In the twelfth part of Feet of Clay, EVERYONE IS SO CLOSE TO THE TRUTH, AHHHHH. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For talk of consent, misogyny, transphobia/transmisogyny.
SO MUCH IS HAPPENING, IT IS TOO STRESSFUL.
I keep going back to Vetinari’s words, and I cannot fathom what thing or place no one would look and could provide a steady dose of the arsenic to him. Most of this section of Feet of Clay follows Vimes as he tries to think of every possible way that the Patrician might be getting poisoned. He considers the following things here, all of which seem PERFECTLY VALID:
Lord Vetinari’s bed
– His desk
– The things on his desk
– The table by the bed
– The chair
– The rug
– The food
– Which he then breaks down by having Carrot mime the service of Vetinari’s food so he can visualize the entire process. So he then considers how the food gets to the plates/bowls.
– As well as the salt and pepper
– And the silverware
– And the bread
– And the vinegar and mustard
– And Vetinari’s drinking water
– And then THE DUMBWAITER. I was so certain that this was the answer, y’all. No one thought of it! It was such a common and obvious thing in the palace that no one considered that someone could have poisoned the Patrician’s food on the way up to the sixth floor.
And why does this even matter? Why go to such lengths for someone you don’t even like all that much? Y’all, I love so dearly that this case reveals Vimes’s complicated morality. His inner monologue isn’t always the nicest place in the world; indeed, he’s quick to judge others, he’s got prejudices hanging out in his daily thoughts, and he struggles with both apathy and his alcoholism. Yet he makes choices to do things that are right and just. He chooses to see this case as a murder, not a set of political assassinations. That might seem like a strange distinction because… well, they’re both murder. But he angrily tells Carrot that this conspiracy poisoned two innocent women who already suffered enough in their lives. Why did they deserve to be collateral damage in this attempt to take out Lord Vetinari?
As far as I’m concerned, that’s an important part of Vimes’s characterization.
Then he put the tray aside and blew out the candle by his bed. He sat in the dark for a while, then felt under his pillow until his fingers located a small sharp knife and a box of matches.
Thank goodness for Vimes. There was something endearing about his desperate, burning and above all mis-placed competence. If the poor man took any longer he’d have to start giving him hints.
WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS. The Patrician knows what’s happening? And is responsible for it? WHY? WHY WOULD HE DO THIS??? I mean… Vetinari is always steps ahead of everyone else, so maybe he faked his poisoning in order to flush out the people who would replace him??? I DON’T KNOW.
Okay, so maybe I was on to something with the whole guilt and shame thing??? Carrot’s interrogation of Dorfl is both illuminating and bewildering. The golems CLEARLY planned something, are sworn (maybe???) to secrecy, and CAN FEEL WHAT ALL THE OTHER GOLEMS FEEL. But this passage… oh god, I get some of it?
“I think I know who you were following. Clay of your clay. Shaming you all. Something went wrong. You tried to put it right. I think… you all had such hopes. But the words in your head’ll defeat you every time…”
Following? Like… as a religion? Or something? Did Father Tubelcek shame them? For what? Like, that seems like a possible explanation. What if someone was using the golems to do awful things, they went to a priest to feel better about themselves, and then they started creating more of themselves. That’s the whole “Clay of My Clay,” thing, right??? And then someone – whomever is controlling the golems – orders them to kill Tubelcek and Hopkinson as retaliation, and then… okay. So, this is already falling apart, and I also can’t figure out how this is tied to the plot with Vetinari. GAH. What if they’re entirely separate and they’re just happening coincidentally at the same time?
THIS BOOK IS MAKING ME QUESTION EVERYTHING.
I’ve mostly been sticking my commentary on this in the videos, but I can’t ignore just how pervasive all the commentary is on Cheri’s appearance. As she does more and more things to make herself feel better about being a woman, every man around her appears to have the biggest problem in the universe with her. Her wearing make-up or a skirt has zero actual affect on their lives, and yet they can’t just shut their damn mouths. Carrot in particular seems to have the most glaring problem out of everyone. I’m glad that through Angua, Pratchett points out how absurd this is. Carrot’s whole thing is being nice and accepting to people, and yet he can’t accept Cheri’s appearance. He can’t let her be a woman unless she looks as far from one as possible. And typing that out, I realize how that has real-world implications for how transphobia and transmisogyny can work, too!
Anyway, Angua is now more ready than ever to leave this place behind, which makes me sad. But the truth is that Carrot isn’t ready to be in a relationship with someone like her, and his reaction to Cheri just reminds her of that, you know? For people who are the wrong kind of different, Carrot would prefer them to assimilate to make the world easier for him to deal with.
The very idea of Nobbs being treated like royalty is a joke I will not tire of. He’s aware that he’s got something special in that letter from the Dragon King of Arms, but the treatment he gets here is just TOO MUCH. It’s so obvious to me that they all want to butter him up so that he’ll accept his role as soon as Vetinari dies. (I don’t think the Patrician will die, but that’s just my theory.) But does Nobbs realize it? Does he even care?
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