In the second half of the tenth chapter of Going Postal, Moist is inspired while in grief over recent losses, and he sets into motion his most ambitious plan yet. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of grief
This chapter starts off at an understandably sad place, but the journey that we see from the death of Anghammarad to that “miraculous” ending is an incredible thing to witness. And it’s not lost on me that what Moist finds here in grief—and I do think he’s grieving the death of a golem and the destruction of almost all of the post office itself—is what makes him useful. What is it that’s useful about Moist von Lipwig? What has gotten him this far?
Being a con man.
And it’s one of the few things I picked up on pretty early: Moist’s identity once he has to be himself. What does that person look like when he cannot hide within an assumed name, a fake history, and his ability to charm practically anyone? Well, from what we see here, that last skill of his doesn’t necessarily have to go away by any means. What strikes me about the second half of this chapter is how much joy there is in it. Watching Moist go about setting up what I imagine is his big endgame is just a goddamn treat, y’all. And he doesn’t start off that way! Staring at the ruins of the post office, he’s fucking devastated. Cynical. Certain that this whole little play is over. And as much as he might chide Miss Dearheart for being a cynic, I think Moist can be one, too, and it pops up again ever so briefly here.
That is, until he realizes who he is and what he can do:
He took off his golden hat and looked at it. An avatar, Pelc had said. The human embodiment of a god. But he wasn’t a god, he was just a con man in a golden suit, and the con was over. Where was the angel now? Where were the gods when you needed them?
The gods could help.
Because of the way belief works on the Disc, I’m curious if this is what Moist is going to leverage. In many ways, Moist is an avatar, thought not solely for the god Pelc referenced. He’s become a figurehead for the post office, and he’s become a person that the people of Ankh-Morpork can rally around against Reacher Gilt and his men. He’s done all of that while wearing that golden suit, so… does that suit hold power? Does Moist have something special without the letters?
I admit I haven’t figured this out yet. So, if I understand it: Moist wrote letters directly to multiple very prominent gods on the Disc, and he used their priests as a way to reach them. The scene between the priest for Offler helped me understand just how unusual this was. But… Moist didn’t just ask for money and to heal Mr. Groat, did he? That’s not his style. No, if this is a con of his—if we use the word “con” loosely here—then there has to be another angle to all of it. What would get the gods interested? What would make them want to do something they had probably never done in the history of… well, ever? Because I assume lots and lots of their believers have asked for money and not gotten it. What would make this special???
I don’t know! But in the meantime, Moist takes up another loose thread—the Smoking Gnu STILL NOT OVER THIS—and makes sure that the post office is ready to deliver to Pseudopolis when the clacks goes down. And, right on cue, they do, which confirms to Moist that this is an inside source, someone who knew when the clacks would go down on a particular schedule. I figure Moist is going to exploit that as well. (Can I guess who it is? Because we have not gotten an update about those men who lived on top of the post office, who Groat visited very early on in the book, and I think it’s them. “Outlaw signalers,” as Moist puts it. Also… DID THEY SURVIVE???)
There’s a lot set up in this chapter, but as I made note of before, I don’t want to get away from how good it made me feel. Now, I know I need to tread a little carefully here because there is a LOT of this book left. (140 pages according to my Kindle.) That is an awfully large amount of book remaining, and this could derail very quickly. But I hate Reacher Gilt, and thus, Moist’s glee is infectious. I just want MORE of it. I want to see him bankrupt Gilt in a week, and I want to see the post office built. Look how much good it has done already! In particular, I’m thinking of the way that Moist—sometimes unknowingly—granted Stanley a means for him to be himself in an environment where he could thrive. It’s so satisfying! So, I want to see this through, and I want to see Gilt DESTROYED.
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