Reading To Our Kids

What my wife & I are reading to our four kids

The Rough Music

on February 8, 2012
Wintersmith (Discworld, #35)

Links to this book

Reading to: Alanah (9) & Sabrina (3).

Warning, spoilers ahead.

Chapter 2, The Rough Music

This book has a number of quite scary scenes in it.  When the Cunning Man takes over the body of the murderer in prison and runs it to bits to get Tiffany, that’s pretty nasty.  The anger and hatred that the townsfolk show towards Tiffany as the Cunning Man stirs up their fears and prejudices, that’s pretty dark too.  But I don’t think any of them are as confronting as chapter two, The Rough Music.

She slapped Petty’s face. ‘Can you hear that?’ she demanded, waving her hand towards the darkened window. ‘Can you hear it? That’s the sound of the rough music, and they are playing it for you, Mister Petty, for you. And they have sticks! And they have stones! They have everything they can pick up, and they have their fists and your daughter’s baby died, Mister Petty. You beat your daughter so hard, Mister Petty, that the baby died, and your wife is being comforted by some of the women and everybody knows that you have done it, everybody knows.’

The rough music was getting nearer slowly, because it’s hard to walk across fields on a dark night when you’ve had a skinful of beer, no matter how righteous you are currently feeling. She had to hope that they did not go into the barn first, because they would hang him there and then. If he was lucky, they would just hang him. When she had looked into the barn and seen that murder had been done, she knew that, without her, it would be done again. She had put a charm on the girl to take her pain away, holding it just above her own shoulder. It was invisible, of course, but in her mind’s eye it burned a fiery orange.

That is dark, very dark for this early in the book, and much darker than any of the previous books. I was concerned that maybe it would disturb my kids, but so far so good.  I really like this book, it’s dark and malevolent but it touches on so many important themes, while still managing to be entertaining. And funny. This is still a Pratchett Discworld novel after all. The fact that a book can deal with child abuse, miscarriage, murder, prejudice and hatred while still managing to make you laugh demonstrates to me the complete genius of Sir Terry Pratchett.

Interestingly enough I discovered that the ‘Rough Music’ is (or at least was) a real thing.  I thought it was just another term that Pratchett had made up but it really is a term for local village ‘justice’

The participants were generally young men temporarily bestowed with the power of rule over the everyday affairs of the community.Issues of sexuality and domestic hierarchy most often formed the pretexts for rough music,including acts of domestic violence or child abuse.

So there you go, even when re-reading a book for the third time you can learn something new!


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