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Guards! Guards! has one of the first Big Deal Discworld moments for me, and I’m not very good at articulating what that means.

The moment I’m thinking of is the dragon’s speech to Wonse – “we were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless and terrible. But…we never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.” That’s a passage that always makes me stop and reread it a couple of times. And it’s a small moment – it’s the only time we hear the dragon speak at all, and it’s a speech that has no bearing on the rest of the story. It could have been taken out of the book entirely and nothing would feel like it was missing. But the fact that it’s there is a Big Deal moment. The great big monstrous antagonist’s judgment of humanity is unavoidable in its accuracy.

And the Discworld series is full of moments like that. Sometimes it’s just one line, sometimes it’s a full scene, and most of the book is so full of shenanigans coming so quickly one after another that you don’t always see the Big Deal moments coming. We think of Pratchett as a humor/satire writer and yes, the books are hilarious, but in between the jokes are these Big Deal moments that casually rearrange our perspective and stick with us even after we think we’ve forgotten.

Then there are the other Big Deal Moments, that are Emotional Meteorite Strike Moments (e.g. the phrase “that is not my cow” can now instantly put me in the fetal position) but I’m having a hard enough time describing this one as it is so I’ll probably go on a tirade about those ‘round about that One Part in Feet of Clay. (You know the one.)

Suggestion: Reblog this with your favorite Big Deal Moment.

YES. It’s so fun hearing everyone’s Big Deal Moments! (although choosing just one is so hard…)

I think my favorite one changes, but right now it’s in Feet of Clay:

The vampire looked from the golem to Vimes.

“You gave one of them a voice?” he said.

“Yes,” said Dorfl. He reached down and picked up the vampire in one hand. “I Could Kill You,” he said. “This Is An Option Available To Me As A Free-Thinking Individual But I Will Not Do So Because I Own Myself And I Have Made A Moral Choice.”

“Oh, gods,” murmured Vimes under his breath.

“That’s blasphemy,” said the vampire.

He gasped as Vimes shot him a glance like sunlight. “That’s what people say when the voiceless speak.”


All my Discworld books are packed, and usually I’m a City Watch guy, but the first moment like that for me, and still I think my favorite, was in the first Discworld book I read, Small Gods, where Didactylos the Ephebian philosopher is brought before the militant evangelist Omnian priest, Vorbis. 

Vorbis demands that Didactylos recant his claim that the world travels through space on the backs of four elephants who stand on the back of a giant turtle (which in Discworld is true). Vorbis insists that Didactylos agree that it is a sphere, as the Great God Om intended.

To all appearances, Didactylos easily and happily recants, saying something like “Sure, let it be a sphere” and Vorbis – for whom this is as much about humiliating Didactylos as it is about what’s “true” – decides to let him go. Didactylos gets all the way to the doorway before he turns, throws the lantern he carries into Vorbis’s face, and yells “NEVERTHELESS…THE TURTLE MOVES!” before legging it. 

I was thirteenish at the time and wrestling with religion, and I was familiar with Galileo and eppur si muove, but it’s never as satisfying for there to be a myth of a whisper when you want there to be a legend of a roar. Didactylos bashing Vorbis on the head and screaming the truth before beating feet was much, much more satisfying. And as someone who has never borne fools in power easily, it was an object lesson in how to do the thing. 

There is so much I sympathize with, when it comes to Moist Von Lipwig, but if I had to cite a “big moment”, it’s when he’s deconstructing the idea of currency.

“But what’s worth more than gold?“
“Practically everything. You, for example. Gold is heavy. Your weight in gold is not very much gold at all. Aren’t you worth more than that?”

When you get your head around the idea that something’s worth is based on a subjectively agreed upon set of standards, it can rock your capitalist-based worldview right to the core.

He was also the first character to articulate what has kind of become a guiding philosophy for me:

“Make the change happen fast enough and you go from one type of normal to another.”

There are so many for me, but the one that jumpstart out is death and Susan talking at the end of hogfather about the importance of believing in morality and goodness.

“Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”

I want to add one more, because I just finished reading Raising Steam.

