The War of the Worlds

I read the copy with the introduction by Ray Bradbury and people’s real reactions to the radio broadcast, which were so wild it’s incredible how prone to hysteria and panic people can be if not susceptible to becoming more informed. Most of those who did listen, missed the preface of it being a dramatization and were too panicked by the play to check with other news stations, also the police weren’t much help because they didn’t have the information necessary and advice to stay indoors and to listen for news broadcasts panicked people more than helped. Although some who heard the broadcast didn’t take it as an alien invasion, they thought “Martian” meant the Japanese or Germans were the threats, something more plausible for their fear. Reporters were angered by the broadcast and  made it seem many had died and committed suicide from the panic; complete bollocks, no one was more injured than those who sustained bruises, to egos as well as physical ones. Welles wasn’t the first to use this broadcasting technique either, but Welles did have a reason for making the broadcast believable, trying to show the public not to take everything they hear as fact; Something which is still a struggle, eh?

One columnist even praised Welles for shining “…a brilliant and cruel light upon the failure of popular education”. I agree, even today, with the rest of her statement being it showed “…the incredible stupidity, lack of nerve, and ignorance of…” in this case, a little over a million people. Those who took the joke hard, obviously don’t get scared often and didn’t like being shown, either to themselves or those who know them, as being weak and ignorant; The saps. Also, H.G. Wells wasn’t happy about being made to believe they weren’t only going to read his book on air, but lost steam when sales for his book increased; Ha! On the sides of the pages for the script of the radio broadcast we have quotes from those who were fooled completely, temporarily and those who didn’t know what to make of it. Some from poor neighborhoods were quoted to panicking at first, but were still able to comprehend it being a play by the end, seemingly because they had nowhere to flee to or being unable to do so in other ways. It seems the lower middle class had a perfect amount of hysteria to make them have more foolish reactions. Welles also suspected some panic from his show, but not to the extent it had; He was 23 when he did this, so no shit, Sherlock; Young and naive, much? Besides, there’s also mini-biographies of both Orson Welles and H.G. Wells, making me want a longer one of Orson, and looking forward to H.G.’s autobiography.

It reads like a science text about outer space and specifically of Mars. Then there’s a first person account of presumably the author being the narrator, unnamed with a well known astronomer. They are looking at and discussing the probability of life on the planet. Then, for 10 nights, flames are seen, believed to be from volcanoes. After the stop of which, life continues to be normal. Then a falling star, “the first” of the events to be seen. Ogilvy, the astronomer, goes to search for it and once discovering the large crash site, awaits for the object to cool. When the surface covering the object began falling off with a severe sound, Ogilvy had a great bout of adrenaline, making him move closer (seemingly a dope). The cylinder began rotating off, Ogilvy not comprehending until seeing, perhaps the dark indentation ridges to indicate movement. Although, most everyone today would know this could mean death or slave-dom, Ogilvy had good ole fashion symptoms of “rescuer” syndrome and began trying to help unscrew the top from the outside; It certainly doesn’t take long to get entertaining. Once he realizes the heat made it impossible for him to get any closer, let alone touch it, he retreats to town.

After bringing his story to a couple unbelieving passersby, he recognizes someone and divulges to the man what he saw, they returning to the site to discover the cylinder open enough for air to enter, but when tapping on the outside with a stick with no response, they conclude death or disorientation of the occupant(s). The men return to town hoping to get more help for the “spacemen”, being unable to do anything more themselves. The news gets the story soon enough with the narrator soon catching wind of it and going to see for himself the area in question. Once arriving, the narrator sees the crowd has gathered and the two men, Ogilvy and Henderson, had gone off to sup at Henderson’s. Later on Ogilvy returns and shares the plan of putting up a fence to deter rubbernecking. Henderson as well as another astronomer had come along and they noticed noises from inside the capsule could still be heard and whether the Narrator would like to see about getting a hold of Lord Hilton who lived in the vicinity. He was told he was in London and expected back at a specific hour later, and so he goes home, relaxing and awaiting Lord Hilton’s arrival at the station to meet up with him there.

We return to the site and more people have come and are being pushed closer to the edge of the crater, one man is pushed in and tries to climb back up again. People are excitedly agitated because the pod has unscrewed at a quicker rate. The lid comes off and we expect to see a creature human-esque, but it isn’t anything close. People aren’t as curious after what they see and begin to run off. When seeing one emerge and the start of another coming out, the Narrator also bolts stumbling towards the first stand of trees, due to being unable to look away from the terror-striking sight. We see the same man whom fell in, still struggling to escape the pit and he almost goes back to help, but fear overrules his fancy as a shriek is heard; Now I understand why this book is a classic. It’s much like a movie in it’s depiction, which I wouldn’t even dare compare to the latest movie, but I may have to look into the first adaptation, praised as being the closest to the original. Anyways, the Narrator is unable to compel himself to flee further, but tries to locate a better vantage point to observe the creatures better.

