In the tenth part of Moving Pictures, the Librarian finds an answer, Gaspode has an identity crisis, and Victor discovers Holy Woodâ€™s affect on Ginger. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For talk of body image/weight loss.
Oh, Detritus. He tried so hard.
So, weâ€™ve got this horrible threat looming over everything in Holy Wood, and yet? Iâ€™m really fascinated by all these little existential and moral journeys the characters are going on. Theyâ€™re each trying to figure out their purpose in life through the events of Moving Pictures, and itâ€™s making this book a lot more rewarding because of it. In Rubyâ€™s case, sheâ€™s torn between tradition, instinct, and desire. It would be easy for her to dismiss her attraction to Detritus by claiming heâ€™s not â€œmodernâ€ enough for her, but that attraction isnâ€™t that simple either. And I think itâ€™s cool that Pratchett is putting this struggle onto the pages because it keeps this from feeling so one-sided. I know Iâ€™ve criticized him for writing women as if theyâ€™re mystical creatures who cannot be understood, but this is how you can try to avoid that. Thatâ€™s not to say that there isnâ€™t anything to criticize here, as I think you could easily talk about desire and gender performance. Is it bad for her to want to be protected and reassured? What about the line about her being â€œ400 lbs above the fashionable weightâ€? I think Pratchett could have delved more into that instead of making it a throwaway gag. (That was a little distracting, since I couldnâ€™t tell the intent of the joke. Was he satirizing Hollywood cultureâ€™s obsession with thinness or making fun of Ruby?)
Still, I want more from her perspective as well as from Detritusâ€™s. It makes for a richer story.
Oh, holy SHIT. So is it mostly a book of dead people? Cultures? Gods? Things From That One Place??? While I canâ€™t claim to understand what the Necrotelicomnicon holds, I have a greater grasp on what exactly might be going on here. LET ME DISSECT THIS.
As I already knew, that Doorway led to another reality or dimension, one where â€œDread waited between the universes.â€ I also knew that this force basically caused people to get Ideas, capitalized because theyâ€™re not ideas but Ideas. YOU GET IT. But this part was new to me:
â€œâ€¦for Others found the Gate of Holy Wood and fell upon the World, and in one nighte All Manner of Madnesse befell, and Chaos prevailed, and the City sank beneath the Sea, and all became one withe the fishes and the lobsters save for the few who fledâ€¦â€
Which now explains what it was that Victor saw under the ocean. Does that mean that the people turned into lobsters and fish? Is that why theyâ€™re so unnaturally huge? This is also deliberately vague, which I suspect was intentional on Pratchettâ€™s part. What exactly is the chaos referred to in this passage? What does that mean? I can sense that weâ€™re seeing some of that chaos already in Holy Wood, but thatâ€™s not a concrete thing.
So how much more worse is this going to get???
The Golden Warrior is then mentioned, who is clearly the first of the Keepers of the Door, the one who guards the â€œWild Idea.â€ This part was very interesting to me:
â€œAnd he grew until he was the height of a tree and said, Only you Remembrance, that I do Not Sleep. Three times a day you will remember Holy Wood. Else The Cities of the World Will Tremble and Fall, and you will See the Greatest of them All in Flames.
Thatâ€™s the ceremony or ritual where something was â€œperformedâ€ three times a day! So, thatâ€™s confirmation that the Wild Idea was kept at bay by the Keeper and this specific ritual. And the following section makes it clear that the â€œmagicâ€ of Holy Wood â€œtouchedâ€ certain humans and animals, almost like it was a curse that sat dormant for years and years. Which explains why everyone is not affected by the pull of the place.
And itâ€™s not like I doubted how serious this threat was, but I certainly believe it to be a million times worse than I thought it was. What will the Wild Idea do to the Discworld?
Well, if the section from the POV of Azhural and Mâ€™Bu is any indication, itâ€™ll give people a Wild Idea, compelling them to do things theyâ€™d never thought possible. Whichâ€¦ I still donâ€™t quite understand why thatâ€™s awful. In Gingerâ€™s case? Wellâ€¦ itâ€™s a little odd. When Gaspode and Victor return her to her apartment, they discover that sheâ€™s not only saved every poster of every movie she starred in, but she plastered the walls with them. I wouldnâ€™t say thatâ€™s the worst thing ever, and the book seems to be saying that Gingerâ€™s quest to be famous is a horrendous thing:
â€œFate donâ€™t like it when people take up more space than they ought to. Everyone knows that.â€
Iâ€™m going to be the most famous person in the whole world, thought Victor. Thatâ€™s what she said. He shook his head.
Thereâ€™s a power to Gingerâ€™s obsession, sure; thatâ€™s the case with anyone with a singular goal like this. But Victor senses that this power isnâ€™t anything normal or what heâ€™s used to, and I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s a disposable detail. Pratchett wants us to think about it, butâ€¦ I donâ€™t get it? AND Yâ€™ALL ARE LAUGHING AT ME, I JUST KNOW IT.
Ambition wasnâ€™t magical. Powerful, yes, but not magicalâ€¦ surely?
This is the Discworld. Anything is possible.
This is surely one of the strangest things Iâ€™ve ever read, but thereâ€™s a kind of charm to the long section detailing Gaspodeâ€™s identity crisis. I hesitate to say that heâ€™s an anthropomorphized animal character becauseâ€¦ thatâ€™s not really the case? Heâ€™s still a dog, but heâ€™s been granted a temporary access to humanity, which means I read an entire part of this book about Gaspode getting drunk. Because he wants alcohol. Because if Gaspode were a human, he would totally be a self-pitying alcoholic. I DO NOT QUESTION THIS.
â€œYouâ€™re just a running dog of the human imperialists,â€ said Gaspode severely.
Why is this the funniest sentence Iâ€™ve ever heard?
Still, I felt kind of sad reading about Gaspodeâ€™s life. He was abandoned at the start of it and was lucky enough to be thrown in the Ankh, since you canâ€™t sink into that river. And itâ€™s not like heâ€™s had an easy life since then, and that feels even more evident as heâ€™s mistreated by everyone in Holy Wood. They call him a mutt, they ignore him or give him negative attention. Itâ€™s through all of this that he begins to question what it means to be a dog. Which isnâ€™t a problem on the surface, exceptâ€¦ should dogs even be able to question their identity like this? Is this the sort of life that the other animals will have to accept if the magic of Holy Wood isnâ€™t stopped? It seems thatâ€™s the case, since the cat, Squeak, and Mr. Thumpy all confirm that their lives have become infinitely more complex in the wake of their new power. That feels bad to me, you know? It doesnâ€™t seem sustainable!
Is this the chaos spoken of in the Necrotelicomnicon? Is this how the world ends? IT HAS TO BE.
The original text contains use of â€œmad,â€ â€œmadness,â€ â€œcrazy,â€ â€œinsane,â€ and â€œnutcake.â€
Mark Links Stuff
– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S., Canada, Europe, the U.K., and Ireland. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder ofÂ The Legend of Korra, series 8 ofÂ Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
-Â Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook!Â I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running,Â I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out theÂ MarkDoesStuff.com. All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!