Room 5

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…the tree room.

“Are these real?” they asked.

I told them the trees were as real as anything else in the House. As this was an important decision I encouraged them to take their time. After all, the more they think about the possibilities the more choices they have to make.

What were their chances of choosing wisely…one in four? Two in four perhaps, if I was generous about it…and why not be generous? There are one hundred ninety doors in this part of the House, counting the gate…enough for everyone.

Making a choice, they entered a very long, dark corridor and at last came out into…

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


Room Type:  PATH     Doors:  20  22  30  43


● The Guide says the chances of choosing correctly are two in four because two of the doors are on The Path and the other two lead to The Trap. [Credit: R. Serena Wakefield]

● The final “forth _____” can be understood as simply pointing to the “fourth” door (which is one of the okay ones) [Credit: Beelzebibble] [Solution incomplete], or as “forthcoming” [Credit: White Raven - there is more to this solution involving the third and fourth doors], or as “forthcoming” and “forthgoing” indicating that there are two doors but not indicating which one [Credit: shmizza]. Only one of these options can be correct, the rarity of “forthgoing” puts that solution in doubt but all three solutions are possible. Alternately the final “forth _____” could refer to the forth tree, which straddles the two correct doors, thus indicating both/either. [Credit: sp]

● In the text the Guide and visitors discuss if the trees are real. The two incorrect doors are separated from the two okay doors by the center tree. On the incorrect side is a drawing of the castle. On the okay side is a real flower (not a drawing of a flower) indicating these as the correct doors. (Here and elsewhere Manson assumes that real is good and fake is bad). [Independent credit: Vewatkin | White Raven]

● There appears to be a Sleeping Beauty metaphor in this room. The fairy tale of Briar Rose (commonly known today as Sleeping Beauty), was recorded in the Grimms’ Fairy Tales in 1812. In the story Briar Rose is cursed to sleep for a 100 years in a tower.The tower in the poster on the left has moon symbols over the towers suggesting sleep. The flower on the right looks very similar to the briar rose flower. Given the plot line of the story this suggests we avoid the door with the tower on it (22) and choose a door near the flower (20 or 30). The cut branches of the trees may suggest the chopping through the magical thicket in the Disney version. Also the two good rooms 20 and 30 add up to 50 the number of the fairy tale in Grimms’, this could be subtly suggesting that these are the correct doors or may be coincidence. [Credit: Aria]


108 thoughts on “Room 5

    • They haven’t all been taken off. The trees have been trimmed so that they extend only upward and along lines parallel to the walls of the hall. They are a decorative element. I’m not sure why they have no leaves.

      ‘Gone hath the Spring, with all its flowers,
      And gone the Summer’s pomp and show,
      And Autumn, in his leafless bowers,
      Is waiting for the Winter’s snow.’

  1. On the each leg of the sign there are three dots indicating to chose thirty. also I have to say this because of the sign and the date, “when solving this maze, may the fourth be with you!”

  2. Is the reason why Room 5 is grouped with the Path rooms and not with the Loop rooms is that two of the exits lead to the Path rooms? From what I see of your map, there is no access from any of the Loop rooms.

  3. This was pointed out recently by sp and I think it’s pretty good — counting from left to right, the FOURTH tree along the back wall is the one behind the flower and between the two safe doors. So “forth” indicates the fourth tree, which is beside both of the safe doors.

    • Aria & sp,

      Good job sp! This could tie in to any of the “fourth” solutions already posted or could supplant them.

      I’m adding it to the list of competing “fourth” solutions.

      White Raven

    • sp,

      Stage one denial: Maybe I read his post wrong.
      Stage two confusion: What the hell is he talking about?!
      Stage three Googling: Oooooooh!
      Stage four YouTube: NICE ONE BRUVA!

  4. The claim that there are 190 doors in “this part” of the House is a very interesting statement, when there are around 190 doors total in the book. Are there other groups coming into the House from other entrances? This seems strange, since we don’t see any doors in Room 45 (or any room that leads to it) indicating one-way passages that they came from, and since the closest they could do to getting back out would be to go to Room 1 rather than going back to where they came from. Are there entrances to the House that don’t even lead to Room 45?

