Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Saddest One of All | Opal Deception 1-3 | Artemis Fowl Read Along

The clones looked fine, but they were basically shells with only enough brain power to run the body's basic functions. They were missing the spark of life.

I'm pointing this bit out to save for a later date; specifically, when we get to The Last Guardian, because Opal's clone does come back into play a little. It's been long enough since I read that book that I can't remember quite how all the pieces fit. So this is a reminder for me to compare the two, when the time comes, and a reminder for you to help remind me. ;)

It occurs to me that Opal Koboi is to Artemis Fowl novels what Number 1 is to Bond Films. Now that I think about, all throughout The Arctic Incident Colfer refers to Opal several times with cat-like traits (purring, curled cat-like on her Hoverboy), which correlates rather nicely with the fact that Number 1 is usually seen villainously stroking a fluffy white cat. Coincidence? I think not.

Pascal Herve is not, if you were curious, a real life painter. I was kind of hoping that maybe all but the 16th rumored Fairy Thief might be real paintings, but alas. Pascal Herve is, however, the name of a French cyclist and we know that Eoin does love to share names across his universes; maybe he's a cycling fan?

"This outfit is preposterous."
I love Artemis trying to play the part of a normal, modern teenager. He's such a cranky old man, griping about these 'brainless young kids, these days.'

Perhaps next time.
Leaving the bank vault with his prize, Artemis gloats at the rest of the security boxes. Ahh, for a criminal mastermind, the world is filled with such wonderful possibilities, isn't it?

For the first time Artemis smiled sincerely, and for some reason the sight sent shivers down Bertholt's spine. "Do you know something, Bertholt? I think some of my best work will be done in banks."
Any time Artemis' vampire smile appears in a good moment. But this one also gets added to the joke counter.

And deep underground, we find Holly grappling with the possible doom of promotion. Luckily -or not so luckily?- Root is there to help her make the right decision.
"...this promotion is not for you; it's for the People."
I've mentioned before that Holly Short is basically my favorite action hero. And the thing about heroes is that they are the ones who sacrifice not only their own well-being but their own desires for the greater good and the needs of others. Holly is a true one. Later on, when she volunteers despite her fear to accompany Root into E37 and the obvious trap, she steadies herself with a similar thought. That was what being an LEP officer was all about. Protecting the People.
And this brings to mind yet another parallel to Die Hard's John McClain; this conversation from Live Free or Die Hard popped into my head while reading this chapter:

The Artemis Fowl series -almost entirely thanks to Holly Short- really is Die Hard with fairies!

So Holly is reminded, yet again, that what she wants is not the most important thing here. That's not the job. But Root, never a softy, nevertheless finds a way to soften the blow -even if his attempts to actually soften the blow did little to help.
"If it makes any difference," he said quietly, almost awkwardly, "I'm proud of you."
It does make a difference, thought Holly...A big difference.
This is, without a doubt, the nicest thing Root has ever said to her and, I think, the one thing he could say that would ever truly matter to Holly.

While Holly and Root are heading toward E37, we find out about the movie in production inspired by the events surrounding the B'wa Kell uprising, and this bit struck me as particularly funny.
...and Artemis Fowl was to be completely computer generated.
I mean, Hollywood today generates their scariest monsters with CGI -why not the fairies? And to the People, what indeed could be more frightening than a too-smart, cold-hearted Mud Boy?

"Every shot is registered on the LEP computer, so we can tell who fired, when they fired, and in what direction."
The irony here. Foaly is so proud of his new toys. And Koboi did vow to bring him down by besting him at his own precious skill set.

"Just push the button, before I come out there and push it with your face."
"Some things never change," muttered Foaly, pushing the button.
A reference, of course, to another charming Root/Foaly/faced-used-for-button-pushing conversation. But this -we know and Foaly will soon know- is a lie; things always change, eventually.

"It really tugs my beard to put us in harm's way over a goblin, but that's the job."
Heroes. Greater good. Protecting the People, even the bad ones. Colfer does such a wonderful job leading up to this moment. Even Koboi, taunting Holly about whether they've come up with something ingenious -it makes you wonder, if Holly and Root had decided to leave Scalene and save their own skins, would Koboi have still had a way to carry out her plan? Or is Koboi so familiar with how they work, with how their hero brains think, that she knew they would never leave the goblin in danger? Would that have been the ingenious plan to save them both? But in the end, it doesn't matter. Holly and Root are heroes, through and through. Even if they knew leaving Scalene behind would have saved them both, they never would have done it. Because they're the guys.

Random aside -I've never picture Root with a beard before.

Were they just about to do exactly what she wanted?
Taunted by Koboi, Holly starts to question their plan. But Root's in position. And they have a plan. So she follows it. I imagine that going's to be responsible for a lot of sleepless nights.

Faced with the tiniest possibility of saving her commander, Holly doesn't hesitate to jeopardize her own position -or to defy Root's orders one last time- to take that chance.
"I'll save Artemis next," she said.
And this, of course, demonstrates the most common burden of heroes: the inability to save everyone -and the inability to accept that.

"Be well."
-I love these as the last words of Julius Root. He's already said he's proud of her; he's trained her as best he could; despite flaws, she's lived up to and even exceeded his expectations; he knows she'll do what needs to be done to protect the People. In the end, this seemed the most important thing left to say.

Right now, she had an order to follow. And she would follow it, even if it was the last thing she ever did, because it had been the last order Julius Root ever gave.

This has always been the hardest chapter for me to read. Losing Root never seems to get easier.
When I first discovered the series, I talked my family into listening to the audio versions on car trips. They took this chapter even worse than me. My mom flat-out refuses that it exists; instead, she and my sister assert that a shared universe with Stargate SG-1 allowed Root to be resurrected with a healing sarcophagus and that Root is still alive and well below ground. They didn't read much farther into the series.

Sorry to start the new year off on a sad note, but Root's memory will live on in Holly -especially as she gets ready to take down Opal Koboi.
Next week, we're reading chapters 4-6 and discussing here Jan 17 for #FowlDay. Don't miss it, and thanks for joining me!
But don't leave me hanging -what are your thoughts on this week's chapters?

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