Mark Reads ‘The Light Fantastic’: Part 11

In the eleventh part of The Light Fantastic, I now have to cope with the idea that this book is ending. SOON. VERY VERY SOON. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

I actually hadn’t paid attention to the number of pages in this book or how many sections y’all had split this into, and then it all hit me while reading this? Oh my god, how is this happening already? I feel like I just started The Color of Magic a month ago. Time??? How do you work???

Because we’re getting close to the climax of this novel, there’s a lot to discuss. So LET’S DO IT.

Tabernae vagantes

OKAY SO… I know who the sorcerer is, right? I have to. There’s no way that Pratchett would set this up to never answer it. Now, I’ve got A LOT more Discworld books to read, so I’m not saying I’ll find out in The Light Fantastic who cursed the shopkeeper, but I THINK IT’S POSSIBLE I ACTUALLY KNOW WHO THIS IS.

Watch me be super wrong about this. SIGH.

But before I talk more about the shopkeeper’s curse, can we talk about how Bethan takes absolutely no shit? Good for her; I like the idea that she’s becoming increasingly frustrated with her surroundings and isn’t going to wait for things to get better. I also credit that with her growing understanding of Twoflower’s strangeness and of the fact that weird shit happens around him and Rincewind. I think she just accepts that at this point.

Anyway, we end up learning a lot from this shopkeeper, namely that a huge portion of the Disc has become like the red star people in this specific town. How that spread from city to city is unexplained, but it sets the stage for the return to Ankh-Morpork later. We also get another instance of the spell speaking through Rincewind, revealing that the red star “was life, not death.” WHICH I DON’T UNDERSTAND. Gods, I understand so little about this! How could being on a collision course with a red star be a positive thing? Maybe Twoflower’s related to that spell in Rincewind’s head. KIDDING. But then there’s that brief aside with Great A’Tuin recalling that it had done this before “many thousands of years ago” AND I’M BEING TEASED BY THE VERY BOOK I’M READING. What does that mean??? I don’t get it!

My favorite scene in this section, though, follows that weird aside. I adored that the shopkeeper recognized kindness in Twoflower’s face and decided to tell him the truth about his store. Twoflower, always willing to offer kindness and forgiveness to the people he meets, always willing to think the best of everyone, is probably the first person the shopkeeper has been honest with since he was cursed. And that’s super meaningful, you know? I found myself empathizing more with the shopkeeper because I have worked retail and THERE IS A THING THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WORK RETAIL. Practically everyone I’ve ever spoken to who has worked a retail job can describe all of the moments where humanity proved themselves to be the worst thing in the universe. Oh, the entitlement! The rudeness! The inability to view employees as actual human beings! THE ENTITLEMENT! If there’s a sorcerer out there who is impatient and curses people for not meeting their needs, fuck ’em. YOU SUCK, I HOPE THE LUGGAGE EATS YOU.


Yo, I was pretty damn stoked to return to Ankh-Morpork, which is where I was introduced to the Discworld. But it’s more meaningful for Rincewind, who finally – FINALLY!!! – gets to come home. This made me extremely happy???? It’s adorable to see Rincewind happy, even if it might not last very long. They arrive in town thanks for the shopkeeper’s cursed magic, and IT’S CHAOS. The red star people have taken over the city, the wizards are losing their magic, there’s a massive crowd trying to break into Unseen University (for their own reasons), and Rincewind isn’t afraid.

This sort of snuck up on me, but the bit where Twoflower used a seaweed metaphor to explain why trusted Rincewind was one of the most genuinely sweet things in the two Discworld books I’ve read. These two have spent nearly a year together, and I guess I never thought about the idea that they’d grow closer to one another. I mean, there was that moment where Rincewind seemed excited to see Twoflower after the incident in Old Grandad’s mouth. (I love that I can write that sentence and it makes complete sense.) But Twoflower’s gotten to a point with his relationship with Rincewind where he can recognize that his friend is routinely scared for legitimate reasons. So, it makes sense to him that when Rincewind isn’t frightened, then there’s no reason for him to be frightened, either.


It’s just so strange (in a good way!) that Rincewind becomes certain in this part of the story. While Pratchett doesn’t reveal what Rincewind figured out about the star, he does write Rincewind differently here. Part of that is probably because the man is home, but I think he’s also determined to get the spell out of his head, so much so that he puts aside his penchant for fear and self doubt. Now that he’s experienced what it feels like to utilize magic, to have it course through his body, he wants to experience it again. He wants his mind to be free again. He wants to be a wizard. THAT’S SUCH A HUGE DEVELOPMENT, Y’ALL.

I am so, so, SO excited to read the final two parts next week. BRING IT ON.

The original text contains use of the words “mad” and “crazed.”

Video 1

Video 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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