Mark Reads ‘Thief of Time’: Part 8

In the eighth part of Thief of Time, Lu-Tze sets his plan into motion. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

I did enjoy this section, but I’ll also admit that there is a lot of set-up for this book, way more than I expected. We’re nearing the halfway mark for Thief of Time, and two of the main characters still aren’t in the right city. Well… that sounds awkward. I get the sense that all this stuff with the Procrastinators is going to be vitally important in the remainder of Thief of Time, so they were in the right place at the right time. But we haven’t had an update on Jeremy in a while, Susan barely left her school, and we have spent a long time inside this monastery. This whole section of the book takes place there, too, and I’m wondering where it’s going to lead.

Still, I was amused by what I read. Lu-Tze is an expert at a lot of things, yet watching him navigate the complicated politics of the culture he belongs to was a wonder. There’s a strict hierarchy to the history monks, but Lu-Tze often knows that he can circumvent that, often by relying on other’s perception of him. It’s related to Rule One, isn’t it? He’s so unassuming as the Sweeper that people consistently underestimate him. And when they don’t… well, he still finds a way to trick them.

I feel like these are the lessons that he hopes to impart on Lobsang. Lobsang’s got something working in his favor that Lu-Tze does not: youth. And people will constantly underestimate young people, so why not use that to one’s advantage? It’s how Lu-Tze more or less manipulates the abbot into publicly banning him from traveling to Uberwald. Now, Lu-Tze has a perfect reason to explain why he went to Ankh-Morkpork to stop the glass clock from being built: he was told not to go to Uberwald. So he wasn’t breaking the rules at all, right?

It’s clever and it’s powerful. Lu-Tze deliberately invokes the frustration he felt (which I don’t doubt was real) when the last Glass Clock got built and he wasn’t there in time to stop it. After doing this, it’s assumed that this is now a very personal vendetta of his. And that’s precisely how Lu-Tze gets the abbot to forbid him from going to Uberwald! BRILLIANT.

So, with the other monks heading to Uberewald, Lu-Tze begins preparations for him and Lobsang to head to Ankh-Morpork. First: what is that reference to the opera house and the Dysk? WHAT HAPPENED THERE? Pratchett leaves it unexplained because of course he does, but it’s gotta be important. I mean… it’s Ankh-Morpork. Practically everything happens there! So it shouldn’t be surprised that this is the case with the Glass Clock. AGAIN. All roads lead to Ankh-Morpork, eh?

WHO ELSE WAS SUPER ENAMORED WITH QU??? Oh, why can’t there be more of him? I say that because I expect we won’t see him again, but I love the idea that this dude just keeps making dangerous and absurd weapons because why not? They’re so specific, like the bowl that spits blades as it flies through the air, is a sharp blade itself, and then explodes into more blades after it’s thrown. That is… that is just so much to put into one weapon, and I love it.

Anyway, I’m eager for them to join the action, and that’s not just because I want things to pick up. Lobsang’s insecurities surrounding his mentor are a meaningful part of his characterization, so I’m curious to see if he’ll start to understand that the lessons Lu-Tze is giving him are important. They don’t seem like they are now, but Lobsang also has a lot to learn about life, and his expertise on manipulating time won’t provide him with the answers he’s seeking.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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