Friday, 20 March 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Penultimate Peril, Not A Chapter

I debated what to do with this little ‘Not a Chapter’ section. Should I tack it onto the end of the previous Chapter-by-Chapter post? Onto the beginning of the next one? Chapter Three was pretty long anyway and Chapter Four looks to be just as long again. Would that be a bit awkward?

Then I realised that this post was falling on a Friday, a day when I traditionally do a morning and an afternoon Chapter-by-Chapter post. So I tweaked the scheduling of my posts around slightly and just made this a post on its own. I know it’s short, but there’ll be a longer post this afternoon, and it’s not even delaying the start of the next book. It’s all good.

What Happens?

Snicket explains he’s breaking with tradition for the next three chapters and each one will follow one of the Baudelaires as they go about their concierge business. We can read the following three chapters in any order we like, though it may be better to forego them completely and read something else instead.

Thoughts as I read:

This is clearly not a chapter. If it was then this book would have fourteen chapters and what makes this series work is that it’s a set of thirteen books, each with thirteen chapters. Letting one of the books have fourteen chapters would seriously screw things up. So this chapter, sorry, non-chapter is clearly labelled ‘NOT A CHAPTER’ above the non-chapter image.

Because even though this isn’t a chapter, we still have a picture. Three in fact. This one shows three little scenes which I’m guessing are telling a story.

The first, on the right, shows a woman drilling a hole in a wall right underneath some elevator buttons. She’s kneeling beside the elevator door and on the floor beside her are a top hat and a moustache. There’s also a vase which is decorated with the traditional eye pattern which we have come to know and love.

The centre picture also features an eye. This time it’s looking through a hole at two ropes, one of which is frayed. I’m wondering if this is the woman from the previous picture looking through the hole or if it’s someone else? And is the frayed rope the result of the hole or is this unrelated? So many questions!

The final image, on the left, shows a man who is wearing a top hat and has a moustache, pressing the button for floor number seven. I’m going to guess that he’s in the elevator and getting ready to go up to the seventh floor, based on the fact that the right image seems to be outside the lift (she’s got wall paper and up/down buttons, whereas the man has numbers to choose from and the bit of ‘wall’ we can see is blank). Just call me Sherlock.

As for the non-chapter itself. It’s a little message explaining that up until this point the story has been told sequentially but the following chapters are going to break with this tradition. Instead we’ll be able to see what it happening with each of the three Baudelaires at the same time.

Chapter four is going to follow Violet to rooftop sunbathing salon, where she will hear an unpleasant conversation. Chapter five will see Klaus encountering a sinister plot involving members of the lumber industry. Meanwhile, chapter six has Sunny visiting Room 371 and the ninth floor where there is a mysterious restaurant. It’s a little bit like a choose your own adventure story since you can read these three chapters in any order you like. Presumably they’ll all catch up with one another in chapter seven and the story will continue as normal.

Of course, Snicket being Snicket, it’s suggested that we just skip all of the chapters and do something more worthwhile with our time. But that’s really not an option and we’ll be moving on to chapter four around four o’clock this afternoon.

See you then.

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