Study Guide

Edward in Midwinterblood

By Marcus Sedgwick

Edward

Edward only shows up in one of our stories, but he gets the whole section named after him—the archeologist—so he's a minor character with some oomph.

Sadly, in his real life, Edward isn't such a big deal. It's 2011 and he's digging on Blessed Island, but doesn't have much money to bring equipment of assistants along. Bummer. He also doesn't seem to be married or have any lasting connections to other folks back home. He's probably about forty or fifty years old, and it doesn't look like he has much to show for his life either professionally or personally. He's a little bit sad about it:

If he'd been more like Mat, more confident, maybe he wouldn't have missed his chances in life, chances that sometimes only come along once. Sometimes there are single moments, he thinks, where your path divides, your life can go one way, so very different from another. Work out well, rather than be a failure. And if you miss those chances, he thinks, well, is that it? (2.2.11)

Edward never explains what chances he missed out on. Was it romance? Was it turning down a fancy dig somewhere else? But it's clear that even though he has regrets, they're not eating away at him. He digs on.

And Edward is nothing if not professional—he knows his field inside and out—and he's also really perceptive when it comes to Blessed Island. Sure, he admires its beauty, but he also can tell that's there's something just a bit off about it:

It's an extraordinary place, Edward has decided, and he wonders if it's the sort of place he'd like to retire to one day. Maybe not. It might be a bit too simple, too quiet, even for his taste.

There's always something a little odd about remote places, he thinks. That sense that things happen differently. That's all it is, though earlier that day, a man began to cut the hay in the meadow, not with a tractor and swather, but with a scythe, as if this were 1911, not 2011.

And then there's the sun being up when it should be in bed. That would really mess with his sleep, and presumably it means in the winter it's perpetually dark, in return. That, he knows, he would not like.  (2.3.6-8)

Smart guy. Of course, based on the kissy faces he keeps making at Merle, we're guessing that he might be rethinking his ideas about retiring on Blessed Island.

Edward shows his true colors, though, in his relationship with Eric. He recognizes that there's something a bit off about the kid, but "he is genuinely interested in the boy, he likes him, though he barely knows him" (2.7.25). When Eric tells him where to dig, Edward listens even though he has no reason to. And when he finds the amazing skeletons in the Viking tomb, he is extremely grateful to Eric for his help. Plus, Edward repeatedly emphasizes that Eric is just like other people. Sure, he has some disabilities, but this doesn't mean he's not a human being with value:

But maybe Eric keeps people away, maybe some people aren't comfortable with someone like…

Someone like what?

Edward tells himself off. He's just another human being, he's different, in his own way. Just like everyone. (2.6.12-14)

Edward's so pure of heart that he argues with himself inside his head about recognizing Eric as different. And in the end, Edward even says he would be "proud to call Eric his son" (2.10.51). Good on ya', Edward. Our fingers are crossed for you.