Soul Music Discussion **Spoilers**

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:05 am

Or indeed that business with Mr. Hong, although the wizards seem to remember that with some embarassment :lol:

This has annoyed me so much I actually went looking for a quote as I can't remember a thing about it - I never look up quotes unless Pooh's being particularly irritating! :roll: Anyway - good ol' L-space has it :wink:
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Postby poohcarrot » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:59 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:- I never look up quotes unless Pooh's being particularly irritating!

ie: Jan says something really factually stupid and I correct her. :roll:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:49 pm

Puh! :roll: And I never do that of course 'cos I know how much you love it! :twisted:

Here's one for you that Terry missed out but Mr. Lynott punned on 'word' quite aptly smartypants (right at the beginning so listen up...) 8)
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Postby swreader » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:28 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Or indeed that business with Mr. Hong, although the wizards seem to remember that with some embarassment :lol:

This has annoyed me so much I actually went looking for a quote as I can't remember a thing about it - I never look up quotes unless Pooh's being particularly irritating! :roll: Anyway - good ol' L-space has it :wink:


I'm not at all sure what you're referring to here Jan when you refer to "that business with Mr. Hong". Various people refer to that in this book, but the actual incident is quite different. This is more akin to the traveling shop (which turns up in various books, briefly--on one side of the street or another--and then disappears.) If you're referring to the fact that the wizards and or Vetinari remember Mr. Hong, of course they do since that incident was prior to Men at Arms where it is described as having happened in the past. Thus reference to Mr. Hong don't violate the fact that the bulk of what has happened in the book is, by DEATH'S actions at the end, nullified and never happened. What he appears to have done is to take everybody back to the famous sign post at the beginning of the book, and send Imp down to road to Quirm rather than Ank-Morpork. Eventually, Pratchett will call this a "trousers of time" device.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:26 pm

L-space quoting from Men at Arms wrote: "'They do things like open the Three Jolly Luck Take-away Fish Bar on the site of the old temple in Dagon Street on the night of the Winter solstice when it also happens to be a full moon.'"

This doesn't sound too much like a travelling shop, more a swipe against mysticism in general? *shrugs*

What I'm interpreting it as is how people in general don't notice strange things like it's Death getting off his skull in the Drum or paradoxically will recognise things that are very odd indeed, but think they're just commonplace (the travelling shops that have "always been there" if you like in that one). It's the human way of dealing with stuff that's too strange or horrible to deal with rationally - the "what are they on?"; "lalalalalala I'm not listening"; "this is too ridiculous to be happening" moments and the kind of things that people will assign to a bad dream after way too much curry and beer? And afterwards the History Monks go in and sweep all the debris out of sight out of mind... :lol:

People are good at blanking out/forgetting stuff they're not able to process, but others who aren't quite so worried about these things or are able to overcome the 'lalalala not happening' stuff - presumably like the wizards and Vetinari can see past that and will remember Mr. Hong and won't forget Music with Rocks In. In Vetinari's case because he never really got involved beyond getting Drumknott to keep an eye on Dibbler and he anyway wasn't in the slightest bit interested in the music aside from how Mr. Clete was going to deal with what was essentially a Guild problem?

Talking of which - 'Wheels on Fire'anyone for the runaway coaches at the start and end of the book? Did we cover that yet - never mind this is kind of an appropriate vid if memory serves me well! :P
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Postby swreader » Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:33 pm

One of the things that makes Terry Pratchett's work such fun is that it is constantly evolving and changing. A number of fragmentary ideas don't entirely work, or get boring, but he uses them to keep growing and changing. DEATH is a marvellous example of that kind of growing evolution.

In Mort, DEATH'S first book, Pratchett makes him (only in some ways) the stereotypical death. The dark cloaked skeleton with the scythe who rides a pale horse and appears when someone dies. But even in Mort, there are some indications that Terry is going to use him in different ways. DEATH is very good at his job, but he has also become very intrigued with humanity. He is trying to learn "what makes them tick." Thus, he "adopts" Ysabell and keeps her at 16 years old until he decides she should marry, and then brings in her future husband, and while Mort is acting in DEATH's role, DEATH is learning more about humanity.

In DEATH'S next, and very significant, development, he is "fired" either by the Auditors, or at their instigation. In Reaper Man he really begins to understand humanity (it's fears, hopes, loves, loyalty) as Bill Door who is saved from the new Death by Miss Flitworth's unselfish gift of time and a kind of love, which he returns the only way he can--by giving her a "night to remember" and returning her at her death to her own true love.

