In the second half of the first chapter of Making Money, Vetinari nudges Moist in a new direction. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Y’all, I love that the main motivating factor for Moist at this point is BOREDOM. Even better: this is not a ludicrous idea for someone like Moist von Lipwig. This is something we saw in the midst of Going Postal, and it was one of the reasons he almost strayed from the path that Vetinari had put him on. The life of doing good wasn’t challenging Moist anymore. It had no thrill! He eventually found that fun again towards the end of the novel in his battle with Gilt over the Grand Trunk and the clacks.
But what about now? The portrait of the Post Office that we’re given in the pages of this chapter is one of beautiful efficiency. Y’all, he did it. He turned the Post Office into a place that works, undeniably so, and he’s now mired in the sheer organizational nightmare of it all. There are meetings. Memos. Documents. Pensions and wages and taxes and regulations and codes, and all of it has made lives demonstrably better, and Moist is just flat-out BORED.
Everything was all so… worthy. And it was stifling.
But that word is almost underselling what this experience is like for Moist. Pratchett doesn’t deny the great social worth of the Post Office, but he also draws his humor from the very real onslaught of bureaucracy and management. If you’ve ever worked in any sort of position like this, then you’re familiar with much of what we see here. There are the minutes that look “more like hours”; there are the mugs with mind-numbing sayings on them and the people who genuinely find them to be amusing; there are the “acres” of words you have to read; there are the routine aspects of your job that become routine before you even realize they’ve done so.
In short: everything in Moist’s life is safe and orderly and expected, and it is enraging to someone like him.
And Vetinari knows that. Why do you think he offered Gilt the chance to do exactly what he is offering Moist? Why would a thief like these men find these puzzles so tantalizing? It’s the danger. It’s the risk. It’s the sheer impossibility of the task ahead of them that keeps them ticking. Vetinari clearly wanted to plant the idea of something dangerous and exciting in Moist’s mind in the first meeting in this chapter. But what happens here? This is BARELY subtle, y’all. Vetinari flat-out tells Moist that he’s restless, that “life has lost its flavor” for him, that what he has to offer will provide “powerful and dangerous enemies, with every day presenting fresh challenges. Someone may even try to kill you.”
This is all music to Moist’s ears!!! Who cares if he doesn’t know how to run a bunk? Seriously, I know it’s a joke, but the man has stole from so many of them that he probably does know more about them than he realizes. (He knows enough to use the term “usury.” Well, he uses the wrong one first, and I am not going to stop groaning at that goddamn pun.) I also feel like there’s a possible subtle reason for Vetinari choosing Moist for this. Like we saw in Going Postal, events helped show Moist that what he’d done throughout his life had actually hurt people. Did he really do penance or was he truly held accountable for how much he stolen from all those banks? What of the lives he ruined that way? So there’s a poetic justice at work here, and I’m saying that with the assumption that there’s a reason no one trusts the banks. Right? Vetinari says:
“There have been too many failures. They’re stuck in the mud, they live in the past, they are hypnotized by class and wealth, they think gold is important.”
That’s a lot accusations thrown at the bank, and I don’t doubt them at all. So, how is it that the banks became socially associated with the upper class? I feel like Mr. Bent—who I was convinced was a different clerk we had met in Going Postal, so my bad in feeling like I knew who he was—is a possible answer to that. He has a very particular sense to him, you know? Does that extend to who he wants as a customer? I know I’m thinking ahead here, but these recent Discworld books have been rather heavy on social commentary, and I’m actually itching for Pratchett to talk about class and finances, even if class in the UK is very different than it is here. All we know is that corruption is at the heart of the bank, and the only example truly given to us is Sir Joshua Lavish, who was using the bank’s apartment to cheat on his wife. Which… seriously, I imagine Lavish felt he was owed that space, right? The fact that he did it with such regularity is damning, as is the location. So if that man was chairman of the bank, who else is in charge? Is Mr. Bent just like them, or while he be more amenable to changes?
Because I do not doubt that Moist will make HUGE changes to this place, and I clearly believe he’s going to accept Vetinari’s offer. The man is lockpicking his own desk and deliberately trying to break into the Post Office for entertainment. He needs this just as Vetinari needs the bank to run better.
So, one other thing: Did Miss Dearheart find a golem buried in that parcel of land she is leasing? That has to be it! And it sounds like the golem isn’t a typical one, either. I AM VERY EAGER TO FIND OUT MORE.
Mark Links Stuff
– The paperback edition of my debut, ANGER IS A GIFT, is now up for pre-order! It comes out on May 7, 2019. If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.