In the thirteenth part of Pyramids, Teppic tries to find a solution to his lost kingdom, but discovers an old friend instead. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I don’t really see where this is going, and I don’t mean that in the normal sense. I feel like the book is sort of wandering around at this point, uncertain of which direction to take. It’s not just that this felt a little slow, though that’s part of it. I think a good way to explain this is to point out that for a good portion of this section of the book, we’re literally reading about people sitting around and talking. There’s some humor in that, but I don’t feel like we are any closer to anything at this point. Pthagonal was absolutely no help at all, since all he did was, more or less, confirm what we’d already seen in the book. Pratchett pokes fun at the food and the seriousness with which academic types take themselves. That’s entertaining in some sense, but I keep wanting more from the book. We’ve got mummies who are walking the earth; Djelibeybi is stuck in a temporal loop outside of the universe; Ptaclusp IIa is exploring time through breadth; and I don’t really understand why we’re spending so much time in Ephebe with virtually no development.
Perhaps that’s the point, and it was silly of me to expect some sort of plot advancement from the philosophers. Maybe that’s the joke! Teppic sought help from people who never could have helped him in the first place. That’s not to say that Pthagonal’s information is totally worthless; it was nice to have this all explained rather plainly:
“The reason being, it’s past time. They use up past time, over and over again. The pyramids take all the new time. And if you don’t let the pyramids flare, the power build up’ll –” he paused. “I suppose,” he went on, “that it’d escape along a wossname, a fracture. In space.”
It’s a four dimensional nightmare, basically. The universe appeared to compensate for the issue by twisting Djelibeybi out of existence, but just for the moment. Which means if the pyramid can be destroyed, it could probably return everything to normal. But how does Teppic get back in to his kingdom?
I don’t know yet. Even though I did find this part to be a little too slow for my tastes, I did appreciate that Pratchett had Ptraci and Teppic wonder about escaping. While in the Ephebian harbor, Ptraci ponders a life away from everything she’s ever known:
“We could go anywhere,” she repeated. “We’ve got ptrades, we could sell that camel. You could show me that Ankh-Morpork place.”
It’s a tempting idea, especially for Teppic, who has found that his home country’s culture to be stifling in the last three months. But it’s not that easy for him. Unlike Ptraci, who has little attachment to Djelibeybi at all, Teppic is still connected to the place. I love how Pratchett conveyed this:
His body had been away for seven years but his blood had been in the kingdom for a thousand times longer. Certainly he’d wanted to leave it behind, but that was the whole point. It would have been there. Even if he’d avoided it for the rest of his life, it would have still been a sort of anchor.
I admit that I relate more to Ptraci, but I still understand this pull, even if I don’t experience it with my own hometown. But I don’t have the sort of ancestral history that Teppic does. That mention of blood is important because it shows us that he does care about the legacy he’s leaving behind, even if that legacy involves him leaving. Hell, if he chooses to leave Djelibeybi? He still wants to make sure there’s a kingdom to leave instead of leaving them to their fate.
(PS: I really, really hope he finds out who Ptraci is, because all this mutual attraction stuff is super weird.)
After a short check-in with the Ptaclusps (everything is terrifying and uncomfortable and the gods are wrecking everything), Teppic is surprised by a reunion with Chidder, his colleague from the Assassin’s Guild. Perhaps this is going to be a key to getting back into Djelibeybi, but I’m not so sure of that, either. Chidder has become… shit, what would you define him as? A tax pirate? A not-quite-so-illegal-just-opportunistic pirate? It’s a development I surely didn’t expect from someone trained as an assassin. Of course, I didn’t expect Teppic to go back home and be king, either. I can’t imagine that every assassin who goes through training becomes an actual assassin either. Still, Chidder is not exactly a saving grace for Teppic, who feels that Chidder only values him because he can use him to create a tax haven for his business. Chidder’s not cruel, of course, and he’s definitely excited to see his friend. But I don’t see a solution here, not in Chidder. I think Teppic is going to have to figure out this one all by himself. Hell, maybe Ptraci is the answer! WHO KNOWS, BECAUSE I DON’T.
The original text contains use of the words “mad” and “maniac.”
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