I Shall Wear Midnight Read Along Part III

PratchettIShallWearMidnightTis the end. Am I the only one sad to say goodbye to Tiffany (at least until I reread the books again in a few years)? Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow is our host this week, so make sure to visit her site for entertaining chitchat. Let me just give her an applause for cohosting with me. This has been a wonderful read along and I thank everyone for participating and making this so fun!

This week, we covered Chapters 11-End, so spoilers run amok, kilted and all natural underneath.

1) 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?

I was impressed, just as Tiffany was too. She seemed very compassionate, providing a fake head (pumpkin) and teddy bear to some of the ghosties. It was interesting to see this other side of her, as she didn’t really show Tiffany compassion by carving an effigy of her, albeit a poor one, and burying head first in a bucket of sand and wishing Tiffany a shitty life. Still, she likes books, and studying, and doesn’t freak over ghosts. So, now that she has made amends for slighting Tiffany, I think I could civilly have tea with her.

2) “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 wonder why Terry Pratchett wrote the story line this way – I mean making it impossible for Tiffany to ask for help. I would think that the lesson would be: When great things ride on whether or not you ask for help, ask for help! But Pratchett seems to have gone the other way. I think Tiffany grasped that Weatherwax and the other witches would do right, even if that wasn’t nice – such as killing Tiffany if she was possessed by the Cunning Man. So, yes, Tiff did grow up a bit with this latest challenge.

3) 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?

The storyline seemed to be setting Tiffany up to do a one-on-one with the Cunning Man, so I didn’t expect Preston to be in on the final show down. And when the Cunning Man took on a body, and a big, muscled one at that, I was concerned that Preston would get punched or kicked around a bit. I didn’t want his brains scrambled because Tiffany seems quite taken with them and if his brains no longer worked, who would Tiffany have to banter with?

4) 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?

Mrs. Proust did provide a warning to Tiffany, which was very considerate. I loved that she also brought company – a witch who is allergic to tides, and an incontinent blind older witch. Quite the flying party the 3 of are! But no, I never expected Mrs. Proust to be of assistance to Tiff in the final showdown.

Ha! And when Tiff introduced her to Mistress Weatherwax, and then nothing snippy, or violent, or explosive happened, I thought that was quite amusing. And Tiffany’s second thoughts were kind enough to point out that these 2 older witches are still cleverer than herself.

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

Haha! Her dancing hall days certainly explains why she was so high-handed, loud, and generally obnoxious – she was playing a role, a role she felt she had to in order to ensure her daughter caught the eye of a noble young man. I am glad that Mrs. Proust called her on it, and that Tiffany, the local witch, knows about it. This means that whenever the Duchess gets too high handed, someone can remind her or her own lowly roots.

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

I liked the fire, the running hare, the impromptu wedding ceremony. However, I thought the actual defeating of the Cunning Man was a bit simplistic. I mean, he was intrusive, and stinky, without a body, so why does burning the body of the ‘escaped’ killer send the Cunning Man away for years or centuries? I wasn’t sure. Anyhoo, I am willing to look the other way as, over all, I love the Tiffany Aching series. Not all the books have to be perfect.

Other Tidbits:

I thought it was great of Tiffany to ask Letitia to tell Roland the whole story. The silence that followed was very telling.

While Pratchett lets us know that the ‘escaped’ killer is a very bad man, we also get to see that the Cunning Man killed his canary. That was great – we know the prisoner is a wretched man who deserves death, and yet the death of his canary, a pet he cared for, is moving.

Oh I felt Tiffany’s embarrassment when that bit about marrying Roland slipped out. Ouch!

Ah, the Feegles. They warm my heart and make me laugh so! They listened in on Tiff’s little marital chat with Letitia, and then they had questions. Haha! And later, they helped out with a bit of kilt flapping to fan some flames. Too hilarious!

10 thoughts on “I Shall Wear Midnight Read Along Part III”

  1. Love it! (Your answers are much more thoughtful than mine, heh!)

    As for the part about Tiffany asking for assistance, I liked the way that was handled. It was never cruel, I don’t think, but it definitely showed that not everything Tiffany expects to be easy, will be. The sooner she gets used to that fact, the better. I don’t think that having to kill Tiffany if she failed would have been easy for the other witches either, since I think they’re much fonder of her than they admit! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Yeah, i don’t think the older witches would have enjoyed taking out the possessed Tiffany either – but they also know that Tiffany would not want her body and abilities used to harm those she cares about and watches out for. Like the witches say, sometimes there isn’t a good choice and a bad choice; there’s just choices.

