Mark Reads ‘The Truth’: Part 1

In the first part of The Truth, the dwarfs can turn lead into gold. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

Well, this is a bit different. As I start my twenty-fifth book, I can see some of the sameness that I described at the opening of my reviews for The Fifth Elephant. Pratchett still loves introducing a mystery by giving us a bunch of shorter scenes that are devoid of much meaning because they’re written ambiguously. They’re all hints of what is to come, and at some point l will know who snuck into Ankh-Morpork aside from two names: Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip. I’ll know what the rumor really means, though I suspect that I may have guessed that already.

What surprises me most about the start of The Truth, though, is the fact that Pratchett focuses almost all of this on a new character, William de Worde, who doesn’t die in the first fifteen pages. LOOK, A LOT OF CHARACTERS DIE IN THE OPENING OF DISCWORLD BOOKS, IT’S NOT ME. Worde is… well, I’m not sure what he is. Or what he might have been. Was he always scraping by? Or had he come into this bizarre profession through other means? I don’t actually know. But it was clear that he was making a meager living by – more or less – producing a gossip newsletter for socialites. I MEAN, THAT’S BASICALLY WHAT HE DOES. He sends off that letter with the latest rumors of Ankh-Morpork to Lady Margolotta, Verence, the Seriph of Al-Khali, and a couple others, all with the help of Mr. Cripslock, an engraver.

So when he was on his way to get some letters made, all while a bunch of dwarfs rushed through the streets of Ankh-Morpork, I believed that the cart slamming into William had killed him. And then a crime would be thrust upon the Watch, and… nope. Wrong. Aside from a couple scenes from Nobby’s and Colon’s point of view, there’s no cutaway to the Watch. Perhaps it’s coming? Maybe this introduction is a lot longer than the other books, I thought. Maybe! I think I was right in guessing that one of the figures who watched Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip arrive in the city was Gaspode, and maybe his companion was… Foul Ole Ron?

Educated guess here, friends. And maybe I’m right about that, but I don’t even know what to think of William’s discovery in the opening of The Truth. The last book, The Fifth Elephant, gave us the introduction of the semaphore/clacks system, and this one appears to be introducing movable type to Ankh-Morpork. Which.. holy shit, y’all, I DIDN’T REALIZE THEY DIDN’T HAVE THIS. I guess I’ve never had a reason to question it! Maybe because books existed and I assumed they were mass-produced because… shit, I don’t have a justification for it. I made the assumption because it’s what I’m used to. This explains why Pratchett explained to us how William printed the five or six letters that he sent off once a month. We needed to know that his “job” required work that was annoying or taxing, so much so that he only sent letters off once every month.

So, I’ll posit the same theory here as I did on video: what if that’s the source of the rumor? What if these type plates are made of lead, and someone realized that the dwarfs have “gold” on their hands? Surely, this is going to revolutionize Ankh-Morpork, just like movable type printing presses revolutionized our world. (My god, I’m writing all of this on an iPad, y’all. THE WORLD HAS CHANGED SO MUCH.) I also assume that this might also be a giant disaster because… well, this is Ankh-Morpork we’re talking about. It’s a very active and creative city, and having the power to print things relatively quickly is going to spread, right? And what’s that going to do? Oh, y’all, there’s just so much potential here, and I adore it when books make me think of the possibilities this early into the text. GIVE ME MORE, PLEASE.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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