Mark Reads ‘Thief of Time’: Part 17

In the seventeenth part of Thief of Time, the answer is: chocolate. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

Oh, this is just so terribly silly, but I love it. I LOVE IT. That’s not to suggest that recent Discworld books lacked silliness, but I went into this finale expecting something a lot more serious, and this has been a welcome surprise. Well, there is some cool shit here that’s not the basis for a joke. LET’S TALK.

Weakness

Okay, it’s not necessarily chocolate ONLY, but the Auditors, who possess no real concept of taste, literally pop out of existence when faced with the decadent flavors of chocolate candies. It’s kind of brilliant when you think about it??? They know that it destroys their “human” bodies when they eat it because they have observed it happening to their fellow Auditors, and yet they cannot resist the very act that will banish them from corporeality. THAT IS SO FASCINATING. It’s a commentary on the human body and mind in one sense. We are frequently faced with temptation, and I know that’s a loaded term because we, as members of various communities and cultures, determine what it is that we’re not “supposed” to have. It’s not really an objective, defined thing.

YET LOOK AT THE AUDITORS. In the span of… shit, I can’t use measures of time because there is no time passing here. THAT’S WEIRD. Well, the point I’m trying to make is that they quickly devise these internal hierarchies and rules, then face a temptation that they don’t necessarily need to have. Unity is a perfect example of that! (I LOVE HER NAME, I CAN’T WAIT TO YELL ABOUT IT.) Yes, chocolate is nearly unbearable to her because it’s just so intense, but what I am intrigued by is the way in which she copes with this constantly-shifting reality of hers. Everything is changing all the time for her, and instead of rushing back to certainty and rules and dependability, she chooses to stay human.

Or human-esque.

Unity

Actually, let’s jump into this, because it’s one of the more endearing elements of this book. Unity – previously Myria LaJean, ONE HELL OF A CLEVER NAME OH MY GOD – has one of the coolest character arcs. Her vague interest in humanity turned into an obsession, and now? It’s a desire. This part BROKE MY HEART:

“Please call me Myria.”

“I don’t think I–“

“Please?” said Lady LaJean meekly. “A name is important.”

OH. OH. That’s not just important for this world; it’s important for ours. It fits in with larger themes found in the Discworld series, and it’s one of the most human things I’ve read in these books. The fact that it’s a line given to Unity, though, who later changes her name into something more fitting, means a whole lot more to me. Look, I get why Susan judged her; the Auditors have always been pretty goddamn terrible, and what they’re doing in this story is perhaps the worst thing they’ve ever done! So why should she trust Unity or offer her any sympathy?

Even Susan can recognize the transformation that’s taking place. Unity forces herself to withstand the unbearable temptation she experiences in B&W so that she can stop the Auditors, and that’s a huge thing for her to do.

I REALLY LOVE THIS CHARACTER NOW, OKAY.

Kaos

I get to be publicly embarrassed again: I LITERALLY THEORIZED THAT RONNIE’S NAME WAS A CLUE. HE SPELLED HIS NAMED BACKWARDS. I HATE EVERYTHING.

My instant reaction to this reveal, however, was confusion. It didn’t quite make sense to me. Chaos? Wasn’t there lots of chaos in the world already? How could Chaos have left? Problem was, I was thinking about it the wrong way. Things were not like they used to be, right? And that’s why Chaos left. So what changed?

In terms of large scale organization, there’s never been less chaos. Humans formed cities. Communities. Organizations. Guilds. They made laws. They created rules for how society operates. With each of these acts, more and more Chaos slipped out of the world. As Ronnie states:

“People started worshipping [gods] because they were afraid of me,” said Ronnie.

OH. I GET IT, NOW. And that makes his return to the world so much more vital. The Auditors want to strip the world of all random chance, all mutations and variation, all difference, all uniqueness, all chaos. I could not imagine a more opportune time for Kaos to reappear. Who is Kaos now? Well, I’m guessing that he can define himself on his own terms, rather that the terms that humanity gave him, right? Humans are all frozen in time. What is he without their belief? What can he become in a world if the Glass Clock is broken?

I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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