Mark Reads ‘Sourcery’: Part 10

In the tenth part of Sourcery, the Librarian fights back, Nijel and Conina meet, and Rincewind is inspired. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

I am so thankful that the library was not burnt down. Yet. OH GOD PLEASE DON’T LET IT HAPPEN. I have a particular affinity for libraries, and the one at Unseen University is even more special than usual. I’d nearly forgotten about Coin’s demand to destroy it, too! (And for the record, I have struggled with how to refer to Coin, since it’s kinda sorta him? I thought about calling him Ipslore!Coin or just Ipslore, but it’s all so confusing. So, when I refer to Coin as such, understand that I do get that it’s Ipslore controlling him through the staff. I don’t actually think a child is wreaking such destruction all by himself.) But gods all bless the Librarian, who drops on the wizards like a chandelier of justice, (temporarily) preventing them from lighting the place on fire.

I wondered briefly why Sconner was so confident about being able to burn down the library, but it’s actually obvious to me in hindsight. I think part of it was a ridiculous performance just to make himself seem more important than he was. Look how often he gets furious when anyone questions him or offers up another opinion. But I think that in the few days that he’s experienced the kind of power that Coin has made possible, he’s become arrogant. Up to this point, has anyone or anything been able to stop him? No, and that’s sort of the point. That’s why Coin’s idea of what wizards should be is so unnerving. It’s absolute power all the time. Thankfully, this means that Sconner underestimated the Librarian, and OH BOY DOES HE EVER PAY FOR THAT.

Can we also just acknowledge the greatness of this part?

Any wizard unwise enough to hazard a clandestine rollup wouldn’t know anything about it until a soft leathery hand reached up and removed the offending homemade, but the Librarian never made a fuss, he just looked extremely hurt and sorrowful about the whole sad business and then ate it.

HOW COULD YOU HATE THE LIBRARIAN? He’s my hero, to be honest.

Speaking of heroes: Nijel. Oh, Nijel. He’s so endearing! I admit that this specific archetype – a young man who wants to do good but doesn’t actually know what he’s doing – feels pretty familiar in the Discworld universe. He’s similar to Mort a lot of the time, though Pratchett doesn’t exactly make the same jokes with him. It’s not like Mort ever CONSULTED A MANUAL DURING A CONFRONTATION. Oh, Nijel, bless your heart. He’s trying!

So, are we just accepting that Cohen never actually wrote that book? Perhaps he had a ghostwriter. I bet ghostwriters are actual ghosts on the Disc. I’M JUST THINKING ALOUD HERE.

Anyway, after I’m made even sadder about the Luggage (HOW DOES THIS SERIES DO THIS TO ME), Rincewind realizes he’s got a new problem on his hands: love at first sight. Well, that hope of his was dashed pretty quickly, wasn’t it? When Conina and Nijel meet one another, Rincewind becomes the messenger between the two of them because they turn into… I don’t even know how to describe it. There’s humor in the fact that both of them are so smitten with one another that they are convinced the other person has no interest in them. Both Nijel and Conina are concerned about being embarrassed by things I’m sure the other person wouldn’t really care about. If anything, Nijel would be thrilled to learn who Conina’s father was. And Conina wouldn’t really care if Nijel was just getting started! However, this is what happens instead:

“He’s nice. I don’t seem to meet many nice people.”

“Yes, well –”

“He’s looking at us!”

“So what? You’re not frightened of him, are you?”

“Suppose he talks to me!”


I also wanted to state that I think I missed one joke entirely, but another NOW MAKES SENSE TO ME. Is there some other context to Conina telling the Seriph stories involving a rabbit? I feel like there’s a layer to that joke that I didn’t get. But I did figure out what a geas was! I mean, I knew what it was, but I never knew it had a name. (It’s a curse or a spell or a taboo that restricts a person, leading to death or a loss of honor if they don’t obey it.) It’s definitely not a bird, and I don’t think there’s a geas at work here. Just a quest!

The city was under the rule of sourcery… martial lore.

How many times has Pratchett cackled while thinking of this goddamn pun? Y’ALL, IT’S SO GOOD.

I didn’t expect that this section would give us the promised bit of inspiration in Rincewind, but like the last part, it’s an integral bit that helps us understand what being a wizard means to him. It’s complicated, sure! I mean, the guy hasn’t exactly been treated all that great by wizards, and now he’s watching his fellow wizards follow a veritable dictator. And yet? That doesn’t turn him away from wizardy, and neither does the fact that he’s not very good at being a wizard.

“Talent just defines what you do,” he said. “It doesn’t define what you are. Deep down, I mean. When you know what you are, you can do anything.”

WELL, RINCEWIND, YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE ME CRY. Goddamn, that is a beautiful bit of inspiration. I appreciate this a lot, y’all, because I struggle with my own talent (or what I perceive as a lack of it sometimes), and you know what? IT DOESN’T MATTER. What matters is knowing who I am.

Abrim the vizier stepped out of a ruined archway. He was wearing the Archchancellor’s hat.


The videos contain use of the word “mad.”

Video 1

Video 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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