Mark Reads ‘Men at Arms’: Part 13

In the thirteenth part of Men at Arms, Carrot leads the Watch – er, the militia – closer to the truth about Beano’s murder. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

Trigger Warning: For rape.

AH, THEY ARE SO CLOSE TO THE TRUTH! Sort of? This is a controlled mess of sorts because there’s so much occurring all at once. Now that Corporal Carrot has officially organized a citizen’s militia, there’s still a billion things to do! Unfortunately, it doesn’t help that:

1) trolls have set fire to the Palace. (WHAT THE HELL.)
2) dwarfs are destroying buildingss and may have killed someone
3) no one knows if any of this is actually true because everyone is so horribly prejudiced against both of these groups that they’re assuming trolls and dwarfs are responsible for the riots.

That’s the whole point of the joke about Cuddy and what “some people” say about dwarfs. (I think it would have been a lot funnier had Pratchett not invoked rape in the process of setting it up.) Part of the difficulty here is that rumors are spreading far faster than actual facts. Even Throat regurgitates one of them – that the Brass Bridge was destroyed by dwarfs and trolls – despite that the evidence that this isn’t true IS LITERALLY RIGHT BEHIND HIM.

But I think nothing in this section is more fascinating than Carrot’s transformation into… I don’t know what to call him. Complicated Carrot? Yeah, I’ll just borrow that term. I think that we see this change because Carrot understands that he’s got to adapt to the situation. He watches how Nobby twists the truth just a little bit in order to gain access to the armory, and I bet that is how he learns to do the same thing. Look at how Nobby behaves in the armory! Granted, Carrot does stand up for the employee, insisting that they not bully him or coerce him into giving up his weapons. But there’s a clever line between Carrot’s normal straightforward honesty and the kind of coercion that does happen here. Whether he intends it or not, Carrot’s urging for the quartermaster to use his free will while Detritus has a massive bow aimed at his body works incredibly well because it’s so confusing. Is he being threatened? Is Carrot telling the truth? WHO KNOWS, TAKE ALL OF THE WEAPONS, AND TAKE THE TROLLS, TOO.

Oh gods, there are two new trolls in the Watch! HUZZAH!!!

I keep using the word “truth” on purpose. It seems to be a perilous concept in Ankh-Morpork, and indeed, I think that’s the case anywhere in our world, too. It’s a relative concept a lot of the time. What’s the truth to the Guilds? To the Patrician? To the Watch? There’s a “truth” to their experiences and the way that they live and operate within Ankh-Morpork. But there’s also the truth of what happened to Beano, and that is what Carrot seeks out. He knows that it’s the key to unraveling how these murders are connected.

So I love that he twists the truth while speaking to Dr. Whiteface because… well, it’s such a new thing for his character. It’s so new that Colon is downright confused by Carrot’s behavior, particularly at the end of this section. Combined with his charm, Carrot is able to get exactly what he wants. Unfortunately, I still don’t know what to do with that information! So, Beano cut a man-sized hole in his bedroom, one that led to the Assassins’ Guild. I got the sense from that scene early in the book that Edward and Beano knew each other. Did Edward ask him to do this? Had Edward planned to steal the gonne from the Assassins all along, and he merely used Beano to get access to it? Was Beano “in the way” in the sense that he was a witness to what Edward had done?

The thing is, I’m still not entirely sure how this is all pieced together. We know how Edward escaped the Assassins’ Guild after the dragon incident, but… now what? Why is it that Carrot wants to see inside the Hall of Faces in the Fools’ Guild? What possible clue could be there? IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO ME. I still don’t get how there are two bodies, either. How can Beano die twice?

This is so thrilling, for the record. I’m digging this story a lot. A LOT.


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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