Moist von Lipwig is bored with his job as the Postmaster General of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office, which is running smoothly without any challenges, so the Patrician tries to convince him to take over the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork and the Royal Mint. Moist, content with his new lifestyle, refuses. However, when the current chairwoman, Topsy Lavish, dies, she leaves 50% of the shares in the bank to her dog, Mr Fusspot (who already owns 1% of the bank, giving him a majority and making him chairman) - and she leaves the dog to Moist. She also made sure that the Assassins' Guild would fulfill a contract on Moist if anything happens to the dog or if he does not do as her last will commands.
Faced with no alternatives, Moist tries to take over the bank and in doing so finds out that people do not trust banks much, that the production of money runs slowly and at a loss, and that people now use stamps as currency rather than coins. His various ambitious changes include making money that is not backed by gold but by the city itself. Unfortunately, neither the chief cashier (Mr. Bent, who is rumored to be a vampire but is actually something much worse) nor the Lavish family are too happy with him and try to dispose of him. Cosmo Lavish tries to go one step further - he is attempting to replace Vetinari by taking on his identity - with little success. However all the while, the reappearance of a character from von Lipwig's past adds more pressure to his unfortunate scenario.
Moist's fiancée, Adora Belle Dearheart, is working with the Golem Trust in the meantime to uncover golems from the ancient civilization of Um. She succeeds in bringing them to the city, and to everyone's surprise the "four golden golems" turn out to be "four thousand golems" (due to a translation error) and so the city is at risk of being at war with other cities who might find an army of 4000 golems threatening. Moist discovers the magic words that control the golems, and manages to order them to bury themselves outside the city (except for a few to power clacks towers and golem horses for the mail coaches) and then decides that these extremely valuable golems are a much better foundation for the new currency than gold and thus introduces the golem-based currency. Eventually, an anonymous clacks message goes out to the leaders of other cities that contains the command that the golems respond to, thus making them unsuitable for using in warfare.
At the end of the novel, Lord Vetinari considers the advancing age of the current Chief Tax Collector, and suggests that upon his retirement a new name to take on the vacancy might present itself.
Ideas and themesEdit
According to Pratchett, Making Money is both fantasy and non-fantasy, as money is a fantasy within the "real world", as "we've agreed that these numbers of conceptual things like dollars have a value."
In this book the century on the Discworld has changed, and is now the Century of the Anchovy. This had been noted in the epilogue of the previous Moist von Lipwig novel, Going Postal.
The Koom Valley Business referred to at the beginning is a reminder of the events of the previous novel Thud! where war between the Dwarfs and Trolls was prevented by the actions of Sam Vimes.
Adora Belle Dearheart and the Golem Trust return.
Like Going Postal, the previous Moist von Lipwig book, Making Money is separated into actual chapters. At the beginning of each chapter is a short summary of what the chapter is about. This is a similar approach to Victorian morality tales, giving the reader a taste of what is to come. Unlike Going Postal, Making Money actually has a chapter eight, the number that is not spoken in Discworld. Whether this is because Pratchett got sloppy or because the impact of superstitions of the number eight has diminished in the new century of the Anchovy is never explained.
Popular References Edit
The name of the protagonist, Moist von Lipwig, is very appropriate for a con man, which Moist was when he was known as Albert Spangler in "a previous life". 'Lip Wig' is slang for a 'moustache' a common addition to a disguise. 'Moist' suggests 'slippery', also a common con man trait. When Moist is climbing up the side of the Post Office he is startled by pigeons flapping; a classic suspense trick used in many movies and in fact a standard in many James Bond movies; License to Kill, For Your Eyes Only and The LIving Daylights to name a few.
Throughout the novel there are parallels with the board game of Monopoly. Moist emphasizes that the paper money he is making is worth only what we value it at (using the wealth of the city as a benchmark) much like Monopoly money which has a value only in the game. The original Monopoly pieces were taken from a girls' charm bracelet and over the years pieces have included a pair of boots (Cosmo Lavish stole a pair from Vetenari's butler). There is a little dog in the novel, Mr. Fusspot. Moist revitalizes his top hat. Moist's female golem, Gladys, does the ironing. Mr. Jenkins considers a battleship as a motif for the bills he's designing. Adora Belle gives Moist a golem horse, which he rides (the horse and rider figure). Other golem horses are discovered in the underground 'tomb'. Dibbler asks Moist for a loan to buy a wheelbarrow. Taken singly one might think that this is simply a coincidence but the disparate choice of items and Pratchett's style in other instances of this type suggest that it was entirely intentional.
'If it's about the cabbage-flavoured stamp glue-' Moist began.' This is a running gag that has made its way through several books beginning with Going Postal; the most recent reference being to Vimes' statement in Thud!: '"Remember the cabbage-scented stamp last month?...They actually caught fire if you put too many of them together!"'.
