Haroun and the Sea of Stories

Haroun and the Sea of Stories Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The narrator jumps quickly to explain what took place in Chup while Haroun was in the Old Zone. Princess Batcheat was being held at the Citadel of Chup, so General Kitab, Prince Bolo, and Mudra the Shadow Warrior led the Guppee forces there to rescue her. The air in Chup City is so cold it freezes icicles on peoples' noses, so resident Chupwalas wear black, spherical clown noses to keep their noses warm. The Guppee Army issued red nosewarmers to the pages, which made Rashid think that the war was looking like "a war between buffoons." To add to the absurdity, the Pages of Gup were given helmets with a hatband that lit up brightly, making the army look like saints or angels with shining halos.
Due to living in perpetual night (a product of the censorship upheld by the Eggheads' control of Kahani's rotation), the Chupwalas take desperate measures to make life livable. This, along with the other ridiculous clothing items the Guppees are issued, lends an air of absurdity to the entire situation. As Haroun thought earlier, the Guppees and Chupwalas would likely find each other interesting (and very similar) if they didn't hate each other, and the absurd elements here draw attention to the fact that the battle is being fought due to a ridiculous lack of communication.
Themes
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Storytelling Theme Icon
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The Guppees set up their command tent on a hill outside Chup City overlooking the plain of Bat-Mat-Karo, where the battle will take place. Rashid joins General Kitab, Prince Bolo, and Mudra on the hill to translate Mudra's Abhinaya, along with a group of Pages, including Blabbermouth, to act as guards and messengers. As the commanders sit down for a dinner in their tent, a Chupwala messenger rides up to meet them carrying a white flag. Prince Bolo sets about foolishly insulting the messenger until General Kitab silences him.
Particularly in times like these, it becomes obvious to the reader that Prince Bolo might benefit from more censorship than what he currently experiences. This raises the question of when censorship (or at least discretion) may be appropriate. Bolo hasn't gotten the Guppees into too much trouble (yet), but with what the reader knows of Bolo, it's foreshadowed that he will at some point cause trouble with his foolishness.
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The messenger addresses the commanders and tells them that Khattam-Shud released him from his vows of silence to deliver his message. He says that they're trespassing on Chup land and Khattam-Shud will not give up Batcheat. Breaking professionalism, he then starts into a tirade about Batcheat's nose, teeth, and horrendous singing, but General Kitab interrupts and asks him to finish. The messenger says that Khattam-Shud will annihilate the Guppee forces and then force Prince Bolo to watch the sewing-up of Batcheat's mouth. Ignoring another of Bolo's outbursts, the Chupwala ambassador says that he's been commanded to juggle for the Guppees' entertainment.
Even the Chupwalas, when given the opportunity to speak, are more than willing to use language to go on about Batcheat's unfortunate looks and singing. However, the fact that Batcheat hasn't yet been silenced somehow in accordance with the Silence Laws indicates that her song has power, and for whatever reason can't be silenced. Batcheat's singing also creates some suspense for the reader, as the reader still hasn't experienced it firsthand.
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Storytelling Theme Icon
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Blabbermouth bursts out that it's a trap, General Kitab seems willing to argue, but Bolo cries that chivalry demands that they watch the Chupwala juggle. The Chupwala pulls a variety of objects from his cloak pockets and begins to juggle them all quite skillfully. Only Blabbermouth notices when the Chupwala adds a small box with a burning fuse, and she rushes forward, grabs the bomb, and runs to the edge of the command hill to throw the bomb over the edge while other Pages seize the Chupwala. The bomb explodes harmlessly, but Blabbermouth's helmet falls off her head, exposing her long hair.
Haroun has already set up the relationship between juggling and storytelling, and in this situation we're asked to consider how good the jugglers/storytellers in question are. The Chupwala likely would have gotten away with this plan had Blabbermouth not been a skilled juggler herself, which primarily serves to create drama in the situation.
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Storytelling Theme Icon
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Balance and Opposites Theme Icon
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Bolo, Kitab, Mudra, and Rashid rush outside to see Blabbermouth celebrating her rescue. She tells Bolo that she told him so, which infuriates Bolo, and he snappily asks if Blabbermouth is a girl. The two squabble, Bolo yells to Blabbermouth that she's fired, and Blabbermouth retorts that she quits. At that, Mudra asks Blabbermouth if she'll work for him, shaming Bolo.
Blabbermouth has essentially censored herself by pretending to be male, and she's now free of this censorship. A female posing as male to achieve her goals is also a relatively common trope, particularly in theatre (think Shakespeare's As You Like It or Two Gentlemen of Verona), which again ties this story to others.
Themes
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Storytelling Theme Icon
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Finally, the battle is set to begin. Rashid, watching from the hill, is afraid that the Pages of Gup will be torn or burned. The Chupwala Army looks extremely frightening, while the Guppee Army is still arguing over battle strategy. However, when the forces rush at each other, Rashid sees that the argument and debate among the Guppees has created deep bonds between them, which enable them to remain united and support each other, while the Chupwalas end up, as Mudra predicted, primarily fighting their own Shadows. After a short skirmish, the Chupwalas throw down their weapons and run away.
