In the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Ella Enchanted, Ella meets strange creatures on her way to the giants’ wedding and then learns a surprising power of her own. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Ella Enchanted.
Chapter Thirteen / Chapter Fourteen
- I admit that it’s really cool to be able to read a fantasy novel that’s full of creatures that are, in theory, quite familiar to me: ogres and elves! This is not the first time I’ve read a novel for this site that contained these creatures. However, Gail Carson Levine twists the mythology in fascinating ways that not only works as fascinating world building, but reflects important character growth for Ella.
- The elves that she meets after leaving finishing school are a perfect example of this. After learning that the path to the wedding is going to take a lot longer than she expected, she does her best to accomplish this trek all on her own. And I can’t ignore this because it’s spelled out by the baker in Jenn: HE LAUGHS AT ELLA WHEN SHE ASKS HOW LONG THE JOURNEY WILL TAKE IF SHE WALKS ALONE. It doesn’t stop her. She doesn’t hesitate. She presses on.
- But it’s the joy that Ella feels on those first two days which struck me in a personal way. I touched on this while reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but when I finally ran away from home and escaped my parents, I was completely overcome by the sensation of freedom. I could go to sleep when I wanted. I could eat meals when I wanted. I know that a lot of who I am today is because of those first couple weeks, especially before the weight of the responsibility of my actions came crashing down on me. In a lot of ways, I relate to what Ella is going through here because I can see myself in her characterization. I suppose it might be strange to some people that simple freedoms that I’m describing or that Ella brings up seem so basic, but that’s why it was so rewarding to read that passage. I knew what it was like to not have the opportunity to take my free will for granted, and it was a glorious thing to finally experience it.
- But Levine doesn’t ignore that the realities of Ella’s solo journey eventually had to catch up to her. The baker’s estimation was not based on walking, and Ella runs out of food quicker than she wanted. She’s exhausted, she’s sad, and she’s panicked. It’s as much an emotional response as it is a physical one.
- AND THEN AN ELF SEES HER. I found the elf language a tad bit easy to pronounce, but it’s all like reading gibberish. Except it’s getting kind a fun??? It’s the most ridiculous challenge I’ve ever faced for my videos.
- Oh god, CONTINUITY. It absolutely makes sense that the elves would be weary of dealing with Ella because her father is such a RAGING BIGOTFACE. But then the elf who looks into her says, “Not like father,” AND MY HEART SWELLED APPROPRIATELY.
- The elf culture here is SO FASCINATING. Well, and just the way they look and act is so awesome to read, and I am totally into this. SOUP-BASED DIETS. I’M KIND OF OKAY WITH THIS BECAUSE I LOVE SOUP. It’s also clear how hospitable the elves are to those they feel loyal towards, and in this case, it’s through their gifts that they demonstrate how much they respect Ella. But it’s also a response to her behavior as them, and it’s important to note that. Ella appreciates the Agulen pottery for the workmanship and craft that went into it; she doesn’t view it in terms of monetary value as her father does. At the same time, it’s not like the elves are terrible traders, either! I loved that that detail as still a part of it.
- AND THEN AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF CHAPTER FOURTEEN, AN OGRE WAKES ELLA UP AND THIS IS ALL KIND OF TERRIFYING?!?!?!?! Like, Levine does a fantastic job at conveying urgency, at getting us to understand that at any moment, the ogres could just eat Ella. That’s it. THAT WOULD BE THE END.
- Y’ALL, I CAN’T: “Not far off, I saw my saddlebags, next to a piel of bones. Whose bones? I hated to think. Then I realized. The elves’ pony.” GOOD GOD, THIS BOOK ISN’T OKAY.
- Hey, I forgot about Ella’s curse until the moment SEEf ordered her to stop and wow. I take it back. Now this book truly isn’t okay at all.
- So much of chapter fourteen is an examination of the fears surrounding this curse, though, and I imagine this must have been a trip to read if you were younger. Every time that Ella experiences a brief moment of hope, it’s taken away from her. NiSSh seems like an ally, but nothing comes of it. (Well, he’s also trying to explain about ogre persuasiveness and sympathy, so there’s that.) She thinks she’ll be able to run away when all the ogres fall asleep, but then NiSSH inadvertently orders her not to leave. Even when her own survival is at stake, the curse doesn’t break. That is just so scary to me, y’all. Ella’s demise could be due to this horrible curse, and it kind of makes me angry with Lucinda? Like, how could you possibly do this to someone????
- Which is why I find it so incredible that it’s through Ella’s own creativity and ability to mimic/speak other languages that she uses the ogre’s form of persuasion to CONVINCE HERSELF THAT THE CURSE DOESN’T MATTER. Oh my god, it worked. She used reverse psychology on her own magic.
- It’s cool that in a moment of panic and desperation, she manages to utilize this discovery to persuade the ogres to believe that they’re full and sleepy.
- BUT THIS LINE IS THE BEST: “I almost laughed and broke the spell. Who was giving orders now?”
- INCREDIBLE. THIS IS SO HUGE. I LOVE IT.
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