Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raptornx01 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:35 pm

They need to be, vimes isn't going to be around forever. i doubt he'll ever retire (though maybe), but one day the job could get the best of him, or life could. the watch will need to cope.

now, at that point (vimes' death) whether Carrot will declare himself, or just take command of the watch, thats anyones guess. and could go either way.
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby One Man Bucket » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:28 pm

Terrance mentioned either in the Watch books themselves or in one of the many supplementary books that Carrot would only step up if the city needed him. The death of Vimes whilst personally important isn't going to rock the city too bad as I doubt Vetinari has nobody in place to fill his diplomatic role at least. As for his role as Commander we already have 1 other known Captain:
Spoiler: show
Angua as of I Shall Wear Midnight
and there's a fairly good chance other Captains exist (the full complement is set at 5 according to The Discworld Companion). There's no reason one of them can't be promoted to the rank of Commander.

I do have to wander though whether the city is ready for a non-human member of their upper class/nobility
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Re:

Postby Sister Jennifer » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:12 am

cabbagehead wrote:Carrot is at his deepest in Feet of Clay, with his interactions with Dorfl and towards the end of The Fifth Elephant, when he makes his promise to Angua. The problem with Carrot's development is that there are places where it is hard to know how much he understands why his tactics work - for example when he plays the gambit in the Fool's Guild - did he realize the fools would think they were being threatened?

On the other board I once raised my little theory that Carrot, Vimes and Vetinari are in a way an urban male equivalent to the maiden, mother, crone trio. Carrot always retains a bit of the simple idealist, Vimes who takes care of the widows and orphans of watchmen and who is good at teaching watchmen how to walk was a father figure well before his son was born and Vetinari - well, you know.


I think Carrot knows exactly what he's doing. He mightn't of had much street-smarts at the begining but I like that line about him being slow but slow doesn't mean stupid. I've never wondered too seriously why Carrot hasn't become king. I think who and where Carrot is, is exactly who and where Carrot should be. He even said it himself in one of the books. I think it was Vimes who circumspectly asked him that question and Carrot replied that he can do just as good a job being a policeman.

Also I like your theory.
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby DreadfulKata » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:42 am

I'm going to take the board at its word and post here even though it's been ages since the previous. Hi!

I'm just re-reading M@A, mainly because of the announced Watch TV series, and being interested in working out how I think I'd go about turning the material into a TV serial (and idea I'm completely obsessed with right now).

I've always regarded M@A one of the strongest Watch stories and a lot of the critisisms raised on this thread it simply never occurred to me to consider, so this thread interesting reading.

I think of G!G!, M@A and Feet Of Clay as forming a trilogy of their own, the story arc that covers all three being the story of the Watch's, and thereby Ankh-Morpok's, development. That topic has been satisfactorily explored and brought to a close by the end of FofC.

(So when we next visit Vimes et al after FofC, it's in a new kind of story for the Watch: the story in Jingo, The Fifth Elephant and Thud! is about how Ankh-Morpork relates to the world outside itself, I think. Night Watch crops up in the middle of those, but stands alone thematically. It explores new territory rather than speaking to the existing themes of the Watch Books.)

But in that first trilogy of G!G!, M@A and FofC, the conversation is about the relationship between the the Patrician, the Police and the King. Both the characters that are these things, and the institutions they represent. And how they relate to the city. I think those three books are Vetinari's story as much, almost, as Vimes'. Vetinari works best as a seldom-seen, enigmatic figure. One certainly wouldn't want him to be a viewpoint character whose thoughts we could see (apart from that one time in FofC. But he wasn't himself). But each book sees the plot revolve around Vetinari: deposed in G!G!, shot in M@A and poisoned in FofC (I'm actually starting to feel sorry for the poor ol' tyrant now...)

And of the three, M@A is the book that really explores the Vimes/Carrot/Vetinari dynamic, and I love it for that reason amongst others.

It's true that actually Vimes doesn't have much to do in the book - I always get the impression he does more but on revisiting the book, he does basically spend the first two thirds sulking and falling off the wagon :D Carrot is the more active character in M@A and I agree with the people who see this book as a crossroads for the Watch: Carrot has already developed hugely from his G!G! persona, into someone who is still simple, but can use simplicity in complex ways. He is becoming an interesting character, and I could totally imagine him going on to front the rest of the Watch books in an alternate trouser of time. Vimes would surely be his Beleaguered Police Chief in this universe. But PTerry took Vimes forward as the lead instead, and consequently Carrot's character development was somewhat stifled. Carrots probably at his best in M@A and FofC. If he'd continued to develop along the lines we saw there, though, there'd be no room left for Vimes to operate. Carrot has to stay somewhat simple and innocent to be Vimes' foil.

