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7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 0 replies · +26 points

Do trolls have ritualized battles for other trolls to bet on?

Given that hitting each other is generally a way to talk for trolls, this would be the equivalent of a troll joining the debate team and learning how to make a proper argument.

7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 2 replies · +47 points

And in this book, Perdita has fully become another personality that goes around inside Agnes, with a mind of her own...

We also discover that she in fact goes farther back that previously assumed; she seems to have started as an imaginary friend and convenient scapegoat when Agnes was little. Whether or not she was named Perdita back then, we don't know... but it seems like Agnes, when reaching her teens, remembered her "cool" imaginary friend and tried to model her own new persona after her.

The problem is that Agnes created Perdita by first giving her all the attributes she thought were cool but didn't herself possess (thin, beautiful, confident, unashamed, always ready with a witty or snarky comeback, bit of a rebel), and then as Perdita became more like a separate identity Agnes inadvertently built her up by adding all the parts of herself that she did possess but wished she didn't (nastiness, a tendency to be judgmental).

And then, as Perdita had emerged as a fully-fledged personality of her own, Agnes discovered three things:

1: Perdita was an extremely unlikeable jerk and not the sort Agnes would want to be friends with at all.
2: Perdita was also not the sort who would even remotely like or feel sympathy to a girl like Agnes.
3: Perdita was now stuck as a separate mind and annoying voice in Agnes's head that refused to go away.

And that's where it stands. Because, as we see now and have had hints of before -- when Agnes is feeling particulartly upset, distressed or scared, or just has a weak moment -- Perdita might take over the body.

Agnes is a really unlucky girl... then again, as we see here, perhaps Perdita does have her uses...

7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 4 replies · +44 points

It's actually fascinating to see how Perdita has developed over the course of the books. Remember back in Lords and Ladies, when "Perdita" was just an identity Agnes had created for herself so that she would seem more "witchy" and fit in with Diamanda?

Even back then, when "Perdita X. Dream" was merely an alias, she was a clear persona made up of all the things that Agnes wished she could be -- thin, elegant and cool. -- or at least "cool" as the fifteen-year-old, fat and decidedly uncool Agnes defined it. (Not much is made of Agnes's weight in this book, though there is a passage where she desperately wishes she was thin like Diamanda; and tries to at least be pale like her.)

Now, this was a thing that all the girls who followed Diamanda did, they gave themselves new names and tried to be someone they weren't. The difference between them and Agnes was of course that Agnes actually had some natural talents for witchcraft and magic... and when you start creating a persona for yourself you sometimes risk getting stuck with it.

This of course happened to more people in Agnes's first starring book, Maskerade, like poor Henry Slugg who got stuck as his alternate persona Enrico Basilica -- but in the case of Agnes it becomes a lot more literal.

After Diamanda's coven fell flat, Agnes found that being a witch wasn't what she thought it was, and that when she got a better look at it, it didn't seem very tempting after all. So she left to seek a new life in Ankh-Morpork... and maybe, if Agnes hadn't joined the opera and decided that she should try to take up "Perdita" again, that would have been it.

But as Perdita X became synonymous with all the things Agnes was not but wanted to be, she... sort of grew. She became her own person. Agnes began attributing all her hidden thoughts, desires and little nasty houghts and impulses to Perdita. And as the book continues, you can definitely see Perdita taking form.She begins making internal comments about the situations, like Agnes's "inner Perdita-thoughts", but towards the end of the book she's grown strong enough that she can even override Agnes occasionally and use Agnes's mouth to say all those nasty things Agnes wouldn't.


7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 1 reply · +21 points

Agreed... Omnianism as presented here has a definite "Post-Brutha" feel to it. If his death happened within the last decade or so, it would make sense for the church to be a little "directionless" afterwards.

7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 3 replies · +33 points

I know that Pratchett was getting rather tired of Rincewind as the series grew on, but felt he had to feature him in stories still because Rincewind was the original protagonist of the books and remained one of the most beloved characters.

Now, personally, I think the Rincewind books are still very fun, and often get a bit of undeserved bad rep, but you can see that Pratchett's coming from slightly different places when writing the Rincewind books.

The Watch and the Witches, the two series who are getting more prominence, both have far more complex main protagonists: Vimes and Granny are both very similar in that they are cynical and often nasty by nature, but hold themselves to very high moral standards. They are both far more introspective, multi-faceted, and conflicted that the simpler Rincewind, who is so unashamedly himself.

