**spoiler alert** I liked the description of Jeremy’s ordered mind and how he loved the moment when all the parts of a clock are spread out in front o...more**spoiler alert** I liked the description of Jeremy’s ordered mind and how he loved the moment when all the parts of a clock are spread out in front of him because everything made sense. The brief mention of the Dysk theatre made me chuckle [a reference to the Globe theatre], as did the scene with Lu-Tze’s inventor friend Qu. I loved the Auditor swear word of “organs!” first uttered by Miss Tangerine, and I felt that the end, with Susan and Lobsang, was wonderful. It’s kind of amazing how much meaning can be conveyed in just two lines, without any details whatsoever.
***SPOILERS FOLLOW AND ARE VERY SPOILERY***
Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett is the 26th Discworld novel and involves the History Monks, Susan Sto Helit, the five horsemen of the apocalypse, the Auditors, and the First Rule: "Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man".
When Lobsang Ludd was born, he was left to be raised by the Guild of Thieves. It was a similar story for Jeremy Jeremy Clockson, though he was raised by the Clockmakers Guild, also in Ankh Morpork. The History Monks offer Lobsang an apprenticeship at their home, Oi Dong monastary, under the famous Lu-Tze, also known as the Sweeper. The head of the monks, the abbot, had “never mastered the arts of circular aging” and was “forced to achieve longevity in a more traditional way, via serial reincarnation”, so he rules over his monks in between bouts of gurgling and yelling “Wanna bikkit wanna bikkit!” They find Longsang has an uncanny gift for manipulating and understanding time, despite his lack of formal training. Lu-Tze is a follower of “The Way of Mrs. Cosmopolite” and is often quoting pieces of her wisdom, beginning with the confusing phrase “for it is written”. Lobsang points out that no one has ever read what Lu-Tze claims is written.
Meanwhile, Jeremy is visited by a woman and her troll guards. Myria LeJean hires him to build a perfectly accurate glass clock, and in order to assist him with his task provides him with an Igor assistant. LeJean is an agent of the Auditors, who believe that humanity mustn’t be allowed to carry on living, what with their imaginations and their emotions. The Auditors can’t organise people, they make the filing messy. They are a collective without names or individual personalities, but they send LeJean in human form to interact with Jeremy and she begins to develop distinctly un-Auditor characteristics. For one, she begins to feel romantic interest in Jeremy.
Susan Sto Helit works for Madam Frout, headmistress of the Frout Academy, and though she is considered an excellent teacher she does not subscribe to the Frout Method of Learning Through Fun. Madam Frout often attempts to reprimand Susan for this but always ends up forgetting to do so. This is partly because of Susan’s ability to give her a Look, and because Susan is the grandaughter of Death.
Susan goes to Fidgett’s gentleman’s club in Esoteric Street to visit her grandfather, where the only women “grudgingly” allowed were “the family or respectable married ladies over thirty...between 3:15 and 4:30PM” which meant many of the club’s members thought this was “the only seventy-five minutes in the day when women are were actually allowed to exist”. Death informs her that the personification of Time once fell in love with a human man and had a son: someone mostly mortal, like her.
Dr. Hopkins, the Secretary of the Guild of Clockmakers, checks in on Jeremy regularly to see how he is doing and ensure the boy is taking his medicine. Igor assures Hopkins he watches Jeremy “pour out a thpoonful” every day, but neglects to inform him that Jeremy then tips it down the sink. Jeremy says this allows him to think more clearly, but even Igor – who has served some genuinely insane madmen – begins to worry about his new master’s grip on reality.
There is a time leak at the monastary and Lu-Tze steps out of his role as a simple sweeper in order to “cross-link futures and pasts” to regain balance, but Lobsang quickly takes over. He is so skillfull that he provides perfect balance, which surprises even Lu-Tze. The apprentice can see problems with time before they happen, and while the History Monks think nothing of dumping thousands of years worth of excess time into the sea, Lobsang finds the perfect place for every last second.
Lu-Tze finds out about the construction of the glass clock and vows to stop it. The last time a glass clock was made, it measured the tick of the universe and there was a massive time slip, and Lu-Tze was unable to reach the device in time to prevent the Big Crash. He and Lobsang travel to Ankh Morpork by “slicing time”, a process where everything arounds them slows down almost to a stop but they keep moving at a rapid pace. Again, Lobsang shows an uncanny competance with this supposedly difficult skill.
They come across a yeti, who recognises Lu-Tze and agrees to carry them on their journey while they sleep. He also agrees to let them chop off his head. Lu-Tze does so, and the yeti’s headless body vanishes. It reappers and Lu-Tze urges Lobsang to remember what he saw, and to understand that time is more flexible than people think. Susan visits Nanny Ogg, who is a witch and a talented midwife. She tells Susan of how a man came to her several times throughout her life, asking for her help with a tricky delivery. The first time is just a young woman, so she sends him away. The second time she is a grown woman but says she still has much to learn. The third time, she grabs her hat and goes with the man. Nanny Ogg reveals to Susan that she helped Time deliver twins.
The other Auditors begin to suspect Myria is gaining too much humanity and so they send more agents in human form to monitor her actions. She has been secretly sabotaging the clock’s progress in order to spend more time with Jeremy and in her human body. The Auditors want to ensure no further delays in the construction of the clock, which will stop time and put an end to the universe.
