Room 33

Navigate by clicking on doors or door numbers.

Image Map

…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]


121 thoughts on “Room 33

  1. I think the flagon and wagon were placed here to get us thinking about “agon” rhymes/word endings, which lead to 3, and then to 18, the correct path. This COULD be done in reverse from 18 to 3 to 33, but the in-room “agon” rhyme is in 33, setting you off on the clue hunt. (Not really for the reader, but you get the idea.) The agons make up the exit trail for the loop’s center.

    • I think it’s unnecessary, and often strained, to interpret connections as pointing in the “right” direction. I know I’m a broken record on this, but I don’t think we have any good reason to think that rooms off the path contain clues to lead you back to room 1 to start over. The place where most Maze “solutions” jump from interesting to eye-rolling is when they try to jump from a plausibly meaningful observation to a foregone conclusion.

      (That’s not to say that’s what this is–I think it’s a mistake to assume this trail is meant to lead in the right direction, but it’s not a unreasonable position. I just mean, generally speaking, that our understanding suffers from an attempt to force that conclusion.)

      (And there are exceptions, like our good friend WBM, whose solutions are completely insane from stage 1.)

    • True, you could easily say “33 is the FINAL destination because there are multiple rhymes in here, the path leads TO 33!” We just know how to exit the loop, so we want all clues to get us there.

    • What about the rays throughout the solid chambered pith, of a tree stem? Seems to resemble a strikingly similar appearance to the eye, as well as the top of one’s hat.

  2. 3 POT
    33 PIT

    33 PLANK
    35 BLANK (plain white poster behind the idol)

    33 RING
    35 RUNG

    33 SNARE [drum]
    3 STAIR (described in text)

    33 BUG
    7 RUG

    33 KEY–

    Unfortunately, I think it’s just too easy to do this to get very excited, even when particular pairs seem promising. I am going to try to CALM DOWN.

    • Do you think this room has a simple unifying principle for its symbols, that, once you know, would make all of them clear and obvious in meaning?

    • The weird thing is that out of the multiple suggestions proposed for themes, a few of them make sense to some degree, but don’t make sense in context of the other suggestions.
      For example: I thought the insect was a hornet because of the horn and the fact it looked wasplike. I think this is possible.
      It could also be a “bee” because it rhymes with “key.”
      It could be a “bee” because of “key of b.”
      It could be a “bug” because of the rug in room 7.
      It could also be a “dragonfly” because of the flagon and wagon.
      All of these make sense, but not together. How are we to pick out what’s wrong and what’s right? Will it be obvious?

    • If all there is to an object is that it rhymes with something, it seems like that’s going to be hard to be completely confident about, especially with one-syllable, simple rhymes involving objects that could be described multiple ways. If something clearly associated with a door rhymes with something on the other side of the door, that helps. If it’s part of a chain of objects, that helps. At this point, I don’t think we have too much to be confident in, though.

    • I feel mostly confident in the “agon” trail. It could be some sort of weird red herring, though.
      You’re right that the one-syllable rhymes are easy.
      “King, ring.”
      “Fife, knife.”
      “Jug, bug.”
      “Key, bee.”

  3. An “agon” is an ancient Greek word meaning a “contest for a prize.” (Source: etymonline.)
    This might be irrelevant, but I find it to be pretty interesting at the very least.

    • (because of how MAZE was branded, like a contest with a prize. It’s an agon!)
      That’s an issue with very noisy rooms though- you can make connections that are interesting but silly to assume they were planned that way. For example, “flagon flutes” rearranges to “offstage null.” It’s cool for about 5 seconds, but Manson didn’t plan it, and I keep digging into these symbols but only unearthing something ACTUALLY clued once in a blue moon, like the flagon wagon.
      My brain wants to say: keep going! It will all make sense! But I have to stay cautious, even of little funny connections that I know are unintentional, because the rabbit hole is so easy to fall down…

    • witH EXAGerated cautiON.
      It’s in the paragraph detailing which door they chose, and which door is the right one? The door with the stop sign!
      The letters that spell “hexag” are right next to each other, and caution ends in on.
      This wouldn’t really help the reader, but…

  4. What is so special about the word flagon?
    I’m almost certain the wagon was placed over it to clue it. But why? Is there anything special about one- I know it is typically used to hold alcohol…

    • “Flagon flute v/”flagon flutes”/”flagon v”/”flagon flute” seems like the result of an anagram.

    • With “dagger” and “crown” you can spell “dragon” with….”gecrw” left over? Hmmm. Or “wagon” with “crdger”…not really a good assemblage of letters…

    • Could it be? A dragonfly?? Everyone I’ve shown it to thinks its a bee, but- but-
      Dagger and crown making Dragon? That’s not much of a stretch! Unless they spell another agon word?? Unless we have one of the words wrong??
      That is a flagon, next to a wagon! IT’S TELLING US SOMETHING-

    • It’s really tough to pin down as a particular type of winged insect. It really doesn’t have the proportions of a dragonfly, but it’s also a very small drawing. It would be nice if it had some exaggerated features associated with stylized insects of various sorts, but it has no visible stinger, its body stripes aren’t as pronounced as they would usually be on a cartoonish bee, and it has those double wings–certainly not part of the usual depiction of bees/wasps/hornets, and I don’t know whether any insects of that sort have two sets of wings like that.

