Mark Reads ‘Raising Steam’: Part 3

In the third part of Raising Steam, a lawyer is attained; Vetinari tries to get ahead; the grags arrive in Llamedos. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

Trigger Warning: For violence, bigotry

This is going to be a much bigger mess than I anticipated, and from these opening scenes, I am expecting a LOT. There’s a sense here that’s very reminiscent of the tension in Thud! It’s like Pratchett has created the literary equivalent of dry tinder in the various factors at work, and soon enough, the steam engine will provide the necessary spark to set it all aflame. But for now, we’re still in the set-up. To use another metaphor: Pratchett is putting the dominoes in place, and it’s only a matter of time before they’re knocked over. Then they will be set on fire.

Mr. Thunderbolt

I am unapologetically a fan of Mr. Thunderbolt. I want fanart. Fic. I want everything under the sun for this character. And it’s astounding to me that FORTY books in, Pratchett can still craft a character that both delights me and surprises me. I certainly did not expect Harry and Dick to meet with a troll when they went to the Lawyers’ Guild, but even without knowing the shape of the story in this book, I can already appreciate how genius this is. Mr. Thunderbolt is made of diamonds, which means he can’t lie. And this is a situation where both Harry and Dick are going to need someone like Mr. Thunderbolt on their side. New metaphor: this is all a ticking time bomb. How much longer until some nasty parties get wind of the Iron Girder and try to control it for their own use? I don’t expect that Mr. Thunderbolt will have to intervene between Harry and Dick, as they both have a vested interest in not cheating the other person out of what they deserve or will earn. Harry needs Dick’s expertise; Dick needs Harry’s resources. 

I say that, and watch me be totally wrong. OH WELL. 

The Goblins

YES. MORE OF THEM. I still really enjoy the introduction of the goblins into the Discworld series, and I have faith that Pratchett is going to do something deeply interesting and revealing with them here. The goblins are not truly accepted by everyone in Ankh-Morpork society at this point, but they’re tolerated. Which is not the same as acceptance and certainly not the same as equity. But as we saw in the last split, they’ve taken to the clacks system as if it is the greatest single thing that has ever happened to them.

…until the steam engine. So, we’ve got an innate desire in the goblins to know how things work, so much so that we know they’re gonna obsess over what Dick Simnel has created. I suggested on video that Dick involve the goblins in what he’s doing because I imagine he can benefit from their brilliance while also giving them something that will please them immensely. Well, and hopefully he pays them, but I think Adora Belle’s concern over the goblins not really caring for payment is going to pop up again. Anyway: I see the goblins being very involved in the future of the rail way as it comes to Ankh-Morpork.

A Summoning

I KNEW IT. I mean… it was pretty obvious? Like I said, this book does not open with frustrating mysteries or tender subtlety, and I’m super into it. Why? Because there’s an undeniable energy to the text right off the bat. We know some of the pieces—like Harry King, Vetinari, Margolotta, Moist, Adora Belle, all of the species and their complicated histories—and thus can start to assemble an exciting puzzle. (Which I’m sure Pratchett will sweep off the table because he always does.) So, it’s not exactly an impressive thing that I figured out Vetinari’s actions. As soon as Moist was in this book and the rail way became real, I knew Vetinari would enlist Moist to be a part of the next advancement in the city. I did find it interesting that this is one of the immensely rare occasions in which Vetinari is genuinely caught off guard. Despite talking about the steam engine with Lady Margolotta, he assumed it was still a ways off. But you can’t control ideas of this sort. What we’re seeing is Vetinari in crisis mode, which is… well, it’s only initially unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Then he snaps back to attention, and he’s the Vetinari we’ve come to know over the course of these books. 

So, what exactly is he going to want Moist to do?


HI, THIS WAS SHOCKING? And I did not expect this to escalate so violently and so quickly? So, these grags are not fucking around, especially since they’re now accompanied by “delvers,” which are explained as “the shock troops of the grags.” Yeah, if you’re bringing “troops” (SHOCK TROOPS!!!) to “preach the truth of pure dwarfishness,” you’re not preaching. That’s straight up murderous intent. It’s nightmarish! That means that there’s no domino waiting to be tipped over; there’s no tinder waiting to catch fire. This is happening now. How many other people are going to be murdered by fundamentalists? (I use that word only because it seems to evoke the closest thing to what these grags actually are.) And how is this plot going to intersect with the steam engine one?

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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