The end is nigh. Our last discussion of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One ended with Wade on the run. He’d just hacked IOI’s intranet and blown the whistle on their lethal actions. The entire OASIS knows how shady the corporation is now, and as if that wasn’t enough drama, the hunt for the Easter egg is almost over. What will happen? Who will find James Halliday’s Easter egg and inherit his fortune? Let’s discuss.
The story has moved at a quick clip for a while, but that was nothing compared to chapters 0032-0039. Again, I had to force myself to slow down and stop my eyes from skimming ahead. Patience is not my best thing. At all. After the group of leaders learned the insane lengths Wade went to in order to keep them safe and to find out how to get around the Sixers’s shield over the Third Gate, the hits didn’t stop.
The first big surprise was learning Ogden Morrow had been dropping by Aech’s basement to eavesdrop. His appearance was one of many things that felt too convenient in these final chapters. Cline had sound reasoning as to why Og could pop into private chat rooms and we know he’s wealthy so it wasn’t a big stretch for him to fly everyone to Oregon, but it was fortunate. I feel similarly about Art3mis happening to have magic Chuck Taylor shoes in her inventory (heck, it was also convenient that the Cataclyst didn’t destroy artifacts).
Before they went to Oregon to battle the Sixers, Wade and Aech met in person and Wade learned Aech was an African American girl named Helen. Cline used this deception to explore the topic of prejudice and racism in 2044. Aech’s mother said the OASIS was the best thing to happen to non white males because they could all pretend to be white males for all online business. It’s a sad state and not unbelievable though I do wonder if progress or potential for progress is lost by so many people pretending to be something they’re not.
After Wade and Helen cemented their friendship in real life, they arrived to Ogden’s home and it was time to throw down. The battle between the gunters and the Sixers on Chthonia was on a massive, epic level scale. I’m practically salivating thinking about how they’ll pull the fight off in the upcoming film adaptation—assuming they get all the necessary rights. I want to see Mechagodzilla fight Ultraman. By the way, right or wrong, I’m so pleased Wade took advantage of the opportunity to pulverize Sorrento.
The actual test portion of the Third Gate was anticlimactic. It paired aspects from the previous gates but I would have liked to see them actually combined or something new altogether. The gameplay was still exciting and throwing in Monty Python and the Holy Grail brought some much needed laughs, but I wanted more from the first two stages. The final stage was basically perfect. It was a nice callback to the video that kicked off the Easter egg hunt and brought things full circle.
The story wrapped up outside of the OASIS. Wade gets the keys to the kingdom just as he realizes how important real life connections are. He’s undergone quite the transformation, but I am curious about whether he would have felt differently about the OASIS if he’d lost the Easter egg hunt. Or if he’d met Art3mis in person sooner.
Pop culture references
While references to geek culture were peppered throughout this section—and obviously key to finding the Easter egg—they weren’t listed off in high numbers like they were in the first reading sections. The threats and the quest were too great; there was no time to sit around and have casual conversations.
As usual, I’ll just highlight a couple references. When the gang arrives at Og’s home in Oregon, they comment on its beauty. The mansion near waterfall-studded mountains was reminiscent of Rivendell because Og’s wife was a Tolkien fan, and he built the place for her. I would happily move into a place that looks like this:
Knowing Monty Python and the Holy Grail by heart proved instrumental to getting past the third gate. Wade said he’d watched the film exactly 157 times. How does he know that? He has to keep written accounts of that kind of information, right? And for the record, that’s 238 hours or almost 10 solid days. I still can’t wrap my head around having such a high amount of free time.
“What he deserved, I decided in that moment, was public humiliation and defeat. He deserved to have his ass kicked while the whole world watched.”
“That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real. Do you understand?”
“…for the first time in as long as I could remember, I had absolutely no desire to log back into the OASIS.”
– When Wade’s about to meet Aech in person for the first time, he talks about how nervous he is. How close was what he described to what you’ve felt when you’ve met online friends?
– Do you think Wade will take Halliday’s words of wisdom to heart and focus on reality rather than the OASIS? How big of a part do you think Art3mis plays in that?
– Og jumped in and helped Wade, Art3mis, Aech, and Shoto tremendously. Do you think it was right for him to do so? Should Og have been listening to their private conversations?
– Why do you think the OASIS would ever need to be completely erased?
I do love a happy ending. The good guys won, Sorrento was hauled off to jail, and Parzival and Art3mis had a wonderful first meeting. Awww! Please head to the comments and let me know your thoughts about the ending of the book, your favorite quotes, answers to the discussion questions—whatever you need to get out. Feel free to come talk to me about the book on Twitter too. You can also share suggestions for the next edition of Nerdist Book Club.
We’ve completed the quest! I don’t have billions of dollars to give to you, but how about gold stars? Gold stars for all of you. Whether you read Ready Player One for the first time or the tenth time, thanks for joining us. Now log off the Internet and go have some real world fun.
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