Death visits the other horsemen and tells them it is time for them to ride. Famine says that since there will be no shortage of food he wants to “sit this one out”. Pestilence also declines. Death has dinner with Mr and Mrs War, a former Valkyrie, and realises he will be the only one riding out at the end of the world because all of the others have “caught aspects of humanity as though they were some kind of disease”.
Lu-Tze and Lobsang arrive in Ankh Morpork too late to stop the clock being finished. Time stops, and they are separated. Lu-Tze meets Ronnie Soak, the dairyman, and Lobsang meets Susan, all beings who are outside humanity and therefore outside of time.
Ronnie explains that he is actually the fifth horseman of the Apocalypse, Kaos.
Persued by the Auditors, Jeremy and Susan go to the Royal Art Musem. There they find a number of signs have been laid out to stop the Auditors in their tracks: an arrow pointing right with the words “keep left” on it, “do not feed the elephant”, “ignore this sign”. Myria LeJean aids them and kills an Auditor by giving it a Higgs & Meakins chocolate. She says even eating toast nearly killed her, so chocolate was death for an Auditor relatively new to having a body with taste buds. Myria reveals that Jeremy was also unaffected by the stoppage of time, and Susan explains that Jeremy and Lobsang have a very special relationship. They are the same person. Mrs Ogg described it as “one soul born twice”.
Lobsang touches Jeremy and everything goes white. When Susan can see again, Jeremy and Lobsang are gone. Susan hears Lobsang’s voice and he urges her to get to the clock. She and Lady LeJean stock up on chocolates from the fine chocolate shop called Wienrich and Boettcher. It is here that Lady LeJean takes the new name of Unity.
Death prepares to ride out alone, but is joined at the last moment by Pestilence, Famine, War, and even Chaos, who agree to fight the Auditors. Lu-Tze, Susan and Unity also fight them, with what chocolate they have left. The Auditors think they have killed the monk but Lu-Tze tells Unity he learned from the yetis and that dying and returning does “sting a bit”.
Susan goes to the clock and Lobsang says he wants to smash it. Suddenly, she is outside the universe with Lobsang and the clock. They meet Time and Wen, who has somehow acquired the constant pain in Susan’s side: the Death of Rats. Wen explains to Susan that Lobsang built and destroyed the clock, “saving the world and destroying it, all at once”.
Lobsang tells Susan he is going to take over as Time, and she is returned to the world, where history has been shattered. They find Lu-Tze and Unity, and go to Oi Dong. Lobsang returns ordered Time and then disappears. Susan and Unity leave the monastery, and Unity asks Susan if she was romantically interested in Lobsang. Susan lies and says she was not, and is annoyed at herself for being sad Lobsang has left.
Lobsang returns to Lu-Tze’s Garden of Five Surprises and asks to know what the fifth surprise is. Lu-Tze says they will go to The Iron Dojo, where only one of them may leave. Lu-Tze claims the fifth surprise is “a cheap carnival mask...a fake pair of glasses, glued above a big pink nose, and a heavy black mustache”. Lu-Tze then attacks Lobsang and forces him to submit. They break the rule of the Dojo by leaving together, and the abbot goes to award Lobsang his robe. Lobsang refuses, and says he would rather take the broom and robe of a sweeper.
Unity realises there is no way she can carry on living as a human nor as an Auditor, so she arranges to die by diving into a vat of chocolate. Chaos and Death agree that she was “a lady with style”. When Unity’s shade appears, Death tells her that she is about to embark on “the next part” of being human.
Susan’s classroom returns to normal, and she decides to eat the single chocolate she allows herself a day in the middle of a lesson. She goes to the stationery cupboard to do so, and sees her supplies whirl in spirals. She assumes the Death of Rats is playing a trick on her, but it is Lobsang, and the book ends with Susan having “a perfect moment”, even though the chocolate is her least favourite kind: nougat.(less)
**spoiler alert** Okay so. Tumblr made me watch the movie version of this comic, because of reasons (Chris Evans). I loved it. I loved it with the fir...more**spoiler alert** Okay so. Tumblr made me watch the movie version of this comic, because of reasons (Chris Evans). I loved it. I loved it with the fire of a thousand fangirl screams. Err, that metaphor kind of got away from me there. ANYWAY. Point is, the movie made me download the comic, and I am ripping through it. Holy shit this is a fun read! The film follows a few of the storylines faaaaaairly closely, and it is a pleasure to see Jensen do his "I am a dangerous telekinetic" bluff every time I come across it.
I love the art, the use of colour and reveals and angles and everything, it's just incredamazeballs. Aisha is a FUCKING. BADASS. I mean, she was awesome in the movie and all, but goddamn. The comic gives her room to spread out, really filling the panels with seriously intimidating silences and awesome asskicking, and basically I am in love.
I was a bit worried that the main spoiler of the film would ruin my enjoyment of the series, but luckily they get Roque's betrayal out of the way in like the first three issues, and after that, it's just a full on, balls-to-the-wall race to find Max. The first volume is violent and cinematic and super fun to read. I'm hooked!(less)