If I had any critisism of the book it might be that Angua strikes me as a bit of an inconsistent and flat character, a problem I feel she never quite recovers from. I don't dislike the character (I like her best when she's in a supporting role rather than point-of-view), but - well, in the way some have described Carrot, I don't think she's ever allowed to develop beyond being a fairly flat character. Her traits are a. werewolf b. girl.

I love the closing third of the book particularly. I find Cuddy's death and Detritus' response to it very affecting. I love the drama of Vetinari and Carrot being shot. Actually, I love Detritus and Cuddy throughout. Colon and Nobby are also great in M@A.

I like the gonne plot; I never had any confusion with regards to whether the thing was sentient or not. Sure, it's ambiguous in the text - it might be talking to its wielders, it might just be their own subconscious. I don't feel its detrimental to the book that the point is left ambiguous. It's an example of what the Discworld always does: takes an idea to its fantastical - but logical - extreme. A gun represents unearned power (you don't need any skill to wield it etc). It's a temptation to people who would change the world for whatever reason.
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:40 am

Absolutely right that these discussion threads are still open and I'm glad you did. New points of view can only add to the discussion. :)
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby =Tamar » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:38 am

DreadfulKata, I like the way you think. The books are so complex that no one explanation will include everything they do. You've got me thinking about other sequences. In MaA Vimes is growing up himself, or possibly regaining some of his youth, but he is also having to train Carrot, who is teenage.
Vimes-as-parent really begins in T5E- he finds out in that one, then in NW he's anxiously awaiting the birth (while also behaving parentally to certain others), then in Thud!/WMC he parents a toddler, then in Snuff/TWoP the young child, while also behaving parentally to some others.
Sir Pterry tends to treat teenagers in a 19th century way, as adults - Carrot, Susan, and Tiffany are all teens. Also possibly teenage or early 20s are Agnes, maybe Pteppic, Verence II, and TomJohn.
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raisindot » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:37 pm

DreadfulKata wrote:Carrots probably at his best in M@A and FofC. If he'd continued to develop along the lines we saw there, though, there'd be no room left for Vimes to operate. Carrot has to stay somewhat simple and innocent to be Vimes' foil.


I don't know if Carrot's "at his best" here; I think it's more accurate to say that he has the most to do in these two books. Pterry was originally going to make Carrot the main character and Vimes either out of the picture on in a much diminished role, but he wisely saw that there wasn't all that much he could do with a character as "flawless" as Carrot, whereas Vimes was really an easel upon which a dee portrait could be painted. The Vimes of M&A and LOC are almost two completely different people. We get little hints of the Vimes to be in M&A, but very little of the street-smart, cobble-feeling, rage-suppressing, descendant of a king slayer we get in later books.

I think Carrot's character has presented more problems for Pterry than any other character. He's take-charge in M@A, empathetic in LOC, and then reverts back to "oak leaf king" and TH Lawrence parody in Jingo. Then Pterry attempts to show Carrot's 'darker' side in TFE, and by the time Thud comes around he retreats to become little more than a supporting player, a role from which he never advances.
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raptornx01 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:34 pm

Plus it always seemed like He was more comfortable writing Vimes. And to me, out of all the character in all of his books, I always saw Vimes as the one most like Pterry. He always seemed to personify Pterry's views on the world. So to me, Pterry writing Vimes was the easiest thing because he was really writing himself. There was a time when I honestly though Pterry actually used to be a cop at one point. it always felt so natural. But no, it's more that we are seeing who he would be in another world and in a different profession. But still being the same person.

If that all makes any sense :?
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby DreadfulKata » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:08 pm

raptornx01 wrote:There was a time when I honestly though Pterry actually used to be a cop at one point.


:D Can you imagine?



Actually, with regards to Carrot, I've never looked at the character particularly critically before I read this thread... I guess he always worked well for me in the role/s he was cast into in all the Watch novels, because I never regarded the character with anything other than interest. I was surprised to see people saying that they felt he was too on-note to feature so prominently etc, but now that it's been pointed out I can see the point that's being made...

The one thing about him that's tended to bore/annoy me on occasion is his relationship with Angua. I've always found fault with the writing of her character rather than his in this department, though. Carot is undoubtedly frustrating as a partner: caring but only in a general way (he isn't even observant enough to realise she wouldn't need a moon phases device; he assumes she's interested in the Dwarf Bread Museum). But Angua can't leave him (because once relationships are entered into in the Discworld they tend to last) so what we get from her is a lot of angst about how she should leave him but can't. Even before they'd got together in M@A she was on this track. Three or four books of it gets wearing, especially when it's a character you'd much rather be hearing about other aspects of.

