In the second half of the sixth chapter of Wintersmith, Tiffany learns of the ramifications of her participation in the Dance. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of anxiety
Holy shit. Okay, so… well, now I have to re-think my perception of the opening chapter, because I’m assuming that’s a possible end, but one where Tiffany saw it all through. So, that would mean she is the Summer Lady in that scene, right? Oh god, if this is just the start of her transformation, then what else is coming? WHAT IS THIS BOOK Y’ALL.
Let me back up and go through this chronologically, as some of my previous questions were actually answered! Hi, who else out there has an overactive and possibly anxiety-riddled mind that prevents them from going to sleep? Why is it that mere minutes before sleep is imminent, our brains decide this is the optimal time to flood us with mental activity? I can be physically exhausted after a nightmarish day, and yet, my mind decides to replay every mistake I’ve made in the past twenty years and convinces me I need to think about them in great detail until the early morning. NO THANKS. And yet, this is what I’ve got to deal with, so I related a lot to Tiffany’s own difficulties with falling asleep. Even her dream felt like an expression of her anxieties. I guess it still could be that, except that it’s combined with an actual reality: out in the sea, the Wintersmith has created an iceberg in the shape of Tiffany. Not a bunch of snowflakes, but A WHOLE ICEBERG. Which might actually be threatening ships??? Who knows!!
But this is supposed to impress Tiffany; it’s supposed to act as some sort of grand gesture to win her over. And Pratchett makes it clear that this isn’t working. There’s still a slight sense that Tiffany enjoys the attention from the Wintersmith, but it’s not written in a way that Tiffany finds this to be a suitable thing for someone to do. Oh, no, it’s clearly awful. It also is triggering complicated feelings and realizations in Tiffany. She has to think about marriage in a context she never has before, and it certainly doesn’t help that Nanny Ogg asks her about it point-blank. Tiffany is at an age when her body is changing, when she may or may not develop romantic feelings for someone, when she may or may not have to cope with other feelings of attraction and desire. It doesn’t happen in everyone, but I feel like Pratchett is tapping into that here. How does Tiffany deal with a world that’s rapidly changing around her and inside of her?
Anyway: WHO WAS THE WOMAN WITH “WORRIED” HAIR AND A “RATHER RED NOSE” who helped Tiffany??? No one else mentions her after she leaves Tiffany’s bedroom in Nanny Ogg’s house. HI, WHAT THE HELL.
Of course, this isn’t even the strangest thing in this chapter. Y’all, I just found out why everyone was so preoccupied with Tiffany’s feet. Y’all, her transformation into the Summer Lady has begun, which makes me wonder if there were other clues that I just missed because I didn’t know what was happening to her. Her bare feet on Nanny Ogg’s floor causes the boards to, more or less, spring to life. She’s got a case of Ped Fecundis, or Fertile Feet, and lord, this is only going to get weirder, isn’t it? Since we don’t see that yet, I did want to talk about something else:
“But I reckon he’s in a bit of a tizzy because he’s never been in love with a human before.”
“Well, he probably thinks he is.”
I LOVE THIS DISTINCTION. As Nanny goes on to explain, we have to understand that the Wintersmith isn’t human, so when it becomes involved in human affairs and emotions, it literally has no clue what it’s doing. Winter weather doesn’t have emotions. (Despite that today’s winter cold here in NYC feels pretty damn bitter to me. I DO NOT LIKE.) So, the Wintersmith does not possess any real maturity to deal with the emotions its feeling. It is infatuated with Tiffany, believing her to be some new Summer Lady, and it has decided that this is love. But love and infatuation are not the same thing, and the Wintersmith doesn’t know this. Oh god, so this is a million times scarier than I thought it was. Someone with an unhealthy infatuation of Tiffany literally doesn’t know how to conceive of the difference between love and infatuation. GREAT.
Look, I gotta appreciate Granny finding the silver lining in all this, though. It’s so FUNNY to me. Hey, if Tiffany’s feet can grow plants instantly in the winter, where’s the harm in using that to get some fresh vegetables? I like how you think, Nanny Ogg. Just wash them! They’ll be fine! It’s not like they’re growing out of Tiffany’s feet. Which… could be a thing? Maybe? Okay, granted, I still don’t know how this Summer Lady/turning into a goddess thing works, and I am guessing the end of the chapter is the confirmation that the next one will explain this to me. But come on! Fresh veggies! In the winter! I swear, it’s a great idea.
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