Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Read-Along: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett, Part 2

It’s time for the second week of I Shall Wear Midnight, with questions provided by Susan of Dab of Darkness.  These discussion questions cover chapters 7-10. I’m a day late, so on to the questions.
1) This section featured some characters from the Night Watch, who are featured in other books. Did you enjoy the cameos? If you haven't read the Night Watch books, did their appearance pique your interest?
I vaguely remember the Night Watch members from Thud.  I definitely remember Commander Vimes and his son, and that was a fun cameo to see! 
2) Roland sure is harsh in this section! What do you think is the source of these drastic changes in him? What, or who, would you delete in his life to makes things better?
Well, spoilers from later in the chapters, but Letitia.  It appears that she’s done something to make him dislike Tiffany, and I’m guessing it has him a harsher person in the process.  If her magic was tied up with the Cunning Man, it also makes sense that he would be more cold and harsh. 
3) As Mrs. Proust predicted, Miss....Smith of the Unreal Estate found Tiffany. How do you think Ms. Smith's info on the Cunning Man will be used by Tiffany? What would you fear stumbling over in the Unreal Estate, a place where magical bits are constantly bumping into each other?
I’m not sure how the story will be useful, but I’m sure Tiffany will find a way to fight him.  In a way, the Cunning Man is the most dangerous of enemies Tiffany has faced, because he is the most human. I don’t think I could handle the Unreal Estate.  It sounds way too dirty.
4) Tiffany & the Feegles return to the Chalk to find Roland's men about to dig up the Mound. Luckily, Tiffany is able to make them see sense and they put away their shovels. If they hadn't, what do you picture would have happened? 
I imagine the Feegles would have cut them to pieces. I really don’t think that’s workable in a YA novel, though, so it’s for the best that they saw sense and stopped.  That’s the most serious I’ve ever seen the Feegles, but I suppose things do get very serious when you threaten someone’s home and family.
5) The Duchess seems ready to cause everyone a bit of pain, especially Tiffany. While Tiff seems to have checkmated her for now, what do you think the Duchess's next moves will be?  Did you find it hard to hold your tongue during that standoff too? 
After seeing Letitia and the Duchess together, I actually wondered if that was part of why Roland was marrying her.  He has been (up until now) a pretty decent guy, and Letitia is in a pretty horrible family situation.  I’m not saying he would have married her for pity, but if he liked her anyway, the desire to get her away from her awful mother could have played a role in the decision.
As to the actual question, I’m not really sure what the Duchess hopes to accomplish.  Maybe she’ll try to go for having Tiffany executed for witchcraft, but does she really think she can bully everyone into that?  And yes, I would not have been able to hold my tongue, but I doubt I would have handled everything as gracefully as Tiffany did.  Tiffany did rise to the bait a little, but I thought she managed to stay remarkably calm in the circumstances. 
6) We've met a very interesting guard, Preston, the newest of the bunch. He's a bit of a bookish nerd. Do you see him being of further assistance to Tiffany? How do you think this will affect his long-term employment at the castle? 
I’m hoping that Preston will not remain working at the castle.  I don’t think it would ultimately be a very happy life for him, having to play stupid all the time (though “happy ass, corp ass” = “habeas corpus” did crack me up).  I’m hoping that he’ll help Tiffany more, and he’ll find another path for himself through his interaction with her.  It seems to me that he’s mostly a guard because he couldn’t find a better option for himself, and I hope he learns that there are things he can do that suit him better. 
7) Finally, we learn something very interesting about Letitia. It appears she is a witch. Will Letitia and Tiffany join forces to defeat evil? What do you think Letitia did, if anything, to bring the Cunning Man?

Right now, I think that Letitia inadvertently summoned the Cunning Man. She seems to be very magically talented, and to have had no help or training whatsoever.  I’m not really buying the “woe is me, I was born pretty and rich” lament, though.  She does have a difficult situation with her mother, but she could do something for herself. We’ve seen no evidence that she’s ever done anything but cry, paint watercolors, and work magic for petty reasons. I have some sympathy for her, but probably not as much as Roland seems to.


