Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Miserable Mill, Chapter 12

I’m quite pleased with the fact that I’ve managed to get myself really organised with my blogging in the last week and a bit. Before I went away down south I was in a bit of a rush and there were a couple of points where I didn’t think I would have posts ready to go when I wanted them to. Now I’m well ahead of myself. Just thought I’d share to celebrate.

Anyway, onto Chapter 12, it’s a long one!

What Happens?

Flacutono commands Klaus to get on with causing the ‘accident’ while Violet tries to work out what words he is using to control her brother. She realises it just at the right moment and is able to get Klaus to obey her instructions. It doesn’t last long however, after a brief contest between Violet and Flacutono as they vie for control of Klaus, Dr. Orwell and Shirley arrive and prevent Violet from telling Klaus what to do. Luckily Violet figures out the word to break the hypnotism. Gradually each one of the Baudelaires are incapacitated while Charles remains tied to the log. Klaus comes to himself long enough to figure out an invention that helps to save Charles, but unfortunately Dr. Orwell is not as lucky.

Thoughts as I read:

This chapter gives us a graphic image of what we were told was happening at the end of the last one. Thankfully it’s not anything gorey. It’s just Charles’s legs with the big saw blade looking awfully close. There’s smoke curling up from the bottom of the wheel and it looks as the the teeth are just about to start cutting Charles’s shoes. I honestly don’t remember what happens here and given the body count of the previous books, I’m not holding out much hope for Charles surviving this.

Let’s just recap here. Violet and Sunny have just walked in on their hypnotised brother who is about to murder someone whilst being directed by one of the book’s many bad guys. What do they do? Violet yells at Klaus, immediately drawing attention to their presence. I can’t help but think that perhaps there would have been a better way of handling this scenario. I mean, we’ve been told that the sound of the saw is very loud. I kind of think that they might have been able to creep round and find a way to shut down the saw more or less unnoticed, to give them a little more time with which they could try and unhypnotise Klaus.

Flacutono tells them that they’re “just in time to see the accident” which Violet points out wouldn’t really be an accident if it was being orchestrated. Violet lets Flacutono in on everything that she knows, which is probably also not such a good plan because you don’t want to show all of your hand too soon. All the same, Flacutono doesn’t really care to which Sunny shrieks “Deluny!” meaning “You’re not just a bad foreman – you’re an evil person!”

To demonstrate how right Sunny is, Flacutono commands Klaus “you lucky boy” to continue what he was doing. Both Baudelaire girls yell for him to stop (or in Sunny’s case “Kewtu!” which I like to think is her attempt at saying “Cut it out!”). Violet starts wracking her brain for something she could say to help her brother as she realises that Flacutono must have just used the key word. If you’re paying attention you’ve probably figured it out, but we spend another couple of paragraphs waiting for Violet to catch as she tries to remember the previous accident. She can be forgiven for taking her time, it’s a stressful situation.

Meanwhile Sunny is pretty frightened (“Egu!”) as the blade moves closer to Charles and Violet spends another half a page with the cogs turning faster and faster until she suddenly figures it out. Lucky! Which is conveniently the exact word that she needs to say. There’s a little back and forth between herself and Flacutono both yelling “Lucky!” and then giving Klaus an instruction. Perhaps Violet should’ve gone the route of yelling for Klaus to take out Flacutono.

And then someone else shows up. Dr. Orwell who has brought Shirley with her for the show. Orwell severely screws things up for Violet by giving Klaus the order not to listen to his sisters, which maybe would’ve worked better than my suggestion of telling him to take out Flacutono. Perhaps Violet could’ve ordered him not to be hypnotised any more…

Knowing that their commands won’t stop their brother, Violet and Sunny resort to pleading with him. “Gice!” yells Sunny, meaning “Don’t hurt Charles!” Charles is of course getting closer and closer to the saw with every passing second as Klaus pushes on the log that he’s attached to.

Violet resumes her efforts to work out what word will unhypnotise their brother. She knows that the accident involving Phil seemed to snap Klaus out of it before. We get a bit of rambling as Violet runs through things in her mind about how unfair this situation is. And then it comes to her. Inordinate.

Orwell and Shirley are pretty annoyed about this because it obviously works and suddenly the real Klaus is back again. Klaus makes an attempt to save Charles, but the third time’s a charm and Flacutono trips Klaus once again, apparently knocking him out, though there’s no word on the state of Klaus’s glasses. Violet steps up to take her brother’s place but she’s stopped by Shirley and Flacutono.

Sunny decides that she’s the only one to solve the problem and says “Oh tooney!” before going to bite through the cords binding Charles to the log. Sunny’s harder to catch than her siblings and bites Dr. Orwell but the good doctor produces a sword from inside her cane and points it at the baby. Sunny is armed only with her teeth, but she’s still determined to put up a good fight.

This next bit calls for a bit of willing suspension of belief and Dr. Orwell engages in a swordfight with the baby’s teeth. I’m not going to say anything else, I think this speaks for itself.

Luckily Klaus comes to himself enough to realise that it’s pretty much up to him to save the day. The saw is actually starting to cut into Charles’s shoes so there’s not much time left. It’s another case of swapping talents; earlier Violet was forced to become a researcher, now Klaus much figure out an invention. He’s been thrown into the corner with the gum so he grabs it and starts chewing, apparently the phrase ‘gum up the works’ has occurred to him.

Meanwhile the blade of the saw has cut right through the sole of the shoe and is now at Charles’s foot. Strangely Charles has not started screaming at this point so it’s not gone far enough to really start hurting him. Klaus’s attempt to throw the gum at the machine doesn’t work first time because the gum is just light and wet so he can’t get any distance but he’s reminded of the disastrous fishing trip he once went on with his mother and realises he needs to use the gum like a fishing line.

The gum is apparently as magical as Sunny’s teeth are because not only is the youngest Baudelaire still battling against the metal sword with just dental enamel as protection, but the gum is strong enough to pull the log that Charles is attached to. This is a children’s book so I’m just going to smile and nod at this.

As all this is going on Sunny is disturbed from the battle momentarily and Dr. Orwell takes advantage of her distraction to knock her over and pin her to the ground, claiming that there will be an accident after all. Which is correct because Sir suddenly appears in the mill and Dr. Orwell stumbles backwards into the saw and…


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