The bit where Moist literally throws himself under a train to save a pair of children had me in absolute tears.

A lot of that book is really good to be honest. This line is also really good.
“That’s the trouble, you see. When you’ve had hatred on your tongue for such a long time, you don’t know how to spit it out.”

One of the top ones for me is one that crops up a couple times and a quote/comment that I use in conversation frequently.
I always remember it from in I Shall Wear Midnight;

‘What was it Granny Weatherwax had said once? ‘Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.“

But of course it’s also in this conversation in Carpe Jugulum

Granny Weatherwax: “…And that’s what your holy men discuss, is it?”
Mightily Oats: “Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment on the nature of sin. for example.”
Granny Weatherwax: “And what do they think? Against it, are they?”
Mightily Oats: “It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”
Granny Weatherwax:“Nope.”
Mightily Oats: “Pardon?”
Granny Weatherwax: “There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”
Mightily Oats: “It’s a lot more complicated than that–”
Granny Weatherwax: “No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”
Mightily Oats: “Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes–”
Granny Weatherwax: “But they starts with thinking about people as things…”

•People as things•

I always loved the line from the Hogfather mentioned above, but one that usually sticks out more to me from the same book is Susan’s reminder that “Someone should do something” isn’t at all helpful if you’re not gonna end it with “and that someone is me”
because nothing gets done if everyone just sits around thinking “someone should fix this” but no one actually gets up and tries to fix it
I’ll also add another one of my favorites from Feet of Clay which is “Someone’s got to speak for them that have no voices” [I’m probably misquoting slightly but that’s the core of it] and on a larger scale is that the same book gives a voice to one of those voiceless- instead of JUST speaking for [over] them, one of the voiceless gets a voice of their own and a platform to speak from which is so important on so many levels

“A watchman is a civilian, you inbred streak of piss!’

Just like that, in one angry  line, Commander Sam Vimes defines what a police officer is and by extension how they should act. A watchman is not a soldier, and therefor can (should) never act like one.

As a very, very young transgender person who didn’t quite understand what he was, this line from The Fifth Elephant stuck with me:

“But they at least shared one conviction—that what you were made as, wasn’t what you had to be or what you might become…”

It’s from the scene where Lady Margolotta is at the vampires’ society.  Now there are a LOT better lines about trans-ness—–that are actually ABOUT trans-ness, and not self-destructive behavior—–but… well, I was always pretty literal.

Also a line from Snuff.  I don’t remember it perfectly and I can’t find my copy, but it’s where Vimes is conversing with the Dark about the goblins.

“The hated have no reason to love!”

Again, it’s not a line explicitly connected to queerness, but I relate pretty heavily to it considering the amount of hatred queer people get.

I’m quite tempted to say the entirety of I Shall Wear Midnight, because really, that book hit home in so many painful and wonderful ways for me. But I think the pieces that really stood out the most to me, if I had to pick them - was this:

“The cook has told me that you are a very religious woman, always on your knees, and that is fine by me, absolutely fine, but didn’t it ever occur to you to take a mop and bucket down there with you? People don’t need prayers, Miss Spruce; they need you to do the job in front of you.”   

Of course the brown-haired quote:

“ But she had seen what they had not seen; she had seen through it. It lied. No, well, not exactly lied, but told you truths that you did not want to know: that only blonde and blue-eyed girls could get the prince and wear the glittering crown. It was built into the world. Even worse, it was built into your hair colouring. Redheads and brunettes sometimes got more than a walk-on part in the land of story, but if all you had was a rather mousy shade of brown hair you were marked down to be a servant girl. “

And this one: 

“Poison goes where poison’s welcome. And there’s always an excuse, isn’t there, to throw a stone at the old lady who looks funny. It’s always easier to blame somebody.”

That one hit me the heaviest, I think. There were times reading it when I had to stop because it hit so close to home.

hands down my biggest Big Deal Moment is from ‘Jingo’ where vimes arrests the army for attempted murder.

the man. the legend. the boots.


