In the eighteenth part of Thud!, Vimes tries to assemble the puzzle. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
HELP ME, I’M SO CLOSE, WE’RE ALMOST THERE. Y’all, I feel like I am bursting at the seams while trying to put this together. The pacing! The excitement! THIS IS SO MUCH FUN TO READ. And now that Sir Reynold has been brought back, I got to read in that terrible voice I’m doing, and it also means MORE PUZZLE PIECES. Let’s discuss those, as there’s a few things I missed before, despite how obvious they are now in hindsight.
“And they dug into the cellars of my museum?”
Y’all, so that means that Nobby was right, yes? Wasn’t he the one who theorized who cut up the painting in the first place? Well, at least now we know how the thieves got into the museum, but… oh god, why the painting? That was the question of this whole entire sequence, and much like Vimes, I was confused by its purpose:
So why the painting? It shows what the box is talking about? Where the box is? If you’ve got the box in your hand, isn’t that it?
Right? If the box has B’hrian’s voice on it, what’s the purpose here? Why steal the painting, too? Not only that, but this whole book, we’ve heard about the secret “hidden” within this painting. Ever since Methodia Rascal completed it, people have obsessed over it, determined to solve the mystery. Even Sybil, whose family owned the original for some time, participated in this strange mythology. So, I hoped that Sybil’s copy would provide Vimes with the last piece he needed. And it made sense that it would; no one had approached the painting with the same context and experience that Vimes had. That could make the difference, right? Except… then all of Rascal’s notes are just ambiguous enough to mean something or nothing at all at the exact same time. And there’s no color, and the painting was set in the wrong place in Koom Valley, and suddenly, this big, important discovery was not as phenomenal as I’d thought it would be. Pratchett does a fine job communicating that tone, that slight disappointment that’s mixed with Vimes’s dogged nature. Even though he isn’t getting the answer’s from Sybil’s copy, and even though he’s deflated a few times, he refuses to give this up.
It’s how he realizes that Mr. Shine gave him a clue, though! Vimes’s persistence pays off, and that’s how he comes to rethink how the painting was displayed. Y’ALL, THE MUSEUM WAS GOING TO EXHIBIT IT IN A CIRCULAR ROOM. And with just one shift of perspective, this whole thing looks different. (A fitting metaphor for the book, no?) What if the painting was done from a central point? What if the whole thing itself is a map that can be used by finding the spot Methodia Rascal anchored it in??? Except… Sir Reynolds knew that. That’s why he was going to display it as such, and there’s apparently a cave that Methodia Rascal mentions as where he made the painting?
UGH THEY’RE SO CLOSE. But not close enough for Vimes. Fulfilling Bashfullness’s promise, Vimes decides it’s time to head to Koom Valley. And why not make it a family affair? Y’ALL I AM SO EXCITED THAT YOUNG SAM AND SYBIL ARE COMING. Does this count as baby’s first police case? YES??? It totally does. And gods all bless Sybil telling off Sir Reynold for trying to say this is too dangerous for her. Sir, she just survived a dwarf blasting her with a flamethrower. I THINK SHE’LL BE JUST FINE. Everyone should be afraid of her, though.
So, one last bit: Vetinari. I don’t think Vetinari would have stopped Vimes at all, and his expression of concern here is because—I’m guessing—he wanted to make sure Vimes thought through this. It’s a little impulsive, yes, but Vimes is doing as Vetinari asked him. How else is he going to drag the truth out into the light? However, there’s one particular part I wanted to highlight because in my zeal to figure out this whole book, I forgot something:
“Vimes, Archchancellor Ridcully tells me he believes it may be a quasidemonic entity that is untold millions of years old!”
Oh. Right. THAT THING. Who we’ve gotten a few POV sections from!!! Yes, okay, so it’s definitely what Ridcully says it is, and it’s absolutely going to be there in Koom Valley, isn’t it? And what a volatile notion: a entity of pure vengeance in a location where multiple parties want revenge. That’s… that’s bad. Really, really bad.
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