Mark Reads ‘Interesting Times’: Part 2

In the second part of Interesting Times, Rincewind comes home. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

Welcome back, Rincewind. Maybe?

See, I couldn’t tell if Rincewind deliberately sought out that island in order to avoid any sort of adventure ever, or if he merely got stuck there while trying to get back home after Eric. Regardless, I’m thinking that it doesn’t quite matter. Rincewind was far away from the chaos of life at Unseen University. Or in the Tezuman Empire. Or in Hell. His greatest worry was not having potatoes. (That is perhaps the most valid thing ever written in any novel ever. EVER. I don’t even care if the “them” Rincewind is referring to here isn’t about potatoes. IT’S ABOUT THEM NOW.)

And that momentary break is ruined by fucking wizards.

Though, I gotta say I got a huge kick out of the extended joke that was EXPLAINING RINCEWIND TO RIDCULLY. I’d initially forgotten that he was the only member of the group not to know him years before. It really is amazing that a person can be perceived as both totally worth despising and completely incompetent and non-threatening. Rincewind doesn’t make any sense outside the context of his past. If you just talk about the major points of his character and what he’s been through, the honest-to-god response that most rational people would have is:

“So,” he said, “not a kind of cheese.”

POSSIBLY THE BEST JOKE IN THE ENTIRE DISCWORLD SERIES.

“Not a cheese,” said Ridcully, unwilling to let go of a fact.

“No.”

“Sounds a sort of name you’d associate with cheese. I mean, a pound of Mature Rincewind, it rolls off the tongue…”

THIS IS MY FAVORITE, I DON’T CARE.

Anyway, I loved that Ridcully didn’t just believe his fellow wizards. Why should he? Who would believe the Luggage without seeing it? Who would immediately trust a story about a man who has lived a life so absurdly that they’ve been “chased by just about every army in the world”? No one! And yet, Rincewind is very real.

Speaking of authenticity and truth… were those three “Amazonian” warriors real or a hallucination? My first instinct was that they weren’t actually there, but of course, they could have been there solely to add tragedy to the fact that Rincewind was being yanked back to Ankh-Morpork. At the same time, it’s all clearly a HUGE joke about how women like this are used unbelievably within this context. Not only are the odds against them showing up out of nowhere, but characters like this are often given fantastical reasons for pursuing sex with the male hero. This part killed me:

“You may be wondering why we are all blonde and white-skinned when everyone else in the islands around here is dark,” she said. “It just seems to be one of those genetic things.”

OH GOD. It’s too real.

Thus, Rincewind is pulled back to Ankh-Morpork, traveling over six hundred miles in just two seconds, and his reaction is… beautiful. It’s exactly what it should be. You don’t know what you’re missing from home until you don’t have it. That includes sausages inna bun from Dibbler, or potatoes, or being repeatedly assaulted by students learning how to steal. Ankh-Morpork is Rincewind’s home, and he’s been away from it for ages! It’s not long, however, before the reason he was brought home begins to rear its wizardly head. Well, I should also note that all of the wizards arm themselves for the inevitable return of the Luggage. Aside from that, Ridcully tries to get to the point in a very passive aggressive manner, feeding Rincewind the answer he wants him to give.

Ironically, of course, Rincewind has already performed a NUMBER of services of “great benefit to magic,” but can’t prove a single one. So… one last act, right? (Oh god, probably not. You know he’s going to get dragged into a nightmare. I KNOW THIS DEEPLY IN MY HEART.)

It’s also in this section that we’re finally introduced to one of the members of the five families in the Counterweight Continents that Fate mentioned at the start of the book. I’m guessing that this nation is somewhat of a reference to China? Perhaps Asia as a whole? The name is part of that clue, but I also get the sense that the political situation here is meant to invoke something of a dictator… sort of? We don’t learn much beyond Lord Hong being a perfectionist. (Not exactly the most subversive stereotype, I gotta say.) We also find out that he wants Rincewind to “lead” the Red Army, whatever that is. Is Lord Hong trying to deliberately sabotage something? I don’t get it yet!

Mark Links Stuff

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

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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