In the fifteenth part of Lords and Ladies, Nanny Ogg seeks out an unlikely ally out of desperation. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Well, at least Jason had the sense to get the hell away from the Dancers and seek out his mother. The rest of the Lancre Morris Men are, for the most part, more terrified of facing Granny Weatherwax than the elves. Which I get because she’s probably going to destroy them for doing something so foolish. Yet this section opens with a much more pressing (and daunting) predicament: the Morris Men are surrounded by elves. It’s through this that Pratchett ramps up the absurdity of his book because we get a chase sequence where a bunch of men who slept out in the rain are dancing away from a pack of elves, who slowly close in on them OUT OF PURE FASCINATION WITH THE MUSIC THEY ARE MAKING. Like… how does he combine terror with humor so well? There’s no one else who could make it work, but here we are. This is an actual scene in this book.
But pretty much all of this part of Lords and Ladies teeters between genuine thrill and weirdness. I mean, Nanny just casually ends her dinner with Casanunda after FIFTY ELVES attack them! She acts like she was just barely bothered by the entire thing. That’s good ol’ Nanny, though. And she also doesn’t seem bothered by bringing Casanunda on a journey with her, AND WHAT A FUCKING JOURNEY THAT IS. This is the first hint of the absolutely unreal place that Nanny goes:
“Where’re we going?” he said weakly.
“Place I know, up in the hills,” said Nanny. “Ages since I’ve been there. Esme won’t go near it, and Magrat’s too young to be tole. I used to go there a lot, though. When I was a girl. Girls used to go up there if they wanted to get–oh, bugger…”
WHAT. WHEN THEY WANTED TO GET WHAT??? So when Nanny stopped at the forge to gather a crowbar and something else, I just assumed this was to help her and Casanunda fend off any elves they saw on the way. OH, HOW UNPREPARED I WAS. Especially since the crowbar was used to stop an elf from nabbing them on Nanny’s broomstick! I THOUGHT I KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING.
Oh my god. THE LONG MAN. The burial mounds were fastened into A GIANT DICK. But why this place? Why was this a “popular place on a summer night,” as Nanny describes it? What was so important about it? Apparently, the place was originally meant as some sort of sacred ground for men. I admit that I may totally be missing the use of the word sissy, as I understand it to be referring to the pejorative slur. I think? There are multiple meanings to the word, and I honestly could not discern the usage here from the context of the sentence, so I think I’ll just ask y’all what the hell Nanny means by that part.
Regardless, the Long Man burial mounds are the source of the Ogg family, once named Oggham many years before. When Nanny noted that the caves under the mounds possibly led to the castle, I figured that was where she was headed, hopefully to find either Granny or Magrat. But no, NOT EVEN CLOSE. First, there’s the cavern full of SLEEPING WARRIORS FOR A KING, which was not exactly the most comforting thing to come across. Then Nanny had Casanunda leave his boots and the crowbar behind???
Two torches became visible as the steam swirled, their light hardly more than a red tint to the darkness. But they were enough to show a huge sprawled figure lying by another bowl of hot stones.
It looked up. Antlers moved in the damp, clinging heat.
OH. THE KING. THE KING OF… WHAT?
She took her hand out of her apron pocket, and held up a horseshow.
Casanunda heard scuffles around him, as the hidden elves fought to get out of the way. More steam hissed up as a brazier of hot stones was overturned.
ELVES? ELVES? Oh my god, the second home of the elves, I GET IT. THIS IS THE KING OF THE ELVES. (Easy headcanon: Hello, Thranduil.) Which means we get to appreciate the absolutely incredible display of bravery that Nanny gives us when she THREATENS TO DESTROY THE LONG MAN BURIAL GROUNDS IN A HEARTBEAT. Oh my god, I adore her.
I didn’t expect this. I WASN’T READY.
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