Room 31

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…a melancholy little courtyard surrounded by a brick wall too high to see over. A dead tree lifted its bone-white branches to a sky filling with gray clouds.

“Those doors look very strange,” they said.

“You should say, ‘They look very strangely,’” I corrected.

“They seem to be watching us…”

A sudden gust of wind made the branches clatter against each other like old boards. Dead leaves began to gather at our feet.

Shivering in the wind we managed to push open one of the heavy doors and make our way to…

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

Room Type:  LOOP     Doors:  8 19  21  44 


● The pupils of the face over door 19 are looking toward door 44 (which is the correct door). [Credit: Hello Gregor] A visitor says about the faces, “They look very strange.” The Guide replies, “You should say, they look very strangely.” This suggests that the faces are actively looking. [Independent Credit: Hello Gregor | White Raven]

● The left most branch (that looks somewhat like a skeletal arm) is reaching for door 44, which is correct. None of the other doors are indicated in this manner. [Independent Credit: Beelzebibble | White Raven]

● The two holes in the tree look like eyes on their sides, this is reinforced by the emphasis in the text to the faces looking. [Independent Credit: Hidden Mystery | White Raven] The 4s in “44″ are closed creating two holes/eyes and so the holes/eyes in the tree suggest we take door 44. [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven] The hole-shaped capitals above the doors reinforce this solution. [Credit: Aria] The four sets of eyes of the faces above the doors reinforce this solution. [Credit: White Raven] [This solution is incomplete]

● The two baskets are bushel baskets. A bushel is 4 pecks. 4 & 4 = 44. [Credit: Marianne]

● There are two faces on either side of the tree, given the emphasis on looking in the text we should pay attention to the eyes. There are four eyes on each side of the tree. 4 & 4 = 44. [Credit: 515]

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81 thoughts on “Room 31

  1. It’s possible 44 is the right choice because it’s the highest number and only degree in the room above freezing (I am assuming Manson used F not C. It wouldn’t matter in any case.). This is also reinforced by the degree signs above the doors. It is noted in the text that the visitors are cold, and the warmest location would make sense.

    • Given that there are only 45 rooms the fact that the correct door number in this room is 44 gives this solution some extra credence. The capitals certainly could be degree symbols and the mention of cold works. There could be something to this.

  2. Is the message in this room that it leads to a DEAD END, also known as a BLIND ALLEY?

    DEAD END: the bone tree is dead; dead leaves have fallen from the ends of its branches. The way we are viewing the room it tapers to a point, suggesting it leads nowhere. The point of view on the room (unique in Maze) also suggests a diamond shape, which is the shape of a DEAD END sign. (I tried to find DEAD END in the branches — I could really only find a D, E, and A that I felt were solid, though.)

    BLIND ALLEY: The room is concerned with eyes and seeing, but most of the eyes look blind (no pupils). In the text: “…surrounded by a brick wall too high to see over.” One of the sideways eyes in the tree (which are really just holes and must therefore be blind) is bisected by a broom which points to 19, the final stop before you have to turn around or end up in the Trap.

    (This also works for DEAD END: the END of the broom is associated with the DEAD tree, and you shouldn’t follow it.)

  3. There’s a face made by the sideways eyes on the tree, the handle of door 19 (nose) and the rake leaning on the wall (mouth). Door 44 is where the chin would be and since the chins of the faces over the doors point to the doors I guess this could be seen as another indicator to pick door 44…

  4. You could take the three white fallen branches and make them into a four. The branches are likened to boards, suggesting you build something out of them. Also the mention of dead leaves gathering “at our feet” suggests looking down for an answer.

    Another thought: the negative space in the branches on the left form eyes, a nose, a mouth, and a triangle shape like the beards or whatever those triangular things are on the faces over the doors. The branches echo the weird fire-like hair on the faces. It seems to be looking at 44… it also seems to belong to the arm that Beelz already has on the board. The one really curvy “finger” of the ghostly hand forms a pretty good capital D = 4.

    So many letters in those branches. A really good A and E… hm.

  5. The tree has two holes in its trunk, matching the two “holes” in 44 as written (with closed tops as opposed to with open tops; 4s appear both ways in Maze but open tops are more common). The number 19 has only one hole and 21 has none. Perhaps the hole/circle design on top of the doorways reinforces this.

    • Congratulations Aria and (from last year) Hidden Mystery!

      Bumping it up one!

      White Raven

    • Regarding the “incomplete” four sets of eyes solution above, could it be as simple as 4 eyes on each side of the tree? 4/4 = 44.

    • 515,

      Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that, but I suspect it is intentional. Adding to the summary. Nicely done!

      White Raven

  6. I really think this is the most haunting and unsettling rooms in the book. The whole bit about the animal attacking the tree, the creepy heads with moving eyes, the darkness all around and the skeletal malevolent tree all add up to make the reader make a quick decision to get out of here at once… hopefully the wrong way.

  7. We’ve tried, here and elsewhere I think, the symmetry game, claiming that as an indicator of the double-4 in 44. Here, we have the two rakes, the two bushels, the two holes in the tree, a mostly symmetrical room divided down the middle by the tree…

    Pretty unconvincing, though, this idea of taking repeated objects to suggest repeated digits, if for no other reason than because the objects aren’t made to look identical. If that’s the point, why make the two rakes different, you know? And the symmetry, man, that’s pretty loose.

    still still still stilll stilllllllllllll


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