Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chapter 38: In Which the Duel Subplot Becomes Even More Contrived

Previously in Varney the Vampire: Everyone challenges Varney to a duel. Oh, the hi-larity.

Chapter 38 (MARCHDALE'S OFFER. -- THE CONSULTATION AT BANNERWORTH HALL. -- THE MORNING OF THE DUEL.) starts out with Dr. Chillingworth and Jack Pringle meeting Varney on behalf of Henry and the Admiral, respectively. They fret about Varney not having a second, and I have to admit that while the situation itself seemed more forced than humorous to me, I did crack a smile at Varney's nonchalance.

Anyway, Varney argues that he cannot find a second because he has no friends. Chillingworth stands his ground, and finally Jack offers for the Admiral to be Varney's second in the duel with Henry. (Really, JMR? Could this conflict become any more manufactured?)

They agree on a place and time, but as Jack and Chillingworth are leaving, who should they come across but Marchdale! I'd hoped he had left the story entirely, but apparently he's just jealous that Henry broke up with him and got with Chillingworth on the rebound upset that Henry chose Chillingworth as a second instead of him. Chillingworth refuses to trade places without Henry's consent, so Marchdale tags along back to Bannerworth Hall.

The Admiral, learning of Jack's plan, is totally fine with it except for the fact that he won't get to face Varney first. Marchdale begs Henry to be his second; Henry asks the Admiral if he cares, and I rather love the reply: ""Oh, I! -- Yes -- certainly -- I don't care. Mr. Marchdale is Mr. Marchdale, I believe, and that's all I care about."

We return briefly to Varney and learn that he has avoided the duels so far because he just really doesn't want to hurt anyone. But now he's backed into a corner and can't avoid it! Poor, poor Varney, first forced by his vampire nature to attack helpless women, then forced by a society he isn't really a part of to accept pointless challenges!

But finally we come to the duel, and Varney takes the Admiral aside to explain what to do if he gets shot. If my suspicions are correct, this whole scenario seems like a very ill-thought-out way to finally reveal a bit more about Varney's vampiric nature and what exactly happens to him when he "dies." Which gives me something to look forward to in the next chapter, at least.

Chapter 39: In Which the Duel Goes Awry

Thanks for joining me for the Blog 30 challenge. It's been fun, but I can't sustain this pace forever. Regular posting will resume on Wednesdays and Sundays, with perhaps a few digressions in between.

No comments:

Post a Comment