Mark Reads ‘Thud!’: Part 12

In the twelfth part of Thud!, Angua and Sally learn more about one another as they track down more clues surrounding Hamcrusher’s murder. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

Oh, I’m just so HAPPY that these two characters got to spend so much time together, y’all. I love that they’re both part-human characters who have some shared experiences, but who have trouble seeing that because they’re “supposed” to dislike one another. We’ve seen all of this from Angua’s perspective, but this long sequence gives us a chance to see things from Sally’s point of view, too. 

So, let’s start with Angua’s search. We’d been told that there was a strange smell inside the mine, and Angua has tracked it down to a specific high-rent neighborhood in Ankh-Morpork. From here, we’re taken on a strange journey, one that suggests a whole new theory as to what’s going on by using clues given thus far. Once Angua enters the old well, her skills as a werewolf take her to more dead bodies. Actually, before that, there’s this:

There were fresh planks in the bottom. Someone—and surely it could only have been the dwarfs—had broken into the well down here, and laid a couple of planks across it. They had dug this far, and stopped. Why? Because they’d reached the well?

So, this is the first major wrench in the story. See, I assumed that the well was a secret and intentional way in and out of the mine that wouldn’t arouse suspicion. But there was refuse covering it up, right? And the well entry doesn’t seem to have been used by anyone but Sally. As Angua describes all this, it’s clear that the dwarfs were looking for something, not mapping out a deliberate set of tunnels:

These tunnels weren’t built to last; they were there for a quick and definitely dirty job, and all they had to do was survive until it was done.

Okay… so… what the fuck? What is this? Once Angua finds Sally, the two of them discover more confirmation that this is much bigger than they initially thought. But I love that Pratchett doesn’t focus solely on this. Indeed, some of Sally’s first words to Angua after she reveals herself echo exactly what we heard from Angua. That the other one has things better. Which is so fascinating to me! THIS IS WHAT I WANTED FROM THIS BOOK AND IT IS BEING DELIVERED. Because from Sally’s perspective, the metamorphosis is easier for werewolves, since they maintain only a single body the entire time. (Unlike vampires, who must turn into an equivalent volume/mass of bats and can only reform once ALL the bats return.) On top of that: female vampires can’t rematerialize clothing??? That’s… odd, right? 

As these two women spend time with one another, though, they begin to get used to the presence of the other, and that is just as fascinating. While there is a competitiveness between them, what I’m hoping is that they appreciate that they each have skills and talents that make them wonderful on their own. But that’s going to take time, and Pratchett doesn’t rush any sort of development. As it stands, while they’re certainly friendlier than they were before, they’re not best friends or anything. 

They are damn good investigators, though, and I would absolutely read their body cop series. WOULDN’T THAT BE GREAT. I mean, look at what they discover here because of who they are. They find more dead dwarfs, who were all killed by axe by… something. I assume it’s that thing that frightened off the other thing early in the book. So, the dwarfs were purposely looking for something, found it in or near the well, it murdered a bunch of them near the well… and then what? They brought it back? They brought Hamcrusher back after he died? Why did they even want it? It’s got to do with all those signs, I’m guessing. But that’s just because I’m assuming Pratchett wouldn’t put them there if they weren’t meaningful. Plus, there’s that one dwarf who wrote a sign in his own blood as he died. Whatever this thing is, it’s real bad, and they… set it free? 

At least there’s some good news here: the fight between the trolls and the dwarfs was barely a fight. Only Vimes and A.E. Pessimal were injured. (Though Pessimal’s injury is kept from us; we only know that he didn’t think it was that bad, others did, and Igor fixed him up.) In short, both parties were just too drunk to do anything? I’d say that this is anticlimactic, but it’s mostly relieving. For the moment, this disaster has been averted. Of course, it’s only a matter of time. The real anniversary of Koom Valley is impending, and I bet something is going to break out then, particularly if the Watch doesn’t determine what really happened in this mine. 

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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