Friday, December 28, 2018

"Ambition had a price..." | Eternity Code 10-Epilogue | Artemis Fowl Read Along

Welcome back, Fowldom, to the Artemis Fowl Read Along! Apologies for the day delay; spotty Internet that must be due to the magma flares. But no fear! This week we'll still wrap up with some thoughts on the finale of The Eternity Code.

"...I think we're getting to know one another too well."
Holly says this after laser-cutting a section of ceiling and letting it drop to the floor knowing that any sound or false move could alert Spiro and bring the whole plan down around her pointy ears. 'Won't that make a lot of noise?' Foaly asks in her ear. 'I doubt it,' Holly replies, without concern. Because she's anticipated Artemis; specifically, she's anticipated that Artemis will anticipate her and, by extension, anticipate her anticipating him.
I love this moment because it demonstrates that -despite their relationship's rocky start- Holly and Artemis are so familiar and comfortable with each other's skills and abilities that they are a near-unstoppable duo. And that wouldn't happen without trust in each other. If Holly hadn't trusted Artemis to anticipate her, she would have had to find another way in, and maybe there wasn't. If Artemis hadn't trusted Holly to rescue him, who knows if he ever would've gotten out?
This is a small moment in the scope of the book, but it really illustrates the leaps and bounds with which their relationship has developed -and it gives us a glimpse of what could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Until you remember Artemis is getting mind-wiped at the end-goal.
Yeah. Except for that.

"Well, Foaly. Astound me."
Aaaaand can we all just appreciate the bromance that is Artemis and Foaly's relationship? They are the only ones who can truly appreciate each other's skills and intellects and don't pretend they don't enjoy trying to outwit each other (because we know they both love a challenge).

"What do you want me to do? Cut it off and take it with us?"
Ahh, this is when Artemis gives Holly the finger. Well, makes her take the finger, anyway.
Before, when I said Artemis and Holly were getting along so well, trusting each other? This is where that breaks down again, because Artemis didn't trust Holly with the entire plan. And in Artemis' defense, he had a valid reason: she might not have gone along with it. Then again, even Foaly admits that one thumb is nothing compared to getting the Cube out of Spiro's hand, so maybe Artemis should have been a little more trusting.
"...and I thought you'd changed. The commander was right. There's no changing human nature."
This was not how magic was supposed to be used. Artemis was manipulating the People to his own ends, once again.
Ouch. And I mean...ouch. Whether Holly recognizes it or not, Artemis is trying to do the right thing. Maybe not entirely well, but he's trying.

"Yeah, well, maybe you made me too much like you, Fowl. Aurum Est Potestas. Gold Is Power. I'm just doing what you taught me."
First of all: Foaly gets in a good dig at Artemis for all the trouble the boy's greed has caused the People over the years.
Secondly: Artemis and Foaly didn't rehearse this banter at all. Remember, this wasn't the original plan. This is the Plan B everyone hoped they wouldn't have to resort to. And besides that, Artemis didn't talk to Foaly about this plan at all; the first time he speaks to the centaur about the heist is after Holly rescues him. Holly was the one who recruited Foaly while Artemis was already in Spiro's clutches. Judging by Arty's fear that Foaly's attitude as the voice of the C-Cube would blow their cover, the plan wasn't even for the 'C-Cube' to have a personality.
I would pay to see a stand-up Artemis & Foaly show. Just saying.

Artemis smiled his best vampire smile.
"The better to see you with, Spiro."
CHILLS. Every time. This moment gives me chills no matter how many times I read it. It's just so Artemis and so perfect.

"But every now and then a male comes along with such a talent for hunting that he earns the right to use the name. I am that male. Artemis the hunter. I hunted you."

Will you take your chance to be a hero? To make a difference.
The entire book, Artemis has been struggling with the questions that his father posed to him, about giving up his criminal ways to help make the world a better place. And it has been a struggle, one made even more fierce when faced down with Spiro, a man who says Arty reminds him of a younger version of himself, a man who is the image of that exact criminal who doesn't care about the rest of the world, the exact thing Artemis' father doesn't want to see him become. Several times throughout the book, Artemis is unwilling compared to and fighting a comparison between himself and Spiro.
And this is the moment he ends the struggles and makes the decision to be like his father. To be a hero.
Albeit a well-paid one.
Hey, he's a work in progress.

"Never mess with a boy genius."

"...Because Butler is coming."
I like how, on top of the whole heist and impending doom to the world and the People alike, Artemis takes enough time of his busy schemes to butter Arno up for Butler's revenge. How sweet it is.

"...Maybe it would be better to let these memories go. Give the fairies some piece of mind."
"These memories are part of who I am," responded Artemis.
This I find an interesting talk between Juliet and Artemis, because they both make a good point. I think Artemis, smart as he is, realizes there's a decent chance he is going to revert back into the criminal mastermind he was when he decided to abduct a fairy -and he doesn't want to go back to being that person. His concern about the mind-wipe has always been for the psychological effects it will have on him. In a last ditch attempt to convince Root, he even tells them: "If you take away the memories and influences of the People...I might become that person again. Is that what you really want?"
We can easily surmise it's not what Artemis wants. He has finally made his choice. He saw the great toll his own greed had on his family and his friends; Butler was killed and the People's very existence was threatened. He took his chance to be the hero and decided to join his father's noble pursuits and leave the possibility of becoming a Spiro himself behind him.
The People are responsible for not only encouraging and influencing this change in Artemis, but are directly responsible for returning to Artemis the three people who do directly influence it: his parents and Butler.
Artemis is right to fear what lies ahead if he's robbed of these memories. The People essentially made him who he is today. And now the People have taken it away.
The Eternity Code closes with a single, heavy line: The world will remember the name of Artemis Fowl.
So much for the Psych Brotherhood and their so-called 'slim' chance of reversion.

It's been a fun ride up to here! That's why I want to close out The Eternity Code (aka, the Holy Trinity of Artemis Fowl) and 2018 with a final little piece of insight.

Awhile back I found this very interesting comment on Artemis Fowl Confidential's website:
Thank you, Veronica, wherever you are, because I ADORE this thought and it had never occurred to me before. Reading through the series this time around, this idea is always in the back of my mind. And you're so right! I think this question of Ambition vs Friendship is especially prominent here in The Eternity Code, because Artemis has no learned this lesson the hard way. His ambition -to create the C Cube and make millions- cost Butler his life (temporarily) and youth (permanently), it cost Artemis his blossoming friendships with Holly, Foaly, and Mulch, and it cost him the positive influence (and handy tech advantages) of the People. He manipulated all of these people for his own means and, now, his ambition has even cost him this valuable lesson and his decision to change his life for the better.

I have said for years that The Arctic Incident has always been my favorite Artemis Fowl book but, guys, I gotta admit: The Eternity Code might just have superseded that.

So going into The Opal Deception and 2019, I'm very excited to see how this idea continues to expand. Happy New Years, all; and stay Fowl!

January's reading schedule for The Opal Deception will be as follows:
Jan 1-10: Chapters 1-3
Jan 11-17: Chapters 4-6
Jan 18-24: Chapters 7-9
Jan 25-31: Chapters 10-Epilogue

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