Friday, 26 December 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Hostile Hospital, Chapter 13

Are you still in a post-turkey coma? Let's wrap up Christmas with the final chapter of The Hostile Hospital.

What Happens?

Violet sets Klaus to making a rubber band cord to help them escape but struggles to think properly until Sunny makes her a ribbon to tie up her hair. She then creates a substitute intercom speaker in order to persuade the crowds to move away from the area where the Baudelaires will land, and they all bungy jump out of the window. They're not sure where to go next when Olaf pulls up nearby in his big black car, he and his crew are heading off to find the Snicket file, and the children know that the only way to escape from the hospital and the crowd of people looking for them is to climb into the car.

Thoughts as I read:

I quite like the picture that's opening this last chapter. It shows a window with smoke billowing out of it and a rope that has been made out of something which I believe to be elastic bands wiggling down the page. In the very bottom right corner you can see a pair of hands holding onto it. I'm guessing this is a picture of the Baudelaires' escape. Let's see how that happens.

In the opening paragraph we learn that Violet won her first inventing competition at the age of five with an automatic rolling pin. We're reminded that while she's never had to invent anything with both hands tied behind her back (give them time, we've still got another five books to go), she's quite adept at inventing things when there's a bit of pressure on her. Right now she's trying to invent something whilst being hindered by the after effects of the anaesthetic.

Luckily Klaus and Sunny are there to help her. Right now they're helpfully saying things like "... The fire is consuming this entire hospital, and we have to get out of here quickly." And 'Rallam' which means 'And Olaf's associates are chasing us.' Way to take the pressure off guys.

Looking out the window they establish that they're quite a way up, though it's hard to tell for certain through all the smoke. That's not a good sign. Sunny suggests 'Climb?' as Klaus realises that there's a massive crowd of people right outside the building. The crowd includes the V.F.D. lot who are still singing their song. Time and place for it, really?

Violet closes her eyes to think and Klaus worries that she's falling asleep again. Jeez Klaus, give her space to think for a second. Violet's realised that the only way to get past the crowd is to distract them before they climb down. There's not much time to think though, a noise outside prompts Sunny to say 'Kesalf' which means 'That's Olaf's associate. It sounds like it's entering the Ward for People with Nasty Rashes. We'd better hurry.'

So Violet instructs Klaus to start making a cord out of the boxes of rubber bands in the cupboard. If it wasn't for the picture at the beginning I'd suspect that she was just doing this to shut him up long enough to think in peace! Klaus keeps asking questions which aren't helping Violet as she can't focus properly. Sunny says 'Help' which Klaus thinks is his little sister calling for help, but instead she uses her sharp teeth to cut a strip from her medical coat, then says 'Ribbon'. That'll help Violet to think better.

And just like that Violet's doing a lot better. She asks Sunny to open a can of soup, to which Sunny replies 'Treen' meaning 'Yes - I opened one earlier, to help decode the anagrams.' In no time at all, which is just as well because they've not got much, Klaus has made a rubber band cord and Sunny's opened the tin of soup. All the while the fire is creeping closer and closer; smoke's coming into the cupboard now.

Violet's invention is revealled to be a 'spurious intercom' as she instructs Sunny to make a hole in the bottom of the tin can. Sunny's response is 'Pietrisycamollviadelrechiotemexity' but she does it anyway. Then the can is held near the window and Violet speaks through the hole pretending to be Babs, claiming Mattathias has resigned and that the Baudelaires are in the unfinished bit of the hospital.

Amazingly this ploy actually seems to be working, though Hal wants to stay behind in case they come out of the finished bit of the hospital. Violet takes up the Babs act again, telling everyone it's too dangerous to stay where they are and so they all move away.

This prompts a little dilemma for the Baudelaires. In the course of this book they've tricked people, worn disguises, Sunny adds 'anagrams', and they've been lying to people. Violet's a little worried that they might be becoming villains. Klaus tries to justify it in that they're doing it to save their lives and Violet decides that now is a good time to argue that Olaf could say the exact same thing. Sunny says 'Different' but Violet still wants to press the point. I'm not saying it's not an interesting and important discussion for the children to have, but I don't think that in the supply closet of a burning hospital is the best place to have it.