The Elim, the smallest coin of all, traditionally made by widows "and of course it's handy to drop in the charity box". In the Bible, Jesus's parable of the widow's mite, in which the smallest coin of all, donated by a poor widow, has more value than all the gold ostentatiously placed in there by the Pharisees, simply because it is all she has to give.
The line, "Food gets you through times of no gold better than gold gets you through times of no food is a reworking of Shelton and Mavrides' hippy maxim, used in their comic books about the alternative lifestyle trio The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, which originally states:-
"Dope gets you through times of no money better than money gets you through times of no dope." And of course one of the greatest strains of marijuana of all times according to HIgh Times magazine was Acapulco Gold.
The Lavishes are very reminiscent of the Borgias or the Medicis with the same extended family, devious infighting, desire for political power and political connections everywhere and Pratchett is likely using both families as a model. The most famous Borgia dynasty includes Cesare and Lucrezia "Lucci" Borgia who are mirrored in Making Money by Cosmo Lavish and Pucci Lavish. Cosimo de Medici was the first of the Medici to become ruler (Patrician?) of Florence. Both families were well know for using poison for disposing of their enemies, much like Cosmo Lavish plans. In addition, Pucci is the name of another influential family from Florence who were political allies of the Medici family, particularly Cosimo.
The Roundworld "Jack Proust" is an aging comic and the central character The First 100 Years the award winning show written and performed by former clown Geoff Hoyle.
"The leopard doesn't change its shorts" is a malapropism play on the old saying "the leopard doesn't change its spots" (people don't reform or change) as well as the idea of 'having to change one's shorts" after having an accident in them from being scared. This line is used throughout Pratchett's novels. In this one, at the end, the leopard does change its shorts.
The line on Von Lipwig's draft bank note, "Ad Urbem Pertinet" is Latin for "It Belongs to the City".
The following line on his bank note says, "promitto fore ut possessori postulanti nummum unum solvem an apte satisfaciam" which refers to the inscription on English banknotes, beneath the words Bank of England, which read "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of" followed by the denomination of the note. Originally this meant the note would be exchanged by the bank for the equivalent value in gold; however since Britain abandoned the gold standard the phrase is entirely decorative.
The line, "Bent stood up in one unfolding moment, like a jack-in-the-box." foreshadows his re-emergence as a clown at the climax of the book.
The Cabinet of Curiosity in the Unseen University is likely a parallel to the Cabinets of Curiosities found in many museums which are modeled on the Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, a natural history by Albertus Seba. The back cover of the book has a plate of a giant squid and the wizards ask whether Moist or Adora have seen one in the hallways, as if it has escaped from the Cabinet. Such strange and wonderful creatures are a common feature of such collections.
Moist initially makes the same mistake as William de Worde and oithers and assumes that just because Nobby Nobbs requires proof of species, he's the "Watch Werewolf".
Moist comments that there is no god of banking. In Roundworld the nearest is the Roman God Saturn who was the god of wealth, among other things. The Patron Saint of Bankers is the Apostle, Saint Matthew.
The unusual font indicating the archaic language of Formal Golem uses the Enochian alphabet created by the 16th Century mathematician and astronomer John Dee. (Himself a Discworld character in The Science of Discworld II: the Globe, where he hosts visiting Wizards from Discworld In Elizabethan London, Dee lived at Mortlake, which is also a location in Ankh-Morpork)). It uses letter by letter substitution to create the desired effect. The Formal Golem language is designated as appropriate to a near-contemporary of Umnian's multi-meaninged tongue. The characters for r/m, i/y, c/k, and u/v/w are effectively indistinguishable, (much like English before i/j and u/v became separate letters)and the s and e are quite similar. Translated, Adora Belle says "I can speak formal golem."
The Goddess Anoia has gone from being a minor goddess in charge of stuck drawers to a major one who might be in line for the position of goddess of lost causes. This is all thanks to Moist in Going Postal. Her temple with its kitchen implements stuck on the wall is very reminiscent of places like Lourdes and St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec where those "cured" have left their crutches and other items they "no longer need" behind.
At the end of the novel, it is revealed that Mavolio Bent, the head cashier has run away from the circus to join the bank, which is a reversal of the old canard about staid upright figures giving it all up to join the circus. It also resonates with Malvolio in Shakespeare's Twelth Night. Both names have obvious connections to the the French world for evil or bad - Mal. Bent is a slang term for someone who has been bought and is crooked. As an interesting parallel, British Prime Minister, John Major came from a family of trapeze artists and he was jokingly refered to as the only person who ran away from the circus to become an accountant. Perhaps Pratchett was drawing on him in his character of Mavolio Bent.
The clue to the crossword in the Times is "Shaken players shift the load (nine letters)". The answer is to shake up a nine letter word for players (Orchestra) and make something that shifts a load (Cart horse).
Promotional Items in the UK Hardcover 1st Edition Edit
Some High Street booksellers have additional exclusive promotional material glued under the inside of the dust jacket:
- Borders include an Ankh-Morpork cheque book
- Waterstone's include a few Ankh-Morpork bank notes