- “Alright who pressed the self destruct button? ”
- “I can soundly assure you he’s 90% dead.”
- “Does anyone have a spare blowtorch.”
- “If we’re about to die right now I want you the know…”
- “So I may have used poison instead of sugar.”
- “What if I kissed you right now?”
- “You know what I changed my mind I’m not having kids.”
- “I probably should have though about the consequences of selling my soul first.”
- “There’s a perfectly good reason for all of these kittens.”
- “Don’t act like you’ve never seen a dead person talking before.”
- “Put your hands somewhere useful.”
- “So I’m either in hell or the heaters been left on for too long.”
- “I told you this would be a bad idea.”
“I want a little sugar in my bowl”: narrative deconstruction in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”
Earlier this year (Link), we presented the first half
of our takedown on the sugar bowl mystery. Now that we’ve gotten all the plot
elements out of the way, it’s time to approach the solution in on a literary
level. If there is, indeed, a solution to the sugar bowl mystery, what kind of
solution a writer such as Daniel Handler would choose? Studying the series on a
more thematical level gives very interesting results. If there’s one thing “A
Series Of Unfortunate” does well, it’s making sure that the narrative fits the
narration, that the plot fits the style (and vice-versa). Lemony Snicket uses
absurdist humor, and his characters live in an absurd world.
We can’t prove that the sugar bowl really is
empty, of course. What we can prove, however, is that an empty sugar bowl
wonderfully suits the hallmarks that made “A Series Of Unfortunate Events” such a
for anon, who requested #2 with adrinette! i hope you enjoy this, lovely ♥
It was a play.
It was just a play.
“Do you believe in soulmates?”
It was just play-acting for the crowd at their backs, and it meant nothing.
And if he told himself that enough times, Adrien thought as Marinette reeled him in with her eyes alone, then maybe, one day, he’d start to believe it.
He didn’t have ‘one day’ though; this was the one and only showing of the play the drama club had worked on all year, and like hell was Adrien going to fall out of character just because Marinette was spectacularly talented.
He somehow remained stoic enough to pass for ‘Felix’ as Marinette tiptoed up to him, those blue eyes glowing radioactive in the stage lights.
“Do you ever just… meet someone?” she murmured, just loud enough to be picked up by their microphones, making every hair on his scalp stand straight up as she trailed her fingertips from the corner of his jaw to his chin. “And think… ‘I was waiting for you’?”
Everyone stared at the youngest Baudelaire, who was wearing an expression so unfathomable that even her siblings could not tell what she was thinking. “One more thing?” Count Olaf repeated, staring down at Sunny. “What could that be?”
The two eldest Baudelaires looked at their sister, and felt a cold ripple in their stomachs, as if a stone had somehow been dropped straight into the siblings. It is very difficult to make one’s way in this world without being wicked at one time or another, when the world’s way is so wicked to begin with. When unfathomable situations arose in the lives of the Baudelaires, and they did not know what to do, the children often felt as if they were balancing very delicately on top of something very fragile and very dangerous, and that if they weren’t careful they might fall a very long way into a sea of wickedness. Violet felt this delicate balance when she offered to help Count Olaf escape, even though it meant that she and her siblings could escape, too, and Klaus felt this delicate balance when he helped Olaf unlock the laundry room door, even though the sugar bowl was not to be found inside. And of course, all three Baudelaire orphans felt this delicate balance when they thought about Dewey Denouement, and that terrible instant when the weapon in their hands brought about his death. But as Sunny answered Count Olaf’s question, the clock of the Hotel Denouement struck two Wrong!s , and her siblings wondered if they had lost their balance at last and were tumbling away from all the noble people in the world.
“Burn down hotel,” Sunny said, and all three Baudelaire orphans felt as if they were falling.
– The Penultimate Peril
I was rereading The Penultimate Peril last night for nostalgia sake and enjoying every bit of poison dart ever mentioned (because i still marveled at how Daniel Handler hinted this plot point without ever directly stating the whole truth - typical, i know, but i’ll always love him for it), breaking my heart over Dewey’s death (and how the Baudelaires’ must felt at that moment), and loving how smart Sunny Baudelaire was.
I mean, about the ‘burn down hotel’ part.
The way she figured out they needed to burn the down hotel before her siblings, they way she realized what Kit Snicket wanted (manipulated) them into doing before her siblings did.
