You had me fooled. I really believed that it was going to be Strongbow who died. He may still buy the Holt before this adventure is played out; but there were lots of hints that in this issue the 'Shardlings' would have their first fatality. And my money was on Strongbow.
Even the cover for this issue gave that impression. After all, he was part of the team with Skot and Krim; but where is he as they stare in triumph to the location of the Palace while Cutter weeps? Since they are Go-Backs, their attitude about Death would be in a more exultant fashion than the Wolfrider's. I figured since he wasn't depicted, it was Strongbow who died.
But no, instead it is Skot who is the first to die among the group. There was another reason I had pegged it to be Strongbow. Somewhere I had come across one of those previews for this issue and it said that this death would have repercussions not only among the warriors' group, but also among the tribe in HIDDEN YEARS.
Again I figured Strongbow then to be the obvious choice. As Moonshade's lifemate, their bond and the cessation of it would be quite traumatic and felt even across the continent.
But now I think maybe that was a reference to Pike? After all, he was in a threesome dance with Skot and Krim for many centuries during the Disappearance. His bond with Skot would be just as strong by then, wouldn't it?
Even though in their timeline Skot was among the Wolfriders for a very long time, we the audience never really got to see very much of him; just a few short scenes to establish his rough and ready yet still tender nature.
Still I'm saddened to see him go, but more in that 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' vein - you know, any elf's death diminishes me, etc.
When that sequence of events is viewed again in a colder, analytical light, one can see all the various points when Skot could have easily broken free from his fight with the pack leader and then leaped overboard into the moat. Even suffering as many burns, bites and maulings as he had by then, Mender still could have saved him.
But there's a term used on our world that could apply to the Go-Backs' mentality and outlook as well - the Berserker's Rage. Skot was caught up in that rage and it sang in his blood and mind. Only in this fight to the death was he fully, truly alive. He was probably still mind-linked with Krim right to the very end and she would have been swept up in it as well - that would be why it looked almost as if she was hampering any attempt by the others to rescue Skot.
Finally, I think the story needed such a death at this point, although I'm probably way off with my guess about the plotline's future. (I usually am, but that never stopped me from guessing before!)
Despite all that has happened to the Palace which houses them, I think the spirits of all the dead elves who are bound to the shards are still oblivious to what is happening in the world of the living. Even though their kindred are risking their lives to save the Palace; even though the crystal shards are hoarded by a human; the elfin spirits have no sense of connection to the issue.
But now the spirit of Skot is among them. (Probably the first fresh spirit to arrive since the death of that mystery elf mentioned by Cam Triompe in NEW BLOOD.)
I get this idea that the strength of his personality and the knowledge of why he died will stay with him. I think Skot will be able to rouse the spirits of those dead elves to join in the fight against the Djun. After all, from a writing viewpoint, I don't think Rayek's mention of a spirit attached to each shard was just a throwaway line. (And the main reason the elves can't kill Winnowill is because they know her spirit would attack them even after death; so the possibility that the spirits would take an active role is there!)
I've said this before in the AOL boards - we've seen the unique Pini touch in the depiction of elves, trolls, fairies, androids, - even a wolf-man! (Timmorn!)
So, isn't it about time we saw an EQ version of ghosts? Wouldn't it be great to see the spirits of all the elves long since dead manifest themselves to battle the Djun? And think of the 'casting'! We could not only see Skot again, but also One-Eye! Lord Voll! Bearclaw! Joyleaf! Vaya! Even Adya, the High One who was the first to die on the world of Two Moons!
Well, as Dennis Miller says, "That's my opinion. I could be wrong." But a guy can dream...
It's very difficult to put into words what I am feeling at this moment. I just read SHARDS #10 and then HIDDEN YEARS #23. After reading SHARDS I was saddened by the death of Skot; then, reading HIDDEN YEARS about a week later, it really hit me hard.
You see, between the readings, a dear friend of my family passed away. He had a fire and a spirit that touched everyone he knew. He was very much like Skot (well, maybe not as brash, but very bold and very passionate about life, love, and especially friends and family). This man was, and still is, an inspiration to all. He was a genius in the television industry, beloved by all who knew him.
So I am sending you this letter so that I might howl for Skot and for my friend. 'Til we meet in the Palace of the High Ones. Ooowwwwwoooaaah!
<<street address removed from archive>>
I want to thank you.
Why, you may ask am I thanking you for killing one of my favorite elves? To use a phrase, "it is good to live, sometimes it is as good to die." Skot died exactly as he should have, doing what he loved, giving his life for his friends. There is no better death a Go-back could ask for.
And so I mourn Skot's passing, and I shall miss him awfully, no more hideout quickies with Krim, no more impassioned silliness... He was a fine elf. But more, my spirit is lifted with the knowledge that this death had meaning. This contrasts to the death of Shuna's mother in the same issue, which was meaningless and stupid. A human death at human hands. Fitting. Sad. The literary quality of Elfquest, which elevates it from a comic book story to an epic tale continues through all the changes which confront our dear, drawn companions. So we weep, and we laugh, and we celebrate life and death and all the passions of both. Thank you. For keeping it meaningful.
Thank you - it's not over yet. Keep on writing, and we'll see you in 45. - RP