What R was trying to say Jun 29, 2020 6:16:05 GMT -5
Post by Dante on Jun 29, 2020 6:16:05 GMT -5
Now see, this is where our intellectual disagreement lies. I only posited the "jumping to conclusions" scenario as a secondary resort; my first and most straightforward idea would be that Lemony is simply being rational. It seems to me that between the Baudelaire fire and receiving the counterfeit(?) intelligence, Lemony could easily have been in a sort of agnostic state on the matter of Beatrice's survival.
It is easy to suppose a Lemony whose research had turned up nothing conclusive either in favour of the theory "she died" (no body) or of the theory "she survived" (no sign of her anywhere that VFD can reach), a Lemony, then, who couldn't be sure, caving in after a while and deciding to live his life on the assumption that Beatrice had died. This would be the rational thing to do even for an neutral, emotionless player, weighing the evidence for and against; it is even more in-character for Lemony, who is a glass-half-empty sort of guy. But again, this would be an assumption, fully reserving the right to revise his opinion if new evidence comes to light and changes the balance.
I'm not sure why you seem to think that it would be necessary for Lemony to find proof positive of Beatrice's death for him to decide that she had most likely died, and write accordingly. How would you expect him to behave if a scenario such as I propose — that is to say, he tries and fails to find evidence either way, and is left with dead ends — actually came to pass, regardless of whether you buy that this is what happened in the canonical timeline?
Put simply, I see no reason to believe that Lemony made an assumption; I might also say that I see no evidence that Lemony made an assumption. This is not to say that he literally saw a smoking skeleton; I don't claim to know his reasoning, though I am more than willing to untangle any definite reasoning other people may care to propose (or imply). But at no point in the series does Lemony profess present or past uncertainty on this subject. Indeed, given his own tangled history, the false reporting of his own crimes and death, his open invitation at the conclusion of TPP for the reader to supply their own evidence for what might have happened to the characters in the hotel, his own acknowledgement that he doesn't know the true fate of the Baudelaires - taking into account all the many, many occasions on which Lemony does willingly profess his ignorance on all sorts of topics, then I don't believe I am being unreasonable in asking for evidence that he would, on this most vital of occasions, make an assumption and never acknowledge the lack of closure at all.
I just wanted to honour this snippet of quite Snicketesque writing, Jean Lucio. It's rather good.
And as you said, it's easy to see that Lemony concluded that Beatrice was dead because he couldn't find any evidence that she was alive. That was how all of us (except me for many years) came to the conclusion that Beatrice was dead.
I don't think you're comparing like with like here. We as readers had statements from a narrator who we trusted to be knowledgeable about such things that Beatrice was dead. Lemony had no omniscient narrator to tell him this. As I outlined above, we don't know what the source of his certainty is, but when the author delivers a hard statement, on any other occasion we would take it as established fact. Do we distrust him when he says that Violet is right-handed, or ask how he could know? Some people might argue that TBL allows for such a possibility (and I don't disagree that the possibility was raised), but at that point the entire story vanishes in a puff of smoke and no further speculation is possible.
In TBL we realize that Lemony is afraid of anyone who claims to be Beatrice Baudelaire, even thinking that the imposter may be E (probably Esmé). This fear is not irrational. He must have realized at some point that he was deceived, and that Beatrice was in fact dead, since in ASOUE's books he continued to make dedications to dead Beatrice. Note that this theory only makes sense considering a chronology in which the publication of books in the ASOUE universe took place over several years.
Lemony does not need to have ever been actively fooled by an impostor to be able to consider the possibility of an impostor existing. I would suggest that any normal person, let alone one with actual enemies like Lemony, would be suspicious if they received a letter claiming to be from a person they knew to have died a decade earlier. Furthermore, I would argue that there is more to his anxiety around young Beatrice than merely the name she claims to bear, considering that BB to LS #4 finds him fleeing madly from someone whom, if he saw them at all, was a ten-year-old girl.
But often, as Algernon says, we are looking for hidden possibilities. This is expecially true in TUA, where it seems likely there is often not meant to be a single right answer, and yet clearly we are meant to speculate, not just give up and say 'it's all made up anyway'.
Sometimes we are able to come up with a theory to make sense of things, which was almost certainly not intended by the author, but still makes the story more coherent than it would otherwise be. I think, for instance, that my 'tea set' theory is an example of this, making sense of an anomalous statement about the sugar bowl which does not fit anything else Lemony says about it.
I have no objection to possibilities. I have no objection to acknowledged fanfiction, I have no objection to just-for-fun, I positively enjoy suggestions which fix canonical plot holes and inconsistencies. But what I am suspicious of is the truth; is people who claim that their convoluted and alien theory represents the author's definite intention and is the official solution to the series. Possibilities are things I can applaud and offer constructive criticism to; after all, the author himself pretty explicitly invites the reader to make up their own mind. But these possibilities are the very reverse of the rare enthusiast who dismisses all openness and all mystery to claim that actually, it's not open-ended at all, there is one unimaginable truth that the author hid and which only I am clever enough to find... I will reject all theories which enshrine their own fanfiction and toss out both other people's right to fanfiction and the author's own canon in the process.
I recently rewatched the Netflix version of TPP, and I was struck by how much it seems to reflect discussion at 667, incorporating insights by both me and Dante. Whether this was because we had rightly divined Handler's intention, or because the writers found them at 667, or just because great minds think alike, I don't know. But it shows we can come up with ideas which help to make sense of the story.
I would be interested in reading an expansion on this interpretation, Hermes. Perhaps when the forum rewatch gets to TPP; perhaps sooner.