Mark Reads ‘Lords and Ladies’- Part 18

In the eighteenth and penultimate part of Lords and Ladies, Nanny realizes it’s not too late. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

Y’all, seriously. The last line of part 17?

Bees circled, high in the blue sky.

IT WAS RIGHT THERE, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

Well, most things are obvious in hindsight, so I’ll blame it on that. However, in hindsight? I realize this book is MAKING FUN OF ME:

Sometimes, if you pay real close attention to the pebbles you find out about the ocean.

Now, there’s a meaning to this beyond the meta implications I’ve come up with. Part of the humor of the wizards is their arrogance. They assume they know everything about the world, and we get to see how wrong that assumption is. There’s more to the world than wizardry and magic. There’s more to it than the education they get. Indeed, the Discworld is a massive, diverse place, and the wizards are only even aware of a small part of it. Of course, you could apply this sort of wisdom to a lot of things within Lords and Ladies, too! Magrat couldn’t see the ocean until Nanny pointed out how she’d arrived to be the queen. And the “pebbles” could easily be the bees, who have been buzzing around this book the whole time, waiting for yours truly to figure out why they’re so important.

So yeah, sometimes, I can’t see the forest for the trees. I DARESAY THAT’S HALF THE FUN OF THIS WEBSITE.

Let’s talk about some other things, too:

“I don’t understand. She was your friend but you don’t seem… well… upset?”

“Well, I’ve buried a few husbands and one or two kiddies. You get the hang of it. Anyway, if she hasn’t gone to a better place she’ll damn well be setting out to improve it.”

Look, I don’t want to be the kind of person to claim that the Discworld books don’t deal with serious topics and whatnot, but this exchange reminded me of how long Nanny has lived and what she’s been through over the years. It helps to put us in a mindset to understand her reaction to Granny’s “death.” It’s not that she doesn’t care or that she’s not sad; she simply expresses it differently because she’s lost a lot of people. ARE YOU SAD, BECAUSE I’M SAD.

I also feel very strange about the reveal of THE LETTER. I was, first of all, quite pleased to discover that I hadn’t encountered it in the text prior to this. I kept thinking I had forgotten about it! But when Magrat gives Nanny the letter that Granny wrote, it’s revealed that this was all intentional. Why?

“Yes, but she pushed me on one one side and shut me up in the castle and I got so wound up–”

“You were so angry that you actually stood up to the Queen. You actually laid hands on her,” said Nanny. “Well done. The old Magrat wouldn’t have done that, would she? Esme could always see the real thing.”

I understand the motivation here, but the timeline confuses me. Didn’t Esme send this before they got back to Lancre? If that’s true, then how could she have known that the elves would be coming and that Magrat was going to face off against the Queen? For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that’s not what Esme was trying to do. Maybe she just wanted Magrat to become tougher, to learn to stand up for herself and such. Isn’t this kind of an awful way to do it? Perhaps it was effective in the long run, but it seems exceedingly cruel to reject someone, treat them terribly, and force them into a role they aren’t ready for and they don’t really want. Yes, the endgame is a “better” Magrat, one who helped save Lancre, but it’s still kind of absurd, no?

I’m actually interested to see if any of this will be addressed in the last part of the book. Regardless, I do think it’s pretty spectacular that Granny figured out how to Borrow BEES. Bees! An entire swarm of bees! What a clever plan! Well, “clever” and also “very risky” and “quite likely to lead to death.” Those, too.

So Esme is alive and Magrat is married!!! HOW IS THERE STILL MORE OF THIS BOOK?

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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