In the third part of the fourth chapter of Making Money, ABSOLUTELY THE FUCK NOT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For talk of stalking and obsessive behavior.
Hi, I don’t know if I have ever NOPED right out of a character faster than this. Y’all, this isn’t where I thought Pratchett was taking this story or the character of Cosmo Lavish. But the clues were that, spelled out in all their horrible glory! He told me that Cosmo had the same black coach as Vetinari and had styled his facial in an identical manner. IT WAS RIGHT THERE. And the eyebrow thing!
Y’all, this is so creepy, and I almost used “unbelievably” as a modifier there, but it is 100% believable, and I say that because the first guy I ever got with BASICALLY DID THIS. It was to a much lesser extent, but I found out that he researched my life and befriend people who were close to me so that he could “have” all the same interests in me and impress me. It was UNREAL the lengths he went to mimic me and the things I was into, and I figured it out after a couple months. It was a deeply unsettling and disturbing experience. (Though not my first of this nature; I seriously attract stalkers and people like this with a horrible regularity.) So, I was bound to be unnerved and horrified by this, though I imagine many of you were, too, even if you didn’t have any experience with this sort of thing. This level of obsessive behavior is SO GODDAMN CREEPY, and putting us in Cosmo’s head during all of it? Oh my god, it’s a LOT.
And it also gives insight into how Cosmo perceives Vetinari. It’s interesting to see how he is right about the power that Vetinari has, that the Patrician appears to always come out of things “unscathed,” too. But from that place of wanting to understand power, Cosmo goes to a dark, dark place:
And then one day he’d read in some book or other: “If you want to understand a man, walk a mile in his shoes.”
And he’d had a great and glorious idea…
Yeah, he hires a secretary—the previously mentioned Heretofore, who acquired a duplicate of Vetinari’s ring—to be his Drumknott, and then tasks him with STEALING A PAIR OF VETINARI’S SHOES. Literally, that’s what he wants!!! Granted, Heretofore, well aware that he’s in over his head, doesn’t quite do what he’s asked, but that doesn’t make this any less creepy. Instead of learning Vetinari’s methods, Cosmo is becoming Vetinari. Gods, it’s such an upsetting thought. He really is starting to believe that his transformation won’t just get him closer to unlocking the truth of Vetinari. He actually thinks he will replace him as the Patrician.
What’s Cosmo willing to do in order to achieve that? Oh, theft isn’t even the half of it. There’s poisoning and threats and MURDER. We know Mr. Morpeth was probably killed by Mr. Cranberry, the apparently hairless assassin. (WHY IS THAT DETAIL IMPORTANT.) And then there is the “boy in the hat shop,” who Cranberry killed, too, and Cosmo thought it was a fair fight? I couldn’t tell if he actually believed that or was being facetious.
Regardless: what a NIGHTMARE of a person! Pratchett pulls us into Cosmo’s mind a few times during this section of the chapter, but he also shows us how Heretofore got wrapped up in this and why his initial lie about working in the palace has ballooned into something inescapable. How do you get away from a man like Cosmo Lavish, especially when they have so much money and power? Yet even in this situation, Heretofore believes he might have a genuine way out. But this is a Discworld book! I don’t think his plan is going to work, nor do I think someone like Heretofore will escape accountability. He’s been complicit in a number of murders already, all because he is afraid to reveal that he lied. (Well, he’s also liking the money he’s making, too, though I wouldn’t argue that this is his main motivating factor.) So, what one item does he think he can “obtain” to get the same amount of money as he did for the ring? I genuinely don’t know!
There’s also a brief update about Adora here, and SHE TOTALLY LEFT A GOLEM OR GOLEMS BEHIND. That tunnel collapse was probably on purpose. But why? What did the golems find???
Ah, I want to know. So badly! I also don’t see how that’s going to intersect with the main plot back in Ankh-Morpork. I assume the discovery will have some relevancy to the bank or the Royal Mint? Right?
Okay, back to the Lavishes, who are just… lord. One thing I got from the big final scene in this chapter is that Pratchett really feels like he was having a blast writing this messy, chaotic family. His criticism of them and their ridiculous ways is spot-on. The lawyers! They bring lawyers with them because they’re all suing one another! There is no happiness or love in this family; they are the essence of greed and hoarding wealth. They don’t even want the people in their own family to have money! It’s an all-against-all mentality, and it’s seething. We’re clearly meant to despise these people, and I, for one, will delight in seeing Moist best them all over the course of this novel.
Yet Pratchett goes from that big, messy meeting about the bank right back to Cosmo’s obsessive, frightening thoughts. And in this is something I truly do not understand. (Yet.) He’s convinced that Mr. Bent is the key to getting to Moist, and there’s this bit:
Mr. Bent was… not just Mr. Bent. He was something out of nightmares. At the time the revelation had scared young Cosmo, and later on he’d been ready to sue his father over those sleepless nights, in the very best Lavish tradition, but he’d hesitated and that was just as well. It would have all come out in court and he’d have thrown away a wonderful gift.
I’m sorry, what??? How is Mr. Bent “something out of nightmares”? What revelation is Cosmo referring to? Look, the guy is very particular and is good at math and likes things to be precise, but how is that scary? Is he… a vampire, maybe? There’s some lore about how vampires are compelled to count things, so maybe that’s why he is the way he is? Except that doesn’t really make sense, and he’s been out in the daylight, hasn’t he? Also, vampires are pretty recognizable in this universe, so… what the fuck??? Oh no, I’m back to being 100% unprepared again. DAMN IT.
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