Mark Reads ‘The Last Continent’: Part 14

In the fourteenth part of The Last Continent, Rincewind is imprisoned, and the wizards head for the last continent. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

Well, now we’re headed somewhere. I think I’ve figured out why this seems so directionless to me: for the first time in a long while, I’m reading a book that told me the stakes, but then hasn’t shown them. I know from what Scrappy told Rincewind that he must save Fourecks. It’s vital that he does. And then… well, I’ve never seen why that’s important. The wizards’ appearance in the past seems largely unconnected to everything, though we were told that it was important that they traveled through time. I’m told a lot of things by this book, but there’s no emotional attachment to any of this. The wizards are having as grand of a time as they could, given the circumstances, so it’s not like I feel a burning desire for them to get home. (Except that if they get home, at least they’ll stop treating Mrs. Whitlow so strangely. Seriously, it’s getting to be absurd now.) Rincewind is…

Well, that’s complicated, too. It’s largely the same-old story: Rincewind just wants to go home and do nothing. The universe says otherwise. He’s shuffled from one disaster to another, often by events he doesn’t choose to be a part of. There’s usually an external force that’s responsible for this, and if not, his life is ruled by an unnatural amount of coincidence. (Well, not unnatural for the Disc, I suppose!) In the end, I think I’ve been spoiled by all of the Discworld books that are nothing like this.

Let me give an example. There’s a long sequence here where Rincewind deals with being stuck in the Bugarup Gaol. Pratchett has a lot of fun poking holes in all the traditional escape plans that you might normally find in a fantasy book. (Or any prison-escape story, really!) On top of that, the warder is written in a way that’s a subversion of a trope, too. Usually, wardens are gloomy and intimidating; this one, however, is painfully cheerful, even if the things he’s saying don’t exactly qualify as “good” news. It’s fun to read aloud, which I know I’ve said a few times now in recent reviews. And it is! I FIGURED OUT THE VEGEMITE REFERENCE AS IT HAPPENED, I FEEL SO PROUD OF MYSELF. And Death! I always love a good Death scene. (Get it???)

At this point, though, I need a bit more than subverting tropes or setting up jokes. That’s what I’m patiently waiting for, and it feels like I’m on the precipice of something bigger. Tinhead Ned’s note has helped Rincewind escape from gaol (I CAN’T BELIEVE IT WAS THAT EASY), so he’s now in Bugarup. I have no idea why he needs to be there, though; Scrappy’s been very quiet lately. I’m also interested to see what the wizards are going to do on the newly-risen continent that will come to be known as XXXX. I’d assumed it was already there, but they’ll be landing upon it during a very vulnerable time. That storm isn’t just a freak turn of the weather; I’m guessing it’s a huge reason why the wizards are seen in present-time Fourecks. How much magic is swirling around that continent, y’all? Enough for the Bursar to develop Mugroop’s Syndrome, apparently. (WHAT THE HELL IS THAT.) Enough for the thaumometer to MELT UPON CONTACT WITH THE AIR.

So… definitely looking forward to the next part.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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