In the thirteenth part of Carpe Jugulum, everyone makes a choice. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Ahhhh, this is all so entertaining!!! I AM VERY SATISFIED.
So, figured I’d split this up by character so I could talk about the three major things that happened in this section. Agnes continues to be my favorite part of this book in terms of characterization, and I’m floored by how well Pratchett uses her unique nature to tell this story. Each of the characters here is faced with a difficult decision, and Agnes, like Granny, must weigh the pros and cons of a huge unknown. Vlad simply refused to accept Agnes’s rejection of his offer to make her a vampire, so he tries to make it seem appealing to her.
Of course, he torments her in the process, shifting the definition of “appealing” to something a lot closer to “a life where you don’t die horribly,” but I didn’t expect anything less from that monster. He teases her about her weight, suggests that she’ll be happier if she’s a vampire. I must say that this is the first time I’ve ever read a scene where a vampire used weight loss as a reason to convert a human. And make no mistake: he isn’t doing this out of concern for Agnes. (Not like there’s really a scenario where that wouldn’t be a fatphobic nightmare.) He is trying to pick away at her insecurities, to budge her just far enough that the idea of becoming a vampire doesn’t seem so ludicrous. Really, that’s all he needs to do: sow that seed of doubt or interest in her, and she’ll be his.
But Agnes, even if she won’t admit, is way more resilient than she thinks. Perdita is still a part of her! Yet I’d argue that it’s not even Perdita that gives her strength in these scenes. Hell, Perdita is the one part of her that feels like what Vlad is offering isn’t all that bad! Instead, as Vlad drops her repeatedly, teasing her with the ability to be “light” for the first time in her life, it’s Agnes who reasons that there’s a value in at least pretending to be interested in vampirism: she can get closer to where she needs to be. That’s not to suggest that she isn’t conflicted. She is. God, that line where she admits that Vlad “actually seemed attracted to her” broke my heart.
But you know what didn’t?
Besides, there was always the chance that, at some point, she might find herself in a room with Lacrimosa. When that happened, she wouldn’t need garlic, or a stake, or an ax. Just a little talk about people who were too unpleasant, too malicious, too thin. Just five minutes alone.
And perhaps a pin, said Perdita.
YES. YES. GET HER.
Holy shit, WHAT A SCENE. It’s hard not to appreciate this, given how far Granny has come since she was first introduced in the Discworld books. She’s a complicated character, for sure, and this scene – in which she speaks with Death and fights with the Weatherwax darkness – builds off of that complication. Granny is a character who respects duty, understanding that there are uncomfortable and unfortunate things that need to be done in the world, and she routinely makes herself the one who does them. This means that choices must be made, much like the poor farmer in the opening of this book. She chose to save the mother over the child, and yes, that means that someone died due to her choice, but that choice had to be made.
That’s what she is taunted by. (And for the record, I’m so thrilled that this split meant that I got both temptation scenes in the same section!) She initially chooses the darkness, where she’s faced with her great secret: she is much darker than she ever lets anyone else on to. Thus, it’s not a stretch for her to embrace the darkness and become like the Magpyrs, is it? Much like Agnes’s temptation, the darkness appeals to a part of Granny that is very much real.
And yet, Granny still fights it:
“No. I know you. I’ve always known you. The Count just let you out to torment me, but I’ve always known you were there. I’ve fought you every day of my life and you’ll get no victory now.”
She opened her eyes and stared into the blackness.
“I knows who you are now, Esmerelda Weatherwax,” she said. “You don’t scare me no more.”
AHHHHH I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.
So, I’m gonna wonder out loud for all of you: do the Magpyrs know about the secret weapon that the Nac mac Feegle have? We already know that the Count despises them and wishes them out of Uberwald. What if it’s not just due to his disgust of “inferior” beings, but because he also knows they have the means of countering the vampyre influence ability??? FOOD FOR THOUGHT, MY FRIENDS.
The scene at the end of this split is short, but I feel like there’s a ton of possibility in it. Can Verence team up with the Nac mac Feegle to take down the Magpyr clan? PLEASE????
Mark Links Stuff
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