In The Hobbit, when Bilbo Baggins flew out of Bag End without a handkerchief to go an adventure, it wasn’t all downhill from there. After what could be considered his band’s first trial, which involved escaping some trolls, they took rest at Rivendell, the Last Homely House west of the Misty Mountains. I thought the second stratum’s Seeker Camp that Riko and Reg have finally reached this episode would be something like that, a temporary reprieve where our protagonists could find comfort and advice before continuing with their arduous journey. And while the Seeker camp is arguably house, somewhat homely, and likely the last one to be found in the Abyss, I can’t really say it’s a place of rest. This place is creepy.
Just the idea of building this thing within a giant suspended trunk is suspect. I understand that it may be a pragmatic thing, to have your club treehouse somewhere inaccessible to dangerous Abyss fauna, but if you have to get by the Curse every time you just want to get in I wonder if it’s worth it. Even walking to your room looks like an ordeal. No wonder the regular inhabitants are always in such a foul mood. Speaking of Ozen, she’s actually hospitable enough, but she could certainly stand to smile more. Er… smile less? Either way, she has an image problem. She just oozes sinister from every pore. I really don’t think Cruella de Vil is a good role model. Just saying.
In seriousness, I don’t actually think that Ozen is evil, or even a particularly bad person. Much in the Abyss is not as they seem (including Marulk? A trap? The Abyss is full of dangers.). I think if Ozen really was the kind to wish Riko ill, Habolg would not have directed her to the Seeker Camp. If Habolg was a father figure, Ozen would be the mother figure, but she’s evidently not about to be nice about it. From what we’ve seen, she’s had a hard life (as most cave raiders that manage to survive would, I suspect), has a lot to be bitter about, and any lesson she gives will be in hard knocks.
Still, it doesn’t change the fact that she is unnecessarily terrifying, and in Riko’s little fairy tale she’s at the moment not much a fairy godmother and very much a wicked witch—the kind who eats children. Speaking of night terrors, though, I thought the creepy beast was some other dangerous Abyss spawn, and that they’d need to kill it (or alternatively, it kills everyone), but from Riko’s reaction it seems to be something much more unnatural. Wasn’t there something about the Curse of the Abyss stripping cave raiders of humanity? And if anyone’s been ravaged by the Abyss, it would be a veteran White Whistle like Ozen. Perhaps it’ll help if there were other cave raiders staying at the Seeker Camp just to pad out the numbers a bit. And they would know if Ozen is always so unnerving.