Mort Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:42 pm

Death is seen, at the very start of the book, looking amongst the life timers and choosing one. This seems to be Mort's and Death seems to be satisfied with that particular life.

The question I'm asking is what is it about Mort's life timer that causes Death to choose it?

I think there's more to it than 'because the plot requires it'.
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Postby rockershovel » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:57 am

I don't agree. TP sometimes appears to include things simply for the sake of including the joke, or because the plot requires it, or to keep things moving along or just fill some space, and I think this is one of them.

There are any number of things Death does which don't really follow. I've never really understood WHY he pursues his feud with the Auditors, why he goes to Miss Flitwick as Bill Door - when he clearly has no real idea what he intends to do there - or why it is his particularly HIS responsibility to persuade people to believe in the Hogfather.

The business about quite WHY he maintains a quasi-human household has already been discussed.

Most comic writers re-use existing characters or stock situations to inhabit a joke or situation they wish to use, and TP is no exception.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:26 am

The next book for discussion will be The Last Continent. The discussion will start on Monday 4th April, so you have two weeks to read or reread the book. :D
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Postby Pearwood » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:58 pm

Tonyblack wrote:The question I'm asking is what is it about Mort's life timer that causes Death to choose it?


Could it be maybe because Mort's a similar age to Ysabell? I seem to recall he encourages Mort and Ysabell to spend time together at least once. So maybe it was a case of killing two birds with one stone: he gets an apprentice, Ysabell gets a companion.
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Postby Dotsie » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:51 pm

Ysabel needs a boyfriend, Mort needs a job, and Death has a sense of humour.
What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:16 am

You now have one week to read or reread The Last Continent for the discussion starting Monday 4th April. :D
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Postby LilMaibe » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:11 am

Another thought:

Could it be that Death adopted Ysabell and took Mort a apprentice because deep in himself he remembered how things would end if those two weren't what they are?

Let's look at it like this: Without the two, no Susann, without her, how often would the world have ended in a desaster?
Soul Music, Hogfather, Thief of Time...
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:27 am

Are you assuming that Terry had already decided to create Susan?

There's something like seven years between Mort and Soul Music.

I thin it's more likely that, after mentioning Ysabell in Light Fantastic, Terry decided to elaborate on her story. Clearly Death doesn't need an apprentice, it seems to be more of an excuse to get companionship for Ysabell. And it goes badly wrong because not only does Mort take on Death's powers, but he also brings a certain humanity to Death that didn't exist before.
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Postby Prolekult » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:44 am

swreader wrote:
And of course there''s the question of why DEATH turns Mort's life-timer over. It seems to me that may be because MORT could have destroyed DEATH and become MORT, but chose not to. DEATH thus owes him his continued existence.

____________
*Terry Pratchett & Steven Briggs - The Discworld Companion; p. 278


Just reread this one, sorry I'm late...I got the impression that when Death turns the lifetimer over, this is a "human" decision - as Tonyblack said:

Tonyblack wrote:Death becomes more human and Mort becomes more Death-like.


He knows it is against the "rules", but decides to do it anyway, for the sake of Ysabell and having been impressed by Mort's character in standing up and fighting him.

I agree with what others have said that Mort was chosen for Ysabell's sake as well. Maybe also the name, when Death ask's Mort's name and says "WHAT A COINCIDENCE", is he saying it ironically, having chosen Mort's lifetimer himself at the start of the book?

One question I wondered about was about the original assassin, surely Mort killing him prematurely is as bad as extending Keli's life, or worse? Is the fate of the assassin explained at all later, is he brought back to life when the reality bubble sets back in? Questions, questions...
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Re: Mort Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:58 am

I've been rereading Mort very carefully and I am alternating between feelings about the way it ends.

The introducing-Mort scene reminds me of the opening scene of an old movie, The Littlest Angel, which has been complained about by parents whose children became afraid to run on flat ground because there' s no indication of what actually causes the movie kid's death. Mort is also running in mountainous country, and he is shown to be clumsy.

