Mark Reads ‘Wyrd Sisters’: Part 14

In the fourteenth part of Wyrd Sisters, Tomjon begins to make his journey home while the witches worry he won’t be ready. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

I genuinely don’t know how this is going to end, and it’s SO EXCITING.

The Play

There are plenty of pieces at work here, and it’s quite fun to try to figure out how they’re all going to fit together. It’s obvious now that Tomjon is coming along with Hwel to perform the play commissioned by the Fool. Which is about his own father. So it’s an autobiographical play that’s also fiction, since it’s Felmet’s treacherous version of the truth, and there are so many levels of meta here that it hurts. Nevermind all the Hamlet and Macbeth references! Just… how is Tomjon going to react to finding out that he might very well be playing his father’s murderer? (That’s my guess, for the record. Felmet’s going to want the best actor portraying the “good” king, right?)

But the most unexpected part of this for me was the revelation that the play feels wrong to everyone. It’s certainly funny that Vitoller and Tomjon both don’t know why there’s a ghost in the play (or every work that Hwel’s written), but MORE GHOSTS ALL THE TIME. STOP BEING GHOST BIGOTS. And hey, I’m the same way when it comes to dragons. Those fuckers are great, put ’em everything. However, all humor aside, I’m thinking this is foreshadowing. Not for us, mind you. We know who the ghost in this story is, but I imagine that these actors and Hwel are soon going to realize why this play feels so wrong. Because it is wrong!

I can’t guess as to how that’s going to happen, though. I don’t have a clue! There’s a neat bit in the midst of this about destiny and how Hwel has fought destiny his whole life. It’s honestly one of my favorite sections of this whole book, and it got me thinking about how that’s going to apply to Tomjon. Where does Tomjon fit into this notion of destiny? At some point, I imagine he’ll be faced with a decision: to become King of Lancre or not. He’s certainly got a number of skills that could suit him to rule a kingdom, but those very same skills make him a fantastic actor, one who can bring thieves to tears before they apologize for even trying to steal from him in the first place. So is he best suited as a king in this case? Does he accept the destiny set before him and decided by people who never once asked him if he wanted it?

I don’t know, y’all.

Meddling

Which makes the other part of this section all the more fascinating to me. Granny has irrevocably meddled at this point, with help from her fellow witches, and now I’m wondering if there’s a chance this isn’t going to turn out like everyone wants. Perhaps am feeling doubt now, too, though for a different reason. Granny, who has resolutely chosen to never doubt anything she’s ever done, has to suddenly grapple with an emotion that’s forn to her. It’s understandable in one sense, since she’s never meddled this badly before. 15 YEARS IN ONE WEEK, Y’ALL. So what happens if the spell done to compel Tomjon to come to Lancre gets him killed along the way? What happens if he arrives and he’s not all that good at being a king? What if he’s unprepared? What if he gets sick? What if he just lets Duke Felmet have the kingdom as long as he can act?

I think Granny is realizing that there are too many variables, and she’s panicking.

“It’s a long road,” said Nanny. “There’s many a slip twixt dress and drawers. There could be bandits.”

“We shall watch over him,” said Granny.

“That’s not right. If he’s going to be king he ought to be able to fight his own battles,” said Magrat.

“We don’t want him to go wasting his strength,” said Nanny primly. “We want him good and fresh for when he gets here.”

“And then, I hope, we shall leave him to fight his battles in his own way,” said Magrat.

Granny clapped her hands together in a businesslike fashion.

“Quite right,” she said. “Provided he looks like winning.”

It wasn’t until farther down the page that I realized what an important exchange that was. Magrat – of all people – is suddenly pushing for them not to meddle, to consider what it is they’re doing with Tomjon. But the saddest part about this for me was this line:

“I think,” she said, “that I will never really understand about witchcraft. Just when I think I’ve got a grip on it, it changes.”

While it’s certainly necessary to address the context of this meddling, Magrat does has a point. She’s struggled so much over the course of this book with acceptance, and Granny has never made it easy for Magrat to feel like she belongs. Right when Magrat would have been in Granny’s good graces, Granny has changed. And that’s understandably frustrating!  Plus, it’s not like Granny has chosen to pull herself back from this. No, the whole point of the scene with the thieves was to demonstrate just how far Granny will go to meddle. She uses the magic of the crystal ball / fishing float to DROP A MILK JUG ON THE THIEF’S HEAD. Like, that kind of meddling is PRETTY BLATANT.

The Black Aliss reference is pretty funny, but I also think it’s a necessary question for Granny to ask herself. Just how far is she willing to go to help the kingdom???

Mark Links Stuff

– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!
– My older sister needs help with her transition, so I’ve agreed to read all of Fifty Shades of Grey on YouTube if we can help her reach her goal!
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the MarkDoesStuff.com. All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– I will be at quite a few conventions and will be hosting numerous events throughout 2014. Please check my Tour Dates/Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city! I have events in Reno in the next month, and more will be added soon!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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