    • It’s a great question. My personal theory is that Manson envisioned that the House is much, much larger than what we see in MAZE and that every time a new group goes through the House they get a different experience because the House rearranges itself creating a new system of closed rooms. So in MAZE we experience one group’s trip through the rooms. Perhaps, early on, Manson planned on creating successive trips as MAZE II, MAZE III, etc. Even if this was his intention at one point he has moved on and is now more interested in a whole new experience.

    • Does this mean you have been talking to Manson about the SEQUEL?

    • A sequel was a frequent topic in the past. Recently my health issues have put the topic on the back burner.

    • (The only other room with door handles shaped and oriented so as to make Cs is 23, so this is a fairly rare occurrence.)

    • Vewatkin,

      It is easy in critiquing others to get carried away. Please be mindful. Thank you.

      White Raven

    • Sorry, cap’n! That kind of talk is pretty tame among MazeCasters, but you can’t preserve a friendly tone among posters at large with that sort of stuff on here. I’ll keep that trash-talking where it belongs. (Direct communication with Sara.)

  5. Here’s another thing… 30 is for going FORTH and 20 is for COMING back, if you’re thinking about where they are on the Path.

  6. If the main message in this room is that both doors 30 and 20 are good, then a reasonable way to clue this would be to indicate “zero” or “zero zero,” since each of the good door numbers has a zero and the bad door numbers don’t.

    AND IN FACT, Manson does seem to do this in a number of ways in the image and in the text.

    1. The sawed-off branches. These give you circular-shaped cross-sections. On the big tree in the foreground, we can see TWO of these cross-sections. Double zero.

    2. The holes on the easel. We can see three holes on each leg, but the top one is plugged with a peg in each case. Double zero. Double zero.

    3. The flower itself is drawn such that it kind of looks like a ring… the petals are not strongly defined. Zero.

    4. Saving the best for last, I think. In the text there are four words that have two “o”s in them: room, choosing, doors, corridor. This could be a coincidence, and four doesn’t seem like an especially meaningful number here. BUT. If that missing word is “forthcoming,” then you have a FIFTH word that has two “o”s in it. 3 + 2 = 5, 0 + 0 = OO. (In support of “forthcoming” as the correct completion here is the use of the word “came” in the final sentence/line of the text — coming, came — corresponding to the final line of the text on the easel.)

    • I guess the blank after forth_______ could just straightforwardly indicate a zero (blank = zero) — or it could suggest leaving something open (to interpretation) — like the fourth/forth door, which is open.

      OR the line could indicate the carpets, line-like in shape. (Take the fourth/forth line.)

    • NOT TO MENTION that there are 3 trees (against the wall) on the left and two trees (against the wall) on the right.

      The trees all have zeroes around their bases.

      3 0s -> 30
      2 0s -> 20

  7. Just want to add something to the Sleeping Beauty/flower solution. The stem of the flower points at 30, so the flower end points at 20. This can be taken as an indication of which door to take.

    If you are at the beginning of your journey, you take the stem end (go back to Room 30), because the stem of a plant develops before a flower. Also, one meaning of “stem” is “originate or be caused by; spring from,” which seems appropriate for the beginning part of your trip along the Path.

    At the end of your journey, it is better to take the door to Room 20, indicated by the flower. And an alternative meaning of “flower” is “be in or reach an optimum stage of development; develop fully and richly,” as in the expression “in full flower.” This is a clue that if your journey is almost complete you should go back to Room 20.

  8. I think this room is a Sleeping Beauty metaphor.
    1. We have the trees — the ones in the background actually look like dense vines — thickly clustered against the walls, with all their branches hacked off — perhaps by the Prince’s sword? (Disney version.)
    2. We have “take your time” in the text… say, 100 years?
    3. Grimm’s version of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale is called Little Brier Rose. So the flower represents the sleeping princess that the prince has to go and kiss to awaken her. It’s closer to door 20, and that door is open — the Prince’s goal is to enter the castle, so we take the open door.
    4. Also related to the Grimm version: Little Brier Rose seems to be the 50th fairy tale in Volume 1 of the collection. Add up the numbers of the two good doors on the right side of the room and you get 50.
    5. There’s a picture of a castle on one of the bad doors. It has moons on the towers, representing the enchanted sleep.

    Maybe there’s more?

    • I guess this really only works if you’re at the end of your Maze story — as well as at the end of the Sleeping Beauty story — and you come here from room 20… otherwise the better door is 30.