Sorry, I've wondered away from G!G! here, but I meant to say: if Carrot has frustrated me, it's because of other character's reactions to him rather than the character himself.



And here's a thought: Vetinari says (in FofC?) that he rather thinks he created Vimes.Don't you think Carrot could also have been said to have 'created' Vimes? Carrot needs someone to be cynical and hard bitten and so on, in order for Carrot to go on being noble and innocent. This might begin when he manouvers Vimes into Commander/Knighthood at the end of M@A.

I quite like reading Carrot as an unconciously manipulative character. He's so sure of himself and so oblivious to any other reading of the world, that he shapes the people around him. Not entirely conciously, but then I don't think he's entirely un[i]aware of it, either.[/i]
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raisindot » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:51 pm

DreadfulKata wrote:The one thing about him that's tended to bore/annoy me on occasion is his relationship with Angua. I've always found fault with the writing of her character rather than his in this department, though. Carot is undoubtedly frustrating as a partner: caring but only in a general way (he isn't even observant enough to realise she wouldn't need a moon phases device; he assumes she's interested in the Dwarf Bread Museum). But Angua can't leave him (because once relationships are entered into in the Discworld they tend to last) so what we get from her is a lot of angst about how she should leave him but can't. Even before they'd got together in M@A she was on this track. Three or four books of it gets wearing, especially when it's a character you'd much rather be hearing about other aspects of.


Just our curiosity--have you read the post LOC Watch novels? I don't want to spoil them for you if you haven't, but the Angua of The Fifth Elephant is very different than that of the previous books--and the relationships between Carrot and Angua in that book is very different as well.
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby DreadfulKata » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:10 pm

Oh yes - and you're right, I think Angua undergoes some major development in TFE. You don't get much from her point of view, which I think actually helps. I grew much more fond of her in the later Watch novels when her role shrank a bit and we didn't see so much from her POV.

And she was all right in Thud! as well (I've never hated her, just felt she could have had a bit more going on), but I did roll my eyes a bit at her interactions with that new Watch member - well I won't spoiler T! on the M@A thread, just in case.

I like her best when she has cameos. I loved her in
Spoiler: show
Monstrous Regiment and I Shall Wear Midnight, where I was thrilled to find she'd made captain.
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby cabbagehead » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:50 pm

And here's a thought: Vetinari says (in FofC?) that he rather thinks he created Vimes.Don't you think Carrot could also have been said to have 'created' Vimes? Carrot needs someone to be cynical and hard bitten and so on, in order for Carrot to go on being noble and innocent. This might begin when he manouvers Vimes into Commander/Knighthood at the end of M@A.


And what about Sybil? In G!G! one of the things that got Vimes out of his years-long drunken stupor was Sybil's trust - she was going to call the Watch when the rioters came for her dragons! And later she was always talking to Vetinari behind the scenes, making things right for her Sam.
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Re: Men at Arms Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby huge_vermin » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:45 am

I really enjoy reading the watch series as a whole, one of the best things i have always felt has been the progression of vimes's character. As people have already mentioned there is the aspect of straight cop (carrot ) and a classically pessimistic/hard bitten foil to work against (ie vimes) The truth is i enjoy the vimes character mainly due to the fact that he IS corruptable he MIGHT just pull that trigger there is nothing to stop him going down a path of more and more morally dubious actions.
Nothing that is apart from his own will and the shaping of that will by his experiences and those he has around him. We can see this when we first meet vimes in guards guards, vimes has nothing to compare his choices and actions against apart from the other members of the watch and the expectations of the people in the city and vetinari. this initially adds up to the fact that both the city and the members of the watch consider the watch to be a total waste of energy and effort. When those you use to guide your moral compass in life expect nothing from you apart from petty theft, drunkeness and General uselessness you will generally live up to that expectation.
Vetinari HAS created vimes but not in such a obviously manipulatively way, vetinari has simply changed the people and situations that vimes faces within each book. Each time this happens vimes has interacted with a lot of different viewpoints and more crucially i think, he starts to evaluate his level of worth against his own expectations.
This of course mostly manifests itself thruogh the medium of the law and justice but as we see especially in the later watch books as his belief in what he is doing grows it presents a new set of problems. He begins to question in certain very stressful situations "is the law enough?" and begins to agonise over the other darker options which are always there lurking in the back of the mind. to be brief people arent just born as fully fledged members of the human race you have to work at it and i like the character of vimes because this process can be seen as an ongoing part of the characters life in the books.
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