In the seventeenth part of Moving Pictures, Victor fights the not-real monster with his not-real powers. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
This was, simply put, a lot of fun. It was a joy to see these characters come together to try to stop the Ginger Thing from reaching the Library. “Try” is the operative word, of course, because they’re not all that successful at first. The wizards in particular are all pretty useless and silly, which is perfectly in line with their characterization across this entire series of books. I loved that they could barely comprehend what was happening, but Ginger totally understood it.
“He can’t ride on a horse that isn’t real!”
“You’re a magician and you really believe that?”
“Well, whatever. This isn’t your kind of magic.”
Even the Librarian didn’t figure out what was going on here. If he had, I imagine that he wouldn’t have comedically crashed back into the Tower of Art while trying to swing down and attack the Ginger Thing. It’s a neat way of showing the consistency of this kind of magical reality. Belief is integral to its use. There’s a great deal in Victor’s scenes that show how he manipulates his own belief in order to gain an advantage over Ankh—Morpork’s normal reality. Hell, even the Dean uses the illusion of fire to play by Holy Wood’s rules. As Ginger explains:
“It’s used Holy Wood magic,” she said. “So it can’t disobey Holy Wood rules. It can’t feel, it can’t hear. It can only see. What it sees is what is real. And what film fears is fire.”
The same logic applies to these other characters, too. Before I get to Victor’s part, I did want to address that rare moment when Soll and Dibbler finally seemed to get a sense that what they’ve been doing this whole time was wrong. How is that going to play out? Will they begin to examine what they’ve within this world, or will it just fade away with the magic of Holy Wood?
Anyway, I loved seeing Victor use the magic to navigate his way up the Tower of Art by obeying the rules. In this case, he couldn’t use the magic as a shortcut. As he notes, “You had to play fair.” So he keeps working his way upwards, believing just for a moment that the missing slabs aren’t missing, that he’s the hero who will arrive in the nick of time, that he’ll save the ape in distress. (I don’t know if the Librarian would be okay being called a damsel!) It’s kind of empowering, isn’t it? Victor becomes the hero because he believes he is one.
I mean, let’s also note that this Thing is UTTERLY HORRIFYING. Like, how not okay was that moment when it looked at Victor with an “expression filled with pain and shock”? JESUS, MAKE IT STOP. But thankfully, Victor does – just in the nick of time, of course – by believing it is real just long enough so he can send a bolt of lightning through it, electrocuting it. It’s a wonderfully cool moment, y’all, but IT IS NOT THE END.
I’m thankful for that because I want Ginger to have a bigger part within this story, and during this big battle sequence, she was down below. Understandably so, I should add, because fighting a giant octo-celluloid version of yourself is pretty fucking scary. I can’t say I would have done anything. But the final part of this fight apparently belongs to Ginger, and that’s all because VICTOR READ THE BOOK ABOUT HOLY WOOD IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.
“Listen!” said Victor. “I got it wrong! You weren’t trying to help Them, you were trying to stop them! I read it the wrong way round! It’s not a man behind a gate, it’s a man in front of a gate! And a man in front of a gate,” he took a deep breath, “is a guard!”
LIKE… I KNEW THIS. I DEEPLY KNEW THIS BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT OPENED THIS BOOK. So… Ginger was unknowingly trying to wake up another guard??? Or something???? I CAN’T WAIT TO READ MORE.
The original text contains use of the words “mad,” “nuts,” and “crazy.”
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