Mark Reads ‘The Light Fantastic’: Part 7

In the seventh part of The Light Fantastic, trolls? TROLLS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

I CAN’T DO THIS.

Honesty in Reporting

I would be executed on the Disc, wouldn’t I? I constantly write in hyperbole. CONSTANTLY. This book is sending me into an existential crisis. It’s all your fault.

The Octavo

Okay, the very idea that the spells in the Octavo are technically characters in and of themselves is BRILLIANT, and then the execution of said characters in the narrative is even better than the idea. They rarely agree with one another, and even when they do, they can’t stop interrupting each other. IT’S SO ENTERTAINING TO READ.

Of course, right at the moment when one of the spells is about to explain the significance of the red star, it interrupts ITSELF to freak out over the Luggage:

“But we didn’t summon it here!”

“No one summons it anywhere,” said Rincewind. “It just turns up.”

That’s a fine summary of the Luggage. As fine as you could possibly come up with! Well, perhaps we should include something about its ability to devour anything instantaneously, but this is not the time to reminisce on such a thing. Instead, let’s talk about this bit:

Rincewind had a fleeting vision of Twoflower handing around his pictures and saying things like “This is me being tormented by a million demons” and “This is me with that funny couple we met on the freezing slopes of the Underworld.”

PRETTY MUCH NONE OF THIS IS AN EXAGGERATION. THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT TWOFLOWER WOULD DO. Bless his heart.

I know that in the review for part five of this book, I spoke about how sad I was starting to feel about Rincewind’s life, but holy shit, this section dumps that sadness all over us, and I actually think it’s one of my favorite bits of characterization for him. This book is so continually humorous and silly that I find it bold that Pratchett actually Gets Serious and acknowledges in the text that the Octavo have ruined Rincewind’s life. This is fun to read, and Rincewind makes me laugh. I love the concept of a shitty wizard stumbling from one disaster to another. But amidst all of this, Rincewind has lost any sort of stability. And without Getting Too Serious myself, I know how horrible that feels! I was a professional couchsurfer for a long time, including my final two years of high school. I’ve moved over thirty times in my life, and I’m pretty sure that’s a conservative estimate. (One day, I’ll have to sit down and count, since I’m curious.) Even when I lived in Los Angeles proper for five years, I lived in eight different apartments, and only three of those were my own where my name was on the lease. It’s only been since 2010 that I feel like I’ve started to make a steady home here in Oakland where I can develop the same sort of attachment to a geographical location like Rincewind has to Ankh-Morpork.

SO I GET IT. And homesickness is a hell of a thing, especially since I never really felt it until the last couple of years. I get it now, and I’m thankful that I’m even able to feel it.

Anyway, enough with Serious Talk Starring Mark. Rincewind’s homesickness pulls him and Twoflower out of the Octavo and back to the fire where Cohen and Bethan have been patiently waiting for them to return. Twoflower, unsurprisingly, is easily convinced that everything that he just experienced was nothing more than a dream or a hallucination. (Which gives us that hilarious bit where Rincewind has to hide the photo of the Underworld from Twoflower, only to discover that the imp’s version of Death’s home is a lot more disturbing than what he saw. Oh gods, does that mean Rincewind only saw what the place wanted him to see? I LOVE THIS IDEA.)

The adventure continues! Bethan, Cohen, Rincewind, Twoflower, and the Luggage continue rimward towards the River Smarl, and I’m so happy that Bethan and Cohen have remained on the journey. I found Cohen’s reaction to Twoflower’s optimism to be kind of sweet, too, and I suspect that he was flattered by the fact that Twoflower was so genuine about admiring him. I imagine Cohen hasn’t met anyone like Twoflower, and he appreciates it! It’s why his hand falls to his sword. I think Twoflower reminds Cohen of what he’s done in his life.

That night, they make camp and TROLLS. I AM SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED FOR TROLLS TO APPEAR IN A DISCWORLD BOOK BECAUSE THEY ARE AMONG MY FAVORITE FICTIONAL CREATURES. (And I’ll repeat what I said in the second video: I am obsessed with Troll Hunter and everyone should watch it. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.) Oh my god, bless Pratchett for making yet another joke about trees talking because it’s continually my favorite running joke in this book. Plus, Pratchett is twisting troll mythology just a little bit here, since trolls don’t actually consume people. They eat rocks! And they’ve got teeth made of diamonds. And they make good bodyguards! Well, once you teach them about doors, of course.

I also need to state that I have never read a book where someone introduces another person to the concept of dentures. Discworld: Awful Wizards and Denture Plots. How is this book real, y’all? HOW?

The original text contains the world “mad.”

Video 1

Video 2

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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