Mark Reads ‘Wintersmith’: Chapter 6, Part I

In the first half of the sixth chapter of Wintersmith, Tiffany’s birthday arrives, and she spends it fighting off the Wintersmith. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

There’s something poetic in the notion of a birthday landing on the day in which Miss Treason passes out of this world. If anything, this reveal, which comes after the brilliant end to chapter five, only supports the notion that life goes on. Time presses forward, and there is work to do that no one else will do, regardless of deaths, births, birthdays, or anniversaries. 

But from this, Pratchett builds on the notion that there is something deeply, deeply wrong in the Wintersmith. Which isn’t a surprise! We’ve known that from the beginning, but it’s just that there is a more concrete example of its inhumanity, of how it imitates humans but can’t ever reach what we are. And I think that last part is important because it’s not that the Wintersmith can’t behave like a human. Indeed, its infatuation with Tiffany does feel quite human, doesn’t it? I bet a number of us could recount stories of people who have developed unhealthy attachments to other people like this. (I sure could.) But that obsession is still coming from someone who is inhuman, which is why Granny Weatherwax—who makes one HELL of an entrance, mind you—makes this distinction: 

”It!” snapped Granny, rubbing her forehead. “It’s an it, not a he! An it that thinks it’s a he! Now give me your necklace!”

Even though Tiffany’s confrontation with the Wintersmith is short, its still mystifying. I feel like there’s a clue in the way that the Wintersmith spoke to her. She was right to pick up on it saying that she “must be” the one in the Dance. So… what did she look like to the Wintersmith during the Dance? There’s clearly a difference between the two states, or else why would the Wintersmith say this?

“Where is your power? Why are you dressed like this?” the Wintersmith demanded. “This is not as it should be.” 

What is the Wintersmith talking about? What did the Wintersmith see during the Dance??? Clearly, there’s a discrepancy here. But why?

Honestly, there’s a lot to be worried about in this book. Obviously, the Wintersmith is the most immediate threat. But Annagramma and Mrs. Earwig arrive so that Annagramma can officially be given Miss Treason’s home. I genuinely don’t see how this is going to work, y’all. Annagramma is nervous when she arrives—understandably so!—but I’m only now aware of a dynamic that might be a significant impediment to Annagramma’s life as a witch. Y’all, does Mrs. Earwig believe what she says? Or is it an act? Does she plan on teaching Annagramma what it means to be a witch privately while giving off an image to the public, or is that her through and through? Because if it’s the latter, then Annagramma really is going to be woefully unprepared for what’s about to happen, y’all. Like, THIS IS GOING TO BE REALLY BAD. What’s going to happen when Miss Treason’s old steading comes to her to help resolve disputes? Or if they need help delivering a child or a calf? What about all the day-to-day tasks that Tiffany helped complete? Does Annagramma know how to do any of them??? I had an idea while reading this, but… well, I thought maybe that Tiffany would help Annagramma, but Tiffany can’t stick around here anymore, can she?

See, this leads perfectly into the other thing I’m worried about. When Granny Weatherwax tells Tiffany that the horse necklace is drawing the Wintersmith to her, she also says this in regards to throwing it into the river:

“It has to be your choice,” said Granny. “I can’t make it for you. But it’s a small thing, and while you have it, it will be dangerous.”

So, question for y’all that you obviously can’t answer because SPOILERS: Did Tiffany really want to give up that necklace? Or was her intent in tying it to a stick different than what was on the surface? Because if she gave it up without the intention to truly give it up, does that mean the Wintersmith will still try to give it back to her? Belief is so important on the Disc, so she has to believe it’s nothing, that it’s actually meaningless, or else it will always be linked to her. 

I’m real worried. I know a possible ending to this, and IT’S STILL NOT COMFORTING IN ANY WAY.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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