Regarding Death's original choices of Ysabell and then Mort, I think he knew that Ysabell was going to have a very short life anyway, and so was Mort. What he originally altered was how that life would be spent. Mort's original lifetimer had only a few days left, if that - the total hours he spent in the mortal world, plus the time expended in the fight, because lifesands flow in the Lifetimer room. It was winter when they went to Sheepridge; he might have caught cold and died on the way home or shortly afterward. Ysabell probably had even less time left, the length of time she spent in the coronation scene, which is about how long it would have taken her to die in the desert as an infant. Spoiler for SM:
Spoiler: show
They got identical amounts of time to live after the agreement was made, so they both had used up all their original lifespan.

The main issue I have is with the timing of the climax. Death says he had a word with the gods. When did he have that discussion? There is no break between Mort and company arriving and the whole fight and sudden end. On the face of it, it looks as though Death must have had the discussion with the gods before they arrived, which would mean the whole fight scene is contrived and is just dramatic grandstanding. If so, I'm angry; that's petty on a TCoM level.

But wait, Death can be in more than one place at a time - he's everywhere at once. So maybe he was having the discussion during the fight. Well, when? When did the gods agree to intervene? Was it when Ysabell slapped Death and the noise sounded like a dice cup rattling? (Like the dice cup rattling in TCoM?) Or was it later, after she slapped him and he stood tapping his fingers and seemed to be thinking?

Then he says he can't be bidden - as if it's important that he keeps up the image that nobody can give him orders. He's given orders every time he is called irresistibly by the Rite of AshkEnte. Who is he trying to convince? Albert? Is he really talking only to Ysabell? Or is he defending himself to the gods? Whichever it is, he must have made the agreement by then and he just finishes the fight to save face. He demonstrates that he can take away the sword at any time, so he obviously never needed to have a fight in the first place. It was still all drama, and a sign that he was definitely affected by his interference with humans. (As Ysabell said to Mort much earlier, in the garden, "I think you're having an effect on him.") If it's that his curiosity has led to his being affected by the interactions with humans, I'm less angry, because that would explain some of his behavior. I think Mort is projecting when he remembers the loneliness. I don't think Death is lonely at first; I think he became able to feel lonely as a result of the events of this book. He's experimenting with a kind of intellectual equivalent of emotions, or perhaps demonstrating that emotions are not all glandular.
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Re: Mort Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby RolandItwasntmyfault » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:39 am

LilMaibe wrote:Another thought:

Could it be that Death adopted Ysabell and took Mort a apprentice because deep in himself he remembered how things would end if those two weren't what they are?

Let's look at it like this: Without the two, no Susann, without her, how often would the world have ended in a desaster?
Soul Music, Hogfather, Thief of Time...


In the story perhaps, in Soul Music we see for sure what (or who) Death sees before he turns the lifetimer, perhaps there also might be memories about later happenings (Hogfather, Thief of Time).
Out of the story presumbly not. As Tony said, there are some years between Mort and Soul Music. I think by the time Terry wrote Mort he at the best had a vague idea about how it perhaps could turn out but I don't think he has planned all this from Susan to Hogfather to Thief of Time.
When he wrote Soul Music and Hogfather and Thief of Time, then, I think, he wrote it in a way in which it neatly fits together
Spoiler: show
Susan travelling back in time to bee seen by Death just before he would have killed Mort; to give him the ability to remembering things which didn't happen until now and so on.



=Tamar wrote:I've been rereading Mort very carefully and I am alternating between feelings about the way it ends.

The introducing-Mort scene reminds me of the opening scene of an old movie, The Littlest Angel, which has been complained about by parents whose children became afraid to run on flat ground because there' s no indication of what actually causes the movie kid's death. Mort is also running in mountainous country, and he is shown to be clumsy.

Regarding Death's original choices of Ysabell and then Mort, I think he knew that Ysabell was going to have a very short life anyway, and so was Mort. What he originally altered was how that life would be spent. Mort's original lifetimer had only a few days left, if that - the total hours he spent in the mortal world, plus the time expended in the fight, because lifesands flow in the Lifetimer room. It was winter when they went to Sheepridge; he might have caught cold and died on the way home or shortly afterward. Ysabell probably had even less time left, the length of time she spent in the coronation scene, which is about how long it would have taken her to die in the desert as an infant. Spoiler for SM:
Spoiler: show
They got identical amounts of time to live after the agreement was made, so they both had used up all their original lifespan.



