Lords and Ladies - Terry Pratchett

This is another one I've consumed as an audio book. My health is so much better than it was, but chemo can be a bit up and down, and in the "down" phase it's great to have something that doesn't need eyes. As usual, having the audiobook emphasises Pratchett's ear for dialogue. The Ramptops characters get Gloucestershire-y accents, which takes me back, even if Gloucestershire isn't actually that mountainous.

This is really not the book I remembered. I remembered that there were elves involved (duh), but I'd forgotten so much about Magrat's wedding, the senior wizards turning up, and, well, so much of the details. In that sense, it's a more complicated book than I remember. For some reason I thought of this as a mid-sequence book, perhaps confusing it with Carpe Jugulum, when it's actually rather earlier, more around the time of Men At Arms.

The in-world themes circle around elves and their hatred of iron (hence horseshoes), a variation on dangerous knowledge meaning that the memory of elves is suppressed into myth, and the changing nature of the world such that elves no longer fit.

Usually there's some kind of theme in the Discworld novels that is allegorical to our world. In the case of this book, it's not so clear. What there is, is power battles, between Weatherwax, Diamanda, Magrat and the Fairy Queen, with apian metaphors. Unusually for a Witches book, the three witches are separated and each handle the elves in their own way.

In the end, though, Weatherwax is the constant focus, the core character, and is just plain powerful. Other books has her jiu-jitsu'ing through headology, here she pretty much meets the queen of the elves on her own terms, until the deus ex machina turns up.

This is a funny book. Rather than follow the pattern of the previous Witches books, it's more like an experiment, trying something different, seeing how it works. Exploring. I'm not sure it's entirely successful, but it's certainly interesting.

Posted 2024-03-07.