Mark Reads ‘The Wee Free Men’: Chapter 12

In the twelfth chapter of The Wee Free Men, Tiffany brings the fight to a more familiar arena. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

Oh, dream logic is so WEIRD. I had a friend ask me recently if I ever had recurring dreams, and the truth is that… not much anymore? I used to a lot as a kid and as a teenager, but they started fading away about a decade ago. I have a couple specific themes that I see crop up in dreams more than others, but I don’t know that I have a familiar dream like Tiffany does. Like, I don’t know what I would escape into in order to gain an advantage over the Queen! (Doesn’t help that all my recurring dreams are nightmares.)

But I do have lots of dreams where I’m aware they’re dreams and can thus move through them as I want, and that’s what I see here as Tiffany tries to return home and “wake up” through this Jolly Sailor dream she’s had frequently. If she’s going to have to navigate this realm in order to escape, why not change the map? Why not bring this fight to a place that is incredibly familiar to her? But I’d actually take it a step further: Tiffany’s logic is that she can use the dream to wake up. In every incarnation of this dream, based on the Jolly Sailor wrapper, she woke up once she opened the door to the lighthouse. Thus, if she can do the same thing and follow the same story, her escape will come in waking up.

It’s honestly some fantastic logic, and I thought she was going to actually pull it off. There were only three chapters left, so it was possible, right??? Tiffany was taking control and using the Queen’s logic against her??? This was going to be fine???

Yeah. I should know better.

It’s important to note that as Tiffany gets close to success here—and lord, she got so close—it’s not her plan that fails. No, it actually worked! The problem is that the Queen manages to get to the Feegle, and their manipulation is what makes this all fall apart. And look, I get it; this was so EASY. She initially tried to trick the Feegle with the giant whale cow (I’M DYING AT THIS, I LOVE THIS JOKE SO MUCH), knowing that they felt almost impossibly compelled to fight it. Even then, Tiffany’s steady guidance keeps them on track long enough for the Jolly Sailor himself to show up, and THE STORY WAS ON TRACK!!! Which was exciting for a different reason. As I mentioned on video, the reader was learning what this story was in real time. It’s not like we knew it beforehand, so that added to the suspense of it all. Would she make it? Would she open the door to the lighthouse and escape?

Again: I thought she was gonna pull it off, but then the Queen had to go and drain the ocean, revealing one of the only irresistible flaws of the Feegle:

It was like looking down into a valley. At the far side, miles and miles away, the retreating sea was just a gleaming line. 

Below them, though, were the shipwrecks. There were a lot of them. Galleons and schooners and clippers, masts broken, rigging hanging, hulls breached, lay strewn across the puddles in what had been the bay.  

Thievery. IT’S THE BEST KIND OF THIEVERY BECAUSE NO ONE CAN STOP THEM. And they can’t resist, and IT ALL FALLS APART. Gods, I hadn’t even mentioned Tiffany’s epiphany about the drome, either, and that is another brilliant part of this. She was leagues ahead of everyone, and then one temptation brings it to ruin. Look, I’m assuming this isn’t gonna turn into some treacherously dark novel in the end, so… they’re not dead? They didn’t drown? Like, maybe the logic of this realm just transported them somewhere else? MAYBE EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE??? Regardless, the final image of this chapter is DEVASTATING. Tiffany saved Roland, but the door COLLAPSED. She’s back home, but she left her brother and the Feegle behind.


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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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