Study Guide

Henrik in Midwinterblood

By Marcus Sedgwick

Henrik

Henrik doesn't get a whole lot of backstory, but he does play a really important role in 2073. He's one of the wards of Blessed Island (though Tor is the top dog, of course, which he enjoys pointing out). Henrik also seems to argue against killing the newcomer to save the island—we'd say being anti-murder earns him a point in his favor.

Despite his resistance to Tor's plan, though, in the end it's Henrik who fills the executioner's role at Eric Seven's sacrifice. Oops. He doesn't seem super thrilled with it, but he does agree to follow through with what Tor has decided—you know, chain of command and all. It isn't until Merle slashes his face that Henrik seems to get really into the whole human sacrifice thing:

They fight, wordlessly, but it is hopeless. Grimly and silently, they are dragged back to the table, where Henrik stands, clutching his face.

Tor lies on the hot summer earth, bleeding into it.

More hands push them roughly to the table.

"No!" screams Merle now, as she sees Henrik lift the knife from the ground, and approach them. (7.5.37-40) 

Even though Tor may have been killed and Henrik can obviously see that Eric and Merle are not into this, he still sticks with the plan. Heck, he even cradles his own injured face as he slits their throats. That's dedication.

So, what is Henrik feeling in these final moments? Is he angry at Merle for cutting him and glad to finish her off? Is he just one of the wards of Blessed Island following orders and doing his job? It's not totally clear, but the one thing he doesn't do is let Eric and Merle go unharmed. And that is pretty bad, so we're taking away that point we awarded him earlier.