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118 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +13 points

The housemaid thing was practiced in real life in English manors, though for a slightly different reason, namely that existence of the maids created a contradiction in the gentleman's code of behaviour: a gentleman was supposed to help a woman if he saw her physically straining herself, but on the other hand, a gentleman could never lower himself to do a servant's work. So, to get around this hurdle, it was required for maids to drop their task and leave the room whenever the master of the house or any of his peers entered. Which did make some men complain that they felt like plague bearers when visiting houses where such rules were in place.

Unfortunately it probably did next to nothing to prevent sexual exploitation of the servant class, though.

124 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'I Shall We... · 1 reply · +5 points

I think it was mentioned that she learned to swim there in either Hat Full of Sky or Wintersmith.

124 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'I Shall We... · 1 reply · +4 points

Wasn't Angua already a Captain in Making Money, or is my memory of Discworld gone in knots again?

130 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Unseen Aca... · 0 replies · +19 points

Not innately evil, just brought up in circumstances where only the evil can survive. And implied that they were under constant, low-key mind control of their master, since when Sauron was defeated, a large number of them either went insane or committed suicide, and the rest instantly fled in mindless terror.

Still, Tolkien never could come up with a fully satisfying way to handle his Orcs after he decided that they couldn't just be creations or evil, but also gave them enough personality to dissuade any idea that they could be just mindless constructs, either. Pratchett, I think, does a pretty good job expanding on the concept.

134 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Unseen Aca... · 0 replies · +2 points

I think that it simply implies sharpness, which implies danger in our minds. I wasn't aware of the historical femininity connotations, so I don't really know what brought about that association.

134 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Unseen Aca... · 3 replies · +4 points

At least partially it simply has to do with the human subconscious perceiving the inverted triangle shape as ominous and threatening. There's a lot of theories for why that is, but it seems pretty universal.

135 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Unseen Aca... · 0 replies · +6 points

Yeah, but in the Lord of the Rings even the big, man-shaped Uruk-Hai get referred to as goblins every once in awhile, indicating that they're really meant to be synonymous, possibly that "goblin" is the Hobbit term for orcs.

"There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature, swart, slant-eyed, with thick legs and large hands. They were armed with short broad-bladed swords, not with the curved scimitars usual with Orcs; and they had bows of yew, in length and shape like the bows of Men. Upon their shields they bore a strange device: a small white hand in the centre of a black field; on the front of their iron helms was set an S-rune, wrought of some white metal."

144 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +4 points

The brothel owner's logic was that if an image gets brought in by a client and leaves with the client, and no record is left of its use, there's no case to be made against him, since no evidence of any specific person's likeness exists. Unfortunately for him, he did apparently record some of them, anyway, or couldn't erase them because of the soul hijinks, so that particular defence was shot to pieces.

145 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Making Mon... · 2 replies · +10 points

Lovecraft had exactly two modes when describing otherworldly creatures: either so vague as barely to be a description at all, or hyper-minute anatomy lesson that could take anywhere from one to ten whole pages, like in At the Mountains of Madness, where the narrator happened to be a biologist and effectively turned the story into an essay on alien anatomy for an entire chapter.

145 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Making Mon... · 2 replies · +4 points

Curious. I seem to recall from somewhere that Ankh-Morpork formed around what became the Unseen University. I wonder if the History Monks have been at it, again...