Friday, May 12, 2017

Light fantastic

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The second Discworld book, begins right where the first one left. Rincewind has fallen over the edge of the world. But he has been saved, as the spell lodged in his brain needs him alive. This is one of the eight spells in the Octavo, the book that the creator forgot to take back after he created the world. To say it is powerful, is probably an understatement.

The heads of all the wizardly orders decide to find Rincewind as the eight spells from the Octavo need to be said together on Hogswatch Day as they watch a star come closer to the discworld and become bigger. 

They predict that something could seriously go wrong if that doesnt happen. The plot centers around their attempts and how in his characteristic bumbling fashion, Rincewind thwarts it, building up to an interesting climax. 

Rincewind and TwoFlower are more comfortable with each other in this book. Their warm camaraderie and the constant presence of the luggage leads to quite a few hilarious instances. 

Pratchett takes a dig at a lot of things we have taken for granted - take the gingerbread house where the two stay for example. They are unaware of the orders hunting for them and so they are at peace and busy tasting the different sweets on offer as furniture. They sympathize with the witch who built it, that was killed by the kids - a dig on Hansel & Gretel. This forms just a few pages in the book, but remembering it makes me laugh even now. "The animals stayed away as they lost teeth. :)"

Then, there is Cohen, my awesome old barbarian. After an adventure with the druids, the two rescue a reluctant virgin (she wants to be sacrificed) along with Cohen, who is a tottering grandfather. This is another scenario where Twoflower's rose tinted view of the world made me like him even more. The lack of Cohen's teeth and his insistence that the most important thing in life is soft paper, and his awesome sword skills would make anyone sit up and take notice. The romance that blossoms between him and the girl young enough to be his grand daughter is cute and effortless. 

While trying to save the virgin, Twoflower unwittingly enters Death's domain. His interaction with the four horsemen (of Apocalypse) and him teaching them a game with cards that refers to "something you build over water" (bridge!). Rincewind, for all his cowardice, tries his best to save his friend and later the world. 

The trolls, the wizards (especially Trymon and his penchant to organize constantly - he will destroy without caring about anything's value) & the star people, add a lot more color to the plot. Each comes with a different set of lessons and if you read deeper into the lines, makes you philosophize. So much so that you can become like the trolls who are afflicted by philosophy and spend years thinking and forget to transform back from stones. 

A very hilarious read and i guess the beauty of the book is its ability to make you laugh and think at the same time. Ultimately, the message in the book that I took away was that, it is not how skilled you are, but how ready you are to face your demons that makes you who you are. 

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