Soon authorities along with Ogilvy and Henderson wave a white flag, treating the Martians in a way which hopefully shows they respect their intelligence and to prove their own. After, a flame/light bursts forth, after which something comes out of the pit. Meanwhile, we soon learn what the flashes of flame are all about when some of the “white flag” supporters make a hasty retreat. The Narrator sees the fiery destruction of forest and buildings close-by, after which, the silence brings proper fear, a child’s fear and he runs away. We get a death count at the pit and then the spread of how fast the news of what happened could get out to certain surrounding towns. The people in Woking didn’t seem to know the cylinder had even opened, but those who did, made the trek in small groups to have their own look-see, which also brought out some police officers trying to keep the larger growing group, back, inciting the thoughtless group mentality to take over some in the usual noise-rowdy way. Those others who escaped to be able to mention the tale of those first at the pit, had similar descriptions to the Narrator’s in it was dealt and accompanied by bright light.

The second group of onlookers fared no better. The policeman on horse-back returned screaming, meanwhile the Narrator flees, clumsily in his own opinion, through trees until making it to the Horsell crossroads and continues along the path, until collapsing from physical and mental exhaustion. Upon regaining his sense, he didn’t know whether what he had lived through had happened and was confused by waking in his current whereabouts. He walked on in a drunkenly manner across the bridge and introspectively thought of his own dissociation at certain moments, this being one of them. When he arrives at the train-station, he asks some people if they’ve heard any “news from the common”, to which they had none, taking the news of “men from Mars” lightly. He tries to explain his traumatizing experience brokenly and not making it understood, getting laughed at for his trouble, so he makes his way home and shares the tale with his wife. She takes his story more seriously to the point of his comforting her by describing the aliens as barely able to move from the pit. After which, to comfort himself and his wife he speaks of the differing gravitational and oxygen levels which would affect the Martians unfavorably; he also realizes his error of this later. He concludes the chapter with his informing us of this meal with his wife being the last normal one for many days.

They reach their destination and if not having to return the horse, he knew his wife would have rather he stayed, and he regrets not doing so, but he was also excited to go back and see the Martians overthrown. He makes his way back, late and by a different route. Upon reaching Addlestone, a third falling star is seen, followed by a quick succession of lightning flashes, scaring the horse. He soon sees a giant machine walking in his general direction, and then a second one coming out from the trees in front of him, its path going straight at him. Trying to make a quick get away which only ends with the horse being pushed over by the cart and the Narrator falling out. The horse seriously injured, the Narrator watches the machine walk past and to another area, leaving him there to join other machines, he looks on and believes they were gathered around one of the many cylinders shot from Mars. He continues to Maybury, trying to take shelter in a hut and failing to get inside for no one answering the door. He speaks on as if he would have chosen differently in regards to his movements if he hadn’t run into these strange happenings, but he ended up with the idea of staying at his home once reaching it, but before getting there, runs into another man, who hurried away upon running into him and then noticing someone he knew lying in a ditch, dead.

He reaches his home not long after and tries to recover emotionally and due to the hail and rain, physically. After taking a moment to clean himself up, he goes to the window in his study and spies the damage from the fires and Martian shapes busily moving around. He thought of the possibilities of what the machines held inside of them or if they worked autonomously, when he sees a soldier going over the fence to his yard and he welcomes him in for a safe-haven. He tries to withdraw information from him, getting repeated vague-ry in reply, only learning the Martians had overcome the troops. The young soldier soon regains enough of his wits to confess what happened to him, also learning how the large machines started up and began delivering damage; quite entertainingly. Soon dawn has almost arrived and the Narrator and soldier survey the surroundings from his study window. The Martians seemed to have widened the pit, making it the main “working” space. When dawn does come, the two men agree their current quarters isn’t safe and whilst the soldier planned on heading London-ward, the Narrator planned to rejoin his wife, but agreed to accompany the soldier in a safer route until parting to go to their collective destinations. They run into a Lieutenant on a horse and the soldier informs him, when asked, what the Martians looked like. After giving the Lieutenant directions to get a look at them himself, they go on to Weybridge. They get there and move to the point of where the Wey and the Thames converge and this is where the Martians show their force again. The Narrator came up with the idea of detecting safety underwater.

This is where the real action begins as the Narrator and citizens take cover from Martian violence. When he surfaces, he sees one machine-clad Martian ignore the running people around it and make its way to the opposite shore to Shepperton. We are told other action with the Martians could have been occurring simultaneously, but the Narrator chose to focus on the nearest, understandably. As the Martian gets back on land, it is fired upon and we soon perceive although the Martians control these machines, however temporarily, the machines are capable of independent piloting, continuing to bring damage upon a church nearby before finally falling. Whilst the Narrator tries to get a better view of the collapsing one, he is warned of the other Martians coming across to Shepperton where the volley continues this time with assurance at the new targets. Since the Narrator thought it safer being submerged, ducking again for cover. When he rises once more, he observes two Martians inspecting the felled one. One’s heat-ray goes off bringing a tidal wave of destruction to the surrounding area as well as an actual tidal wave, leaving the Narrator to stagger away, burned but able to escape and see the Martians take the remains of the fallen back with them; this would definitely be one of the more action-event-filled chapters. The Martians learned how to deal with the British military after this and so the Narrator goes on by boat toward London. He gets extremely dehydrated on his journey and is met by a curate whom he had repeatedly asked for water. The curate kept bemoaning the rubble which used to be his church and what had they done to have this destruction befall them. Soon the Narrator realizes the curate is in a state of fear which won’t allow him to answer to their whereabouts and only to the state of their well-being, to which the Narrator tries to make reasonable theory and losing the curate to his fear halfway through.

