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7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Guards! Gu... · 0 replies · +6 points

(General DW, and J specifically) Crbcyr znl bjr Naxu-Zbecbex (gur pvgl) zbarl, ohg gung qbrfa'g arprffnevyl zrna gurl bjr Naxu-Zbecbex (gur pvgl'f tbireazrag) zbarl. Fb gurl znl or ohlvat pebffobjf ba perqvg sebz Oheyrvtu naq Fgebatvagurnez, be trggvat pbairavrag bar-tragyrzna-gb-nabgure ybnaf sebz Ybeq Ehfg, be cnlvat zber guna gurl pna nssbeq gb gur Nffnffvaf' Thvyq gb gnxr pner bs qbzrfgvp ceboyrzf -- ohg Irgvanev zvtug abg frr bar erq prag bs vg. V oryvrir gurer'f n qvfphffvba va Wvatb orgjrra gur Cngevpvna naq gur pvivp yrnqref nobhg ubj zhpu zbarl vf pbzvat va gb gur pvgl naq ubj yvggyr bs vg raqf hc va gur tbireazrag'f pbssref, jvgu fcrpvny ersrerapr gb gur ebyr gur Thvyq bs Nppbhagnagf cynlf va nyy guvf.

7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Guards! Gu... · 8 replies · +19 points

This actually brings to mind something I've wanted to ask the first-time readers, the ones who don't know anything about future books or how the Discworld series progresses: what do you want to see more of? So far we've had two characters who star in multiple books (Rincewind and Granny Weatherwax), and several more who show up in supporting roles in several (The Librarian, Death, the Patrician, etc.). Who do you hope to see come back to star in future books? More Rincewind, or more Granny (with Nanny and Magrat or with Esk or with new supporting cast)? More of the Watch, or Mort, or Teppic? Should the Librarian or Death get their own starring roles? And so on.

For that matter, we've seen a lot of settings and themes -- witches, wizards, ancient Egypt, Shakespearian players, assassins, and so on. Any places or themes you'd like to see Pratchett take aim at?

I just think it's interesting to hear people speculate on things like that. Maybe I'll ask again in a top-level reply when we're closer to done with this book...

7 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Pyramids':... · 1 reply · +8 points

It's not quite the same thing, but baseball great Yogi Berra was famous for his Yogiisms -- turns of phrase like 'Baseball is 90% mental; the other half is physical,' or 'You can observe a lot by watching.' On a certain restaurant: 'Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.' On death: 'Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours.'

And, of course, on the topic of whether all the Yogiisms attributed to him were true: 'I really didn't say everything I said.'

8 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Pyramids':... · 6 replies · +25 points

You're far from alone. Pratchett once commented on the newsgroup (he was a regular poster there for a long time) that very, very few American readers ever got the pun in Djelibeybi, and that he was tempted to make a country named Hersheybar just to hammer things home for them.

Ybatgvzr Qvfpjbeyq snaf jvyy cebonoyl erpbtavmr gur anzr bs gur pbhagel Urefuron, juvpu unf orra zragvbarq bsgra ohg arire ivfvgrq. Abj lbh xabj jurer vg pnzr sebz.

8 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Wyrd Siste... · 2 replies · +13 points

'Maw and gulf' = mouth and throat.

'Ravin'd' = ravenous.

So it's the mouth and throat taken from an extremely hungry saltwater shark. (Which probably means any saltwater shark, at least in common stereotype.)

8 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Wyrd Siste... · 0 replies · +8 points

Naq gura ur’q neevirq, naq vg ghearq bhg gung Evqphyyl gur Oebja qvq fcrnx gb gur oveqf. Va snpg, ur fubhgrq ng oveqf, naq jung ur abeznyyl fubhgrq jnf, “Jvatrq lbh, lre onfgneq!"

8 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Sourcery':... · 0 replies · +11 points

(Spoilers for UA) Jr qb riraghnyyl zrrg n tnl jvmneq -- Oratb Znpneban, fgne bs gur Hafrra Npnqrzvpnyf sbbgonyy grnz. Evqphyyl vf n yvggyr fhecevfrq ol gur snpg, ohg abg ng nyy qvfqnvashy -- fnlvat guvatf yvxr 'gurer'f abg rabhtu ybir va gur jbeyq' naq 'vs lbh qvqa'g yvxr gur pbzcnal bs zra lbh jbhyqa'g unir pbzr urer va gur svefg cynpr.' Bs pbhefr, Evqphyyl'f sne sebz gur zbfg genqvgvbany jvmneq, ohg vg frrzf cerggl pyrne gung Znpneban'f orra npgvir va uvf chefhvgf naq abg ng nyy ful nobhg vg.

10 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Puella M... · 0 replies · +9 points

They probably have a really rough time with it. But if they've been trying for ten thousand years, with their energy profits depending on it, they're smart enough that they probably can at least make an attempt at it by now. Practice counts for a lot, after all.

Still, it's not for nothing that I had Kyubey lament how weird humans are a few times in my writeup.

