Mark Reads ‘Sourcery’: Part 6

In the sixth part of Sourcery, Rincewind finds that he doesn’t have to save the world, and Spelter begins to question if he will have to do it instead. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

I know there’s been no break for y’all, but OH MY GOD IT’S SO GOOD TO BE BACK. It’s been over a month and a half relative to me since I last read Sourcery, and NOW I CAN FIND OUT JUST HOW RIDICULOUS THIS BOOK IS GOING TO GET. Spoiler: very goddamn ridiculous.


I shall take this sole part of Sourcery to bask in the fact that Rincewind has Made His Decision, and that Decision is: he doesn’t have to save the world. I say “this sole part” because we all know that this is a Discworld book, and we all know that if Rincewind is in a Discworld book, he will be thrust into a crisis where he’ll need to save the world because that’s how his life works. IT’S JUST CANON AT THIS POINT.

But I’m not going to assume that this is it. The slavers, frightened off by Conina being perfect and terrifying, also managed to nab the Archchancellor’s Hat. But instead of taking this as a disastrous turn of events, Rincewind sees it as a positive development, and I can’t really disagree:

“I don’t see why we have to do anything,” said Rincewind. “The hat wanted to keep out the way of the University, and I shouldn’t think those slavers ever drop in there for a quick sherry.”

“You’ll let them runn off with it?” said Conina, in genuine astonishment.

“Well, someone’s got to do it. The way I see it, why me?”

Indeed, why Rincewind? It’s actually a pretty cool moment, isn’t it? Rincewind decides that he doesn’t have to get involved. Of course, that moment lasts a page? Maybe that??? Because Rincewind does have that pesky thing called a conscience that reminds him that letting the hat fall into the hands of slavers might just be a disaster anyway. The text hints that he’s been reluctantly convinced to go after the hat, but that’s all we get for the remainder of this section. THE ADVENTURE MUST CONTINUE IN THE NEXT REVIEW.


I know I’m repetitive at this point, but I really do love how much Sourcery blends humor with an unnerving look at power and control. There’s a great deal of this section that’s simply not funny at all. Look, I am bothered by the wizards cleaning up Ankh-Morpork BECAUSE IT’S JUST SUPPOSED TO BE DIRTY AND SCUMMY THAT IS THE WAY OF THE WORLD. We find out here that in the 24 hours since Coin basically set the wizards free, they’ve all experimented with altering everything around them. They’ve cleaned shit up (literally, I suppose!), gave themselves better clothes, and created a replica of the Archchancellor’s Hat for Coin that’s is actually the worst replica of all time. They haven’t been able to change their physical state, however, though I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d found a way to do it. I suppose there are aspects of this that might be harmless, but like Spelter, I’m incredibly unnerved by what these wizards are going to do without any control at all.

Coin is not helping. HE’S NOT. More than ever before, he’s become an archetype of an evil wizard. He brims with power, he’s got the wizards of Unseen University so terrified of him that they won’t contradict him, and he’s clearly interested in changing the universe to his whims. IN REALLY SCARY WAYS, I SHOULD NOTE:

“Well, you can’t change human nature.”

There was dead silence.

Spelter hesitated. “Can you?” he said.

OKAY, WHAT THE FUCK, LET’S NOT GO THERE. Except Carding does immediately.

“The point is, the world should surely be run by men of wisdom and philosophy. It must be guided. We’ve spent centuries fighting amongst ourselves, but together… who knows what we could do?”

Well. That is frightening, to say the least.

“Today the city, tomorrow the world,” said someone at the back of the crowd.

Carding nodded.

“Tomorrow the world, and –” he calculated quickly – “on Friday the universe!”

I get the joke, but at the rate the wizards are progressing, this is probably prophetic. The fear of Coin plays a large part in why the wizards are questioning what they’re doing, but that doesn’t mean that they’re a monolith. There’s that brief moment where Hakardly the Lore master nearly spoils the replica of the Archchancellor’s Hat. It’s not much, sure, but it’s one of the only flashes of disagreement or contradiction we see in Coin’s presence. It’s not until Coin begins to speak candidly about the freedom his actions have given the wizards, though, that Spelter’s own conscience sets up red flags:

Spelter shuddered. In his heart of hearts an inner Spelter had woken, and was struggling to make himself heard. It was a Spelter who suddenly longed for those quiet days, only hours ago, when magic was gentle and shuffled around the place in old slippers and always had time for a sherry and wasn’t like a hot sword in the brain and, above all, didn’t kill people.

So my next question upon reading this was: What was Spelter going to do? Hell, what could he do to stop Coin? How do you fight against a raw source of magic like that? Sourcery doesn’t give us the answer just yet, but Spelter makes baby steps towards some sort of solution. Initially, all he does is contact the Librarian, who is thankfully still alive, barricaded within the Library itself. I found their whole interaction kind of adorable. LOOK, I JUST LIKE THE LIBRARIAN A GREAT DEAL. I’m glad these characters are safe, and I’m also intrigued by the idea that of everyone, Spelter appears to be the only one who is willing (somewhat!) to criticize what Coin has done. Granted, he does so quietly and largely alone because he’s justifiably terrified of what might happen. But he’s made contact with the Librarian, who now knows that there’s at least one wizard who cares about them.

Unfortunately, I am beautifully cliffhanger’d here, right when Spelter hears someone in the Archchancellor’s office crying. WHO THE HELL COULD THAT BE? Coin??? Maybe? But that doesn’t even make sense! Oh god, now I need to go find out right now.

Video 1

Video 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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