We distinguish at this moment in time the Narrator has a brother in London at medical school and when his class hears the news about the Martians and his brother realizes how close the Narrator was, he telegraphed him, which doesn’t reach him, with news he’d be visiting him and stayed over night in a music hall. From there his brother made it as far as the Waterloo station, unable to get a train the rest of the way and trying to get news of the Martians as it came, which wasn’t much. After some time, the station was being cleared out and his brother was able to buy a paper with the information of how dangerous the Martians actually were. After, his brother returns to London and not long after going to bed hears a commotion and a policeman shouting the Martians have come. He sees through his window people leaving quickly by carriage and such. He dresses and goes down to the street getting a paper and describing the poison gas the Martians have and having the situation looking dire-lessly serious. He gathers some light possessions of import and leaves with the rest.

Whilst the Narrator’s brother is watching people run across Westminster Bridge, the curate is still talking crazy and the Martians are still working in the pit until fairly early in the night. Three ventured out by 8 and were heard by the Narrator and curate, one of the Martians took out those in Painshill Park, but soldiers in another area fared better; I’m starting to understand due to the close geography written, one would be better off with a map of Britain or know the area well due to Wells being quite specific. The second bunch we see, takes down the Martian and the fallen one lets another, by a “howling” communication, know of his need for backup. When the Martian’s call was answered, the table’s turned yet again in favor of the Martians. Three had gathered and the one which fell began repairing the machine the Martian operated. When rockets fired, two Martian “fighting machines” passed close enough to be seen by the curate and himself. As the curate ran off, the Narrator knew better and found a hiding spot close by, which the curate, after seeing him, followed suit.

The Martians quietly set up their attack. They both heard gunshots from varying distances and then the Martian near them fired which made the Narrator forget his safety in preference of a better view, which brought no excitement or events, keeping everyone in suspense. The Martian by them moves on and the Narrator and curate do the same, seeing a protrusion of a hill which wasn’t there before, meanwhile they hear the “hooting” of the Martians communicating to each other. Soon the Martians start firing poisonous gas again as well as another element unidentified for the moment. In some cases the Martians would dissipate the gas once the effects served its purpose and they became increasingly careful whenever they were leery of return gunfire, bringing out their Heat-Ray, which they used sparingly for reasons only theorized. The “battle” continued and the Martians stayed strong, delivering consistent blows to the soldiers, leaving many wounded and civilian spectators still accounted for during it all. The gas is more prevalent, taking out the soldiers which by dawn the government is on its last leg and advising those still holding out for victory the reality of needing to flee.

By Monday, due to people frantically trying to get out, the police became over-worked and frustrated ending up inflicting some brutality of their own. A Martian appeared halfway through the day and with it poisonous gas blocked escape over the bridges of the Thames and Lambeth. We then learn how the Narrator’s brother’s escape was going; turning out to be going better than most, making it to Edgware. Upon resting up, he moves on presumably getting to a town he knew some friends lived in, which seems a long shot they’d still even be there what with everything, but oh well. Anyways, on his travels he joins up with two ladies in time for an impromptu rescue. A few men, thinking they could overpower the women stopped their horse and buggy and whilst one was terror-stricken, the other tried to defend herself. His brother, a trained fighter, gets the troublemakers attention well enough and as the women make a get away and his brother, after laying out one man, tries to follow them as one of the other bullies had defended himself against his brother better than the first, chased after him, the ladies realized their rescuer was in need of their assistance and the dark-haired lady brings out a concealed fire-arm she hadn’t been able to get to during their attack.

After properly scaring off one, making them both retreat to where the knocked out one lay. The three continue on toward Barnet and getting closer, come upon more people, his brother gathering as much broken information as he could. Soon they get rushed by a crowd of people trying to go past them seemingly caused by a fire burning a villa making a smoke which brought confusion to the people trying to leave. We get more closer descriptions of the people trying to escape as the cry of the Martians coming continue. The violence of escape gets worse as the fear grows, the Narrator’s brother trying to help anyone close to him. After realizing the futile-ness of his actions, he decides to retreat with his main group back the way they came, but soon realizes the road ahead is their only option and drives them back into the frenzied crowd. They reach somewhere near East Barnet and rest for the night, but unable to truly be at ease for hunger and anxiety. They also periodically see people rushing past them in the direction they’d come.

