In the seventeenth and penultimate part of Pyramids, Teppic tries to kill a pyramid. Honestly. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Oh shit, Teppic did it. It’s interesting to me that Pratchett keeps a lot of details away from us in this section. It’s definitely not the first time he’s done it, so I didn’t feel like I was being let down. I know there’s more to this book, so I don’t want to be too premature about things that could easily be addressed in the final pages of Pyramids. For the most part, we stick as close as possible to the experience of blowing up a pyramid. Which sounds weird enough as it is, but it ends up being SO MUCH WEIRDER than I expected.
Let’s first talk about Dios, because I definitely don’t feel like he’s all that sorry for what he’s done, given this:
“I gave my life for this kingdom,” said the high priest. “I gave it over and over again. Everything it is, I created. I cannot fail it now.”
It’s so fascinating to me that he ends this little moment of his with an appeal to the country as a whole. He can’t “fail” it, yet his reasoning immediately before this is entirely selfish. He tries to paint this as some sort of selfless sacrifice, one where he “gave” his life to Djelibeybi, but the truth is that he deliberately extended it so that he could exert control over seven thousand years.
Still don’t feel that bad for him. Plus, how many deaths is he responsible for? How many people were killed when the gods were unleashed on the world? How many were thrown to the crocodiles because of Dios and his need for an unchanging corner of his universe? Even when he faces the very gods he created to oppress people, he doesn’t feel awe and respect. He’s furious that THEY DON’T DO AS HE WILLS THEM TO DO. Which is indicative of his entire outlook on life, I think. He wants to control, and when he can’t, he becomes enraged.
But the powers released here are finally (and terrifyingly) greater than Dios. And it’s neat that it’s up to Teppic to stop them. He uses his skills to traverse the pyramid, but that only gets him so far. The last-minute help he receives? It’s from his ancestors. LITERALLY. There’s no metaphorical guidance or metaphysical wisdom. No, his ancestors form a ladder of sorts with their bodies, all so that Teppic can make it to the top.
I admit that I was hyping myself up for a reunion between Teppic and his father, especially since I thought it would be great for them to have a conversation that was truly honest. That happens with fiction, and admittedly, it doesn’t occur all that much with me. I find that I build up expectations when I watch things in real-time and then have to spend ages waiting around for the next book or the next season. AND THEN ALL THE FANFICTION IS READ AND THE HEADCANONS ARE DEVELOPED AND IT’S ALL DOWNHILL. That’s often why you don’t see me talk about disappointment or expectations unless I’m discussing tropes or archetypes or that sort of narrative junk. But hey, this still is something we all go through! I got it in my head that Teppic and Teppicymon should have a meaningful reunion, and so I felt a little let down when all Teppicymon said was a single sentence. But it’s not like this was something promised to me, you know? Plus, it’s possible there is something more to their relationship in the final part of the book. I WILL SAVE THE REST OF MY THOUGHTS UNTIL THEN.
Because EXPLODING PYRAMID. Well, not quite an explosion, right? It’s an eerie end to the Great Pyramid. I loved this sentence:
It exploded like an unwound dandelion, silent as starlight, searing as a supernova.
Just incredible. Pratchett toys with time and sound and the visual representation of an impossible (but very possible) pyramid gently and violently coming apart. Those contradictions are part of the experience, and it helps build the strangeness of the moment, you know? Like a few of the endings to Discworld novels before this, I was, however, confused by the details. How exactly did Teppic survive? Was it because he was a god? Did him making the sun rise (if I comprehended that correctly) undo the damage of the Great Pyramid? Pratchett cuts fairly quickly to… what? Days later? I don’t know how much time passes between Ptaclusp and IIb discovering Teppic and Teppic assuming the throne. I suppose I don’t necessarily need all the details, as I’m definitely interested in what Teppic is going to do now that he’s king. He’s already planning on hosting representatives of the Tsortean and Ephebian armies, and I’m sure he’s in over his head. But he has been for a long time in this book, and he’s proved himself to be quite resilient in the face of confusion and difficulty.
That’s what I want to know. I also want to know what Ptraci has been up to because SHE’S BACK! She was with Chidder and Alfonz the whole time, apparently. What does she do now that Teppic is king? UGH, WHY MUST I WAIT ’TIL NEXT WEEK TO FIND OUT.
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