In the eleventh part of Maskerade, Agnes makes a discovery, while Granny and Nanny go to lunch. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
GODS ALL BLESS THIS SECTION, I LOVED IT SO MUCH.
Just for the sake of talking about this, I thought it best to address the two plots that weave through this part of the book as separate things. This part works so well, though, because Pratchett deftly combines the scenes that make up the story, rushing from one to the next, keeping us eager to find out where it will go next. It’s so much fun!
So, let me start with Agnes. More so than many of the recent parts of this book, the text heaps tons of satire onto Phantom of the Opera here, but Pratchett doesn’t accomplish that by forgetting how important Agnes is as a character. Her journey into the skeleton of the Opera House mirrors that of the Ghost himself. She thinks of herself as a “wandering voice” when compared to others; is that not the Ghost, too? Whereas Agnes’s fate is often due to how others perceive her, she still finds herself isolated from those in the Opera House, much like the Ghost does.
Agnes allows herself to be consumed by her alter-ego, Perdita, because the fairy tale is better than reality. And that’s not a criticism of her; I’m a huge fan of escapist fantasies, and I get why she imagines that the Ghost has a lair that is in sync with the stereotypical trope. It’s comforting. It’s fulfilling to imagine one’s self as being desired in this manner. To the Perdita side of her, it’s the perfect escape.
And I imagine that the reality is not going to match up to what she wants.
The Lunch Party
I DESPERATELY WANT A LIVE-ACTION OR ANIMATED VERSION OF THIS SEQUENCE TO WATCH WHENEVER I AM FEELING SAD. Pratchett combines so many comic techniques – physical humor, sounds, expressions made behind someone’s back, coincidences, massive misinterpretations of actions – into one of the funniest scenes in the entire Discworld series. I know that I said earlier that I didn’t understand why Henry Slugg’s story mattered at all, and JESUS, LOOK HOW MUCH IT MATTERS NOW.
The amount of comic coincidences in this scene is astounding, and I love so dearly how Pratchett set this up. Right after Señor Basilica arrives for lunch with Mr. Bucket, Lady Esmerelda Weatherwax makes her first appearance, and the shenanigans never end. NEVER. Oh my god, all of Henry Slugg’s reactions killed me. THEY’RE SO PERFECT. But it also provides Granny with the ideal chance to have someone else verify her lie. The best part is that Slugg probably believes that Granny and Nanny’s presence was intentional, that they knew he’d be there. I know that Granny relies on this unspoken agreement to get what she wants, so I found it very touching that Nanny returned the favor:
Nanny carefully took the broom out of the cook’s hands. “Tell you what,” she said, “you make enough dumplings and slumpie for five people, and I’ll help by knocking up a quick pudding, how about that?”
Bless her heart. She makes sure that Henry doesn’t have to eat Brindisian food again!!! I am also curious about what all these foods taste like. I don’t think I’ve had mutton before, nor slumpie. (Which I now realized I mispronounced. LORD.) I’ve somehow missed out on clootie dumplings every time I’ve been to Scotland!!! SCOTTISH READERS, WHY HAVE YOU FAILED ME. Okay, I know that there’s a cookbook out there. Perhaps I need to make it when I can. AN ADVENTURE.
Anyway, I think that Mr. Bucket and Salzella are going to sell Granny Box Eight. Actually, I’m certain it’s going to happen. Two thousand dollars is a lot. A LOT OF MONEY. Is it enough to pay off all of the Opera House’s bills??? If so, that’s all the motivation Mr. Bucket needs to accept the money, but I wonder which man Granny will bring with her to accompany her in the Box. It can’t be Henry Slugg. Maybe his translator? OH GOD, IT’S GONNA BE GREEBO AS A HUMAN, ISN’T IT?
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:
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