Monday, October 21, 2013

Read-Along: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett, Part 3

We've come to the end of Terry Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight, and also to the end of the entire Tiffany Aching series. This week's questions were contributed by Lisa of Over the Effing Rainbow, and they cover to the end of the novel.

It's been a lot of fun reading everyone's answers, and I hope that I will see you guys in more read-alongs some day! Many thanks to Susan of Dab of Darkness and Lisa of Over the Effing Rainbow for hosting this Read-Along. Also, thanks to Lynn (of Lynn's Books) and Sue (of Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers) for all their discussions! Now, on to the final discussion questions.

Also, I haven't been very diligent about spoiler warnings, but there are spoilers of the whole book (and series) ahead!

Well, now. It seems Letitia is much more than just a snivelly 'princess in the tower'... What do you think of the way she handles the ghosts at Keepsake Hall?

She still irritates me a bit, but I concede that she has skills. She seems to be a pretty good person, but I think she's kind of oblivious of how good she has life. She's jealous of Tiffany's life, but has no idea what it would be like to grow up on a farm, to not have money, or to go through half of the hardships Tiffany's been through in the past few books. I think that's pretty much why Tiffany feels so much older than her-- in terms of life experience, she is much older. I do agree with Tiffany, though, that Roland is in for a surprise if he genuinely thinks of Letitia as 'uncomplicated'.

"We do right, we don't do nice..." Miss Smith turns up again - in another unusual way - and she's got some eye-opening words for Tiffany here... Do you agree that Tiffany's got to grow up a little more still, or should she just ask for help with the Cunning Man?

I really appreciated Miss Smith's words to Tiffany. Tiffany was starting to get a bit too cocky, and I think Miss Smith was right to point that the Cunning Man is dangerous, and she can't just assume she'll figure things out eventually. You can't just assume something (like dramatic failure) won't happen just because it never has before, that's a sure way towards a fall.

However, I undrerstand why Tiffany really couldn't ask for help in this instance. It had more to do with the working of the witch community, yet again. As Tiffany explained, once she was older, she could probably ask for help and not have it be a big deal. At her age, she had to be able to help herself, or risk permanently losing all her prestige as a witch.

Preston earns even more trust from Tiffany, and she makes an interesting point about whether or not the Cunning Man will be dangerous to him... Do you think the two of them can take him on?

I think Tiffany may just be right that he's immune. Preston seems like a really, genuinely good guy. Lynn called this one, but I agree that he is the right guy for Tiff, in the end. Their last exchange, “What is the sound of love?” …. “Listen.” was an incredibly sweet ending for the series. And also, yes, I think they can beat anything!

Speaking of taking on the Cunning Man, he's getting closer - and in a very alarming way. This is certainly different, and it's keeping Mrs Proust involved. Do you think she might be the exception to the "kindly assistance" rule among witches?

I don't think Mrs. Proust would be 'nice about' anything, if that's what you mean! She seems to be a very kind person in actions, but not a very kind person in temperament. Also, I think that all she did was provide Tiffany with information, much like Miss Smith. Surely there's no rule against letting friends keep you well-informed.

O-ho, so the Duchess has a secret of her own... Are you surprised?

A bit, but in retrospect, it makes sense. I am a little disappointed how this played out, though, I guess it would be too much to ask from the Duchess, but it would be nice if the reminder of her past awoke her to the realization that she should treat people of all stations with respect. Instead, she just tried to appease Mrs. Proust, so that no one would know she had a past as a poor woman of possibly easy virtue (Tiffany's understanding of 'strumpet' still makes me laugh). At least, we find out that she does care for her servants. I think her loyalty to caring for sick and elderly servants rounded out her character a bit.

Tiffany defeats the Cunning Man! What did you make of this scene?