I mean, I love that Violet’s inventor skills and how she got the boat off the roof, and I love how Klaus deducted that the sugar bowl wasn’t where Olaf thought it was, and how he cracked the code, but on the other hand, we already seen Violet and Klaus practicing their inventing/research skills countless times before. I admire them for it, but I’m even more in awe of Sunny’s quick thinking - it’s not exactly one of the VFD-skills/hobbies (inventing / research / cartography / fungus) that she’d practiced for many years, and yet she still reached this conclusion of what they needed to do so fast.
maybe you’re the girl on the bus with holes on her jeans that started on accident but she pulls at them when he speaks too loud and now there’s more skin than denim. “isn’t she cold?” you think, and the answer is “yes”
maybe you’re the one in a big red sweater, white hair halo so bright i once confused you with the moon, but you’re not yet a mother. i wonder if your softness is all deception, if your fuzz will sting my fingertips like a toxic caterpillar i found on the playground slide
maybe you’re the boy i stand behind in line at the grocery store. you apologize for the oranges spilled across the conveyer belt. i wonder how many you eat in a day. do you let them rot on your countertop? do you peel so many, the citrus lingers in your fingerprints? i want to say that when i was a child, i ate so many tangerines, my mother swears my skin turned orange. but i don’t
i think i saw you in the forest behind the school, but you ran so fast i only caught a glimpse of silver and brown. i could’ve passed you a thousand times and never known except for the goosebumps on my arms, but i get those a lot. it’s hard to separate normal from extraordinary sometimes. i worry i might mix up poison and sugar one day, and i’d never get to wonder if i saw you again
Mike pulls the phone back, checking to see if it was in fact who the phone claimed it to be.
Ginny eyeing him curiously in the passenger seat.
“Me?” He asks, confused at the request.
“Yeah, you. Look, I just have a ton of things to do, and I know that you’re already out playing chauffeur to Ginny, I just thought, maybe, you’d like to pay me back for keeping my mouth shut,” she taunts, as if privy to a secret even he’s unaware of.
“Keeping your mouth shut about what?” And the moment he asks, he knows it’s a mistake, because Evelyn’s voice carries, and the next words out of her mouth are likely to reach the curious ears of the passenger beside him.
“You know what I’m talking about, Michael,” she warns in her serious voice, the one usually reserved for the twins and her husband, an apparently now him when it comes to Evelyn’s best friend.
He glances over at Ginny, who’s looking at the window with a soft grin. The details of this thing Evelyn claims to know but won’t tell written all over her face, but admitting that, right here, right now not sounding like the most appealing option.
“Yeah, yeah, we can pick them up,” he couples them together, convincing himself it was more out of convenience than reading into the fact that they’d become a ‘we’ more and more these days.
“Change of plans?” She asks with a shake of her head, her curls blowing in her face at the wind as she looks at him, framing her in sunshine.
“Uhh, yeah, I took a part-time job as an uber driver,” he claims, but the smirk on his face gives way to the annoyance being nothing more than an act.
“Ooo-ber,” she mocks him, and its his turn to shake his head.
“I believe they threw things at him when that was done,” he reminds her, and she laughs.
“I knew you were watching without me!” She declares, her recent injury and the off season leading their boredom to stray onto a dark path of binge watching.
He pinks in embarrassment, until realization dawns on him with a raise of her brow. “You would have to have been watching without me to know that…”
“I can’t help it if you fall asleep in the middle of an episode, old man,” she defends herself.
“Sure, Ginny,” he says, and he doesn’t miss the flicker of a flash in her eyes every single time he uses her first name. Even now, living together as roommates, spending most, if not all of their time together, the frequency with which he finds himself using her given name, the feeling, the longing, the want from that night never leaves them.
As the boys pile in, their backpacks thrown against the back of his seat, fist bumping Aunt Ginny with her good hand as they lean over, he blanks on what he’s supposed to do now.
He looks at Ginny, always at ease with them.
“So, uhh, boys…what do you want to do?” He broaches, and he feels his ears getting warmer under the stare of Ginny.
The three of them make quick eye contact, the gleam of excitement present in all of them, as they simultaneously shout, “ICE CREAM!”
