Equal Rites Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:54 pm

Can you see Granny sharing a brainpan with any man? Except maybe Mustrum :lol:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:20 am

Isn't there a book (not this one I think) where apples are mentioned that were good for making scumble? The apples were called "billets". :?
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Postby swreader » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:35 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
Drum's not 'in' the staff at all - that's a duracell or a piggy-bank that's rechargeable from free-ranging magic and from it's owner/charge. Drum IS a parasite - on the apple tree. Granny also visits the tree which is thickly covered in misteltoe - that's where Drum is, not in the tree itself. Also lots of druidic connotations there which also is fairly compatible with witch magic of course :wink: Terry certainly wanted Esk to get a cartload of magic to use, but she can only soak it up gradually as she doesn't have the experience to use it effectively - yet.


While I agree with a good bit of what you are saying here about the staff being a rechargeable battery from the free-ranging magic & about Drum Billet having set post death spells on the staff to protect itself and the new owner until the owner can be made a wizard him/herself, but I'm afraid I must disagree about the mistletoe.

Drum Billet has taken up a non-reincarnation temporary (apparently) existence in the apple tree--the one which, in the intervening years since Esk's birth has grown much taller than the other apple trees, and which she can climb and be alone and apparently eat apples while her brothers find the tree essentially unclimbable. It is also covered with lots of mistletoe, which makes it appear green even in the winter (as described on the day when the children are sent to check on Granny).

When Esk flees the house because the raven (with Granny inside) trying to get in frightens her, she flees to the woods where she is threatened by wolves and saved by the staff before Granny can get back into her body and come looking. Granny, having put Esk to bed, borrows an owl and goes to Drum Billet WHO IS NOW THE APPLE TREE.

The two of them have a long discussion about wizard and witch power. At first, Drum/Apple tree tries to push Granny/owl off but she refuses to go and he says, "Bully me then, just because I'm a tree. Typical woman."

Later (the Tree/Wizard having explained to Granny the "theoretical basis of witchcraft" ,and stating that he is "Not a wizard any more just a tree," Granny flies back to her home and Esk. At that point Granny is still determined that Esk will be a Witch not a Wizard. Not until Esk loses herself in the Eagle and the Staff and Granny have to co-operate to find her and untangle her mind from that of the bird, does Granny give in to the realization that she must take Esk to the Wizard school where she can be trained in the use in wizard magic. It is then that she gives to staff to Esk, and it protects itself and her until she becomes a full wizard on her own.

Thus, Esk is the first (and probably the only) witch/wizard Terry ever created. This seems to be a set of ideas which he will take apart and use in future books quite effectively. But, in my opinion, if Terry were to live to 100 years of quality writing life, we still would not have a book featuring the further adventures of Esk and Simon.
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Postby poohcarrot » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:43 am

Ho ho ho!

Nice theory Jan, bit like one of mine, really. You think it's a winner, then somebody comes along and spoils it. :lol:
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Postby Dotsie » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:34 am

Well I know I'm coming to this late, and I don't have anything useful to add, but I just thought I'd be picky and say

kakaze wrote:"the Creator hadn't really decided what he wanted and was, as it were, just idly messing around with the Pleistocene." The Pleistocene was an age of dinosaures, and sounds like Plasticine, a brand of moldable plastic clay.

...right about everything except the dinosaurs. It was mammoths (about 63 million years after dinosaurs) :oops:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:09 pm

poohcarrot wrote:Ho ho ho!

Nice theory Jan, bit like one of mine, really. You think it's a winner, then somebody comes along and spoils it. :lol:

Not at all *bows respectfully to Sharlene* it's all part and parcel of the mistletoe's invasion of it's host.

The tree is a tree to start off with as it's already there before Drum pops his clogs. Drum (having died) becomes a seed of mistletoe (preparatory to upgrading to being an insect). Like any parasite, mistletoe can consume trees, but instead of merely killing it Drum subsumes it instead - (wikionary definition a rather strange process where something is taken over or swallowed but not consumed). In other words Drum has invaded the tree to such an extent that he's the mistletoe AND the tree imposing a symbiant relationship which he then controls. That's parasites for you! :wink:

So yeah, he's the tree, but he was the mistletoe first and now he's both and can correctly say that he's the tree - 'cos he is :lol:
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Postby kakaze » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:31 pm

Not to mention the allusions that he made to bees and apples.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:28 am

Tonyblack wrote:Isn't there a book (not this one I think) where apples are mentioned that were good for making scumble? The apples were called "billets". :?


