Friday, 6 March 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Grim Grotto, Chapter 9

We’re getting towards the really dramatic bits of this book now and Olaf is back in the frame again. There’s also the mystery of where the crew of the Queequeg have gone, what it is that Violet has found in that newspaper clipping and how they are going to solve the antidote issue.

Let’s see what happens.

What Happens?

Olaf has his submarine ‘swallow’ the Queequeg and then pays the Baudelaires and Fiona a little visit before announcing that he will take them to the brig. He isn’t particularly bothered by the fact that Sunny doesn’t have very long left to live and would rather give them the grand tour, which includes showing them the room where a bunch of Snow Scouts and Prufrock Prep students are forced to row the submarine, supervised by Esme. Carmelita is there as well and the children are actually quite glad to leave to go to the brig. Once there we meet someone who is not only familiar to the Baudelaires, but is also pretty well known to Fiona.

Thoughts as I read:

I think the picture for this chapter is showing us how the octopus sub is powered. There are several rows of children who are strapped in and pulling on a long pole. I’m guessing they were the Snow Scouts and they’re probably regretting not listening to the warnings of the Baudelaires. They don’t look very happy at being strapped in and being made to do hard labour. Can’t say I blame them, I wouldn’t fancy powering a giant submarine for an evil criminal.

Snicket gives us a little pep-talk just in case we are considering a life of villainy. The basic things we need to remember are to not care about others and another is to have a big imagination, so you can think up your villainous schemes. Count Olaf is given as an example of a villain, which you may have already figured out for yourself. His latest act of villainy involves making his submarine swallow the Queequeg. Olaf’s submarine is obviously pretty big!

With the Queequeg inside his own sub, Olaf cuts out a porthole so he can get in. Oh and he’s laughing in the most annoying way possible throughout all of this. He’d hoped that the Baudelaires were dead which disappointed him because, if you remember, they told him that they knew where the sugar bowl was. He’d never be sad about them being dead, unless it meant missing out on something for himself, obviously.

Since then Olaf has met up with the mysterious man and woman at the Hotel Denouement and acquired a group of Snow Scouts before coming back to off some of his enemies. Fiona’s arrived back in the Main Hall now and she’s not impressed to see Olaf here. Strangely enough, Olaf asks her where Widdershins is. That means he didn’t take him. The plot thickens. Olaf continues to both taunt and attempt to recruit Fiona. Interesting tactic he’s got there.

Then his attention is drawn to Sunny, he’s not too fussed about her predicament, after all if she dies he’s still got two other Baudelaires to get the fortune. Violet tries to save them and buy some time for Sunny, by telling Olaf that they can still tell him where the sugar bowl is, as long as he lets them help Sunny. Olaf’s not falling for that one again though. His current plan is to throw them in the brig and get the hook-handed man to make them talk.

So they’re led out of their submarine and into Olaf’s, at which points he decides that it’s appropriate to give them a tour. This is kind of a mistake because I’m sure it’ll give them the opportunity they need for escaping later.

“This submarine is one of the greatest things I’ve ever stolen,” he bragged. “It has everything I’ll need to defeat V.F.D. once and for all. It has a sonar system, so I can rid the seas of V.F.D. submarines. It has an enormous flyswatter, so I can rid the skies of V.F.D. planes. It has a lifetime supply of matches, so I can rid the world of V.F.D. headquarters. It has several cases of wine that I plan to drink up myself, and a closet full of very stylish outfits for my girlfriend. And best of all, it has plenty of opportunities for children to do hard labour! Ha ha hedonism!”

And so we get to see the Snow Scouts from the last book as well as some people who apparently were at Prufrock Prep. They’re employed pulling on the oars and being ordered by Esme Squalor who is wearing a costume that makes her look like an octopus; extra arms are fashionable now. She doesn’t take well to learning that the Baudelaires are still alive and also comically thinks that Fiona is Sunny, hehe.

It’s also revealed that Olaf and Esme still have Carmelita in tow and that they named the submarine after her. Olaf is clearly not happy about this. I think I’d be rather unimpressed if I ended up stuck on a submarine with Carmelita Spats. She’s currently wearing an outfit as bizarre as Esme’s because she’s being a ‘tap-dancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarian’ and is planning a dance recital. I think I’d rather take a walk outside the submarine. Klaus tries to make an excuse to head back to the Queequeg but Carmelita wants nothing from him.

“Isn’t she precious?” Esme cooed. “She’s like the adopted child I never had – except for you Baudelaires, of course. But I never liked you much.”

I love how little Olaf likes Carmelita. If I was him I think I would ditch Esme and Carmelita, they’re obviously happy together and Olaf would be so much happier without them. Hang on a minute. Am I seriously siding with Olaf now? That’s how annoying Esme and Carmelita are!

Soon the children are in the brig and Olaf is still ignoring their pleas to help Sunny. It’s not all bad though. There’s a family reunion of sorts. It turns out that Fernald is none other than the hook-handed man.

So Sunny’s still in peril, but at least Fiona has been reunited with her brother.

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