Mark Reads ‘Monstrous Regiment’: Part 10

In the tenth part of Monstrous Regiment, Polly learns just how dedicated Sergeant Jackrum is. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of warfare.

THIS WAS NOT WHERE I EXPECTED THIS TO GO, OKAY. And while I don’t like Strappi, I suddenly feel like I have a better understanding why he clashed with Sergeant Jackrum as much as he did. It wasn’t just that they had different styles; Jackrum, at least as he seems here, is bloodthirsty. Because of this one scene, I’ve had to re-think my own perception of him, too. Even when he was interacting with Blouse, I found Blouse infinitely more irritating, despite that the whole time, Jackrum was always this person. He just hadn’t been in a situation to bring out this side of him. 

Oh god, that’s why he “rejoined,” isn’t it???


Let me back up a bit, because I definitely wanted to talk about Wazzer before I got to Jackrum. Y’all, this is too real??? And I figured it would be because as a whole, this book is not fucking around, but I just felt… I don’t know. Something close to pity, but maybe not that strong. Wazzer reminds me so much of my own desperate need for faith despite knowing that something was wrong. Here, it seems like she’s aware of the contradictions, but only every so often. Most of the time, she is utterly committed to the Duchess and to the Abominations… except when those Abominations are in the way of her quest.

In this, Pratchett has created a complicated narrative. Gods are real within the Discworld, and since believe powers a god, it’s not unlikely that the Duchess has some sort of godly power. Wazzer truly believes in her, so I can’t say that the Duchess didn’t visit her and set her on this journey to Kneck. At the same time, because we’re getting this Polly’s eyes, there’s a sense of sadness to the text. Polly can’t believe that Wazzer is supposed to take control of the army, and she can’t believe that the Duchess really is the figure everyone claims her to be. So how can she communicate that? I respect that she doesn’t, that she understands how much this all means to Wazzer, and that an honest conversation about what she believes isn’t going to help Wazzer. It’ll probably harm her.

But what happens if Wazzer doesn’t fulfill their destiny? How is she going to deal with disappointment? She clearly escaped something horrific back home. How can she go back?


Now that I know what Jackrum was planning, it’s so easy to see how he manipulated everyone. He purposed toyed with Blouse so that Blouse would send him away. Then, when Blouse and Polly were with the sergeant, he sent all the actually powerful people away so that no one could stop him or the escaping Zlobenian. He plotted absolutely all of this so he could kill the man himself, and even the way he did so—BY SHOOTING HIS CROSSBOW THROUGH BLOUSE’S EAR—was a means of being clever. He clearly derived so much joy from this single act, y’all, and I misjudged him. I misjudged him badly.

I shouldn’t have, though, because HE LITERALLY TOLD EVERYONE WHAT HE WAS GOING TO DO:

“He’s a sergeant, and they don’t deserve no respect at all, sir. I should know. They’re cunning and artful, if they’re any good. I wouldn’t mind if he was an officer, sir. But sergeants are clever.” 

Holy shit, ALL OF US WERE UNPREPARED. Me and the characters??? What the hell???

In the firelight, the grin of Sergeant Jackrum was a crescent of blood, his coat the color of a battlefield sky.

“You are my little lads,” he roared. “And I will look after you.” 



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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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