In the ninth part of Reaper Man, Death tells the truth to Miss Flitworth, and Windle Poons tries to find answers. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Death and Miss Flitworth vs Death
I JUST LOVE THIS DEVELOPMENT SO MUCH, EVERYONE. The very idea that Miss Flitworth now knows who Bill Door is – and that a new Death is coming to claim him – makes me so excited. She does not balk at the idea of supporting Death, either, and it’s a testament to the kind of character she has. She learns that Death lent time to save Sal’s life (well, delay Sal’s inevitable death), and it’s like a switch goes off. After learning the truth of Death’s predicament and how it affects Sal, this is what she says and does:
“I don’t reckon I owe you any favors, Mr. Door. I don’t reckon anyone in the whole world owes you any favors.”
YOU MAY BE RIGHT.
“Mind you, life’s got one or two things to answer for too. Fair’s fair.”
I CANNOT SAY.
Miss Flitworth gave him another long, appraising look.
“There’s a pretty good grindstone in the corner,” she said.
In that instance, she makes a choice. In what little way she can, she’s going to assist Death. Does she understand all of this? Absolutely not. But she knows that Death did something wonderful and exceptional for Sal, something he had never done before, and she appreciates that on some level. While she can’t really fight the new Death herself, she offers Death anything she can to help him sharpen his scythe.
Of course, once she makes the connection that the Auditors are like the tax collectors on the Disc, it’s a whole new world for her. Y’all, Terry Pratchett found a way to make a literal and metaphorical wordplay out of death and taxes. HOW IS THIS LIFE REAL ANYMORE??? But here it is: Miss Flitworth determined to help Death stick it to a bunch of metaphysical tax collectors. She is a hero for the ages, y’all. And let’s also make note of what she demands of Death despite all of this:
“Oh.” She seemed to be considering something. “So you’ve got the rest of the day free, then?”
“Then you can start getting the harvest in.”
“It’ll keep you busy. Keep your mind off things. Besides, I’m paying you sixpence a week. And sixpence is sixpence.”
A WOMAN AFTER MY OWN HEART, Y’ALL.
Windle Poons and Mrs. Cake
I was definitely excited about Schleppel getting his own cellar, y’all. It’s so adorable!
I don’t know that the remaining section of this part of Reaper Man provides us with any new information. At this point, it feels like Pratchett is catching his own characters up to speed before he moves the story forward. Still, it’s neat that a wizard finally came to Mrs. Cake and was willing to actually listen to her. Windle needs her, frankly, so that he can understand what it is that he’s a part of. So she becomes a resource for him in this moment, a chance for him to discover that the world has stopped dying. Oh, plenty of things have stopped living, of course, but the dying has stopped. With the massive reservoir of life getting bigger by the minute, we’ve now got “living” compost heaps to add to our worries. (Somehow, that seems strangely cute to me.)
I am certain, though, of my complete uncertainty regarding the snowglobes. I don’t get them, y’all. And it’s obvious that the other characters don’t understand their presence either. I think Windle might be the closest to figuring them out, but that “breakfast” line threw me hard. What the fuck do snow globes have to do with breakfast??? And why did they all appear so suddenly and then stop just as quickly? How unprepared am I?
The original text contains use of the word “mad.”
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