In the ninth part of The Light Fantastic, long live the Luggage. Literally, I suppose. If that’s intriguing, then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
This is a fun section with a couple important developments, but I don’t know that a whole lot actually happens. It is hilarious to me that Rincewind does his best to get rid of Cohen, Bethan, then Twoflower, and then the Luggage, and at the end of this part, he’s back with all of them. Again. Still, there’s a bit of self-awareness to this now, isn’t there? I mean, we start things off with Cohen trying to analyze the Luggage by using brute strength, which he surprisingly still has a lot of! He’s the only character so far who has deliberately toyed with the Luggage and survived – unharmed. Practically everyone else has either suffered an untimely end to their lives or they do what Twoflower and Rincewind do. They don’t question the Luggage. So I thought this was wickedly clever, since Cohen refuses to accept the impossible logic the Luggage works under. Well, impossible to our normal understanding, of course, but totally possible on the Disc. Twoflower got it from a magic shop that has no physical permanence, OF COURSE. (Bless the footnote about this, for the record.)
I really do consider the Luggage to be the central character here, but I did want to talk about Rincewind for a bit. After he convinces Twoflower that it would be best if they parted ways with Bethan and Cohen, he speaks openly about the red star, Great A’Tuin’s mind, and optimism. Oh, right, and in the middle of that, HERENNA EASILY KIDNAPS THEM. Oh my god, I love how Pratchett just drops that into the text so suddenly, as if it’s too much of a bother to explain how that happened because of course it was super easy for her to do that.
Anyway, Rincewind’s general distaste for the adventure he’s currently on comes up again, but Twoflower points out that he actually has a statistical reason for believing that things will turn out for the best: because statistically, things have turned out for the best TWENTY-SEVEN TIMES IN A ROW. This goes beyond Twoflower’s general good nature, and it’s actually a fascinating moment because… well, doesn’t this mean that Twoflower accepts that the odds would normally be against them? I really don’t think Twoflower has a cynical cell in his body, but I think it’s significant that he says this:
“Doesn’t that seem a bit suspicious?”
Has Twoflower ever been “a bit suspicious” about anything before? IS HE LEARNING? IS HE LEARNING TO ENGAGE WITH HIS ENVIRONMENT??? Like, this is legitimately super intriguing to me! CAN WE HAVE MORE OF THIS?
At least Rincewind got some fun out of being nabbed by Herenna and her gang. For once, he uses his own fear of the Luggage against someone else: Weems, who from his last experience with the Luggage and Gancia, is terrified of the thing. So, Rincewind expertly takes advantage of this and CONSTANTLY TEASES WEEMS WITH THE IDEA THAT THE LUGGAGE NEVER, EVER GIVES UP ON THE HUNT. However, Rincewind isn’t the only one having a go at the group; Cohen’s re-appearance in this section is just downright hilarious. You know, I don’t actually blame Twoflower all that much for laughing here because… seriously, IT’S FUNNY TO THINK OF COHEN AS THE FERRYMAN. Like, did he honestly think someone as observant as Herenna wouldn’t notice who he actually was? I suppose that doesn’t matter, since he surprises everyone with his attack on Herenna, only to be coincidentally hit with back problems right when he’s about to deliver a blow on her.
AND THEN BETHAN TO THE RESCUE. Gods, I love that she’s given a chance to prove herself here because she takes an active part in the story! I admit the whole thing is a little strange, since she then fades fairly quickly into the background, and we end things with the weird joke about their age differences? I’m not bothered by the difference in their age; it’s just uncomfortable that she is so young, you know? Anyway, I hope she has more scenes in the future, since I find her interesting!
The original text contains use of the words “mad” and “idiotic.”
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