Thursday, December 20, 2018

Commentary on Chapters 4-9 | Artemis Fowl Read Along

Time to play catch-up! Apologies to all for missing last week's update; today's will be a double, so I'll be back on track. (That's always a good way to finish off a year, isn't it?)

For chapters 4-9, here's my random thoughts, favorite lines, and potentially (though probably not) deep and insightful commentary. Let's begin.

Her big brother was very proud.
As Colfer is giving us a little background on Juliet Butler's childhood and upbringing, I'm wondering: What about her parents? We have no mention of the Butler siblings' parents -the only current family we're aware of was their Uncle, Artemis Fowl I's bodyguard, who died aboard the Fowl Star. It could be supposed that their parents are dead, therefore Butler is left to raise his (considerably) younger sister; it could just as easily be supposed that their parents are also in the 'family business' and are simply too busy guarding their own Principals, which got me wondering, how exactly do Butler families function? Do they live together, parents and kids, or apart as bodyguards to their respective Principals?
Let's think about it: by the age of ten, Butler children are either enrolled at Madam Ko's Academy and guard a low-risk Principal or go into service for wealthy families -which means by then their parents aren't a part of their everyday lives, which seems a bit more like fulfilling a legacy than having a family, which comes with its own complications. It also means that it's probably not an easy thing for any given Butler to find a spouse and keep with tradition. But given the closeness of Juliet with her brother and the fondness Butler appeared to have for their late Uncle, this 'family tradition' doesn't appear to hamper the relationships and affections of Butler kin.
I wonder if they ever do holidays or family reunions...
It's a winding rabbit trail, but these are the things I ponder for fun.

Obviously Mulch's next employment would be the Mob.

They release Loafers threes hours after a full search and several phones calls to the parish priest in his hometown.
Several phones calls to the parish priest.
Am I the only one who finds this hilarious?

Head of Airport Security: "Alright then, we've been on the phone with the lad's parish priest and he's alright to release now."
Airport Security Lackey: "If you say so, sir. But I thought you'd like to know he threw a security guard and two chairs through the window. In that order."
Head of Airport Security: "..."
Lackey: "..."
Head of Airport Security: "I need to make another phone call."

"It's more difficult than it looks," explained the boy.
I adore this image. Artemis Fowl. Brilliant. Genius. Devious. Can't make a sandwich to save his life.

"Old news to everyone but you, grandpa."
This was the moment Loafers McGuire lost all pity and sympathy. I mean, up until now, he's been enough of a comedic character that we can laugh at him and therefore love him; and he did have to put up with Mulch Diggums over a trans-Atlantic flight, so he has all our pity (and we secretly can't blame him for losing his cool at the airport); but the height of disrespect to Butler? Adding insult to injury? Reminding him and us and everyone that Butler has changed and will never again be able to do all that once he could, breaking our hearts all over again?!
You're as good as gone, Loafers McGuire.

Loafers' relocation is a pretty interesting scene to me, because we get a good look at how the People work and handle their problems, choosing not to 'eliminate' their enemies mob style, but with a memory wipe and relocation. I also like the little touch of the Kenyan warriors attributing these people to the 'earth spirits'. Well played, Colfer; well played.

It was a tough decision. On the one hand, his knowledge of the People was now a large part of Artemis' psychological makeup. On the other, he could no longer put people's lives at risk.
Artemis is cleaning up his own mess and, that he agrees to these terms shows that even though he hasn't fully embraced his father's new ideology, the latter's nobility is certainly rubbing off a lot more. Artemis isn't quite selfless, but he's starting to look after and concern himself with others -very unlike Spiro. And considering just how emphatically Artemis insists he is nothing like that 'cold-blooded killer', I rather suspect Arty is inspecting every one of his actions with a microscope and weighing his motives in careful consideration and comparison against Jon Spiro's.

Was this his natural personality, or the fairy magic? Or a combination of both?
Artemis is contemplating his father's change in behavior and you need to get comfortable. This is a long thought.
This wonderment of Artemis' is a VERY interesting idea, especially coming right afters Loafers' relocation to 'live a productive life', the only thing he feels drawn to, which is obviously a product of the mesmer, not just a mind wipe. Holly's mesmer.
Holly, who was able to cure Angeline's madness and bring her back to her normal self. And I ask myself, how much of that really was Holly magically curing her insanity? Because previously (though I can't find the exact reference now) Holly herself recalling it as particularly difficult because Angeline Fowl wasn't even there; instead of healing her directly, Holly instead left a strong 'magical pick-me-up' behind in the attic, which is what cured Angeline, and anyone who visited the room shortly after would have left whistling. Which sounds to me like it had mainly a mental effect.

So the question is -are either of Artemis' parents simply reverted back to their 'old selves' or did Holly's own traits and beliefs affect them to create new and improved versions?

Okay, all of Artemis Fowl Senior's quotes on page 156 (okay, in the whole book) are gold. But especially this one.
"And what about you, Arty? Will you make the journey with me? When the time comes, will you take your chance to be a hero?"

"Without you by my side, I feel as though one of my limbs is missing."
This phrase Artemis uses to describe the loss of Butler's companionship is a familiar one; we've all heard it, one place or another. This time it really hit home because -though it is a rather common expression- it really is the most accurate. I have been thinking on my late friend a lot through this reading of The Eternity Code, because I remember him saying it was the first villain in Artemis Fowl he could really despise.

"Trust me. I'm a genius."
Just classic, iconic Artemis.

"I never tell anyone exactly how clever I am. They would be too scared."

The 'very cinematic' description of Spiro waiting at O'Hare on page 173 reminds me of Megamind.

Pearson was smart, but Foaly was smarter.
You could replace 'Pearson' with any other name and this statement would still be true.

Don't call me Arty, thought Artemis. My father calls me Artemis.
Here is yet another link and comparison between Artemis Senior and Spiro, both representing the the choice and path that Artemis is currently struggling between -going straight or remaining a criminal. Here Spiro not only represents the path of the criminal but, on a deeper level, that Artemis Senior that was, whom Artemis spent so much energy hoping to please.

A note on Pex and Chips: To this day, my family will still quote -verbatim- the entirety of this pair's deep philosophical discussions pondering the whys and the hows of the world they now. Like nicknames. And horror movies. And deep-fried sushi.

All right, Fowldom; that wraps up today's (and last week's) portions of the read along. Join me next Thursday for the end of The Eternity Code, Chapter 10-Epilogue.

See you then!

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