In the sixth part of Carpe Jugulum, Nanny and Agnes come to a realization as the Magpyr’s plot their next move. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
THIS BOOK IS SO SATISFYING TO READ AND I’M SO HAPPY THAT IT’S PACED SO WELL. I know, I know, coming off of The Last Continent is partially why I feel this way, but seriously, even if I hadn’t? I’m certain I would still have a blast with Carpe Jugulum thus far.
My gods, the TENSION of this section is so wild. Right as I got excited to discover what the hell Granny was up to, Pratchett switches over to Nanny’s and Agnes’s shared POV, and then slowly reveals the horrible, horrible truth: Granny Weatherwax might have left the Ramtops not because of some trick of the Magpyrs but because she believes that she’s being replaced.
I admire how Pratchett gets to that point. Sometimes, I’ve complained about the way he teases information in the text, but I can’t do that here. First, Nanny gives evidence that Granny has truly left her cottage as opposed to taking some sort of temporary trip. That’s a big deal all by itself, especially given the timing of it all. How could Granny leave when the people of Lancre when they need her most? Combine that with Nanny’s seriousness, and I started panicking.
It was then she realized how really serious this was. Nanny would normally leap on such a gift like a cat on a feather. Nanny could find an innuendo in “Good morning.” She could certainly find one in “innuendo.”
It’s a brilliant technique, isn’t it? Nanny finds humor in practically everything, so what happens when she misses it in incredibly obvious puns? IT MEANS SOMETHING IS HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY WRONG. It’s the canary in the coal mine of this story! Well, it’s one of a number of them. Agnes discovers the beehive, roaring in response to something, but she also makes the connection to the number three, which leads Nanny to put it all together. Long before me, I should note, even though I got a little close there before it was clear.
I’m wondering, however, if Nanny is right. There’s one Granny POV section in the middle of this, and Pratchett keeps Granny’s thoughts off the page for the most part. We don’t find out why she’s climbing above Lancre or why she isn’t doing anything about the “silence” she observes in the valley. She just keeps going upward, to… something? So does she feel like she’s being replaced, that Magrat is now the mother, Agnes is the maiden, and Nanny is the crone? Do these roles even fit these characters? I suppose that’s not the most important part of it. The “mental” aspect of witchery is what Granny relies on, and that’s not exactly surprising. (See: headology.)
It’s gotta be the darkness, that bit of Esme Weatherwax that is in all the Weatherwax family. Maybe it’s a convergence of events: the arrival of Magrat’s daughter right as the Magpyr’s show up in Lancre, right as Granny begins to question her usefulness and purpose. But where is she going?
Okay, I’ve got to adjust my view of the vampyres again because HOLY SHIT, they are conditioning themselves to be immune to everything that normally kills or disables a vampire. Y’all. Y’ALL.
“You see?” said the Count excitedly. “You barely flinched! Sacrephobia can be beaten! I’ve always said so!”
This – coupled with the “phenophobia” line and the holy water bit – made me realize that these vampyres, through sheer willpower and stubbornness, were changing what vampires as a whole were capable of. They can drink wine. Be around garlic. Wear silver and cork. That explains that reference about crossing a river and the issues with invitations!!! This means, of course, that Agnes and Nanny have a huge problem on their hands: they have no means of stopping these vampyres short of staking them, right? Like, that’s such a violently physical solution that they can’t convince themselves that it doesn’t work, right?
I DON’T EVEN KNOW AT THIS POINT. This is unreal, y’all, and it’s scary to think how quickly this takeover has happened, how much the Magpyrs control everything, and how little chance there is (as of this point of the book) of overthrowing them. What is their weakness? Can Agnes exploit her special ability in some way to get past their mind control? What about Igor? How long until he betrays them because they refuse to be “traditional” vampires? THIS IS TOO MUCH.
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