Mark Reads ‘The Fifth Elephant’: Part 8

In the eighth part of The Fifth Elephant, I was wrong YET AGAIN. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

I WAS NOT READY FOR TWO PLOT TWISTS IN ONE PART. HELP ME.

Angua

Look, at least I was slightly in the realm of correct when it came to what Angua was doing because I assumed that she had left Ankh-Morpork to deal with family stuff. I was utterly wrong, though, about who she was traveling with.

First, though, let’s just appreciate that Carrot thought he was chasing down Angua when she knew where he was because he’d made the mistake of garnering the attention of the wolves. Carrot is a smart person, but sometimes, he is Not So Smart at all. The dude would have frozen to death without Angua and the wolves, right??? Or he would have starved. Or run himself ragged! HE MADE A LOT OF BAD DECISIONS, Y’ALL. Out of love, of course, and I got the sense that Angua appreciated that on some level, especially when she found out that he quit his job to go find her.

At the same time, Carrot is in over his head. I AM IN OVER MY HEAD. Wolves and werewolves historically do not get along because wolves know who is a real wolf and who is not. Thus, it’s fascinating to me that Pratchett has introduced a wolf who is a friend of Angua and fiercely so. Gavin (I LOVE SO DEEPLY THAT THIS IS HIS ACCEPTED NAME)… adopted Angua? Welcomed him into his life? Their relationship is only defined by the very short tale that Angua gives us about Gavin rescuing her from some other wolves, and it’s clear she doesn’t want to explain it any further. But there are context clues ALL OVER this story. Not only did Gavin rescue her years earlier, but he also risked his life to travel to Ankh-Morpork to get her to come back home. Why?

Because Angua’s family is gonna do something FUCKED UP. We already got a hint of that, but Pratchett is once again vague about what this means. By doing this, though, he captures my interest. I desperately want to know what it is that is so bad that a wolf came and RETRIEVED ANGUA.

The Currency of Reputation

There are so many great pairings in this book, y’all. We’ve got Carrot and Gaspode; there’s Angua and Gavin now; and let me also praise the electrifying tension between Skimmer and Vimes. They’re thin ice in these pages, and Pratchett does this thing with them where I never know if they’re going to agree with one another or if they’re going to fight to the death. There are few people Vimes likes less than assassins, and now he’s stuck with an assassin pretending to be Vetinari’s clerk WHO IS ALSO A REALLY GOOD CLERK AND TRANSLATOR. (Which is clearly frustrating to Vimes anyway.) I can recognize that after Vimes’s disastrous run-in with the dwarfs, Vetinari was very smart to stick Skimmer with him. How on Earth would Vimes have gotten past them? In his party, he has a dwarf wearing women’s clothing and a troll. HE WAS GOING TO LOSE JUST BY DEFAULT.

Yet I’m also curious to see if the reputation Vimes has gained is going to help him. Because seriously, this is A Lot:

He’d staggered in, covered in blood and mud, carrying a crossbow and, d’you know, when they went back to look there were seven dead men. By the time that sort of story had gone ten miles he’d be carrying an ax as well, and make that thirty dead men and a dog.

VIMES: Ankh-Morpork diplomat and MAYHEM MURDERER. Hey, maybe some good will come of it!

Acting Captain Colon

I CAN’T BELIEVE IT EXCEPT I CAN BELIEVE IT AND I AM SO FUCKING THRILLED BY THIS HUGE PLOT TWIST BECAUSE NOBBY IS NOW THE PRESIDENT OF THE GUILD OF WATCHMEN AND THE WATCH IS ON STRIKE AND THIS ENTIRE TWIST HAS GIVEN ME SO MUCH LIFE WHY MUST I END ON THIS SECTION THIS WEEK HELP ME

ahem. sorry. I’m very excited, I think.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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