“words in the heart cannot be taken”

pretty much the entirety of Thud!, especially the very end - you cannot make  vimes kill an unarmed man. Witches Abroad - granny Weatherwax putting the wolf out of his misery. Night Watch - when Vimes burns the cable street station - and then goes back in to save the torturer.  Tbh, most of vimes.

(The knowledge that Vimes has darkness in him, has the Beast in the back of his mind, caged and always ready to break out - but he /can/ cage it, and that needing to doesn’t make him less of a hero, has been incredibly important to me.) 

Probably my top two of all time are “Words in the heart cannot be taken” and “Sin is when you treat people like things.”

But there’s also this one from Unseen Academicals. At first glance it looks like just a pun, even if it follows on some heavy stuff, but there’s so much going on here:

“I would like you to teach [the orcs] civilized behavior,” said Ladyship coldly.

[Nutt] appeared to consider this. “Yes, of course, I think that would be quite possible,” he said. “And who would you send to teach the humans?”

There was a brief outburst of laughter from Vetinari, who immediately cupped his hand over his mouth. “Oh, I do beg your pardon,” he said.

“But since it falls to me,” continued Nutt, “then, yes, I shall go into Far Uberwald.”

“Pastor Oats will be very pleased to see you, I’m sure,” said Margolotta.

“He’s still alive?” said Nutt.

“Oh, yes, indeed, he is still quite young after all, and walks with forgiveness at his side. I think he would feel it very appropriate if you were to join him. In fact, he has told me on one of his all too infrequent visits that he would be honored to pass the rate of forgiveness on to you.”

“Nutt doesn’t need forgiveness!” Glenda burst out.

Nutt smiled and patted her hand. “Uberwald is a wild country for a man to travel in,” he said, “even a holy man. Forgiveness is the name of Pastor Oats’s doubled-headed battle-axe. For Mister Oats the crusade against evil is not a metaphor. Forgiveness cut through my chains. I will gladly carry it.”

There’s so much here that’s important to me. The way Nutt calls out Margolotta’s reference to “civilized behavior,” Glenda’s insistence that Nutt, as a victim of violence and conditioning, doesn’t need to be forgiven, and Nutt’s subtle implication that the struggle against evil means liberation and the breaking of chains.

I really loved the development of Mightily Oats’s character in Carpe Jugulum, and the first time I read Unseen Academicals I was wonderfully surprised to catch this glimpse of where his journey ultimately takes him. Nutt was kept chained up for years, because everyone knows that orcs are unthinking monsters - until Oats, a man who now spends his life battling with monsters, cut him free.

Sometimes PTerry manages to pull off a sentence that’s both a groan-worthy pun and a Big Deal moment. “Forgiveness cut through my chains” is one.

I know someone already mentioned all of Night Watch. But seriously. All of Night Watch. 

‘That’s a nice song,’ said young Sam, and Vimes remembered that he was hearing it for the first time.
‘It’s an old soldiers’ song,’ he said.
‘Really, sarge? But it’s about angels.’ 
Yes, thought Vimes, and it’s amazing what bits those angels cause to rise up as the song progresses. It’s a real soldiers’ song: sentimental, with dirty bits.
‘As I recall, they used to sing it after battles,’ he said. ‘I’ve seen old men cry when they sing it,’ he added.
‘Why? It sounds cheerful.’
They were remembering who they were not singing it with, thought Vimes. You’ll learn. I know you will.

Also even though it’s not Discworld, I think Nation was arguably the most profound and Big Deal books that Sir Terry wrote. And the most beautiful. 

“No more words. We know them all, all the words that should not be said. But you have made my world more perfect.”
hjea: (Default)
I love a before and after, don't you?

And then...