I am honestly surprised that Tiffany killed the guy. I mean, we'd been told he was a murderer, and that the spirit would not leave his body until his death. Even so, I am surprised by Tiffany's, “No mercy, no redemption.” It was a pretty clever way to end him, though. She had help, but the plan and execution were hers alone. Also, what a weird wedding ceremony! I don't blame Letitia and Roland for doing it again later, in a more ordinary way!


  1. That wedding ceremony thing was very strange! I liked the way Tiffany succeeded in the end though.
    Preston was great - I was so glad that he and Tiffany were going to get together - I think they were going to get together?? - he was a match for her and not at all phased which Roland always was. She needs someone who can stick up to her.
    Mrs Proust was a bit of a character - I liked when Tiffany first met her in the the shop and thought she was wearing all the witch props before realising that it was her actual face!
    So funny - not to mention flying into a sheep (or a cow!)
    I thought it was great the way Pratchett used the time travel at the end. I'd never put together that Tiffany was the other witch in the field until I literally had it explained. It made me think back to Harry Potter when he rescues himself but thinks it's his father. Great plot point.
    Lynn :D

    1. I'd forgotten about Mrs Proust actually looking like a stereotypical witch - no wonder she spent so much energy pretending that she wasn't!

    2. I definitely got the impression Preston and Tiffany were going to get together! And yeah, he seems like he can keep up with her :).

  2. I think that Roland's biggest surprise will come on the wedding night when Letitia starts trying to use some of those tips that she got from Nanny Ogg! :D

    Yeah, that last exchange between Tiffany and Preston had me grinning like an idiot and feeling all warm and fuzzy towards my other half . . . sigh . . .

    I think Mrs Proust was simply a very good example of Boffo - she always had to hide her true nature in the city, so she projected a rough and uncaring exterior to disguise her witchy tendency to help people.

    There are so many strange ceremonies used to denote marriage, that this seemed pretty normal to me. In Gretna Green you are married when a blacksmith strikes an anvil, for some reason that I've never understood - at least this feels primitive and sacred in a strange way.

    1. Haha, good point about the wedding night. I hear Nanny Ogg is a knowledgeable woman! I think that makes sense about Mrs. Proust. And striking an anvil? I can imagine everyone avoiding the blacksmith shop, just to avoid marriage confusion.

  3. Sorry I'm late to the party. My cat coughed up a hairball on my keyboard and I had to ignore it until my stomach was empty ;).

    Roland and his 'uncomplicated' Letitia. I can see why Tiffany chose not to correct him on that. Somethings a person just has to figure out on their own. Like how to pee in the woods without getting your clothes soiled.

    It's about time Tiffany had a sweet lad in her life - one that wasn't a force of nature or a noble or a 6 inch tall kilted, unwashed man.

    I can see calling Roland a knave after his latest behavior. But naming Letitia a whore didn't seem accurate - I mean she doesn't accept money for sex, at least not yet. Still, it seemed fitting that Tiffany married them in the heat of the moment, even if Roland was pantless and smelled like the pig pen.

    1. Oh yikes, I can understand not wanting to clean that out of the keys.

      That is an interesting comparison for learning about Letitia. There may be clothes-soiling involved in his situation, too, when he learns about the ghosts of Keepsake Manor.

      Now that I've had time to think about it, I really like that she ended up with Preston, and stayed friends with Roland. I agree that it's good she has a sweet lad in her life, and also nice that her first proto-relationship ended in a pretty realistic way (in that they realized they weren't right for each other, no hard feelings). Also, Preston is definitely a step up from her brief, cold courtship by the Wintersmith and her short engagement to Rob Anybody :).

      The wedding kind of shocked me! I saw they addressed it afterward "I think... that was kind of a bad word." I am really curious to see if that ceremony is from some actual tradition, but Google is just giving me Pratchett when I search for it right now. I guess knave is not too far off considering Roland's drunken, pantless, pig-muck-covered state, not to mention how he'd treated Tiffany until recently. I'm glad that's not a bachelor's party tradition my fiancé follows :D.