Mark Reads ‘Sourcery’: Part 5

In the fifth part of Sourcery, Coin kicks off the end of the world, and Rincewind runs into a problem, and that is a terrible euphemism, but I don’t want to spoil y’all. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of racial stereotypes

This may be the fastest a Discworld book has featured shit getting real, good gods.

It’s not lost on me that this section opens with a passage about how staying alive was considered the “only real qualification” to become king of Ankh. It’s funny because this is all about the Patrician being stripped of power while still staying alive.

I think that due to the humorous nature of this series thus far, plus the experience that was Mort, I have been used to death being sometimes unfortunate but usually funny. Because of that, the deaths we get here stop being funny or mere inconvenience. They symbolize a rapid and brutal rise to power, led by Coin/Ipslore, and enacted by the wizards, who have been cooped up and restrained for thousands of years.

There is still humor here (OH MY GOD, WUFFLES), but I have to admit it’s actually pretty impressive to see how Pratchett tackles something like this. What would happen if these wizards were unleashed? I think Coin’s influence on them is what has sent them in the direction they’re on, and I imagine if he’d kept to himself, the wizards’ changes would have come a lot more gradually than they do here. But you know what? I think they still would have happened. I think the competitive, egotistical nature of wizarding culture would have entailed this ending anyway.

BUT IT’S HAPPENED SO FAST. The Patrician is dispensed of, and then the wizards spill into Sator Square, home to a bustling marketplace that’s just outside the gates of the University. There, they begin to terrorize the merchants, first using magic to move all the stalls out of the way, and then treating these people as Coin suggested they be treated. They’re inferior. They’re in the way. And they’re irritating enough that it’s entirely justifiable that they’re MURDERED, like poor Miskin Koble. But lord, there’s still insult to be added to injury:

As if it wasn’t bad enough that wizards were killing people, he thought bitterly, they were taking away their livelihood as well.

This is in response to a wizard creating a perfect pie out of magic. It’s a clear threat that is meant to demonstrate that the wizards aim to make non-wizards not just part of a lower social class, but obsolete. If wizards can replace everyone and everything, why even care about non-wizards?

Meanwhile, Rincewind, the Luggage, and Conina make their way to Klatch aboard the Ocean Waltzer, and honest to gods. I DIDN’T INITIALLY GET THE WHOLE HAIRDRESSING THING. She’s giving Rincewind a haircut here and she’s probably stoked as all hell to be able to do so. I WILL ACCEPT A HAIRCUT FROM CONINA. And while the rest of the crew wants to snicker at her, let the record state that later in this very scene, Conina doesn’t bother saving any of the people from the slavers. Oh, you’re not laughing now? Funny how that works.

There’s some talk of the Apocralypse after the hat confirms that “the rule of sourcery” has begun at Unseen University. This is the set-up for my favorite line so far:

“What exactly is the Apocralypse?”

Rincewind hesitate. “Well,” he said, “it’s the end of the world. Sort of.”

“Sort of? Sort of the end of the world? You mean we won’t be certain? We’ll look around and say ‘Pardon me, did you hear something?’?”


So! The characters are on their way to Al Khali, which I’m guessing is a major city in Klatch. I don’t know much more about it. There’s lots of sand. They’re well known for their slave pirates, which Rincewind and Conina will soon get to know quite well themselves. As the ships approach and, for some reason, Conina is the only person who is able to see them, Rincewind is ordered to put on the hat by the hat, and IT’S ACTUALLY A REALLY COOL THING. I love that all the remnants of all the past chancellors are there, speaking as if they are one being, and I love that Rincewind, predictably, takes the damn thing off his head. That was a very Rincewind thing to do.

I did have to eventually look up what a seraglio was. (And learned I pronounced it wrong, oh drat.) That kind of shed a light on about half the jokes from here on out, including the slavers confusing Rincewind for a woman, or the weird reference to the singing job, which… I don’t quite understand that yet. I did read the word “swarthily” and groaned inwardly. Can we retroactively retire this word forever? Okay, that’s unreasonable, but I’m hoping this book doesn’t do the same thing some of the others have done. I do want to find out more about the Klatchian people, as it’s clear from the way they’re coded that they’re a non-white civilization. Who are also immediately revealed to own slaves and harems. Okay, I’m still into this ride, but it raised a red flag for me. However, I’m gonna wait until I actually get to Al Khali before I make any sort of decision on how I feel.

Who else thinks it would be fun to see a live action version of this book just to watch Conina’s fight sequences? I’D REALLY LIKE TO SEE THIS TO BE HONEST. Seriously:

Her opponents started off grinning at the temerity of a slight young girl in attacking them, and then rapidly passed through various stages of puzzlement, doubt, concern and abject gibbeting terror as they apparently became the center of a flashing, tightening circle of steel.

Unfortunately, it looks like Rincewind has been poisoned by something in some way and it’s all very ambiguous. But I imagine we’ll see Al Khali quite soon.

The original text contains use of the word “mad.”

Video 1

Video 2

Mark Links Stuff

– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.
– I will be at quite a few conventions and will be hosting numerous events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe in 2014. Please check my Tour Dates/Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!
– Inspired by last year’s impromptu park event in London, I am taking Mark in the Park on the road! You can see all the currently-planned dates and pitch your own city here.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Discworld and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.