Thursday, 23 April 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: The End, Chapter 13.1

Are you looking for today’s A to Z Challenge post? It’s here.

And here we are! We have finally reached the end of The End. It’s Chapter Thirteen of the final book of A Series of Unfortunate Events and it’s a long one. I’m not kidding, as far as chapters go this one chapter is about half as long as the first book! For that reason I’ve divided it in two because no one really wants to read a blog post which is almost 2,500 words long. ;-)

In the last chapter we learned just what the Baudelaires needed to eat in order to cure themselves of the Medusoid Mycelium. Unfortunately they were very weak as the fungus took a greater hold over them and didn’t have the energy to get the apple that would cure them. Luckily Ink showed up with one for them and hopefully in this chapter we’ll see them eat it.

What Happens?

The apple works and the Baudelaires are cured so they rush across to the coastal shelf with all the apples they can carry. The islanders are making their escape on the outrigger but they won’t listen to the Baudelaires and try eating the apples. The children are forced to watch them go, knowing that unless they eat an apple they won’t make it to the horseradish factory on Lousy Lane.

Thoughts as I read:

The chapter image kicking off our final chapter shows ten apples floating in some water. I doubt that this means that they’ll be bobbing for apples in this chapter. I’ll guess that the Baudelaires will be taking as many apples as they can carry back to the beach but the coastal shelf will be floating soon and I’m going to hazard a guess that this is where the water’s come from. We’ll find out soon.

The Baudelaires take a bite of the apple and find that it does taste bitter, but they don’t care because they know that this will fix them. It’s pretty fast acting and before too long it’s worked its magic and the children are completely back to normal. They each take another apple to make sure that they’ve taken a full dose of the medicine, then they start gathering apples to take back for everyone else. They’d better hurry considering how close to death they were when they got their apple.

Violet’s just remembered Kit Snicket again and decides to use the periscope to check the flooding situation on the coastal shelf. Sunny says ‘Phearst’ meaning ‘We should rescue her promptly’, especially as there’s no knowing whether or not the fungus has affected her or the baby. But first they need to cure all the islanders because they have enough blood on their hands and they don’t want any more.

But Violet’s made a discovery. The colonists are out on the coastal shelf with the outrigger. It looks like they’re getting ready to leave. This is clearly a very bad thing.

Snicket breaks off for a moment to make sure that we’re all clear about what ‘the end’ actually means. It turns out that it’s not actually the end of the Baudelaires’ story, just because it’s called The End and all. The story began long before the first book but I won’t go into it here because it runs on for almost three pages. Snicket mentions the phrase ‘in media res’ which he mentions means ‘in the middle of a narrative’ and that this is what the Baudelaires’ story is; it’s just the middle part of a much bigger story.

Eventually one must face that the end is near, and the end of The End is quite near indeed, so if I were you I would not read the end of The End, as it contains the end of a notorious villain but also the end of a brave and noble sibling, and the end of the colonists’ stay on the island, as they sail off the end of the coastal shelf. The end of The End contains all these ends, and that does not depend on how you look at it, so it might be best for you to stop looking at The End before the end of The End arrives, and to stop reading The End before you read the end, as the stories that end in The End that began in The Bad Beginning are beginning to end now.

Did you get all that?

While we’ve been trying to get our heads around all of this the Baudelaires have been gathering apples and trying to cross the partially flooded coastal shelf. When they called out to the colonists that they have the cure to the poison, Kit called back that she thought she was going into labour. Well, that’s just what they need right now, isn’t it?

Kit, it appears, has tried to tell the islanders how to cure the fungus but they’ve decided to take their chances on the outrigger instead. The colonists aren’t interested in the Baudelaires since they were the ones who got them into the situation, after all they brought Olaf and the Medusoid Mycelium to the island with them. This is rather stretching things slightly, but the colonists are all doped up on coconut cordial so I don’t think they’re thinking too straight.

Ishmael’s made the decision to leave and not to listen to a thing the Baudelaires say. Since he’s blamed all the problems of the island on them he can’t go having them showing up now and solving them all. Sunny pleads with him ‘In media res!’ which Violet translates as ‘The Medusoid Mycelium was around before we were born, and our parents prepared for its arrival by adding horseradish to the roots of the apple tree.’

Klaus meanwhile is begging Ishmael to tell the colonists the whole story but Ishmael doesn’t want to do that. It’s better that they die rather than learn the truth and cause another schism. Ishmael’s planning on travelling to the horseradish factory on Lousy Lane, despite what the Baudelaires are trying to tell them about the speed at which the Medusoid Mycelium acts. Ishmael seems to be less affected by the fungus than the other islanders are, I’m guessing perhaps because of the fact that he’s been eating the apples and has the cure already in his system. Otherwise, plot hole!

The children don’t want to see their friend Friday die, so Sunny tries to get her to take an apple. Perhaps if the islanders see one of them feeling better after eating an apple, the rest will want to try one as well. Friday almost takes it as well, but her mother pulls her back. Then Ishmael goes one step further and grabs the stockpot full of apples. And that’s how the apples come to be floating in the water.

And Sunny figures out why Ishmael is doing okay. I was right.

Just like that the outrigger is off and the children are torn; do they stay and help Kit have her baby, or do they go after the outrigger to save the colonists, or do they split up? Klaus makes the decision to stay because Kit needs them and the islanders have made their decision… except they haven’t really, Ishmael made the decision and then the islanders were drugged and bullied into doing what he wanted.

Sunny is apparently of a similar mind as me, she says ‘Kontiki’ meaning ‘There’s no way they’ll survive the journey’. Despite her willingness to kill Olaf, she’s none too pleased at the prospect of all those people dying out at sea. Luckily the Incredibly Deadly Viper is on her side though, bringing the people on the outrigger and apple which will be able to see them through the journey (as long as they take it in turns to have bites of the apple until they get to the horseradish factory). Of course we’ll never know whether this is what they actually do. Perhaps they didn’t survive, but Snicket’s the sort of person who would probably tell us if they didn’t, so let’s just pretend that they did.

And that’s where we’ll leave things for today. Check back tomorrow morning for the final bit of this chapter.

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