Here we see the positive effects of the free speech that Rashid and Haroun struggled to understand earlier. The novel takes the position, then, that free speech naturally creates this sense of openness. On the same note, the Chupwalas have suffered such intense censorship that they are completely unable to trust each other, let alone themselves. What Rashid learns from watching this will influence how he handles Mr. Buttoo in Alfibay.
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Language, Words, and Naming Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Power and Censorship Theme Icon
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Related Quotes
After their victory, the Library of Gup enters Chup City, where many Chupwalas join the Guppees, calling them liberators. Bolo, riding in front of the Army, begins shouting for Khattam-Shud to come out, and crying out for Batcheat. Chupwalas shout at him that if he'd be quiet, he'd hear Batcheat's "racket." Quieting, the army hears a horrible voice singing love songs. The voice shatters windows as it sings, and Bolo yells that it's beautiful.
Mudra's predictions proved correct; the Chupwalas turn to Mudra and the Guppees. The censorship that they experienced, then, is further delineated as something extremely negative. Finally, in this case Batcheat's singing is not just "racket," it's how Bolo and the Pages are able to find her in the Citadel.
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As the Guppee Army is about to attack the Citadel of Chup, the ground begins to shake and the sun rises in the sky. At the light, Mudra and other Chupwalas don their dark glasses, while the Citadel begins to melt. Bolo, Mudra, and several Chapters of Pages rush the Citadel, calling for Batcheat. Servants of Khattam-Shud rush around in blind terror at the sun and the collapse of the Citadel. Batcheat and her handmaidens slide down the banister of a staircase, whose steps had melted. Batcheat flies into Bolo's arms and the groups turn to flee.
The dark glasses create a sense of absurdity the same way the Guppee helmet halos do, by drawing attention to how ridiculous the censorship and division of this society is through the desperate (and silly) ways in which people adapt to it. The melting of the Citadel mirrors the melting and disintegration of Khattam-Shud's power and hold over the Chupwalas, as well as the dissolving of the Silence Laws and censorship.
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As Bolo, Batcheat, Mudra, the Pages, and the Handmaidens run from the Citadel, the huge ice statue of Bezaban begins to shake and then falls. The statue crashes through the parts of the Citadel that are still standing, rolling down the hill towards the rest of the Guppee forces. Suddenly, Rashid shouts "look out!" to a scrawny, clerkish man—Khattam-Shud himself—as the head of Bezaban bounces and crashes into him. The Cultmaster is never seen again.
The symbolism of Khattam-Shud being crushed by his own idol and a symbol for his work is a nod to the idea that such extreme and complete power will certainly corrupt and get out of hand. It's also notable that Khattam-Shud is destroyed by his own doing, and the Guppees really don't have to be violent to win.
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Mudra is chosen to head the new government of the Land of Chup, which states a desire for peace with Gup and an acceptance of Night and Day, Silence and Speech. Mudra invites Blabbermouth to stay in his service to learn Abhinaya and act as a messenger, and Blabbermouth happily accepts. Water Genies sent to search the Ocean soon locate Butt the Hoopoe, Haroun, Iff, Mali, Goopy, and Bagha. The party is reunited with Rashid and Blabbermouth on the shores of Chup, and they set off for Gup City to arrange the marriage between Bolo and Batcheat.
Thanks to Haroun's wish and the Guppee victory, a sense of balance can now be achieved on Kahani, in which opposites will exist peacefully with each other. The marriage between Bolo and Batcheat is one way to look at this, as their marriage represents a marriage of many opposites: male and female, horrendous-sounding but loving song with sweeping speech lacking in substance.
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In Gup City, Iff, Mali, Goopy, and Bagha are all promoted and given joint responsibility for cleaning up the Old Zone and the Ocean, and Rashid is given his Story Water subscription back.
It would seem that all is well with the world in Kahani now. This will provide a counterpoint for Haroun's rude awakening hours later.
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On Batcheat and Bolo's wedding day, the two of them look so happy that the guests decide to forget Batcheat's stupidity at getting herself captured, as well as Bolo's general foolishness. King Chattergy suggests that the people sing to Bolo and Batcheat, but is forced to smooth over the situation when Bolo suggests that Batcheat sing and the guests beg her not to. Batcheat stays quiet and remains happy as the people "show them their love" by singing to them.
Happiness here is indicated to be powerful enough to allow individuals to forget that those in charge may be stupid or foolish. Keep this in mind later when Rashid is addressing Mr. Buttoo's constituents, as in that situation the exact opposite will prove true.
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Haroun, wandering around the party, is approached by an Egghead who coldly tells him that he must report to P2C2E House to discuss the destroyed machinery with the Walrus. Haroun tries to explain that it was for a good cause, but the Egghead walks away.
Haroun knows that what he did was for the greater good of Kahani, but this summons to speak with the Walrus calls into question whether doing the right thing was actually the right thing.
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