Mark Reads ‘The Truth’: Part 17

In the seventeenth part of The Truth, the showdown begins and ends. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

What the hell, y’all? I expected this to happen much, much later, and that means THERE IS SO MUCH MORE LEFT IN THIS STORY. How??? These were the two main antagonists??? WHAT DID I JUST READ?

The escalation here is incredible. Just in terms of pacing, I’m so thrilled by this part of The Truth. In just two pages, we’re taken from excitement – William now has Wuffles and is trying to determine the best possible headline for his article – to horror and despair. And even then, I expected a much longer showdown between everyone, but NOPE. Mr. Pin and William only get a few exchanges out before Wuffles attacks Mr. Pin, and an elaborate (but accidental) Rube Goldberg device unfolds, which causes the shack where The Ankh-Morpork Times was born and lived to go up in flames.

It was upsetting, to say the least. I knew that this was a major setback for the team, and even saying that felt like an understatement. That’s not even taking to account the fact that they were all so certain that Tulip and Pin had died, but WE DIDN’T SEE A BODY. WE DIDN’T KNOW FOR SURE. But the destruction of the press was the biggest tragedy here. How could the Times publish their paper, which was more important than ever, without the means to produce it?

Yet only Goodmountain seemed bothered by this, which is A PERFECTLY LOGICAL RESPONSE, FOR THE RECORD. Nothing about his reaction is weird. At the same time, there was a delirious sense of hope in these pages: Sacharissa and William, when faced with the destruction of everything they’d worked on, started to plan more publications. Logistics weren’t important; the inspiration to create more took over them, and I LOVED IT.

I am interested in seeing how these people publish another issue of The Times because I suspect that with the information William has, it’s not something they want to give up on. However, I want to devote space here to talking about Mr. Tulip and Mr. Pin, two of the most decidedly evil and vicious characters in the Discworld universe. I don’t think I ever expected Pratchett to make me understand them beyond them being caricatures of the criminal duo many of us recognize in other films or books or what have you. There was some depth to them, sure, but they were pure antagonists throughout this book. Did I feel bad about Mr. Tulip’s fate? Mostly… no. The dude has murdered more people than even he could possibly recall, and I really don’t have sympathy for murderers.

I did wonder if Pratchett, through that scene with Death, was trying to develop sympathy for Tulip, but I was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Tulip’s violent, awful death was not a means to explain away what he’d done. It’s a beautifully written sequence, mind you, and Tulip initially came off to me like a wondrous, innocent child. (Well, one who swears.) He died, and he believed that if he just felt sorry for what he’d done, that was all he needed to do. I’d argue that Pratchett is commenting on a whole lot more than just Tulip’s life in this section though. To me, it read as a condemnation of the idea that our actions can be excused in the afterlife, that we need not work for a good world here because all that matters is what happens after we die. Tulip certainly never cared about what he did or who he hurt.

Thus, I don’t even know if the images we get here are of his life or what he did to other people. Maybe Tulip became violent after experiencing violence as a child. To quote the esteemed Jake Peralta: cool motive, still murder. Because in the end, Tulip DOES have to answer for his crimes: he must see life through the eyes of his victims.

So where does that leave Mr. Pin, who is just as evil but in an entirely different way? Even though I didn’t innately care for Tulip, I was still horrified at the way he died. Friendship and loyalty meant nothing to Pin, who shoved Tulip to his death in order to survive. And in the end, he became pure fury, a bizarre manifestation of the violence he expected of Tulip and that he doled out without guilt. Until the end, that is. He was tormented by that guilt, all because of Otto, yet it’s William who puts him out of his misery. WHO EXPECTED THAT. NOT I, SAID ME.

But it’s fitting in a way, since Mr. Pin threatened William more than once and tried to stop him from telling the truth.

Well, now what? I DON’T KNOW!!! Where do they go from here????

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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