In the seventeenth part of Carpe Jugulum, Shawn Ogg has an explosive idea, the vampires flee, a mob is inspired, and Granny finds a use for the phoenix. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I love this sensation that everything’s converging into a giant, joyful mess. More than the sections that came before this, Pratchett jumps from one point of view to the next in rapid succession. Just in terms of his craft, it’s an effective move because it gives the book a lovely urgency. So let’s talk about all these various plots.
The Oggs vs The Castle
You know, we haven’t had all that many scenes with the Oggs as a group, and I kinda hope we get more. This was a lot of fun! There’s a humor in the idea of the Lancre citizens being unable to get into their own castle, but hey… at least they know now that it’s not an easy place to conquer. Well… sort of? Because Shawn just exposed a major flaw in the usage of the castle, namely in how they’ve chosen to dispose of waste. I love that this also happens immediately after Verence makes his glorious and confusing return to the grounds, too. It only adds to the absurdity of it.
Because while the King is busy hacking away at the entrance with a sword (and the help of the Nac mac Feegle), Shawn Ogg blows up the Gong Tower by literally igniting a giant pile of shit. I could not exaggerate this if I tried. Thus, the soldiers inside rush out, and the battle begins, all while excrement rains down on everyone.
Only in this book, y’all.
There are two great passages in Agnes’s section that I want to highlight here. Her conversation with herself about the children who accompany the mob gives way to this stunning moment:
Perdita was horrified. It’ll give them nightmares!
No, thought Agnes. It’ll take the nightmares away. Sometimes, everyone has o know the monster is dead and remember, so that they can tell their grandchildren.
That’s one of the things I admire about this book: the horror exists right alongside the humor. It’s not the first time he’s done it – I’m reminded of Lords and Ladies – but here, that horror is even more upfront and real to me, especially once you consider the politics of the Magpyrs in relation to what’s going on in our world at the moment. Agnes vocalizes that at one point when she realizes that the Magpyrs want people to be things. It’s so much easier to exploit them that way, isn’t it?
But what of Agnes herself? The other passage that struck me was where Perdita insisted that this entire experience had changed Agnes. In that sense, I’d argue that the line between her two personalities blurred more than ever before. Look how often she was willing to stand up for herself, or speak the truth at great risk to her well-being, or refuse to take anyone’s shit. Y’all know how much I love character development, so that line was A GREAT MOMENT amidst all the chaos.
Even the Magpyrs realize it’s time to change. After the utter failure of Escrow, I did not find myself surprised that they were just going to destroy the town and kill everyone, rather than stick to the system they’d had before. I also expected this to completely annoy them. How had someone else broken the spell they had over Escrow? I don’t have the answer to that myself, and I am curious, but that’s not what I want to focus on. The Magpyrs fully expected this to work… actually, wait, that’s not quite right.
The Count fully expected this to work. Lacrimosa hated this whole “new age” vampire philosophy right from the start, and she’s certainly been vocal about how much she wishes she could just kill everyone and be done with it all. But Escrow fell apart (HOW???) in a matter of minutes; on top of that, garlic now works against them??? SO DOES BURNING OIL. And no amount of mental focus can stop these very stereotypical weaknesses. What changed? And why the sudden cravings for a cup of tea??? And biscuits? I mean, they’re lovely, but vampires don’t partake of this, so what gives???
Did he kill a vampire with just his claws? DID HE.
Oats / Granny
It’s a treat watching Mightily Oats change, too, and he changes by making up his mind. The long scene where he sloughs through the mire to get to the Lancre castle, all while carrying Granny Weatherwax, is almost devoid of the sort of wishy-washy reluctance we usually get from his POV sections. Instead, there’s an anger. A drive. A desire to do right and also to do right by himself. That’s not to say that it’s gone completely; he hesitates when Granny urges him to knock on the door of the castle. But this is a time of reckoning! I don’t quite know what Granny’s plan is, but with just under fifty pages left in this book, it’s all gonna come down to whatever happens in the next few scenes. Is Mightily Oats a good person without his Book, without his amulet, without the support of anyone else in his religion? Do those things define him, or is he something more?
I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards. I POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
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