Room 16

Navigate by clicking on doors or door numbers.

Image Map

…a stone chamber which reminded me of my old neighbors. Of course, that was a long time ago now, but would you believe their descendants are still telling stories about me and my family to their children?

Even if most of the stories are lies and exaggerations, it is immortality of a sort.

As I passed in front of an open doorway a figure, crossing the hall outside, saw me and immediately ran off.

“Who was that?” they asked.

“Another visitor, to be sure.”

“Why did he run away?”

“You probably scared him,” I said, and they apparently believed me.

With few regrets on my part we left for…

 - Images and text copyright 1985 by Christopher Manson
used with permission. [Purchase MAZE from Amazon]


Room Type:  LOOP     Doors:  4  7  32  36


● In the machine are two upside down hidden sevens. [Independent Credit: david gentile | White Raven] In the trap door is a hidden seven. [Credit: david gentile] The arm of the creature in the poster forms a seven. [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven]

● The picture on the wall is Orson (as represented in the print by 16th century artist Peiter Brugel the elder) from the play/novel/poem “Valentine and Orson” [Independent Credit: Kubala Koala | White Raven] This theme is reinforced by Os and Vs hidden about the room. (V shaped keystones over the doors, circular room, O shaped handle on the trap door, V shape gap of the open trapdoor, circular silhouette of the pot, circle holes in the pot lid, circular gears, etc.) [Shared Credit: Aria / SP] “Valentine and Orson” was written by an unknown French author in the 15th century and rewritten in several forms in the 16th and 17th centuries. A common element is the rise of Orson from unthinking wild-man to king. The jester/fool and crown are paired symmetrically and represent Orson’s story. The correct door is indicated by the crown. [Independent Credit: MIT10 | White Raven] The mention in the text of another visitor who runs off, may be a reference to the villagers fleeing from Orson during his early days as a wild-man. [Credit: Vewatkin] [Note: This solution is incomplete]

View Related Images >


171 thoughts on “Room 16

  1. Welp, here’s another one. If you draw lines extending the floorboards, our friend top hat/to path’s stride is spanning 7 floorboards. (Or 8. But let’s say 7!) Those floorboard lines sure do look like some kind of scale, anyway.

  2. OK, one more, probably nothing. The trapdoor is propped up. The marotte/jester stick is a prop, which is propped against the wall. The connection between these two means that 36 is bad, because it is associated with a “trap” door. (Even though 36 doesn’t actually lead directly to the trap. Traps in general are bad.)

    “part (trap)… left” in the text reinforces this.

    • Absolutely! The fake clouds beyond the middle door in Room 2. The fake tree in 30 which doesn’t help us at all. The fake devil’s tail in 26 points to the wrong door.

  3. I’ve got one more for this room. I didn’t see it in the comments but might have missed it. The grain in the trap door wood makes at least one nice set of arrows pointing right towards the set of steps up to 7.

  4. Although, I do like the seven “whole” holes that we can see in the holy pot hat or whatever. This has already been mentioned though, way back near the beginning, by Hello Gregor I think.

  5. Maybe this room isn’t necessarily about clueing the number 7 but is more about clueing “right” or “left.”

    Our wild man is heading off towards the wrong door starting on his left foot, associated with “wrong or sinister.” (Apologies to lefties.) Our helpful top hat/to path man is running towards the correct door with his right (“correct”) foot forward.

  6. I don’t know if this has been suggested yet, but there are 7 feet pictured in this room: 2 on the visitor, 2 on Orson, and 3 on the machine.

    In a more general sense, I think this room is a clue to the reader of the construction of Maze. There are lots of circles in this room, and the room itself is circular, suggesting that we are in the loop. Lined up in the center are a light filled doorway (signaling the path, with the visitor walking that direction) and a trap door (trap, of course, even though it technically doesn’t lead there).

    Incidentally, Top Hat and Pot Hat are both anagrams for “to path.” Meaning follow those.