In this book DEATH has mysteriously disappeared, which leads to the development of his granddaughter SUSAN who while partially human, also shares his powers. And while most of this book is about the education of Susan, significantly, DEATH, who acts like (as does almost everyone else in the book) a teenager--takes the hot rod "motorcycle" and the Dean's Leather's and rides off after his granddaughter and the others. While the motorcycle dies--and DEATH apparently crashes with it, he has the ability to re-incarnate himself, and the wisdom to deal with the problem of music that wasn't intended for Discworld. Thus, by breaking all the rules, he makes them work, and co-incidentally saves the band, who are no longer a band, and begins the relationship with Susan that will grow and develop through the rest of the books.

Soul Music is a transitional book, looking back and forward. It has some of the old style jokes (punning on names of bands, etc.) but it also deals in a small measure with the nature of time and how Time is used by and changed by humans.
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:42 pm

The evolution of death is even more marked if you consider his portrayal in COM/LF where he is vindictive and maybe even evil - he kills some flying insects because Rincewind's escape from death annoys him and he seems to want to pursue Rincewind rather than regarding him as a curiosity as he does later.
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Postby swreader » Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:06 am

Doughnut Jimmy wrote:The evolution of death is even more marked if you consider his portrayal in COM/LF where he is vindictive and maybe even evil - he kills some flying insects because Rincewind's escape from death annoys him and he seems to want to pursue Rincewind rather than regarding him as a curiosity as he does later.

You're absolutely right, of course. Tony mentioned that to me also--but somehow I forget him in those books (they seem so jumbled in comparison to the later ones).

One obvious reason DEATH is not acting on his proper role is that Pratchett needs to let Susan grow and develop, and it's easier without having him present. But DEATH seems genuinely (if somewhat humorously) trying all the standard remedies to forget a lost love--joining the Klatchian Foreign Legion, drinking everything in the bar, being thrown in the river, and finally joining the canting crew of invisibles.

Pratchett never tells us exactly what drives him to this state. But certainly there is a hint in the drunken rant in the bar. I'm inclined to think that the key to DEATH'S depression/job frustration is hinted at in this passage:
YOU SEE STUFF LOOMING UP LIKE ICEBERG THINGS AHEAD BUT YOU MUSTN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT ITBECAUSE--BECAUSE--BECAUSEITSALAW, CAN'T BREAK THE LAW. 'SCOTABEALAW.

Ironically, DEATH has become partially human (since Reaper Man). And his fiery crash and "death" on the motorcycle is as rebellious as Susan's outraged call for him--"What's the good of being Death if you have to obey idiot rules all the time?"

I'm inclined to think that this rebellious activity, which essentially negates everything that has happened in the book--including Albert's broken life-timer, is a bit of a cop out on Pratchett's part--a sort of "And then I woke up and it was all a dream." But I think he lays the foundation for the actions of DEATH as Hogfather and in Thief of Time here. The rules matter, but there are ways to get around them and Susan (who is part human) is the key to that.

Terry has transformed DEATH from a figure of fear to something rather different. I think that's an interesting concept, don't you think Jimmy?
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:01 pm

Absolutely swreader I think the imaginative leap to take Death from a being that kills to one who merely forwards people to whatever their next destination is is one of Terry's greatest.

And from that so much has grown with what this outsider thinks as he watches humanity/life.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:31 am

You have two weeks to read or reread Maskerade for the discussion starting Monday 2nd August. :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:34 am

In this book we see a scene lifted almost directly from Mort but with the inclusion of Susan. While I don't want to go into too much detail about Mort, as we've not discussed it yet, I do think it's significant.

What do you think? :?
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Postby GrannyWeatherwax » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:40 pm

And this is why I will never be any good at trivia sessions based on Discworld books (I am stuffed for the Thursday night pub quiz). I have no idea what you are referring to - but on the positive side it gives me a really good reason to go and re-read two wonderful books. :D
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Postby DaveC » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:25 pm

Tonyblack wrote:In this book we see a scene lifted almost directly from Mort but with the inclusion of Susan. While I don't want to go into too much detail about Mort, as we've not discussed it yet, I do think it's significant.

What do you think? :?

Loved that scene, but wish i had had the foresight to read mort, or that scene of mort beforehand.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:54 am

You now have one week to read or reread Maskerade for the discussion starting Monday 2nd August. :D
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Postby One Man Bucket » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:10 pm

When does this book take place in relation to the Fifth Elephant? Before or after
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