In the eighth part of Thud!, Vimes takes an important meeting. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read Discworld.
SORRY, THEREâ€™S WHERE MY MIND WENT FIRST. So, thereâ€™s some ancient creature… like a hiver. Itâ€™s looking for minds, isnâ€™t it? Oh god, what if this is just a brief mention of an actual hiver just so that Pratchett can introduce this:
But just as it leapt to take advantage, something invisible and strong had grabbed it and flung it away.
With a flick of its tail, it disappeared into an alley.
Something stronger? Stronger than a creature thatâ€™s been around since the universe began? So, what the hell is in Ankh-Morpork?
The Pork Futures Warehouse
This was a lot of fun to read, yâ€™all. I was reminded throughout this whole scene just how far some of these characters have come. I believe the last time we see Chrysophrase was in Feet of Clay, which is where his drug-peddling was part of his enterprise. Here, there is a sense of growth, though Vimes is quick to criticize even that. (With that biting line about not killing customers.) Chrysophrase is a troll still in control of the Breccia, but I got the feeling that heâ€™s aware that Ankh-Morpork is on the brink of something huge and unfortunate and disastrous. Heâ€™s still definitely a criminal leader, but even someone in his position knows when a situation will still great disadvantage to him and his people.Â
And Hamcrusherâ€™s death is not going over well. Itâ€™s just not! The narrative that a troll killed him is already spreading, despite that it feels like a red dried swimminâ€™ thing. Itâ€™s too obvious. But who would plant a club in order to stoke the flames of this intra-species conflict? What if itâ€™s not a dwarf or a troll? Because look, I know Chrysophrase has a vested interest in this not being a troll, and I also donâ€™t want to ignore that he is likely thinking of his business interests. A full on racial/species war would likely not be good for him, you know? (Assuming he actually is clean living. I suspect heâ€™s just found another illegal/shady way to make money.) But he snitches on someone who is likely selling drugs. Is that really a gesture of lawfulness, or does Chrysophrase just want to appear that way?Â
Whew, itâ€™s so fun to try to figure it out, and I feel like Chrysophrase is even more complicated of a character than he was before.Â
Eleven Minutes To Six
There is a beautiful, beautiful contrast right in the middle of this split, and I canâ€™t get over it. Vimes is gritty. Rough around the edges. Committed to getting the truth, no matter how uncomfortable that truth is. Heâ€™s a complicated and difficult person, and he made an agreement to read to Young Sam at SIX PM and if he doesnâ€™t make it on time, he will MURDER EVERY CITIZEN OF THE CITY. Iâ€™m exaggerating, but I feel like I have to because of how absurdly dedicated Vimes becomes to making it to Young Samâ€™s reading time. HE LITERALLY PUNCHES A STEVEDORE WITH AN UPPERCUT BECAUSE HE GOT IN THE WAY FOR ONE WHOLE SECOND. He commandeers a four-horse carriage. He pulls a bootleggerâ€™s turn when a swing bridge not where it should be. He hitches another ride on a mail coach. CARROT SHUTS DOWN TWO MAJOR ROADS FOR HIM. Oh my god, this part BROKE me:
Once you had a good excuse, you opened the door to bad excuses.
He had nightmares about being too late.
He had a lot of nightmares about Young Sam. They involved empty cots and darkness.
So as ridiculous as this all is, itâ€™s actually not. Vimes has changed because he has a son, and as typical as that story is, itâ€™s because itâ€™s true. Iâ€™ve seen so many friends of mine become different peopleâ€”almost always better peopleâ€”once they have children. The signs of it arenâ€™t just in the race to get home in time, but in the moment when Vimes finally sees his son:
Young Sam pulled himself up against the cotâ€™s rails and said â€œDa!â€ The world went soft.
Vimes stroked his sonâ€™s hair. It was funny, really. He spent the day yelling and shouting and talking and bellowing… but here, in this quiet time smelling (thanks to Purity) of soap, he never knew what to say. He was tongue-tied in the presence of fourteen-month-old baby.Â
Itâ€™s incredible. The transformation we witness is everything. Itâ€™s worth it all. And I hope the fact that I get to read a book called Whereâ€™s My Cow? means I am reading this actual book??? BECAUSE YES. I will read it to you all like itâ€™s a bedtime story, I swear.Â
Wait, Iâ€™m not done.
Young Sam was fast asleep, with Vimesâ€™s helmet clutched like a teddy bear, and Dribble, always on the lookout for somewhere warm to slump, had rested his head on Vimesâ€™s boot.
HELP ME. I donâ€™t even care about Hamcrusherâ€™s body. I WANT MORE OF SYBIL, SAM, AND YOUNG SAM BEING A FAMILY.
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