Mark Reads ‘Moving Pictures’: Part 11

In the eleventh part of Moving Pictures, Gaspode realizes how bad things have gotten in Holy Wood, while Victor slowly realizes how bad things have gotten in Holy Wood. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

This is seriously getting so creepy, y’all. I love that Pratchett goes straight for the unnerving in this section, both because of the content of the plot and because a great deal of it is through the eyes of a DOG. Who does that??? Well, someone who understands how tension can be built by using a character who can’t interact with others in any normal way.

I’ll explain. After the glimpse of Victor’s dream and the warning that Something is in the dreams of others, Pratchett switches to Gaspode’s POV. It allows us to see the power of the mysterious force in Holy Wood in Ginger, whose eyes glow while she’s being forced to head to the Door on the hill. It’s such a deliberately creepy image, but Pratchett complicates it further through Gaspode. Gaspode, while still possessing the power of human speech and reason, is still a dog. He knows that he upsets pretty much every human when he talks, so as he follows Ginger, he doesn’t quite know how to save her:

Gaspode considered the options. There weren’t many. The obvious one was to find Victor and get him to come back here. He rejected it. It sounded too much like the silly, bouncy sort of thing that Laddie would do. It suggested that the best a dog could think of when confronted with a puzzle was to find a human to solve it.

This is so fascinating because it’s not just about the logistical challenges of being a dog. Gaspode’s characterization matters. It matters that he’s keenly aware of human-dog power dynamics and that he wants to constantly subvert them. So he’s torn. Does he get help from other humans or does he act independent of them? Y’all, DOG IDENTITY CRISES. I love it! It’s so weird and bizarre and it absolutely works. I think it makes this book better that Gaspode is consciously thinking of his role within this world. Even further, he examines his role in the context of the Holy Wood magic. Once he comes upon the door that Ginger is trying to get open, he’s hit by two very stunning dream-like sequences. When he snaps out of it? He gets a revelation that practically no one else in Holy Wood has had:

One of Gaspode’s fleas bit him sharply. It was probably dreaming of being the biggest flea in the world. His leg came up automatically to scratch it, and the spell faded.

He blinked.

“Bloody hell,” he whined.

This is what’s happening to the humans! Wonder what they’re making her dream?

The hairs rose along Gaspode’s back.

Unfortunately, there’s a terrible problem that Gaspode is then dealt: how does he get anyone to believe him? HE’S A DOG. A TALKING DOG. We see how Ginger and literally everyone who isn’t Victor react to his ability, so it’s not like he can compel others to believe him through rational clarity. In fact, that’s exactly what we see him try to do with Victor later in the section.

Well… that’s not precisely fair. Victor is understandably distracted while Gaspode tries to tell him what he saw Ginger doing. Why is that? Well, Dibbler’s epiphany (caused by the Holy Wood magic) involves a very specific act that puzzles Victor. AND ME. I MUST BE HONEST WITH Y’ALL. So, we find out that Blown Away, the next moving picture Dibbler is producing, involves the construction of an extremely lifelike version of Ankh-Morpork. Like… TOO LIFELIKE. Which worries me??? Oh, and then, at the end of the film, the set will be lit on fire.

Seriously.

You didn’t normally burn things in Holy Wood. You saved them and painted on the other side. Despite himself, he began to get interested.

And that’s what I picked up from this: Blown Away was so FINAL. Why was Dibbler desperate to assemble the largest cast and crew ever seen in Holy Wood? He disposes of Silverfish here in a way that’s so stereotypically Hollywood that it’s laughable, which is intentional. It has to be that way, doesn’t it? Everything here unfolds in a specific way. BUT WHY? Why is the plot of Blown Away so trope-filled? (Well, that’s because it makes it INCREDIBLY FUCKING FUNNY. When Victor said that he didn’t understand how you could have a movie with such a flimsy plot, I thought, “OH, VICTOR, THAT MOVIE HAS BEEN MADE A HUNDRED BILLION TIMES.”)

But Victor is so close, y’all. He’s almost figured this out:

A shark, Victor thought. All the little golden fishes of your own thoughts are swimming away happily, and then the water moves and this great shark of a thought comes in from outside. As if someone’s doing out thinking for us.

THAT’S SO UPSETTING, Y’ALL.

The original text contains use of the words “mad,” “cripple,” and “maniac.”

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.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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