I Shall Wear Midnight *Spoilers*

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Postby swreader » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:34 pm

I found I Shall Wear Midnight the most sophisticated and well-written novel and thus a fitting end to the four book series Terry said he would write. It takes a place among the best of Pratchett’s novels. Unlike Jeff, I found this novel much darker and more frightening than any of the previous books. Arguably Tiffany fights “fairy-tale” opponents in the first three books. In this one, however, she faces an all too real threat. This malignant force is of a different level of danger than anything she has previously encountered. The reality of her danger is made clear by the “city witches”. If she cannot destroy the Cunning Man, he will possess her skills and powers to wreak his dark havoc on the Discworld. That is why the other witches are there to kill both of them if she fails to kill him.

This personification of evil is not just a threat to her. He is a threat to society as a whole. He preys on that part of the human soul which wants to scapegoat someone else for whatever seems to be wrong. And this scapegoat is always someone who is different, someone they can easily justify killing. As with Thud, there is a strong “religious” element in this hatred of the others. But the Cunning Man is far more dangerous than the Summoning Dark. The Summoning Dark affects one person, but the Cunning Man infects a society. Thou shall not suffer a witch to live (or a Muslim, or a Jew or anyone who is obviously different). His unreasoning anger caused him to burn the original beautiful witch in spite of his attraction to her; and she clasped him to herself in a parody of a loving embrace so that he burned also. But he survived physically, and as a soulless force. Tiffany must, as others have done before her, destroy him by fire while saving herself. He will undoubtedly re-appear, but not for a long time.

There are two reasons why Tiffany and the Feegles must go briefly to Ankh-Morpork. Tiffany has to travel there to tell Roland personally of his father’s death. There is no indication there is a clacks tower on the downs, and this is a message she needs to deliver in person to someone who has been, and still is, important in her life. And secondly, Tiffany must go there to meet Esk. (Terry incidentally answers all those readers who want to know whatever happened to Esk.) Esk is apparently based in AM (as a wizard) and she is the only witch who has gone back in time to see the beginning of this malignancy. The Om of that time is much like the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. The same sort of “holier-than-thou” attitude is already working in the Nurse, who falsely accuses Tiffany of murder and theft. But, when she is caught later in the book by the Baron’s soldiers it is clear that she will get her just deserts for being a thief and a troublemaker (unlike the previous nurses). But that nurse is not nearly powerful enough for the Cunning Man to inhabit in his search for Tiffany. The old Baron’s true “nurse” was Tiffany in her role as the Witch.

Tiffany is the first and only witch ever to have gotten directly involved with an elemental force: The Wintersmith. He was capable of destroying all life on the Discworld. No wonder every person who has magical talent felt Tiffany’s destruction of him in his self-created part human personification as he intended to make her his Queen. But the threat posed by Winter was not nearly as dangerous as that posed by the Cunning Man. Winter may freeze their bodies, but evil corrupts their souls.

And just as Tiffany has changed and grown through her determination to become a great witch, the Feegles have also changed dramatically but slowly through the four books. They have a new Kelda who has brought changes and who is now as close to Tiffany as the prior one was to Granny Aching. They have saved Roland at least twice, and he needs to recognize them. The Kelda has treated Amber and told Tiffany that she, like Letitia, needs training because she also has magical gifts. Thus it is appropriate that Wee Mad Arthur (who is clearly a Feegle, unlike Buggy Swires) returns to his people. But for all their humor, this clan of Nac Mac Feegles is a powerful natural force on the Downs and they, too, are capable of love and responsibility. The Feegles in Lancre already have a deed to their land.(CJ) And Rob is only kept from killing the Baron’s troops by Tiffany’s command as their former Kelda and their Hag o’ the Hills. These Feegles have little humor to add to this dark book.

In her final appearance before Roland, Tiffany gives him the respect that is due to the new Baron, but she also takes a major step toward changing the people of the Chalk—by educating them and making them stronger. Tiffany throughout the book is run off her feet because she has a steading far too big and with too many people for her to care for. She will now start having young witches come to her. They may or may not include Leticia and Amber. And certainly there is a suggestion that Preston will help her in her big responsibility. They clearly are a pair of like minds.
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Postby Exp. Date, the rat » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:36 am

I agree with just about everything you hve stated Charlene except one thing:


swreader wrote:Tiffany is the first and only witch ever to have gotten directly involved with an elemental force: The Wintersmith. He was capable of destroying all life on the Discworld.


I believe it is in the ice tower that the Wintersmith that there are some area’s of the Disc that will not feel his touch which are the heart of the deserts, I believe or if it is not him saying it is the Summer Lady when she and Tiffany are talking on the hill after the ice tower melts. Other than that I have thought all the same things that you have posted!
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Postby pandasthumb » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:28 am

Perhaps a reason why Tiff is run off her feet is to demonstrate how badly the people of the chalk will be if all witches are destroyed. Demonstrated to the reader rather than to those of the Chalk that is.

And the jump knave, jump whore does unfortunately mean that I won't be able to introduce this one to the school library. I can't see really why it is there, why would that be a part of, or reflect the jumping over the broom ceremony?
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Postby raisindot » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:48 pm

pandasthumb wrote:
And the jump knave, jump whore does unfortunately mean that I won't be able to introduce this one to the school library. I can't see really why it is there, why would that be a part of, or reflect the jumping over the broom ceremony?


