Mark Reads ‘Wintersmith’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of Wintersmith, Tiffany finds joy in winter. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

I hadn’t thought of this until just now, but the shortening lengths of these successive chapters is actually a really cool decision, intentional or not. These have all been fairly long, so it felt significant to me as I finished chapter eleven that we’d gotten two shorter ones in a row. I see this as a means of accelerating the pacing; the breaks between major scenes are happening with increasing frequency. It helps to propel the reader towards the inevitable conclusion!

But I also can interpret this as something else: it’s the seedling that burst out of the acorn. It’s the flash of green in a sea of white. I still love the idea that Wintersmith is a book of contrasts, and right in the middle of the worst winter that Tiffany will probably ever experience, a package arrives. That package, which came from Roland, contains a gift that changes Tiffany’s life. It’s an expensive paint box, one that even has turquoise in it, to reference the chapter title. And it’s such a thoughtful, meaningful gift, one that shows that Roland is in tune with Tiffany in a way few people are:

Tiffany cleared her throat. In her letters she’d kept right off the whole painful subject of painting. He must have thought she’d like to try it.

The colors in her hands gleamed like a trapped rainbow.

It really is a stunning image, isn’t it? So bright and alive. It belongs here, at this point in the story, because it feels like a reminder of what the world is like outside of winter, you know? And maybe this is what Tiffany also needs at the moment to remind her of the power of the Story. Granny hopes that this story has a life of its own, and to me, this was a sign that it was continuing to take shape. I’m eager to see how Roland will rescue the Summer Lady, but I’m just as invested in seeing Tiffany come into that power, too. 

So, she’s home now. We are ever closer to that opening chapter, to Tiffany’s anger, to the burning fire that she has inside of her. I now know why it’s important that she’s in the Chalk; when I had read the first chapter, I assumed everything had taken place in the Chalk. But that’s not the case. She’s home. She’s back to lambing and helping and being a witch in the place that feels best to her. However, it’s the painting scene at the end that hit me the hardest. Again, it’s like the first bloom of spring, but it’s happening inside Tiffany:

She could feel bits of herself opening up and coming out of hiding again.

It took just one day on the Chalk for this to happen. That gives me hope, y’all. Even knowing what might happen in the end! This is how Tiffany will defeat the Wintersmith: to wake up the world full of color that she possesses. It’s there, beneath the winter, and I’m excited to see how else she’ll find it.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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