Mark Reads ‘Men at Arms’: Part 8

In the eighth part of Men at Arms, ARRGGGHHH I NEED TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.



Vimes! Solving crimes because of some intrinsic need to do what is right! Refusing to obey the Patrician because of the mystery eating him away! YES. THIS IS WHAT I WANT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH MEN AT ARMS.

Unfortunately for him, his refusal to leave this murder spree alone results in EDWARD TRYING TO ASSASSINATE HIM. Granted, Edward just told us he was going to try and kill Vimes, but I didn’t expect that it would happen so soon after the threat was made. I loved the idea that the very idea that someone would try to kill Vimes was so unfathomable to him that after the first attempt was made, he just stood there. However, Vimes is clever, and it was brilliant watching him fool the assassin into shooting a decoy instead of himself. I mean, I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Edward’s got some kind of rifle that he’s using to try and take out certain people. Who are in the way??? I get why Edward would want to kill Vimes, but…

Well, more on that in a bit. Vimes gets somewhat closer to the truth here after climbing up to the top of the opera house, one of the highest points in the city, and interrogating a gargoyle. SERIOUSLY. The scene isn’t quite as strange as the clown funeral, but it was one of the hardest things for me to read on camera. (Probably second place to the gnome language in Enchanted.) And hey, now he knows someone fired a “fireworks stick” at him, which is a step in the right direction.

BUT WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON. What is Edward doing???

Angua / Carrot / Queen of the Beggars

I had just recently watched an episode of The Next Generation (specifically, “Starship Mine”) that featured a character I couldn’t help but compare to Carrot here. Carrot means well, and like Angua, I suspect that he’s trying to court Angua in his own unique way. But as he related one neat fact about Ankh-Morpork after another, I couldn’t get Hutchinson out of my mind. He’s like a less-annoying version of that character here, spewing trivia without any care for the fact that the person listening to it might not want to hear it.

But he’s not malicious about it in the slightest. He takes Angua to the dwarf delicatessen because he knows it well and he wants to share it with her. I’ll use Angua’s words here: it really is like he’s trying to gift-wrap Ankh-Morpork for her. And given how creepy most men can be towards women in the Discworld universe, I actually find his behavior endearing. He just wants someone else to love this city as much as he does. I suppose it helps that Carrot is genuinely one of the nicest people in this entire series of books, which is impressive. Pratchett tells us that Carrot is likable, and then he shows us that this is the case.

Yet if we accept that one aspect of Man at Arms is about the changes in the Watch, then it was time to see the final pair of Watchmen at work. Carrot and Angua are a fascinating duo here because, like the other Watchmen, each has something special to offer up to the investigation. Carrot’s likability gets him in everywhere and everyone is willing to talk to him. When the beggars expresses reluctance towards Angua, he vouches for her, and she is immediately respect. But Angua has her own skills that Carrot doesn’t, and her werewolf abilities prove to be incredibly valuable here. She’s the one who recognizes the smell of blood in the Beggars’ Guild and urges Carrot not to reveal that they didn’t actually know that someone died there. It’s really cool to see this unfold!

However, it introduces another mystery to Edward’s continued assault on the city. Why the hell would he want to kill the Queen of the Beggars? Vimes? I get that. We know exactly why that assassination would have worked in his favor. Thus far, Edward kills whomever is in his way or risks being in his way. How does the Queen of Beggars factor into this, though? Okay, let me float a theory and then immediately destroy it. What if a beggar witnessed Edward doing something? Fine, take that beggar out. Why the Queen though? Unless she was the one who witnessed him… I don’t know, y’all. This doesn’t fit in to the story at all.


Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! 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 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.
- 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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