Mark Reads ‘Pyramids’: Part 18

In the eighteenth and final part of Pyramids, the Djel valley changes. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

Change can be a difficult thing to go through, but I like that this book shows how quickly many of these characters were able to adapt to new circumstances. LET’S DISCUSS.

Teppic / Ptraci

I’d say that the power of choice is an important part of this narrative, given that a lot of the more moving scenes in this final part of Pyramids revolve around these characters being able to do something – anything, really – that does not center around tradition. If we start with Teppic, it’s very easy to see how he rejects what is expected of him as a king. Because… well, he abdicates. He just washes his hands of the whole affair. It’s his way of saying, “No.” Like we see of Ptraci in her interactions with Koomi, Teppic discovers the brilliance of being able to refuse. Just outright saying NOPE! And it’s an awesome thing! (Though I found it strange that Teppic then doesn’t let Ptraci say no to being queen. He kind of dumps the whole thing on her. It’s entertaining that she quickly realizes the power she holds, but I still think it’s kind of hypocritical of Teppic to celebrate his own rejection of this system while hoisting it upon Ptraci.)

So what exactly does an ex-king and mega-successful assassin do after all this? (I’M SO HAPPY THAT PRATCHETT POINTED OUT THAT TEPPIC INHUMED A PYRAMID. That truly makes him the best assassin ever, right??? IN MY BOOK, IT DOES.) Well, the beauty of this is that Teppic has utter freedom to go wherever he wishes and do whatever he wants:

“We’ll avoid Ephebe,” Teppic said, ostensibly to the camel. “We’ll go up the end of the Circle Sea, perhaps to Quirm or over the Ramptops. There’s all sorts of places. Maybe we’ll even look for a few of those cities, eh? I expect you’d like that.”

Teppic helped bring change to Djel in a way that didn’t ruin anyone’s life. Hell, it made things better. Plumbing. Mattresses. No death by crocodiles. And now, Ptraci is in power and utterly uninterested in a single goddamn ritual, and that’s pretty spectacular.

The Ptaclusp Dynasty

“It’s called a bridge,” said IIb.

“Is that like an aqueduct?” said Ptaclusp.

“In reverse, sort of thing,” said IIb. “The water goes underneath, we go over the top.”

GODDAMN IT, NOW I CAN’T EVER LOOK AT BRIDGES THE SAME. EVER. Thanks, Terry Pratchett. Thanks.

Hors D’oeuvres 

I really wasn’t sure how Dil and Gern could ever readjust to the new world in the Djel. The Ptaclusp family were builders, so it stood to reason that they’d find some way to adapt. But Dil and Gern were embalmers! With the destruction of the pyramids, their jobs were rendered immediately obsolete. Or so I thought. I read Dil’s end as a joke about the fact that he always had to delicately handle internal organs as an embalmer, so food art was kind of second nature to him. But it was still nice to know that Teppic had ruined their lives. Like everyone else here, change was met with resilience. People may be hard to predict, but they generally do find a way to deal with most things.

In the Beginning

There’s now a cyclical nature to Dios’s character that I can’t ignore. Of course, it’s now built in to his story; after the Great Pyramid exploded, all of his time unraveled and HE STARTED AT THE LITERAL BEGINNING OF THE DJEL. With that, though, went most of his memories. Not all of them, though, and I wonder if Dios will repeat himself. Will he wind his way through time, exploiting the power of the pyramid? Or will this be his last “life”? Pratchett doesn’t tell us, but Dios had spent thousands of years repeating himself. If there’s any monumental change to be had in this story, I think Dios’s has the greatest potential. He just needs to… well, die.

I liked this book, but I wouldn’t say that this was my favorite Discworld book. (I’M STILL SUPER INTO WYRD SISTERS, Y’ALL.) It was a treat to get a new culture on the Disc, set in a place we’d not been before. I have no idea what Guards! Guards! is about or who is in it, but a lot of folks seem really excited about me starting it? I DON’T KNOW, people yell at me on Twitter about it, so I hope that’s a good thing!

The original text contains use of the word “stupid” and “crazed.”

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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