In the sixteenth part of Sourcery, I’m going to try to believe that there are other important things here, but y’all know I really only care about one thing. I am not ashamed. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of child abuse, trauma.
I feel like my entire life has been leading up to this point.
This is a vital part of the story, and I’m not going to be foolish enough to ignore that. So let me get this out of my system right now.
MOTHERFUCKING ICE GIANTS.
There. I’m fine. For now.
The Three Pedestrians of the Apocralypse are completely shitfaced in a tavern while the Apocralypse is beginning. Few things are as funny as this.
“The Apos… the Apostrophe,” said War, vaguely.
They shook their heads. There was a lengthy pause.
“What does ‘apocrustic’ mean?” said Pestilence, gazing intently into some inner world.
“Astringent,” said war, “I think.”
“It’s not that, then?”
“Shouldn’t think so,” said Famine, glumly.
There was another long, embarrassed silence.
“Better have ‘nother drink,” said War, pulling himself together.
Oh, it’s just so beautiful.
How long ago did Pratchett first mention that it was snowing in Ankh Morpork? Like forty pages ago? I did not comment on it once. I read it, it entered my brain, and I promptly dismissed it as a nonsensical detail that had no bearing on the plot. Frankly, I couldn’t see how it meant anything at all. Raw magic was ripping through the world, and if the roof of a building could turn into arsenic jam, then it could snow anytime and anywhere. That is maybe the most I thought about it. I wasn’t concerned once Conina, Creosote, and Nijel noticed it, and I didn’t think I needed to be concerned.
Gods all help me.
“Well, I’m no judge, but it rather looks like the Apocralypse, yuh?”
The genie shrugged. “The gods have vanished, okay?” he said. “And according to, you know, legend, that means –”
“The Ice Giants,” said Nijel, in a horrified whisper.”
How long? How long have I been asking for an Ice Giants book? Didn’t I ask for one while reading this book???
Now, I recognize that cheering on the Ice Giants means that I’d be cheering on the destruction of the Disc, so that’s not exactly why I’m excited. I am, generally speaking, not a fan of the end of the world. What I love about this is – wait, who am I kidding? I don’t need to justify this! THE ICE GIANTS ARE PHILOSOPHICAL AND CALL NIJEL “HOT PERSON.” How could I not adore them???
Okay, what I like about their use here is how Pratchett is able to build urgency through them. After this discovery, we find out what happened to Rincewind, who is not quite dead yet, and it’s not all that surprising. I figured out that the Things in the Dungeon Dimensions were trying to break through because… well, it wasn’t exactly a secret. That disaster was nightmarish all by itself, but there’s now a horrible problem facing the world because of what Ipslore has done. With the gods captured and no foreseeable way to free them, the Ice Giants really can dominate the world.
But there is Nijel, whose geas (WHICH IS REAL AND NOT AN ACTUAL JOKE) requires that he must do something brave before he dies. That’s his quest! And his suggestion?
“Sorry,” said Conina, “have I got this right? You think we should go and find the terrifying Ice Giants and sort of tell them that there are a lot of warm people out here who would rather they didn’t sweep across the world crushing everyone under mountains of ice, and could they sort of reconsider things? Is that what you think we should do?”
“Yes. That’s right. You’ve got it exactly.”
Well, at least that’s perfectly in-character for him.
I am so heartbroken because of a single sentence.
So, I think I’m comfortable stating that this section confirmed that Death traveled into the Dungeon Dimensions with Rincewind and Coin, all so that he could finally claim Ipslore the Red. That was the loophole: Ipslore could not die until Coin threw his staff away, and that was what Ipslore relied on this whole time. He abused and manipulated that child not only by making him afraid of his grandfather, but by making Coin dependent on that staff. Coin’s entire understanding of magic was through Coin, and by controlling what Coin learned and what he saw and what he experienced, he was able to limit his understanding of the world. Which is why this hurt so much to read:
Rincewind helped Coin to sit up. He looked blankly at the cold silver sand, then at the sky, then at the distant Things, and then at Rincewind.
“I don’t know what to do,” he said.
I’m a fucking mess. Coin never helped that kid. He wasn’t preparing him for the world. He did not have Coin’s best interests in mind. And this is what’s left. So it’s really fitting and sweet that the man who perpetually never knows what to do is there to help him, to help Coin understand how to live in a world without using magic all the time. It’s so perfect, isn’t? They’re in a place where magic gives the Things power, and here’s a wizard who can’t do even the most basic of magic.
I’m ready to see how Rincewind’s sockful of sand will save the world.
MORE ICE GIANTS MORE ICE GIANTS ALL THE TIME.
As funny as the Ice Giants are, Pratchett does a fantastic job conveying how physically destructive and terrifying they are, and that’s important! They have to be frightening in some way or else the threat doesn’t work. Still, I’m so entertained by how Pratchett chose to characterize them. I CAN’T HELP IT.
“I say?” he shouted.
The giant’s head turned toward him.
“Vot you vant?” it said. “Go avay, hot person.”
I CANNOT WAIT TO INCORPORATE THIS INTO MY DAILY VOCABULARY.
“They vill suffer in the cause of progress. Now is the time ve reclaim the vorld,” rumbled the giant. “Whole vorld of ice. According to inevitability of history and triumph of thermodynamics.”
P E R F E C T I O N
“But is this the right time? Is the world ready for the triumph of ice?”
“It bloody vell better be,” said the giant, and swung his glacier prod at Nijel.
OH MY GOD. SASSY ICE GIANTS FUELED BY THE WILL OF SELF-DETERMINATION. I WAS NEVER READY FOR THIS.
I feel like there’s also another parody mixed in with this, and that’s of the well-meaning but utterly clueless activist who just bumbles through the world. Because that kind of describes Nijel, doesn’t it? Pratchett even describes him in terms of his naïveté and willingness to believe in rational, sensible conversation, despite that that’s clearly never going to work in this situation. I think there’s a similarity between Nijel and Twoflower in terms of how they see the world. But in this case, I don’t think Nijel’s choosing an outlook, whereas Twoflower knew how cynical and awful the world could be and chose to be positive about it.
SO I FINISH THIS BOOK IN THE NEXT POST. OH MY GOD, Y’ALL.
The videos contain use of the words “mad” and “idiot.”
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