The Narrator reiterates the terror-ed mass of people seen by his brother and how nothing could have rivaled its suffered stampede. There was news of the Martians controlling London at this point and how governor officials planned on using a high volume of explosives in mines; I don’t know how mines were supposed to deter the Martians but, only just. The Narrator also is sure to mention each falling star which is seen by his brother and Miss Elphinstone, alternately. We continue to follow them as they try to reach the coast, foregoing food to close the distance instead. Near Tillingham, they are able to view the coast and are greeted with a sight of many freighters and ships letting off and bringing on people from the shore. Miss Elphinstone is now becoming anxious and panic-stricken with the idea of leaving England, especially without her husband, hoping to turn around and spot him “at Stanmore”. The two convince her to board with them upon noticing a steamer which would have them and even shared a meal, once settled. The captain stayed at shore as long as he could to gather as many passengers until well beyond capacity when gunfire was heard. Soon after, they see a Martian in the distance seemingly to mosey along. The one seemed to be heading for the steamer and then another is seen doing the same. By the end, there are three Martians in the water, releasing black smoke and another using the Heat-Ray underwater, damaging a ship. Then a Martian was taken out and not long after another goes with it and although this seemed like a score for humanity, since the third Martian was also missing, the ship it had aimed for was now nowhere to be seen. The captain of their vessel is the first to point out a grey object swiftly rising into the sky and when it reached its height of flight, moved away from them, bringing darkness to the earth.

Upon the start of Book II, we switch back to the Narrator and curate’s whereabouts, which was an abandoned house in Halliford to escape Black Smoke. The Narrator had begun to tire of the curate’s repetitious “woe-is-me” moaning and began retreating to room’s out of the curate’s reach, ending in a box-room. The Narrator was planning on continuing alone since the curate seemed keen on staying, but changed his addled mind when he realized the Narrator was going to leave regardless. They didn’t run in to anything consequential, other than people in Twickenham and didn’t run into Martians until closer to Barnes. He and the curate hid for a few moments and Narrator ditched him again when he didn’t seem ready to move on, the curate comes after him once he begins to make his way to a road towards Kew, which wasn’t the best decision, seeing another or possibly the same Martian collecting Humans running away. Narrator and curate hide in a ditch, well into the night, resuming their hike more stealthily. When the curate starts feeling faint they break into a couple homes, staying in the latter one for some time in Mortlake. This time the curate is the one whom wants to make a hasty continuation of journey, but Narrator decides the opposite and we are then told why they get stranded there. A large impact hit the house, knocking out the Narrator and the curate sustaining a cut head. He updates the Narrator on their situation, believing Martians to be within radius and so keeping themselves still and quiet until light, the Narrator wondering if a Martian had knocked into the house, realizing upon the dawn it was one of the cylinders, after which they rest until the Narrator wakes again and is moved to hunt for food, once doing so, being followed by the curate.

After, they go back to the scullery and the Narrator loses the curate’s whereabouts for probably nodding off, but notices him against the hole which looked out upon the Martians, causing the curate to jump and causing some noise which they anxiously await to learn whether it was noticed. Instead it goes on to describe what the Martians were doing inside the cylinder. We then get a more detailed description of the Martians appearance which leads into the start of how they took blood from living creatures, which they had brought with them on their trip to Earth, the species obviously not surviving the trip. We also are given three other differences between the anatomy of their species to ours. The Narrator mentions, despite a pamphlet written by someone who may not have ever even seen a Martian, supposed they communicated by sound and tentacle movements, but the Narrator alludes to not being the case. Also covering what their hooting sound signified. He does finally give his opinion of how they communicate, which at first he had trouble believing and by the end of the chapter, describes what the methodical rhythmic noise had been coming from.

The Narrator and the curate stayed hidden and fought for purchase to seeing the activities of the Martians. The Narrator soon locates the curate a weak individual who is selfish and ignorant, the sort which would drive anyone mad in a crisis situation; eating too much of their small supply of food and sleeping little, leaving him as scatter-brained as how some discriminative comments about females are described. The Narrator notes they had decided to stay as long as the Martians would go about their work, for it was unsafe to try and escape without notice any sooner. What the Narrator spied was not as interesting as what the curate would see, the former being of more Martians going about their tasks whilst the latter saw the first men brought to the pit. The man was middle-aged and only seen for a moment by the Narrator, but it brought curiosity with his presence. The Narrator was then contemplating escape by digging, but it failed and after seeing a horrible sight, he begins to feel despair yet again. The Narrator found many of the Martians had deserted the site, but for a few and also heard what sounded like gunshot report which ended an apparently beautiful-looking evening.

The next chapter begins with how the Narrator and the curate had been accustoming themselves to the companionship between them, which wasn’t an idyllic one. The Narrator had to keep fighting with the curate to not eat all their rations all at once, he complaining and trying to sneak food or drink. They had been there for six days now and the Narrator now confirmed he was stuck with a man whom had lost his marbles. The curate soon didn’t abide keeping his voice at a whisper, speaking in normal tones and repeating the same ramblings to himself or the Narrator and would digress into how the Narrator was treating him by withholding food, soon becoming a threat to their safety. So the Narrator, due to the curate’s resolve in shouting and planning to give away their hiding place by walking straight into the lion’s den, as it were, hits the curate with the butt of a blade he’d found, the curate lying still. It was still enough to bring a handling-machine to investigate. The Narrator flees in terror and wonders whether the machine had noticed him, only fascinated by how it had made its way into the room, but still trying to detect a place to hide. The Martian comes to his hiding place and the Narrator stays hidden and undiscovered, but apparently quite close to being uncovered, at the end of his rope from paranoia. He stayed in his hiding place until day eleven, ending the chapter.

