Mark Reads ‘Soul Music’: Part 9

In the ninth section of Soul Music, the effects of the Music take hold of Ankh-Morpork, and Susan makes a decision. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

The Patrician

Well, given that Death said that Buddy would eventually die in a few days anyway, I wonder if that’s the connection between Buddy and the Patrician. The Patrician is uniquely concerned with the way things unfold in his city, and the outbreak of “music” is certainly something that would grab his attention. Why? Because the music that The Band with the Rocks In creates goes around the Guild rules, and the Patrician has no interest in maintaining a world that is out of order. On top of that, he’s also keenly aware of the fact that people in Ankh-Morpork often open “the door of reality” and let terrible, terrible things into this world. Basically? His section here is him saying, “Well, it’s happening again. Time to kill someone off to maintain order.”

That “someone” is gonna be Buddy, right?

Death Note

The parallels between Susan’s plan and a certain show I just started watching this week for Mark Reads is not lost on me. Susan is somewhat interested in the mystery of Buddy, but it’s not her primary concern. Yes, she wants to know what the “music” is using Buddy for, but I think Susan has a bigger issue she wants to tackle: she wants to change Death. As Death, of course. She finds Death’s view of human life unacceptable, so she’s gonna do what humans do best.

She’s gonna change it.

Except… oh lord.

She’d save lives. The good could be spared, and the bad could die young. It would all balance up, too. She’d show him.

That’s… that’s a really bad idea. A colossally bad idea. She mistakes her Duty as being capable of “saving” someone, when that’s not part of the whole arrangement. People die every day, and Death’s job isn’t to stop that. They’ll die without his intervention anyway. Thankfully, she realizes that maybe this is a bad idea:

But of course it’d be childish, she told herself, to think that she could go in waving the scythe like a magic wand and turn the world into a better place overnight. It might take some time. So she should start in a small way and work up.

So, I’m guessing that she’ll discover that this plan of hers isn’t feasible, and it’ll happen fairly quickly. The magic is in Buddy’s soul, and I don’t see a way she can “save” him. His lifetimer already ran out! As Death, she can’t just give him more, can she?

The Wizards

Did the wizards get arrested for dancing? I was a little confused on this point, because I couldn’t figure out which exact behavior got them arrested. Was it public drunkenness? Did they just dance a lot? Aside from Ridcully and Satchelmouth, who else in the Drum would have even dared to call the Watch? Weren’t they all under the spell of the music? Alas, the idea that the Dean and the other wizards are slowly becoming punk rock is pretty pleasing to me, so I’m not complaining. I deeply, deeply support the Dean’s studs on his leather jacket. BORN TO EAT BIG DINNERS is a beautiful message.

So what’s going on in the High Energy Magic Building? I’m guessing that the Music is sweeping in through there, too. That would explain the names, though I admit that I feel like some other joke is going over my head here. At the very least, these wizards will be able to approach the magical “science” behind the music with an open mind. Whether Ridcully accepts their ideas is another matter entirely, but he seems far too suspicious of the transformation of the wizards to not heed their advice.

The Band + The Manager

OF COURSE DIBBLER WOULD FASHION HIMSELF AS THE BAND’S MANAGER. Now, I’ve been lucky enough to tour with a number of bands who all had wonderful tour managers and general managers, so I never once got to see the behavior that Pratchett satirizes here. It’s definitely real, even if Pratchett takes it to a stereotypical extreme. Plenty of bands get taken in by the promise of wealth and fame, and many times, that’s because their managers are the prime perpetrators of this kind of exploitation. I think that The Band is particularly vulnerable to this in Soul Music because they’re caught in the midst of something they don’t understand. Look, they’re clearly aware that something has taken them over when they play. None of this comes natural to them, but when they’re on stage and Buddy is playing that guitar, it does seem natural. Amidst this confusion, Dibbler swoops in and offers them something concise and stable.

It seems like Fate, doesn’t it? They get ahold of the perfect instrument; they play two raucous shows; they’re given twenty bucks by Dibbler. It’s all falling into place! So, maybe they are confused, and maybe, deep down, they’re each having an existential crisis about what’s unfolding. But it all fits together too well, and for the moment? None of them are ready to truly question the magic at all. It just exists, and now they’re a part of it.

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 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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