Room 33

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…the room with no floor. They crowded each other on the narrow ledge. The bold one ventured out to the center.

Realizing that they could see all of the signs only from the center of the room, several wanted to turn back.

With exaggerated caution, considering their predicament, they finally reached the door they wanted and eventually found themselves in…

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


Room Type:  LOOP     Doors:  3   7  17  35


● The correct door is 3. The correct door is suggested by the three sides of the triangles. [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven]

● The line in the text, “Realizing that they could see all of the signs only from the center of the room several wanted to turn back,” can be edited to read, “- – - – see all of the signs only from the center – - – several – - turn back.” [Credit: White Raven] Over the available doors only door 3 does not have a mirror reversible image. (Door 35: flutes in a V. Door 7: dagger and crown) [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven] [This solution is incomplete]

● The flutes in a V next to door 35 and dagger next to door 7 both point downward into the pit while the clarion in the doorway to door 3 points upward away from the pit. The triangle signs point up suggesting we look for an upward escape. [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven] The sign over door 3 is the only sign for an available door not lit by the (hellish?) light from below. [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven]

● The phrase in the text “turn back” – if the wagon went backwards, it would go toward 3 (the angle is accurate). [Credit: vewatkin]

● Some of the boards appear more flimsy than others. Perhaps the two best boards are to the drum door (from The Path, indicating a wrong move) and to Door 3 the correct choice. [Credit: Hello Gregor] The board to the drum door being on top of the board to Door 3 may suggest an order of preference or a route (from drum to 3).

● The violin/fiddle has no bow and cannot be played. The drum in the picture is playing but it is just a picture. The clarion, however, can be played. This suggests we take the door next to the clarion (door 3) and not the door next to the non-functional violin (door 33). It also perhaps suggests that the door associated with the drum (from 17, locked) was correct and a person coming from there took a wrong turn (cf. the crown in Room 25). [Credit with a hint: Moleman | Credit: White Raven]


73 thoughts on “Room 33

  1. Random thematic thought- the guide says their caution is exaggerated, considering their predicament. That means that their predicament shouldn’t warrant worrying about falling into… whatever’s at the bottom of the room? To me, it looks like fire by the way it is illuminated and the way shadows are cast. What sort of predicament would make falling to your doom not a priority? If the maze truly is some sort of purgatory, and these people were already dead, it would make some sense that it wouldn’t matter. There’s been many connections between the maze and the afterlife, and I believe I’ve seen a theory that it’s some sort of sorting mechanism? Like Room 24 is hell, the loop is in between and so on? Regardless it’s interesting that the guide says they were displaying exaggerated caution. It’s possible they were simply being exaggeratedly whiny about crossing the room, but the “regarding their predicament” part made me think. The bottom of the room being fiery also might indicate some sort of hellishness.
    Or maybe since the purpose of the maze is to lure people astray, the guide is saying that it doesn’t matter (or rather that he doesn’t care) what happens to them because their predicament will be unsatisfactory either way. Room 24 kind of proves the guide doesn’t have our best interests at heart.

    • “Considering their predicament” may describe them; THEY may be considering their predicament. I.e. “With exaggerated caution and considering their predicament, they…”

    • I doubt it was meant to have both grammatical readings. That seems like an unlikely ambiguity to latch onto once noticed.

      Maybe worth noting is that “exaggerated” doesn’t necessarily mean “excessive” or “unnecessary.” I didn’t read it that way until Greg suggested a reading that did so; I don’t think we should get too hung up on that.

    • I think what Manson is drawing attention to with the “exaggerated caution” is the contrast between the apparent danger in the room due to its layout (no floor, fiery light from below, precarious boards) and the actual danger in terms of navigating through the Maze.

      This is actually not a very dangerous room to be in. Even if you take a “wrong” door you are not in any danger. Room 35 has only one option — going back to Room 33. Room 7 takes you to the closed 7/16/36 dead end in which there’s no chance of falling into the Trap. And Room 3 is the correct door (and another room with no door into the Trap.)

      Maybe this is not THAT meaningful since there are not that many doors to the Trap in the Loop, but still, choosing the wrong door in here does seem to be an unusually consequence-free decision.

    • I mean you’re right, it could just mean “greater than normal” rather than “excessively or inappropriately heightened.” The former meaning makes straightforward sense: they are taking greater care than normal due to the unusual danger involved in getting to their chosen door.

  2. I think there’s something going on in here where you use the right-hand sides of the small signs. This seems to connect to the mirror-imaging thing… (see all the signs… only from the centre).
    *RING: if you cut the ring in half, its right-hand side makes a 3
    *URN: its right edge makes a pretty good 3
    *BEE: the right-hand edge of the wing makes a 3 — there’s even bolder lines to emphasize this. This is the only sign whose image is significantly obscured, perhaps to call attention to the 3 on the wing.
    *KEY: three points on the right-hand side
    *PITCHER: right-hand edge makes a 3
    *FLUTES: three holes on the right
    *DAGGER: hilt, point, one side of crosspiece (this one is kind of iffy?)
    *CROWN: cut it in half and there are three points

    Bee… key… vee… three. The bee, key, and vee (flutes) images are perhaps the strongest “right hand makes a three” things so maybe that’s the connection.

  3. It seems significant that all of the main orchestra sections are represented here: percussion, strings, woodwinds, and brass.

    The brass instrument is leaning against the correct door, which has a ring, which I think is meant to make you think of the idiom “reach for the brass ring.” This idiom comes from a merry-go-round game where you reached out and grabbed for rings. Most of them were iron, but a few were brass, and those were the ones that would win you a prize if you nabbed one. So a brass ring is something to strive for, and that’s why you should take door 3.

    (“Bold as brass” is another idiom — maybe the mention of the “bold one” in the text is a further hint to think of brass.)

  4. Considering the theme of this room is up = good and down = bad, it seems fitting that we have a clarion/trumpet leaning against the correct door and a fiddle leaning against and pointing to the incorrect doors.

    If up = heaven and down = hell, this works because angels are commonly depicted as playing horns/trumpets and the devil is associated in folklore with the fiddle.

  5. “With exaggerated caution…”

    Caution signs are often shaped like equilateral triangles, just like the ones above the doors. Does this help? I guess not really since all the door signs have the same shapes…

    • If you can find it in your heart to imagine the horn represents an exclamation point, you can combine that with the equilateral triangle to make the typical “caution” sign.

  6. Something I noticed because of vw’s comments in 5… could all the triangular items also be indicating that 3 is the only door number in this room that is a triangular number? I guess that it’s simpler just for the triangles to indicate 3, but still. It’s something, maybe…

  7. Waaaayyyy down at the bottom of the comments sp mentions an observation by Hello Gregor in one of the Mazecasts about the relative stability of the board “bridges.” It does seem like the bridge to 3 is the most stable… it is centred on the column of tiles or whatever they are, and goes straight to the landing for door 3, while the others are all off centre, or look like they are going to fall off if you step on them.

    • The board to door 7 is the worst by far, it appears to be sliding off the center as we look at it. The other three all look about equally bad to me. If I had to pick I would choose the board to the drum to step on. But since there is a near consensus that this is something I will add it to the summary – majority wins in this case.


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