    My only guess for the jester and machine is what others have said, that it is a confusion machine and the jester is laughing at our struggles.

    • That’s an interesting idea — about the room signalling the structure of Maze.

  7. Looks like we have a Holy Mitre sitting on a Mason Jar (Mason Mitre)but as we are looking for GEARS, here is the list:
    - 1 Mitre Gear
    - 1 Crown Gear
    - 4 Spur Gears on the machine
    - 1 Cross Gear ( Narrative: “figure crossing the hall outside” seen in the doorway
    Total of 7 Gears = Door #7

    - Narrative: “long time ago & descendants” = AGES
    - 7 GEArS
    - all men in the picture
    Interpretation: “Seven (7) Ages of Man”, monologue by William Shakespeare.

    • That’s interesting about all the different gear types. A crown gear really does look exactly like the one shown here (except for the little jewels of course).

      A spiral bevel gear is another type, perhaps indicated by the spiralling ribbons on the jester stick thing. (Marotte. A new word I learned in the comments!)

    • This is getting crazy obscure, but apparently crown gears/wheels are used on parts of clocks called escapements. If you follow the crown gear, you’ll escape!!! Wheeeee!

  8. So the jester/Punch has the “top hat” because it is the closest to the ceiling; top hat has an actual top hat, there’s a “pot hat” — maybe a crown could be a “top hat” as well considering it’s for the top guy.

    I can’t see the leaves on Orson’s leafy crown well enough to tell if he is in fact wearing a pot hat.

    Or, could the “holey/holy” hat be a mitre and could the machine incorporate a mitre saw? (Word “saw” is in text too.”) It really looks more like a gear, doesn’t it.

    Not getting anywhere here.

    • “Top hat –> pot hat” seems like something we might have mentioned before, liked, couldn’t do anything with, and then forgot about.

      The idea of the jester having the topmost hat is new, I believe, and the crown thereby becomes the lowest…well, not hat, but headgear. In fact, in the room, the headgear descends as you go from left to right. Is there any reason we ought to prefer the lowest hat? Any reason we should take Top Hat’s presence as an indicator AGAINST the top hat?

    • Well, here’s something. You can draw a straight line that goes through all of the pieces of headgear (except Orson’s — it goes through his toe). So what about directionality… you go from “head to toe”… in the direction of the jester’s head to Orson’s toe.

  9. I feel like the answer to this room is in room 17: “If you think of the Maze as a machine, confusion is its product, and the machine was hard at work.”

    So here’s the machine; the machine’s product is confusion; this room is all just a bunch of random stuff that doesn’t mean anything.

    Done and done.

  10. This is one of two rooms that end in “left for” – here I think it means the guests visible through the open door leave four (And BTW – if the door is wide open like that why can we not go there – I mean it’s not like the broken ladder rung in 35 that would obviously prevent you from going that way). Room 9 also has “left for” however – so that weakens this idea a bit – I don’t see a specific reason for it in 9.

  11. The figure with the club is not Orson, but the Wild Man of traditional Carnival folklore. While his image seen in the room here is certainly in the style of the famous 16th century woodcut inspired by Breugel, the debate between ‘Valentine and Orson’ versus the Wild Man seems more illuminated here in juxtaposition with the jester staff (the Fool) at the door to 36. Both the Fool and the Wild Man were archetypes from Carnival, and the Carnival is also the setting and inspiration for Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado”, a source already recognized in other parts of the MAZE.

    The next question is what does this theme of the carnivalesque bring to the room? Or to the rest of the MAZE? The Wild Man was the cultural pregenitor of characters like Falstaff and Santa Claus: larger than life, earthy and mirthful, paganism in the pursuit of pleasure. From living with MAZE for so long, I know instinctively and aesthetically that the force of humanism (carnival; the flesh) versus the force of divinity (the spirit) is a strong theme throughout MAZE. But it is difficult to tease a conclusion out of the work’s narrative.

    • Thanks. I got bored with my latest obsession, and have not settled into anything new yet, so I’ll probably be popping in here more for awhile.

