In the fifth part of The Last Hero, the Silver Horde continues their climb, while Rincewind prepares for a fall. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of acrophobia.
I used to have a much more difficult time with heights than I currently do. Growing up, I found bridges terrifying. Cliffsides? I think the fuck not. Canyons, mountains, passes, airplanes? Why are humans so arrogant? Over time, I faced some of those fears, and roller coasters in particular provided me a safe means to get over the majority of my acrophobia. It’s only triggered in specific instances, the main two being the edge of a cliff or the edge of a tall building. (Unless it’s got some sort of device or construction that blocks you from falling off of it.)
I bring this up because I wanted to comment on that stunning illustration from Kidby that’s the view from part of the way up Cori Celesti. The perspective of it is dizzying, and it’s incredible to me that a drawing can achieve this kind of response from me. But the illustrations thus far have been a much needed visual, and I’m so glad that they’re here to help me through The Last Hero. The image of Leonard’s ship! OH MY GOD, IT’S A BIRD CARRYING A SALMON. Which… holy shit, why is he like this.
Well, regardless of how wacky his ideas might be, in execution, they really do tend to work. That doesn’t exactly negate the tension built up in this section of the book. Up until the Kite launches, it’s still just an idea. Sure, there’s a physical ship that’s being constructed, but that doesn’t comfort me (or Rincewind, for that matter) when it comes to it actually plunging off the Rim. It’s such a creepy thought, isn’t it? It didn’t help that it was described as a fall without hitting anything at the end because THAT DOESN’T SOUND GREAT. IT ACTUALLY SOUNDS MORTIFYING.
Here’s the thing, y’all. This is the Discworld series. Almost nothing goes as planned, so I suspect that this trip ‘round the Disc is not going to be as simple as Ponder or Leonard described it. Plus, Rincewind is aboard the Kite, which instantly means something will Go Astray within the first five minutes. That’s just how this world works!
The gods are probably amused by all of this anyway. There’s no rush to stop the Silver Hoarde, who are given opportunities to turn back, and yet they press on! That’s not surprising, though, because… well, it’s the Hoarde. When have they ever given up? When have they ever turned back? It’s not in their nature. As I discussed before, this journey has a special meaning to them, too. This is it! It’s their last hurrah! No vertical climb (I LITERALLY COULD NOT DO THIS, I THINK I WOULD EXPIRE FROM STRESS) is going to discourage them!
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