Very interesting thoughs. Haven't seen this yet, but I think, yes quite possible. He takes two people out of "reality" who anyway have no further possibility to alter reality. It's speculation, but seen in this way also the lifetimer Death choices fits very good ... not only Morts name (Death' nickname as we know from earlier books), perhaps he would have come for him anyway the next days ... It's speculation but I have no problems to see it this way, too (and there also has been a third life which wouldn't have lasted long (although this term in this case stretching far) and which Death has agreed (he wouldn't have to) to "adopt" to his home: Albert).


=Tamar wrote:The main issue I have is with the timing of the climax. Death says he had a word with the gods. When did he have that discussion? There is no break between Mort and company arriving and the whole fight and sudden end. On the face of it, it looks as though Death must have had the discussion with the gods before they arrived, which would mean the whole fight scene is contrived and is just dramatic grandstanding. If so, I'm angry; that's petty on a TCoM level.

But wait, Death can be in more than one place at a time - he's everywhere at once. So maybe he was having the discussion during the fight. Well, when? When did the gods agree to intervene? Was it when Ysabell slapped Death and the noise sounded like a dice cup rattling? (Like the dice cup rattling in TCoM?) Or was it later, after she slapped him and he stood tapping his fingers and seemed to be thinking?


I think, Death can be everywhere everytime.
Spoiler: show
So I think he has his discussion in this few seconds between seeing Susan (as we see in Soul Music), his laugh and the sending away of Mort, Ysabell and so on.
I think at this moment he can see how it would come out and then decides to have a talk with the gods. He needs no time, no interruption, more so he even could have gone afterwards "back" in time to discuss with the gods while he at the same moment spotted Susan in the lifetimer room.
Also I see the possibility that he just after the fight and after he has seen Susan and after he has send them back went to the gods to discuss to let the alternated reality happen, to let Keli alive, to take backdated permission. At least in the comic it looks this way, although I never would see a comic as an evidence for a though about the book.



=Tamar wrote:Then he says he can't be bidden - as if it's important that he keeps up the image that nobody can give him orders. He's given orders every time he is called irresistibly by the Rite of AshkEnte. Who is he trying to convince? Albert? Is he really talking only to Ysabell? Or is he defending himself to the gods? Whichever it is, he must have made the agreement by then and he just finishes the fight to save face. He demonstrates that he can take away the sword at any time, so he obviously never needed to have a fight in the first place. It was still all drama, and a sign that he was definitely affected by his interference with humans. (As Ysabell said to Mort much earlier, in the garden, "I think you're having an effect on him.") If it's that his curiosity has led to his being affected by the interactions with humans, I'm less angry, because that would explain some of his behavior. I think Mort is projecting when he remembers the loneliness. I don't think Death is lonely at first; I think he became able to feel lonely as a result of the events of this book. He's experimenting with a kind of intellectual equivalent of emotions, or perhaps demonstrating that emotions are not all glandular.


Yes, I see it a similar way. If you study things or people you wouldn't last unaffected.
Also we know that such anthrophomorphic personifications as Death evolve from imagination and thoughs of, in the first play, living things in general, then of men and other sapient species. So it could be that some humanity thoughs also manifests in Death himself, especially men have a particular strong imagination and wouldn't be afraid to give Death human behaviours (not even Terry is immune thereof :lol: ;)), so this fastened this development. Over the millennia that is, it could cumulate, as it longed 2000 years from taking Albert to his house (which by itself also fastened Death' development in this case) until adopting Ysabell.


By the way: Anyone noticed that the elephant which fled out of the coronation room and out of the alternated realitiy is seen by Mort and Ysabell while riding on Binky to the castle in the "real" reality?
This can only mean, that there also has been an elephant in the real reality and now I speculate where this elephant comes from. Perhaps the evil duke also would have his coronation at this time and also knew the priest and would have take an elephant to ensure nothing would go wrong. :lol:
(Albeit my realistic inner voice: Terry just wanted to make a joke and didn't spot the possible continuity error. ;))
Nevertheless, in both realities there ist a running elephant.
"A thousand elephants!" (Moving Pictures)
"Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time." (Hogfather)
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