Friday, 23 January 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Carnivorous Carnival, Chapter 10

You may have noticed that I posted about my trip to Wales this morning, instead of my traditional double Chapter-by-Chapter post. That's because I've got a lot to say about my trip to Wales, but also because if I just do a single Friday post this week, I'll have my Chapter-by-Chapter posts all rejigged back to the way they should be.

Then I just need to not fall behind again and everything will be on track to finish before the end of April... we'll see how that goes.

What Happens?

The crowd begins to assemble at the lion pit ready to find out who will be thrown to the lions. Madame Lulu escorts the children to the pit, refusing to answer their questions about whether or not she remembers their deal. Violet discovers that Lulu has got the piece of rubber to make a fan belt. Olaf slowly draws out the announcement of the name on the piece of paper and when it is eventually revealed, it's not really that huge a shock.

Thoughts as I read:
This chapter is another of those ones where the picture interacts with the text. In this case we've got the lions' paws swiping away the C and the H from the words Chapter Ten. The paw at the bottom of the page has actually torn four large scratches into the page as well. This shows us just how dangerous and ferocious these lions are. And they have absolutely no regard for the sanctity of books!

The assembled crowd are heading for the lion pit. In fact, there's already a crowd there. News of the violence and sloppy eating have spread far and wide; it looks like it's popular. Count Olaf announces that he should lead the way, prompting The Daily Punctilio reporter to plan the newspaper headlines. Someone does question whether this is the same Count Olaf who was murdered by the Baudelaires, but someone corrects them, that was Count Omar of course.

This then leads to the suggestion that they thrown the Baudelaires into the pit when they are found. I hope that the Baudelaires manage to keep their heads down during this chapter!

Lulu takes responsibility for escorting the 'freaks' to the lion pit, ready to see who will be picked to hang out with the lions. Meanwhile the reporter is still planning her headline:

"Oh, yes," said the reporter. "I can see the headline now: 'EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH COUNT OLAF, WHO IS NOT COUNT OMAR, WHO IS DEAD.' Wait until the readers of The Daily Punctilio see that!"

It's not the most snappy of headlines, really.

Lulu holds the Baudelaire's hands as they walk towards the pit and we're giving a little clue of what is to come, though I can't work out what it might mean. One of Lulu's hands has a streak of dirt on it, the other is tightly closed. She's obviously holding something and has been... I don't know, digging something up perhaps?

The children try to speak to Lulu/Olivia about their plans for her device to make their escape, but Lulu/Olivia won't speak to them. Not even when Sunny says 'Fan belt'. Hopefully Lulu's got a plan all of her own.

When Klaus asks Violet to speak to Lulu/Olivia, Violet notices that the older woman is holding something made of rubber in her hand. That would mean that Lulu/Olivia is sticking to her side of the bargain and has got the fan belt for their escape vehicle. This is somewhat reassuring for the children, though I suspect that things can only go downhill between here and the end of the book because we all know that there are no such things as happy endings in these stories.

We get a little reminder about the feeling of deja vu here because what the children have come to witness is not entirely unlike the sensation experienced at Heimlich Hospital. There's a big crowd wanting to see something horrible. I think the Baudelaires are the most normal people in these books, including Sunny the biting baby!

Olaf kicks off proceedings by warming up the crowd and allowing them to speculate about who will be eaten by lions. Hugo is looking forward to getting out of his freakish clothes and joining Olaf's troupe, when Klaus points out that he could be chosen, Hugo's response is simple; he'll just thrown Madame Lulu to the lions instead. Easy.

"Observe Hugo's funny back. Think about how silly it is that Colette can bend herself into all sorts of strange positions. Giggle at the absurdity of Kevin's ambidextrous arms and legs. Snicker at Beverly and Elliot, the two-headed freak. And laugh so hard you can scarcely breathe at Chabo the Wolf Baby."

The crowd does as they are instructed by Olaf and start calling out the ones they want to see eaten. Some of the people they call out aren't even 'freaks', one is the hook-handed man and another is spotty member of the crowd. Someone even suggests throwing Count Olaf in, that's the one I'd vote for I think.

The method for choosing the victim is fairly simple. It's just a question of names out of a hat... well, a box. Olaf's the lucky one doing the selecting and, after a brief moment of someone asking whether this is in fact legal, he gets down to business. Very S-L-O-W-L-Y.

We get a blow by blow account as he undoes each fold in the paper. This helps to heighten the suspense of the crowd and causes me to wonder whether we'll find out the lucky victim before the end of the chapter.

The delay also allows the Baudelaires to consider their escape plan. The crowd is so big that the children might not be able to get to the rollercoaster and Klaus can't remember anything that might be useful to stop the lions from eating a person. Violet's only got the fan belt and although she's good, she's not that good at inventing things. It's Sunny who helps, once again, as she says 'Deja vu!' meaning 'We must be able to think of something that can help us. We've escaped from bloodthirsty crowds before.' This is very true, in fact it's becoming something of a speciality for them.

The older Baudelaire's briefly reminisce about stalling the crowd in the hospital and using mob psychology against the villagers but can't work out how this will help them now. Sunny suggests 'Both' but Olaf is still unfolding the paper and it's getting near to the moment for the big reveal now.

Snicket tells us that we probably don't need to be told just whose name will be on that piece of paper. It takes another page of building up to the moment when we are told:

"Ladies and gentlemen," Count Olaf announced, "Beverly and Elliot, the two-headed freak, will be thrown to the lions today."
"Ladies and gentlemen," Violet Baudelaire announced, "we are thrilled to be chosen."


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