Thursday, February 28, 2019

Heroism is a Mixed Basket | TLC Ch 13-16 | Artemis Fowl Read Along

Chapter 14: Leader of the Pack

When Holly complains about Artemis' bad timing for developing a sense of humor, Artemis explains that usually he'd be planning, but that's in Qwan's hands now.

Ladies and gentlemen, Artemis has all but admitted that the only reason he's not a comedian (read as: donning clown shoes and turning cartwheels in the main hall) is because he won't devote the time to it, among his other enterprises.

There could be an alternate reality out there where Artemis Fowl is born with a funny bone, instead of a drive for gold and power, and becomes comedic mastermind, instead of a criminal one.

At the first sign of trouble, who does Artemis miss? At the first sign of manual labor, who does Artemis miss? The mountainous, insanely strong, and deadly bodyguard, of course.

Artemis has come a long way since he first plotted to kidnap a fairy. He's developed out of some of his nastier flaws and even become something of a good guy. He may have earned the trust of his People acquaintance-turned-friends, but what would be the ultimate test for this genius criminal mind no so long since he craved only gold and power?

Give that boy some magic! We'll see his true colors before long and whether, as Qwan advised, Artemis will use this new gift wisely.

I suppose it is inevitable that the creator supreme of Mulch Diggums would demonstrate the effects of time surges with bathroom jokes and bodily functions.

As the island is breaking away, Holly catches glimpses of alternate dimensions, including enormous, multi-tentacled monsters.


Eoin's talking about CTHULHU and the GREAT OLD ONES.

There is nothing quite so harsh or painful in this series as the moment Holly Short lies dying, a sword wound in her chest, bleeding out, with no hope of magic saving her and, knowing that Artemis is the only one who might possibly be able to help her, she calls out for her friend -and he regards her for a dispassionate second before turning away. Leaving Holly to die, alone; broken, scared, and abandoned.

Deep down, we know -we know!- that Artemis has a reason for this, that he's really working on a way to save her, that he's not abandoning her or casting her aside. After nearly five books watching Artemis grow into not only a hero (by tiny degrees), but into a friend, we know Artemis isn't abandoning his first and best friend to die alone.

But, D'arvit, it hurts.

Chapter 15: Home Again, Home Again

This moment, this scheme when Artemis fires the Neutrino into the past to save the lives of Holly and the warlocks after the fact, from the future -this is one of my favorite Artemis moments. Period.

This is, perhaps, his first truly heroic act. Sure, he's done some life-saving and executed grand schemes, but those were usually at the behest of another heroic figure, like Holly or his father, or they were an effort to put right his own mistakes, like saving the People from the likes of Jon Spiro.

This time is different. This time, Artemis is in now way responsible for the terrible event. This time, he has no one with greater experience to rely on. This time, he's on his own. The cost was terribly high -losing Holly- comparative to losing Butler in The Eternity Code, but this time Artemis has to do it all on his own. With Butler, Artemis could only do so much; it was up to Holly to truly save our favorite bodyguard. But more than that, with this scheme's wide margin for error -what if Abbot went for Artemis before he went for the warlocks? What if Artemis missed his literal second of opportunity?- there was every possibility it would fail. 

And if it failed, Artemis would not only have lost Holly, but he would have condemned her to die alone, abandoned, and scared.

Those are some pretty high stakes for Arty boy. So when he magically preserves the memory of shooting Abbott and erasing the possibility of his friends' grisly deaths despite the time quandary in his brain wreaking potential havoc on his sanity, it screams with significance.

And I love it.

When Artemis feels the phantom weight of the gun he shot at Abbot and also did not shoot at Abbott, he knows there will be consequences for meddling in time, but he'll bear them. That's a burden he'd gladly shoulder. Just like with Butler's deaths, Holly's was too horrible to accept. It is well worth the price of erasing.

But what, fellow readers, is that consequence going to be?

While No1 helps to power the spell and Qwan directs the casting, Holly focuses on the place, and what does Artemis get? Time. And how does our favorite boy genius properly land them back in his own time? By following his heart and relying on feelings. Not a cold, hard fact in sight. Time to embrace all that humanity and sentimentality you've been grudgingly developing, Artemis; you're going to need it.

Artemis realizes, while they're engulfed in the transportation spell and the magic is flowing through him, opening up parts of his brain that have never been used before, that once upon a time, humans had once possessed their own magic. They have forgotten how to use it.

This is a huge statement. After all, if humans have merely forgotten how to use their magic, it stands to reason they could possibly relearn it, yeah? I mean, Artemis is exceptional of course, but he took to magic pretty quick. Isn't there hope for other humans?

Hello, spin-off possibilities?

Chapter 16: Point of IMPact

One last IMP pun before we're done! Thanks, Eoin. ^_^


This book honestly ends with more questions than resolutions concerning Artemis and his development.
What will Artemis tell his parents?
How will it affect and change their relationship?
What consequence will Arty face for his meddling with time?
What will he do with his ill-gotten magic?
How will this especial heroic venture and its rather drastic physical and emotional costs affect our would-be hero?
So many possibilities!

The Lost Colony gave us a good look at Arty as a hero, trying to do good for the sake of doing good from the get go rather than executing some scheme of his own. Personally, I think this is a good look on him. But Artemis also got his first taste of exactly what costs heroes have to live with. We've already talked about this concerning Holly and Root in The Opal Deception, but let's look at everything Artemis gained on his first truly heroic jaunt:
  • He saved his best friend from a grisly death
  • He gets to keep that memory of his best friend's grisly death forever, and the sound of Abbott's sword sliding out of her body will haunt him for the rest of his life
  • He also gets heretofore unknown consequences for using time to change events
  • He rescued an entire species from extinction, saved hundreds of lives
  • He lost three years of his own life and caused unimaginable pain and loss to his family
I think we can all agree, this is a pretty mixed basket. That's a lot of uplifting highs and damning traumatic lows that Arty's going to have to deal with.

Artemis also gained magic, though considering it was 'stolen', that wasn't much of a heroic gain. But how that magic affects him in the future is entirely dependent on how Artemis uses it and -well, remember when I talked about Artemis' true turning point doesn't occur until The Opal Deception when he realizes he should let him family and friends help him, rather than relying solely on himself?

Artemis showed remarkable improvement in this area, and it shows in the quality and success of his schemes (with a few exceptions). Outside his initial time jaunt (which arguably wouldn't have gone as wrong if he'd worn some silver himself and kept Butler apprised of the situation), Artemis' plans do not go awry until Taipei 101, and the fault for that lies on Minerva, who insists on doing something incredibly stupid and puts them all in danger.

But the most notable exception is right here, when Artemis convinces Holly he doesn't have any magic left. Perhaps he feared the People wouldn't let him leave with it -a legitimate concern- but considering he stole it in the first place, I feel this is a step back into his old ways for Artemis Fowl. Scheming. Plotting. Doing things he knows his friends wouldn't approve of and keeping them in the dark about it. At best, this is left ambiguous until we can see the consequences ourselves in The Time Paradox, next month.

Will you join me?

But before you go! Tell me, what did you glean from The Lost Colony? Any deep, philosophical ponderings within the pages or the characters? Any jokes you finally understand? Any specials turns of phrase that made you giddy?

Please share in the comments! I want to hear everything. ^_^

March's reading schedule for The Time Paradox:
March 7: Chapters 1-4
March 14: Chapters 5-8
March 21: Chapters 9-12
March 28: Chapters 13-16

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