Friday, 20 June 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Bag Beginning, Chapter 9

Don’t forget that today you’re getting a double whammy of Chapter-by-Chapter posts. Check back around 4pm for the post for Chapter Ten.

What Happens?
Olaf reveals that he had kidnapped Sunny and is holding her hostage in a cage at the top of the tall tower. Using Sunny as leverage, Olaf bullies Violet into agreeing to marry him during the performance of The Marvelous Marriage the following night. But just as Olaf leaves them Violet seems to get an idea.

Thoughts as I read:

This chapter begins with a little picture of what is presumably the Baudelaires’ bedroom with a bed, window and book. There’s also what appears to be a scarf on the floor. There’s not even a sheet on the bed. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it must be to sleep on a bare mattress! I do like the bedframe though.

This chapter picks up exactly where the last one left off. If you remember the last one ended with Olaf looking in on the children, appearing to be generally evil. He’s well aware that Sunny is missing and draws attention to the fact loudly. He ignores Violet’s request for him to tell her what he did with Sunny, instead inviting the remaining Baudelaire children to accompany him outside.

The children head outside and we see a pile of chopped wood which Olaf had made them cut. Apparently he just had them chop it for fun rather than to heat the house or do anything else with. Aside from this the children don’t immediately notice that there’s anything amiss. Until Olaf has them look up, on the way up Violet’s gaze alights on Olaf’s ankle and that tattoo on his ankle (again). We’ve not had one for a while, but that’s us up to fourteen eyes now, so far…

Proving that he is entirely useless as a caregiver, Olaf has revealed that Sunny is up at the top of the tall tower, visible at the window, bound, gagged and imprisoned in a birdcage. In my summary above I described this as a kidnapping, but considering he was granted guardianship of the three children I’m not entirely sure it actually counts as kidnapping. Then again, it’s Olaf, so let’s just go with kidnapping.

Violet begs Olaf to let Sunny go. Olaf points out that were his henchmen to do that then down would come birdcage, baby and all. Klaus quickly stops him from giving the go ahead for this.

At this point there’s a whole page devoted to a picture of Sunny at the top of a frankly unsafe looking tower, with Sunny suspended by the window in a small cage. I’d pictured this taking place during the day but there’s a full moon in the background and bats flying around too.

Violet then says the magic words. She’ll do anything to save her baby sister. Olaf’s eyebrow jumps at this and he echoes her anything. It’s obvious what he’s thinking; she’ll agree to marry him. And that’s exactly what happens.

Poor Violet feels terrified and sick, and who can blame her, this is the man who has been trusted to look after them and act in their best interests, and this is what he’s doing to them. This is where Violet makes a realisation about Olaf ‘He wasn’t merely an unsavoury drunken brute, but an unsavoury, clever drunken brute.’

Olaf might be clever but he still feels the need for a bit of monologuing. He tells the children how he had someone sneak Sunny out of the room. I wonder when this happened exactly. Presumably when Klaus went down to the kitchen to wait for Olaf, otherwise Klaus would almost certainly have seen it happening. In that case, they didn’t have very long to act. Anyway, Sunny is Olaf’s carrot on a stick to tempt Violet and Klaus into doing what he wants. Oh, and Violet looks at Olaf’s tattoo which we know is an eye, so I’m going to count that as number fifteen!

This next bit makes me feel quite creeped out. Olaf asks Violet if she’ll marry him, as she still hasn’t given him an answer. At this point Olaf acts in a kindly way, like that means anything since he’s just been telling them all about how he’s using the threat of harm coming to harm as a way to get them to do whatever he wants. He actually strokes Violet’s hair and asks her if it wouldn’t be too bad being married to him. Then goes on to tell her ‘I wouldn’t dispose of you like your brother and sister.’ Yeah, not creepy at all and what better way to win her over?!

Violet’s mental image here isn’t any less creepy. She imagines sleeping with Olaf. Well, obviously it doesn’t mean sleeping with him, the exact wording is ‘sleeping beside’ him but that basically doesn’t change the fact that they would be sharing a bed and Violet is a minor and Olaf is her guardian and ew ew ew ew EW!

Despite the creepiness factor here being off the chart, Violet agrees to marry Count Olaf, on the condition that he lets Sunny go. Olaf isn’t going to drop his carrot on a stick right away though. He’s going to keep her hostage until after the performance, he’s hanging on to her until Violet has done exactly what he wants her to do. Oh, and he’s prepared for Violet and Klaus trying to rescue her, and he won’t be having any of that.

Klaus tells Olaf that he’s ‘terrible’. Olaf seems to take this as a compliment, pointing out that unlike them he’s managed to find a way to get his hands on their money. The fact that he calls his plan ‘foolproof’ suggests that there is actually going to be a way to get around it. He’s too confident and everyone in fiction knows that’s your downfall!

Olaf demands that Klaus hands over the legal book he borrowed from Justice Strauss and orders the Baudelaires (minus Sunny) to get on with their chores. However Violet does something that we’ve not seen her do for a while, after staring up at Sunny for a minute, she ties her hair up with a ribbon. And if we remember the information from back at the beginning of the book, this was one of the bits of information we were given about Violet. And it means she’s about to start inventing something.

This is just a ten page chapter and it’s another that sort of sets up what is coming in the climax. I like the way that it links back to things we’ve heard before but for a new reader I guess they’re not going to be entirely sure about how this is going to work out for the children.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think. :-)