Mark Reads ‘Men at Arms’: Part 14

In the fourteenth part of Men at Arms, Carrot and Angua get closer to solving the mystery. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

AHHHHH, JUST WHEN I THINK I KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON, I DON’T. I DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING AT ALL.

Carrot

Watching Carrot evolve into a powerful detective and member of the Watch is MY FAVORITE THING. I felt such a surge of elation when I understood why Carrot had asked to see the Hall of Faces in the Fools’ Guild. And I think that’s actually a sign of good writing!!! The concept that Pratchett was asking us to comprehend was a little challenging at first, and that’s partially because we have to view the world through another lens. To the clowns, their face is a unique marker of their identity. No one clown has the same face as another clown. Fine, I could understand that. But Carrot and Angua’s question focused on another issue: could a clown wear another clown’s unique face? And the answer is NO! The question is so offensive to Boffo that he literally cannot bear to listen to the theory for another second.

Why is this important? BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT SOMEONE WHO WASN’T A CLOWN PRETENDED TO BE BEANO. And that conclusion is so vital because it explains the impossible discovery that Cuddy and Detritus made. There were not two dead Beanos in the world. They had found Edward’s body. EDWARD D’EATH DIED. It happened sometime after the theft of the gonne and after Hammerhock’s death. WHICH MEANS THAT SOMEONE ELSE FIRED UPON VIMES AND KILLED THE BEGGAR. What the fuck y’all??? I GENUINELY DID NOT HAVE THIS ON MY RADAR AT ALL. I mean, it makes a lot more sense than two Beanos existing at the exact same time. (Of course, this is the Discworld. Strange things happen in Ankh-Morpork.)

I just find it very satisfying that we get both a massive plot update and character development for Carrot. He continues to evolve as a leader in the Watch in Vimes’s absence, and he inspires others around him! Would Angua have decided to go after the Assassins’ Guild clue if it weren’t for Carrot? Not to suggest that she’s not an independent person or that she’s incapable of making decisions on her own. THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEAN. It’s just that she feels compelled to be a better member of the Citizen’s Watch when she’s around him.

LET’S TALK ABOUT HER.

Angua

Briefly: WHO TOOK UP EDWARD’S MANTLE?

As important as Carrot’s role in this is, I think it’s just as important to acknowledge how spectacular Angua is as well. I’d even argue that she’s taking a much bigger risk by using her werewolf powers to scour crime scenes. What if she’s caught? No one at the Watch has figured out what she really is. Will they tolerate her once they do? She’s risking her entire career here! And yet she does it regardless. She makes her way into the Assassins’ Guild to spy on the assassins, who are in a frenzy because of what Edward D’Eath has done. So, at this point, the characters are almost to the truth; they’ve got most of the facts in this case. And yet? It still feels like they’re so far from the truth. Why is that smell that Angua senses so important? Why does it smell wrong? Who took Edward’s place after killing him and dumping his body under Ankh-Morpork?

I DON’T GET IT.

Techniques

I FIND IT ENDLESSLY HILARIOUS THAT CARROT BREAKS UP A POSSIBLE RIOT BY CONSCRIPTING TROLLS AND DWARFS INTO THE CITIZENS’ WATCH. THEN HE FURTHER GOADS THEM ON BY PLAYING OFF THEIR DESIRE TO COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER, AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND POETIC AND CARROT IS A FORCE OF UNENDING GOOD IN THIS UNIVERSE.

Let us also appreciate this brilliant moment when Carrot confronts Quirke about Coalface:

“Can you tell me what evidence you have against the prisoner Coalface?”

“That damn troll? It’s a troll!”

“Yes?”

Quirke looked around.

“Look, I don’t have to tell you with everyone here –”

“As a matter of fact, according to the rules, you do. That’s why it’s called evidence. It means ‘that which is seen’.”

I love that when Quirke spouts bigotry, Carrot forces him to elaborate on it by refusing to accept the answer. Coalface is a troll. Yes! So? What does that mean? PLEASE TELL US, QUIRKE. And he does, in all his beautiful, racist splendor. Coalface is guilty because all trolls are guilty of something. So what does Carrot do? Knock Quirke out and order Coalface freed. JUST LIKE THAT. Unfortunately, I’m a little worried about the “variety of concealed weapons” at the end of this section. Don’t fight Carrot, y’all! He’s doing what’s best!!!

vid

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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