Mark Reads ‘Sourcery’: Part 14

In the fourteenth part of Sourcery, Rincewind finds allies, a lamp provides an interesting mode of travel, and Carding realizes his fate. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.


Rincewind / The Librarian

YES YES YES. I was so happy to read this, to find out that while the Library was indeed destroyed (NOOOO), the Librarian was still alive. Not just alive, though:

The dark yielded, just once, to a vivid flash of light. And Rincewind saw.

The whole tower was lined with books. They were squeezed on every step of the rotting spiral staircase that wound up inside. They were piled up on the floor, although something about the way in which they were piled suggested that the word “huddled” would be more appropriate. They had lodged – all right, they had perched – on every crumbling ledge.

Can we get a whole book from the perspective of the Librarian? I would love this. I would be pleased forever. I don’t think I’ve ever commented on how interesting it is that Pratchett writes the Librarian the way he does. Despite that the Librarian only says, “Oook,” in different variations, we’re still able to figure out a general idea of what he’s said. On top of that, he’s such a constant figure in a lot of these books, and it’s nice to see his contributions elevated like they are here. We know definitively that the books would have met a terrible fate without the Librarian and not just because they would have burned up. There are few things I’ve ever read more pleasing and hilarious than the Librarian doing BOOK SURGERY.



“What are you doing to it?” he managed.


“An appendectomy? Oh.”


I also want to appreciate the Librarian for another reason: his determination to get Rincewind to look at things different. And I think my analysis of this has to go hand-in-hand with what I talked about in the last review. Rincewind’s identity truly is a complicated thing, though I’m sure he’d like to argue otherwise. He wants his non-dramatic, eventless place in Ankh-Morpork, but he’s furious that it’s been taken away from him. He wants it back, he believes that someone should stop sourcery, and then he reasons that someone else should do the work to save it all. So the Librarian snatches Rincewind’s hat off his head and threatens to cut it up.

Objects have meaning towards a person’s identity on the Disc. This is not a new thing. We knew that when we first met Rincewind, and I’d say that a large part of Equal Rites and Granny Weatherwax’s story relies on the symbolism of physical objects. I think you can see that in the staff that Coin holds, too, though that has a different context. So when the Librarian steals Rincewind’s hat, Rincewind can’t help but feel like the Librarian has taken a part of him. Of course it’s just a hat that once had sequins and the word WIZZARD misspelled on the front of it. But that hat has had meaning imbued into it, and in that moment, Rincewind is ready to fight for the one thing that is his link to wizardry.

Unsurprisingly, though, Rincewind tries to downplay the importance of the moment:

“And all that’s supposed to tell me something, is it? A moral lesson, let Rincewind confront his true self, let him work out what he’s really prepared to fight for. Eh? Well, it was a very cheap trick. And I’ve news for you. If you think it worked –” he snatched the hat brim – “if you think it worked. If you think I’ve. You’ve got another thought. Listen, it’s. If you think.”

His voice stuttered into silence. Then he shrugged.

“All right. But when you get down to it, what can I actually do?”

Which is a valid question in this case because I don’t know how to solve this either. Apparently, though, the Librarian has an idea, and we’ve already established that the Librarian is full of nothing but goodness, SO I’M EXCITED.

Traveling with Conina, Creosote, and Nijel


Nothing in the world could have helped me predict this:

He gave it an experiment jerk. The floor shook.

“Oh, no,” he said. “It’s physically impossible.”

“We’re in the lamp?” said Conina.

YES. YES, YOU ARE, AND IT’S HILARIOUS, AND THIS ALLOWS PRATCHETT TO MAKE JOKES ABOUT PHYSICS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS AND IT’S JUST SO BEAUTIFUL. We get Nijel’s pink rhinoceros game. We get more of Creosote begging for a drink while trying to eliminate all off the logical loopholes that the genie could use to give him the exact opposite of what he wants, and then Nijel tries to analyze whether or not there are infinite and exponentially smaller versions of himself inside the lamp, and THE UNIVERSE CATCHES ON.

But goddamn, y’all, I’m just so excited for what these goobers do after being dropped off in the Sto Plain. (I think that’s where they are? Isn’t that outside of Ankh-Morpork? My Disc geography is obviously not that great yet I’M LEARNING.) After the lovely gag about a genie’s voicemail (the genie is the best stereotype of a businessman imaginable), they almost enter a tavern. What’s interesting to me is that Pratchett makes a big deal out of stating that this specific tavern was impossible to see, but then states that these three can see it. Hmmm. Regardless, Conina finds horses! Which can help them get to Ankh-Morpork faster! This is great!

Nijel regarded the other two horses suspiciously. One of them was very large and extremely white, not the offwhite which was all that most horses could manage, but a translucent, ivory white tone which Nijel felt an unconscious urge to describe as “shroud.”

I AM NOT ASHAMED FOR TOTALLY LOSING IT HERE BECAUSE I ACTUALLY FIGURED SOMETHING OUT BEFORE IT WAS EXPLICITLY TOLD TO ME. And shit, I didn’t comment on this in the video, but it makes sense why these four are so close to Ankh-Morpork: THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR. But the trio don’t know that, so they steal the Four Horses of the Apocalypse. Meanwhile, the Horsemen are all inside the tavern (and Pestilence drinks egg nog! With a cherry in it! THIS IS SO CUTE TO ME!), unaware of the fact that their horses are gone. Does that still make them Horsemen if they don’t have their horses? Are they just the Four Men of the Apocalypse now?


It really had been a long time since we’d checked in with him or Coin, which… that’s kind of weird, isn’t it? I think I would have loved to know what he was up to or seen things from his perspective. How active has he been in this war? His (final) section here suggests that he’s been right there with Coin the whole time, waging war against Abrim from afar, and developing… well, a conscience. He’s regretting how far this war against the world has been taken, but is there anything left that he can do besides observe how fucked up everything he is? He notes the disturbing way in which Coin’s staff controls him, he’s aware that Spelter tried to tell him something, and it’s not until Carding does something truly horrifying that he seems to snap out of his reluctant devotion to Coin and sourcery. Right when the Luggage bursts into the Al Khali tower, Carding uses the moment of distraction to take out Abrim and the Hat and GOOD GOD, WHAT THE HELL.

Not much. It didn’t beed much. Abrim’s mind was attempting to balance and channel huge forces, and it needed hardly any pressure to topple it from its position.

Abrim extended his hands to blast the Luggage, gave the merest beginnings of a scream, and imploded.

HOW DOES THIS BOOK MAKE ME LAUGH AND THEN CRINGE IN HORROR IN THE SPAN OF A FEW PAGES? It’s horrifying! Is this the only person Carding has killed? Probably not! And yet, it’s Abrim’s death by implosion (!!!!!!!) triggers an awful realization in the man:

“You’ll hear them soon enough,” he said. “You’ve made a beacon. You’ll all hear them. But you won’t hear them for long.”

HA. HA??? OH GOD. Things from the Dungeon Dimensions??? Something worse? What the hell does that mean?

“You’re pouring sourcery into the world and other things are coming with it,” he said. “Others have given them a pathway but you’ve given them an avenue!”

And with that, Carding actually tries to destroy the staff that rules Coin. Unsurprisingly, the staff destroys him first. Jesus christ, what is this book, y’all?

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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