Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (The Bad Beginning): Chapters 6 to 9 – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

Count Olaf shows an act of kindness, and asks of the children to join a play of his. A gesture which, at one time or another, seems to be an olive branch in order for their next few years together to go smoothly. However, once the rose colored glasses are removed, both Violet and Klaus remember who they are dealing with.

Chapter Summaries (with Commentary)

Chapter 6: “[…] I would like to have you participate in my next play.”

Count Olaf wants the kids to participate in his craft, to become a real family. Yeah right… Something fishy is going on and it all begins with some oatmeal and raspberries. However, maybe after Mr. Poe noted how unhappy the kids are, maybe Count Olaf is at least trying to be friendly? It’s an idea Klaus is warming up to, but Violet is a bit too old to even attempt to be naïve. Something is up, but she just can’t fathom what exactly. So, being that the orphans do not live in the age of the internet, they decided to seek out books which could turn lead their questions into answers.

Chapter 7: All his life, Klaus had believed that if you read enough books you could solve any problem, but now he wasn’t so sure.

As has been covered, Justice Strauss’ library has become a sanctuary for the Baudelaire children and, with Count Olaf surely up to something, they hope her vast, though not gargantuan, library could help them. Unfortunately for Kalus however, just as he had a moment of thinking perhaps they were over thinking the whole situation, now it seems Violet feels that way. As for why? Well, it seems she is growing tired of always being on the defensive. Which isn’t to capable of going on the offensive, mentally, with Count Olaf, but it seems the desire to just be a child once more are starting to come in. Plus, what harm could a play do? Even if it is named The Marvelous Marriage.

Well, for Klaus, it seems despite his sister ready to just participate in the play, if just to keep the peace, the sudden change in Count Olaf’s attitude just doesn’t feel right. What especially doesn’t help things is Count Olaf’s associate, with the hook hands, shows up and is ready to snatch up the Baudelaire children immediately, on orders from Count Olaf. Sending Klaus into a frantic state for while his sister may have entered a state of passiveness, seemingly such a move was ultimately foolish.

Chapter 8: Nuptial Law

With each passing chapter one has to wonder who is Count Olaf? Not in terms of the man we know as of now, this weird, conniving father of the Baudelaire children, but who he was before they came into the picture. Heck, who he is, and what he says, when they aren’t around. He seems to be some kind of leader of this troupe, yet who knows how he assumed such a position? Plus, what is with all the eyes? These are many questions left unanswered, but one thing is for sure: Klaus has figured out Count Olaf’s plan. He plans to legally wed Violet in order to get the family fortune, and play it all off as part of a play.

Sadly, though, as Lemony Snicket constantly says, this book is not a happy tale. As can be seen with Count Olaf, overhearing them and entering the room as they make a ruckus. Over what? Well, the fact that they have figured Count Olaf’s plan, but can’t find little sister Sunny.

Chapter 9: “For children who read so much, you two are remarkably unintelligent.”

It seemingly is too late. With Sunny up in a bird cage, high up in a tower, with an associate of Count Olaf probably fixing to have her fall, what are the older Baudelaire children to do? Refuse and there goes their little sister but, if they go through with it, Violet will be married to Count Olaf, legally, and their fortune will be his to spend to his heart’s content. Decisions, decisions. Well, what can two children, with lots of book smarts, little street smarts, and not a penny in their pockets to do? Give in. There are no other options and this pleases Count Olaf for after all the airs and graces the Baudelaire children have shown, they have been outwitted and their attempts to get help have all failed. Mr. Poe isn’t going to do nothing for them, they are left in a state of hopelessness in which they don’t believe Justice Strauss will pull them from, and now all they are left with are their minds. Their, once thought, brilliant young minds.

Highlights

There is something about presenting hope, real, almost solid, hope, and then dashing it away. Now, granted, Lemony Snicket repeatedly says this isn’t a happy tale, nor will it have a happy ending, and yet when he takes a chapter or so off from saying this, you think for a moment he might have been wrong. But then, every time it seems the Baudelaire children have gotten an upper hand, so comes a sometimes literal smack putting them back into a child’s place. Leaving you constantly unsure if Count Olaf, in the end, may actually triumph and not only get these children’s fortune, but take their lives as well.

Low Points

While patchy memories of the movie help beef things up for me a bit, I must admit that sometimes as I imagine the dreaded Count Olaf, and his troupe, everyone else in comparison seems a bit dull. We have these highly capable kids who, if this was any other book, would triumph. Yet, unlike kids in other books, all they have to make you sympathize with them is your traditional: “our parents are dead,” background. Which, sometimes, doesn’t feel enough. For, as noted in the first 5 chapters covered, a part of me sometimes feels more for Count Olaf than them. I mean, you have to really wonder what drives a man of Count Olaf’s age to really go after children, and even threaten their life. To the point you almost want his to succeed, for even though the children aren’t necessarily horrible in anyway, they certainly have lost my interest. Mostly because, as I have said for many other productions, there is a sort of Batman effect going on. We have dull, rich, protagonist, and a slew of villains who perhaps are the sole reasons worth sticking around. Which isn’t to say the book is bad, or a bore, but simply the protagonists.

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