And here I thought the only book that could use Monty Python properly was Ready Player One.
(After reading Cline’s novel, I ended up watching the movie and loving it.)
That’s right. Laini Taylor is using Monty Python and The Holy Grail in Days of Blood and Starlight.
I’ve gotten to the part where Karou finally sends Zuzana an email, claiming that, “I feel happy…I feel happy…”
To be blunt, it’s rather fishy considering that Karou has been missing for weeks without any sign of where she’s been. And why repeat it twice? And why not, “I am happy”?
Zuzana eventually realizes that Karou is referencing a rather morbid scene from Monty Python. A man is pushing a cart full of those who died in a plague, and up comes another man carrying a living elderly, and they literally barter over the transaction. For those unfamiliar with the scene, here it is:
What’s great about this scene besides its morbid humour, is that it surprisingly fits with the novel.
A huge part of this book is about the mistreatment of bodies. The two men in the Monty Python don’t care that the old man is still alive. They just care about the transaction of his body. Their primary concern is what to do with the physical lump once the soul no longer inhabits it.
This is essentially what the chimera are doing. They aren’t using their resurrective power to prolong lives of people they love, or even maintain their army. They’re using it to upgrade their physical strength. Bodies are simply armour they slip into, with no respect towards their physical aspect.
When Karou touches a soul before transferring it, she gets a sense for what the nature of that soul is—so naturally both she and the reader are appalled at the incongruity between the “meadowy” soul being joined to the hulking, menacing body she’s constructed.
The angels are also guilty of misusing bodies. As the bastard children of the Emperor, Akiva and his half-siblings are little more than numbers in an army. When they die their bodies are burned without any real identification or tribute, and their name simply gets reassigned to the next bastard in line. They aren’t allowed to get married or have children. They aren’t allowed to leave the barracks. They are simply weapons. They kill when they have to, and when they have lost their function they get replaced.
Then there’s the disfiguring of corpses all over the place, done by both armies. It’s rather gruesome, so I’m not going to get into it.
But the mistreatment of physical bodies as well as of the individual in the novel is such a striking depiction of war. Where people no longer become people, but pieces on a chess board that can be disposed of in order to make the best strategical move.
The magical tithe is more than enough to prove this. I mean, bruising yourself in order to perform magic? It’s so sadistic.
(Speaking of sadistic, I could go on and on about Thiago, but maybe another time.)
I can’t help but smirk at the cleverness of it all. Monty Python, a comedy, making its way into the romantic-fantasy realm of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It’s so incongruous it’s genius!
Now it’s your turn internet. Tell me about a really strange (but surprisingly appropriate) reference you’ve encountered in comments!