Mark Reads ‘The Color of Magic’: Part 3

In the third part of The Color of Magic, Rincewind discovers just how much Twoflower has complicated his life. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.


The Iconograph

what the everloving gods is going on in this book. Twoflower owns a “camera” that has a tiny imp/homonculous that spits out glass representations of what it sees. That is the weirdest sentence I’ve ever written, and even then, it’s a gross misrepresentation of the iconograph. IT’S SO MUCH WEIRDER THAN THIS. I mean, the being inside of it opens the door to the iconograph to give Rincewind sassy advice. MULTIPLE TIMES. Oh, and it also yells at Rincewind for taking so many photos of naked women. !!!!!!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING.

Risks Are My Business

See, Pratchett goes from the weirdness of the iconograph – which is undeniably surreal – to the weirdness of the fact that back where Twoflower comes from, HE IS AN INSURANCE SALESMAN. THEY HAVE FUCKING INSURANCE IN HIS WORLD. Actually, I love how this is brought up: Twoflower wonders if anyone ever thinks of all the people who own or run bars and taverns, since that’s where all the fights happen. Doesn’t anyone care about the bar fixtures???


what the fuck are those what the hell.

Touring Ankh-Morpork / Chaos

Essentially, Rincewind becomes a glorified tour guide to Twoflower. It’s kind of cute? Like, Rincewind doesn’t argue with Twoflower or try to ruin the experience for him. He takes him all over town, eagerly takes photos for him, and the whole thing is remarkably sincere. Like, I can already tell that Rincewind is fairly cynical about everything. The dude is a failed wizard who hates the system of magic he has to use. (Which feels very meta to me, y’all. Systems of magic can be super complex in fantasy novels, so it’s hilarious to me that Rincewind hates the magic in his world. Of course, I think it’s an intentional thing that references what Gorphal later states: Rincewind has the disease of dissatisfaction, at least in the Emperor’s terms.) But he’s getting paid – a lot of money – and Twoflower is genuinely one of the nicest beings that Rincewind has ever met.

Which is why it’s so immediately upsetting when Twoflower disappears in a matter of seconds, Rincewind is surrounded by cruel thieves, and Twoflower’s living trunk just ate part of two people. And somehow, this all ends with Twoflower setting the city on fire. How? HOW?

The Empire

Interspersed with this are a couple scenes of the Patrician receiving news from the Golden Empire regarding their new tourist. It’s through this that I finally understand some of the more confusing parts of the interactions between these two nations. In direct contradiction to the first letter sent to the Patrician, the Emperor of the Golden Empire sends a second letter that definitively states that Twoflower must be killed. And the reasoning?

“The Empire was not built by allowing things to get out of place. That is his view.”

“I begin to see –” said the Patrician.

“Quite so.” Gorphal smiled into his beard. “This tourist a thing that is out of place. After acceding to his master’s wishes Nine Turning Mirrors would, I am quite sure, make his own arrangements with a view to ensuring that one wanderer would not be allowed to return home bringing, perhaps, the disease of dissatisfaction. The Empire likes people to stay where it puts them.”

This obviously provides a motive for Twoflowers kidnapping. Of course, he’s also filthy rich, so someone could have snatched him up entirely based on that. Seriously, this is all chaos.

Rincewind and the Luggage

Is it perfectly fine for me to imagine that the Luggage is basically Dug from Up? Just a lot more violent, of course. Rincewind finds that his efforts to escape the thieves that are chasing him is complicated by the fact that Twoflower’s Luggage won’t leave him alone. Actually, it’s not just that it follows Rincewind; it actively prevents him from leaving his side. If it wasn’t for the imp inside the iconograph, I don’t even know that Rincewind would have figured out that it was trying to help him. So, now Rincewind has a sentient piece of Luggage following his every move, he’s got a bizarre camera with a humanoid figure inside of it discussing the benefits of harnessing magic, and he’s off to find out why Twoflower’s been taken to Broadman’s. What the fuck is this book, y’all?

Please note that the original text contains the words “mad,” “lunatic,” “insane,” and “whore.”

Video 1

Video 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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