      (ACTUALLY, bees and wasps and hornets ALL have two sets of wings, I see upon a moment’s research, but they’re not visible at rest the way these wings are. ENTOMOLOGICAL ACCURACY ASIDE, if you were trying to draw a recognizable, low-detail image of a bee/wasp/hornet, it would probably be unwise to include two pairs of vertically arranged wings such as this.)

      Additionally, wasps and hornets are well known for their thin “waists,” whereas this insect has a pretty consistent body circumference. That’s sounds more technical than I meant it too–I just mean it’s not shaped like a wasp! Stylized bees are drawn in all sorts of ways, but they usually have pronounced stingers and stripes.

      So, I don’t know WHAT this thing is supposed to be. I think it’s tempting to say “bee” largely because it rhymes with “key,” but it doesn’t actually look like it was drawn to be recognized as a bee. It looks reasonably like a dragonfly, just oddly proportioned, and I certainly wouldn’t leap to that conclusion unless we had good reason to think that was meaningful (just as we wouldn’t think to call one of these water vessels a “flagon” without provocation).

      I think it’s something to keep in mind, that it might be that, but I’m not convinced.

    • Oooh, I think “flagon” is a word for the pitcher we hadn’t noticed before. That could totally be a flagon. Too bad it skips a room before we get to the dragon!

    • An interesting possibility is that it is important that that item be identified as a flagon specifically, due to some property of that word, and the wagon picture is there just as a clue to that, since you would otherwise be hard-pressed to use that precise term.

    • There’s a prominent OCTAGON between the FLAGON/WAGON and the DRAGON, though you’re stepping outside of rhymes there and just finding a chain of words with the same last four letters.

      (the octagon is the stop sign in Room 3)

    • Vince, that’s the exact process I found flagon with.
      I was looking up rhymes for wagon because of the dragon-
      Wait, what if the rhyme trail led here, for this word only?? And what if we just did what Manson had intended with the rhymes by finding it?

    • (Oops, liked myself and it seems there’s no way to dislike-)
      The PIT may suggest an orchestral pit.
      The triangular shaped signs with long nails may suggest the triangle instrument.

    • Perhaps these musical terms relate to one another in some specific combination.
      BUT WHAT!?

    • Haphazardly assembled idea:
      The drum door has a hornet for HORN and a key for KEY,
      There are no keys on the horn in this room.
      Door 35 has a pitcher for PITCH and flutes for FLUTE. How do you change a flute’s pitch?
      There are no valves/openings to hold down on the horn in this room.
      This isn’t quite right but I feel I am getting somewhere…

    • Alternatively, each door could be an instrument.
      The two signs are supposed to tell us how to play the instrument.

      Drums: Horn key- keys like the way you would play a horn. Nope, you don’t play drums like that.

      Violin: Flute pitch- valves like the way you would play a flute. Violins are not played like that.

      Horn: Band Something? Something band?

      Door 7: ????

    • Sorry for the nonsense assemblances of these terms I posted above- but I feel we are really close to something with these symbols??

    • It is pointing at the door with the ring (band?) We could put them together to make “bandwagon.”
      But now there’s the question of the flagon…

  5. 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.

    • If having a double meaning is out of the question (which, yes, it’s not prompted at all), then which one is intended? Are they considering their predicament and showing exaggerated caution, or showing exaggerated caution because of their predicament? Either way the guide thinks that the danger they think they are in is more “extreme than in reality.” The caution they show is blown-up. As such, the guide doesn’t think they should be as cautious with this intepretation.
      If it truly does mean “with more caution than normal, considering their predicament (the fire) as opposed to the other rooms,” that would make sense, or “with more caution than normal as opposed to the other rooms, as they considered their predicament.” But the exaggeration doesn’t appear to be in the context of the maze.

    • Well, to be clear, I think double meanings are all over this book and don’t need to be flamboyantly signalled. I just don’t think this particular grammatical ambiguity was likely intended. Like the dangling participle in 36, it seems more likely that Manson just didn’t realize there was an issue. (I’m assuming; cue fifteen solutions making use of the dangling participle in 36.) (Of course, 36 is grammatically erroneous but unambiguous in its intended meaning. This is a little different in that the sentence is on its face grammatically acceptable, and the ambiguity is whether “considering” is intended to be a dangling participle. BUT I THINK IT’S A SIMILAR SITUATION.)

  6. 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.

  7. 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.)

  8. 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.

  9. “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.

  10. 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…

  11. 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.


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>