In the fifteenth part of Thief of Time, the Auditors face a complication. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
OH LORD, THIS IS NOT GOING HOW I THOUGHT IT WOULD.
Well, I’m getting a sense as to why Pratchett had the completion of the Glass Clock happen so early into this book. How else was he going to explore this phenomenon in all its glory? Because y’all, this is glorious. AND SUPER FUNNY. These powerful beings had a clock built that would stop all time so they could pause humanity, and now they can’t resist becoming the exact thing that they hate. IT IS ABSOLUTELY AMUSING.
First, Mr. White becomes impatient. Like, that sentence seems so mundane, but the Auditors have never felt impatience before. They are the most patient beings in existence! (Except maybe Death.) Yet they bicker over names. They bicker over imagined hierarchies and levels of seniority. They revel in pettiness! Y’all, Mr. White gets in an argument with Miss Brown, urges her to slap him out of curiosity, and then “experiments” by BEHEADING HER. WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK.
It’s so very human, even if it’s disturbing. I am going to hazard a guess here, though: the unconscious man with the bread is… Jeremy? Maybe? We still don’t know exactly where he is, right? Oh, well. THE AUDITORS ARE OFF TO TRY CHEESE, THIS IS GONNA BE AMAZING. Not only that, but they try to learn how paintings are possible, and they do it in the most detached, mechanical way imaginable, and it’s just so funny to me.
Lobsang and Susan
While the Auditors have a petty-off, Lobsang and Susan observe everything while avoiding getting caught. First: How creepy must it have been to see over seven hundred of these things appearing in the city and not know what they’re doing? YEAH, NO THANKS, HARD PASS.
But they’re pretty tough (I’M DELICATE), so what they do spend time doing is… well, Susan does her best to educate Lobsang, who has far less experience with the weirdness of the world. There’s a bit where she relates what the Auditors are doing to Borrowing for too long, which I thought was a pretty neat way to explain this situation. And while Susan is impatient with Lobsang, I think that’s mostly because she didn’t expect to find this kid so soon and have him along for this very strange journey.
Yet I love that she recognizes that Lobsang needs support. IN the video for this part, I remarked that Susan and Lobsang were finding a way to bond over their non-human features, but I’d like to take that a step further. Susan is much like a mentor for him because… well, I’ll let her speak for herself:
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” said Susan as patiently as she could. “This sort of thing always comes as a shock. When it happened to me, there wasn’t anyone around, so consider yourself lucky.”
I feel like this is a pivotal moment in the text, where Susan realizes that not only can she help this kid, but she can relate to him, you know?
And what better way to bond with someone than to GO TO AN ART MUSEUM WITH THEM. It’s honestly one of my favorite pastimes, y’all, but… why? Why did Susan take Lobsang to see that painting? So, she’s always known there are five horsemen??? Why is that important???
I am looking for clues, I AM TRYING TO FIGURE THIS OUT BEFORE LU-TZE DOES. Who was Ronnie? Why did he feel compelled to leave the Horsemen? This feels like a clue:
“…And then I thought, what’s a job that really needs someone with my talents?” said Ronnie. “To me, time is just another direction. And then I thought, everyone wants fresh milk, yes? And everyone wants it delivered early in the morning.”
So… time??? But how is that an apocalyptic thing? How would that be something that would happen at the end of the world? Okay, that sentence makes me sound like I don’t understand how time works. (I REALLY DON’T, WHY DOES IT KEEP PASSING, IT’S ALL AN ILLUSION). Maybe Ronnie was just the threat of time running on without people to observe it? Look, I’m grasping at nothing here, except that I know that Ronnie can also travel through time. Is he Time? But Time still exists and didn’t retire??? Why was his chariot one of “burning ice”?
Oh god, I bet his name is a clue and it’s going to hurt when I realize it was staring me in the face the whole time.
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