Mark Reads ‘The Wee Free Men’: Chapter 6

In the sixth chapter of The Wee Free Men, Tiffany worries that she’s not doing as she should. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.



Okay, I am both overjoyed by this reveal and confused by the worldbuilding implications it reveals. Exactly how much belief goes into this notion that the Wee Free Men all “died” and came to Tiffany’s world, which is their exact idea of heaven? See, on the one hand, this perfectly fits in with what I know of the Discworld. There are more books than I can recall off-hand that deal directly with the theme that belief is powerful enough to make something real. Small Gods is a perfect example of that. So is headology. So is… okay, I could keep going. It’s in nearly every book in this series. Thus, I didn’t initially question this assertion. It makes perfect sense that the Feegles are from another world, they died there, and the universe just folded their afterlife on top of the Disc’s reality. Look, I am particularly amused by this if you accept that the universe started running out of room, and they had to print on the other side of the page so to speak. IT’S REALLY FUCKING FUNNY, OKAY. Tiffany has a hard time grasping it, but I loved it!

And then this happened:

They were crowded with pictsies of all sizes, washing clothes, arguing, sewing and, here and there, fighting and doing everything as loudly as possible. Some had hair and beards tinged with white. Much younger ones, only a few inches tall, were running around with no clothes on, and yelling at one another at the tops of their little voices.

So. Um. Where did those children come from? Does the Feegle heaven operate as a fully complete existence, meaning that you can start families here? If that’s the case, then are you no longer attached to who you were in your last life? Like… if you had a partner or something, does that mean once you arrive in “heaven,” you can start up with someone else? Or do you wait for your old partner? Are partners not even a thing in Feegle society? WHERE DID THE KIDS COME FROM? Did they “die” in their original world and just show up here? Is this more like reincarnation? Like, your “spirit” just appears in someone else’s body/existence in heaven?

WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL THE WOMEN? How is it possible that there are only two Feegle women in total? Are they just not dying in the original world, or… oh my god, this is DESTROYING ME. I feel like the very fabric of time and space is being torn in front of me, and unless any of this is addressed, I am going to forever wonder if the Feegles are actually telling the truth. What if they’re not dead? What if this is all their original existence? I mean… that still wouldn’t explain there being only a couple women, but at least it’s a start.


Changing Perceptions

This is not an easy journey for Tiffany, y’all. The further she drifts into this conflict and this story, the more she learns that life is not as she thought it was. She is shedding misconceptions and assumptions, and that’s painful. And look, I get why she clung to the idea that in some form, Granny Aching was still in the Chalk. It’s a comforting thought to have! The sheep weren’t being killed by wolves, the Jolly Sailor tobacco kept being taken, and life in this part of the Disc still went on. It’s not comforting, necessarily, to think that the world has gone on without Granny Aching. If that’s true, then what was she worth if the Disc can so easily drift on without her on it? As much as Tiffany swears that things are still magical even if they can be explained, this eats at her. She can’t initially accept it at all, and it breaks her heart! Not only is her perception different from reality, but Tiffany has never needed Granny Aching to be alive and in front of her than this very moment. The tragic irony, though, is that when Tiffany is most receptive to what her Granny could teach her, she’s not around to do it. 

I see that as the primary anxiety of the flashback to the shepherdess, too. Death brings about a lack of closure for most of us, and since Granny Aching died when Tiffany was very young, it means that Tiffany never got to fully experience her. She was taken before anything could truly grow between them. So, it might seem superficial or even petty that Tiffany wonders what Granny Aching thought of that figurine, but I completely understood why it freaked her out. She’ll never know if Granny actually enjoyed it or was insulted by it.


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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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