In the thirteenth part of The Color of Magic, Rincewind and Twoflower prepare for their inevitable journey. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Good lord, I’M FINISHING THIS NEXT WEEK. Oh my gods, already.
Can we talk about how her appearance here is like a clever version of a literal deus ex machina? Because IT TOTALLY IS. She shows up, revealing that she was actually the frog that Rincewind saved earlier in the book. OH AND SHE’S BEEN IN RINCEWIND’S ROBE THIS WHOLE TIME???? How can she not be your favorite? She beat Fate in the game and then decided to go be a frog simply because Rincewind and Twoflower amused her. Wait, is she us? Because I’m so pleasantly amused by these two goofballs, I swear.
Anyway, after that brilliant gag where it looks like the Lady transformed from a frog into a frog, the Lady Luck appears to Rincewind and Twoflower with… well, an offer. A glimpse of hope. A chance. A turn of luck, if you will! And it’s clear to me how meaningful this is, since I learn in this section just how rare it is for this specific god to ever show up. You’re not supposed to worship her! (Which is particularly funny to me given that we learn right before this that Disc gods deal with atheists “severely.”) She has her own sense of taste and affection, and it just so happens that she’s got a thing for these two bumbling fools. That kind of explains a lot of this book, doesn’t it? Haven’t these two been perpetually lucky every time they face another disaster?
But usually he didn’t bother the gods, and he hoped the gods wouldn’t bother him. Life was quite complicated enough.
OH YOU HAVE NO IDEA OH MY GOD.
Shockingly, she reveals the precise details for these characters’ upcoming sacrifice: the Krullians want to find out if the Great A’Tuin is male or female so they can prepare for the possibility that the Great A’Tuin will mate with another giant turtle. I mean, that would mean that the Disc would tip sideways and everything would spill into space, right? I AM TRYING TO HAVE A LITTLE IMAGINATION, AS THE LADY ASKED. Oh my god, this is what this book is making me think about.
Even worse, the reason they’re both in Krull is due to Fate’s utter hatred of these two men for constantly avoiding their own fate: Death. Which is why it’s so fascinating that it’s at this point that Lady Luck offers her support. Sort of. She describes it as a “sentimental streak,” and I think this is all intended as a reference to the game played earlier. I think she appreciates that while the gods played with their lives, Twoflower and Rincewind still managed to get out of a number of crises through their own invention. Sure, luck really has played a part in their story, but it’s combined with a resourcefulness and a creativity that I don’t want to deny. A good example is later in this very section when Twoflower spits on one of the hydrophobes. It’s funny to think of these two as utterly clueless and “pathetic and helpless,” but I also think both Rincewind and Twoflower deserve credit for surviving as much as they have.
That’s a weird sentence, but seriously, they’ve almost died SO MANY TIMES.
So, Lady Luck gives them their chance: the magic that had held the bottle of jellyfish wine in the air from the previous section expires, and it smashes perfectly into Garhartra. It’s the perfect chance for Rincewind and Twoflower to escape, and by gods, THEY TAKE IT. Of course, there’s a complication aside from the fact that they’re outnumbered: they are on an island. There’s not many places to go. So, they hide in a room after ditching the guards.
A room containing the whole universe.
Death and Fate
I just love this scene so much. SO MUCH. I kind of have a thing for fictional depictions of Death to begin with. (SHOUT OUT TO The Sandman and The Book Thief SO GOOD.) Here, though, Death has an epiphany. Fate, desperate to ensure that Rincewind and Twoflower die in the Krullian’s ship, appears to inform Death of the fated deaths. He’s disappointed when Death isn’t more excited about this, and Death replies:
I DID INDEED CHASE THEM MIGHTILY, ONCE, he said, BUT AT LAST THE THOUGHT CAME TO ME THAT SOONER OR LATER ALL MEN MUST DIE. EVERYTHING DIES IN THE END. I CAN BE ROBBED BUT NEVER DENIED, I TOLD MYSELF. WHY WORRY?
Well, shit. So perhaps Rincewind and Twoflower aren’t going to die if they’re sent over the Edge. At the very least, Death isn’t interested in making these two die; He knows He’ll get them in the end.
All of this feels like foreshadowing in one sense, sure. If Lady Luck is amused with Twoflower and Rincewind enough that she wants to keep them alive, and if Death isn’t going to actively pursue the end of their lives, then perhaps Fate is going to be denied again. In the final scene, Rincewind and Twoflower discover the very suits they’re fated to wear into space, and GODS ALL BLESS TWOFLOWER. I know he’s impractical, but I love that he sees those suits, and he reasons that they’ll allow them to survive a plunge into space, SO THEY SHOULD TOTALLY PUT THEM ON AND ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE SACRIFICED. The utter joy with which Twoflower suggests these things brings me joy, y’all. He literally utters the following in this chapter:
“Anything’s better than being sacrificed.”
I JUST… YEAH. I mean, he’s not technically wrong. He sees this as an opportunity for him to experience something few beings will ever get to experience. And he approaches this possibility with wide-eyed wonder and optimism. I don’t consider myself that big of a cynic, but I think if this wasn’t executed so wonderfully, Twoflower might have been irritating. He’s not, though, and I find his endearing sense of hope to be completely charming.
We are so close to the end of the book, y’all. How??? HOW IS THIS ALL GOING TO BE RESOLVED????
The original text contains the word “deranged.”
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