Mark Reads ‘Pyramids’: Part 14

In the fourteenth part of Pyramids, Teppic is visited by an ancestor and finds a way home. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

THIS IS VERY EXCITING, I APPROVE OF THIS DEVELOPMENT. Well, I’m a little confused: Where is Ptraci? Did Teppic just leave her on the Unnamed? Could you imagine just seeing him dive off the boat and run off in the distance?

Anyway, I’ll have to see what happens to her. Let me start by talking about the dream that Teppic has, which is SO IMPORTANT. Teppic has been surrounded by nonsense in his life, but he never really had the means to question that. He got close to it, of course, by spending time in Ankh-Morpork and seeing how the rest of the world lived. I think that if his father hadn’t died and he was called back to Djelibeybi, Teppic never would have gone home and believed what he was raised with. But that pull of his home was strong, as was the cultural tenets he accepted. Even when he began to realize how Dios controlled practically every aspect of the kingdom, he didn’t know how to stand up to that. He didn’t know how do things for himself. On top of that, he still believed most of what he was told about himself. Hell, even when Ptraci started dismantling his status as a god, he still maintained that he controlled the rising and setting of the sun.

So it’s SO GREAT to read this dream where Khuft wastes no time showing Teppic that Djel history has mostly been bullshit and a lie. It has all been specifically crafted for the purpose of those who come later. Khuft’s history is supposed to empower those in Djelibeybi to believe in a regal world of godly acceptance. In truth? Khuft’s thirsty camels found the valley that became the Djel. There were no gods, no supernatural provenance at work here. What’s funny about this is that Teppic’s lesson from this is extremely literaly, but I’ll get to that in a bit. He does accept what Khuft tells him: he’s royal by his own choice. It’s not some divine destiny; it’s about choice.

He chooses to abandon his friends, seek out his camel, and head home, all so he can choose to be royal.

Now, it’s a bit of a mess getting to that point, namely because he has no money at all, and his camel is being held by Krona, who is Not Very Excited about not getting paid for housing Teppic’s camel. But You Bastard is not one to be underestimated! With a perfectly timed kick, they break free of the camel stable and are bound for Djelibeybi, where everything is REALLY SURREAL. Oh my god, y’all, I loved the scene where Teppicymon led Dil and Gern to various pyramids so they can free his ancestors. First of all, Pratchett portrays Teppicymon’s grandmother exactly like you’d expect a mummy grandmother to act. Seriously, just a few lines in, and she’s already complaining about everything.

“They’re servants, Grandma,” said the king.

“Have they got any identification?” muttered the old lady.

I’m identifying them, Grandma. We’ve come to let you out.”

Oh, she’s great. I love that when we meet King Ashk-ur-men-tep, the next mummy released from their pyramid, Pratchett signifies their old-timey speak with old timey spelling.

“I woket up,” it said. “And theyre was noe light. Is thys the Netherworld?”

“It would appear not,” said the queen.

“Thys is all?”

“Hardly worth the trouble of dying, was it?” said the queen.

WHERE IS HER SPIN-OFF NOVEL, I WOULD EAT IT UP.

So, back to Teppic: I totally missed out on the clue provided by Khuft in Teppic’s dream. How did Khuft find the Djel in the middle of the desert? Dehydrated camels. So Teppic brilliantly takes Khuft’s advice and rides You Bastard to exhaustion, suffering from heat exhaustion himself. As he does so, he passes up the Ephebian army, who are steadily marching to meet the Tsortean army at the border, because that’s just what they do. Historical imperative! Hell, they’re even polite about it. (I liked the bit about figs and dates.)

But what’s important is that through sheer will alone, You Bastard finds water right where it should be. To the soldiers’ amazement, You Bastard and Teppic charge right through the crack in the cliff. IT’S HAPPENING, Y’ALL. He’s going home! Oh god, I just want him to have a reunion scene with his father. CAN THIS PLEASE HAPPEN.

The original text contains use of the word “mad.”

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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