Mark Reads ‘The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents’: Chapter 3

In the third chapter of The Amazing Maurice, the rats start their infiltration. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

Well, this was unexpected, but it was a good unexpected!

At the end of the video for this chapter, I remarked that I had figured this book was going to be entirely from Maurice’s point of view. I’m glad my expectations were wrong, though, because this insight into the Change from the rats’ perspective is INCREDIBLE. I love how much Pratchett thought this through, and in the span of just one chapter, he manages to make the rats… well, they seem very human. ALREADY. There are just so many things here I loved:

  • The rats’ relationship to fire has changed. Previously, they ate candles, but now, they use them as we do. But Pratchett takes this idea—which is very simple—and balloons it into a complicated metaphor for consciousness. It’s not just that they’re using candles now; they are aware of light and shadows, despite that before the Change, they frequently lived in the dark. GET IT, THEY LIVED IN THE DARK, OH MY GOD.
  • Okay, I’m being ridiculous, but I really do love it!!! It’s a sign of how the Change has pushed them to be their own community, rather than being part of the greater rat community. And that’s got to be a lonely thing to experience, so they move closer to one another in response. Dangerous Beans’s whole bit about The Clan was awesome, y’all; it’s an acknowledgment of them being separate and different, but it turns that into an empowering thing rather than something to distress over.
  • “It’s odd,” said Peaches, “but we didn’t know the shadows were there until we had the light.” I DON’T CARE HOW CHEESY THIS IS, I LOVE IT COMPLETELY. And I feel like I could write an entire essay on this idea, because it represents how awareness and consciousness works. It’s why “Ignorance is bliss” is such a pervasive aphorism. Once you know, you can’t really unknow things, right? You could apply that to growth and maturity with age, you could apply it to working in social justice, you could apply this to SO MANY THINGS. But here, these rats have been Changed, and it has undeniably affected them. Maybe Hamnpork is in denial about that, and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t take the Change out of his mind.
  • I am just so obsessed with the organizing. I’m just so glad that Pratchett took the time to explain to the reader how these rats enact this con each time. It is an intricately designed system, one that proves just how intelligent these rats are. There’s already a social hierarchy of sorts, based on what each rat is talented at. Most of the rats are in the Number Three platoon, whose job it is to widdle everywhere and gnaw on things to inspire ire in humans.
  • OH MY GOD, THEY FOUND SOMETHING MEANING IN THE BOOK THAT IS QUOTED AT THE START OF EVERY CHAPTER!!!! Darktan developed a unique form of “clothing” because of it!!! I AM OVERWHELMED BY THIS DETAIL.
  • I also love how the various platoon’s activities were catered so specifically to the best possible rats. The older rats who went through the Change were assigned to Platoon Two, who are responsible for the more cunning forms of mischief.
  • I want to protect Sardines the rat at all costs.
  • PEACHES’S WRITING. IT’S SO CLEVER AND AMAZING AND SHE HAS DEVELOPED A PICTOGRAPH LANGUAGE FOR RATS AND THIS IS SO COOL. PERHAPS ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS PRATCHETT HAS EVER CREATED, I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF IT.
  • Amidst this all is Platoon One, the riskiest group, whose job it is to locate traps and report them to Darktan. Pratchett really does give the sense that this group experiences the most losses out of everyone else, and I AM VERY WORRIED. Why?

Because there are no other rats. This one detail is bigger than all of the red flags in the previous chapter COMBINED. Why haven’t they found a single rat anywhere? Are those spiffy ratchatchers really as good as they claim to be? Is there something else going on here

in Bad Blintz? I am stressed about this, y’all.

I’m hoping that the Change has brought the rats an awareness that will save their lives. Maurice does not seem nearly as worried as they are about what’s going to happen in this town, but he’s also not at risk of death as much as the rats are. Plus, at this point, Pratchett has given the reader a much more detailed look at the lives and the community of the rats, so I feel more inclined to protect them than Maurice. What’s going to become of Hamnpork? What of Dangerous Beans? WHAT ABOUT PEACHES oh god I already have attachments to RATS. What have y’all done to me???

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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