Is there anyone in Here Be Monsters! who doesn't have a mysterious or significant past?! Let's run down the roster, starting with Grandfather, who has never told Arthur exactly why they must live underground. Arthur himself was abandoned as a child, while Snatcher had a tragic fall from family wealth (well, it would have been tragic if he weren't such a jerk about it). And, of course, there's the mysterious man in the iron socks, who turns out to be Grandfather's childhood buddy Herbert. And this is just to name a few.
In a broader sense, understanding past events in Ratbridge helps us grasp why the present-day is the way it is. The fall of the Cheese Guild is still affecting current-day events, so pay close attention to all the way-back-when tidbits when you come across them in this book.
Questions About Memory and the Past
Why do you think Grandfather keeps his past a secret from Arthur?
How would you characterize Willbury's past as a lawyer?
Do you think Herbert will continue to regain his memories? Why or why not?
How does understanding Snatcher's past help you understand his motivation as a character?
Chew on This
Because of his memory loss, Herbert is the most tragic character in the book.
If more citizens of Ratbridge understood the demise of the Cheese Guild, they might not have been caught by surprise by Snatcher's evil plot.