In the eighth chapter of The Wee Free Men, Tiffany faces the first nightmare in the Queen’s Land. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
You wanna know how I knew this was gonna be an endless nightmare? Because this is my current nightmare scenario:
The cold was like little needles all over her skin.
YEAH, I NEED PERPETUAL SUNSHINE AT THIS POINT, I’M FINE, NO MORE WINTER, WE’RE GOOD OVER HERE. Y’all, I don’t have to wear thick coats over seven hundred layers anymore. Do you know how happy I am? That seasonal affective disorder hit me REAL hard, and this sunshine is like the most thorough soul bath I’ve ever taken. IT’S TRUE, I AM BARELY EXAGGERATING.
Okay, my ridiculousness aside: I can only imagine at this point just how much more fucked up this is going to get. See, I was fine with the onslaught of grimhounds that came upon the group at the start of this chapter. We’d seen them before; we knew they could be defeated. Part of the way fear works for me is in the unknown. It’s when I don’t know if a creature or a nightmare has a weakness that it affects me more. Plus, the Nac Mac Feegle were prepared! Specifically, William was ready, and “The King Under Water” was a perfect and eerie deterrent for these hounds. We were fine! All was fine! That whole effect like a video game rendering its background as you move closer to it was… well, it was disconcerting, but it was fine! I could deal with that!
The air was cold and dead, like the air in old cellars.
Well, I’ve lived my whole life in states where cellars aren’t a thing, so I don’t have any real experience or understanding of this phenomenon, so I’m still okay.
The light grew dimmer as they reached the forest. In between the trees it became blue and eerie.
Oh… okay. That’s weird. I don’t particularly like that.
No birds, she thought.
Yeah, sure, that’s… not good. Creepier than the other details.
“Time passes slower the deeper you go intae this place,” said Rob Anybody quickly. “Years pass like days. The Quin’ll get tired o’ the wee lad after a coupla months, mebbe. A coupla months here, ye ken, where the time is slow an’ heavy. But when he comes back into the mortal world, you’ll be an old lady, or mebbe you’ll be deid.”
See, I was ready for this because I’m somewhat knowledgeable about fairy worlds and their messed up worlds. This is pretty standard for fey dimensions, you know? So they definitely need to get out as quickly as possibly, lest too much time pass in Tiffany’s normal world. Right?
She stopped and scraped some snow away from the base of a tree, and just for a moment there was nothing but grayness where it had been.
Oh, no, this isn’t fine at all, and I don’t like it and then WHAT THE FUCK WHY DID SHE SUDDENLY WAKE UP? Oh, y’all, that was it, the transitional point in which Tiffany’s fears became so strong that the Queen’s world fully took over. Of everything that happens here, I think it’s the quiet domesticity of it all that just fucked me right the fuck up. Normalcy is twisted for Tiffany, just a little bit from what she knows. Her bedroom is the same, her mother was at the sink and washing dishes, and it’s her home, so everything is fine, right? It’s not weird that her mother isn’t talking, right?
Oh gods, y’all.
The walls were shifting. The floor moved. And now the thing turning around at the sink was not even human but just… stuff, no more human than a gingerbread man, gray as old dough, changing shape as it lumbered toward Tiffany.
HI EVERYONE, I HATE THIS, AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN AWFUL ON ITS OWN, BUT IT WAS ALSO ONE OF THE ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE EDITION I’M READING FROM AND: HARD FUCKING PASS. What the fuck!!! No!!! It’s mouth! Those eyes! I’M A GOOD PERSON, DON’T DO THIS TO ME.
Dromes, y’all. Dromes! I haven’t ever heard of them before, so I don’t know if this is a Pratchett invention or some sort of rare fairy creature. Either way: I still hate them. And this is just the start, isn’t it? What other nightmares of Tiffany’s might the Queen throw her way? What about Feegle nightmares? Do they even have them???
But this whole thought process is overwhelming to the point that Tiffany has to acknowledge that she is going to truly face some awful shit. Not just that, but she’s going to have to do things that seemed unfathomable to her in order to defeat the Queen and get her brother back. It’s in the midst of this that she remembers Granny Aching teaching a peddler a violent lesson in how to treat his donkey. There was no traditional magic there, either, just a direct demonstration of how pain doesn’t work as a good motivational technique. Tiffany realizes:
Is this what being a witch is? It wasn’t what I expected! When do the good bits happen?
This book is all about Tiffany learning the truth of the world, and sometimes, the truth hurts. ALSO: SOMETIMES, TINY GLOWING CREATURES BITE YOU AND THREATEN YOU WITH POETRY??? I DON’T EVEN KNOW.
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