Chapters 0034–0036

Summary: Chapter 0034

Wade loads up his avatar with gear for the oncoming battle and activates his Leopardon robot in his stronghold. The robot grows to a hundred meters and Wade’s avatar takes an elevator to the cockpit in its chest. Wade travels to Castle Anorak in his giant robot and meets Aech, Art3mis, and Shoto, who are all also in the giant robots that they received for clearing the Second Gate. Wade comments that he has never seen so many avatars and ships in one place, as swarms of users in the OASIS have come to watch or participate in the battle. 

Sorrento and ten other Sixers come to the edge of the force field and each activate the giant robots that they earned after passing the Second Gate. Sorrento pilots Mechagodzilla, which is twice the size of Leopardon, causing many of the avatars around the heroes to flee. Wade then narrates a series of events that he did not witness, but set into motion. A Sixer supply robot inside the force field, given delayed orders from when Wade was indentured, retrieves a bomb and drives it to the avatar holding the artifact that generates the force field. The bomb detonates and the force field drops.

Summary: Chapter 0035

After the barrier drops, a large-scale battle breaks out between the collected gunters and the Sixer army. Wade, Aech, Art3mis, and Shoto try to use their giant robots to injure Sorrento’s Mechagodzilla robot, but they have little success. Shoto decides to act as a distraction so that the other three can enter the castle. The plan works until Wade decides that he needs to defeat Sorrento and to humiliate him publicly. Wade activates the Beta Capsule and transforms into Ultraman. Wade defeats Sorrento’s robot and checks the Scoreboard to make sure that Sorrento’s avatar is dead. He then returns to the castle. Aech congratulates him and Art3mis tells him that he is a selfish jerk and might have cost them everything. They each produce their Crystal Keys and Wade says aloud, “Three is a magic number.” Three keyholes appear and they open the Third Gate. Before they are able to enter it, they hear a loud explosion. Wade says, “And then we all died.”

Summary: Chapter 0036

All the avatars, items, and even Castle Anorak have been destroyed by the Cataclyst. The Sixers have activated it, knowing that Wade, Aech, and Art3mis are going to enter the Third Gate. Somehow, Wade’s avatar is resurrected, but without any of his items or gear. He notices that the 1981 quarter that he received for playing a perfect game of Pac-Man is now just a plain quarter. It granted him an extra life, something unheard of in the OASIS. Ogden Morrow patches Aech, Art3mis, and Shoto into Wade’s headset. They can see what he sees in the OASIS and they can talk to him. They have a brief conversation, stating that at least 20 Sixers are headed to the Third Gate and Wade has limited time. Before entering the gate, Wade promises the others that he will split the winnings with them, because they all deserved to reach the Third Gate and he would not have been able to reach it without them. He knows that he must finish the Third Gate on his first try, since the Sixers are on the way, and so he asks the others for their help. They agree and Wade enters.

Analysis: Chapters 0034–0036

The interaction between Sorrento and Wade during the climactic final battle speaks to the theme of corporations versus individuals. As a typical villain who cares about nothing but his own desires, Sorrento represents the power of IOI. Sorrento’s boastful and smug attitude emphasizes the dangers of IOI taking over the OASIS. His Mechagodzilla looms large, twice the size of Wade’s Leopardon, and this symbolizes the power imbalance between the Sixers and Wade. Sorrento’s Mechagodzilla robot is a seemingly indestructible representation of IOI itself. The size and resource differences between the gunters and IOI further emphasizes the theme of corporations versus individuals. As the novel approaches the climactic final battle, it seems that Wade, Aech, Art3mis, and Shoto will work together to beat IOI, but it is unclear whether or not the other gunters will have the strength and courage to rise up as well. 

A sense of hope and triumph returns when Wade defeats Sorrento’s robot, which was seemingly unbeatable. When the gate appears after Wade enters the castle and says, “Three is a magic number,” the friends finally believe that beating the Sixers is possible. Hope evaporates almost as quickly as it arrived when, just after the gate opens, they all die. It is no surprise that the Sixers deployed the Cataclyst, another dirty trick that demonstrates their willingness to stop others from reaching the egg at all costs. IOI has proven again and again to be a corrupt, amoral corporation driven by greed. Wade, on the other hand, represents the goodness of humanity and hope for the future. 

When Wade is resurrected, as he is holding the 1981 quarter he previously earned, it proves that he is worthy of winning Halliday’s contest. This positions Wade’s character as the chosen one, the savior, and, again, the underdog of the story. Now all his advantages have been stripped away. All Wade has left is his intellect, his grit, and the support of Morrow, Aech, Art3mis, and Shoto in his headset. Wade wants to win for his friends and himself, an acknowledgment that their shared commitment to the contest has allowed Wade to get this far. Wade’s character has grown throughout the novel. No longer is he selfish and self-centered. He embodies the three words that were over the Third Gate—charity, hope, and faith.