The reader is presented with imagery of each character as they are introduced, and this imagery usually gives clues to the character's personality. When King Fred is introduced, Rowling writes ""He had lovely yellow curls, fine sweeping moustaches and looked magnificent in the tight breeches, velvet doublets, and ruffled shirts that rich men wore at the time." King Fred is depicted as being dressed in a pompous, and perhaps rather ridiculous, manner. It is clear that he is wealthy and cares a great deal about his appearance. Throughout the remainder of The Ickabog, Rowling often references what King Fred is wearing to show his current mood.
Appearance of Cities in Cornucopia
When Rowling describes the various cities within Cornucopia in Chapter 1, she describes the food they produce rather describing their scenery and geography. For example, she writes, "Baronstown was celebrated for its smoked and honey-roasted hams, its sides of bacon, its spicy sausages, its melting beefsteaks, and its venison pies.” As The Ickabog a children’s story, this appeals to young minds and helps them visualize a very unique place that they will remember.
At the beginning of Chapter 12, Rowling uses vivid imagery to describe the marsh where the Ickabog is said to reside. First, Rowling includes a great deal of sensory information from multiple senses to make the reader feel as if they are in the scene. She writes, "The fog was so dense they couldn’t see their own hands in front of their faces. The mist smelled of the foul marsh, of brackish water and ooze. The soft ground seemed to shift beneath their feet." Rowling also uses figurative language, such as writing, "Within seconds, it was as though each of the king’s party was wearing a thick white blindfold" and "Each man felt adrift in a blinding white sea." This figurative language adds emotion and exaggeration to the sensory information to create a feeling of being overwhelmed by the experience.
The Ickabog's Appearance
Early in The Ickabog, Rowling notes that everyone in Cornucopia has their own ideas for what the Ickabog looks like, writing, "Some made it snakelike, others dragonish or wolflike. Some said it roared, others that it hissed, and still others said that it drifted as silently as the mists." This imagery relies on comparing the Ickabog to other frightening creatures which the reader would be familiar with.
The lack of concrete description of the Ickabog early in the story makes it all the more exciting when the Ickabog is introduced in Chapter 50. In the following chapter when the children awake in the Ickabog's cave, Rowling writes, "[They were] staring up into the large, mournful eyes of the Ickabog, which peered at them through the tangle of long, coarse, greenish hair that covered it from head to foot. Roughly shaped like a person, it had a truly enormous belly, and huge shaggy paws, each of which had a single sharp claw." It is interesting that the Ickabog, which was previously compared to fearsome animals, is described as most similar to a human. This sets the stage for the Ickabog to become a relatable character that the reader can empathize with.
Ickabog Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Ickabog is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.