Monday, 17 November 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Vile Village, Chapter 11

Thank you to everyone who filled in the questions for the Guest Blogging feature I’m running in the run up to Christmas. I’m getting it all organised as you read so look out for an email shortly to let you know when your post will be going live. I’m really looking forward to it.

And for now, on with Chapter 11 of The Vile Village.

What Happens?

Klaus is able to figure out the hidden message in the couplets which tells them the Quagmires are in the Fountain. Violet then comes up with a new plan to help them escape from the cell. This works and soon they our at Fowl Fountain trying to work out how the Quagmires could be in there. It’s Sunny who inadvertently triggers the button which opens the bird’s beak enabling the Quagmires to climb out, just as Olaf shows up in the distance.

Thoughts as I read:

This chapter image is, I think the brownies that Hector mentioned in the last chapter. They look like chocolatey yummy goodies and they’re still steaming hot. Actually just looking at this picture made me crave chocolate so much I had to get Mr Click to bring me a Ruffle Bar (they’re yummy raspberry coconut chocolate bars). I think I have a bit of a chocolate problem. Anyway, on with the chapter!

We’ve got another couplet:

Inside these letters, the eye will see
Nearby are your friends, and V.F.D.

And Klaus has figured out just what the couplets are trying to tell them. He’s all pleased about this though his sisters haven’t read ahead in the book so they don’t know what he’s so happy about. “Wibeon” says Sunny, meaning “It’s more confusing than superlative – we still don’t know where the Quagmires are.” But Klaus does!

So we get yet another recap of all the couplets thus far, with the latest one tacked on at the end. Can you tell where the Quagmires are yet?

Violet’s not so hot on the whole poetry analysis thing so Klaus spells it out to her. The first line of each couplet spells out FOUNTAIN. It takes us about three pages to get to this point. And even then the children aren’t sure how the Quagmires could be in the fountain and how the messages were transported, but it’s more of a lead than they’ve had in a while.

Things are looking up for them at last. Now they just have to escape from jail and avoid the villagers who want to burn them to death. Sunny says “Mush!” meaning “The mortar is almost dissolved – just a little bit longer!” reminding them that it’s about time they get back on task. This prompts Violet to tie up her hair again, she’s got to come up with something else to help them get out of there quicker.

The new plan is to use the bench, which until now has been used as a ramp, as a battering ram. “Honz?” Sunny asks, after all, she’s just a baby and doesn’t know what a battering ram is. They’re going to ram the bench into the wall where they’ve been dissolving the mortar and hopefully burst out of the cell. It’s while they’re doing this we learn that Sunny counts by saying “One, two, minga!” That’s quite cute.

After a few shots at it a brick falls on Klaus’s foot, which is cause for celebration, despite the whole pain thing. Bricks falling onto people’s feet obviously proves that the wall is beginning to give. Meanwhile outside they can hear the crows beginning to move to their afternoon nesting spot. Sunny tells her siblings to hurry, except it comes out as “Hurol!”

A huge cloud of dust is not a beautiful thing to look at. Very few painters have done portraits of huge clouds of dust or included them in their landscapes or still lifes. Film directors rarely choose huge clouds of dust to play the lead roles in romantic comedies, and as far as my research has shown, a huge cloud of dust has never placed higher than twenty-fifth in a beauty pageant.

The dust cloud romantic lead is definitely a missed opportunity. Why has Hollywood never realised this?!

The reason this is raised here is the fact that the dust cloud created by the falling wall is a beautiful thing for the Baudelaires to see, coming as it does to herald the wall of the Deluxe Cell collapsing. Violet immediately starts to celebrate but her brother points out that she may be getting ahead of herself. They still have to get the Quagmires out and get away before the villagers show up.

“Wock!” Sunny says “The fountain looks as solid as can be” which suggests that it will be very difficult for anyone to be hidden inside the fountain but that’s the only place they could possibly be. It’s Sunny who tries to shed some light on this for them. “Jidu!” meaning “Surely Isadora has given us a hint about how to rescue her!”

And so it’s back to the couplets again. This time Violet spots it, “this sad beak” must be the way in and out of the fountain, after all, that’s where the water comes from. By this point they’re at the fountain so they stand on each others’ shoulders to enable Sunny to peer in at the top of the beak. This is neither particularly comfortable nor safe for any of the children involved. When Klaus asks Sunny what she can see she replies “Shize!” which I’m guessing means nothing.

It’s at this point that Klaus realises that Isadora wrote ‘inside these letters the eye will see’ which prompts him to wonder what this could mean. Sunny says “Sabisho!” which seems to mean something about the fact that she can’t hold on anymore and is about to fall. Things are heating up too, there are the shapes of some of the Elders starting to get close. Just after she’s spotted them they all end up collapsing, just as Sunny yells “Took!” which I don’t think means she’s just seen a hobbit.

They all fall down, apart from Sunny who is left clinging onto the fountain with her teeth. Now she’s saying “Heni!” as she slides down the fountain. She’s very little and she’s got quite a way to fall, she’s obviously a little bit worried about this. Luckily as she slips down she manages to find the little hidden button that makes the bird statue’s beak open and as this opens it helps Sunny drop safely into Violet’s arms. Phew!

And guess who climbs out of the statue?

Yup, it’s the Quagmires.

And this would be a good time to start celebrating, if it wasn’t for the figure of Olaf/Dupin walking towards them with a torch!

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