Study Guide

Midwinterblood Narrator Point of View

By Marcus Sedgwick

Narrator Point of View

First Person and Third Person

Midwinterblood is a bit tricky when it comes to the narrative point of view. Okay, it's a whole lot tricky. In each of the seven stories, a new narrator appears along with a fresh way of looking at things. Let's run through them all quickly:

  • Midsummer Sun: Third Person (Limited Omniscient)—This section features a narrator who tells us all the events from Eric Seven's point of view, adding to the sense of confusion and dread. So spooky.
  • The Archeologist: Third Person (Limited Omniscient)—Here, we're mostly seeing things play out from Edward's eyes, though the narrator occasionally gives us an up-close glimpse at what Eric is doing while holding his little stuffed hare on that mound.
  • The Airman: Third Person (Limited Omniscient)—Again, David is the brains behind this story and we don't get to see anyone else's point of view. In fairness, being kept in the dark is fun sometimes.
  • The Painter: Third Person (Omniscient)—This narrator gives us the biggest range. While we're mostly seeing things from Merle's vantage, we also dive into Bridget's head and even, for a paragraph or two, Eric's.
  • The Unquiet Grave: Third Person (Omniscient)/First Person (Central Narrator)—This story starts with a narrator who weaves in and out of the minds of the twins and their parents, but before long, "Laura" takes over and starts to narrate her own tale. It isn't until the end that we figure out that she wasn't telling a story about someone else's tragic love—it was hers.
  • The Vampire: First Person (Central Narrator)—Years after the events of the story, Melle shares with us the series of strange happenings during her childhood that led to the loss of her twin brother.
  • Midwinterblood: Third Person (Limited Omniscient)—At the start of the story, everything goes down from King Eirikr's point of view. After his death, though, we switch to following Queen Melle as she vows to follow Eirikr.
  • Epilogue: Third Person (Limited Omniscient)—We're back in Eric Seven's head, but this time the narrator also graces us with some of Merle's thoughts, too. How lovely.

Okay, so why all the switching back and forth? Well, a new narrator gives each section its own flavor and helps each life stand apart and feel distinct. In a book brimming with stories, this makes sure each one stands out and helps readers plug into each story, keeping them straight as they go along because each one has a different feel from the others.

The author also uses point of view to increase our sense of dread and wonder, though. We start with Eric Seven, who has no clue what's up on Blessed Island, which pushes us right into his confusion. Edward and David are new arrivals to Blessed Island, too, so they suffer from the same cluelessness. Even when we get firsthand stories from natives like Melle or "Laura," the sheer horror and mystical qualities of their tales keep us on edge.

Consider how different these stories would be if we got them from another point of view. If Merle told the tale from 2073? Or Eric narrated his own story in 2011? Or if Tor explained his claim to the twins in the 10th century? The point of view sets the tone for a mysterious tale and allows the story to unfold slowly and with maximum creepiness.

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