In the second half of the third chapter of Making Money, I have made a mistake. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For talk of death
I genuinely did not expect this, y’all. This wasn’t even the tiniest theory in my mind! I assumed that half the fun of this book was going to be the experience of Moist having to work with someone like Topsy Lavish! Instead, I was actually on to something when I wondered if an external factor would force Moist’s hand and bring him back to the bank. Yep! There would be! And it would all be due to just one meeting with Topsy, and it was enough for her to decide to sign over dog to Moist in her will.
But before I get to the chaos that Topsy has wrought in the wake of her death, let’s talk about her death itself, because help me??? There have been a number of memorable departures in this series, but what I love about Topsy’s is that it is so quintessentially her. And credit, of course, must go to Pratchett for crafting a character this iconic in such a short span of time! Seriously, she was on the page for… what? Maybe 3-4% of this book? If that? And yet, her lively attitude is there right until the end. Y’all, this is genuinely one of my favorite exchanges in this whole damn series:
NOW? said Death. NOW, YOU COULD SAY, COMES… THE AUDIT.
“Oh. There is one, is there? Well, I’m not ashamed.”
“Good. It should,” said Topsy.
I love her so much. I will fight all of you for her death because HOW DARE YOU. Seriously, when Mr. Fusspot started whining? All of you are EVIL and I will get my REVENGE.
From that point, though, Pratchett manages to make a character death hilarious. Even after she’s gone, Topsy still creates chaos and unpredictability, and that is exactly as she wanted it. Even in one of her last words to Death, she said that she “fixed ‘em for good,” referring to her relatives. The will that she drafted is brilliant, y’all, but it also reveals so much about Topsy herself. We know that she married into the Lavish family, and it’s not a reach to assume that the Lavish family does not like her. I am sure we’ll learn that rather shortly! And while she probably did not have much time as the chairman of the bank, I feel like her words regarding her husband’s policies were actually her distancing herself from them. I don’t think she believes the same things as he did! Even if that’s not the case, it’s clear that she doesn’t want the Lavish family to have everything, that there’s an inherent value in turning over the reigns to Moist.
Yet even in that decision, there’s more insight. She clocked Moist in a heartbeat (as did Mr. Fusspot, though for different reasons), determining that he was a thief and a con artist, that he could manipulate and fool and trick people with little effort. And that is the person she wants to go up against the Lavish family, who are probably all thieves and con artists, too! Not professionally, and not in the same context, but they’re apparently awful people. Topsy was clever and observant enough to know that setting Moist on these people would be an effective tactic. Who better to deal with rich people than someone who robbed rich people most of his life?
At the same time, there’s another plot that’s clearly about to intersect with this. I’m overjoyed at how Moist was brought back to the back, and I also recognize why this is so stressful for him. Even before Angua and Carrot show up to deliver the news, Moist is given a plot twist of his own: someone who knows he is a con man is allegedly trying to con him. I feel it’s obvious that this is the unnamed con artist from Big Cabbage. But if he knows who Moist used to be, surely he knows that tricking him is practically impossible? Right? How do you con a con man? No, how do you con a con man like Moist? Look at his INCREDIBLY elaborate plan to get out of the Post Office!!! And that’s not even the “real” plan that he has. Someone like that is prepared for practically any scenario imaginable, so what is this person doing??? Maybe they’re not setting up a con, though. What if that ominous letter is the truth? And if that’s the case, why?
I don’t really have any theories at this point. Unless this is someone who wants to get revenge on Moist? UGH.
Anyway: this book is already so chaotic and energetic. After Moist is given the news that he now owns Mr. Fusspot, and that by extension he now represents Mr. Fusspot’s interests as the chairman, barely any time passes before an arrow nearly hits him and he’s reminded of Topsy’s demand. Which—again!—is exactly how Topsy wanted it. (Seriously, if she’d been alive the whole book, pestering Moist? CHEF’S KISS, Y’ALL.) But this chapter alone has multiple plot twists, the beginning of the next part of the main story arc, two threats to Moist’s life, and then the arrival of the very first member of the Lavish family. I don’t even know what Cosmo does, but I’m afraid. Moist knew about Topsy’s will for the whole of five minutes (maybe!!!) before he showed up! And he has a black coach like Vetinari? Oh, no.
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