Mark Reads ‘The Color of Magic’: Part 2

In the second part of The Color of Magic, Rincewind realizes just how complicated Twoflower is. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

So, I think until I get a better grasp for this, I might spend more time just trying to (publicly) figure out what it is that I’m reading. There’s a lot here I don’t understand, and I’m already getting the sense that Pratchett isn’t going to make the exposition easy for me. That being said, it’s not like this is impenetrable in the slightest. It just takes a little work on my part!


So, Morpork is full of crime! Acceptable crime, it seems, from how widespread it is. (And the Watch appears to operate in a way that tolerates crime and forces them to do as little work and take as few risks as possible). It’s located on the boundaries of the Circle Sea, which is… somewhere? The whole sea? I mean, if this world is a disc, then it stands to reason that the whole body of water that makes up the disc is the Circle… no, wait, wouldn’t that be the Circle Ocean? Okay, so I’m guessing this is a smaller body of water. REGARDLESS. Lots of thieves. Lots of them. Which is important because:

Twoflower is extremely naïve

Like, brutally so. It’s actually kind of adorable? He has no idea that his PURE GOLD COINS are worth a fortune. He actively seeks out the local heroes, believes in them with a vicious sort of optimism, and refuses to ever seem to acknowledge that the people around him might actually have ulterior motives for getting to know him. He’s like a harmless tourist (but a tourist nonetheless) who just wants to experience all the stories he heard about the heroes of Ankh-Morpork! Except:

No one likes the heroes

In a hilarious turn, Pratchett reveals through Rincewind that the heroes are super annoying. No one likes them, their disposition is irritating, and there was even talk of MAKING A SCHEDULE FOR THEM. Oh my god, this is already amazing.

The Counterweight Continent

So, I still don’t know what that scene with the Gods has to do with what’s happening here, and it’s entirely possible it’s all a coincidence. (After all, this isn’t Deep Secret!) But Twoflower’s arrival in Morpork appears to have set off a complicated chain reaction. Broadman takes one of Twoflower’s coins to an alchemist to have it tested for purity, and the alchemist is clearly disturbed by the coin. Then there’s that fortune teller who freaks at something that must be related to the newcomer, and she leaves her home only to ironically die anyway. Then Rincewind has this reaction:

The sensible thing to do, he knew, was to buy a horse. It would have to be a fast one, and expensive – offhand, Rincewind couldn’t think of any horse dealer he knew who was rich enough to give change out of almost a whole ounce of gold.

And then, of course, the other five coins would help him set up a useful practice at some safe distance, say two hundred miles. That would be the sensible thing.

But why? Why has this caused his precognitive abilities to awaken? What don’t I know about the Counterweight Content or the Agatean Empire? Clearly, given the next section, Rincewind decided this was the most sensible thing to do, since he’s caught by the Patrician’s men and brought before the spymaster.

It’s here that the Patrician reveals the secretive relations between the two nations, the fact that the Agatean Empire is filthy fucking rich, and that the Patrician suspects that Twoflower is hiding some sort of agenda. Why would the first visitor from the Counterweight Continent come to Morpork just to visit? I mean… clearly, the Patrician hasn’t met Twoflower. The guy is hopelessly harmless!


I got the sense that the brawl that Rincewind walks into on his way back to Twoflower is something that happens all the time, and I also suspect it’s due to those damn heroes being all… heroic. Or something. Of course, Twoflower is eager to witness some of the action, which is proof enough for me that he has no ulterior motive. If a barfight alone interests him, I think he’s the real deal. He just wants to experience some excitement!

The Lie

I just need to quote this because it’s so amazing:

The enormity of this lie was so great that its ripples did in fact spread out one of the lower astral planes as far as the Magical Quarter across the river, where it picked up tremendous velocity from the huge standing wave of power that always hovered there and bounced wildly across the Circle Sea. A harmonic got as far as Hrun himself, currently fighting a couple of gnolls on a crumbling ledge high in the Caderack Mountains, and caused him a moments unexplained discomfort.

I don’t know if you’re aware of the fact that I live on hyperbole, but if not, then let this be my chance to say that if the rest of this series is this comically ridiculous, I’m in. Sign me the fuck up.

The original text contains use of the words “mad,” “insane,” “craze,” and “whore.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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!
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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