Monday, 20 April 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: The End, Chapter 11

Visiting on your way down the A to Z Challenge list? Today's post is here.

Remember how at the end of The Penultimate Peril there was a napkin with ‘The End is nigh’ written on it? Well it’s getting nigher! This is our final week on this book. In the last chapter Ishmael told the Baudelaires a little about their parents’ pasts on the island and tried to convince the children to stay on the island with him. They left his secret room with him, appearing to have made up their minds to stay behind on the island.

What Happens?

The children return to the colony with Ishmael, finding a massive argument going on there. The mutiny has started and the islanders are battling over whether they will stay or go. Ishmael tries to regain order but Olaf shows up and attempts to take over. Ishmael and Olaf obviously have some history together and the former decides to end it once and for all, brandishing the harpoon gun at Olaf.

Thoughts as I read:

This chapter image is one of those one which goes across two pages and that interacts with the chapter heading. On the left hand page there is a hand, wearing a robe, holding the harpoon gun. The harpoon has been fired across the facing page and has struck the words ‘Chapter Eleven’. The fact that the person holding the gun is wearing a robe means that we can eliminate two potential characters; it’s definitely not going to be Kit or Olaf. Perhaps it’s one of the children, or one of the colonists. There’s only one way to find out…

I love this opening:

Perhaps one night, when you were very small, someone tucked you into bed and read you a story called “The Little Engine That Could,” and if so then you have my profound sympathies, as it is one of the most tedious stories on Earth. The story probably put you right to sleep, which is the reason it is read to children, so I will remind you that the story involves the engine of a train that for some reason has the ability to think and talk.

The point of this is that the moral of the above story is that if you think you can do something, then you can do it, which is obviously not true.

The children leave the arboretum on the sheep-drawn sleigh with Ishmael. They can’t think of anything that could possibly go right now. They aren’t particularly keen on shunning the real world in order to stay in the relative (and boring) safety of the island. They’re also not sure how they’re going to join in the mutiny considering the fact that they didn’t bring any weapons back from the arboretum. If this is the right decision, they don’t seem very happy to be making it.

When they arrive back at the main camp there’s a bit of a heated dispute going on. Considering Ishmael’s best efforts to prevent anyone from experiencing anything that might be classed as bad in the world, the islanders are having a pretty good go at attacking one another. Apparently this is human nature or something. Even Mrs Caliban and Friday have fallen out. That’s the second time that family has been divided by a schism!

Turns out that Finn and Erewhon started the mutiny without the Baudelaires and they’ve had to make do without weapons. Luckily they’ve got teeth and hands to do the job just as well. They also tell the children that Olaf was right and that they (the Baudelaires) have let them go. Jeez, I’m beginning to think Ishmael might be the good guy here after all! They seem to have some trouble understanding one another as well, since the conversation descends to Sunny saying ‘What you mean what you mean what I mean?’

Ishmael tries to reign things in but no one is having any of it:

“Please, everyone!” Ishmael cried from his clay chair. “I suggest we all take a few sips of cordial and discuss this cordially!”
“I’m tired of drinking cordial,” Professor Fletcher said, “and I’m tired of your suggestions, Ishmael!”
“Call me Ish,” the facilitator said.
“I’m calling you a bad facilitator!” retorted Calypso.

Oh dear. I kind of feel sorry for Ishmael now.

And so it all comes out about the mutiny and some people want to go ahead with it and some people don’t. Some want to escape from the past and live simply and some want to have some excitement instead of everything that washes up there being banished to the arboretum. Some of them are suspicious of the Baudelaires and some are suspicious of Kit Snicket.

And then all the secrets come out; teaching people to read and to yodel and having whisks. Things only go downhill from here and it’s the Hotel Denouement all over again as everyone starts yelling out their suggestions for the island. This causes the Baudelaires to have a flashback to some of the mobs that they’ve witnessed in the past.

It all culminates in a new voice shouting for silence. It’s Olaf, still in his fake pregnant woman disguise. He’s here to stake his claim to Olaf-Land. Turns out he knows someone called Monday who warned him Ishmael was still on the island, oh and the mutineers let him out the cage. That was not a smart move, guys.

Apparently Olaf attempting to take over the island wasn’t part of the plan. Olaf does take a moment to reveal that Ishmael clearly wears the clay on his feet to disguise the fact that he has an eye tattoo on his ankle. To be honest, so many people sport these eye tattoos it would be easier to just point out people who don’t have one!

Olaf tells everyone he’s got the only weapon that can threaten them, but Ishmael’s got a weapon too; the harpoon gun. It would appear that there’s some history between Ish and Olaf, since Ishmael accuses Olaf of starting the fire that burned down Ishmael’s home. Olaf insists that wasn’t him but Ishmael’s not having any of it and announces he’s going to shoot Olaf in the stomach, y’know, right in the diving helmet full of deadly fungus.

The Baudelaires yell ‘No!’ but that’s not enough to stop the harpoon from hitting its mark. Which it does, releasing spores into the air, just as everyone gasps, ensuring that they’re all going to get a nasty dose of Medusoid Mycelium.

This is a very unfortunate event.

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