Later, when the Narrator checked the pantry after the Martian had been through it the day before, it had cleaned out all the food and so he didn’t eat for the next two days, starting to despair. A few days after, being able to discover rain water to drink at least, he also noticing a dog in the kitchen, hoping for the pup to get closer so he could kill and eat him, but also so the dog wouldn’t make any unwanted noise to draw attention. The dog didn’t come any nearer though and nothing was attracted by it’s minimal noise. After gathering courage to look out and see if he could spot any Martians and observing the place was deserted, he resolves only after a short time of hesitation to get the hell out of there. When he begins his walking about, he’s dazzled by the light and seems refreshed and heartened at the still beautiful and quiet nature about him.

He begins to feel how the human race dominated the planet which turned into feeling more like the animals which live on our planet now, the fear of being found and attacked, but soon the knowledge Humans were no longer top dog waned and he focused on detecting food, which he does in a garden, uncovering an assortment of veggies. He also continually notices the new red plants which have sprouted everywhere and how they consumed all the large bodies of water where they were. Meanwhile he makes his way farther from the pit, but he also reports how the red weeds eventually die out. He eventually begins seeing more skeletons as he got to Roehampton which made him believe the Martians take-over must be pretty much complete, thinking they may have gone elsewhere to explore for more “food”. Upon reaching Putney Hill, he breaks into an Inn and scrounges enough food to take with him when he decided to leave, but stays the night and tries to sleep in a bed, which he hadn’t done for some time now. Instead of being able to finally sleep though, he thinks over what had been done to the curate, where the Martians were and what had become of his wife, praying properly for the first time in awhile, until finally setting out again at morning.

When he reaches Wimbledon Common, he runs into a solitary man, whom at first he doesn’t realize he knows, but soon they both recognize each other and the Narrator is able to get information on where the Martians have gone, which is across London where it seems they’re learning to fly. Soon the artilleryman confides to the Narrator his plan of survival and his view of what the Martians had in mind for their species. The artilleryman goes into great detail of his idea on how to keep the Human race going and it seems reasonable enough, once he explains it to the Narrator, but upon starting to help upon the work the artilleryman had started from the home he had chosen to connect to the drains underground in London, he began to realize they might have started in an easier way, but was also glad to be doing something useful after his sojourn in the house with the curate. Soon after staying with the artilleryman long enough though, he begins to realize the artilleryman might not know and has built some beliefs upon theories rather than facts of what was actually going on around them and where the Martians actually were, leaving the Narrator ready to travel to London to learn what was truly going on.

When he reaches London, it’s pretty well eradicated with dead everywhere and some being disturbed by dogs. Soon he begins hearing a repetitive cry of, “Ulla, Ulla…” and not worrying about it at first, looked for food and slept somewhere indoors, being awoken by the same sound. He eventually realizes it’s a lone Martian making the cry, but isn’t afraid and continues on his trek toward the howling alien. He sees more Martians, but they are still and eventually the howling abruptly stops. We then see what realization the Narrator had figured out, whilst men couldn’t overthrow the Martians, because they were more powerful, our planet had. We then see the Narrator had gone properly nuts for a few days after the overthrow was known to the world and taken in by a kindly family who watched after him until he’d regained some sense. The family lets him know what happened to Leatherhead after he’d left it and after four more days of recovery leaves the family with promises of returning after he eased his mind of seeing what had become of his old life and home. On his way back he had bought a paper claiming it was found out how the Martians had learned to fly. He continues on his journey back, going by train and then recognizing his home was as he and the artilleryman had left it, but then once he believed he was alone, he saw his wife and cousin outside.

He concludes by mentioning his belief the Martians not necessarily planning a second attack being out of the question and should be prepared. It was one of the oddest and scientifically intellectual representations of alien invasion I’ve read so far. As for the Orson Welles version, it’s definitely in a league of it’s own, taking the best bits of the story and changing little for American sensibilities. I can imagine people being totally fooled by this if they hadn’t read the story, which seems likely with those who listened to their radios at this time, but I would doubt it’s realism if I was made to believe this was happening on the radio, of course there are now ways of verifying this sort of information, but for arguments sake, it is far-fetched, regardless of the amount of times they let people know of it’s fictional representation due to being too caught up with the dread of its possibility to wait and hear the intermission and mention of it being a story. The second representation taking place this time in Buffalo, New York seemed as far-fetched, but scared the bejesus out of everyone again, ha-ha. I’ll be interested in seeing how Wells’ writing developed due to next beginning The Time Machine.

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Buddha, Vol. 3: Devadatta (Buddha #3)

For the second volume of the series. This one starts with Siddhartha journeying across the mountain and through forest, being met by a peasant and when led back to his home, is introduced to Dhepa who instructs Siddhartha in the ways of a monk. The peasant, who has a James Brown amount of children asks if they’ll train his eldest, who also wishes to become a monk, being said to be smart and not exuding an air at all, but Dhepa gauges his son looking too young to begin anyways and declines which the peasant takes personally. Dhepa decides to make a run for it, informing Siddhartha of his abruptly thought “plan” before bolting. The peasant ties his son to an arrow, in the hopes of his making his mark on the monk being “attached” to teaching the youngster. Upon escaping, Siddhartha asks about Dhepa’s eye and how it happened, again surprising him and having the opinion such self-inflicted torture unnecessary. Dhepa explains the meaning of such “ordeals”, it coming from something quite literal and being expanded upon. Dhepa then sets an ordeal “task”, having Siddhartha walk through a thorny field, leading by example. Siddhartha tries to follow with difficulty, but makes it to the other side.

