Mark Reads ‘Going Postal’: Chapter 7A

In the weird seventh chapter of Going Postal, Moist makes a delivery, and then decides to cause a little bit of trouble. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of transphobia

My Kindle version of this book has the red cover and OH MY GOD, IT’S FROM THE SCENE IN THIS CHAPTER. And what an opening, y’all. Post haste, indeed. But I think it’s indicative of Moist as a character, but only who he’s become since Vetinari gave him this bizarre second chance. I do believe that he remains motivated by the idea that there’s an escape for him at the end of this. He certainly makes reference to that once he realizes that Mr. Pump did not bother to follow him to Sto Lat. So, escape might be possible, but aside from stealing the paper, is he actually working towards that? See, I’m not so sure he is anymore! I think the idea of escape is more attractive than the reality. Because if Moist truly wants to find a way out of this, why did he suffer great personal harm to deliver mail to Sto Lat himself? He didn’t have to do that, or set up a temporary postmaster in Sto Lat, or take a full mail bag back, or any of these things. 

But I’m coming to think there’s another angle here that I hadn’t appreciated before. Moist is competitive, isn’t he? And there’s this aspect of him that compels him to view limitations as challenges. When he is told something is impossible or absurd, he seems to see that as a bet almost. For someone who has been defrauded and conning people for most of their life, it does make sense that he’d continue to try to pull off bigger and bigger challenges for his own satisfaction. I don’t think this is the only way to interpret his character by any means, and I’m loving just how complicated Moist is. The reason I’m focusing on this is because Moist finally begins to see the clacks system as something to compete with in a very direct sense. He notices the inoperative towers on the way to Sto Lat; he sees the increase of workers on his way back, which I suspect is because the lunchtime edition of the Times; Gilt most likely realized that his scheme is costing him because people have turned on the clacks when a genuine competitor arrived. Look at how willing the mayor of Sto Lat was to immediately turn on the clacks! That’s the start of something huge, y’all, and I feel pretty certain we’re going to see more and more ramifications of Moist’s actions in the context of the clacks.

Well, we see it in other ways, too. Holy shit, Miss Maccalariat, y’all. Even if it wasn’t intentional, it was hard not to see her complaints through modern eyes, given that the issue of access to bathrooms has become such a visible controversy throughout the world. Miss Maccalariat’s complaints are absurd because golems are most certainly not cleaning the bathroom so that they can later commit the sort of “hanky-panky” she refers to. There is, unsurprisingly, no evidence that what she claims happens is actually happening, which is why I couldn’t help but think of this same phenomenon happening to trans people. Of course, I wouldn’t say that this matches up perfectly with what’s going on now, and that one line about Miss Maccalariat’s mustache felt a little cruel. But I thought I would bring it up because the similarity felt striking to me. 

I also feel just a little bit satisfied that while reading this, I realized how much Stanley’s pin appreciation fit perfectly as an exploration of stamp collecting, a hobby that mirrors what we’ve seen of Stanley’s love. So it’s very, very fitting that Moist gives Stanley a position that rewards his behavior, that allows him to head up a department that needs an attention to detail and someone who has a vast knowledge of stamps. I mean, I also feel like Moist does this to get Stanley out of his way? I think both things are true, that this position is perfect for Stanley, but also keeps him busy. 

So, we end this chapter with a few hints at the future. First of all, I feel like Moist’s forgery of a letter from Reacher Gilt is not going to work out exactly like Moist wants. Oh, I expect he’ll get the table, but I also think Gilt is going to find out that Moist has conned someone using his name. Which will be… fun. Chaotic! Then, there’s the Smoking Gnu (I CAN’T DEAL WITH HOW CLEVER THIS IS), and I’m very interested why someone wants Moist to know exactly when the Pseudopolis clacks line is gonna go down. That implies they work for Gilt’s company, and it confirms to Moist that the lines go down at scheduled times. But does this person also know that the post office hasn’t delivered to Pseudopolis yet? It feels like a nudge in that direction: Go deliver mail there, Moist! The opportunity has arisen! Oh gods, what if it’s Vetinari??? I would totally believe that.

And finally, there’s Mister Gryle. I’m not so sure that my guess that Gryle is an assassin is right anymore; I assumed the black cloak was a hint, but now I’m doubting that. He did research on Moist for Gilt, and perhaps Gryle is going to be the one who discovers the forged letter at the restaurant. (Maybe???) So, he’s a private investigator who ALSO is cool with committing arson? Argh, maybe Gryle IS an assassin. Either way, the big confirmation here is that Gilt already knows Moist is moving in on his business, and he wants no competition at all. 


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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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