Mark Reads ‘Pyramids’: Part 15

In the fifteen part of Pyramids, Teppic meets The Sphinx; Dios resolves to end everything; and Teppicymon makes a startling discovery. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

Oh my god, this was GREAT.

Riddles

Bless Terry Pratchett, this was SO MUCH FUN TO READ. I don’t often comment on this specific experience because I like to think of the videos for this site as a separate form of commentary from my written work. They’re like two different entities in my mind. But there is something wonderful about writing that has such a wonderful flow when read out loud, and I think that’s worthy as commentary. Pratchett maintains a beautiful flow across this super long joke, and like much of his parody, he takes a very well known idea – the Sphinx and the Riddle – and utterly destroys it. But there’s no cruelty here as Teppic aims to confuse the Sphinx. Teppic dismantles the absurdity of the Sphinx’s Riddle, pointing out how the metaphor is highly flawed. However, he doesn’t do it just for the hell of it; he’s plotting. He confuses the Sphinx so much that he provides the “answer,” getting past the Sphinx with enough time before the Sphinx realizes they’ve been had.

It’s a lot of fun, y’all.

Dios

I wouldn’t say that Pratchett dabbles in political intrigue all that often, since he’s mostly interested in lambasting it. But it’s cool to see how Koomi and the other priests and priestesses are all quietly trying to oust Dios and insert themselves as the new high priest. That’s also a little strange because… well, what sort of power would you have in a world where the gods are roaming around freely and ignoring their earthly intercessors? Of course, that’s one of the ways that Pratchett comments on religious dogma. These priests are used to ascribing godly power to things that are otherwise easily explained, and their entire world has fallen apart now that their ruse has been exposed as bullshit.

And the crowds were still outside. Religion had ruled int he Old Kingdom for the best part of seven thousand years. Behind the eyes of every priest present was a graphic image of what would happen if the people ever thought, for one moment, that it ruled no more.

And for Dios, this is a nightmare. His careful manipulation of Djelibeybi custom is unraveling before his eyes, and he doesn’t know how to live in a world that he doesn’t control. Because seriously, this is about Dios’s sense of power, isn’t it?

Dios sat on the steps of the throne and stared gloomily at the floor. The gods didn’t listen. He knew that. He knew that, of all people. But it had never mattered before. You just went through the motions and came up with an answer. It was the ritual that was important, not the gods. The gods were there to do the duties of a megaphone, because who else would people listen to?

So, as Koomi and the others plot to gain power themselves, Dios finally starts to give up. His own commitment to ritual and tradition has come to bite him in the ass, and it’s clear the priests are aware of this. It’s how they compel him to offer himself up to the gods, and he knows he can’t fight against the very rules he’d written himself. (HOW OLD IS DIOS, OH MY GOD. Has he been here the entire time???) But right as he’s about to give his last demand (which I’m guessing is to be interred in Khuft’s pyramid), some uninvited guests make their presence known.

The Mummies

Okay, I’m never not going to be utterly amused by the mental image of seventy centuries of Djelibeybi’s leaders shuffling and lurching across the necropolis. BUT HOLY SHIT, KHUFT’S PYRAMID. The video for this section is a perfect example of me not getting until THE LITERAL LAST POSSIBLE MINUTE, but seriously???

“Hey, master king, look here,” said Gern, trotting over to one of the walls. “Look. Someone’s been scratching things. Look, all little lines over the wall.”

“And this wall,” said the king, “and the floor. Someone’s been counting. Every ten have been crossed through, you see. Someone’s been counting things. Lots of things.”

DIOS. DIOS WAS KEEPING TRACK OF HOW LONG HE’D BEEN ALIVE. If he used Khuft’s pyramid, that means he has to have been here the whole time. Did he discover the power of the pyramid seven thousand years ago? Oh my god, THIS IS WHY HE WAS SO OBSESSED WITH THE NECROPOLIS AND WHY HE KEPT GOING ACROSS THE RIVER. He was constantly reversing his own time in order to stay alive and keep his own tradition alive. Oh god, DIOS, PLEASE EXPLAIN YOURSELF. Why? Why do this???

Y’all, I need the next part IMMEDIATELY.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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