The next ordeal takes Siddhartha by surprise, depriving him of air. After he continue’s his protest, they soon must slink away for being followed by the peasant’s son, after which they descend upon a city which “houses” a monk Dhepa is searching for. They discover what’s left of the monk in a temple and after their discovery, possible brigands are heading their way. Siddhartha is greeted by Tatta and Magaila and is expected to reclaim his title as king and come with Tatta to return to his country, but when he realizes Siddhartha is sticking to his destiny, Tatta decides to join him on his journey. Siddhartha doesn’t seem to want their company though, so he and Dhepa take a horse and giddy-up away with them trailing pursuit. Meanwhile once they lose them, Magaila declares killing Siddhartha if he doesn’t agree still. Dhepa and Siddhartha hide in a hole when the brigands pass them and they hear the sniffles of the peasant’s son still trailing them. After discovery by th son, they run away again, the boy is questioned by Tatta and the boys asks for a bribe, leading them away from their hidey-hole. The boy asks to come along again, but they run from him again instead, Dhepa not being able to tolerate his accompaniment; but the boy still follows. By the end of the chapter we see Dhepa and Siddhartha still journeying away to enlightenment and stop their story to begin Devadatta’s story, which takes place several years thence.

We are presented with Devadatta watching his stepfather feed his half-brother and upon noticing Devadatta, gets mad at his peeping and is held back by his mother when he gives him a few whacks. The man loathes her first-born takes after his father’s countenance and shows understandable preference to his own son, Ananda. Devadatta senses everyone’s dislike of him and doesn’t wish to attend a picnic his mother has planned for he and his “friends”, but they go off together anyways and sing a funny song on the trek. The kids begin loading Devadatta down with their packs and when he refuses, is bullied to oblige, after which he seems to become their errand-boy with tasks of retrieving water. The kids then see a fox and demand Devadatta go catch the animal. He seems to give up, crying, stopping quite close to the fox and he sees it has a thorn it its paw, the reason for it’s howling. Devadatta gets it out and the fox runs off again with Devadatta chasing him. He then sees a large creature from afar which turns out to be an angry elephant which follows him back to the picnic where everyone scatters.

They notice a hole to hide in and soon blame Devadatta for running in their direction whilst being chased. When they try to have Devadatta climb out, the rocks crumble and everyone gets more upset. Their parents meanwhile soon investigate, uncovering the remains of their picnic and soon gather an elephant’s presence has been there. The kids become thirsty and Devadatta detects a trickle of water dripping form above laying claim and unwilling to share, which one of the outspoken boys insults him for; as per usual to his dealing with him. The boy tries to take command of the water and Devadatta stands up to him by chucking a rock at him, knocking him out. He scares the others by threatening the same fate for them, but they come up with a plan to trick him and try to overpower him, and in response to this, Devadatta is true to his word. The children remain missing for two weeks until they then discover the hole with the dead children and Devadatta, sole survivor. He goes on a trial and is asked why he killed them, Devadatta states it’s what had to be done so his water stayed in his possession. The judge believed the child possessed, due to his actions and it’s decided he will be given to the wild animals. When he’s left bound to a board to die, some dogs come and one lets him loose by biting through the ropes.

The dog leads Devadatta to a cave fore shelter where the little pup he helped is waiting there, offering him a shared meal; the meal they share being also quite amusing. The next day he goes off with the pup and sees his mother again, but his stepfather ruins their reunion, siccing the townspeople on him, Devadatta escapes them retreating back to the cave, and so from then on, he lets go of his humanity and command of language, despising men and wanting to forget his relation to them. He then starts loving his wolf-mother even more than his own, learning the subtlety of the animal language. The coming days go by without event and one day Devadatta and his wolf-brother chase some prey in a field as a contest. Devadatta “accidentally” kills the animal he chases and his wolf-mother punishes him for being wasteful, knowing he wasn’t needing to eat or use the animal’s body to clothe himself, etc. She bids him to leave, but Devadatta is so ashamed, she relents in his staying and gives him a lesser punishment. They begin moving North, due to the dry season and become weakened by their journey from the heat.

The mother requests them to go ahead or she may turn on them for hunger, Devadatta doesn’t give up and makes a mat to carry her on. They make it to the mountain and Devadatta moves a rock to allow water to come down. They both go hunting after and his wolf-brother gets attacked whilst Devadatta tries to advises him to break free from the larger animal, but the wolf has given up already, and when Devadatta mourns him, he is overheard by another human, asking him why he howls. The man welcomes him to his cave and the nuts he’s gathered to Devadatta’s distaste, he threatens to eat the man and he doesn’t resist, upon trying though, he settles on eating an apple. Naradatta finally introduces himself and gives Devadatta the freedom to stay or return to humans, which was an easy decision for Devadatta to make. Naradatta reminisces how Devadatta reminded him of another character in the story we know. The next day Devadatta catches a fish to feast on and Naradatta comes by and shows him a war between two bee tribes to decide who will survive and live in the area. He watches the cruelty of the war and learn the valuable lesson of the strong surviving. Devadatta is seen pondering these words at the chapter’s close.

