So I am nearing the end of Thud! and the suspense is killing me, as usual. Pratchett does do a good mystery. I got past the part where Angua and the girls finally call an end to the night. It was too funny not to share:
“I’ve never been on a Girls’ Night Out before,” said Cheery, as they walked, a little uncertainly, through the night-time city. “Was that last bit supposed to happen?”
“What bit was that?” said Sally.
“The bit where the bar was set on fire.”
“Not usually,” said Angua.
“I’ve never seen men fight over a woman before,” Cheery went on.
“Yeah, that was something, wasn’t it?” said Sally. They’d dropped Tawneee off at her home. She’d been in quite a thoughtful frame of mind.
“And all she did was smile at a man,” said Cheery.
“Yes,” said Angua. She was trying to concentrate on walking.
“It’d be a bit of a shame for Nobby if she lets that go to her head, though,” said Cheery.
Save me from talkative druks … drinks … drunks, Angua thought. She said, “Yes, but what about Miss Pushpram? She’s thrown some quite expensive fish at Nobby over the years.”
“We’ve struck a blow for ugly womanhood,” Sally declared loudly. “Shoes, men, coffins … never accept the first one you see.”
“Oh, shoes,” said Cheery, “I can talk about shoes. Has anyone seen the new Yan Rockhammer solid copper slingbacks?”
“Er, we don’t go to a metalworker for our footwear, dear,” said Sally. “Oh … I think I’m going to be sick…”
“Serves you right for drinking … vine,” said Angua maliciously.
“Oh, ha ha,” said the vampire from the shadows. “I’m perfectly fine with sarcastic pause ‘vine’; thank you! What I shouldn’t have drunk was sticky drinks with names made up by people with less sense of humor than, uh, excuse me … oh, noooo…
“Are you all right?” said Cheery.
“I’ve just thrown up a small, hilarious, paper umbrella…Oh dear.”
“And a sparkler…”
It’s a good wrap up to the previous scenes (there’s a second bar scene, but it doesn’t add much to the first). The scene above clearly demonstrates the rapport developing between Angua and Sally, in that she felt secure enough to make fun of the stereotypical vampire accent.
In the Discworld, vampires speak with a very caricatured German accent, with Vs substituting for Ws. But this is the first time I recall characters being annoyed by it. Vimes does the same in an earlier scene in the book:
“Mr Vimes,” said Mrs Winkings, “ve cannot help but notice that you still haf not employed any of our members in the Vatch…”
Say ‘Watch’, why don’t you? Vimes thought. I know you can. Let the twenty-third letter of the alphabet enter your life.
In all, it’s turning out to be a great book. Pratchett is pushing gender a bit more than usual in this work, especially with the girls at the bar. He clearly making a statement about the fluidity of identity and the weakness of generalizations and stereotypes, here and throughout the book. I think people these days might benefit by giving the decade old book a go.
For decent discussions on Pratchett and gender, you can visit the webpage of Tansy Rayner Roberts
She offers a good gender-focused review of Thud! HERE. Though I have only read half of the article, since the second part reviews a book I haven’t gotten to yet.