Thursday, 18 September 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Austere Academy, Chapter 8

Thanks to the couple who got married on our estate on Saturday, I managed to squeeze in plenty of reading time at the weekend, despite thinking I wouldn’t get it all done. I should add that the reason for this is because they had fireworks to celebrate and Tara does not like fireworks so it’s easier to stop up with her when people have them, rather than go to bed and get woken up by a labrador who is trying to convince us that World War Three is breaking out.

What Happens?

The Baudelaires are exhausted from staying up almost all night running. They are getting by on very little sleep and so are having a bit of a tough day. The Quagmires promise to help them figure out what Olaf has planned, just as Carmelita Spats shows up to tell them they’ll be joining Coach Genghis on the front lawn again after dinner.

Thoughts as I read:

This chapter has a fairly small opening picture which is of Sunny, asleep, in a salad dish. At least, I hope she’s asleep. I’m going to hazard a guess here and say that Olaf kept the kids up a little too late with their running laps. All the same, I think it might be more hygienic, not to say comfortable, for the baby to sleep somewhere other than the salad dish!

And I’m right, Olaf kept them running laps until sunrise and then sent them to bed. Running all night has left the Baudelaires feeling sore, hence the name of the activities, as well as tired. Now they have headaches from the lack of sleep and also toeaches from the crabs living in the shack. The Quagmires managed to avoid the extreme tiredness by watching their friends in shifts, so one could get some sleep while the other kept an eye on things to make sure Olaf didn’t do anything too dastardly.

The Quagmires formulated a couple of their own theories about what Olaf’s plan was, including making them keep running until they agreed to give him their money or for the luminous paint to act as a landing strip for a helicopter to abduct the Baudelaires. Neither of these things happened so obviously Olaf is operating some other plan.

The lack of sleep is getting to the Baudelaires already and they’ve only gone without one night without sleep. If this is Olaf’s plan he’s going to kill them with exhaustion. The two older Baudelaires are performing badly in class and Sunny has fallen asleep in the salad, just like the picture at the start of the chapter. I’m quite relieved that it didn’t mean she was going to be eaten!

All the same, they’re hoping the Genghis/Olaf is done with them. And of course Violet just has to go and tempt fate by saying “If we’re lucky” which has much the same effect as Sarah in Labyrinth saying something is easy. No sooner has Violet uttered the words does Carmelita Spats show up with another Genghis message for the Baudelaires. Once again they are to head out to the front lawn after dinner.

The Baudelaires can’t believe what they are hearing, but Isadora and Duncan are sure that they will be able to figure out exactly what Olaf’s plan is now so it’s just going to be a repeat of the previous night. The Quagmires promise to sneak out and spy on them, as well as to continue to do research in the library to try and work out what on earth is going on here.

And so we leave the Baudelaires hoping that they might actually get a chance to be lucky and figure out what Olaf has planned, work out how to beat him and prevent him from bothering them again in the future. Going by their track record, while they have been lucky to survive everything that the last four and a half books have thrown at them, I’m not so sure that they’re going to be as lucky as they need to be right now.

This is a pretty short chapter and it all takes place around the dinner table. It’s kind of a filler for what’s happened so far and what’s to happen next. And what will happen next? Well, we’ll find out during the double dose of Chapter-by-Chapter tomorrow.

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