In the fifth part of Feet of Clay, Vimes tries to put the pieces together. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I see this section of the book as a transitional part of the story, one that leads these characters away from ignorance and closer in line with what the readers already know. There’s a lot of cool information here, too, and I’m invested in figuring out why someone would want to take out the Patrician. To put it in Vimes’s words, who would be standing on the pile of rubble that would be left behind once Vetinari died?
It’s an important question, though I know Vimes wasn’t behind it, and I cannot fathom Carrot being responsible for Vetinari’s poisoning. That is the most unbelievable theory imaginable! Yet I was reminded of the plot in Guards! Guards! while reading this, and perhaps even a bit of Men at Arms, too. This book rests on our understanding that as “cold” and distant as the Patrician is, Vetinari serves a specific purpose within Ankh-Morpork society. The stability he brings is comforting. That might seem like a silly thing to state in the face of the murders they’ve discovered, but even Vimes himself ponders how much his day has derailed:
This morning, he thought, I knew what the day held. I was going to see about that damn coat of arms. There there was my usual meeting with Vetinari. I was going to read some reports after lunch, maybe go and see how they’re getting on with the new Watch House in Chittling Street, and have an early night. Now Fred’s suggesting… what?
Even though Vimes would like to think himself above the general populace in some way, he still thrives on a dependable, stable schedule. The slightest distraction from that unnerves him; even worse, he clearly senses that this is about to get so much worse. BECAUSE IT ALWAYS DOES. And look, this is not the first time someone has tried to get a new leader for Ankh-Morpork installed in the Patrician’s place. There was the dragon, and then there was the “king,” and now… well, I still don’t know what’s going on here.
I suspect that there might be a reason Pratchett keeps talking about King Lorenzo and Stoneface Vimes, though, given that it’s been referenced or mentioned so many times prior to this. There’s a common theme in this story: people will often choose what’s flashy, what feels good, or what makes them believe in something bigger than themselves, over what’s necessary. Whatever it is that King Lorenzo did, Vimes appears to be the sole character in this book who believes that Stoneface did the right thing. Lorenzo’s actions are dismissed and minimized at every turn, and Stoneface is demonized because… well, apparently, no one should do anything negative to kings. Ever. Thus, the Vimes name was burned down and left as a footnote in history.
Is history about to repeat itself?
Aside from this, most of this section deals with the collection of clues from previous parts. We learn that Littlebottom believes that the final thing Tubelcek saw got imprinted in his eyes. So, he saw two glowing red eyes. How common is golem mythology in Ankh-Morpork? Do people know what they are in a general sense? I don’t actually know! And I don’t see a single connection between Tubelcek or Hopkinson, aside from knowing that a golem visited them both to murder them. Why? How are they a part of this golem mystery???
LET US TALK ABOUT CHEERY LITTLEBOTTOM, THOUGH. The best reveal in this section – and possibly the whole book!!! – is when we find out that Cheery is a bearded female dwarf. I AM SO EXCITED THAT WE ARE FINALLY GETTING A CHARACTER LIKE THIS. Cheery is in disguise… sort of. There’s a reminder here that male and female dwarfs look very similar anyway, so Cheery doesn’t have a problem passing as a man. However, Cheery’s reluctance and shyness is finally explained: THEY DON’T LIKE ANY OF THE THINGS THAT DWARFS DO.
“I can’t hold an axe!” said Cheery. “I’m scared of fights! I think songs about gold are stupid! I hate beer! I can’t even drink dwarfishly! When I try to quaff I drown the dwarf behind me!”
Instead, Cheery wants to do things that are considered traditionally feminine in Ankh-Morpork society, yet faces discrimination because she doesn’t appear to be feminine, being a dwarf and all. (Well, she also visited the Guild of Seamstresses. Oh, Cheery. That’s not what you think it is.) SO I LOVE IT THAT SHE NOW HAS AN INSTANT FRIEND IN ANGUA AND I WANT THIS FRIENDSHIP DEVELOPED AND I WANT AN ENTIRE BOOK ABOUT CHEERY AND ANGUA HELPING EACH OTHER ADJUST TO THIS SOCIETY WHILE BEING DIFFERENT AND CAN YOU TELL I’M EXCITED.
I am very excited, friends.
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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