In the second half of the second chapter of Making Money, this already feels like the most chaotic book yet. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I just… this wasn’t what I was expecting. And that’s intentional, wasn’t it? Pratchett told us about past chairmen, and I assumed that the newest one would be exactly like the others, and NOPE, NOT EVEN CLOSE. The sheer chaotic energy of Mrs. Lavish is just too much for the pages of this book. I can’t deal with her, THIS IS AMAZING. But it’s so exciting! Mrs. Lavish was, as far as I can tell, left out of her widow’s business. And now that he’s dead and she has fifty percent of shares (with that crucial one percent going to her beautiful gremlin of a dog, Mr. Fusspot), she needs help running the establishment. And look, Vetinari is a clever, savvy man; he knew that this opportunity was his only chance to truly change the bank in Ankh-Morpork!
Even then… oh my god. There is no single detail of Mrs. Lavish that I could name my favorite. The swiveling crossbows??? Her laugh? The way she inspects Moist when he’s brought to her office? SHE ALSO CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED MOIST AS A FRAUD. IT’S INCREDIBLE!!! But even with this, Mrs. Lavish is unexpected. She knows that Moist is a “trickster, a charlie artful” and a “liar,” and yet she knows that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good person. As she interacts with him, she quickly comes to respect him. But watching Moist accept that he couldn’t con or manipulate this woman was probably the best part? Y’all, he just starts telling her the TRUTH. Like what his real name is and where his treasure trove from the gods actually came from.
And it’s refreshing because none of this is what I thought it would be. The bank and the Royal Mint is a mess, and while Mrs. Lavish is, too, it’s a very different kind of mess. She’s more than capable of running… actually, anything. Like, literally make her in charge of anything on the Disc, and I bet she’d be good at it. The problem here is one of knowledge. She doesn’t know how to run a bank, and her dead husband had very particular beliefs about what his bank was for. Actually, who it was for:
“No poor people, then?”
“Not in banks, Mr. Lipwig. No one with an income under a hundred and fifty dollars a year. That is why socks and mattresses were invented. My late husband always said that the only way to make money out of poor people is by keeping them poor. He was not, in his business life, a very nice man.”
This feels like a companion to Vimes’s boot theory, and it’s one of those things that Pratchett absolutely nails. I actually did not have a bank account until I was 19 years old, and it only lasted less than a year. My debit card got stolen, and the bank believed that I was lying and had used my card to buy drugs and alcohol. (Which… are easily purchasable by debit card at 19? And somehow, none of those transactions ever showed up? Look, I knew absolutely why they believed this. I was young, brown, and they had their own ideas of what kind of person I was.) It took years for me to have a bank account again, and when you don’t have a bank account, entire portions of the world are simply not available to you. I couldn’t buy things online in those days. (Not that I necessarily trusted online stores like we do now, but still.) I had to cash my checks at those predatory check cashing places that took part of the check and often tried to get me to sign up for cash advances on my paychecks. I literally had my money in a rubberband under my mattress for a long time, too, and because I had cash all the time, it’s why I lost so much money once when I got mugged. I had coincidentally been on my way to get a money order to pay rent.
So, here’s my question about this bank: Does Mrs. Lavish want to change this? Or is she like Mr. Lavish? Does she believe that only rich old ladies deserve access to a bank? I can’t tell, to be honest! She seems to want Moist around to help with the bank, but she also sends him to Hubert because Moist is “confused” about “finances,” and I don’t know what the HELL that means.
You know who definitely isn’t up for change? Mr. Bent. Oh, I have no doubt that Mr. Bent, aside from wanting to NEVER take care of Mr. Fusspot again, would ask for any changes in how this place is run. Look at his counting house! He wants things to be precise and exact, and he considers the counting house “the heart of the bank.” And it makes sense that he believes this! He swears by numbers and their certainty, and thus he sees himself as the last line of defense from errors. And the whole panopticon desk arrangement??? LORD.
So who is Hubert? What is a Glooper? Why is Hubert’s office located in the cellar? I AM AFRAID.
Mark Links Stuff
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