Thursday, 5 March 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Grim Grotto, Chapter 8

It looks as though chapter eight of The Grim Grotto is a little bit shorter than the last one. I’m guessing we’ll find out who has the spore in their helmet and by the looks of the picture that’s opening this chapter, we might see Olaf’s octopus submarine again.

What Happens?

The children get back to the submarine and find it’s been deserted. Not only has Widdershins and Phil left, leaving just some balloons behind, but Sunny is now sharing her helmet with a Medusoid Mycelium. Fiona announces that she is going to research an antidote for the youngest Baudelaire and orders Klaus and Violet to start up the submarine. When Fiona is out of the way she brings out a newspaper clipping she found in the cave to share with Klaus, but before she can they realise that the octopus submarine containing Count Olaf is right outside.

Thoughts as I read:

As I mentioned up there, we get a picture of the octopus submersible that was mentioned earlier in the book. It looks pretty much exactly as I was picturing it. It’s got two big windows like a pair of eyes at the front and nine legs, which I guess makes it a nonopus. It’s happily sailing across the page. I’m going to assume that this means we’ll be running into it again in the next few pages.

And we’re back to the water cycle again now, the better to put us to sleep to avoid learning about the awful things that happened to the Baudelaires next. You see, when they all get back to the submarine (a journey which is surprisingly easy considering they’ve had to swim against the current to get back there) there doesn’t seem to be anyone around. No one answers when they get in and call out for Widdershins and Phil. It’s eerie.

When they get to the Main Hall they find three balloons tied to chairs and each one has a letter spelling out V.F.D. This might be a code but Fiona just wants to find her stepfather and Phil so they start looking around. Fiona realises that they’ve taken their diving helmets which means only one thing, they’ve left the submarine. This is strange because they said they were going to stay and watch them on the sonar screen.

Fiona can’t believe that they would have left, which leaves the possibility that they were taken by force, though why the balloons were left behind is a bit of a mystery. They all prepare to take their helmets off to get to work on solving it but Fiona spots something in Sunny’s helmet. Sunny is now sharing the diving helmet with a small grey fungus. The elder Baudelaires immediately panic and rush to get their sister out before she is poisoned, but it’s too late. If they open it the spores will escape and then they could all be poisoned.

Inside the helmet Sunny is coughing, because that’s what TV has taught us people do when they are unwell or have been poisoned. Sunny adds ‘Malady’ meaning ‘I’m beginning to feel unwell’ just in case we missed the seriousness of the coughing. She’s got about an hour before the fungus will affect her ability to breathe, at which point things will obviously go seriously downhill for Sunny Baudelaire. Meanwhile, Fiona is going to consult her library to investigate an antidote. She also admits to finding Sunny’s infection ‘fascinating’ which is clearly not the right thing to say to her worried friends.

It’s also a little suspicious that Fiona wants to research the antidote by herself, while Violet and Klaus are given the instruction to get the sub started so they can leave the cave. When Violet protests, Fiona ‘orders’ them to do as they’re told; she’s assuming the mantle of captain therefore she will tell them what to do. I think she’s kind of cracked actually:

“Climb up that rope ladder!” Fiona cried. “Aye! Fire up those engines! Aye! We’re going to save Sunny! Aye! And find my stepfather! Aye! And retrieve the sugar bowl! Aye! And it’s no time to hesitate! She who hesitates is lost! That’s my personal philosophy!”

The Baudelaires give up arguing with her though since they’re all feeling a bit emotional right now. But as soon as Fiona is out of the way Violet tells Klaus that Fiona’s ‘too volatile’ and they’re going to have to get out of this themselves. It’s at this point that she pulls out the newspaper cutting to show Klaus (who is kind of freaking out right now as well).

But before they can look at this clipping, they notice something on the sonar screen. It’s the octopus submarine and it’s right outside.

Uh oh.

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