In the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth chapters of Ella Enchanted, there’s a lot of pain before a moment of happiness. Which will probably be ruined, LET’S BE REAL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Ella Enchanted.
Chapter Twenty-Five / Chapter Twenty-Six
- Let these reviews stand as evidence of me trying to be prepared by claiming that I totally knew Char’s letter would be ruined by something, only for me to be utterly unprepared by the actual answer.
- I mean, I even fell for Ella’s excitement when she thought that she could escape the curse by marrying Prince Char! Except she can’t; she would just temporarily escape Olga and her daughters. And that’s the worst part: as Ella begins to realize the implications of her marriage to Char, she has to rely on cynicism. She has to assume the worst of humanity, that people would eagerly exploit her curse to bring ruin to Char, to Frell, and to gain what they could through Ella. Who can blame her? After the traumatizing life she’s had, she has to think of all these possibilities, as painful as it is to do so.
- So she devises the most horrible way to ensure that Char never risks the fate of the entire kingdom by marrying her, WHICH IS SO SAD AND FULL OF DESPAIR THAT I HATE THAT I HAVE TO TYPE IT. She does this by lying to him, by creating a fake letter that Hattie wrote saying she married some rich old man and left before she could receive Char’s letter professing his love. And it’s all based directly what I covered in the last review. Char holds grudges easily, and it’s hard for him to forgive. So what does Ella do? Devise a situation in which Char won’t forgive her.
- HELP ME, MY HEART CANNOT HANDLE THIS BOOK!
- I was glad that after composing all of this and sending it on its way, she finally admits what she did to Mandy. Oh, Mandy, I’m glad you’re there for her. AND I’M GLAD THAT YOU CALLED LUCINDA TO YOU AND TRICKED HER.
- OH MY GOD, IT’S THE BEST. Of course Lucinda would respond to insults to her pride! So Mandy tricks Lucinda into experiencing two of her gifts – being a squirrel and being obedient – for three months apiece. However, it’s only slightly comforting because then Ella still has to wait SIX WHOLE MONTHS for Lucinda to maybe get rid of her curse. Maybe.
- Favorite part of chapter 25: Ella saying she would rather be marrying Char than being a heroine. BECAUSE RIGHT. Who cares if you’re a hero if everything in your life is so miserable?
- Actually, I was prepared for one thing in this chapter: Peter rejecting his daughter’s request to come home. What an awful person.
- Hey, was your heart recovered from the earlier heartbreak? Well, then here’s Prince Char’s journal entry about how he’s heartbroken over Ella’s letter. ENJOY YOUR DAY.
- God, it’s just so consistently awful. Every sign of hope is crushed forever. HOW DID ANY OF YOU READ THIS BOOK AS CHILDREN? IT’S SO STRESSFUL AND ANXIETY-INDUCING.
- Ella’s secret letters to Char? NOT OKAY.
- Enduring six more months of torment at the hands of her stepfamily? NOT OKAY.
- Kitties? NOT OKAY.
- But that means six months has passed, and it’s time to find out if Mandy’s con has given Lucinda some empathy. And LORD, this line messed me up:
- “And all this I suffered at the hands of good people who loved me! If anything had happened to them, I shudder to think what would have become of me.”
- And that’s so vital to understanding Ella’s pain because she’s suffered at the hands of bad people who don’t love her. You can’t even begin to imagine what you’ve done, Lucinda.
- BRAVO TO ELLA FOR REVEALING HERSELF RIGHT AT THIS POINT.
- UN-BRAVO TO LUCINDA FOR THEN REFUSING TO USE BIG MAGIC AGAIN. Yeah, that’s real nice that you’ve had a change of heart and realized your gifts are awful. It’s nice that you’ve decided not to do it again. But that doesn’t negate or alleviate Ella’s pain in any meaningful way whatsoever. She still suffers. So do something about it.
- (Hey, it’s a brilliant metaphor for being an ally! It’s nice that you realized being a racist is hurtful, but just saying you won’t do it again doesn’t do anything for me. BOOM.)
- What saves me from sinking into pure dejection from this twist is the fact that Ella decides to throw caution to the wind and go to the ball anyway. The Cinderella myth and this story intermingle here in this brilliant way that’s more about Ella’s choice to find happiness – no matter how fleeting – regardless of the inevitable heartbreak. She knows that she will leave the ball each night and return to a home where she’s hated and despised, where she’s been abandoned, and where she doesn’t even have her own free will. But this? It is a demonstration of her agency. By hiding in plain sight, she can briefly escape her curse and be glamorous and desired and normal.
- For only a brief moment, of course.
- Areida’s journal entry might be a way out of this, since it chips away at Char’s certainty that Ella went off and got married. MAYBE. MAYBE. CAN SOMETHING NICE HAPPEN.
- Yes, it can, which is A BATH.
- I TEARED UP OVER A BATH.
- THIS IS WHAT THIS BOOK HAS DONE TO ME. MADE ME APPRECIATE BATHS.
- (Actually, if I’m being honest, I know, from my experience as someone who was abused and who spent time being homeless and in poverty, that little things can be emotionally devastating. Like home-cooked meals. Or nice beds. Or gestures of affection. Mandy, you made my heart swell here. <3. )
- I do love that Lucinda, when called upon, does something for Ella, something undeniably wonderful. Action is important! And she gives Ella gorgeous jewelry and the magical Cinderella carriage, all with the caveat that she needs to be back home by midnight, lest the magic wear off.
- Despite knowing how Cinderella ends, though, I actually don’t know how this is going to end! Which is really neat for a book like this. I just… how? How can Ella ever break this curse, even if Char does forgive her?
Please note that the original text/videos contains use of the word “mad.”
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