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19 hours ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Shephe... · 0 replies · +5 points

Yeah, fireballs have been pretty clearly wizard magic so far. In any earlier book, I would have said that this was an indication that witch magic and wizard magic aren't really all that different. But in this one, I'd say it's just one of those things that slipped through the cracks due to the lack of editing.

23 hours ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Shephe... · 0 replies · +8 points

The scene in which Tiffany tries to explain to Nightshade how humans work reminds me of Susan trying to do the same to Myria/Unity LeJean back in Thief of Time. (Sorry, it's been a very long time since I've read that book, and it's one of the handful of DW books that I've read only once, so I can't think of anything more specific to say.)

3 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Shephe... · 0 replies · +11 points

Oh, it's so good to see Magrat again! She's a character I adore, but I was worried that Carpe Jugulum would be the last we'd ever see of her (Book 22! Almost half the series ago!). Well, ok, technically she was mentioned as being a guest at Roland and Letitia's wedding in ISWM, but that was just a cameo, and she didn't even have any lines. It's great to see her being an active participant in the story again.

3 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Shephe... · 1 reply · +14 points

"One of the most fulfilling parts of reading the Discworld books in publication order has been seeing how willing Pratchett was to change. Not just his style, not just the content of his books, not just the scope of his stories. No, he also changed the things he wrote. He did not set his own canon in stone, and as I mentioned before, I love how much he was willing to challenge himself."

Pratchett's willingness to change and challenge himself is one of the things I love about him as well. I think that it's both the effect and cause of the longevity of the Discworld series. A typical book series - which is usually a trilogy in case of fantasy - is not really long enough to allow the author to play around with and question their own canon. But a 41-book series? It's long enough to allow for pretty much any kind of experimentation you wish.

And on the other hand, the simple fact that Pratchett was open to this kind of experimentation is what led him to be able to write 41 books set in the same world without getting stale along the way. One of the reasons for his great prolificness is that he allowed himself to grow as a writer - and as a human being - and let that growth be reflected in his work. IMO, a number of writers writing long-running series falter at the end because they remain overly attached to the ideas they had when they started writing, and fail to realize that they are no longer the same person as they were when they started writing, because the mere act of writing out your stories changes your way of thinking. (*cough* J.K. Rowling *cough*. George R.R. Martin is probably stuck for similar reasons - he's trying to reconcile a series plan he conceived 25 years ago with the five books he wrote over 15 years and the person he is now.)

5 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Shephe... · 0 replies · +8 points

Last chapter, I was a little disturbed by how ready the Feegles were to murder Nightshade, though she was currently helpless. I pointed out that despite knowing her crimes, and about the elves' cruel nature in general, it seemed a bit extreme that the Feegles were so murder-happy. Well, if this chapter had preceded the previous one - or if its events had been interwoven into those of the previous one - the Feegles' reactions would have seemed much more palatable. The elves are clearly a major threat, and must be dealt with with equal force. And while Nightshade is currently not a threat, the Feegles could be forgiven for not wanting to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Once again, this seems to be one of those things that would have been rectified if Pratchett had had a chance to edit this book properly.

5 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Shephe... · 1 reply · +5 points

"Do you know young Jack Abbott? Young lumberjack who lives down the mountain with his good mother and young sister? Near as anything chopped his own foot off just a week or so ago. Only just getting better, and that thanks to some lass with a squint who the witches sent on up to help."

Wait, what? First of all, it was Granny Weatherwax who helped Jack Abbott when he injured his foot. Though I suppose the 'lass with a squint' may have been some witch-in-training who came along to check up on him and continue treating him after Granny's death.

More importantly, does this mean that Granny died less than a week ago? That doesn't fit into the apparent timeline of this book at all! I mean, the whole business about Tiffany not being able to manage two steadings would hardly have even started being an issue if she'd been doing it less than a week. Also, she and Geoffrey went to Ankh-Morpork and back, a journey that took them at least two days on the outbound trip, and presumably the same amount of time back, and they stayed there for a day. So Tiffany spent the majority of the week since Granny's death in Ankh-Morpork? Nope, doesn't work at all.

I guess this is one of those things that slipped through the cracks during the editing phase of the book. Or rather, the lack of an editing phase.

1 week ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Shephe... · 5 replies · +5 points

Oh, I know. But there's no guarantee that everyone reading this book would have read TWFM specifically. And even if they have, they may have simply forgotten what it is that Nightshade did.

But mostly, my issue is with the emotional aspect of the scene, not the plot-based one. I mean, I've certainly read TWFM (thrice, in fact) and I remember perfectly well what Nightshade is responsible for. But within this particular book, and this particular scene, she hasn't done anything. She's weak, helpless, and at the lowest point in her life. And yet, here are the Feegles threatening to murder her in cold blood. I don't know ... I guess this is a very YMMV kind of thing, but I feel like this scene comes across as very one-sided, and not in favour of the supposed good guys (the Feegles).

1 week ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Shephe... · 1 reply · +8 points

I was wondering what a 'mowpie' was too, and was about to google it, when I remembered the Feegle Glossary at the back of the book, and yup, there it was:

Mowpie: furry animals with white tufts as tails, making them easy to spot. Sometimes called rabbits. Good to eat, especially with a dab of snail relish on the side

'Slunkit', however, is not mentioned in the glossary.

1 week ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Shephe... · 7 replies · +5 points

I have a slight, predominantly Doylist problem with this chapter. We know that the Queen of the Elves (might as well refer to her by name, so Nightshade) is evil - we've read about her evil deeds in quite some detail way back in The Wee Free Men. But the problem is, that was 11 books ago. We haven't actually seen her do anything particularly terrible in this book. Sure, she spoke nastily to the goblin and intended to harm humans, but didn't actually get around to doing so. So when the Feegles talk about killing her, while she's currently completely pathetic and harmless, it just winds up making them look like assholes. Once again, my issue is Doylist, not Watsonian. I don't deny that the Feegles have a valid reason to hate Nightshade; just that this reason does not come across in this particular book.

Perhaps this is just a problem inherent in serialized fiction ... though I feel that Pratchett in his prime would have found a way to resolve it.