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Ready Player One | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 2040

    James Halliday dies, and the quest for the Easter egg hidden in the OASIS begins.

    Prologue, Chapter 0000
  • 2044

    Wade Watts uncovers a clue implying that the Copper Key is hidden inside the Tomb of Horrors.

    Level 1, Chapter 0006
  • February 11, 2045

    Parzival battles Acererak inside the Tomb of Horrors and wins the Copper Key.

    Level 1, Chapter 0008
  • Hours later

    Parzival clears the First Gate. Art3mis obtains the Copper Key.

    Level 1, Chapter 0011
  • A few days later

    Aech, Daito, and Shoto clear the First Gate.

    Level 1, Chapter 0013
  • That Friday

    Parzival meets with Nolan Sorrento of IOI and refuses Sorrento's offer; IOI detonates the stacks.

    Level 1, Chapter 0014
  • Later that week

    Dozens of avatars clear the First Gate. Wade Watts moves to an apartment in Columbus, Ohio.

    Level 1, Chapter 0016
  • Midsummer 2045

    Parzival tells Art3mis he is in love with her, and she severs the relationship.

    Level 2, Chapter 0018
  • Late summer 2045

    Art3mis becomes the first to find the Jade Key.

    Level 2, Chapter 0020
  • Shortly thereafter

    Parzival, Nolan Sorrento, and Shoto find the Jade Key. Daito is murdered by IOI in real life.

    Level 2, Chapter 0023
  • The next few days

    Nolan Sorrento acquires the Crystal Key. Sixers occupy all top ten scoreboard slots.

    Level 2, Chapter 0024
  • A few days later

    Parzival acquires the Crystal Key and heads to Castle Anorak in search of the Third Gate.

    Level 2, Chapter 0027
  • Shortly thereafter

    The IOI Credit and Collections Division arrests Wade Watts for credit card debt.

    Level 3, Chapter 0028
  • A week later

    Wade Watts escapes IOI after stealing private company data.

    Level 3, Chapter 0031
  • Soon after

    The gunters plan to clear the Third Gate together, and Ogden Morrow appears and offers help.

    Level 3, Chapter 0032
  • Later that day

    A bomb is detonated that drops the Sixers' impenetrable shield around Castle Anorak.

    Level 3, Chapter 0034
  • Minutes later

    Shoto's and Sorrento's avatars are killed. Explosion kills the avatars of Parzival, Art3mis, and Aech.

    Level 3, Chapter 0035
  • Minutes later

    Parzival is granted a second life from the quarter he won at Pac-Man.

    Level 3, Chapter 0036
  • Hours later

    Parzival finds the egg; Anorak gives him the prize and some life advice.

    Level 3, Chapter 0038

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Prologue, Chapter 0000 The Prologue is titled "Chapter 0000," and in each subsequent chapter, the chapter numbers are styled with zeroes in fro... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0001 Wade Watts, the novel's protagonist, is a resourceful young gunter living in an overcrowded trailer in the stacks outsid... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0002 Wade Watts attends a virtual high school located inside the OASIS on a planet called Ludus. Although everything from clo... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0003 Aech, Parzival's best friend, hosts the Basement chat room using money he makes from competing inside the OASIS. The cha... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0004 Signing out of the Basement chat room, Parzival attends his classes. School is better inside the simulation because it e... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0005 Parzival attends his favorite class, Advanced OASIS Studies. The lesson is on James Halliday's life, and Parzival is mor... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0006 In his diary, Anorak's Almanac, James Halliday references his favorite books, movies, television shows, and games. Wade ... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0007 During Latin class Parzival is reminded of the clue about the Copper Key, and he suddenly realizes the key is probably h... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0008 Inside the tomb Parzival realizes everything is the same as it is described in the Dungeons &amp; Dragons module. Still ... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0009 Parzival realizes that the avatar confronting him inside the tomb is none other than Art3mis, the author of his favorite... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0010 Parzival exits the tomb and teleports to the planet Middletown, the 1980s-themed planet designed by James Halliday that ... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0011 Parzival finds himself inside a scene from the 1983 film WarGames as Matthew Broderick's character. Knowing it was one o... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0012 Wade Watts awakes to find Art3mis has also cleared the First Gate. He turns on the news and learns he and Art3mis are ho... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0013 Aech clears the First Gate. I-r0k attempts to blackmail Aech and Parzival into revealing the location of the Copper Key.... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0014 Parzival meets with Nolan Sorrento via chatlink, which is safe because only a copy of the avatar is projected into the m... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0015 Having been tipped off by I-r0k, fleets of Sixers as well as independent gunters swarm the planet Ludus, looking for the... Read More
Level 1, Chapter 0016 Over the next 24 hours, more than 60 Sixers clear the First Gate. The gunter clans destroy the force field placed over t... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0017 Parzival and Art3mis grow closer, but she refuses to share her real-world identity with him. Soon they are spending time... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0018 Parzival and Art3mis attend Ogden Morrow's birthday party at "a famous zero-gravity dance club." The club is packed with... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0019 Depressed after Art3mis severs their relationship, Wade Watts copes by renewing his dedication to the quest. His apartme... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0020 Inside the OASIS Parzival has a stronghold on his own private asteroid. He votes in the OASIS elections but not the Unit... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0021 The Sixers have a Tablet of Finding that allows its bearer to discover the location of any avatar within the OASIS. Afte... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0022 Parzival arrives on Archaide, a planet that exists as a tribute to early video games. Its surface is designed to look li... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0023 Parzival teleports to Frobozz and finds himself in an "immersive three-dimensional version" of the game Zork, a text adv... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0024 Frobozz becomes a war zone; the Sixers have blockaded hundreds of Zork replicas, but independent gunters start to attack... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0025 Parzival and Shoto meet inside the OASIS. Shoto tells Parzival the Sixers killed Daito in real life the previous evening... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0026 After his meeting with Shoto, Parzival finally makes a connection between the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner and... Read More
Level 2, Chapter 0027 Parzival verifies the symbol on the Black Tiger screen is indeed the same one on the cover of 2112, a "classic sci-fi th... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0028 Agents from the IOI Credit and Collections division come to Wade's apartment to arrest "Bryce Lynch" for credit card deb... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0029 On the way to IOI headquarters, Wade notices conditions in the real world have worsened in recent months. At IOI's Inden... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0030 Wade works in a cubicle at IOI's Technical Support Call Center. His computer access is monitored and restricted to a lim... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0031 After copying as much as he can from the Sixer database to his flash drive, Wade erases his debt to IOI from his financi... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0032 Parzival meets with Shoto, Art3mis, and Aech in the Basement chat room. Shoto and Art3mis flee their homes after Parziva... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0033 Art3mis, Shoto, Parzival, and Aech are stunned by Ogden Morrow's sudden appearance in the encrypted chat room. Morrow ex... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0034 In the OASIS Parzival prepares for battle and activates the toy robot he received for clearing the Second Gate. The tiny... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0035 As soon as the bomb explodes in Castle Anorak, a battle erupts in front of the castle between all the independent gunter... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0036 The blast vaporizes Castle Anorak and everything in its vicinity other than the Third Gate, which remains suspended in t... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0037 Inside the Third Gate, Parzival finds himself about to play the 1981 Atari game Tempest. He is nervous because he hasn't... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0038 Communication has been disabled in James Halliday's office, so Parzival can't speak to his friends on the outside. Follo... Read More
Level 3, Chapter 0039 As Wade exits the OASIS, Ogden Morrow hugs Wade and tells him James Halliday's lawyers and GSS executives are waiting to... Read More
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