In the eleventh chapter of Making Money, Moist makes a decision, and Mr. Bent wakes up. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
You know, I gotta respect the fact that Moist just did it. Pratchett opens this chapter in such an entertaining way because we don’t get to watch Moist pull off his plan. Rather, we find out after it’s already been done, and instead, Pratchett focuses on the reaction to it. We get to see Lord Downey’s rage, and that very brief moment is so telling for his character! Moist solved the problem of the golems, but Downey’s reaction is entitlement. He wanted the golems for his own use, specifically for starting up another empire, and it’s offensive to him that he didn’t even get a chance!
Moist’s solution, though, does benefit the city, even if people aren’t necessarily ready for it. Moist is thinking of the long run and the immediate future by converting Ankh-Morpork to the golem standard. That’s right: the value of the golems (and what they can do) is what will give Ankh-Morpork dollars their value. As Moist puts it:
“I want to base the currency on them! I want to make them into money! Gold that guards itself! You can’t fake it!”
It honestly solves so many problems at once. Pratchett calls back to Moist’s earlier bit about the worth of Ankh-Morpork itself in the explanation of the golems’ value, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Again, I feel like there’s an obvious metaphorical layer here, particularly when you consider this line:
“What is the worth of a gold coin compared to the dexterity of the hand that holds it?”
As I had said before, Moist sees people. And it makes sense that he would view this all through that sort of lens. He’s manipulated and conned people his whole life, so who knows people better than Moist? This might be a stretch, but I saw this as consistent with Moist’s view of the world, especially the ways in which he’s changed since the start of Going Postal. He believes what he’s telling Sacharissa, even if it might come out like he’s bullshitting everyone. Gold in and of itself has no real value. But what of the work that golems can do? What of their dedication and loyalty? Can’t you price that much better? Much more dependably? The golems can also follow an order—I still don’t know how Moist got them to listen to him, though!!!—without being exploited, or at least not exploited as Lord Downey was going to. Some of them will still be used, namely the horses. (GOLEM HORSES. Y’all, that’s so cool!!!) The rest will bury themselves outside of Ankh-Morpork, safe from from being used for terrible purposes, and gold won’t be the standard for money, and EVERYTHING IS FINE.
Yeah, I did not expect this:
“I have also been giving the situation much thought, and all that remains is for me—“
“Oh, no thanks are necessary—“
“—to say, ‘Arrest this man, Commander.’ Be so good as to handcuff him to a sturdy officer and put him in my coach.”
In hindsight, it’s clear that Vetinari had to do this, at least publicly. Moist had been charged with a crime, and the gold in the vault was still missing. Did I believe that Vetinari thought that Moist had stolen it? No, not at all. But he has to give the appearance that he is respecting the law. Actually, I don’t even know if that assertion is right. It’s not like Vetinari is going to secretly release or exonerate Moist as soon as the Lavishes or the press isn’t looking. No, Vetinari is accepting that this is part of the process, and Moist has to go through it because everyone has to go through it. But because the hearing is the next morning in the Great Hall, I also had a thought: what if Vetenari trusts that Moist will pull some ridiculous solution to this all by then? He just did with the golems, so what if he can figure out who stole the gold by 9am the following morning?
Still, I don’t want to ignore the whole conversation that Vetinari and Moist have in Vetinari’s coach. Because even if Vetinari might want Moist to get free, he is also a little pissed that Moist created a separate mess after… well, creating a bunch of messes? SO MANY MESSES. Also, can we just all accept how great this exchange is???
“You know, Mr. Lipwig, killing you right now would solve an incredibly large number of problems.”
“I didn’t intend this! Well… not exactly like this.”
“We didn’t intend the Empire. It just became a bad habit.”
WHEW. And that doesn’t exonerate anyone; it just explains how people can become complicit in something terrible. So, even if Moist didn’t intend this, he still has command over FOUR THOUSAND GOLEMS and has angered a lot of people and while sticking them under the ground might keep them out of sight, is this really going to work?
I think so. There’s still a lot of this book left. THERE IS STILL MORE TO DISCOVER.
So, Pratchett closes this chapter with two unnerving scenes. First, there’s Cosmo’s attempt to get to know Cranberry, his assassin. The whole sequence is disturbing because on the surface, it’s perhaps the most normal that Cosmo has ever seen. But it’s only for a brief moment, and the whole thing is bookended with talk of murdering Mr. Bent because the Lavish family is done with him. Plus, there’s this:
It occurred to Cosmo that he really knew very little about the man. As Vetinari, of course, he would soon know everything about everybody.
Cosmo’s motivation is self-centered and creepy. He is just imagining how Vetinari works and attempting to imitate it. It doesn’t actually matter that he know who Cranberry is, inasmuch as knowledge about Cranberry can be utilized. AND THEN THIS PART IS SO AWFUL:
“Tomorrow I will change,” he said aloud, when the door had shut behind Cranberry.
Hi, no thanks, NOW OR FOREVER. I am genuinely worried about what Cosmo is going to do in these last fifty pages? And what of Heretofore? Oh, god, I’m so NERVOUS.
Of course, y’all must know by know that there are few things I desire more in the known universe than the backstory for Mr. Bent. I have been teased with it for what feels like the entire book. This chapter is no exception! Mr. Bent finally wakes up, gets the story of what happened since his breakdown (or, Miss Drapes’s version of it), and then has a series of perplexing reactions. What the hell is he talking about?
“But I have sinned. Oh, indeed I have! I have worshiped false idols!”
What? What??? From this moment, Mr. Bent begins to transform as “something” inside of him rushes to get out, and I assume that is whatever part of him he repressed from his childhood. I don’t get what that is, nor do I understand why the phrase that unlocks his wardrobe is, “Here we are again!” What did he bring with him??? Why does he ask Miss Drapes who runs the circus? Is that a clue or nonsense? WHY DOES HE NEED A BAKERY OR A LADDER???
I’m not ready. I’M NOT.
Mark Links Stuff
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