Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chapter 62: In Which There is a Surprising Reveal (Other Than the Fact That The Blogger Updated)

Hey, I exist! I know, it surprises me too, sometimes.

It's fitting that this chapter returns to something raised way back in Chapter 29, which I sorely wished to see developed: the prisoner in the ruins. Chapter 62 (The Mysterious Meeting in the Ruin Again. -- The Vampyre's Attack Upon the Constable.) The chapter begins with Varney waiting for someone at the ruins. I like this line because it's such a typical vampire image, and it's cool to picture:
His form was enveloped in a large cloak, which was of such ample material that he seemed well able to wrap it several times around him, and then leave a considerable portion of it floating idly in the gentle wind.
I also like the next little bit about him impatiently checking a pocket watch because it reminds me of the last scene where he was impatiently checking the clock, in which the author Varney got so nervous and flustered that he lost track of time and had to insert more padding read a book until midnight.

The Other Guy shows up and delivers a brief recap of the Dangers of the Mob Hunting the Vampyre, and says that a (possibly slightly drunk) guy vowed to go to the ruins and watch for the vampire. "Let us retire further into the recesses of the ruin," Varney suggests, which just makes me picture this scene as part of a low-budget movie with really awkward blocking.

The Other Guy helpfully fills in the audience on who he's talking to:
"I am annoyed, although the feeling reaches no farther than annoyance, for I have a natural love of mischief, to think that my reputation has spread so widely, and made so much noise."

"Your reputation as a vampyre, Sir Francis Varney, you mean?"

"Yes; but there is no occasion for you to utter my name aloud, even here where we are alone together."

"It came out unawares."

"Unawares! Can it be possible that you have so little command over yourself as to allow a name to come from your lips unawares?"


"I am surprised."

"Well, it cannot be helped."
I can't actually complain about this exchange, because although saying the name comes across as pretty silly, the dialogue afterwards made me laugh.

Varney declares that once he's done taking over Bannerworth Hall, the prisoner must die. The Other Guy objects to this with more random awkward blurting of names:
"Listen. I will not have the life of Charles Holland taken."

Okay, yeah, that was a little obvious.

They start to head out because the guy who's watching for the vampire might be there. (Don't worry; he stars in the next chapter!) But the final reveal is:
Varney, the vampyre, who had been holding this conversation with no other than Marchdale...

That twist legitimately surprised me. I'll have to review all the previous chapters to see if I've just forgotten the foreshadowing in the months since I've worked on this blog, or if it was pulled out of an ass. But either way, JMR, you didn't think to continue the accidental running gag of Marchdale randomly blurting out people's names to surprise the reader? For shame. Ending the chapter with "...if my name isn't Marchdale!" or the like would have been hilarious.


  1. Yeah, I thought that a legitimate plot twist worthy of some applause.

  2. I just discovered this blog and you have made my day. I'm half-way through the book, totally hooked, and your insightful, fun and sometimes snarky comments on the chapters I've already finished has really added to my enjoyment of this flawed, irritating, wonderful, tedious and engaging piece of 19th century pop culture! Seriously. Thank you! I'm only sad you didn't continue. So far I'm enjoying the second half more than the first.

  3. Hmm... I also was disappointed that the blog petered out... But. I gave up after I got through a chapter in which the author, clearly unable to pull the next twist from out of his... head..., instead detailed the plot of the book being read by one of the characters. Honestly, that was amusing, but it was the final straw for me.

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