Where Rincewind is in many ways praiseworthy because he accepts his own limitations and doesn't try to be anything he's not... he's also disappointing in that he never tries to improve himself either. Which means that all conflicts for him has to be external, and since he runs away from most of them, they tend to flow by pretty fast.

You can contrast this to Vimes who is constantly trying to be better than he was, and whose books are chronicling his personal journey, or to Granny, who is always The Best and who because of this always has to be The Best. Obviously they are going to be able to carry more complex plots.

Or that's what I think anyway. ^_^

7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 0 replies · +8 points

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7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 7 replies · +56 points

While Pratchett has claimed that the Discworld book happen in chronological order, Small Gods is a bit of
a special case. After all, in the last few pages of that book a hundred years pass, and the book ends with Brutha's death at 116. So, a lot of fans have wondered, which part of Small Gods was chronological? Did the bulk of the story happen in present-day, and then tthe last part was a hundred years in the future... or did the main story happen a hundred years in the past, and then flash forward to present-day and a 116.year-old-Brutha?

There seems to be a bit of a general consensus that the latter is the most likely. Certainly, the way Brutha is talked about here it seems pretty clear he's dead (and that he's been dead for at least a few years).

And this makes the most sense to me: Omnianism as we see it here is very clearly not the same Omnianism as we saw back in Small Gods.

We've seen it in previous books too; Omnians have showed up and they're not the fiery, murderous "torture and set fire to the infidel" religion that they once were. Indeed, we all remember good old Visit-The-Invidel-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets, and his friend Smite-The-Unbeliever-With-Cunning-Arguments. That's more the line the Omnian church has gone on... and we notice that they seem to be arguing a lot more about the interpretations of old texts. In the old days, arguing or questioning would lead to death by torture... nowadays questioning and arguing is the norm.

But let's look at Nanny Ogg's reaction to Omnianism. Verence insists that they don't set fire to people anymore, but Nanny has Heard Stories. I think it's vital to remember that news don't travel fast to Lancre, Onnia is on the Klatchian continent, and Nanny is an old woman. We don't know just how old, but she's in her late sixties/early seventies at least. It's not too hard to imagine that the Omnian reform took decades to spread, even with Brutha's work, and so Nanny might very well have grown up with horror stories.

When the Omnians go around now, they just give people pamphlets that say things like "you are a sinner and will suffer eternal torture unless you repent" -- but while they don't actually do anything about it, it's pretty easy to take this as a threat, and there's this underlying, sneaking suspicion that one day they're going to break out the torches... after all, they did it in the past; the Omnian church has a long history of murder and torture and how do we know they aren't just on a short break and are planning on picking it up again when they've had a bit of a rest?

So while the Omnian reform has indeed gone Disc-wise at this point, there are still people left who remember growing up with stories of Omnians who were far more lethal...

7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 0 replies · +72 points

The cow story is a sad one, which can be pieced together by the non-chronological information we get.

There was a cow in the barn, there was a thorn in the cow's leg, the cow was upset and annoyed, and kicked out. Then it kicked highly-pregnant Mrs. Ivy, who was hurt in a bad way and went into labor. Granny Weatherwax was called and found that she could save either the mother or the child, but not both. And so she made the hard choice.

This is really what the "what's he done to me that I should hurt him so?" line means... Granny wouldn't wish the burden of that choice upon anyone.

On a lighter note, the Omnian church has changed greatly since the days of Small Gods. If you remember that book, Vorbis explicitly condemned mirrors and even owning one was a sin punishable by death. Nowadays half the Omnians are still of the opinion that mirrors are bad, but others think they're good, and the two fractions bicker about it.

But it does mean an Omnian priest can actually own a mirror without fear of being tortured to death, which has to be said to be an improvement.

7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 0 replies · +12 points

And we're still only just past the halfway mark! And, um, Mark.

7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Carpe Jugu... · 0 replies · +8 points

For a while I thought so too, as for some bit in the book Victor kind of fades into the background while Gaspode gets a lot of attention... but it didn't last. Gaspode's role diminishes about two-thirds through the book and he never really gets prominence again, even spending the climax of the book off-screen.

No... Victor is definitely the main character, and more's the pity, because Gaspode makes for a far better one.