Mark Reads ‘Thud!’: Part 14

In the fourteenth part of Thud!, Vimes interviews Brick. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of addiction

Even though this split is rather short, good GODS is it packed with information. And it leaves me BARELY closer to discovering the mystery of the Ankh-Morpork mine. What the hell is happening here???

…rumbled Detritus, who was watching his new find with a proprietorial air, like a mother hen watching a chick who was about to leave the nest.

Oh, this is absolutely the best dynamic at work in this set of scenes, y’all. I’m pleased that the text offers Brick some sympathy while, through Detritus, allows for some tough love, too. It’s so great to see Detritus take Brick under his wing like this because the truth is that Brick needs someone who is in his corner and badly. And Detritus provides that with no hesitation at all!!! THIS FILLS MY HEART WITH JOY, I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS. 

And then we get Brick’s story, which has some… well, some very interesting details:

And then he’d seen, through a big round doorway, one dwarf hold up another and hit it over the head.

Okay, I assume that’s the same round doorway that Angua and Sally found, right? So, the body was killed near the old well… yes? Except even if I’m right about that, one thing keeps messing me up: the dwarf held up another? Another dwarf? So a dwarf was killed by a dwarf with a dwarf? Or does that mean it just bashed the dwarf’s head in by picking it up and whacking it against something? And how much of this is an accurate observation of what happened? 

But when the dwarf that had done the bashing started to shout, then there was a problem, large as life.

Oh god, why did the dwarf wait until after they had murdered Hamcrusher??? Okay, theory: were they not in control of themselves? Were they reacting to what they had done?

They weren’t interested in what might be behind the door, not yet. They were doing what people do, which is run toward the source of the shouting.

Okay… so how many diggers found this thing? And were some of the dead dwarfs those who ran towards the sound?

“Tell Mister Vimes about the big wukwuk,” Detritus prompted.

So… a really big troll joint? I mean, that’s basically what was described, right??? Something “rolled up in paper, like a cigar,” and made out of “charcoal an’ niter an’ Slab.” Like Vimes, I don’t get this part. Unless… are the dwarfs getting high, too? WHAT THE FUCK. 

“What do you know about Mr. Shine?” said Vimes.

“Er… he a bit like a troll god…” Detritus muttered.

I will also admit to not understanding how Mr. Shine fits into all of this either. His role is fascinating, as I got the sense that the trolls needed someone in their community like this. He helps when you need it, even if you don’t directly react out to him. He’s the reason Brick is even in custody at all, and I bet Mr. Shine knew that Vimes and Detritus could help Brick. Right? 

But as this conversation unfolds, there’s a rather chilling moment in which Detritus calls out Vimes for the way he treats and speaks to trolls. I’m not going to quote the whole passage, but this moment was A LOT.

“Wi’ the dwarfs you have pussy feet, must not upset ‘em, oh no, but what you do if dey was trolls, eh? Kick down der door, no problem!”

I mean… he’s not really wrong about this perception, isn’t he? I feel like Vimes has had more experience with dwarfs over the years, and that might very well be part of the reason he speaks to them and treats them as he does. But I didn’t see fault in Detritus pointing this bias out. So, how is this going to affect Vimes’s visit with Mr. Shine? Will he approach Mr. Shine differently?

Now, onto the conversation with Carrot:

“Didn’t your lads know what they were digging for?”

“No, sir. They just got orders from the dark dwarfs. And different squads dug in different directions. A long way in different directions.”

So, this was an organized effort, then!!! This seems exceedingly messed up, too. They hired dwarfs who didn’t know what they were working for, and… was this intentional? Did they know there was a high risk of them getting hurt, so they didn’t employ deep-down dwarfs? I can’t actually tell. Either way: MESSED UP.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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