That's not a bad question, vfds321s. I would imagine that, when he came up with the V.F.D. plotline, Mr. Handler looked back through the books he'd already written to pick up on any tiny detail that he could give new significance - and Larry and the phrase "I didn't realise this was a sad occasion" were details he happened to revive and give new meaning to. This is what's sometimes known among fans as "retroactive continuity"; narrative connections which the author only invents later, rather than having intended all along.
It was a natural thing to say in the circumstances. Larry had just been told about Josephine's death, and so realised this was a sad occasion, something which he had not realised previously. (Whereas if it's a VFD code, it has to be used in cases where it's not a natural thing to say - as the dialogue in TUA makes clear, with Eleanora wondering why Larry keeps saying it.)
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Post by verballyfundaffodil on Jun 24, 2018 17:55:53 GMT -5
My answer to this is that he actually did have an idea in mind for VFD when he was writing the Wide Window. I believe this because there was a thread from a while back where Handler revealed that he had been planning for several books as he wrote the first, despite being told by the publishing company that he could only write one. He was then asked for three more books, then nine more (Click here for the full interview). I interpreted this to mean that he wrote TBB as if it was a stand-alone novel, but had a few references to later books in it, that, if he wasn't permitted to write additional books, could be written off as more of his random tangents. For example, TWW says, "I have seen a woman I love picked up by an eagle and flown to its high mountain nest." (p. 126). This is a reference to Beatrice being carried by VFD's eagles in the Mortmain Mountains, even though the readers don't learn about these mountains until seven books later. Also, in TRR Olaf says to his taxi driver, "Not everybody wants to hear about your new baby, you know." (p. 40-41). In TUA, the only part of the taxi driver disguise is a "photograph of new baby to show to passengers." (p. 107) Admittedly, this may be, as Dante said, just an incidence of retroactive continuity, but there are so many examples like this that it is hard to differentiate between Handler's random sense of humor, and foreshadowing and references to later books, so I just choose to believe they are references to make rereading the books a bit more fun than it already is. Hope I helped!
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