Overview of the Maze
Mapping the Maze is considerably easier than solving the riddles. Finding the 16 step path is achieved by solving only one riddle, the hidden door to Room 17, the rest is solved by mapping alone. I was no different, I solved the 16 step path by mapping the rooms by hand, a task at which I failed repeatedly until I defined the realms.
MAZE has three realms which I have named, “The Path,” “The Loop,” & “The Trap.”
Mapping the rooms is the first step in beginning to interpret the riddles of the rooms. Until you know the location of a room in Maze you don’t know what to look for. For instance, in a Trap room you look for something that says, “you are doomed,” while in a Loop room you look for, “you are lost,” or “take this door to get out.”
There are strong indications that the three realms are on different levels. This does not appear to have anything to do with any riddles in MAZE but I have included it here just for fun:
The Trap: The rooms of the Trap appear to be well below ground level. The evidence: None of the rooms of the Trap have windows. One room (40) is called the foundation of the Maze. Another room (6) looks like the bottom of a mine shaft with a feeble light far above, compare this with room 13 of the Loop. A hallmark of The Trap is darkness, this feeble light is the only light that reaches The Trap and Room 24 is endless darkness. The only entrances to the Trap from the other two realms that are not doorways are a ladder and a slide (rooms 17 & 41) that go from the Path and the Loop down into the Trap (rooms 6 & 38). [Note: The low arch in Room 17 that leads to Room 6 is reminiscent of the ladder openings that appear in Gothic architecture suggesting that the low opening is the top of the ladder in Room 6. This could be a coincidence but the similarity is compelling.] There is no route from the Trap down into another realm.
The Loop: The rooms of the Loop appear to be on mostly on ground level. Room 21, 31, 19, 44, 36, and of course room 1, are all obviously on the ground level. At first glance room 13 appears to be far below ground because of its similarity to a dry well, however the wideness of the circle of light cast from above shows the close proximity of this room to ground level.
Room 35 of the Loop poses an curious problem as it is called a “basement” and has a ladder to that leads down from this “basement” to Room 41 which is right next to Room 1, which is on ground level. This suggests that either Room 35 “the basement” is actually on the first floor of the House, or, more likely, Room 41 is a level below ground level and “the basement” is on ground level, or perhaps even Room 41 is two levels below ground (reinforcing this idea: the slide in Room 41 leads to the Trap) so that Room 35 really is a basement.
There are two paths linked to the other two realms, one from the Path and one to the Trap that are not doorways, a ladder from the Path (room 32) goes down into the Loop (room 16). A slide from the Loop (room 41) goes down into the Trap (room 38).
The Path: With the exception of Room 1, the rooms of the Path appear to be above ground level. Rooms 12 and 28 (the mirror image rooms) have balconies. Room 23 has a glass door which is suggestive of a balcony or deck entrance. Room 37 is roofless and has an above ground doorway. A ladder from the Path (Room 32) goes down into the Loop (Room 16). A ladder from the Loop (Room 17) goes down into the Trap (Room 6). There is no route from the Path up to another realm.
In addition to all this, each realm has at least one room that is open to above. Room 15 and Room 37 of The Path have light pouring in. Room 13 of the Loop has light coming from further above but still close enough to shine a wide circle of light on the floor, as well as several rooms open to the sky. In comparison, Room 6 of the Trap has, “A very small hole far above, admitt[ing] a feeble light.”
The Trap has no rooms that show sky, and only Room 6 receives any sunlight at all. All seven Trap rooms are interior rooms.
The Loop has five rooms that show sky, four of the five are the entry rooms of The Loop as a visitor proceeds from Room 1. The fifth is deep in the center of The Loop. Fourteen of the nineteen rooms of The Loop are interior rooms.
While only four of the rooms of The Path show sky, ten others are lit by sunlight either from above or the side. Seven of the nineteen rooms of The Path are interior rooms.
Despite the stylistic counter-evidence of room 35 and 39 it is safe to say that the three realms represent, generally, the sub, main and upper levels of the Maze.