In the first half of the seventh chapter of Making Money, Adora Belle reveals what she found, and Mr. Bent worries about the future. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Well, I guess I know now at least one way how Adora Belle’s plot is going to affect the main one! Y’all, this adds a new source of dread to the story. Granted, I don’t think this is as stressful or suspenseful as Night Watch or Thud!, both of which relied much more heavily on building up to something horrible. Making Money has a much more whimsical tone for me. (Not all the time, of course. Mr. Bent’s mysterious past and that whole Cosmo transformation plot are both DEEPLY unnerving and serious.) Still, there’s an inevitability here. How long until the Lavishes lash out at Moist? How long until Cribbins’s presence can’t be ignored or Moist can’t worm his way out of his past life? How long until Mr. Bent chooses a side? And now: How long until four golden golems of Um come waltzing into Ankh-Morpork and the whole city collectively loses its shit?
Because it’s gonna happen. GOLD. GOLEMS. These beings will be worth more than a fortune; they’re like a hundred fortunes EACH. Probably more! And make no mistake: most people will not see them as living, sentient creatures. They are financial security. They are a means to an end. Could you imagine the mob that would descend on them? I DON’T WANT TO. It’s upsetting! Pratchett has done such a great job through multiple books and through Adora Belle of making sure we know that the golems are people. Not human, of course, and with a completely different way of living and viewing the world, but still. They’re living beings, not tools.
This is why Adora Belle’s mission is so meaningful. I loved the reminder of Dorfl’s journey and how it came to shape the history of golems in such a huge way. In that sense, Adora Belle’s intent here is pure: Those golems were left behind would remain below the earth forever. She is merely providing them with a new choice, one that was impossible before Dorfl and before the Golem trust. They can come to Ankh-Morpork, she can keep them safe, and they can free themselves with a freehold, just as Dorfl had done all those years prior.
But how is this going to work? The dwarfs will find out for sure that Adora Belle is using technicalities to remove the golems from the land she rented. What about Vetinari? Surely he’s going to get involved, too! I also don’t know what information Mr. Flead is going to provide to Adora Belle. What if that changes the nature of this rescue? What if this freehold plan is hopelessly complicated by whatever was etched onto the bodies of the Umnian golems???
With the golem plot slowly approaching—it’ll probably take some time for them to reach Ankh-Morpork and the Golem Trust—there’s a more immediate problem. Which side is Mr. Bent going to choose? It seemed obvious up until this chapter that he did not like Moist and that he wanted Moist to stop messing up a bank that worked perfectly well for hundreds of years. Of course, it worked well only for the people that Mr. Bent approved of, who he considered worthy. You can see that during his lunch meeting with Cosmo Lavish. Mr. Bent is furious that Moist is so persuasive and that he is rapidly changing the bank. However, there’s so much more going on here than just that. My thoughts on Mr. Bent haven’t changed: He is still the most interesting character in this book. During the lunch meeting scene, Pratchett goes on a bit of an internal tangent, giving us some necessary context for Mr. Bent’s personality and his beliefs. There’s still that frustrating ambiguity surrounding the origins of Mr. Bent’s rejection of “silliness,” but that system is spelled out in more detail. But these two parts haunt me:
The ground state of being was silliness, which had to be overcome with every mortal fiber.
That was more than silly, it was inappropriate behavior, a scourge that he had torn from his breast after years of struggle.
There’s that damn wardrobe in his room in Mrs. Cake’s house. So, at some point, Mr. Bent was not like this. Why did he change? What is so awful in his past that he would dedicate his life to being the most serious, non-silly person possible? Because all these little moments have to be leading up to some sort of reveal, but I can’t figure out what that reveal might be. Did someone hurt him? Disappoint him? Does he behave the way he does to protect himself? I DON’T KNOW.
To make matters even messier, though, Pratchett introduces something new in this chapter: the voice of the original Mr. Bent.
And did the Lavishes lavish anything on you? said a familiar little voice in his head. It was a hated little part of himself that he had beaten and starved and punched back into its wardrobe for years. It wasn’t the voice of his conscience. It was the voice of the… the mask.
Okay, but is that mask literal or metaphorical? And why does this voice present as very reasonable? It’s the only one telling Bent to pay attention to the terrible way that he’s been treated by the Lavishes, but it also is ruthless and harsh about him, too. So, there’s a part of him aware that the Lavishes are horrific people. Why suppress that? Is he comforted by the certainty of his job, or is that certainty slipping away ever since Sir Joshua got Bent to fudge the numbers? Ever since Moist showed up? Ever since the bank began to change in such dramatic ways?
WHO IS MAVOLIO BENT, Y’ALL.
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.