In the first half of the eleventh chapter of Going Postal, Moist reveals how he got what he needed. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Seriously, one of the things I’ve enjoyed about reading this book is examining Moist’s identity. It’s something I’ve brought up a few times before. Who is this man without all his alternate identities? When he gets to be himself for an extended length of time, does that mean he borrows from those masks? Or is there a part of Moist that’s always been there, deep down?
This chapter complicates that question, and that’s a good thing. Moist reveals to the reader that the hundred and fifty thousand dollars that the gods gave him is part of a con. That’s not surprising, but I was impressed that this was actually the stash that Alfred Spangler had hid. (It also answers a question I had very, very early on in this book: exactly what did Alfred Spangler do???) So, faced with the problem of the Post Office, Moist doesn’t run away. He doesn’t give up. And yes, I can’t ignore that he does feel disappointed that he can’t keep any of the money for himself. But the impulse here—to provide the city with Hope through this con, while turning everyone against the Grant Trunk Company—still feels like a huge development in his character. He finally decided to give back something he stole, and in this instance, he’d be giving back to Ankh-Morpork. It’s an impulse we’d never really seen, at least not on this level. So what does it mean for the story as a whole? Could you say that Going Postal is about one man’s unknowing rehabilitation of himself? Was that Vetinari’s plan the whole time, or was it merely an added bonus to what Vetinari wanted to accomplish?
Look, I tend to err on the side of believing that Vetinari rarely manipulates or orchestrates things so that there are accidental ramifications. But maybe Vetinari didn’t actually plan for Moist to start to become a good person; maybe he just hoped his shrewd, calculating mind was enough to figure out how to resurrect the post office. In the end, though, I’m not sure how much that actually matters in terms of the book itself. I don’t need this spelled out, because Vetinari putting Moist in this position is enough for me. It’s enough to appreciate how much he’s changed over the course of Going Postal. It might seem strange out of context, but the man actually experiences the reward of doing a good deed, y’all. And granted, that deed hasn’t quite begun yet, and I’m eager to see that, too!
There’s still the other shoe dropping, though, and it’s still Reacher Gilt. I know that the chapter heading hints at a meeting of the board, and I am fully expecting that to escalate to ridiculous and terrifying levels. (And bless this chapter’s insults at the expense of Gilt. THEY’RE SO GOOD.) But what of Tolliver Groat? Is he someone who can change? I imagine that his “clean” bill of health (and I use “clean” lightly) is actually going to inspire him to keep up his natural remedy routine, but also HELP THIS WAS A LOT. Oh my god, the trouserectomy WASN’T A JOKE, they had to SURGICALLY REMOVE HIS TROUSERS. But hey! His routines saved his life; Mr. Gryle would have killed him if it had not been for his “creative” protection.
Mark Links Stuff