You can't imagine how happy it makes me to have my books back. (Although you are all nerds so maybe you can.) It just makes this place seem more homey and complete. And it also makes me notice how much room I still have and how I should probably go out and get some more books. ;D

ANYWAY, book nerdery aside, I had a wonderful birthday yesterday. Bike ride in the morning, beautifully sunny day with friends at the pride parade downtown, and then a delicious dinner with my family at the waterfront, topped off with (albeit, kind of distant) fireworks. The "oh god, I'm 25 now what am I doing with my life?" feeling will still take a bit of getting used to, but hey. I'm also the imminent first-time owner of an iPhone, so I absolutely can't WAIT to join in the instagram-y hipster-filter fun. Does anyone have any favourite app recommendations?
hjea: (misc-beatrice: taming my wild heart)
I missed the library! The public library. The school library I see enough of.

But taking reading week at it's name, I made my resolution to get as much reading-for-fun done as I can this week. So I spent a couple hours at the library this morning, came away with a good stack of books, and then had another couple hours at Second Cup, sipping lattes and reading Ursula Le Guin short stories and having a damn good time! And I just ate pancakes for dinner and am now thinking happy thoughts about pajamas and maple syrup comas. :D

The only (minor) damper on my very fine day is, that while I was scrolling Youtube for Oscar highlights, I found a Robin Hood video (you know how Youtube searches can get... tangential) entitled "Marian breaks Guy's Heart" which was, you guessed it, the scene where he kills her. ARG! This really shouldn't bother me, but it still does. BECAUSE THE LOGIC IS THAT MARIAN BREAKS GUY'S HEART, SO REALLY HE'S WELL WITHIN HIS RIGHTS TO KILL HER?! GAWD.

Thank goodness I have an LJ to rant about these kind of things. ;) *head!desks fandom*

But I shall move on to happier things now, and read more books. I got Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures out which I started reading a couple years ago but never finished but now I shall and HA HA! (Yes, it's weird how reading novels without any expectation of analysis feels kinda devious. Gotta love university. *G*)
hjea: (lots-stop: it's seeker time)
So Legend of the Seeker episode 12 was ... )

Which leads me to talk about spoilers and speculation about the 1x13 promo )

Since the world is still spinning merry-go-round-like thanks to my wicked case of vertigo, I mostly sat around on my butt today. Finished a book (The Merlin Conspiracy. I &hearts Diana Wynne Jones and her crazy, crazy worlds), watched some of Our Mutual Friend again (which I've decided is definitely the Dickensian story of two awesome women, and three really creepy men), and, because I'm super cool, knitted a sock for Kermit 2.0

In't he sweet?

If I was smart, I would probably start thinking about what kind of school work I should get done this break but... I'm really rarely smart about these kind of things. Mmm... *stretches*... reading week. :D
hjea: (dw-nine/rose squee)
Guess who's being knighted? SIR TERRY!

And well-deserved too. Now I've got a stack of Discworld books waiting, if you'll excuse me.
hjea: (robin hood-robin/marian forest!otp)
Here's the drabble requests I wrote yesterday. Reposting here for my ever important posterity. ;)

For [livejournal.com profile] xtinethepirate Pushing Daisies; Ned/Chuck; So near, so far )

For [livejournal.com profile] goldy_dollar Doctor Who; Doctor & Donna; post-Turn Left )

& For [livejournal.com profile] ninamazing Robin Hood; Robin/Marian; oranges )

Other things:
-I started reading a book on Elizabeth Bathory, which is dark and gruesome and really, really interesting. Makes me really want to see Anna Friel in the film Bathory now.
-[livejournal.com profile] goldy_dollar wrote Doctor/Rose reunion fic! Soon to be Jossed, but very much enjoyed by me. I really don't think it's fair of Saturday to take so long getting here.
-I have an interview tomorrow! For a volunteer position. So, er, the kind that doesn't pay you. But hey, it's something, right?
-I may be late to the party on this, but how awesome and self-indulgent is Wordle? You make pretty graphics out of your writing! Lookee, I made one for the drabbles. Such fun. ;)
hjea: (dw-martha jones)
I'm crazy bored. To the point of possibly going crazy. Probably this is what happens when professors dump work on you for two weeks and then suddenly take it all away. Damn you, university!

