In the first half of the tenth chapter of The Amazing Maurice, I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW MANY EMOTIONS I AM FEELING. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Oh, y’all, there’s just so much here! ALL THE TIME. This book never stops!
His struggle with trying to manage having a conscience is just SO SATISFYING TO ME. I know that’s nothing surprising to state at this point, but chapter ten opens with a funny—but still realistic—view of what this experience might look like. Maurice has moved beyond his initial concerns and now struggles with what his future might look like. Does he help the other rats, or does he abandon it all to take care of himself? And how does that future look? His plan to “become” a black cat who uses money to seem lucky is brilliant, but he also doesn’t seem to think about all the steps he would need to take to get to that point. Indeed, his current predicament is pretty bad as it is, you know?
And then he finds the rats’ copy of Mr. Bunnsy, and y’all, that image ALONE was a lot to handle. Their book means SO MUCH TO THEM.
Which is why it’s so upsetting that immediately after finding this book, the Rat King invades Maurice’s mind. I AM TERRIFIED OF THE RAT KING, OKAY. I am very nervous about seeing it in the text??? I kind of don’t want to??? Look, it’s very easy, at this point, to assume the worst, and it’s gonna be horrifying. I’M NOT READY.
HE WAS THE MOST UNLIKABLE OF THE RATS AND I CAN BARELY FATHOM HOW SAD I WAS ABOUT ALL OF THIS. His transformation is rapid, but it’s also logical. I believed it by the end, you know? After going through so much in such a short time, he came to understand not everything, but that the world for the Changed rats was much different than the one he started in. He was still very much a rat when he died, but he inhabited a complicated space, too. He wanted to die as a rat did—in the darkness—but he also died aware that the clan of rats that he belonged to had achieved many things that were previously impossible. His rescue alone was revolutionary, and it’s not something that could have happened if they had remained rats. But his death is also a tragedy. How much more change would we have seen had he survived? Had he not gone through something so traumatic? Yes, he had lived a long life (for a rat), but there was still so much potential for him.
And now it’s gone. AND NOW I HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT A RAT.
RATS GIVING POLITICAL ADVICE TO ONE ANOTHER!!! How is this real?!?!? Again, Pratchett does a hell of a job building the rat community to give us such dense characterization, and I loved Sardines’s political advice for Darktan. His perspective touches on illusion and imagery, mostly concerning how Darktan can use these techniques to keep the other rats unified with one another. Darktan is not often as pragmatic as Sardines can be, which isn’t to say that that pragmatism doesn’t exist. That whole bit in the midst of this chapter wherein Darktan speaks highly of Dangerous Beans is evidence that he can think practically. He knows that Dangerous Beans can provide a perspective that the others lack, and that this perspective is necessary to help the rats adjust to life as Changed beings.
The Rat King
Sorry, gotta come back to this again. I suspect that Pratchett invoked this term (a “rat king”), but he’s not going to use it literally. It’s not just going to be a swarm of rats stuck together because of their tails. That wouldn’t really explain how this rat king is able to get in the heads of everyone. (But Keith! Keith can’t hear him. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN.) And Keith’s theory of the rat catchers creating a “masterpiece” in order to secure a spot in the city guild feels like a damn fine explanation, but that still makes me VERY WORRIED about what these kids (or the rats/Maurice) are actually gonna find. If they can!!! Y’all, the Rat King APPEARS TO CONTROL MALICIA??? Is that actually happening, or is she just trying to make it seem like she’s being controlled?
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