I feel every ship needs a ship’s cat. Am I right or am I correct?
The Lyra has a cat, Grim. I considered renaming him Elmo, as in St. Elmo’s Fire. But he’d been Grim from the beginning, and it just didn’t fit.
Grim was a stray who wandered onto the Lyra and decided to stay. Every once in a while, Tink threatens to leave him at the next port but all the appreciate his appetite for the bakweevils that infest the ship.
Bakweevils are endemic are cargo ships that ever carry foodstuffs. So Grim serves one of the traditional roles of a ship’s cat — eating the vermin. He’s also a great judge of character.
Grim is a character that I describe in detail — and he is a character. He’s definitely got a personality and plays a part in the first novel, besides hunting bakweevils.
There’s a lot of danger in being a ship’s cat — and the Lyra certainly gets into more than its share of trouble. Reading about ships’ cats was actually very sad. Many of them ended up going down when a ship sank. And one was shot during the Shakleton expedition along with the sled dogs 🥺
At some point, I plan to tell Grim’s tale, how he ended up alone on a space station and wandering onto the Lyra. In the meantime, he returns in book 2 of The Lyra Cycle, A Lost Ship in A Dark Grave, comes out March 1.