Analysis: Chapters 20–24The Wart’s encounter with the hedgehog is the first time that the Wart, in any form, is stronger or more powerful than anybody else, and he has his first experience of tyranny in this episode. Until now, it has always been in the Wart’s best interests to disagree with the concept of absolute power, since he is always one of the weakest beings in his world, whether he is a hawk, fish, goose, or human. Now that the Wart is finally in a position to bully somebody, he seems to be on the verge of indulging the same habits against which Merlyn has tried to warn him. When he first encounters the little hedgehog, the Wart is not at all hungry, but his general chagrin at Kay’s attitude and Merlyn’s departure causes him to threaten the little hedgehog with immediate death. Eventually, however, the Wart’s innate sense of decency takes over, and he agrees not to eat the hedgehog. The episode is played for laughs—the hedgehog’s pathetic whines are quite ridiculous
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