  1. I had so many answers to post this week but I'm now up to speed!
    1. Haven't read any other discworld series - do you recommend any?
    2. I never even thought of that - it's quite a brilliant idea!
    4. could have gone so bad and actually quite touching to see that side of the Feegles - don't mean that in a patronising way at all btw!
    5.I really dislike the Duchess and no way could I have held my tongue! Although Tiffany played it right otherwise it could have gone much worse.
    6. I'm kind of hoping Preston and Amber will play a bigger part in Tiffany's life somehow - helpers (Amber) or romance (Preston) . Okay, I realise he only winked at her - BUT - it could have been a wink with potential!
    7.Aah, I hadn't considered how powerful she could be - and dangerous if untrained.
    Lynn :D

    1. I've only read a handful, but I really liked "Thud". It made me laugh really hard--In fact, I still laugh when I think of certain parts. That's why having Vimes in this novel really brightened my day :). "Reaper Man" (I think it was, when Death was off work?) was pretty great, too. Death is just a great character all around.

      I agree, about the Feegles. They usually seem so laid-back (even about death!) that it was quite touching to see them so protective of their home.

      You know, I had not even thought of Preston as potential romance, but I can see how that would work. They would work together really well!

  2. 2. I can understand why Letitia would be jealous of Roland's relationship with Tiffany, but I hadn't thought of her poisoning him against her because Letitia is so wet, both emotionally and literally! :D

    3. I love the way Sir Terry always gives us an enemy that seems impossibly powerful and unbeatable . . . right up until the moment when Tiffany deals with him using a flick of common sense and some Second Thoughts. Brilliant!

    5. Oh, good point! Perhaps he sees the Duchess as being very like his terrible Aunts and so he feels sorry for Letitia. That actually makes a lot of sense looking back at what we know about him.

    7. I am also in two minds about Letitia. She does have to deal with the Duchess, which would drive any sane person to suicide, but she also seems quite petty and self-pitying, which are not very attractive character traits.

    1. Hah, it kind of makes sense now about Letitia's jealousy - if she's sort of placed some sort of 'hex' on him - which is not only making him act strangely but also making him be more harsh to Tiffany. So in other words Letitia knows that Roland likes Tiffany??? Or maybe not!
      Lynn :D

    2. Yeah, seeing Letitia as a witch was somewhat surprising because she just seemed so utterly weepy and helpless. But I guess she is capable of more than she appears!

      And to Lynn, I'm guessing Letitia knew Roland held Tiffany in high regard, but I don't know if I believe she figured out they were almost-sweethearts once. Given her personality, it might make sense that she was just overreacting to the fact that her fiancé spoke in friendly social terms to another young woman. It would be nice if she grew up a bit during the novel, and hopefully got to do that out from under the Duchess's thumb.

      I am eager to see how Tiffany deals with the Cunning Man... he does seem pretty unbeatable. Or at least, I have no handy tricks in mind to defeat irrational hatred!

  3. Yeah, I guess we couldn't have the Feegles cutting up the guards, even if they were tearing up the Feegle home. Well, not in a YA comedy novel. Perhaps there is the darker, more serious side to Discworld? I wonder what those books would be like.

    That's a very interesting point about Roland and wanting to help Letitia out by getting her away from her evil mum. You just brought back a warm fuzzy for Roland with the suggestion.

    Haha! The 'happy ass corp ass' made me laugh too. The first time Preston said it, I could just picture the Duchess being offended at being called a happy ass in public.

    Yeah - not feeling the love towards Letitia yet either. She was born pretty & rich and therefore must lead the life set upon her - bull terds. She could do some things to change her life. If she can work malicious magic in order to secure her heart's love, she could tell her mum off and got plant a veggie garden.

    1. Dark Discworld, that would be interestng. I don't think that's really Pratchett's style though :).