Ginny gives a punch in the air in victory, the boys energy matched with her own, before she twists back around to him.
“I didn’t realize I was picking up three children,” he teases.
And he can hear the laughter from the back as she sticks her tongue out at him with a wink.
“Just drive, Ooo-ber,” she teases.
“Just for that, tonight’s pick is mine,” he winks back.
She scrunches up her face in a slight pout, before conceding.
“Fine, but you’re getting sprinkles on your ice cream.”
“Why don’t you just kill me now, it’ll be easier than slowly poisoning me with all that sugar.”
She places her hand on his shoulder, and he swears, he can feel the tingle racing down his arm.
“Now we can’t do that, can we boys? We need our driver,” he hears agreement, and declarations of all kinds of odd combinations of ice cream that they plan to get.
“That’s all I’m good for, huh?”
She looks at him, tilting her head with a knowing grin, her eyes tracing over him.
I’m so sick of this? Everyone (rightfully) raves about Carrie Underwood’s hit anthem “before he cheats” but completely ignores her later cheating revenge bops “two black Cadillacs” which describes an unwitting mistress and wife banding together to run over a cheating husband (female solidarity) and “church bells” which describes the hero of the story poisoning her abusive sugar daddy (rights for women, also she’s a lesbian). This has been an educational post, and I hope these two bangers get the appreciation they deserve.
rhys and ai jack go on an adventure in the jungle.
Rhys stumbled back, nearly tripping over a branch hidden in the mud in his haste to get back. The gun in his hands dropped from numb fingers, and he stared down at his now empty hands. They were trembling, he noted with a kind of detached distaste.
“Hey dum-dum, you’re standing knee-deep in mud.” Jack’s voice cut through the thick air of the jungle, caustic as ever. “That gun you just dropped cost about a million bucks to prototype, and it sure as hell ain’t frigging mud-proof. Just pointing that out.”
Letting out the breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding, Rhys bent over, and gingerly picked the gun up. It took a few tries, because the barrel was hot, and his fingers weren’t responding like he wanted them to. A loud snort from behind him made Jack’s opinion pretty clear, but he ignored it. Setting his teeth, he flexed the fingers of his left hand, and tried again. This time, it worked. He picked up the dripping gun, and shook it off before wrapping it in a handkerchief, careful not to get any mud into his right hand.
“Is he dead?” He asked, once he was sure his voice was steady.
There was a staticky crackle as Jack’s blue form shifted to stand in front of him. Walking on the mud, of course, because what were the laws of physics to an AI? Rhys lifted his eyes to meet Jack’s gaze.
“The bandit you just shot three times in the chest and twice in the head. That bandit. You want me to check if he’s dead?”
“Yeah. Just. Do it, please?” Rhys looked away, around at the jungle swamps around them as he tucked the gun into the back of his trousers. He needed a shower. Maybe ten. And he wasn’t even going to get started on his shoes.
“Alright sweetheart, but it’ll cost ya.” Jack’s form disappeared. He reappeared less than five seconds later, arms crossed and a sardonic expression on his face. “I can soundly assure you that he’s 90% dead. You might wanna go there and put another clip into his head, just for funsies.”
“….No, thanks.” Rhys stepped through Jack’s form, ignoring his high-pitched ooh, ticklish to keep slogging through the mud. He very firmly did not look at the slumped over body a few feet over.
“Why the down face, clown face?” Jack floated on next to him, casually passing through branches and muddy tree-stumps that Rhys had to claw his way through.
Rhys didn’t answer.
“Hey, listen. He was just a bandit. No big deal. You’ve rid the world of yet another piece of trash. And you did it with style! Five shots, all hitting? I’m proud of you, kiddo.”
Rhys slid a glance over. Jack was floating on, hands clasped behind his back. At Rhys’ look, Jack turned, and gave him a wink.
“C’mon, admit it. It felt good, didn’t it?”
Rhys went back to staring at the path. The map projected from his right palm blinked slowly, indicating that they were not far from their destination.
“Don’t get all coy on me now kitten, admit it.” Jack’s voice dropped, taking on that tone that brought a weird mix of dread and anticipation in Rhys’ gut. “Later. Once we’ve got that eridian fragment. Show me just how much you liked it.”
Rhys didn’t answer Jack, but he didn’t need to. The gun burned, warm against the small of his back.