You're saying that this one phrase that would keep this book out of the school library, as opposed to, say, the far more disturbing bit about poor teenage Amber getting knocked-up by her boyfriend and then getting losing the baby after her abusive pig of a father beats the tar out of her?

:D

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Postby pandasthumb » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:37 pm

:oops: yes, I must have quite blotted that bit out but you are completely correct. Conservative Christian school would indeed have a bit of an issue with that bit too. They are not keen on things that suggest any sort of pre marital carryings on. One of the singing groups was not allowed to sing one of the songs from Glee as it suggests 'spending the night together'.

Whereas they seem to be ok on the abuse. One of the options for a year 8 text is Goodnight Mr Tom which I don't teach as I find it very disturbing because of the physical child abuse.
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Postby MrBaloo » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:51 pm

Ohhhhhhh golly, that last page. . .

I see that this topic's been dormant for a few months, but we got ISWM into our household as a Cristmas gift for our son (who read it), and then my wife snagged it (and read it), and I mangaged to get it (and read it) a week or so ago. And I was completely unprepared for the simple, lovely, lyrical prose that Pratchett wrapped up the last scene with. I was not at all expecting to be emotionally moved, and there I was, helpless. It's not often that something that's just plain sweet, nice, and sincere has the power to make you cry-- which makes it all the more moving when it does. (The end of Driving Miss Daisy comes immediately to mind.)
I got up the nerve to ask my wife if she had cried at the end of the book (she rarely does), and her response was, "Oh, of course I did-- are you kidding?". So at least I know it's not my own sensitive nature running rampant. . .


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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:02 pm

It really is a very good book! I need to read it again soon. Welcome to the site, MrBaloo! :D
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Postby The Mad Collector » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:07 pm

Just ordered the Stephen Briggs discs. I wasn't a big fan of the book when I read it but sometimes Stephen can get me to see it a different way just by the fact he is reading to me. I get a different emphasis than just reading it myself
One of those? Oh I'm sure I have one somewhere..

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Postby MrBaloo » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:17 am

Tonyblack wrote:It really is a very good book! I need to read it again soon. Welcome to the site, MrBaloo! :D


Why, thank you much-
DO like the Firefly quote in your signature, I must say. . .

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Postby Penfold » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:30 am

hellooo and welcome MrBaloo! :D I reckon its one of Sir Terry's best, although maybe a bit darker and adult in nature than his 'adult' books. (It cracks me up when non-fans call it a children's book :lol: ).
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Postby pip » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:45 am

MrBaloo wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:It really is a very good book! I need to read it again soon. Welcome to the site, MrBaloo! :D


Why, thank you much-
DO like the Firefly quote in your signature, I must say. . .

MrBaloo


Welcome mr Baloo.


well if you're a fan of Firefly have a look in the tv /films section . we had a great thread going on firefly and other Whedon tv programs.
One or two of the regulars are fans :lol:
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Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:10 pm

The Mad Collector wrote:Just ordered the Stephen Briggs discs. I wasn't a big fan of the book when I read it but sometimes Stephen can get me to see it a different way just by the fact he is reading to me. I get a different emphasis than just reading it myself


I agree with you there. I just rejoined Audible for the 15th trial run(always do it to get my freebie book then cancel. Aren't I a turd?) but I may stick with it for a month just to get Briggs's version of this. It's the perfect book for Briggs, because he gets to revisit the characters he does exceptionally well (Vimes, Carrot, the Feagles, Tiffany), those he does okay (Granny, Nanny), and some of the characters we've never heard him voice yet.
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Postby Om(nomnom) » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:27 pm

Hi there, :)

I'm new here. I'm a big Discworld Fan and have read most of the regular books several times.

I just finished ISWM and overall really liked it.
It felt a bit jumpy and rushed sometimes and threats and dangerous or unfair situations seemed always to be resolved almost immediately and all too quickly for my tastes, but I blame all that on the fact that it was written with younger readers in mind. That said, it really is a entertaining, but also deep book that makes you think about the world and yourself and aside from the obvious agenda for example how you deal with the voices of envy and jealousy in your own head.

But what I generally really like about the Tiffany Aching stories and why I can relate to them so much is that they remind me of the time when I did community service (Zivildienst) and did (and sometimes struggled with) things like wipe those who cannot wipe, lifting people way more heavy than myself in and out of bed, dealing with domestic violence, dementia, death, misery and what else happens behind closed doors usually.
And yes, even though I did see horrible things and was quite desperate at times, I'm quite proud and even glad about it. Also the people that actually do this for a living an not just a year like me have my utmost respect. It is really one of the most challenging and important jobs that I know and it can wear you down quickly if you are not careful, both bodily and emotional.
So I have always read those books as a nod of respect and appreciation from Terry to those people, giving them a bit a of a place in the spotlight.

Thud! and the fifth Elephant being among my favourite Discworld books I'm now eagerly awaiting the paperback release of Snuff. :)
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:46 pm

Hi Om(nomnom), Welcome to the forum, and it has become one of my favorite books but then anyone with the Feggles in make me laugh. :lol:
He willnae tak' a drink! I think he's deid! , on the other hand though A Midgie in yir hand is worth twa up yir kilt.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:23 am

Welcome to the site, Om(nomnom)! :D

I'm rereading ISWM at the moment and enjoying it even more this time. Definitely worth a reread. :wink:
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