Mark Reads ‘The Color of Magic’: Part 1

In the first part of The Color of Magic, I DON’T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. (!!!!!)


Hello, friends! Today is a big day. An important day! I’m starting a project that’s going to last years, and it’s something that people have been asking for pretty much since Mark Reads became its own site in late 2010. I know lots of you have been patiently awaiting the day that I’d tackle Discworld, and that day has arrived. So, despite the many of y’all will know the following things, I’m still going to ask you to read through this so that we can establish a few rules right off the bat.

1) Do not spoil me or anyone else. If you are coming to Mark Reads for the first time, I read books without knowing anything about them. During the process of reading, I do not allow spoilers of any kind for any reason so that I can best provide y’all with the experience of reading a book unspoiled. You should read my Site Rules / Spoiler Policy for a more detailed explanation of how all this works, but the basic gist is this: If I have not reached it in my reading, do not talk about it in plaintext. For any reason, in any context, EVER. It’s that simple. If it’s not in the text I’ve read, don’t do it. PLEASE TREAT ALL COMMENTERS AS UNSPOILED UNLESS THEY SPECIFICALLY SAY THEY AREN’T SPOILED. 

2) You may use rot13 to discuss spoilers. That’s what all the gibberish is in the comments. It’s a brilliant way to cypher all spoilers so that I can still read and respond to comments without being spoiled.

3) If you send this review project to anyone, please tell them I am unspoiled. This has become an issue of late since I’ve gotten more popular than ever. People will link to me on Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter and say something like, “This guy is reading all the Discworld books!” and they won’t mention how I’m doing so unspoiled, and then I get tagged in super spoilery conversations that I have to block or avoid, and it’s rude. Please do your part to be responsible.

4) Listen to the moderators. Moderators have blue bars in the comments. When they ask you not to do something or cypher spoilers for you, they are not doing it to irritate you. They are doing their part to make this a safe space and a wonderful community. If you ever have mod issues, bring it up with me, not them.

5) Video commissions of me reading Discworld in real-time are $20 per section. This lovely fandom is still working on natural splits for each books, but you can find the guide for The Color of Magic here for how the book is split up. Please take heed if you are asked to buy extra time due to length.

6) I am reading these books in publication order. There is to be no discussion of this, no arguing, and no complaining in the comments forever and ever. This may seem extreme to start off with, but one of the reasons I put this project off for so long was because fandom bickering scared me away. Look, I generally read in publication order anyway, so there’s a precedence for this. But this is the easiest way for me to read all of these books as someone who knows nothing of the series. Yes, I’ll jump around series within Discworld. Yes, I might have to read the books that apparently no one likes first. This is how it’s going to be. This is not an invitation for you to tell me when the series gets good. It’s not an invitation to tell me why the early books aren’t indicative of the whole series. DO NOT SPOIL ME ABOUT ANYTHING IN ANY WAY AT ALL. People who should know better have all done this to me, and I really want to approach this series knowing as little as humanly possible. Don’t be that person. Don’t.

7) I will be at the International Discworld Convention this year! The lovely theladylark invited me to attend, and I’ll have at least a couple panels, one being devoted entirely to this project, and another will be an UNSPOILED LIVE READING OF A SHORT STORY. Which is TERRIBLY EXCITING. I’ll update my events page with details as I know them.

8) Running Mark Does Stuff is expensive. If you’d like to keep this project going forever and ever, please consider helping me out in some way! Mega huge thanks to the folks who bought EVERY SINGLE BOOK FOR ME for my Kindle!!!

I think that’s everything. Which means IT’S TIME FOR ME TO START DISCWORLD.

What I Know About Discworld Prior to Starting It

  • It’s written by Terry Pratchett.
  • There are over 40 books.
  • There are multiple overlapping series within the series.
  • It’s… a world that is a disc?

What I Now Know After Reading 17 Pages

  • Absolutely
  • Fucking
  • Nothing

Okay, that’s not quite true. I was able to figure out a few things, but… holy shit, what did I just read?

  • So, the Discworld sits on the back of the Great A’Tuin, a massive galactic turtle that slowly ambles through space, and on its back, there are four elephants (named Berilia, Tubul, Great T’Phon, and Jerakeen), who carry the actual Disc of the World, which is a flat circle of the world where the ocean spills over the side in a massive waterfall called the Rimfall and there’s a dome over it that’s called Heaven.
  • I loved that Pratchett wasn’t going to give us the true origins of A’Tuin because who cares? It doesn’t matter.
  • Plus, it allows him to make that Big Bang pun, which is the funniest thing in the history of the universe. Ever.
  • Anyway, there are also gods, who live in the realm of the Dunmanifestin, ten miles above the world and the Hub. And they love games. Which… might be literal? Like, I picked up on the fact that the pieces of the game that they were playing were all real beings/people down on the Disc, so is this how they interact with non-gods? Is it intentional? Do they know that they’re affecting the world below? Wait, are they affecting the world or are the two events (the fire and the game) happening simultaneously but unconnected?
  • There’s a god of slight breezes, which is strangely comforting.
  • The Lady is the god of cheating at games by defying physics and logic? Pretty much.
  • But then the novel really begins, and I understand very little of what’s happening. Pratchett dumps me into a city burning because… I don’t know? Though I do need to comment on this line: “By now the whole of downtown Morpork was alight, and the richer and worthier citizens of Ankh on the far bank were bravely responding to the situation by feverishly demolishing the bridges.” HAHAHAHA HOLY SHIT.
  • So! Bravd and Weasel are leagues away, standing on a hill, watching Morpork burn, unsure why the fire started but willing to bet on the source, when a wizard, Rincewind, arrives with a burned face.
  • And it’s only now that I realize there was a footnote here! And it explains a Discworld year, a Disc week, the significance of the number 8, and why gods should always just be blamed. OH I AM SO INTO THIS. I must make sure to take note of these asides in the future.
  • Anyway, I think I’ve got a better grip on what’s happening now that I’ve read part of what actually occurred down in Morpork. Rincewind brings Twoflower with him, who apparently has four actual eyes? Not glasses, but four physical eyes. And he’s very plain and quiet otherwise, but he somehow set fire to Morpork??? OH, AND HE HAS A BOX WITH LEGS?!?!?!
  • The story flashes back to Twoflower’s arrival at the Pearl Dock, where Blind Hugh meets him and interacts with him. So, Twoflower, if I’m to trust Blind Hugh’s instinct, is very rich. Very, very, very rich.
  • And Twoflower talks in punctuation??? HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE.
  • All he wants is a tavern or a hotel. Or a lodging house. Or an inn. Or a hospice! OR ANYTHING, I DON’T GET IT. Neither does Hugh, who merely recognizes that he has the chance to make a lot of money for this man, so he guides him to the Broken Drum.
  • We also meet Ymor and Wa, who discuss the mysterious arrival and come up with nothing. Well, when the characters themselves don’t understand what’s going on, I AM COMFORTED BY MY OWN CONFUSION.
  • Because what the hell am I reading?

Please note that the original text contains use of the words “mad” and “cripple.”

Video 1

Video 2

Mark Links Stuff

– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.
– I will be at quite a few conventions and will be hosting numerous events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe in 2014. Please check my Tour Dates/Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!
– Inspired by last year’s impromptu park event in London, I am taking Mark in the Park on the road! You can see all the currently-planned dates and pitch your own city here.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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