10 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Puella M... · 2 replies · +13 points

Homura: /thinks of something.
Homura: "Er. So. Is this the sexy kind of nude embracing we've been doing, or just the innocent symbolic-of-purity-and-rebirth type?"
Madoka: "Which do you want it to be?"
Homura: "...You know, you'd think that I'd know after all this time. But I really don't."
Madoka: "Hee hee. Tell you what – think it over. Take your time. And the next time we meet here, we can decide what we want it to be all about."

And, of course, Homura knows that Madoka is with her. Always watching over her, and always there to catch her if she finally falls. I don't think it's a coincidence that, when we see Kamijo playing his violin for the last time, it's "Ave Maria," by Bach and Gounod – as I put it in my writeup, 'a song to the holiest of women, asking for her mercy and grace, in life and in the moment of death.' Madoka has become, essentially, a goddess – a loving goddess, who's there for all who fall under her domain.

Kyubey: (It's an interesting system you're presenting, though. If magical girls gave off more energy by falling to despair than they did by making the contract and harvesting wraith curses, then you'd actually be of more value treated as a disposable object. It wouldn't be like now, where we have to shepherd you through as many wraith-kills as possible, extend your working lifespan as far as we can, and try to make sure you make wishes you won't regret. Which is hard, by the way, because you humans are so weird.)
Kyubey: (Just think: if it worked your way, we could let you make any silly little wish you wanted, then just sit back and let you fall to harvest the energy. Oooh, or we could even deliberately push you towards falling! That'd be neat.)
Homura: "We'd also hate you when we found out and do anything we could to stop you."
Kyubey: (See? Like I said, you humans are so weird.)

And in her sacrifice, she's even tamed the devil, so to speak. Kyubey now makes the most profit out of treating his magical girls humanely, since falling doesn't mean becoming a Witch and releasing vast amounts of energy any more. No longer does he get any benefit from his charges suffering – now he has to treat them humanely and with compassion, or at least with a reasonable simulacrum thereof. He and his race may not have changed – and, as someone pointed out yesterday, that may even be for the good of the universe – but the new context they find themselves in makes their actions infinitely more tolerable.

Always, somewhere,
someone is fighting for you.

As long as you remember her,
you are not alone.

There's a lot of details that can be picked at in this scenario. A few things that are left unexplained. But for the most part, they're not terribly important. Madoka won. And in winning, she changed the world to become a better place.

Thanks, everyone, for following along with this. It's so great to see new people coming to this show.

10 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Puella M... · 3 replies · +11 points

In Which PenguinZero Watches Madoka Episode 12: Ave Madoka

And here we have it: a happy ending.

Madoka: "I don't know or care what it is I'll become. All I know is that there are so many girls who've been led astray by you. So many girls who have become magical, with hope in their hearts, fighting for what they believed in... I don't want their lives to end in tears. I want to be there for them. To give them a reason to be smiling to the very end. If there is any rule or law or convention that stands in the way of that, I will overturn it, break it, change it. No matter if it means changing all that is or ever was."
Madoka: "That is my prayer. That is my wish. And that, Incubator, is what you will grant me, right now!"

A lot of people didn't think it was possible. Gen Urobuchi's presence among the staff especially led them to think that this would be a show about unrelenting misery and despair, that things would end tragically, or maybe with a tiny glimmer of hope that was in imminent danger of being snuffed out.

But miracles and magic exist, don't they?

• Village Grounds, day. The sun shines down warmly, and there is no trace of a breeze to ripple through the prayer flags, sending their message to Heaven.

A girl collapses to the ground. Her green magical girl uniform fades to her normal clothes as the last of her strength leaves her. She is cut in several places – along the arms, on her face. She lies back on the grass, looking up at the sky, prayer beads in one hand, and her Soul Gem in the other.

The Soul Gem is dark, only a few watery flickers of green remaining in it. As she watches, tears coming to her eyes, it begins to crack...

This isn't what she wanted. This isn't what she envisioned when she made that wish, not so very long ago. But the battle was too hard. She used too much of her magic. This is her fate, and there is no way to change it...

She has forgotten. That in this world, both miracles and magic exist.

An arrow of brilliant pink shoots from the sky, towards her. It bursts in the air, right above her... and there is another magical girl there. One in pink, with a beatific smile on her face.

Madoka reaches down to the Soul Gem... and the impurities stream out of it, absorbed into her. For a moment, the gem shines a bright, pure emerald again, before shattering into nothing.

And the girl in green smiles. A weight has lifted from her shoulders, a weight she could not even comprehend. She closes her eyes, letting herself fade, feeling content as she slips away into nothingness.

This ending... it'd be fair to call it bittersweet. Madoka can't exist as a human being any more. Sayaka is still dead. Homura is separated from the person who means the most to her. But still, it gives hope to hundreds or thousands of girls. It makes it so they never have to become monsters, or despair about that fact. They still die in the end... but they die with hope, and the satisfaction of having helped save the world and even the universe.