That's because Redwall never took the world by storm or was a craze everybody had heard about. It's easier to take a stand on and rally support against something that's in the cultural mainstream, appearing everywhere you turn. 03:24, 21 December 2023 (UTC)
Worth noting, there is technically no explicit reference to 'Satan' in the text of any Redwall novel. -- Observer14 (talk) 23:22, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
No one says "by Satan's whiskers"? That seems a very odd point for the comic to make groundlessly... Is it possible you ran the Find on a revised edition?
ProphetZarquon (talk) 20:58, 19 December 2023 (UTC)

I think someone should explain what a "jinx" is, in reference to the first panel. I know what it is myself, I'm just not good enough with words to explain it, and I forgot how one gets "un-jinxed".Codefreak5 (talk) 08:17, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

There was a moment during "Mossflower" where Martin, almost dead from his fight with the wildcat queen lady woman, was conversing with a dead badger lord through the gates of whatever their afterlife is, though you get the impression it's Heaven (or some place where the good beasts go). Also sorry to burst Observer14's bubble but in Redwall there is that moment when one of the rats in Cluny's army (or however you spell it) gets killed by their out-of-control hay cart and Cluny says, "Tell the devil Cluny sent you." (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I suspect Observer14 was making the point that the Devil and Satan are not the same person, Biblically. Ha-Satan ("The Opposer") is an angel from the Job story, whose job appears to be to advocate against people. The Devil figure doesn't really appear until centuries later in Christianity, and not in any Jewish writings. Conflating Satan with the Devil (and with the Serpent) is a surprisingly late Christian thing, it isn't in the original sources. Nitpicking (talk) 13:14, 19 December 2023 (UTC)

It might benefit from an explanation of why Redwall and LOTR have racist undertones and moral absolutes? sjwist-number-one

This is an excellent breakdown of the alleged racism in LOTR. As for moral absolutes, there is a personal deity in Tolkien mythology, so he dictates what is morally acceptable. https://middle-earth.xenite.org/is-it-true-there-is-racism-in-the-lord-of-the-rings/ (talk) 20:28, 16 December 2021 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It's worth noting that one of the biggest critics of racism in LOTR was Tolkien himself, who spent a good deal of ink and thought trying to reconcile the Orc Problem. (talk) 13:32, 2 August 2023 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Title Text: Redwall + Jurassic Park[edit]

What would this even mean? I've seen Jurassic Park (even though it's a Michael Chrichton story), but I haven't read Redwall. I don't think I get the title-text's joke?

It could be a reference to how mammals supplanted dinosaurs as the most visible form of animal life on the planet, starting with rodents (mice, as in Redwall). Or it could just be that the title characters, being mice, would be easily eaten by a dinosaur for black comedy. 03:36, 20 December 2023 (UTC)

I imagine it would be some kind of clash between Redwall's theme of following the riddles wherever they lead in order to find treasure or victory, and Jurassic Park's themes of meddling with forces beyond your control and life finding a way despite your best efforts. That, or the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar developing a Redwall-like society. -- 19:38, 14 January 2024 (UTC)