Friday, 19 September 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Austere Academy, Chapter 10

Despite thinking that I would've get all these posts written this week, I've actually done pretty well and got them all written up fairly easily. I'm pleased that I've managed to get this far ahead of myself now because I want to be far enough ahead that blogging time won't eat into my NaNo time too much. After all, I'm writing almost 10,000 words a week some weeks already so I shouldn't have any excuses come November!

Now for Chapter 10 of The Austere Academy, it's a pretty short one after the longer chapters we've been up against this week.

What Happens?

Together the Baudelaires and the Quagmires try to come up with a plan to enable the Baudelaires to study for their exams. Eventually the Quagmires decide to imitate the Baudelaires and spend the night running, whilst loaning them their notebooks in order to study. However it's unlikely that fooling Count Olaf will be as simple as this.

Thoughts as I read:

This chapter picture is kind of intriguing. It features a pair of boots with a fish in each one. I have no idea what this means, why there are fish in the boots or what on earth is going to happen in this chapter. Are the Baudelaires going to lose their plate privileges and so have to carry their dinners in their shoes? Are they trying some new crab-repelling tactics? Is this a visual representation of just how bad Coach Genghis's feet smell when he removes his footwear?

We'll just have to read on to find out.

We don't have any apt truisms to kick off this chapter, oh no, we're straight into the action now. All five children are hanging out in the Orphan Shack which is slightly more habitable now that they're all armed (or at least footed) with tap shoes to ward off crabs, and the salt has dried out the fungus. Hopefully this has inspired them to get thinking of a way out of the Olaf-situation.

They're currently bemoaning the fact that they didn't work out Olaf's plan earlier, except they're still calling him Coach Genghis despite knowing who he really is. I guess this is to make the book easier to follow and I'm wondering if perhaps I should have done likewise in these reviews, meh, if he's really Olaf I'm just going to call him Olaf!

Duncan and Isadora's approach to figuring out Olaf's plan was kind of the approach we see in some episodes of Criminal Minds; work out what made the bad guy a bad guy. They've been looking at old papers to see if he did any nefarious deeds before he set his sights on the Baudelaires. It's possible that he did because they found a man who strangled a bishop and then escaped from prison, a man who pushed a wealthy widow off a cliff and someone from the Baudelaires' home town who did something which could be an important clue, but we don't learn what it is because Isadora interrupts.

While the Quagmires and Klaus are discussing this, Violet is trying to work out a way to make staples for Sunny and worrying about remembering the stories Mr Remora has told. Luckily the Quagmires come to the rescue again by offering to loan the elder Baudelaires their notes to study. This would be really useful if it wasn't for the fact that they have no time to read notes what with their impending S.O.R.E. session that night. "Tarcour" Sunny says, meaning "You're right, of course. S.O.R.E. always lasts until dawn and the tests are first thing in the morning." just in case we'd forgotten that little nugget of information.

They all take a moment to consider what their heroes would do if they were available to help them. I'm amused by their list of role models: Nikola Tesla, Dorothy Parker, Hammurabi, Lord Byron, and, in Sunny's case, "Shark". At first this train of thought seems unlikely to help them much, but then it sparks something for Duncan, shoes.

In short his plan is for the Quagmires to disguise themselves as Violet and Klaus so they can run laps in order to let the real Baudelaires study for their incredibly difficult exam. The shoes come into it because they will need to swap shoes in order to sound the same as they are running in the dark, to prevent Olaf from becoming suspicious.

There's only one flaw in the plan. Somehow the two Quagmires are going to have to take the place of three Baudelaires. They might be triplets but there's only two of them available to help right now. Isadora comes up with a solution to this little problem, Sunny's about the size of a bag of flour, that'll do as a substitute Sunny. Sunny's response is "Denada". This has me thinking of a book I read where the children at a school were given bags of flour to look after and treat like a baby for a week.

Violet is a little anxious about this plan because it could get them all into trouble. Which I think it's safe to say it will, after all, the very next paragraph contains this nugget of foreshadowing:

This, as it turns out, was a question that would haunt the Baudelaires for quite some time, but the Quagmires gave it barely a thought.

This plan means that there is going to be some grand scale snitching going on. They need to steal a bag of flour (to act as Sunny), string (to pull aforementioned sack of flour along the ground) and staple-making invention equipment (for making staples, obviously). With a "Nidop" meaning "Then let's get moving" they all head out to put the plan into action.

And as they head out to set things in motion Snicket warns us that the children were not quite as nervous as they should have been about the coming night. Obviously they're nervous, but they apparently didn't grasp just how serious things are going to get for them all. This does not sound very good at all.

But we're going to have to wait to find out just how serious. See you there on Monday!

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