Mark Reads ‘Raising Steam’: Part 23

In the twenty-third part of Raising Steam, Moist reveals his secret, and then the attack hits. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

Okay, I TRIED. I tried, y’all!!! Oh, I thought I was so certain I’d figured this out once Vimes stepped out into the fog. Alas, as is often the case on Mark Reads, I was so terribly close and yet STILL VERY FAR. So, Moist hadn’t just made up a promise on the spot; he’s known for a while that the golems where going to be under that bridge in order to help the Iron Girder Cross if necessary. Oh, they were very necessary, but I still love that Pratchett wrote this with a leap of faith of sorts. Moist didn’t know that this would work, and so he had to take a step of trust—quite literally so—in order to make this work. And look, in hindsight, I get why my brain went to “troll.” That comment Vimes made, that it was “like standing on pavement,” made me think of some sort of stone, and from that: troll. Plus, there was a kind of poetry to the notion of bridge trolls literally holding up the train as if it they were the bridge itself. 

But oh my god, all the marching underground, y’all. IT WAS THE GOLEMS ON THEIR WAY TO THE WILINUS PASS. That’s also what Moist and Adora Belle were discussing, too! Well, one of probably a few things, but holy shit. IT ALL FITS TOGETHER. And Moist fulfilled his promises: he got the train over that bridge without incident. Not just that, but the Iron Girder flew. It flew!!! It left the rails and sailed over that gorge, and then it landed on the rails on the other side.

And if you didn’t know about the golems, as I suspect no one aside from Vimes and Moist did, then… it was pretty magical wasn’t it?

Actually, as I said on video, I’m still maintaining that Vetinari will find out about this. He’s got to have some of his people on that train (like the dark clerks), and even if he didn’t, nothing really happens without Vetinari knowing, right? I get why Moist is nervous about all this, but I think he’ll be just fine. Especially once Vetinari is able to ride that train to Bonk himself, which shouldn’t be much longer? They just have to actually build the bridge over the pass, which collapsed, but that’s far more doable when that’s the ONLY thing they have to work on.

Anyway, this whole split is TENSION CITY. Not only did I get to finally see what the hell Moist had planned for the bridge, but what appears to be the last major attack against the train has happened? I hesitate to type that because… well, they still haven’t arrived in Bonk by the end of this split. So, I am allowing myself to still be nervous, even though these characters work WONDERS in order to protect Rhys and the train. As I said in the previous review, I’m so happy that Pratchett is still able to surprise me in his book. That honor goes to the uncoupling of the flatbed from the Iron Girder, which separates Bluejohn, Vimes, and Moist from the rest of the train. I hadn’t even considered that the dwarfs would do that, but it was a good battle plan. 

Unfortunately, as has been the case more than once, the delvers and grags consistently underestimate their opponents, and that’s partially because they assume that they are so incredibly superior. They can’t foresee Bluejohn’s strength or power, so while it was a smart tactic to uncouple the train, they didn’t think about who they left behind on that flatbed. 

The actual fight itself is chaotic and violent, and it yet again features the grags both out of their element and at a distinct disadvantage. I liked how Pratchett made a point of the fact that while the dwarfs have a low center of gravity and might have been well suited to this fight, none of them are used to the rhythm of the train, which makes this whole melee such a mess. Wow… a lot of dwarfs fall or are knocked off the train onto the tracks? Pratchett doesn’t ever say it, but… that’s a super violent way to go, right? 

I know there’s not a terribly large amount of the book left, but I’m still curious. Is there going to be an epic showdown between Ardent and Rhys? Rhys and Rhys’s allies defeated EVERYTHING that Ardent threw at them. (Sometimes, literally threw.) Is there anything that Ardent could possibly have planned to stop them? I can’t imagine so. All that defeat is not going to make Ardent look strong and deserving of the Scone of Stone to his followers. So… what the hell is about to happen?

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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