In the eighth part of Feet of Clay, the Watch makes some progress on the mystery. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I feel close to something, but damn it, the golem meeting makes no sense to me. Yet. I wrongly assumed that the meeting was of the unnamed group of people plotting to dispose of the Patrician, but this is something entirely different. This section was a lot of fun to read regardless, though, because it’s so much more like a crime novel than I expected. It’s one clue after another, one revelation after another, ONE BRAIN MELT AFTER ANOTHER.
Mostly, though, I love that this section deliberately addresses the complication of golems. While they’re not popular in Ankh-Morpork as they once used to be, there are places where they’re still in use, namely in dangerous or gross jobs that no one wants. And they’re perfectly suited to that, since they just work and work without hesitation or concern until they’re done. Yet everyone believes the golems lack any intelligence or self-awareness; thus, I’m a huge fan of Carrot’s theory that they often refuse to think about their orders as a rebellion against their masters:
“You know… someone shouts at it ‘Go and make teapots,” so it does. Can’t be blamed for obeying orders, sir. No one told them how many. No one wants them to think, so they get their own back by not working.”
“They rebel by working?”
“It’s just a thought, sir. It’d make more sense to a golem, I expect.”
YES. I LOVE THIS. Why?
A voice inside, a voice which generally came to him only in the quiet hours of the night or, in the old days, half-way down a whiskey bottle, added: Given how we use them, maybe we’re scared because we know we deserve it…
That’s an important part of their characterization. It’s easy for everyone to assume the worst of the golems because they have a creepy reputation that is factually untrue. Has a golem ever killed a human? If not, then why does everyone project that kind of narrative on them? Because it’s easy. If humans assume golems are unthinking drones who deserve to do nothing but difficult, dangerous jobs, then it’s easy to imagine that one day, they’ll get back at humans for that.
So what does that mean for the meeting that Angua discovered? Granted, it’s only the remnants of a meeting, but twelve golems who all work in different industries gathered in an underground warehouse. There, she discovers that the golems had a discussion by writing on the walls, and the messages are… well, a confusing mess. Some seem like the sort of things that would be written on their chems, while others are more proactive statements. (Is BRING US TO FRE the start of BRING US TO FREEDOM?) It’s almost as if they’re comparing notes of what they’ve been ordered to do, and then talking about that. So why draw lots??? What decision did they come to that meant that one of them would go to the Watch and turn themselves in? At this point, I don’t doubt that they know exactly who killed Hopkinson and Tubelcek, but why protect them? What’s so important?
I admit that this part of this section was the most interesting to me. Aside from these scenes, we’ve got Nobby’s extended existential crisis. It’s a lovely surprise because… well, who else reacts to finding out they’ve got noble heritage by drinking themselves into unconsciousness? Nobby does. This occurs alongside a long bit in the Bucket, the Watch bar, where the three thieves from the beginning of the book try to rob the worst bar imaginable for them. I wonder if this is part of a running gag for the book or if they’re part of something greater. I can’t tell right now, and it might be like the Henry Slugg scenes from Maskerade, where they’re just funny to me at first, but then part of a punch line later on. Regardless, I don’t have much to say about the humor, though I did like that there were a few small moments that showed us what sort of discriminatory shit Angua has to put up with. Oh gods, they’re werewolf microaggressions, aren’t they??? THEY ARE.
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