Episode 8 of Ronja The Robber’s Daughter, titled Autumn Deepens, finds our little heroine in a quiet, pensive state. Ronja daydreams as she stares out the crown glass windows of Mattis’ fort. She wonders when Mattis will kick out Borkas, but also muses over what Birk might be doing at that moment. Meanwhile, Mattis and the robbers survey the north side of the fort, attempting to deduce how the Borkas successfully trespassed inside. They carry a ladder to Hell’s Gap and bridge it across but are quickly thwarted by the Borkas gang pelting them with rocks from a tower above. Later that night they attempt a similar crossing one floor lower at Hell’s Gap—presumably out of eyeshot of Borkas’ men. The Gap is wider here, so the robbers have tied two ladders together. The ladders quickly fold in half under the weight of one of the robbers and they are, once again, foiled.
At dinner that night, the Mattis robbers talk among themselves about the stalemate—neither gang has left the fort to rob anyone. “Robber’s Walk is now the safest path in the forest,” one snarkily remarks. It’s the truth, as the next day a caravan ambles through the forest undisturbed. Two troubadours mock the disappearance of the roving gangs as rain starts to fall. A battalion of soldiers inspects a cave, declaring it deserted: “No sign of Borkas here!”
Despite the pouring rain, Mattis and crew now try scaling the mossy rocks on the north side of the keep. They are stunned at the sight of a rope ladder descending; it’s just as quickly snatched back and replaced with falling boulders and slung arrows. Lill Klippen is struck in the leg and the robbers retreat in defeat. Back home, Lovis dresses Lill Klippen’s wound as Ronja surreptitiously asks him whether he saw Birk during their latest attempt.
Our contemplative girl spends the rest of the day exploring the rain-soaked forest, gingerly pressing her feet into spongy moss and relishing the sights, sounds, and smells of her verdant surroundings. It’s clear, however, that despite finally receiving her coveted solitude, she misses Birk. The rainy day coupled with a lack of thieving taxes the robbers’ dwindling patience. A petty fight breaks out at home which Lovis (of course) breaks up, putting the boys to work in the animal pens. Later, after a bit of hunting for the men and meal prep for the women, the robbers dine, ruddy-cheeked, a mug of ale in one hand and leg of mutton in the other. Lill Klippen is on his feet and dancing, and all seems right again.
The next day, as Ronja lobs pinecones into the lake, she remarks on the quiet, cold emptiness of the forest. Our narrator, Gillian Anderson, informs us she didn’t see Birk all autumn and more importantly, didn’t know how to feel about it.