  12. ” a figure, crossing the hall outside” – figure sometimes means “number” in Maze. There are 3 columns in the doorway and 4 dark spaces. 7 total?

  13. Have we noted there is no roof? Another “bare crown” of sorts. Also if his neighbors were native Americans the roof hole could be another thing to remind him of their dwellings (along with the cone shaped thing and the trapdoor that looks like smokehole.

  14. “Another visitor, to be sure.”

    Another and visitor both have 7 letters. Is this to help us “be sure” the exit is 7?

  15. ” we left for” could be “we left 4″ meaning the other guide and the other party left room 4. Not that that is all that helpful….

  16. Recto-triangulo thingamabobs are seven-sided, in a way of looking…seven legs in the room…

    UGH, this and Room 8, so hard to see these as anything but a big mess of stuff dumped into the room. It’s slightly less demoralizing to remember that Room 4 used to look the same way, but only slightly!


    the curtain rod and club make a seven


    [end motivational speech]

    • Regarding shoelessness. “bare/bear” is something I think we are supposed to get from this room (well this corner of the room) and bare feet go along with that theme.

    • Yeah, Orson with bare feet seems to suggest bear/bare pretty strongly, I’m with you there.

  17. To my eyes, this chamber looks a lot like a mycenaean tholos (beehive tomb). Google some images. This would fit perfectly with the guide as Minotaur/Minos/Daedalus. The Mycenaeans were the mainland “neighbors” of the Minoans on Crete.

  18. Is the crown here, like in 25, an indicator of the best door? (In 25, it marks a numberless door, not the correct door, but the door that would take you back to the path if you could enter it.) It has been noted that there is a hat-theme in the room, but of the jester’s cap (probably the least appealing symbol to follow), the top hat, Orson’s laurels or vines or whatever, and the incense-burning chamber-pot party-hat, and the crown, the crown seems to be the most likely symbol of preference.

    The Guide notes that he leaves with few regrets; maybe a bit of a stretch of word association, but regret involves “looking back” with sadness, etc.; the jester looks behind itself at the door to 36, and door 36 is behind Top Hat, but Orson, associated by proximity to door 7, gazes and strolls unequivocally forward.

    We’ve noted some 7s in the room; if you generously look at a 7 essentially as an angle with two short line segments of approximately equal length, there are a lot of vaguely seven-ey shapes in the room, from the points on the crown to the shapes over the doors. Weak? YEAH YEAH, but I’m just saying, maybe something of a pointy motif in the room, maybe not, I don’t know, who cares, shut up.

  19. I’ve reread the comments for this page and I don’t think anyone has suggested yet that the pot is an incense burner. That’s what it’s got to be, right? Not a chamber pot or a vase with a birthday hat? Google image “incense burner” and “incense burner cone” and tell me what you think.

    I don’t know if that gets us anything unless it’s part of a wordplay puzzle, but figured I should mention it. (I guess it weakens the “hats are important in this room” idea if you agree that there’s no birthday/clown hat.)

    • I think the bottom part by itself is a chamber pot. But when you put the two part together, yes, an incense burner, or “censor”. Maybe it was not said here, but in chat and on my page. The clues in that corner relate to the Raven poem, IMO. There is a “curtain” (and it may be “rustling”) from poem, and a “censor” from poem, and a “bear, crown” for a Raven, and it is a chamber (from poem).

      What to make of the fact that the object can be both a chamber pot AND a censor? Somebody has a sense of humor…lol

  20. This seems to be part of a loop and the possible end of it. Does anyone here see a hidden number or is it just me?

  21. A bit more support for the idea that we have guests and guide in 4 and 16 at the same time – at the end of room 16 it says “We left for” = “We left 4″.

  22. “Me” and “my” occur a total of 7 time and these are not normally common words for the guide 7 could be a very obscure door indicator. It also could help suggest the idea of “guide here”, “guide there”.


Post Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>