in amongst the bigger windows are tiny ones

Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "in amongst the bigger windows are tiny ones" means in the following sentences:

At last we follow Jules and Will up towards the Folly. Will tells us it was originally built as a coastal defence, then converted by some wealthy Irishman into a holiday home a century ago: a place to retreat to for a few days, entertain friends. But if you didn’t know you could almost believe it was medieval. There’s a small turret and in amongst the bigger windows are tiny ones: ‘false arrowslits’, Charlie says – he’s quite into castles.

- Lucy Foley, The Guest List, Chapter 8

This is a thriller novel published in 2020 in the United Kingdom. One hundred and fifty guests would be gathering at some remote and deserted fictional islet called Inis an Amplóra off the coast of the island of Ireland to celebrate the wedding between Jules (a self-made woman running an online magazine called The Download) and Will (a celebrity appearing in a TV show program called Survive the Night). The day before the actual wedding day, before the rehearsal dinner, Hannah, the wife of Charlie (Jules' friend), arrives at the island with Charlie. So now they follow Will and Jules (who were on the jetty to welcome them) to the Folly, where the wedding will be held tomorrow.

In this part, I wonder what "in amongst" and "tiny ones" mean in particular.
(1) Is "in amongst" here basically the same with "among"? Or "in between"?
(2) And does "tiny ones" here mean "tiny windows"?

I would very much appreciate your help. :)
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is rather odd wording. The meaning of "in amongst" is "among" rather than "in between", but "in amongst" is an odd choice. I imagine that "in between" was not used because this might suggest a regular spacing. There are ordinary windows ("bigger", which could mean they are quite small), and there are also these "false arrowslits" (which are smaller).

    Yes. "ones" means "windows".
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Uncle Jack,

    Thank you so much for the explanation.


    Badalingchangcheng.jpg


    Reading your explanation, I am guessing that these false arrowslits are situated between the bigger windows, like this picture.
    But because it says "in amongst" rather than "in between," could it be that the arrowslits described here would be located in an irregular manner, like being randomly situated between windows rather than each being regularly situated between every two windows...?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's more like this:
    Oud-Valkenburg%2C_Schaloen06.jpg
    Oh, well found! I struggled to find anything.

    Defensively, it makes no sense, of course. This is not the place to discuss castle architecture, but a real castle would have either arrow slits or windows. Medieval castles rebuilt as living accommodation tended to have the arrow slits either converted into windows or removed/filled in entirely.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear cidertree and Uncle Jack,

    Thank you so much for the explanations and the picture!
    The picture immediately made me understand what it would be like.
    So, because the arrowslits are located randomly between windows, the author used "in amongst" rather than "in between"!
    In the picture, I see that it's indeed really hard to describe that the arrowslits are located between the windows.

    Defensively, it makes no sense, of course. This is not the place to discuss castle architecture, but a real castle would have either arrow slits or windows. Medieval castles rebuilt as living accommodation tended to have the arrow slits either converted into windows or removed/filled in entirely.

    And I agree that it would indeed make no sense defensively if windows and arrowslits exist together; it would be probably the result of modern renovation, as you suggest.
    Now I think I got the image in my head all thanks to you!
    I sincerely appreciate your help. :)
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I'm not sure what you are seeing in that picture but I don't see arrow slits.

    In this picture, a regular window is on the right and an arrow slit is on the left.
    tower-london-detail-exterior-wall-ramparts-window-tree-left-england-148173934.jpg
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    And I agree that it would indeed make no sense defensively if windows and arrowslits exist together; it would be probably the result of modern renovation, as you suggest.
    It is a folly, so it is a fake, built in (reasonably) modern times to look pretty. Most follies in Britain date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There is an Wikipedia page which readers from outside Britain may find interesting: Folly - Wikipedia

    The arrowslits are not real - the speaker even calls them "false" - but from the words it is impossible to tell how close a representation they are to real arrow slits.
     
    Last edited:

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear cidertree, kentix and Uncle Jack,

    Thank you very much for the explanations.
    I'm not sure what you are seeing in that picture but I don't see arrow slits.

    In this picture, a regular window is on the right and an arrow slit is on the left.
    View attachment 55816
    Oh my, it's so foolish of me, I thought that little crevices/cracks between the windows in the picture were arrowslits!
    But as I look closely, they resemble some kind of handles, rather than arrowslits... :D
    So the arrowslits were like small windows!

    And thank you for the "Folly" link, it was really informative!
    Come to think of it, I am kind of interested in how people are calling the castle as the "folly," like saying it was folly (foolish behavior) to build such a castle!
    Probably the etymology of "folly" indicating castles might have to do with "folly" meaning foolish behavior... but that is just my guess. :D
    I sincerely appreciate your help. :)
     

    cidertree

    Senior Member
    Hiberno-English
    Oh my, it's so foolish of me, I thought that little crevices/cracks between the windows in the picture were arrowslits!
    But as I look closely, they resemble some kind of handles, rather than arrowslits... :D
    So the arrowslits were like small windows!
    I thought so too. :oops: Sorry about that.
    From a distance, they give the right idea.o_O
     

    abluter

    Senior Member
    British English
    A "folly" was what rich men used to build, in their parks, to look like ancient ruins. Their purpose was purely decorative.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear cidertree, kentix, abluter, PaulQ and Uncle Jack,

    Thank you very much for the explanations.
    Funny how the metal brackets seemed like arrowslits to many people! :D
    So the false arrowslits in the smaller window shape were located within the area in which bigger windows exist.
    I sincerely appreciate your help, as always. :)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Arrow slits looked quite narrow from the outside because they were tapered. The opening was much wider at the inner surface. That allowed the archers to aim at a wide arc, but minimized their exposure from incoming arrows.

    I will look to see if I can find an illustration. That would be much clearer.

    You can't really tell from this illustration if this represents the interior or the exterior of the building, but from what I know about castles this must be the interior. The shelf is where the archer would stand. The splaying of the wall allowed a wide range of targets to be sighted.

    80c180545cf558678d8d1e9532f8a502.jpg
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    But these were fake arrow slits so they didn't need the space behind them. In my picture above I think the arrow slit is a bit wider than a slit. But we don't know if it was ever used to shoot arrows either.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I don't know either. I was brought up in a split-level home and now live in a ranch home. I get along with my neighbors and never shoot arrows at them. My castle-living experience consists of watching Robinhood and reading the Three Musketeers.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Packard and kentix,

    Thank you very much for the explanation and the picture!
    So arrowslits look very slim from the outside.
    Probably the narrator would have been looking at very slim and narrow and small windows.
    I sincerely appreciate your help. :)
     
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