Mark Reads ‘The Color of Magic’: Part 6

In the sixth part of The Color of Magic, Rincewind discovers that he wasn’t rescued at all, and Twoflower inches closer to awfulness. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.


There was a sound like – Rincewind concentrated, trying to identify it – like far off thunder, or a distant waterfall.

“It’s the tree,” said the dryad shortly.

“What’s it doing?” said Rincewind.


Oh my god, y’all, this is so fascinating to me, because all of the actual functions of a tree’s biology still exist here, and yet this is a “whole multidimensional universe” inside the tree. One that exists to CONSTANTLY INSULT RINCEWIND FOR BEING A FAILURE OF A WIZARD. Okay, that’s not actually what they’re here for, but Druellae sure doesn’t resist the chance to frequently point out that Rincewind doesn’t possess anything that makes him an actual wizard. No staff; no “hat with magic sigils embroidered on it”; no familiar; no knowledge of any spells whatsoever.

Well, he knows one spell. We’ll touch on that in a second, but I just wanted to acknowledge that in my previous review, I totally believed that Rincewind had been saved. Oh god, nope. NO, I WAS SO WRONG:

“I’m not rescued, am I?” he said. “I’m captured, right?”

“Of course.”

“And you’re not letting me go?” It was a statement.

Druellae shook her head. “You hurt the Tree. But you are lucky. Your friend is going to meet Bel-Shamharoth. You will only die.”

WHAT THE FUCK IS WORSE THAN DEATH? How? How can something be more unlucky than death??? That was particularly disturbing to me because the death that the dryads prepared for Rincewind seemed fairly fucked up to begin with. They utilized wild magic, a raw form of enchantment that had largely fallen out of practice, due in part to its outlaw by the Unseen University. Wizards weren’t allowed to use Old Magic! I admit that I’m a bit lost because of this point. I don’t get why the dryads use their magic to give Rincewind a glimpse of what’s happening at the temple of Bel-Shamharoth. Do they want him to see what becomes of Twoflower before he dies? Why not just kill him outright? I didn’t understand this.

I did think it was smart of him to try and escape while everyone was distracted by the appearance of Hrun in the temple. It was EXTREMELY FUNNY TO ME that after hearing all of the insults about his magical ability, he actually stops escaping to argue with Druellae. In that moment, his own reputation is more important than his life. BLESS. But what the hell is that spell in his head??? When Druellae demands he actually pass a spell and prove he’s a wizard, all he can think about is the singular spell that jumped into his head due to that bet he made back at the Unseen University. She reads his mind, and orders him to be executed – far from the Tree. She doesn’t want him killed inside of it! OKAY, THIS DOESN’T SEEM HUMOROUS ANYMORE. I’M SCARED. And given the bit at the end of this section that covers the grimoires, this is clearly a huge deal, you know? The protections around those books are unreal, and Rincewind got past them for a bet. This can’t be good.

Regardless, HRUN. OH MY GOD. I forgot about him, and y’all, I can’t deal with this. He found the Luggage, and he chased it right into the Temple. Again, Twoflower has no idea of the ramifications his life has had on everyone around him. But Pratchett’s treatment of Hrun is my favorite part of this. He’s clearly poking fun at traditional fantasy heroes, especially the loincloth-clad, lacking-in-original-thoughts one. He even makes fun of the mythical sword acquired on a quest, given that HRUN’S SWORD HAS THE POWER TO ARGUE WITH HIM. I LOVE IT. SO MUCH.

I really do cherish the fact that we get a section of this book narrated from Twoflower’s perspective, though. He’s a lot of fun to read, honestly, and his curiosity is rooted in this pure desire to understand the world around him. That doesn’t mean we should ignore how he affects the worlds he travels through, but it’s nice to know that he’s not maliciously ruining lives while exploring. Plus, he’s so genuinely appreciative of other cultures and practices in a way that shows us that he doesn’t believe his own culture is perfect or the standard by which to measure the rest of the Discworld. You can see that in his conversation with the demon when he tries to point out that a demon can’t exactly call a temple weird, given that it’s a demon. Still… the place is WEIRD, isn’t it??? The obsession with the number eight, the violet light, the construction of the place… it’s unsettling. I mean, I still don’t know what the Soul Eater can actually do, but you better believe I’m nervous about meeting it for the first time. I’m preparing myself, okay? ALLOW ME THIS CHANCE TO BE PREPARED.

The original text contains the word “mad.”

Part 1

Part 2

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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