Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Colour of Magic

We have some time right now to watch a movie. So we're watching Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic,a personal favourite of mine (hence the possibility of naming a turtle A'Tuin). It's one of the rare Pratchett-to-video translations that I think actually improves upon the book(s). 

So much of what makes Pratchett's work so powerful is how cleverly he weaves analogies with the real world so seamlessly throughout his universe. The Unseen University is one example which really resonates in how powerful peoples ambition can be, though for narrative imperative I think the hostility seen in wizards like Trymon is played up more than real-life academics. 

I'm sure it's no mistake that Rincewind is a terribly sympathetic character, but I can't help but feel entirely in sync with him in most of the Rincewind stories. I'm not sure what it is. Rincewind is a resounding failure as a wizard (after 40 years he hasn't passed the first level) and really not the adventurous type, but nevertheless has an unfortunate knack for being thrust uncomfortably into various adventures (he is described as usually seen running away from one thing or another). 

Lady Luck features in the books, not so much in the movie, but it's implied She favours Rincewind for some reason - the logic to support this is that he always narrowly escapes from each adventure, though I can't help but feel there's a deliberate omission of logic in this kind of thinking. 

I'm reminded of a video of a Saudi man being almost bifurcated by a pane of glass a few weeks back, but there are numerous examples from everyday experience that most people can draw upon, like "lucky" escapes from car accidents etc. I always consider that it would be luckier to never have been in the position to be almost killed in the first place. 

Anyway, Rincewind is a kind of failure, but survives. I think that's why I like him, sympathise with him. While his companion Twoflower sees everything through a kind of rose-coloured lens, Rincewind sees reality for all its gritty meanness and rust. David Jason, who plays Rincewind, does a fantastic job portraying the desperate, strung-out anxiety of a struggling wizard whose fate has pushed him along paths he never chose, and who most of the time doubts any of it means anything of any good. 

Despite Rincewind's flailing, panicked approach to life, he always maintains a dignified kind of awareness of his surroundings, and of the workings of the world. People like Twoflower appreciate him for this, as his knowledge is a useful thing to have around. 

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