Tuesday, October 24, 2006

37. The End

by Lemony Snicket

So I read The End. It was…not the end? The idea behind this chapter in the series is that no story really has a beginning or an end, just different parts of it, and I respect that idea and I understand that it leaves the Baudelaires’ story open for revisiting, but there were things I really wanted to know that are still a mystery to me. I suppose it would have been disappointing if the series had been tied up all nice and neat at the end, but there would have been a good amount of satisfaction gained from uncovering some of the mysteries Lemony Snicket has created over thirteen books.

Here’s what I want to know: What the heck is VFD?!?!?!

That’s all I want to know. We’ve gotten so many versions of what these initials stand for, but we still don’t know what the name of the organization is or what, exactly, they do. They keep the world peaceful and quiet, yes, but in what way? Are they like CIA agents or police or philanthropists or what? Why are children recruited and why are they stolen from their parents? Olaf was most certainly the root of the schism, but why? Was he too enamored of his own power and did he try to turn VFD into his own dictatorship? Why did the Baudelaire parents kill Olaf’s parents with poison darts? If Olaf caused the schism, why were the Baudelaire orphans delivered to his care? What role does Mr. Poe play in this? Why is Lemony Snicket feigning his own death? Does this mean the Baudelaire parents could still be alive? What would cause them to leave their children?

Okay, so I guess I want to know more than just what VFD stands for, but I mean, come on. Even The X-Files gave us more answers when they met their end. We knew when the aliens would be coming and that, yes, Mulder and Scully hooked up.

There are two things we know for sure. We know what’s in the sugar bowl (the Vessel for Disaccharides): horseradish. So if anyone got their hands on the Medusoid Mycelium (as you remember from The Grim Grotto), they would have a way of saving themselves. Although, why people couldn’t go to a grocery store and just buy some horseradish is beyond me, but I guess that’s too easy of a solution. We also know that Beatrice is Mrs. Baudelaire. We know this because VFD has a tradition of naming their children after members that have passed away. In a large chronicle of VFD events found on the island on which the siblings become stranded, Violet learns that her mother would have named her Lemony if she were a boy. After Kit Snicket gives birth and dies shortly thereafter, the children name the child after their mother, whose name is also on the boat previously named Olaf, previously named Carmelita, which washed up on the shores of some isolated land. That boat’s name is Beatrice.

Oh yes, the Baudelaire’s ended up stranded on an island and where there were “Others” who took them into their community and this crazy hatch under a tree with library and all the herbs and spices you could think of. I half expected there to be mysterious smoke and a monster who evaporates when you stare at it and polar bears. Running out of ideas, Snicket?

Anyway, I guess I do need to read The Beatrice Letters to get the full story. Or, a fuller story. Maybe a neat and tidy ending would have been boring, but it would have been better than ending and making us wonder if that’s all there is. And I know I need to read through them all again to pick up on all the little hints and literary references Snicket has so deftly scattered throughout. I fear it’ll be awhile before I have time for that, but when I think about, this is a children’s series and as a child there were few things more fun than rereading books and finding new things with each review. Perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps it’s not the destination of the thirteenth book, but the journey of getting there. Are did I have fun getting there? Yes…I believe I can say I did.

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