Pratchett, Terry: (24) The Fifth Elephant (spoilers)

The next installment of the Discworld re-read is The Fifth Elephant, about which I have only spoiler comments, which I will take behind the cut. A non-spoiler booklog entry is over here.

I still cannot remember the plot of this until I start reading it. Also I skip the horrible “Fred in charge” plot with extreme prejudice.

This is kind of a tipping point for the Watch books, I think, toward them starting to be too in love with Vimes. I just do not care about Vimes’ relationship with his primal anger, I’m sorry, I just roll my eyes whenever he goes all red in tooth and claw, whatever. I also really dislike the ambiguously evil Carrot of this book and am very glad that that doesn’t seem to have been followed up.

Good things: Vimes realizing that not all dwarves are the same. Dwarf gender being its own thing—Vimes being yelled at when he asks about the sex/gender (I doubt he is aware of the difference) of Bloodaxe and Ironhammer and being told that “They were both dwarves,” that’s all that matters. I also liked that Cheery decides to perform her gender in a way that feels authentic to her, though there’s nothing wrong with deciding to make a statement—both are valid considerations and I like that both are presented.

I do fear that Dee is a tragic trans character, or some close cousin to it, though, which is lousy even though it comes and goes so fast.

Sybil also gets some really good moments (wielding that iron bar, understanding dwarf culture, bargaining), which helps make up for the AWFUL early stuff where Pratchett pulls out the cliched not-really-listening husband thing and Sybil crying when she thinks about his other life. (She deserves so much better.)

Finally, yay, the start of the clacks!

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