      Unless you read the flower as indicating both doors and take the 20 + 30 = 50 thing as meaning both doors are correct because it takes both of them to add up to the story’s number.

    • Aria,

      An actual briar rose looks strikingly similar to the flower on this page (google “briar rose flower”). I think you may have really found something here!

    • Wow, it really does! Well, that clinches it for me…

      I feel only lukewarm about many of the solutions I post but I feel pretty sure about this one.

      Thicket, fairy-tale castle, actual briar rose… I don’t know where the white carpets would fit in except as fabric you might make with spun thread (spinning wheel, spindle, etc) and I don’t think the easel stuff is part of it but nevertheless I think it’s pretty solid.

      If the real/not real solution above is okay, then this one with briar rose indicating doors 30 and 20 works in the same way, with the reinforcement of 30 + 20 = 50, the number of the story in Grimm’s fairy tales, which would be a fairly big coincidence.

      You could do something with this room being a choice between two rooms in the trap (bad) versus two rooms on the path (good). They are even separated into left/sinister/bad versus right/correct/good. There’s no grey area — no door to the loop — it’s pretty black-and-white. Much like fairy tales…

    • Aria,

      This is looking pretty solid to me I am mostly convinced so I am adding it to the summary with some reservations about the 50 and the chopped branches. Nicely done!

      White Raven

    • In fact, 45 is the 10th triangular number (counting 0), and 190 is the 20th. Again, not a solution to anything, but it does imply a deliberate principle that went into the design. If I’m right, and this is not a coincidence, it would suggest that the number of rooms and number of connections were decided a priori, and the rooms were then designed to accomodate these numbers.

    • vewatkin,

      I was never certain if 45 being a magic number was a coincidence or not, but 190 also being a triangular magic number I think answers that question. Great find!

  9. If the flower tells us that 30 and 20 are the better doors, then maybe “forth____” (meaning fourth) could indicate that we follow the fourth sawn-off branch from the tree behind the flower and between 30 and 20, which overlaps and points to 20.

  10. When you looke at the branches and the two boards-lines together as one they make a zero shape over the left two doors and a 3 and 0 over 30 and a 2 and 0 over twenty. Its not very good maybe it can be made better?

  11. Hey Aria … …
    I tried saying that 10 times-no problem-just can’t do something simple like solve MAZE…lol.

  12. Trivia to most if not all I’m sure – but all of those Raven paths I did had their marker clued by the word “important” occurring in the text. I just noticed I missed an “important” here in room 5. I got a bit excited thinking there would be a new path – maybe even a guide path instead of another very redundant Raven path. Nope – look at the bottom of the easel. “…” “…”. This “important” just marks a path I already did it seems.

  13. Alright, dangerous territory here, but

    “The tower” is an anagram of “two three.” I hypothesized before that the left side of this room is suggesting two or three, and the right side zero. This suggestion is still missing a lot, and tossing “the” in there makes me a grimace a bit…on the other hand, while it seems a little unfair moving backwards, it’s reasonable enough moving forwards: two/three = the tower. So there’s a tower! It’s not worse than a shoe and a horseshoe!

  14. The only room with two routes shown, consistent with the suggestions of the text. Interesting that there’s nothing similar in 2, but I guess we were already sort of on that page.

    It’s interesting, though: why not indicate two exits in Room 2? (I mean from Manson’s perspective, not WR’s. I assume the overall puzzle in 2 indicates only the door to 29, and that’s why WR doesn’t indicate the path straight to 1.)

    • I assume WR does it only here and not in two because the text is clear here that there might be a best and second best choice. In 2 – if Manson means that then he is far less clear – but while there are the most “B” objects there are a fair number of “C”s – which could be 12, and also anything that clues the moon over 29, also more weakly might clue that moon-ish banner, so again -it could be intentionally 2nd best. The situation could exist in 28 too (but only sort of).

  15. I took a look in the Oxford English Dictionary for words starting with “forth.” Well, there are a ton. And while they are largely archaic, I’m not sure that they’re largely any more archaic than “forthward”–a term that in my experience has been completely supplanted by “forward.” In fact, that’s what most of the words are: archaic versions of modern words that now use the prefix “for” or “fore” instead of “forth.”

    For that reason, it makes it hard for me to believe that we should be able to deduce by process of elimination the final word. And because using the sign to clue “fourth” makes most of it irrelevant, including the fact that it has a blank, I’m skeptical about that solution’s status.

