In the fourth part of Eric, Rincewind and Eric go from one disaster to the next. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I still don’t quite see where this book is going, but I think I can see some potential in what’s happening. If Eric details Rincewind’s flashes through time with this teenage nightmare, then I hope that Eric learns not to be a giant asshole. The only progression I noticed throughout this section was Rincewind’s willingness to poke holes in Eric’s vision of the world. Initially, Rincewind kept a lot of these thoughts to himself. Hell, you can even see that at the beginning of this section! When Eric opines about “boodwahs,” Rincewind offers up a gentle suggestion:
“Tell me,” said Rincewind, “have you ever felt the need to have a cold bath and a brisk run around the playing fields?”
“It could be worth a try.”
He’s poking fun at Eric’s hormones, but it’s not a particularly cruel thing to say. Eric, on the other hand, is more than willing to be rude towards Rincewind, ordering him out of the Trojan horse without a care about what’s on the outside. Seriously, how long is Eric going to believe that Rincewind really is a demon???
Anyway, to make matters worse, Rincewind’s “magic” (which I’m guessing is the Demon King’s influence) tossed through time to the start of the Tsortean and Ephebian war. Which I knew about!!! I WAS VERY THRILLED ABOUT THIS. Thank you, Pyramids! But that meant I also knew that they’d been transported to the most brutal and long-lasting war in Discworld history, so maaayyybbee this wasn’t going to be a good thing. However, Eric is so stubborn and oblivious! I know he’s intentionally designed to be annoying, but holy shit, it’s so terribly effective. Seriously, once the Tsortean captain threatens Eric and Rincewind with the triremes, look how quickly Eric throws Rincewind under the bus:
“If you please, sir, I’m just a little lad led astray by bad companionship.”
“Oh, thank you,” said Rincewind bitterly. “You just accidentally drew a lot of occult circles, did you, and –”
I’d like to think that this is where Rincewind decides that he’s had enough of Eric and his attitude. It’s where the sarcasm starts dropping in heavily, like when Rincewind utterly destroys Eric’s suggestion that they bet on HORSES to make a fortune. Which is a hilarious joke all by itself, but COME ON, Eric!
“Great idea,” said Rincewind.
“Yes, and –”
“All we’ve got to do is escape, then find out if they have horse races here, and then really try hard to remember the names of the horses that won races in Tsort thousands of years ago.”
Because right??? I’d ask what Eric’s thinking, but it’s clear he’s not. At all. Perhaps Eric’s growth will come once he realizes what Rincewind has to offer to the world. I loved that scene where Rincewind manipulated the guard into leaving them to go fight with the Luggage because it caused Eric to look upon Rincewind “with something like admiration.” Had that happened before this? I don’t think so, at least not in any significant way. And I think it makes Eric, even for a brief moment, look at his companion in a different light.
And then, after escaping, Eric ruins it by demanding that Rincewind take him to Elenor. Avaunt!
“Listen,” he said. “We’re in the middle of most famously fatuous war there has ever been, any minute now thousands of warriors will be locked in mortal combat, and you want me to go and find this overrated female and say, my friend wants to know if you’ll go out with him. Well, I wont.”
Rincewind. Being aggressive. TELLING ERIC NO. Holy shit, y’all. This felt so huge to me! It also made a lot of sense, given that Eric behaves so selfishly in dangerous situations. Rincewind does too, but there’s a different context to it. He wants to stay alive. Self-preservation is a powerful force! Eric, on the other hand, shuts out the variables of the world and concentrates solely on desire, and Rincewind wants none of that.
But what comes next? I liked the visual imagery of the massive war playing out amidst the civilians who have no interest in it, and it’s clear that the Ephebians might bring some trouble. Yet I still don’t see a direction in this novel, and we’re nearly halfway through it. It’s very odd, I admit, but Eric also doesn’t feel like the other Discworld books. Which is okay! I want different and I enjoy it. Still, I haven’t been grabbed by this one as much as I have by the others.
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