In the first half of the eleventh chapter of Going Postal, Moist reveals how he got what he needed. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Seriously, one of the things Iâ€™ve enjoyed about reading this book is examining Moistâ€™s identity. Itâ€™s something Iâ€™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 thatâ€™s always been there, deep down?Â
This chapter complicates that question, and thatâ€™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. Thatâ€™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 doesnâ€™t run away. He doesnâ€™t give up. And yes, I canâ€™t ignore that he does feel disappointed that he canâ€™t keep any of the money for himself. But the impulse hereâ€”to provide the city with Hope through this con, while turning everyone against the Grant Trunk Companyâ€”still feels like a huge development in his character. He finally decided to give back something he stole, and in this instance, heâ€™d be giving back to Ankh-Morpork. Itâ€™s an impulse weâ€™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 manâ€™s unknowing rehabilitation of himself? Was that Vetinariâ€™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 didnâ€™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, Iâ€™m not sure how much that actually matters in terms of the book itself. I donâ€™t need this spelled out, because Vetinari putting Moist in this position is enough for me. Itâ€™s enough to appreciate how much heâ€™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, yâ€™all. And granted, that deed hasnâ€™t quite begun yet, and Iâ€™m eager to see that, too!
Thereâ€™s still the other shoe dropping, though, and itâ€™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 chapterâ€™s insults at the expense of Gilt. THEYâ€™RE SO GOOD.) But what of Tolliver Groat? Is he someone who can change? I imagine that his â€œcleanâ€ bill of health (and I use â€œcleanâ€ 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 WASNâ€™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 â€œcreativeâ€ protection.
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