In the sixth part of Thief of Time, I am a bit lost. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I can’t quite see the point of this. Yet.
That’s often the case with the way I read things for Mark Reads, and I had to accept a long time ago that the nature of this project meant I was reading books in a rather strange way. That’s especially the case for books without chapters. It’s easier to stop at the end of a chapter to go do something else than in the middle of a scene, and we’ve all artificially broken up the Discworld books to accommodate me, so… it’s going to be weird sometimes. Pratchett doesn’t write things randomly, so I imagine that Lobsang’s training is important to something, but I admit to feeling aimless while reading this.
Am I supposed to? Is Lobsang the stand-in for the reader? Because I also can’t ignore the parallel there. I honestly expected Lu-Tze to skip any sort of introductory lessons and instead focus on teaching Lobsang something more advanced, given that Lobsang already has sensitivities and abilities that most monks don’t. Yet Pratchett toys with us and with Lobsang by having Lu-Tze do exactly the same thing you see in martial arts films where a student is trained in mundane things in order to learn some greater lesson.
Does Lobsang need those lessons? Kind of, I’d say. He’s wildly impatient, and he also has a misguided and misinformed view of Lu-Tze. Lobsang went into this expecting he’d learn some sweet martial arts moves, when that’s not really what Lu-Tze does. But how much of what Lu-Tze says is a joke? His notebook is largely filled with aphorisms that he borrowed or took from Mrs. Cosmopolite, believing that she somehow “knew” what the Book of the Way said. He also traveled to Ankh-Morpork because of the language in an ad. And there’s a part of me that can’t believe that someone as clever and smart as Lu-Tze can be so openly foolish, so is he just toying with Lobsang? For what purpose? Is he teaching some important lesson? If so, he never stops to actually say what it is; instead, the text just moves on to the next thing, like when Lu-Tze takes Lobsang to the dojo to stage a fight.
And how bewildering is that? It’s all meant to be a test to see whether or not Lobsang needs to be taught anymore, but the entire sequence is so confusing. Lu-Tze insists on Lobsang using a sharp sword at first, but then he switches to a dakka stick, and there are Rules, and even though it was made super clear to remember those Rules, I COULDN’T REMEMBER RULE ONE. And then the fight is interrupted and they don’t even take a single swing at each other??? WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS BOOK. Something in the Mandala Hall is worth interrupting the test, and perhaps that’s why this felt so jarring. There were so many interruptions that none of the scenarios got any closure, you know? I felt like I was wandering through Lu-Tze’s mind.
Anyway, Jeremy’s construction of the Glass Clock is now starting to affect Lobsang. Unfortunately, the vision he gets passes seconds after it’s over, so Lobsang can’t even remember it to tell Lu-Tze about what happened! NO, THIS IS NOT GOOD. What if he’s hit with another glimpse like this during something important?
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