Mark Reads ‘Feet of Clay’: Part 1

In the first part of Feet of Clay, I AM VERY EXCITED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.



So, I don’t know all that much about this bit of Jewish folklore beyond a surface-level understanding of golems. They’re clay figures brought to life! But Pratchett opens Feet of Clay with a bizarre bargaining sequence in which a golem sells another golem to someone while also being terrible at negotiating. LIKE REALLY REALLY BAD. Like, continuously lowers the price, sometimes without prompting. But the mystery here confuses me, as is often the case in a Discworld book. Why would a golem sell a “perfect” golem to someone? What are the shapes waiting outside the man’s house? More golems? And why does the golem immediately give away the thirty dollars they made??? If it’s not about money, why even sell the golem?

I DON’T GET IT. Who is Father Tubelcek? What is he a priest of? Did a golem kill him, too?

Commander sir Samuel Vimes

YES, IT’S A CITY WATCH BOOK. I’M EXCITED. And what an introduction! Vimes’s life is so surreal now, especially once you think about where he was when he was first introduced in the Discworld series. He’s adapted to a different lifestyle, but only somewhat. Unsurprisingly, he hasn’t changed much as a person, and the whole procession that comes with being rich has no real appeal to him. Hell, I got the sense that he went along with most of what happens to him on a daily basis because it’s just too much work to fight it.

(Though I’ll still maintain that getting shaved by someone else is a goddamn beautiful luxury. I don’t care. I can’t wait to be in London this summer so I can experience it again.)

It’s through showing us Vimes’s morning routine that Pratchett reveals that THE CITY WATCH HAS EXPANDED. I mean, we knew that it was going to, and that bit in Maskerade about the secret police told us so, too. But the City Watch in Feet of Clay is not the same as the one in Guards! Guards! They’re far more efficient. They seek out crime rather than react to it. (And poorly, I might add.) But the biggest change is the response to the Watch. Vimes and the Watch have becme so efficient that PEOPLE ARE CONSTANTLY TRYING TO KILL HIM. It’s gotten so bad that Vimes molds his life around the inevitable reality that someone will try to assassinate him every day. Now, Pratchett portrays this largely as a humorous thing, but I’m fascinated by it. Note this bit:

“We had Lady Selachii’s son up before the Patrician last week,” said Vimes. “Now, there’s a lad who needs to learn that ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘yes, please’.”

“Could be, sir.”

“And then there was that business with Lord Rust’s boy. You can’t shoot servants for putting your shoes the wrong way round, you know. It’s too messy. He’ll have to learn right from left like the rest of us. And right from wrong, too.”

AHHHHH IT WAS JUST SO EXCITING TO READ THIS. Look, I don’t consider Vimes to be an amoral man by any means, but his apathy is what held him back prior to this. And I don’t see apathy in any part of this section of the book. He knows that his expansion of the Watch is pissing off lots of powerful people – the kind who can spend twenty thousand dollars on an assassination!!! – and HE ISN’T THREATENED BY THIS. Instead, he offers the assassin sympathy and a chance to escape. Not unscathed, of course, because those adorable little swamp dragons are eager to do a little light roasting. But I’m already excited by the growth we’ve seen in Vimes in TEN PAGES at the start of this book. That’s so cool!

Captain Carrot

Carrot’s section is a lot more explicit about the changes in the Watch and how odd it is for him. If the original crew are spread out among the four (four!!!!) Watch Houses, I admit that I will probably miss some of the camaraderie, too. BUT THERE’S A MYSTERY. AND TWO MURDERS. Maybe they’ll all come together??? Oh god, but what if Colon really retires? What if this is his last book?

Regardless, I still think this is a good introduction to the book. Angua is here, and we learn that her and Carrot are still utilizing her werewolf abilities to work cases. AND THEY ARE STILL DATING OMG. These are great things! I AM VERY EAGER TO READ MORE.

Mr. Hopkinson

So, about that second murder… why kill the curator of the Dwarf Bread Museum? What could there possibly be in that place that someone would need???


Diane Duane is still offering a massive discount on the first 9 books in the Young Wizards series just to this community, so please take advantage of this deal while you still can:

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards.
– 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 have been announced here.
- 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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