Found it! :D

It's in the New Discworld Companion:

Billet, Drum

A wizard who, in long cloak and with his carven staff, visited BAD ASS to hand his staff to ESK, the blacksmith's daughter - in the mistaken belief that she was in fact a son. He died after passing over the staff and was initially reincarnated as an apple tree, so covered in mistletoe that it looked green even in midwinter. The tree produced very small fruit which passed from stomach-twisting sourness to wasp-filled rottenness overnight. 'Green Billets' are now prized in LANCRE as a very good apple for the making of SCUMBLE. [ER]
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:47 am

Jan still won't believe you, Tony. :roll:

The words "stubborn" "mule" "as a" spring to mind. :lol:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:04 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Found it! :D

It's in the New Discworld Companion:

Billet, Drum

A wizard who, in long cloak and with his carven staff, visited BAD ASS to hand his staff to ESK, the blacksmith's daughter - in the mistaken belief that she was in fact a son. He died after passing over the staff and was initially reincarnated as an apple tree so covered in mistletoe that it looked green even in midwinter. , The tree produced very small fruit which passed from stomach-twisting sourness to wasp-filled rottenness overnight. 'Green Billets' are now prized in LANCRE as a very good apple for the making of SCUMBLE. [ER]

pooh wrote:Jan still won't believe you, Tony. :roll:

The words "stubborn" "mule" "as a" spring to mind. :lol:

Again - not at all! :P The two still go together with the mistletoe now intrinsically part of the tree (else why make such a distinction as to how it grows much more than usual, and the tree does not die but instead is taller that the others and so thrives...?) in that it spoils the apples with it's brand of poison that Drum, being himself a rotten apple triggers off at the point that the mistletoe (the sperm donation if you like :P ) conquers the tree. Drum is the instigator of a sybiotic relationship instead of a parasitic one between the two plants with the magically reactive mistletoe (allowing for it's supposed mystical properties) providing the means for the tree to mutate... :twisted:

This is fun! :lol:

Yes, I'm stubborn and thank you for comparing me with a mule - they are exceptionally intelligent hybrid animals (in their niche) who don't have the bother of having to bring up offspring - most apt! :lol:
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:45 pm

So when he leaves the tree and becomes an ant, does all the mistletoe fall off and the tree die?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:07 pm

Probably :wink: :lol:

It's only relevent to this story so we don't know what happens once Drum's finished with it - presumably when Esk leaves Badass and the Ramtops both plants are goners as it's assured mutual destruction after the wizard leaves the equation.

So ruthless that Pterry :wink: :twisted:
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:20 pm

The tree can't be destroyed if its apples are now prized though, can it? Talk your way out of that one missy :P
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:38 pm

Well maybe it doesn't die - we're not told are we? :P

Maybeeeeee... :twisted: apple trees are really strange and genetically unpredictable (see wiki under apple breeding :wink: ) so what if Drum created a new strain then someone took a graft of the tree/parasite and they started to cultivate it... billets are farmed and scumble goes nuclear :lol: :twisted:
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Postby swreader » Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:21 am

It seems strange to me that there has been so little discussion of Granny as she appears in this book. For a long time I thought that the Granny of this book was only tangentially related to the Granny Weatherwax of the other books. I've changed my mind.

It is true that Granny, in ER, is initially much more provincial and almost xenophobic than she is in later books--and Terry has a good deal of fun with giving her eccentricities for us to laugh at (her distrust of "furin" parts and belief that there's no place like home.)

But I now think that this Granny is the foundation for the marvellous developed character of Carpe Jugulum and for the wise teacher of the gift young witch Tiffany.

The account of Esk and Granny's trip via broomstick and staff which takes them finally into Ank-Morpork after Granny finds Esk again is, at one level, hilarious. I really can't think of any other time that Granny is scared almost speechless. But the account of that flight is also the beginning of the education of Granny in wizard magic, and a realization that it's not all smoke and mirrors. When Esk says she doesn't know how she "did" that, but that she created a picture and went into it, Granny is nonplussed.

"Granny stared into the night. She had never heard of magic like that, but it sounded awfully powerful and probably lethal. Went into the picture! Of course, all magic changed the world in some way, wizards thought there was no other use for it--they didn't truck with the idea of leaving the world as it was and changing the people--but sounded more literal. It needed thinking about. On the ground."

In the rest of the book, I think, Granny learns a great deal about human nature and about magic as well as witchcraft, and Terry lays the foundation for the Granny of the later books.
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