Mark Reads ‘Lords and Ladies’: Part 2

In the second part of Lords and Ladies, it begins. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.


I still don’t understand this at all, so I feel entirely like Magrat here. It’s like everyone knows this big secret, talks about it openly without defining it, and then acts like it’s not a big deal.

Ultimately, that’s why I sympathize with Magrat as much as I do. She’s never quite felt like she belongs, and she’s so desperate to find the comfort that everyone else seems to have. Well, it’s her perception that everyone else is moving through life smoothly when that might not exactly be the case. I think you can see Granny’s anxiety creeping into her mind during the opening section here, especially once she starts thinking about the clock that her mother used to wind up. I’ve honestly never seen Granny so vulnerable in these books, so it was a bit of a shocker to get another flashback of her, particularly one that was so sad.

But why was it time to think about the past? When we switch to Nanny’s point of view, she doesn’t seem to be expecting something to happen like Granny was. That’s understandable, though, because I feel like Granny’s a bit more perceptive than Nanny, mostly on account of the fact that Granny doesn’t have a bustling household to inspect and judge and socialize with. However, at least she knew something. By the time Pratchett gets to Magrat, it’s clear that this character is on a much different path than the other two witches.

I appreciated that the events of both Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad matter so much here because it’s rare. I actually like that the Discworld books are only loosely tied together, that they happen out of order and may only contain a passing reference to another novel. But for Magrat Garlick, there’s a story that’s been unresolved, and now is the time for it to unfold. After she spent so much time in Witches Abroad wanting something else for her own life, it seemed like she might finally get a path that she’d enjoy. However, Pratchett quickly dispels of that notion, and I think he has a fantastic grasp on why Magrat wouldn’t be thrilled to marry a king after all.

It’s not that Verence is a bad person, and Magrat certainly enjoys his company! But Magrat desires something a lot more akin to a fairy tale. She wants to be swept up off her feet. She wants romantic gestures. She wants to be pursued and worshiped and adored. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with that either! I think that’s absolutely the case once you consider the kind of partner Verence proves himself to be. When she arrives at the castle to discuss her future with King Verence II, it’s… well, a disaster.

There’s no romance. There’s no sweeping off of her feet. No, Verence introduces her to all the (admittedly impressive but uninteresting) things he’s done to Lancre in the eight months she’s been gone since the end of Wyrd Sisters. They’re all wonderful things! As Pratchett describes him, he’s an unnatural monarch because he cares so much about his kingdom, and he’s done a lot of reading in order to be the best king possible. Unfortunately, he treats his marriage to Magrat much like another task to be completed in the daily duties as ruler. He’s completely disconnected from the romance of it. Even when Magrat brings up the fact that he didn’t even ask her about it, he dismisses her quickly.

He’s not cruel. He’s just oblivious.

So when she was magically teleported to the same place as Granny and Nanny, I thought she would rely on her role as a witch to compensate for his dissatisfaction. Unfortunately… Granny. You know, I was really hoping that these two might have been able to move beyond their most common issue, but holy shit. In a matter of minutes, Granny and Magrat slip right back into the same routine we saw in Witches Abroad: Granny and Nanny speak cryptically about the circles, the Dancers, the Long Man, and Them, refusing to define them for her. Then Granny brings out her condescension:

“No harm in telling her about the Dancers, at any rate,” mumbled Nanny Ogg.

“Yes, but… you know… I mean… she’s Magrat,” said Granny.

“What’s that meant to mean?” Magrat demanded.

“You probably won’t feel the same way about Them, is what I am saying,” said Granny.

Sigh. Then maybe you should at least give her a chance to know what you’re talking about? Guide her if you feel like she’s being misguided? This is the same problem we saw before: Granny treats Magrat like an outsider. After nearly an entire novel’s worth of this, Magrat is far less tolerant of or patient towards this behavior, and everything goes south in record time. She shirks her identity as a witch because apparently, she’s not good enough to be one, or at least this is how she feels. What’s heartbreaking about this is that she’s not going to be happy as the queen, either. She doesn’t fit in there, and Verence is not her ideal partner. She’s not going to be happy!

That’s my prediction, at least. As for the circle? I have no idea. It’s a portal of sorts? But what the hell came out of it that used to be extinct??? I’M SCARED.


Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S. this summer and fall 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. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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