They are interrupted by the sound of the person who looks like neither a man nor a woman blundering around outside the door and Violet announces that they will bounce out of the window. Sunny is none too sure about this 'Bounce?' she ask. Violet explains the concept of bungy jumping and the Devil's Tongue knot gets a mention, as that's how she'll secure it to the building. Klaus isn't too sure about it but when Violet suggests that she should go first to test it, Klaus firmly tells her that they're not going to take turns. 'Together' Sunny says, the younger Baudelaires haven't recovered from having to leave Violet behind earlier on in the book. They've got a point.

Violet is worried about her invention not holding them all and so they could all be killed, enabling Olaf to win. But Klaus reminds her, and us, of the note from the Baudelaire file. Someone survived the fire and they will too. Klaus also tells her that the fact they don't leave anyone behind is what separates from from Count Olaf. Aww.

The next bit just needs to be copied out in full because I do like it:

"I'm scared," Violet said.
"I'm frightened," Klaus said.
"Sheer terror," Sunny said, and the associate kicked the door again, forcing a few sparks through the crack in the door. The Baudelaires looked at one another, and each child grabbed the rubber band cord with one hand. With their other hands they clasped one another, and then, without another word, they leaped out of the window of Heimlich Hospital. 

And that's the end of the page. We then get nearly a page of Snicket telling us things that he does not know. There are quite a lot of things that he does not know, there's also one thing that he does know, that's that the children were only on the second floor and Violet's invention worked so they made it to the ground safely.

The hospital, meanwhile, is not such a safe place to be as it is being completely consumed by the flames. And the children don't actually know where they should go next. Sunny yells 'Run!' as her siblings discuss the fact that soon the crowd will realise that they aren't where 'Babs' said they were. Klaus, who has been waiting for a moment like this for some time, orders his sisters to stay down low because he read about how to breathe in fires in The Encyclopedia of Escaping Arson.

As they're crouched down on the ground, hidden by the smoke, a large black car pulls up and Olaf calls for Esme to come and get in. Esme's got all the costumes and their associates are right behind her. We also hear Olaf mentioning that he couldn't find the Snicket file in the Library of Records, but he thinks he knows where it might be. And we're shown just how happy Olaf is to leave someone behind, completely unlike the Baudelaires, as he announces that he doesn't care to find out if the person who neither looks like a man nor a woman has survived.

And they're heading off for the real V.F.D. to get the Snicket file before someone else, known only as 'You-Know-Who' gets it. Great, so now they're trying to get to it before Voldemort does!

While Olaf's associates are all faffing around getting into the car, Violet realises what they need to do. They have to get into the boot of the car. Sunny is shocked by this suggestion saying 'Culech!' meaning 'Getting in the trunk is the same thing as getting captured!' But Violet insists that this is the only way that they will get the rest of the file, bring Olaf to justice and 'Ezan' which means 'Or find out if one of our parents really survived the fire.'

Violet gives her brother and sister a little pep talk about how much they've survived and how they need to be reunited with the parent that may have survived the fire. So they rush in, just as one of the white-faced women throws more costumes on top of them. It's only when they're in the boot of the car that Violet wonders whether they'll be able to breathe, luckily there are bullet holes to let the air in and Sunny adds 'Golos' meaning 'It'll have to do until something better comes along.'

And so that's where we leave the Baudelaires, huddled in the boot of a car, about to be driven somewhere with one of their mortal enemies.

That is not a comfortable place to be.

The final picture of the book shows the three children huddled together with the detritis in the boot of the car. There's a spare tyre, a bottle of wine, a mask and top hat, then there's a clue to the next book; a crystal ball and a flyer for a carnival. That'll be where we're heading next then.

Then we've got Snicket's letter to his editor at the very end. This one is the remains of a typewritten letter that has been all torn up, telling us about The Carnivorous Carnival. We'll get started on that one next week.

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