• Welcome to Talking Time's third iteration! If you would like to register for an account, or have already registered but have not yet been confirmed, please read the following:

    1. The CAPTCHA key's answer is "Percy"
    2. Once you've completed the registration process please email us from the email you used for registration at percyreghelper@gmail.com and include the username you used for registration

    Once you have completed these steps, Moderation Staff will be able to get your account approved.

So I read (audiobooked) Blood Meridian... (unmarked spoilers)


elementary my dear baxter
I'd never heard of it until fairly recently when it started getting a lot of buzz around Youtube for whatever reason. People especially like talking about The Judge. And in a rare act of self-restraint I decided not to just let Youtube spoil it for me.

I gave it a listen over the past couple days at work and it was a very well written description of traveling followed by atrocities over and over and over again. And the narrator had a magnificent voice that made those atrocities sound like silk. A+ presentation but fucking bleak as fuck.

And having previous noticed that people tend to cream their pants over how The Judge is like, the most evil and compelling villain of all time, I don't know about that. He's certainly a strange, almost superhuman figure and obviously McCarthy really likes writing huge unstoppable sociopaths with a philosopher streak to them.

Ok but like, the ending. I'm doing that thing where I go to the internet and see what various analysis sites have to say about the thing I just read and they all seem to interpret the ending way way different than I did.

So like, to recap: The Kid, the closest thing this book has to a protagonist, grows up, both literally and mentally in the last couple chapters. After a couple years of almost nonstop death, suffering, terror, and brutality that the book is very ambiguous about his participation or enjoyment of, he seems to finally start being affected by his trauma and become an actual human being when he finally stumbles into civilization again. He goes on to live a more peaceful life and at least once tries to do something genuinely kind and heroic, albeit far too late for it to matter.

Then he meets this youth who is very suspicious and hostile towards him after listening to some of what he has to says and says he "knows what he is" and ends up killing the youth when said youth comes to try and kill him in the night. Then while trying and apparently failing to enjoy himself at a whorehouse, The Judge is there. The downright cartoonish unstoppable supervillain of the story appears after 30 some years appearing not to have aged at all, confirming that he is like, the embodiment of Death or The Devil or the Manifestation of Mankind's Evils and has another long-winded nihilistic diatribe at him. Then he supposedly rapes or kills The Kid (who is a full ass adult at this point) and goes around dancing gloating that he will never die. At least according to the internet this is what happens.

But I didn't get that at all. Just to be clear I don't think The Judge was Tyler Durdening the whole time, because obviously way too many characters interacted with him and The Kid for that to be the case. But at the end? I don't think he was really there. I think what was happening there was the Kid finally succumbing to his desire to be like The Judge. Nobody who talks about the ending online seems to talk about how he hooks up with a dwarf whore after his conversation with The Judge and how their interaction implies that he couldn't actually perform, and then it is explicitly mentioned that the little girl from the bear performance downstairs has gone missing right around the time The Kid goes to an outhouse to be "embraced by the Judge".

I think it's implying that The Kid kills that little girl. I think when those dudes look in the outhouse at the end it's the little girl they discover violated or killed, and The Kid was the guy pissing into the street that told them they didn't want to look in there. I even started second-guessing the ambiguity with which the narrative conveyed all the previous child deaths in the story. It certainly was implied that the Judge was responsible and I am certain that the Judge cheerfully enabled it, but what if it was the Kid all along? Even if it wasn't, I still strongly feel that what happens at the end is The Kid metaphorically becomes the next Judge.

Has anybody else who's read this gotten that impression too or is there something I missed?