I met them at the gate though I usually wait inside. Preoccupied with their own thoughts, impatient, like so many children, they didn’t see who I really was. They never noticed my crown, my pain, the fire in my eyes.
Like all the others they think the Maze was made for them; actually, it is the other way around. They think I am some poet who will lead them through the symbols and spaces of this Underworld. They think I will teach them lessons. They should call me Cerberus…. I am the lesson.
The monstrous walls rise up and run away as far as the human eye can see, circling and dividing. Which half is the Maze?
Even I get lost. It changes–sometimes slowly, imperceptibly … sometimes suddenly. This House is not only made of stone and mortar, wood and paint; it is made of time and mystery, hope and fear. Construction never stops. I take some pride in my role as architect.
They think I will guide them to the center. Perhaps I will….
The sun was very hot.
Together we walked through the gate into…
- Images and text copyright 1985 by Christopher Manson
used with permission. [Purchase MAZE from Amazon]
● A comparison between this image and the matching image on the cover shows that the red herring on the cover is gone and has been replaced here by the phrase “THE NEXT PAGE.” This may illustrate a principle in the book, room linkages between two rooms are red herrings.
● The door is in the shape of a pi symbol. [Independent Credit: LoMoody | Hidden Mystery | White Raven] The semicircle over the door could be visual way of expressing pi.
● The umbrella could be a running gag in the book in which the visitors are urged to prepare for rain that never comes, or it could be a running clue helping visitors choose the right door. Here the umbrella handle could represent the letter “r” creating the mathematical expression “pi r” which is equal to the circumference of half a circle – expressed by the half circle over the door. [Credit: Aria]
Next: Room 1
The rain may be a red herring. If it can rain in Room 6, then it can also shine. But, yes, there should be more parasols due to the other rooms containing sunshine, negating any consistent rule with this interpretation. The Maze may be embracing this inconsistency as one more form of ruse.
I was thinking the umbrella is actually a parasol and to be used to ward off the sun not rain. This coincides with the guide’s dislike for the sun as has been established. The parasols were lining up with this theory as they were found either outside or pointing to rooms (doors) where the sun is involved: the Prologue page which leads to the sunlit Room 1 (or outside wgen exiting the Maze); Room 8 pointing to Room 31, a courtyard; Room 42 by Door 37 which leads to a room with no roof. But in Room 10, the parasol points to Room 41 which breaks the rule (though there are mushrooms in Room 41 and there is a mushroom known as a parasol)…just thoughts
I think it’s an interesting idea, and this certainly makes sense regarding the prologue umbrella. Room 31, despite being outdoors, is not sunny, though, and there are sunnier rooms out there with no connections to umbrellas, making it difficult to apply this as a universal principle.
There is an umbrella in 8, which the group may be instructed to take with them (the Guide’s admonition is not made clear to the reader), and this room leads to 6, where it is suggested the group can feel actual rain. This seems a more likely connection, though I would be surprised if this were the only reason for the umbrella, or if the other umbrellas all had similar significance.