In the twentieth and penultimate part of Night Watch, I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW THIS GOT TURNED AROUND. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Y’all, I knew that I had reason to be nervous, and I suspected that the presence of Carcer was going to significantly affect the end of this book, AND YET.
HERE WE ARE AND GUESS WHAT. Still not ready! Despite that I suspected that time might course correct, this is not how I saw it happening. I am hoping the final section of this book answers some logistical questions, but before we get there: wow. I JUST NEED TO SAY THAT. This was a violent and shocking spectacle, and it’s also an accomplishment in suspense. I knew certain things going into this, and because of the way Pratchett organized the reveal of information and the resolution of the barricade fight, we were left in this fascinating BUT NOT FOOLPROOF lull of action. Vimes had saved a lot of people! However, he didn’t know that Lord Snapcase had already ordered Carcer and his men to track down Vimes and have him executed as a necessary precaution. So as Vimes helped organize the dismantling of the barricade, everything felt off. Like he said, he’d been waiting for the other shoe to drop and then it did, but THERE WAS ANOTHER ONE COMING. (Actually, there were two, if you consider Reg Shoe dropping to his knees. AYYYYYYYYYYY, I’m here all night.
And when that other shoe “drops,” this gets REAL FUCKED UP. Again! It’s kind of an ongoing state with Night Watch, but this fight—which opens with the death of Wiglet in a particularly disturbing sequence—was what I was bracing myself for THIS WHOLE TIME. It’s important to note how spiteful and cruel this all is because that is exactly the sort of thing that Carcer would do. Once more, who comes along with him? What’s the justification for it? It’s the same unfortunate dynamic, y’all: They were just following orders!
Well, not everyone, of course. In the midst of the chaotic scramble to survive, I was totally shocked that NED COATES realized that Carcer was The Actual Worst. Which… this is what it took you? This is when you realized that Vimes wasn’t the true enemy? OKAY, I GUESS.
I feel like Coates is a fantastic contrast to Reg Shoe, though. Reg, as disappointed as he was that the “revolution” died, still stood up for what he believed in. He might have been a little cheesy in his execution, but you know what? I’ll take cheesy and genuine over middle-of-the-road and mediocre, you know? I’ll take someone definitively choosing the side of justice and freedom over Coates’s conservative, self-centered viewpoint.
And you know who else definitively chose a side? Vimes. Vimes chose a side, and he tried to save as many people as possible, and then, when the monks pull him out of time, he makes a much easier decision, BUT HE STILL COMMITS TO IT. He barrels his way to Carcer to take him back to his original time, and he does this without knowing what the end result will be. How will these people suddenly have Keel’s face in place of Vimes’s? What details will be the same and what will be different? Will things change in Vimes’s mind, too?
I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE END OF THIS BOOK.
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