The next chapter starts with more natural selection, but also taking each of them out by the end, showing the cycle of nature, and by the end, revolving to Devadatta spearing a fish and Naradatta expressing he was wrong in believing he was stronger than the fish because he was able to catch it. Devadatta gets another life lesson expanding upon the first, but Devadatta doesn’t make it through the whole lecture, falling asleep. The next day we see Devadatta has adopted a habit of Naradatta’s and he’s dissuading him from copying his habits, even though Devadatta was doing so out of affection for him. Devadatta refuses his request though, not wanting to keep his human qualities, claiming to be a wolf. Devadatta is discovered by some men, they were going to leave him be due to how his creepy growl unnerved them, but Devadatta, being territorial of the area, attacks one of them and ends up chasing them off, the men vowing not to forget his brutality. Naradatta scolds him for not understanding the ways of men and decides to leave Devadatta so he would join humans and learn their ways, but when Devadatta becomes upset, Naradatta mentions he should locate and serve the man who will become a great ruler, but Devadatta doesn’t want to leave still. In the end he gets his way through stubbornness.

Soon after, Devadatta comes by a rabbit and soon realizes it’s bait to his capture and unexpected circumstances around the trap are shown, before being collected by men. They try to use him as proof of being a wolf-man by circus-act style, but Devadatta makes friends with the wolf, upsetting the paying customers and making an escape. Devadatta nor the wolf get away unscathed, he taking an arrow in the leg. He gets more worked over whilst looking for food and does eventually detect some, pulling a Jim Carrey Me, Myself & Irene/Stewie Griffin-style moment and scaring the poor woman involved. Devadatta escapes again to an old woman’s room, also not pleased by the intrusion. She gives him ointment for his wounds and decides to help him when he licks the concoction. They are soon interrupted by townspeople rapping at her door and she opens up to allow patrolmen in to search her hovel once disguising the boy as a girl. They soon leave and the old woman confides her name to Devadatta, being Ghagra. She goes on to confess her story and her ambition and uses Devadatta to charm a man as a part of her plan, continuing with the ruse of making him look more like a girl. Ghagra begins to chastise him once seeing he didn’t walk, threatening to give him the poison being saved for her revenge. Ghagra’s plan is set into motion and the son of the woman she dispises falls for her bait. Devadatta bungles the poisoning bit and the son catches on and gets guards to chase him, but Devadatta makes good his escape and goes back to the old woman Ghagra for some reason, where she guesses his failure and beats him for it, until the gift the son was going to give him, became seen and she forgave him his failure, this time.

Devadatta then discovered what affect jewels had on women. She sells it the next day and even gives Devadatta a coin, who hadn’t learned the use and the old woman schools him about their usefulness. Devadatta thought over the possibility of returning to the wild for its ease of living, when the old woman returned from splurging her money and demanded he go back to the mansion to get hired as a gardener and steal the woman’s jewels and poison her, as an after-thought. Devadatta succeeds in getting the job, but almost gets recognized and distracts him from thinking too hard. Devadatta goes to the mansion and sees the woman Ghagra is against, reminding him of his mother. He wonders why Ghagra wants him to kill her and alludes to putting poison in her cup, but when she drinks and discovers a worm, realizes someone is hiding and calls out. She observes Devadatta and sees the poison in his hand, demanding him to reveal why he didn’t use it, Devadatta finally speaks one word and she understands his reason and gives him a reward of coins to declare whose idea it was, he does as she asks and upon leaving, has guards follow him to kill everyone in his “home”. Devadatta notices the guards chasing him and devine’s a plan involving a fire to heed their continual stalking. Devadatta warns Ghagra and the chase soon continues until they lose the again and Devadatta, after dispatching Ghagra in an odd way, vows to be the strongest human alive. The chapter ends with what Devadatta will do and how his timeline parallels Siddhartha’s.

