Mark Reads ‘Thud!’: Part 13

In the thirteenth part of Thud!, Vimes learns why it is so important that he solve Hamcrusher’s murder. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of racism and xenophbia.

Well, I gotta hand it to Vimes; he found a way to “pacify,” so to speak, the two sides before either of them ever took a blow at one another. Is that what he told Two Swords, by the way? To swap out or change what the dwarfs and trolls were going to be drinking? Either way: virtually no one got hurt, and he delayed a disaster. I say “delayed” because, as Vetinari points out during the lengthy meeting he has with Vimes, this is only pushing off the inevitable. I’m not sure I’m onto something with the theory that someone deliberately wants to stoke the flame of prejudice between these groups, as I can’t really figure out who would benefit from such an act. Plus, that doesn’t seem to fit with what we know from the few clues that we have. Some dwarfs were seeking out the “thing” that reappears briefly in this split, and when it got out, it murdered a bunch of trolls… I think? I noted on video that I missed a nuance of what Sally and Angua discovered. It’s very likely that the dwarfs brought along to dig the haphazard tunnels had no idea what they were getting into, and the people who hired them left them locked behind a door to die. Which makes that last dwarf’s end a billion times more upsetting, doesn’t it? 

So, there’s a lot going on here, but Vimes’s meeting with Vetinari is important beyond the fact that it allowed me to take in all the clues thus far. This murder has far-reaching implications because of the complicated politics that surround the dwarfs. As it stands, Ankh-Morpork dwarfs are already in a messy place, and even saying that is an understatement. Hamcrusher’s politics affected countless dwarfs and drew an unknown amount of them to the world of the deep-downers. There is a cultural clash unfolding here that Pratchett has detailed extensively here and in The Fifth Elephant. Thus, it makes sense that dwarfs like Rhys, the Low King, would be affected by all this. As Vetinari states:

“Those clans whose leaders have been dealing with Rhys will in all likelihood feel they have been made fools of, overthrow said leaders, and replace them with trolls too belligerent and stupid to be fools. And there will be a war, Vimes.”

Great. No pressure at all! This crime must just cause a massive civil war between the dwarfs AND spill out into a massive version of Koom Valley, too! Like I said on video, it’s because of this part that I realized that as much as this might be intended to comment on racism and xenophobia, it seems undeniable that Pratchett has also woven into this the power struggles that exist between different cultures. Ethnic groups. Political parties. This is a conflict that has lasted for so long that it seems inevitable to both sides and to outsiders. Look, Vimes is right. If humans start getting killed, it’s only a matter of time before this morphs into the kind of racist/xenophobic rhetoric many of us have seen in Roundworld. So… basically, this is an even bigger mess than I thought it was. 


Which brings me to Brick. We learn in this split that he was the one who broke Vimes’s ribs and broke Pessimal’s arm, and in the final scene, about five separate threads all come together. Angua and Sally update Carrot on their discovery; we find out the latest symbol is for the “Summoning Dark,” which sounds exactly as ominous as it is probably supposed to. MR. SHINE ARRIVES, but their appearance is not a solitary thing. They bring with them Brick, and y’all, it’s finally happening. Brick is going to be able to tell his side of the story, which includes the fact that HE SAW A DWARF MURDER HAMCRUSHER. I suspect, however, that Brick’s drug use is going to be used against him. UGH, WHY IS THIS WHERE THIS SECTION ENDS.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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