  2. Hello, my link:
    http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/i-shall-wear-midnight-by-terry-pratchett-readalong-final-instalment/
    1. Hah, I bet when you were ‘civilly having tea’ with Letitia, some red hot tea might accidentally get poured into her lap! Maybe? No, that would not be nice. She seemed to change character when she was at home. I can’t say I was enamoured with Letitia really although she grew on me a little more towards the end.
    2. I knew that Pratchett would deal with this in a strange way. He never follows the norm which makes all his stories so hard to second guess (or at least that’s my excuse for being so poor at it!)
    3. I agree – Preston’s brains definitely needed to stay inside the skull cavity! He’s a much more interesting person that way.
    4. I quite liked that Mrs Proust rushed to tell Tiffany about the Cunning Man. It was peculiar the way all the witches got on – a bit unnerving actually.
    5. Yep, didn’t see it coming. Thought she must be a witch as well.
    6. I never thought about that. Why didn’t he simply go back and try and find another way. Very puzzling now you’ve mentioned it. The only thing I can guess is that if his spirit is inside something that is destroyed he’s banished somehow – which would explain when he got out of the tapestry when Tiffany threatened to burn it??
    Yes, the whole ‘I will marry you Roland’ slip was a bit embarrassing and yet on reflection i suppose she was having a bit of a premonition – because she did actually marry him – to Letitia. I loved the kilt flame fanning – although it had a lot of potential to go horribly wrong!
    Thanks to you and Lisa for hosting.
    It’s been great fun even though I was late for a couple (holidays hey!).
    Lynn ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. 2. Taking the road less travelled makes his works so much more interesting to me – I hate being able to predict what will happen next because I am usually really, truly dreadful at it! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I now have a mental image of lots of tiny Feegle “bits” getting overly toasted during the flame fanning scene – crivens!!!!!

    2. Well, a little hot tea in the lap can be character building. Or scarring. In fact, i still have a teardrop-shaped scar from my dog enthusiastically spilling hot tea down my chest. It was one of those injuries where it hurt so much I couldn’t even cuss! That’s how my man can tell if I am really in pain – there is no cussing. If there is a blue streak of cussing coming from me, all is well. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Perhaps you are right about the Cunning Man and inhabiting a person or object. If that person/object is then destroyed, it somehow banishes him, at least temporarily.

  3. You reminded me of some of my favorite parts! Roland’s recounting of Letitia’s story had me laughing. He must have been so confused! Also, the arrival of Mrs. Proust. “We hit a sheep.” “In the air!?” “Maybe it was a cow.”

    On the Cunning Man, I thought that burning him was the trick. He had died the first time by burning, so I guess it just made sense to me that the way you had to put him back to rest was by once again burning him.

    My answers: http://tethyanbooks.blogspot.fr/2013/10/read-along-i-shall-wear-midnight-by_21.html

    1. There are so many great little bits that Pratchett builds into his stories. Yes, the sheep/cow accident made me giggle.

      Perhaps you are right about fire and the Cunning Man. I just didn’t understand how he was banished or put to rest when he had been such a nuisance without a body to begin with.

  4. 1. I really liked the way that Letitia had very different aspects to her character – I’m sure we can all go a little crazy at times and I know that sometimes I feel like carving a crude effigy of someone and sticking it in a bucket of sand . . . but most of the time I am quite civilized, honest! ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. I think this episode was like Tiffany learning to ride without her training wheels – she had to realize that she was truly capable of acting on her own without backup. After all, they did keep giving her the advice that she needed – to trust in herself.

    4. I wasn’t quite sure if all that politeness between Mrs Proust and Granny Weatherwax was genuine friendliness or some sort of intense witch dueling where they exchange pleasantries until one of them cracks! ๐Ÿ˜€

    6. I can understand your disappointment with the way the Cunning Man was defeated. In each of the books we have had the bad guy set up as impossible to defeat and then seen them dispatched fairly easily, so it does follow that pattern. However, perhaps the lesson is that many things seem totally impossible until you actually work out how to overcome them, and then you are confused about what all the worry was about.

    1. Hmmm…. Now I want to know how many buckets of sand you have in your house at any given time ;).

      I can see Mrs. Proust and Weatherwax dueling with their eyebrows. I wonder how they decide who has one? Perhaps the first to smirk looses?

      I see what you are saying about being rather vexed on a problem, and once you see the trick of it, then you want to kick yourself for having worried about it so much.

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