Friday, 24 April 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: The End, Chapter 13.2

Are you visiting through the A to Z Challenge and wondering where today’s post is? It’s here.

As I mentioned yesterday, Chapter Thirteen of The End is really long, so I decided to split it across two posts to keep it from becoming too long and unwieldy. In the first part of this chapter we watched the islanders flee the island after refusing to take any of the bitter apples from the Baudelaires. Now we’ll wrap things up with this book.

What Happens?

Kit can’t take any of the apples because they’ll harm her baby, and she can’t get down off the book raft because she’s in labour. She tells the children a little bit about how she came to be on the book raft as well as what happened to the Widdershins and the Quagmires. The children are unable to get her down from the raft, but Olaf does briefly show up and help the children, before dying. And so the children are left alone to help Kit deliver her baby.

Thoughts as I read:

No picture seeing as we’re picking this up halfway through the chapter and now we’re back to Kit who is very much in labour right now but who can’t take an apple because the hybrid is harmful to unborn babies. Kit then apologises to the children for taking them to the Hotel Denouement instead of reuniting them with the Quagmires. And despite being is labour and apparently suffering from the ill effects of the Medusoid Mycelium, Kit still feels the need to fill them in on some other stuff which I’m glad about because I still have questions that need to be answered and we’re running out of time.

It turns out that Quigley was reunited with his brother and sister in the self-sustaining hot air mobile home, while Kit was reunited with Captain Widdershins, Fiona and Fernald. The eagles popped the balloons holding up the hot air mobile home but everyone survived, despite crashing into the Queequeg. But Kit’s not sure what happened next because a massive question mark shaped object rose out of the water.

I was going to refer to this as The Great Unknown which I’m guess I’m remembering from the last time I read this because that’s exactly what Kit’s brother called it. Kit meanwhile had to make a Vaporetto of Favourite Detritus, a.k.a. a makeshift boat made out of your favourite things. Hence Kit’s book boat. Kit managed to get on board but everyone else was swallowed by the Great Unknown.

Kit continues to feel guilty about not being able to save the others but then moves on to hoping Dewey will be able to forgive him when she next sees him. Sunny decides that the best time to tell Kit the truth about Dewey is right now, while she is in labour on top of a massive stack of books and possibly dying of Medusoid Mycelium.

There is a kind of crying I hope you have not experienced, and it is not just crying about something terrible that has happened, but a crying for all of the terrible things that have happened, not just to you but to everyone you know and to everyone you don’t know and even the people you don’t want to know, a crying that cannot be diluted by a brave deed or a kind word, but only by someone holding you as your shoulders shake and your tears run down your face.

It’s all very, very sad right now.

The children have been trying to push the raft back to the shore but Kit tells them to stop. She’s got nothing left to live for and this is all getting quite dark for a children’s book series. Violet uses this opportunity to give Kit the ring with the letter R back to Kit. She seems to know that she’s going to die because she starts telling the Baudelaires to name her baby after one of their parents. Considering we know Mr Baudelaire was Bertrand, this should tell us once and for all what Mrs Baudelaire’s name was; all signs point towards it being Beatrice.

Random fact, this seems to point towards the Baudelaires being Jewish. Reading online I discovered that naming someone after someone who has died is a Jewish custom. I’ve got a funny feeling Daniel Handler is Jewish.

At last they get the raft onto the shore but they have no way to get Kit down off the stack of books and there isn’t time for Violet to invent something. And their all alone… well, not quite, because who should crawl out of Ishmael’s tent but Count Olaf. He’s not looking good.

Violet doesn’t care about the fact that he’s evil and dying and all that jazz. She wants him to help them. They even offer him apples which he turns done; he wants the Baudelaire fortune which is silly because it’s not like the children brought it with them. Sunny points out ‘Mcguffin’ meaning ‘Your scheming means nothing in this place’ and Olaf announces that he thinks he might just stay on the island.

Despite the fact that Kit is in labour and needs help kind of like five minutes ago, the children continue pestering Olaf for help, pleading with him to do something good for once. He’s not overly keen on helping, and he also seems to imply that he wasn’t behind the fire that killed their parents. What’s interesting is that Olaf is determined to do nothing, until he hears that it’s Kit who needs his help. Then he springs into action, grabbing an apple and taking a ‘savage bite’.

What’s more, there’s blood on Olaf’s chest. He’s obviously been injured but he doesn’t seem to care any more. Kit is in danger and he’s going to help. And what comes next is even more unexpected. He gives Kit a kiss. On the lips. That’s a turn up for the book.

Sunny sums it up quite well when she says ‘Yuck’.

“I told you,” Count Olaf said weakly. “I told you I’d do that one last time.”
”You’re a wicked man,” Kit said. “Do you think one kind act will make me forgive you for your failings?”

Well Kit doesn’t seem too impressed by this, but she’s not slapping him or anything. Perhaps she’s just lacking the energy to slap him. Though based on the tender way Kit reaches out and touches Olaf’s ankle, then quotes poetry at him, I’m not sure if there’s more going on between them. We’ll never know, unfortunately, because at this moment Olaf takes his last gasp and expires.

A few moments later Kit closes her eyes, her daughter is born and Kit dies. It all happens quite quickly and while the birth of the baby girl is happy, it is all also very sad.

And so the children have no choice but to get on with things; Violet invents stuff for a baby, Klaus researches baby care and makes note of how the baby is developing, Sunny uses the wild sheep to make milk and food for the baby. They also cultivated bitter apple trees to help keep the island protected as well as reading the island’s chronicle. They add to it themselves as well, presumably this is where Lemony Snicket has been getting his information on them.

And they’d buried Olaf and Kit on the island, the latter of which they keep tended with flowers. And that’s where the story ends, even though it isn’t really the end.

Or is it?

We get a little peak at what Brett Helquist looks like in the author and illustrator bios at the end of the book. Normally there’s a photo of Snicket (where you can’t see his face) and a sketch of Helquist. This time they’re the other way around. And there’s also a hint that we’re not quite at the end of the book yet.

That’s because we’re not:

To My Kind Editor:
The end of THE END can be found at the end of THE END.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

Check back this afternoon to see what this means.

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