Mark Reads ‘Unseen Academicals’: Part 23

In the twenty-third part of Unseen Academicals, the gang gives a warning, the team rejects salads, and the game is almost here. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

I GOT A THING RIGHT and then I wasn’t prepared at all.

The Meeting

Holy shit, I love it when characters I don’t expect to interact are all in the same room. It was only initially surprising that Lady Margolotta was in Vetinari’s office. Because of course she visited him! But I love that the timing of it meant that she’d see Glenda again and meet Trev. At this point, the only thing I really need is a reunion between the Lady and Mr. Nutt. It has to happen, right??? Anyway, before I get to the beautifully chaotic confrontation of Vetinari, Pratchett drops one HELL of a revelation in the midst of the conversation: 

‘But, of course, there is still the Loko business to sort out. The dwarfs still want total extermination.’

‘How many orcs are there?’

‘Nobody knows. Perhaps Nutt will be able to find them.’

So, it’s not like it was ever definitive that there were no orcs of any sort left. And I did figure out that the Loko reference was a reference to what Nutt is. But there are definitely more of his kind! And Lady Margolotta thinks Nutt can FIND THE OTHER ORCS? Oh my god, talk about being useful. What a perfect mission for him!!! Look at all he’s learned here in Ankh-Morpork and under the Lady; he could help rehabilitate other orcs? I WANT A WHOLE BOOK OF THIS, Y’ALL. 

Anyway: I do feel better about the outcome of this football match for two reasons. The first is that the meeting with Vetinari did confirm that he’s well aware of how chaotic and violent the game could be. And I don’t think it’s going to be peaceful and fair! Rather, I think a couple wildcards—namely, Mr. Nutt and Trev—are going to keep things interesting. Again, I can’t ignore that if it came down to it, Mr. Nutt could easily wipe out the entire AMU team. Is he going to? No. He’s too aware of how other people view him, and after he nearly lost it upon “remembering” that he was an orc, he’s done such a good job at keeping everything at bay. Will the game test that resolve? Oh, most definitely. But I think he’s going to fine. The second reason I’m a little more certain—but still nervous as hell!!!—is the incredible micromail piece that Pepe made for Trev. I knew it!!! I was right about another thing! Allow me this celebration! So, I think the game will be violent, but Trev’s got another thing to his advantage. 

Okay, so: there are a few smaller things I just want to call attention to before I move on. First:

The battle of the stares went on for a year too long and then Lady Margolotta turned her head away sharply—

AHHHHHH, GLENDA WON THE STARING WAR WITH THE LADYSHIP. I didn’t even really notice it until Vetinari pointed it out. I just… y’all, this whole interaction was so electrifying and funny. Glenda truly does not give a fuck most of the time, and it’s so fun to watch her stand up to people who are so much powerful than she is. Look, I honestly didn’t think they’d cross paths after Glenda mistook the Ladyship for someone else, but here we are!!! This was so damn satisfying, I swear. 

‘How can a man live without pasta?’ said Bengo. ‘This is barbaric!’

Sports perspective for y’all: before a cross country race, a track meet, or before a big game for the one semester I played soccer in high school, the most common meal we were told to eat was pasta. I have no idea if there is any truth to carbo-loading before these sort of events, but it seemed to work for me and my teammates. We’d eat pasta the night before a race, have a decent breakfast on days we had an afternoon run, or have something very light if we raced in the morning. I loved seeing this detail in the text!

‘The point is they are friends. Partners in adversity. They are a team. That is football. You have to train a team to be a team and I will have no problem with them having a very large breakfast in the morning.’

He’s so good, y’all!!! It continues to impress me, though I’m not surprised. This is what he does: he finds ways to get into the heads of these players and unite them without them even being aware of what he’s done. It’s brilliant! 

And even Glenda found that her automatic, unthinking cynicism was letting her down.

I talked about cynicism in the last review, and it was cool to see this acknowledged in the text again. I still think Pepe is more cynical, but it’s true that Glenda tends to assume the worst of everything around her. In this case, Juliet and Glenda are being offered an opportunity they may never have again, and look… why not take it? 

There’s a logistical reason I’d take it, though. This match, however it turns out, will probably get real ugly. Perhaps Juliet and Glenda will be safer where Madame is sitting? Ugh, y’all, I am not that cynical about how this book will turn out, but I can’t deny that I’m nervous. What the hell is about to happen???

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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