Mark Reads ‘Sourcery’: Part 17

In the seventeenth and final part of Sourcery, Rincewind makes a life-changing decision. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.I seriously was not prepared for this ending.

I don’t really know much history or background information on the Discworld books aside from the Annotated Pratchett that theladylark posts in the comments. That’s clearly an intentional thing because I always worry that if I do research this stuff or let people tell it to me, I’ll be able to figure out an upcoming plot twist or I’ll be unnecessarily biased towards something. So I don’t know what factors help make Sourcery a reality, and I don’t know what motivations Pratchett had for doing what he does here. Ultimately, I did not think that we’d get to the end of this book with Rincewind… well, gone. He’s gone. For now, sure, and I suppose it’s very possible that he could come back, but he’s gone, and the choice he made here will have a lasting affect on his presence in the Discworld, dead or alive.

The thing is, this felt like an ending, as if Rincewind’s journey always was supposed to lead him right to this point. The choice that he makes here is so immense because I don’t know that the Rincewind I met at the beginning of The Color of Magic would have made the same decision here. In this book specifically, he’s learned what it is that he wants to fight for. And the heartbreaking thing about this is that he’s even aware that despite that he’s going to do the most heroic and risky thing in his entire life, it’s highly likely that he’s not even going to be remembered for it. But in the end, that’s not the point, at least not for him:

“There was something else I was trying to say,” said Rincewind, letting go of the hand. He looked blank for a moment, and then added, “Oh, yes. It’s vital to remember who you really are. It’s very important. It isn’t a good idea to rely on other people to do things for you, you see. They always get it wrong.”

To me, this is a commentary on Rincewind’s identity. He’s been continually known as a pathetic wizard. Hell, even I’ve been horribly guilty of naming him as the worst wizard ever. But does that define him? Wouldn’t his actions here speak much better about his character than I or other wizards ever could? Because I’d offer up the opinion that this proves that Rincewind is the best wizard, all because he understood the value and beauty of not using magic.

And then his last words are so tragically funny that I felt like this book had flattened me:

“I really wish I wasn’t here,” he muttered.

Well, technically, they’re his intentional last words, because when Coin is frozen in shock and fear at seeing on of the Things attack Rincewind, Rincewind repeats the triggering phrase that Ipslore used to control Coin. It’s so disturbing, but I do understand why he did it. And those are his last words to Coin, possibly ever. I have no idea if we’ll see Coin in an upcoming book. (Hell, I still don’t know which characters appear in any of the future Discworld books) But for now? Rincewind… shit, y’all, this is not what I thought would happen.

Both of them thought they heard, a long way off but very distinct, the sound of running feet fading into the distance.

Rincewind does not try to escape the Dungeon Dimensions, and I interpreted this as him leading the Things away from the hole that would have given them access to this world. In a sad and beautiful twist, just before the tear closes, the Luggage finally gets closer than ever to its owner, jumping into the Dungeon Dimensions.

And then that’s it.

“He didn’t come out!” he said.

“Oook,” said the Librarian, in a philosophic manner.

“I thought he’d come out. You know, just at the last minute.”

WHY DID THIS AFFECT ME SO MUCH? Again, I’m reminded that Coin is young and has seen more death and destruction than anyone his age should see. And yet? He still had hope that Rincewind would survive.

What is this book? WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO ME?

Pratchett then begins the process of closing up the remaining plots he’s spread out of Sourcery, and aside from the resolution to the Ice Giant threat, it’s all written in a tone that feels kind of sad. I don’t know that I got a whole lot of closure from finding out what happened to many of the characters I met over the course of this novel. The return of the gods melts the Ice Giants, but not before Nijel finally – and brilliantly – asserts himself. Like Rincewind, it’s been easy to make him the butt of a joke, but he’s finally had enough of it. He’s tired of people assuming that he can’t be trusted, that he doesn’t know what he wants, that he isn’t able to make his own decisions. So while Creosote leaves to go get drunk, convinced the world is about to end, Conina waits behind with Nijel, who has decided to face the Ice Giants, his lone sword in hand. But why? Why do this?

“If we’re going to die anyway, I’d rather die like this. Heroically.”

“Is it heroic to die like this?” said Conina.

I think it is,” he said, “and when it comes to dying, there’s only one opinion that matters.”

WELL, HE CERTAINLY DIDN’T GET THAT FROM HIS MANUAL. Nijel fulfills his geas in a moment of defiance, and I did find it funny that the whole dramatic moment was timed exactly at the moment that the fury of the gods returned to the Disc. It’s probably the most humorous deflation I’ve ever read, especially since Nijel is immediately all, “YO LET’S GET OUT OF HERE, FUCK THIS.”


I suppose what made me sad about the way this ended was that the world returned to normal – as normal as the Discworld could be – with very little indication of what had set that world right in the first place. The University is back, and it’s where Conina and Nijel go to try and locate Rincewind. Which was sweet to me! They cared about him and wanted to know what had happened to him! So I have to wonder how many people have had their memories changed by Coin. How many others sought him out? How many people have been made to forget? The world isn’t ever going to know what he did, are they? Well, the Librarian knows. Coin knows. And Coin is OFF TO ANOTHER WORLD, WHAT THE FUCK, THAT IS THE COOLEST SHIT EVER. I want a book of Coin’s experience in another world. Wait what if he went off to create the multiverses of His Dark Materials?

You’re welcome.

Fuck that geas pun. (Because it’s too good.)

So, the Disc turns as usual. Creosote still writes bad poetry and hits on women by poorly describing their bodies in super crude terms; the Patrician is human again; Wuffles is adorable; and the Librarian is the only one left who knows how close the Disc came to total annihilation. He’s the only one who knows that the most reluctant wizard ever committed to the most dangerous plan imaginable, all so he could save the world he had just found his place in. Maybe we will get another book where Rincewind comes back for his hat, but for now? The sun will rise on the Disc, and that’s because Rincewind gave it to them.


I am thrilled to start Wyrd Sisters on Monday. My sixth Discworld book! How did this go by so quickly, y’all?

The videos contain use of the words “idiot” and “mad.”

Video 1

Video 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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