(Though I did finally manage to write down a few hundred words of a story that's been rattling around in my head for, um, ever, so YAY. Even if Steven Moffat did totally steal my ideas)

So, because why the heck not, the "Get to know you" meme from the ever lovely and shrine-worthy [livejournal.com profile] browncoat_2x2:

YOU'RE ON MY FRIENDS LIST, I would like to know 364 things about you. I don't care if we never talk, or if we already know everything about each other. Short and sweet is fine ... You're on my list, so I want to know you better!

Answer in the comments if'n you want to )

Re: subject title, Pushing Daisies missage still takes up a lot of my thoughts, and it saddens me deeply that we won't get any more episodes this season even if the strike ends. (Which it probably won't anytime soon, because the AMPTP is run by puppets < /pessimism>) Does this mean I'll have to start watching LOST again?

Hokay. Time to finish re-reading Dune. Paul Atreides, you still own my literary sci-fi heart for evers.
hjea: (dw-wibbly wobbly)
Hey, hope everyone had a good Christmas, those who celebrate it, and a relaxing fun time all around. Yesterday was great, very low key and fun, with delicious food and lots of clothes (fuzzy sheep-skin slippers that look like grampa slippers except they are BRIGHT PINK and therefore WIN) and books for presents, which makes me VERY happy.

Anyway, REC! The first Christmas book I've now finished was great! Called Gods Behaving Badly which was a good bit of fun, all about the Greek Gods living in a dilapidated house in London, trying not to screw up the world too much. Most amusing was the part when Zeus, who is a senile old man who watches TV all day, was insisting that Doctor Who was a god, and enacting god-like violence against Apollo when he tried to disagree. Also, Aphrodite is a telephone sex operator. I love British humour.

And I watched Voyage of the Damned! I already said most of my thoughts at [livejournal.com profile] goldy_dollar and [livejournal.com profile] ninamazing's journals, but I really did enjoy it this year. It was fun and sweet and sad and felt very much like Doctor Who. But the new credit music weirded the heck out of me. Clearly, change + Doctor Who is also becoming an issue for me. BUT IT WAS ALL... DIFFERENT. WITH THE ELECTRIC GUITAR AND STUFF. Another thing I'll have to mull over.

And in more exciting BBC news, Shadow in the North is airing on Sunday! YAY BILLIE. I'm so looking forward to this one, even if it has been years since I read it and mostly I remember a lot of crying coming out of it, but still. J.J. Feild is also WAY up there in Hot Men I Am Currently Drooling Over (my heart went ka-THUMP from his first scene in Ruby in the Smoke and then there was Northanger Abbey and I was done) so I am all anticipation and GLEE. Not to mention the fact that Sally Lockhart is KICK-ASS, and smart and beautiful and everything a hero should be (that's for you, Nina ;)). And Billie Piper plays her. So... where is the downside?

The Beeb released a preview clip but I would really recommend you NOT watch it unless you've read the book. 'Cause could they have chosen a more spoilery moment? Well probably, but it's still rather extreme.

Lastly - I miss Robin Hood. It's been a week and a half. What am I going to do when it's over?

*goes to watch the proposal scene again*

Book Meme

Jun. 27th, 2007 02:12 am
hjea: (Default)
Tagged by [livejournal.com profile] inara223

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 4-7 sentences on your LJ along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest (unless it's too troublesome to reach and is really heavy. Then go back to step 1).
6. Tag five people.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien. Decided to re-read the LoTR trilogy this summer, but it's er... not going quickly. I've kind of trailed off around the Dead Marshes section. But I'm not giving up yet!

Suddenly Gandalf laughed. 'But what would they say in song? Those who looked from afar thought that the mountain was crowned with storm. Thunder they heard, and lightning, they said, smote upon Celebdil, and leaped back broken into tongues of fire. Is not that enough? A great smoke rose about us, vapour and steam. Ice fell like rain. I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountain-side where he smote it to his ruin. Then darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell.'

And I tag:

[livejournal.com profile] browncoat_2x2 [livejournal.com profile] elizalavelle [livejournal.com profile] goldy_dollar [livejournal.com profile] maidm [livejournal.com profile] otahyoni

If you want. ;)


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