Mark Reads ‘Pyramids’: Part 3

In the third part of Pyramids, Teppic is forced to accept that the job he’s training for is… well, it’s uncomfortable at the very least. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

Trigger Warning: For suicide

You know, I still don’t even know if there’s like… a central conflict here? Which is perfectly fine, given my thoughts on a recent book I read for this site that didn’t have one. But I am wondering what the ramifications of this section are going to be, especially since it reveals something huge about Teppic:

He doesn’t want to kill anyone.

Pratchett’s a big fan of irony in his humor, and he often turns things upside-down for a life. I mean, come on, y’all: a pharaoh who hates pyramids. So, there might be a joke in this, but I actually find it to be a pretty thoughtful thing for Pratchett to explore. Assassins can be uncritically lauded within fiction, and instead of taking this route, Pratchett upends our gaze, and we’re forced to think about the implications of being an assassin alongside Teppic’s own examination. And look, even fell into the narrative, believing it to be nothing more than a cool chance to see what kind of tricks Teppic had up his sleeve. But when Teppic is faced with the inevitable, he realizes he can’t kill anyone, no matter what the reason:

No. He wasn’t going to. The sudden decision hit him like a brick in a dark alley, and was nearly as surprising. It wasn’t that he hated the Guild, or even particularly disliked Mericet, but this wasn’t the way to test anyone. It was just wrong.

He chooses to fail, knowing full well that no one has ever met someone who failed. Unfortunately, by a pure stroke of luck, his bolt ricochets off numerous surfaces and hits his target anyway, which we later find out ISN’T AN ACTUAL PERSON. Which is relieving, of course, but that has such horrifying implications, y’all. Does that mean the Guild kills off people who don’t kill a dummy???? If we accept that failed students aren’t seen again and really do die, THEN WHAT HAPPENS? Okay, so Teppic isn’t thinking of these things. He’s more concerned by the fact that he was just trained to ignore the humanity of the person he’s supposed to kill:

“But didn’t you wonder who might be under the blanket, who it was, and why –?”

“I was worried that I might not do it properly,” Chidder admitted. “But then I thought, well, it’s not up to me.”

“But I –” Teppic stopped. What could he do? Go and explain? Somehow that didn’t seem a terribly good idea.

Yeah, how would you explain this to someone who just trained alongside you to kill for money??? Given how much Chidder seems to enjoy all of this, and given how much Arthur has changed in the seven years he’s been at the Guild, I’m guessing that neither one of them is going to be all that receptive to Teppic’s honesty. So, instead, they go have squishi, the Disc’s version of sushi, they get hangunders, and no one talks about it. Ah, denial, you can only last so long. My question: how long? Teppic is now an official assassin with the Guild, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s sent out to kill someone. I imagine that the Guild doesn’t think highly of those who don’t complete their jobs, and I think it’s pretty fair to assume they would kill someone for failure. So are the lawless thieves (I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT’S A REAL THING) about to test that? Will Teppic be willing to kill to protect himself or his friends?

I’m a bit confused about Teppicymon’s role now that… well. He’s dead, right? Right? I expected Teppic to ponder his father’s role as a god, so it’s neat to me that Teppicymon himself questions whether or not he actually made the sun rise. It’s kind of sad to me that he’s spent his entire time as a pharaoh in a state of constant fear and paranoia about his own powers because no one will talk to him about it. He’s so terrified that when he thinks the sun hasn’t risen, he jumps off the edge of the Disc, later seen as a dot in the center of the very sun he thought was gone. Doesn’t that mean that Teppic has to now be pharaoh? Will he have to leave the Guild? DO BOTH? Oh my god, a reticent pharaoh assassin. YES. YES, I WOULD LIKE THAT STORY. Still, Teppic’s going to be crushed once he finds out his father is gone. Bah, I genuinely have no idea where this book is going, y’all!

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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1 Response to Mark Reads ‘Pyramids’: Part 3

  1. jokergirl says:

    Yes, there is a pun in the assassin’s salute. It’s the ancient rub-thumbs-against-fingers sign of “give me money”.


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