Study Guide

Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice) What's Up With the Title?

By Joseph Delaney

What's Up With the Title?

Redrum

Even if you never read a page of Revenge of the Witch, you'd be able to grasp the basic plot of the book from its title: a witch gets revenge. But which witch wants revenge, and for what?

Well, for starters, Mother Malkin wants to get out of the pit that the Spook put her in. But she makes the mistake of going after Tom instead. Maybe she thinks he'll be an easier target. Not so fast. He kills her. But the book doesn't end there.

The Spook tells Tom that killing Mother Malkin was a mistake, and that she'll "want revenge" (10.62). Revenge from beyond the grave? What? Sure enough, Malkin manages to possess a butcher and try to kill Tom again. But that plan is foiled too.

Which Witch is Which?

However, Mother Malkin isn't the only witch in the book. We have Bony Lizzie who tries to kill Tom as well. She's also trying to get revenge for his murder of Mother Malkin. Jeez, who isn't trying to exact revenge on Tom?

Alice. Maybe. She may not be a witch yet, but when she helps Tom kill Mother Malkin the second time, that could be considered revenge, too. Because of Mother Malkin and Bony Lizzie, Alice has lived a life of pain and abuse in her own home. By killing Mother Malkin, she takes revenge and is able to free herself.

What's the moral of these revenge plots? Don't cross a witch, we guess. It doesn't matter which.

Whose Apprentice Is He Anyway?

Then, there's the book's other title. In the U.S., each book in this series is subtitled The Last Apprentice. This alludes to Tom's mother's message to the Spook, which said: "[Tom'll] be the best apprentice you've ever had, and he'll also be your last" (4.24). We're not sure if this mean's Tom is the be-all-end-all apprentice or that the Spook will die later in the series.

Also, we have to address the book's original title in the U.K.: The Spook's Apprentice. That's the most straightforward title of all. Of course, there's the matter of, "What the heck is a Spook?" And after reading the book, well, we're not entirely sure.

The Spook carries a big stick, kills witches, sees dead people, and has an apprentice. That would be a pretty long job title, so we guess "The Spook" will have to do. We think his real job is something like, Protector of the County, or, Battler of Evil. Someone send up the Bat—we mean Spook signal.