Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Wide Window, Chapter 12

We're on the final stretch now. Only one more chapter after this, which is just well because we need to see how the Baudelaires are going to get out of this one!

What Happens?

Captain Sham allows everyone to board his boat then proceeds to gloat over the fact that he will now be the Baudelaire's guardian again. When the Baudelaires point out that Josephine will be able to help prove that he is not who he says he is, he disposes of her and takes the children back to the dock where Mr Poe is waiting for them. Violet and Klaus are unable to convince Mr Poe that Sham is not who he claims to be, but Sunny figures out a way to prove he is an impostor once and for all.

Thoughts as I read:

This is obviously going to be the chapter where something bad happens to Josephine as the chapter image, at the very bottom of the page, is of a hand, female judging by the nails, sticking out the water. Josephine has done quite well to make it as far as chapter twelve, but alas, I don't think she's going to be seeing the other side of chapter thirteen!

Captain Sham, who is of course Count Olaf, welcomes them all aboard his boat (the good old Certain Doom, that's not actually the name given in the book but I like to imagine that's the sort of name he'd give a boat). He's surprised to see them all alive considering the house is now sitting in the lake. The children and Josephine have no choice but to climb aboard to escape the sinking vessel the leeches have been attacking.

Olaf reprimands the children for not thanking him for saving their lives to which Violet responds:

"If it weren't for you," Violet said fiercely, "we wouldn't be in Lake Lachrymose to begin with."

But Olaf isn't about to take responsibility for something like that. Apparently their current predicament is all Josephine's fault because they had to go rescue her. It's probably testament to how evil Olaf is that I'm actually now feeling sorry for Josephine!

Mr Poe is currently finalising the adoption papers (Mr Poe moves fast) so regardless of what they tell him when they get back to Damocles Dock, Captain Sham will be their guardian. I wonder what that would mean if they were then able to prove that Sham is another of Olaf's identities. I don't suppose Mr Poe would really let that stop him, once the papers are drawn up he'll say it's legal regardless.

Sunny does not take kindly to the prospect of becoming Sunny Sham, shrieking "Neihab!" which means "I'm Sunny Baudelaire, and I will always be Sunny Baudelaire unless I decide for myself to legally change my name!" You go Sunny! Unfortunately Sham/Olaf believes that Mr Poe is unlikely to believe them as they are nefarious boat thieves who cannot be trusted.

Someone else who cannot be trusted is a dead woman, namely Josephine who despite being alive at the moment is not likely to stay that way very long. Just to underline this fact Olaf points out that Josephine is "not dead yet" with that ominous italicism of the word 'yet'. If this was a movie (which is is, but you know what I mean) there would be foreboding music playing right about now.

Josephine has obviously read the script because as Sham/Olaf takes a step towards her she realises that she's about to go for an impromptu dip in Lake Lachrymose. The Baudelaires once again leap to her defense as they realise that she is the only thing keeping them from being Olaf's wards again (and better Josephine than Olaf). Violet and Klaus prepare to steer the boat to shore while Sunny, with a cry of "Igal!" means "And I'll guard Aunt Josephine." Normally a baby wouldn't be much of a formidable threat but she has really sharp teeth.

Josephine meanwhile is completely hopeless as usual. She all but gift wraps the children for Olaf promising not to say anything to Poe and instead to run away and hide some place. The Baudelaires are suitably horrified by this. Olaf seems to consider the possibility of not killing Josephine while she continues to suggest ways she could hide her identity.

While Olaf points out that thus far Josephine hasn't given him much of a reason to trust him, he speaks in the past tense, something that Josephine can't help but correct for him. In order to rectify this terrible grammatical error Olaf seeks to correct himself, first confirming the correct tense for these words then making sure he's absolutely right by shoving Josephine overboard.

Josephine is able to float on the water but the Baudelaires are unable to get the boat any closer to her. The Baudelaires are optimistic that Josephine might be able to swim to safety. Sunny sagely observes "Legru" meaning "All we can do is hope."

And then we get a whole page of the Baudelaires feeling all confused about how they feel regarding the Josephine situation, after all she was a pretty crappy guardian but all the same, they're not sure she deserved to be pushed overboard and left to the mercy of Lake Lachrymose. Plus she did try to care for them in the best way she was able to so on the whole they're a bit torn about things at the moment.

Sham/Olaf takes the children back to Damocles Dock where Mr Poe is thrilled to see them all. Olaf tells Poe that the children stole a boat and had to be rescued which Violet vehemently denies, explaining that Olaf pushed Josephine into the lake and it's imperative that they launch a rescue party immediately. Mr Poe is spectacularly useless as usual, ignoring the children and focusing instead on what he is told by Sham.

The children try to make Mr Poe understand about the letter but Sham/Olaf is determined to get them away from Mr Poe. Luckily Mr Poe suggests that as the children are somewhat upset perhaps it would be best to humour them on this one occasion. Unfortunately the note now has the consistency of a five pound note that someone left in their pocket when it went through the wash. No matter what the note said, it's illegible now.

Mr Poe tries to reassure the children that Captain Sham cares about them and only wants the best for them, but Klaus points out that he's only after their fortune. Sham/Olaf just wants the money back for the sailboat they pinched, which is actually quite a reasonable request from him, he's getting better at this disguising lark.

Luckily, while the elder Baudelaires have been trying to make a case for rescuing Aunt Josephine and pleading with Mr Poe not to hand them over to Olaf, Sunny has been examining Captain Sham's wooden leg. You have to admit, the wooden leg is a wonderful bit of disguise, so it's just as well Sunny has been taking this time to study it closely.

At this point Sunny is likened to Alexander the Great. There's also a whole page here about the Gordion Knot being used to refer to a particularly difficult problem, which is kind of what the Baudelaires are dealing with at the moment. Sunny's figured out how to solve this particular problem, presumably without knowing much about Gordion Knots or Alexander the Great.

She sinks her teeth into Captain Sham's wooden leg, causing it to split entirely in two. And it's not a solid wooden leg at all. It's basically a big wooden boot which is presumably not very comfortable nor is it very hygienic as the leg inside it is describes as being 'pale and sweaty'. Oh, and there's a tattoo down on the ankle.


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