Mark Reads ‘The Fifth Elephant’: Part 13

In the thirteenth part of The Fifth Elephant, WHAT HAVE YOU ALL DONE TO ME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

How am I supposed to write about anything else? I’VE BEEN TRICKED AGAIN.

But I’ll try. Dwarf opera, everyone! That’s a thing, and even if I didn’t get to see much of it, I still found it funny that dwarf opera is, to most humans, quite bland. And… well… this thing:

“They’ve only performed the bit concerning the baking of the Scone, really, but at least they’ve included the Randsom Aria. Ironhammer escapes from prison with the help of Skalt, steals the Truth that Agi had hidden, conceals it by baking it into the Scone, and persuades the guards around Bloodaxe’s camp to let him pass. The dwarfs believe that Truth was once a, a thing… a sort of ultimate rare metal, really… and the last bit of it is inside the Scone. And the guards can’t resist, because of the sheer power of it. The song is about how love, like truth, will always reveal itself, just as the grain of Truth inside the Scone makes the whole thing true.”

LOOK, I CANNOT BE THE ONLY ONE WHO REALIZES THAT THIS FEELS LIKE THE ACTUAL ANSWER TO WHAT VIMES WAS TRYING TO DEAL WITH. Like… was there actually something baked into the center of the Scone? What if someone is trying to get at it? “The guards can’t resist, because of the sheer power of it…” Y’all. Y’ALL. THIS CANNOT BE AN ACCIDENT, RIGHT?

I’m only clinging to this because I was steamrolled by this book in the very next scene. Steamrolled. Flattened. Kicked off a cliff. Pratchett’s got some plot twists in the past books, but this one took me out. Of course, the signs were there! Why else was the clacks tower destroyed unless someone wanted to make sure that news of Vimes’s arrest couldn’t make it out of Uberwald? Why attack Inigo Skimmer? Why invite Vimes in the first place? OH GOD, THIS WAS ALWAYS A SET UP IN THE WORST WAY, WASN’T IT?

I’m jumping ahead, of course, because I don’t even know how the hell Pratchett is going to resolve this. It felt rather convenient, didn’t it? Right after Vimes confided in Dee that he believed someone pretended to be the Captain of the Candles, the disaster hits. Now, it’s entirely possible that this was just a coincidence, and you know… it probably was. But it feels like a very pointed message, doesn’t it? Vimes got too close, and thus, he was framed. Framed rather publicly, I might add, in a situation that was bound to end badly for Vimes because of one detail: Vimes touched the King. I’m guessing that the ax in his back was from one of the dwarfs who stood watch on the king, but someone set that chandelier loose, hoping it would take out the king OR the next best option: Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch.

But Vimes survived. The Low King survived. So, whomever set this whole thing up tried to kill Vimes in another way: by leaving a one-shot crossbow in his pillow. How does that guarantee his death? Because a one-shot crossbow would get him out of his cell and right into the clutches of a bunch of “uncomplicated” dwarfs who would most assuredly kill him. It’s a devious plan, but Vimes is a step ahead… sort of. He gets out of his cell in a daring escape, tells a dwarf that he could have killed him but did not (which I assume is a way to ultimately prove his innocence, right?), and then… gods, what does he do next? This cliffhanger is so rude because this is one of the first twists that feels completely hopeless. Vimes is out of his cell, but he’s still underground. His escape is not going to look very positive, so even if he makes it back to the embassy home, what then? Never leave? I doubt he could escape Uberwald even if he tried.

Whew, this is a LOT.

I am thrilled to confirm that I will be a Guest at CrossingsCon 2017! Badges are now available, so COME HANG OUT WITH ME THIS SUMMER.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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