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Old 04-20-2016, 10:17 AM View Post #1 (Link) Prisoner of Zenda - Rassandyll in motion PART 1
4a4a7a (Offline)
Novice Writer
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Posts: 15
Points: 5.81
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When I finished reading the original Prisoner of Zenda on 8th June 2012 - nearly ten years after I had read its simplified version - I thought I should go through its final chapters one more time. For a very good reason. I was confused as to the orientation of Rudolf Rassandyll on the day in which the rescue operation of the King was carried out.

I reread the chapters 17 an 18 and it made me more certain that the author of the book could have done a better job. Especially young Rupert moving to and fro between the Chateau and castle is a little bit hazy.

And on which side was Rassendyll? He was at Jacob's Ladder which was clearly affixed to the castle where the King was kept, yet he could see what was happening INSIDE the Chateau across the moat. The moat that narrow? Then what's the point of there being a moat anyway?

So I decided I should try to make it more clearer, more for myself than for the readers - a selfish thought - but before I go explaining I should be able to explain the scenario first to myself. However in the following paragraphs I have not limited my observations only to the orientation of Rassendyll on the night of rescue, but applied them for the whole story throughout. And when I was at it, I was delighted to unearth some obvious facts that had eluded me during my first reading of the book.

The following paragraphs would not only enable the reader to get an idea how Rassendyll was in motion, but also a clear idea of the plot itself. Happy reading! Happy thinking!

He leaves No 305, Park Lane, London and sets off to Ruritania to attend the coronation, due to be held in three weeks' time.

Stops in Paris where he meets George Featherly and Bertram Bertrand. Was informed about a lady called Antonitte de Mauben. She hopes to marry Black Michael - the Duke of Strelsau.

Rassandyll takes a ticket to Dresden so as not to raise suspicion of George Featherly. His aim was to visit Rurutania and he wants to do that alone.
Antonitte De Mauben also travels in the same train. Rassandyll gets off the train at Zenda which is situated 10 miles from the Ruritanian frontier with 50 miles yet to go Strelsau - capital of Ruritania.

Checks in to a small inn in Zenda where he meets Johann Holf - Duke's keeper. Only a one day left to go, Johann offers to arrange Rassandyll's luggage to be forwarded to Strelsau since he, Johann, is said to have a relative living there.

It would be tedious for Rassandyll to travel 50 miles to Strelsau and back again within the same day, Johann explains. Rassandyll can stay with Johan's relatives in Strelsau and attend the festivities of the coronation with much comfort. To this Rassandyll agrees and luggage being dispatched, he decides to visit castle of Zenda just before he leaves for Strelsau.

This is a critical decision that changes the whole course of the story.

Castle of Zenda is made of two portions, one new one old. Hopkins say both parts are encircled by a moat. From the side of the castle a drawbridge can be lowered or drawn back. Once it is lowered it connects to a Chateau on the outer bank of the moat. This Chateau is the country house of the Duke of Strelsau. Surrounding area is a forest.

In the forest he meets the king himself along with his advisers and bodyguards Fritz and Sapt. King is taken aback by the appearance Rassandyll (he looks like king himself) and together they go to the hunting lodge situated to the West of the forest.

Rassandyll cancels his plan to go to Strelsau the day before to keep his appointment with Johann's relatives. Instead he decides to stay the night with the king in the hunting loge. People in the hunting loge are Johann's mother Holf, and Joseph. The next morning king is heavily asleep. He was drugged.

Rassandyll goes to the coronation as king, dressed in his clothes, before the guards from Strelsau come to escort him, boarding a special train from Hofbau.

In Strelsau he marches with Sapt, Fritz and Marshall Strackenz to the Cathedral and is anointed and crowned as king. He meets Michael and Princess Flavia. He gets in to the Royal Carriage with her and travels through the crowd cheering. He reaches the Palace.

While Fritz guards the door he leaves king's dressing room and through a secret passage with Sapt in the evening same day and leaves capital on horseback. Upon hearing a second set of hoof beats behind them they hide with Sapt at a wooded junction where the left turn goes to castle of Zenda and right to hunting lodge.

They see Duke accompanied with Max Holf, brother of Johann. They go to Castle.

Rassandyll and sapt go to the hunting lodge where they find King missing and Josef killed. Mother Holf had also gone. A group of Duke's men come to obliterate the evidence in hunting lodge and Rassandyll attacks them with Sapt and then they flee. A bullet touches Rassandyll's finger which turns out to be good excuse for the difference in hand writing than that of the real king.

They reach the Palace the next morning and Rassandyll promotes king's popularity in visiting the grand new avenue of Royal Park. He also visits princess. Black Michael visits them with three of his killers. Rassandyll shakes hands with them.
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