In the eleventh part of Lords and Ladies, Granny gets a blast from the past. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Y’all, this was so unexpected, and I’M TOTALLY IN TO IT.
But I’ll start off with a more serious part of this book. While I’m not sure where this is going to lead Magrat, I certainly didn’t think she’d be so critical of her marriage this early in the book. I don’t know, I figured that since the convergence of the wedding and the arrival of the Queen was most likely the climax of the book, Magrat would stick through with it until the end. But I understand why Magrat sees the crowd gathered for her and freaks out over it. It makes perfect sense to me. All of those people showed up to see a queen be made whole, and Magrat has spent most of this book feeling like a fraud. She shares no interests with the past queens, despite that everyone expects her to. No one consults her. No one truly listens to her, except perhaps Millie. And at the end of the day, there’s nothing about being a queen that is as Magrat imagined it:
“All this – this,” her frantic gesture took in the hated garderobe, the huge four-poster bed, and the dressing room full of stiff and expensive clothes, “this stuff… it’s not for me! It’s for some kind of idea. Didn’t you ever get those cutouts, those dolls, you know, when you were a girl… dolls you cutout, and there were cut-out clothes as well? And you could make her anything you wanted? That’s me! It’s… it’s like the bees! I’m being turned into a queen whether I want to or not! That’s what’s happening to me!”
But she takes it a step further. It’s bad enough that she doesn’t feel authentic, but when Millie questions her about her love for Verence, she reveals that she fell in love with the “sad, nice little man in a cap and bells who everyone ignored.” Truthfully, Verence hasn’t been the same character that we met a few books ago, no? In every way, Magrat doesn’t feel like this is real. That sense in inauthenticity pervades her perception, and she can’t escape, no matter where she turns.
Except in one place: Verence’s royal chamber. In one of the sweetest scenes EVER, she discovers that Verence has remained the same in one crucial sense:
As far as Verence had been concerned, a crown merely changed which side of the door you slept.
Oh, gods. He’d always slept in front of the door of his master. And now he was king, he slept in front of the door to his kingdom.
I’M NOT CRYING, YOU ARE.
It’s important that this happens after Magrat makes a colossal mistake, though. If anything, her decision to remove the iron from around Diamanda is a sign that maybe Granny needs to start informing people of the importance of what she does. Granted, Magrat is the one who insists she knows the truth of elves when SHE CLEARLY DOES NOT. I’m guessing that Diamanda will be subject to the glamour now, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I just think that Magrat often gets in her own head and doesn’t think about how that affects her perspective. For the record, I think she’s spot-on about her role as the queen, so I’m not questioning that. But even if Granny treats her terrible, does she do things just for the hell of it? Doesn’t Granny usually have a reason for everything she does? Magrat doesn’t consider that; she just wants to be right. The same goes with Verence. She has plenty of valid criticisms of her and the way she’s been treated, but she discovers that he hasn’t changed all that much.
Granny and Nanny
I like that there’s a genuine set of romantic plotlines within Lords and Ladies! Sure, Pratchett isn’t afraid to crack a few jokes in the process, but Casanunda really does want to court Nanny Ogg. And while I’m certain that will probably end disastrously, at least she might get a nice dinner out of it!
But I am WAY MORE INTERESTED in RIDCULLY’S MYSTERIOUS WOMAN FROM LANCRE. Holy shit, OF COURSE IT’S ESME WEATHERWAX. This is Granny in rare form, and it made this procession of scenes electrifying to me. When do we ever see Granny distracted? Interested in another person? Vulnerable to her own emotions??? It’s fucking fascinating, y’all, especially since I completely understand the chemistry between Ridcully and Granny. They look at nothing else or react to anything else that isn’t each other. Their conversation is arresting and shocking because when have we ever heard either character speak as they do here???
And then Ridcully transmigrates the two of them to the Lancre Bridge, a deliberate attempt at nostalgia, one that Ridcully is obsessed with and one that Granny has no interest in revisiting. That’s not to say that there’s no spark in the present time, but Granny makes it very clear that she doesn’t think of hypotheticals like Ridcully does. She’s not interested in wondering what might have happened if she’d told Ridcully she would marry him all those years ago. And I’m glad that the narrative supports her decision here, especially since it leads her to realize what’s going on in her own mind:
“I don’t know what the other future would have been like,” said Ridcully, “but I for one would have liked to give it a try.”
Granny paused. Her mind was crackling with relief. Should she tell him about the memories? She opened her mouth to do so and then thought again. No. He’d get soppy.
This initially made no sense to me until I thought about the context of it all. What had she and Ridcully been talking about? Possible futures and parallel worlds. So what might all those memories be? What might that blank future be?
They’re memories of her other selves. It has to be! With the doors half open between worlds, Granny must be seeing her other lives, which would explain why she was so confused. She set her table for two BECAUSE SHE WAS MARRIED TO RIDCULLY IN THAT OTHER TIMELINE. Her future in every timeline is different, so she can’t see a single one of them.
But somewhere out there, at the point where the parallel universes tangle, are a million minds just like yours. For a very obvious reason.
Granny Weatherwax smiled.
I FEEL LIKE I ACTUALLY FIGURED SOMETHING OUT WHEN IT WAS REVEALED. I AM PROUD OF MYSELF.
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