    I haven’t been able to close this up, but I suspect it has more to do with the fact that it’s in front of Room 43 (four-three). That also seems to fit somewhat with the clue being (as of yet) inexplicably supported by a tripod easel–like in 19, the tripod is suggestive of three, which helps close up the final blank The problem, of course, is that this interchanges “forth” and “four th,” but the current solutions are already all doing that.

    Interesting to me also here is that the door to 22 has a pictures of multiple towers on it, and the letters in TWO being immediately located in the word TOWer. I wouldn’t consider this case-closed material either, but it’s something interesting to me.

    If we took the dark tree in the middle as dividing the room into left and right, we then have 3 and 2 suggested by the objects on the left. (While considered singly they may suggest the doors they are in front of, taken as part of a room-wide solution they implicate more.) 3 and 2 are, of course, the first digits in the correct room solutions. What it seems like we’re now missing, then, is some reason to call that flower on the right suggestive of a zero.

    It’s not COMPLETELY un-zero-ish; it is round with a darkened center. It’s more zero-ish than most of the zero things listed as being zero-ish in 34. But that’s still not a terribly good case for it.

    Nevertheless, I think there’s something here, maybe something someone can help me improve. It would certainly tie the room together, in a way that makes it not just a bunch of random stuff thrown down for the purpose of tangential aspects. I really like the idea that the objects in the room correspond the the correct door numbers in this way (two possible first digits; the same second digit). But the relationship between the flower and zero is either needles-and-eyes style, or non-existent; and take “TWO” from “TOWER” or “TOWERS” seems to be missing some justification.

    • Vewatkin,

      My best guess is that the solution by Beelzebibble (fully fleshed out) that leaves the final forth uncompleted is the most likely.

      That said, if we are meant to fill in the last half of the last word it is most certainly “forthcoming” as it is by far the most common of all the “forth____” words in English.

      Given the commonality of “forthcoming” I believe a good solution must either use the word in the final “FORTH___” or give a reason that it is omitted in favor of the other 3 fourth* words.

    • Of course, “forth” (forget “coming” and “going”) is an indicator of forward movement, and if we ignore its homophonous qualities and simply ask which door is the “forth” door, I suppose the open door would be it.

      I SUPPOSE you could say that if one were going forth FROM the doorways that the closed doorway could be left behind you, but I’m a little dubious of that. MORE dubious than of the first dubious part, I mean. If you start going further afield than “go forth/open door” then you might have to acknowledge the fact that going forth would involve opening and/or closing the door and all the aperture states depicted by the doors.

      ANOTHER DUMB way to look at it is that the long black underline that follows “forth” on the easel corresponds to the “long, dark corridor” alluded to in the text. But that only connects to Room 20 if we assume the words connect to the doors in order, and if we do that, well, we might as well be using one of the other solutions that jumps to the same conclusion from the same information.

      BUT ANOTHER DUMB WAY of looking at it, maybe in conjunction with that solution, is that the blank really is connected with 20, because the doorway itself is open, whereas the doorway to 43 is blocked by the easel, the doorway to 22 is marked with the tower posted, the doorway to 30 is significantly overlapped by that tree in the foreground. “Oh, come on, do the trees count?” THEY’RE AS REAL AS ANYTHING ELSE.

      Problematically, even apart from that being dumb, the doorway to 20 is barely overlapped by branches. With the open door and the near-absence of overlapping materials, if we HAD to associate one of the doorways with “blank,” I assume it would be that one–but if that were really what Manson was going for, why not just make the doorway for realsies un-overlapped?

      (Not that similar questions don’t arise all over…)

  16. Technically I listed Door #43 = last quarter (1/2), then went on later to stress we are talking about going to waning crescent not to waxing…the easel entry would require the term “qauarter” . There is a 1% differential between quarter and crescent…its like time…it’s either 2359hrs or 0001hrs, there is no 2400hrs. Makes me wonder about the double ended crescent wrench in Room #21, is one end waning and the other end waxing?

  17. Oh, sorry didn’t actually answer your question about the flower-I think the moon doors are correct so the flower fits because of that and it bolsters
    the moon door solution…they support each other.
    If we had one more door and it was also closed it would be a “Blue Moon”.
    Oh, I have a headache!


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