In the ninth part of Monstrous Regiment, Wazzer is challenged, Blouse is infuriating, and war is nothing like anyone thought it would be. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
So, some context: this is not my best reading for a video. I didn’t realize how long this section was going to be when I sat down to do it on the night of May 12, and as of writing this, I’m still fresh off finishing the Anger Is A Gift audiobook. (Which I think should be out now??? I don’t know how these things work!) I didn’t get to talk about the actual recording much while it was happening aside from a few updates on Twitter, but y’all: it took me out. I still feel like I’m recovering from it. I only had three and a half days worth of studio time book to read all 39 chapters so it could be edited prior to release date, and I thought… I got this! I read to y’all ALL THE TIME. I’ve been doing it for six years, how different can it be?
HAH AHAH AHA AHa ahahhAHA
Suffice to say it’s very different and somehow even more draining than what I do in my normal videos. I was in a tiny booth that was very warm with a tablet, the PDF of the final version of my book, and I just read. I took a break about once an hour and had lunch, but otherwise, it was like one long Mark Reads video, but with some important differences: mainly, I had to read SO DIFFERENTLY. My pace was much, much slower, far more dramatic for narration, and I couldn’t do that thing where I normally am a few words ahead. So, returning to a regular Mark Reads video and doing it at night and it being a super long chapter… oh god, I kept losing my place, and misreading words and I HOPE TO NOT BE A MESS IN THE NEXT VIDEO. Sorry!!! It’s an adjustment, and I didn’t expect it at all.
ANYWAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE OTHER MESS, WHICH IS: everything happening in this book!
I can’t help but feel bad for these characters, all of who have grown up under a repressive religious regime that has told them that practically everything that they do is evil. It’s familiar to me as someone who had an upbringing that was… well, intense, to say the least. I know what it’s like to have to face a world where all the rules don’t make any sense, but still be terrified of breaking them. These girls are realizing just how absurd the abominations are, but Wazzer still clings to them. What else can she do? Here’s the problem I see, and I was able to pick up on it because it was the same issue I had: What is the alternative? I had no alternative to the religion I was raised in or even the one I chose. There wasn’t an option, and whenever I came upon a contradiction or an absurdity, all I felt was distress. Let’s also add another layer of context to this: Wazzer is in the midst of a nationalistic war, so I don’t begrudge them feeling like they need to cling to their faith, especially when their faith tells them that this terrifying war is just.
Okay, so, let me acknowledge that I’m a dude reading a book by a dude, wherein girls who dress up as men realize that they’re treated differently when read as a dude. It’s not exactly revolutionary by any means, but I did want to comment on two reveals. First: IGOR IS ACTUALLY IGORINA. The first Igor that’s a woman!!! Holy shit, this is FUCKING GREAT, and this is MUCH-NEEDED. Then there’s also Jade’s whole bit about how she’s “nat’rally craggy” but is pressured to “polish” themselves for men, and IT’S SO COOL. Oh my god, the best part of Monstrous Regiment so far is that all these characters are actually women in disguise. I feel like it’s not a stretch to believe that Maladict is, too, so PLEASE?
You know, I used to like him a lot more, but he’s… not so great anymore? Gods, who yells as much as he does, y’all??? I get that he’s supposed to be the more qualified foil to Blouse, who is TERRIBLE at his job, but without Strappi around, he’s just so… authoritarian, if that makes sense? As Polly points out, it’s like he never sleeps, and he’s always ready to criticize someone or remind them of their job. Y’all, he really loves this war nonsense, and it seems that as they all get closer to the front lines, he gets worse. Why??? Why is he so into this? What are we missing??? Again, the guy was discharged and then just… signed back up? Oh god, there’s a reason for this, right?
I just want to say that this is a great name for a horse. THAT’S ALL.
WHO THE FUCK IS BURNING DOWN EVERY SINGLE PLACE THE RECRUITS ARE LEAVING AND WHY. I literally have not a single theory!!! It doesn’t make any sense to me!!! Great, I’m not prepared again.
You know, when you live within a world like that of Borogravia, the Duchess, and Nuggan, it’s amazing the mental gymnastics people go through to make an “exception” to the rules. Light clacks are the “devil” and an Abomination, but getting the information from them? Ah, totally fine. Sneaking up on spies? Not an Abomination! It’s the act of sending light through the sky—not prayer!—that’s the unholy act. IT’S SO DETAILED AND RIDICULOUS, Y’ALL. And I’m certain many of us with strict upbringings had to navigate nonsense like this. I mean, I’ve told stories of some of the funnier ones, like how all television was un-Christian and demonic, but then my mother was fine with us watching The X-Files, which had LITERAL DEMONS ON IT.
Pride is a hell of a thing, isn’t it? Blouse is downright irritating here as he keeps asserting his authority as they try to ambush a clacks tower. EVERY TIME! He has to be in charge, he has to give the orders, and he ignores that Jackrum is way more qualified. Regardless: BLESS THE UTTER CHAOS OF THIS SCENE. Even if Jackrum is qualified, no one else knows what they are doing. Hell, Jade stops someone by literally just standing there, and the soldier dies from running into her. BLESS.
So, they now control a clacks tower and have the cipher. What’s next? Oh god, what are they going to discover while deciphering messages? IT’S GONNA HAPPEN, I KNOW IT.
Mark Links Stuff