We continue on with Siddhartha’s story in the next and it starts with a strong rain and Siddhartha wondering if the boy following them is safe. He goes back a little ways and helps him, discovering he’s fallen. Dhepa doesn’t want to be burdened, but helps Siddhartha when he insists on aiding the child. They reach a closed gate requesting passage and being denied. Siddhartha comes up with a plan and discovers the town is more of a graveyard. The guard comes back up and relents before killing them how so many graves came to be put up, upon questioning. The guard is paranoid of the boy’s illness being contagious and wants to kill him, Siddhartha proposes being allowed to stay the night to aid the boy’s wound and the guard begrudgingly acquiesces. Siddhartha goes to collect fungus for his cure. Assaji, the boy hallucinates talking to a deity and learns how much longer he has to live and how he dies. Siddhartha and Dhepa celebrate Assaji breathing after a scare and we segue to Visakha, the ruler, speaking with the guard and we learn how they are connected. Upon day break the guard calls Siddhartha out and notices he has succeeded. Sukanda, the guard agrees to not kill them, but they must leave since the weather has cleared up. Visakha welcomes them to her home to rest and they confide where they plan on going and what they wish to ascertain, making her laugh and in return she shows them magical potions and is interrupted by Sukanda who has gathered troops to join and lead the travelers to their next destination. Siddhartha becomes tired and everyone else goes ahead whilst he naps and then he is brought back to Visakha. He wakes in confusion and Visakha explains how she drugged him (date-rapist! Ha-ha!) Siddhartha immediately tries to leave and she informs him how she’s fallen for him and not to leave her. He declines and admits how he came about being on his journey and who he’s left in order to pursue it, but she doesn’t care and has the guards stop him from leaving and then Tatta shows up inadvertently helping Siddhartha out. She still refuses to allow him to leave and so as he’s including what will happen otherwise, Tatta’s band discern the steps Siddhartha and Dhepa made and infiltrate. Siddhartha tries to reason with Tatta, but he is set on exploring the town. Migaila meanwhile wants to disfigure Visakha from her voice sounding like she’d be fair and shows her scars for having loved Siddhartha and being bitter still. She makes Visakha fall after she insults her and Tatta has the town further destroyed. Siddhartha vows his dealings with Tatta are at an end and Tatta takes his words lightly and as they leave the town, Siddhartha takes Visakha along. Siddhartha awakens inside Mount Pandava and asks where Visakha is, Tatta letting him know she’s safe, being looked after by his men. Tatta wants to discuss Siddhartha’s return to his throne and giving up his path to monk-dom and even vows to give up thieving and disbanding his gang plus anything else Siddhartha asks, leaving him visibly torn by the prospect. Tatta leaves him to decide and his men report how soldiers have followed them and so he decides to use their hostage as a shield and fight.

Sukanda proclaims if they bring out Visakha unharmed and Siddhartha, most of the bandits will live, but their leader will die, to which Tatta declines, rather fighting them in the ravine. Sukanda decides to try and sneak in to kill Tatta and get Visakha himself, to which he was able to find Visakha, but Tatta comes out from the shadows and they begin to fight. Siddhartha stops them and makes a compromise with Tatta demanding him to release Visakha and he will return home in 10 years, to which Tatta gladly agrees. Sukanda is still on a death-wishing path, when Visakha imparts what happened rather than allow him to believe his mistaken view of the details of Siddhartha’s return to Visakha’s home. Sukanda after hearing the truth still decides to take the criminals back to the king for judgement regardless of knowing Visakha explaining her side of the story again. Sukanda sends his troops back and Tatta disbands the brigand, then Migaila reveals him she’s expecting after Tatta asks if she’s still staying with him and she confessing she doesn’t have a choice in this case. Tatta tries to run off, with this new prospect of responsibility plaguing him, but Migaila’s threats of violence are interrupted by a lingering bandit reporting of the troops retreat. When Siddhartha and Tatta investigate, they see what Sukanda had decided to do.

A sheep herder passes through by the next chapter and Dhepa shares where he might uncover water for them. Assaji wakes from his drowsing and perks up when Dhepa reveals to him about the flock, Assaji claiming poisoned water, Dhepa asks to know more. He follows Assaji, soon learning he speaks the truth. Dhepa now wonders how Assaji seems to know this and other odd facts, soon wanting to reunite with Siddhartha and see what’s become of him. Assaji professes of a whirlwind a-comin’ and they need to run when Dhepa suggests stopping in the village and Assaji claims it’s not far enough, expressing to the villagers the same, they are of course suspicious and ignore Assaji (reminding me of Watership Down and how Fiver gets the same reaction), at first anyways. Soon they follow them both to the mountain and get proof to Assaji’s premonition. After they spot shelter where Assaji claims, we jump to Magadha where a servant notifies his master of Assaji and the master is uninterested and unbelieving, but decides to test him since Assaji was already within his kingdom.

The master introduces himself to Assaji as King Bimbisara and asks him to prophecize his future. Assaji reveals when and how at the end of which the king orders him to confess what trap was set up to kill Assaji in the palace or he will die. He gives him 10 seconds more to guess and then snaps his fingers which brings the thing falling from above. The king feels it difficult to now ignore his prophecy despite his servants protests otherwise. He lets Dhepa and Assaji stay and rest whilst he struggles with his fate. Then Assaji divines Siddhartha passing by the palace and they go to see him, the King wishes to view his as well and once seeing him decides to have his guards follow Siddhartha. They report back to the king he’s sitting atop a boulder at Mount Pandava and he goes there immediately to visit him. He makes the rest of the way by foot and is stopped by Tatta until he learns who he is and then bring him to Siddhartha. He has a proposition to make Siddhartha general of his soldiers and untold wealth to have him stay in his kingdom. Siddhartha declines with a reasonable response which the King understand and pities the waste of an obvious leader. He then requests Siddhartha’s periodic advice as a holy man who Siddhartha accepts to which the King comes up with the name for Siddhartha which titles the series, and departs. So bloody entertaining; until the next!