(From Gunnerkrigg Court. Click for full-sized unsettling thoughts.)
I’ve been more than a little puzzled at how both Antimony and Ysengrin have been treating Coyote’s revelations in this chapter as only a “theory”. Certainly the way Coyote explained his secret would be consistent with his attempting to explain something that’s just an idea of his, but I get the sense that Coyote firmly and solidly believes every word he said, and more to the point, that the audience is supposed to as well. Merely by referring to it as “[his] great secret”, Coyote seems to have been trying to give the impression that he’s presenting facts, things that he knows or has learned, not merely things he’s theorized about – and at the very least, he would seem to be in a better position to know such things than either Antimony or Ysengrin.
I can sort of see Antimony’s position, considering she didn’t sign up for a semi-lengthy lecture on Coyote’s worldview. Ysengrin’s reaction, though, is more interesting; there’s some evidence that his disagreement with Coyote is more a result of denial, a refusal of what Coyote’s “theory” would imply about Coyote or himself, not necessarily having an actual reason to dispute it. And that plays into something that seems to be intentionally puzzling: his turning on and attacking Antimony.
On the surface, Ysengrin turned on Antimony as a result of a perceived slight that he took as Antimony taking Coyote’s side, a slight so minor that the only sane interpretation I would have of it would be the complete opposite. But then you start to wonder why this came in the same chapter that the theory itself was given. Now consider how Ysengrin turns on Antimony: he becomes utterly feral, far more animalistic than almost all of the creatures of the forest have heretofore been, going completely dialogueless immediately thereafter. Finally, consider this comic, where Antimony is shaken that Ysengrin just acted in a way totally unlike how he’s acted before, while Eglamore considers it perfectly in character.
Is it possible that it’s not a coincidence that Ysengrin acted this way immediately after Antimony learned Coyote’s secret? Is it possible that, on some subconscious level, she started seeing Ysengrin as just an ordinary wolf, so that’s what he became? Is it possible that Coyote has led Antimony to start seeing the creatures of the forest more like the members of the Court do? While it would certainly meet the challenge Robert A. Howard set for the Court, it would do so in a way that still paints the Court, in a sense, as the bad guys, a way that suggests that the entire conflict may come down to mind over matter. In any case, Antimony’s sudden reminder of Coyote’s homework assignment suggests perhaps she thinks that just might be the case, and perhaps it’s only in that moment that she started to take what she’d just learned seriously, as more than just “Coyote’s funny little theory”.