Mark Reads ‘Snuff’: Part 19

In the nineteenth part of Snuff, Vimes and Upshot head for Stratford. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of slavery

Oh, this was so damn suspenseful, and WE STILL HAVEN’T EVEN REACHED STRATFORD. Nor do we know what happened in Howondaland with Wee Mad Arthur. AGONIZING AND UNFAIR. But there’s a lot that has to happen here to set up what’s about to come, and the first thing is: the truth about the most recent kidnapping of the goblins. I still have questions about what the actual system is here, and I think the book is going to answer them. Like… did the people who kidnapped the goblins know they were sending them to Howondaland? Are they enslaved in multiple locations or just that one plantation??? We don’t know quite yet, but I think that detail is important. Again, I still think that this has happened more than twice, too. There’s a whole industry that has popped up because of what humans have done to the goblins, so I think it would be super believable that this has been a constant thing for YEARS now. So many damn people have been involved in it, too, so there’s a definite reason why it makes sense that Vimes is being “nice” to Flutter about confessing all of this. On the one hand, he is really trying to make good on all that he’s done wrong. But Vimes has also made Flutter so comfortable that he’s willing to just kept talking and talking, and Vimes needs every bit of information he can get, especially in such a tight-lipped community.


I truly think this book is as good as it is because of the HUGE increase of the usage of Willikins. So much so that I can’t imagine the book without him! The story doesn’t work either. (Which is a sign of a well-crafted character, y’all. You can’t take out Willikins from Snuff or it’s not the same book.) His scenes with Vimes are entertaining, yes, but there’s just such a joy in how Pratchett wrote all these interactions. Both Willikins and Vimes deeply respect one another, and thus, there’s no posturing here. They can do shit like the extended exchange in this split where they talk around the fact that Willikins was most definitely the one to fire the crossbow at the broom. It’s a conversation that reminded me of a dynamic we’ve seen between two other characters: Vetinari and Drumknott. Is that intentional? Maybe. I can’t say with any certainty. But if it is, it’s a really cool nod from Pratchett that acknowledges the strength of both relationships. Some people just work together well. 

Catching Up to Stratford

I was going to title this section after the boat but I can’t. IT’S TOO MUCH, and Pratchett did this on purpose, and me reading that word repeatedly on video is enough. WHAT A TROLL. Anyway! I had forgotten that Vimes is not a horse person, so this was really fucking funny. And I’m glad that there’s still space for so much ridiculous humor in this book, even if tonally there’s a lot in Snuff that is decidedly not funny at all. I wouldn’t even say that the Discworld books have gotten less funny over time; I think maybe you could argue that they’re not as silly? To me, “silly” and “funny” are two completely different humorous things.

There’s also room for scenes like Stinky being able to help Vimes with his hatred of horses, which BLEW ME AWAY. What sort of magic is that? The horse KNELT DOWN. So that Vimes could get on!!! What the fuck!!! And then there’s the whole “St. Ungulant’s fire” bit, which is not just a reference to St. Elmo’s Fire, but yet another moment in which Vimes has to acknowledge that he doesn’t know everything about goblins and he may never know everything about them. But I think there’s something else going on here. You could take the whole bit with the damn slam, which Feeney describes to Vimes while Stinky is glowing in blue fire, and apply it to the book as a whole. Isn’t this book about the “debris” that’s building up and tangling until the dam is broken, and it “mercilessly” sweeps down to clear everything out of its path? This whole story has been building up to an inevitable break of the dam! I don’t think we’re at that point yet, but this nightmare is going to come crashing to a halt soon, y’all. Vimes is so close to the source, and I think the final showdown won’t be with Straford, but with the magistrates. He has to make it to the people who started all this, and we know the idea came from: Gravid. So I think that will be the dam breaking. 

I admit that I was also very, very confused by the boat’s condition, too. Was this a trap? Why would this thing be sent on such a difficult path during such a hellish storm? And as the three of them—Stinky, Feeney, and Vimes—travel towards the front barge like a game of Frogger (I CAN’T GET THAT IMAGE OUT OF MY HEAD, SORRY NOT SORRY), another questions arises: where the fuck is the crew? There were definitely goblins on board, but… by themselves? Where was Stratford? And of course, just as my questions were about to be answered, I hit the end of the split. Oh god, are they keeping the goblins in CHICKEN CAGES???

Mark Links Stuff

The paperback edition of my debut, ANGER IS A GIFT, is now OUT! If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Discworld and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.