Mark Reads ‘Wintersmith’: Chapter 4, Part I

In the first half of the fourth chapter of Wintersmith, Tiffany is embarrassed by a bizarre development due to her dance with the Wintersmith. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

So, there are two really funny things at the start of this chapter that I want to point out. First:

They say that there can never be two snowflakes that are exactly alike, but has anyone checked lately?

HI, I HATE THIS. Because it just snowed here in NYC on the morning that I’m writing this (December 30th), and all I can think is… are we sure there weren’t just two identical flakes during that snowfall? Just two? NO ONE CHECKED. Oh my god, why does Pratchett keep doing stuff like this to me? (I want all of you to know that I literally cannot see either “hors d’oeuvre” or “ground coffee” anymore without thinking of this goddamn series. RUINED, I TELL YOU.) Am I forever going to wonder if there are just two flakes the same and all the rest are different? Just two! That’s all I need.

And the second point: 

It was called You, as in “You! Stop that!” and “You! Get off there!” When it came to names, Granny Weatherwax didn’t do fancy.” 

Okay, this is actually a GREAT name for a pet. Like, utterly fantastic, and I’m mad that I never thought of it before. 

Anyway, let’s get on to more serious things! I like that this book jumps around POV a lot more than I expected to. I know that the other Tiffany Aching books did, but this one goes to such interesting places. While Tiffany is still dealing with the fallout of her dance with the Wintersmith, Pratchett includes a very vital scene between two of the adult figures in Tiffany’s life. Which is actually pretty rare for books aimed at young adults! But it works here so well because of what Miss Tick and Granny Weatherwax talk about. It makes sense that Miss Tick would want to intervene, while Granny Weatherwax sees it more important that Tiffany solve this problem herself. It fits their teaching styles, first of all. But I also think this makes it clear that Pratchett is intending to give Tiffany the space within this story to mess up. I feel like my reading of the text was closer to Miss Tick’s reaction to this, too, since she talks about Tiffany’s intent and her youthful obedience. But Granny’s point is more prescient: Tiffany has to see this through to “the other end.” I don’t know if that end is the same one we saw in the first chapter, and I also know that Granny Weatherwax believes completely in the power of a story. So what story does the Wintersmith want to happen?

At this point, I imagine Tiffany just wants this all to go away, and I’m guessing that’s part of the reason she’s so deeply embarrassed by this all. In the community of witches, this is now a very public event, right? Witches would notice that the snowflakes are all the same and that they’re all a stunning likeness of Tiffany. So now, Tiffany’s mistake is known to everyone instead of just being confined to her, Miss Treason, and the Feegles, and lord, that’s not fun at all. But I wonder how Tiffany feels about this knowing it’s because this figure, this pseudo-deity, has taken a liking to her. Even if she might have complicated feelings for the Wintersmith, I don’t feel like Tiffany is exactly flattered by this display. It’s creepy as hell, isn’t it? So that’s one aspect of the embarrassment I commented on during my video reading because I know how shameful this feels. It happened to me in high school when a girl I absolutely did not like misinterpreted my friendliness as attraction, and she made it a point to tell as many people as possible that we were dating, despite that I had barely spoken to her. Thus, this very bad moment became worse once other people knew about it. It’s not perfectly analogous to Tiffany’s situation, of course, because there’s a shame that comes along from messing up publicly, too, and I imagine that plays a part in this as well. 

There’s also a REALLY great section here that surprised me with Roland’s POV. I’d assumed that we’d just hear about him through Tiffany’s section, but I’m very interested in learning more about what he’s going through. Because lord, IT’S NOT GOOD. Roland’s father is in bad health, and his two aunts—Danuta and Araminta—will get to control the estate if the Baron dies before Roland is twenty-one. What little we’ve seen here shows that Danuta and Araminta thirst for power. Even before given control of the estate, they’ve already started tormenting Roland, so much so that he locks himself up in the tower any time his aunts are awake. He only eats when EVERYONE IS ASLEEP. They’ve ransacked the estate for anything they can sell, and the Baron isn’t even dead yet! I don’t see how this is going to fit into the greater story, though. But I’m eager for more!

And finally, there’s Miss Treason. Not for much longer, of course! Y’all, she just announced her death. And there’s no reason for me to believe this isn’t going to happen! She’s going to die in just over a day, she knows it, she seems fine with it, and she is for damn sure having a funeral that she gets to attend, which is perhaps one of the most badass ways of going out that I could think of. The timing of it is… a lot. I get Tiffany’s reaction to it! Of course it’s selfish, but it’s her first instinct. In the midst of the Wintersmith closing in on Tiffany, Miss Treason is about to leave. Well, at least that’s how it feels to Tiffany, even though death really doesn’t work like that. 

So, is this how the Wintersmith gets to the Chalk? Because Tiffany has to go back home? UGH WHAT’S HAPPENING.

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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