In the tenth part of Lords and Ladies, Ridcully and the wizard party arrive in Lancre, and Granny is afraid. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
It’s always nice to be reminded of how much fun it is to read the Discworld books aloud. From stumbling through one pun to the next to RUNNING SMACK INTO ANOTHER PUN, to placing my head in my hand whenever a character misinterprets a word because goddamn it, it’s another pun, this is truly a lot of fun. I have no idea where the subplot involving Ridcully and his associates is going at all, and I’m just enjoying the fact that they’ve all got some of the best dialogue in the whole of the Discworld.
I think part of that comes from how distinct these characters are. At any given point, I always know who is talking, and I know just how ridiculous or serene or absurd or sincere they are. There’s a varying dynamic depending on who is talking to who, and that’s where Pratchett derives his humor. The Bursar, high on dried frog pills, goes straight for the ridiculous. Surprisingly, he’s the most unreal in these scenes, which is hilarious given his temperament earlier in the book. Ponder Stibbons is, more often than not, the straight man who is surrounded by foils. (Not all the time, of course, but during the coach ride, he feels that way to me.) And then there’s Casanunda, who is just… he’s fascinating. He’s the wild card because I never know what the hell he’s going to say or lie about. And he lies a lot, often in as grandiose a way as possible. Seriously:
“I’m a giant,” said Casanunda.
“Giants are a lot bigger.”
“I’ve been ill.”
It’s like he’s not even trying to tell a believable lie. I kind of respect that, you know?
Then there’s Ridcully. Seriously, once he started going on and on about fresh mountain air, I COULD NOT GET THE IMAGE OF RON SWANSON OUT OF MY HEAD. After spending a great deal of time with him in these books, I do realize how different those two characters are, but I still can’t escape this headcanon. Ridcully is like… aggressively a dude? Not necessarily in a crude way, but he loves the outdoors and hunting and thinks this makes him kind of special, despite that none of those things are actually gendered interest, but RIDCULLY IS UNIQUE, MAN. And now he’s home in Lancre, ready to relive his youth, except in a beautifully humorous twist, not one person he’s traveling with has any interest in said stories of his youth.
This section also deserves a high five:
“You might be wondering why [the Librarian] looks like that,” Ridcully prompted.
“My mum says none of us can help how we’re made,” said Shawn.
It’s so empowering!!! No judgment because sometimes, people are orangutans!!!
I am going to cautiously suggest that Jason Ogg and his friends definitely let the Queen and the elves into this world, by the way. I assume it had something to do with their dreams? But given that the final scene of this section supports the notion that the Queen has already made it through, they seem to be the only explanation. But how can the elves travel through dreams? How is that possible?
I’m not entirely sure. But in classic Pratchett fashion, this is hinted at in the text right as he goes from a number of hilarious scenes to REALLY UNFUNNY SCENES THAT ARE ACTUALLY UPSETTING. Seriously, how is this fair???
Just when she needed all her self reliance, she couldn’t rely on her mind. She could sense the probing of the Queen – she could remember the feel of that mind, from all those decades ago. And she seemed to have her usual skill at Borrowing. But herself – if she didn’t leave little notes for herself, she’d be totally at sea. Being a witch meant knowing exactly who you were and where you were, and she was losing the ability to know both. Last night she’d found herself setting the table for two people. She’d tried to walk into a room she didn’t have. And soon she’d have to fight an elf.
If you fought an elf and lost… then, if you were lucky, you would die.
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME? I think that Pratchett is trying to tell us that Granny is aging. It’s inevitable, right? She can’t live forever, and now that she senses that she’ll die soon, wouldn’t it make sense that she’d start losing her memory? I don’t know, it’s pretty sad because Granny’s confidence has always been a part of her character, and this feels like the first time she’s ever been so painfully uncertain.
It’s kind of unnerving, isn’t it?
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
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– 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 Kings, season 1 of Sense8, season 1 of Agent Carter, seasons 1 & 2 of The 100, Death Note, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
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