UA - Not Loving it and feeling like traitoress

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Postby MissTeatime » Fri May 21, 2010 6:29 pm

I agree with what so many of you have said; UA is not one of my favourites after two readings but then they can't all be. I did, however enjoy the part where Ponder & co refined the rules of football. It made me see the point of the offside-rule for the first time. :lol:

Just one thing, though - have orcs been mentioned in any other books? And what about the Evil Empire? It may be that I've just missed the clues, but it all seemed very sudden to me. And the whole "Evil past of Überwald"-thing reminded me of a series written by Diana Wynne Jones. :?
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri May 21, 2010 6:43 pm

Good to see you here again Miss Teatime! :D

Terry has often likened Discworld to Tolkien's 'Middle Earth', several hundred years after the wars in Lord of the Rings. In DW, the various races have settled down to the everyday task of living and making a living.

If this analogy is correct, then what did happen to the Orcs in Tolkien's books? Did they stay evil when they no longer had an enemy? And could they be integrated into polite society? I think these are some of the questions that Terry addresses.

We don't know much about the history of Uberwald as Terry hasn't written about it - but this book explores a little of that. :D
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Postby MissTeatime » Fri May 21, 2010 7:16 pm

Glad to be back. :)

Oh, duh! I should have remembered that... We'll, now I'm just going to have to reread UA with that in mind! :D
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri May 21, 2010 10:45 pm

Did someone mention Middle Earth? :lol:

The official Tolkien Society line is that the Orcs as a totally corrupted and to some degree (in modern parlance) genetically mutated race were largely dependant on their evil masters/creators 'angelic/demonic' powers to keep them from going completely insane and just killing everything in sight including or especially each other.

During the periods where Sauron and his own master Morgoth were out of the picture (allegedly - Sauron stuck like glue but was mostly powerless after the Last Alliance for 1000 years or so :roll: ) The Orcs mostly went native and did manage to survive in clans out of the light in the mountain ranges and effectively achieved a balance whereby they culled each other quite regularly and only caused minimal impact to stupid sods who went looking for trouble (mostly Elves who were also partially demented in their hatred of Orcs since that is how a lot of Orcs started out... :evil: ) - also a few Dwarves and a Hobbit, the story of which is going to make Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro a pretty penny soon in 2012.

The appendices that Tolkien actually wrote for the period after LotR on the premise that Sauron had actually been destroyed for good has nearly all his soldier orcs falling into disarray and basically exterminating themselves. Ditto most of the feral mountain orcs as a consequence of their own descent from orcs 'made' by Sauron and any that weren't were exterminated by the twin sons of Elrond who had a pathological hatred of orcs anyway and had spent 500 odd years killing them on sight before the main event... 8) Aragorn and his crew also helped a bit but they were more interested in 'peacemaking' operation with the 'swarthy men' who had been drummed into service with the nasssty Dark Lord and apparently took one look at the big shiney sword and immediately repented and begged to become vassal states. :lol:

So complete genocide and/or arcane extinction is the official answer for the poor ole Orcs in Middle Earth... Discworld is a kinder place of course :D
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Postby MissTeatime » Sat May 22, 2010 7:22 pm

Discworld? A kinder place?

My oh my. :shock:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat May 22, 2010 7:31 pm

Well? :twisted: How about more ethnically... tolerant? :lol:
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Postby mspanners » Sun May 23, 2010 9:38 am

Terry has borrowed quite heavily from Talkien, but then again Talkien has borrowed from Nordic mythology.... nothing in the World can be said to be totally original now! Terry has just put a twist on the view of these peoples form Middle Earth. He is not the only one to do this look here :-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bored_of_the_Rings

Still He is good at it though! :D

UA..... may have to listen to the Audio Book again as I too thought it is one of the weaker books......but that is just my opinion and I am a Big Watch Fan. Nice to see more of the Wizards again though.....I give t a 7/10
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun May 23, 2010 10:42 am

Hell I just lost a post links and all :evil: Adore Bored of the Rings BTW! :twisted:

Most fantasy writers borrow heavily from mythology of various kinds and you could argue very convincingly that there are no new stories 'cos the Greeks already defined the lot :lol: Middle Earth as a whole has Atlantean (ocean-consumed cultures), Celtic, Saxon, Greek philosophic and even Egyptian motifs (the grand architectual feats of the men of Westernesse like the Argonath and Orthanc) as well as Norse themes and others less familar

With Tolkien the bulk of his writing on Middle Earth was for purely academic development - his hobby in effect, but a lucrative one to some extent. The Hobbit and LotR were a result of an academic challenge between him and C S Lewis to write a publishable book about time travel and space travel respectively (not so much Narnia, but The Cosmic Trilogy - Lewis was a very biased Christian zealot :roll: ) and both of them cheated!

They, with their chums in their intellectual club The Inklings (HQ the Lamb and Flag in Oxford - The Prof liked his beer, tobacco and forest mushrooms in that order and made himself the template for hobbits and Tom Bombadil) kind of invented and formed 'mythopoeic' literature which is summed up in Tolkien's poem Mythopoeia (The wiki links are warped somehow - see mythopoeia in the wiki search anyway) penned as an ironic slap at Lewis who had very differing ideas about the genre. Tolkien's real interest was in ancient language however and he cobbled together about 4 distinct 'tongues' using elements from Welsh, Old Saxon and Gothic sources to the extent that the elven 'language' Sindarin is actually a working language and 'spoken' today and others keep philologists bedazzled and busy - see this site for Sindarin.

I think Terry and the Prof would have got along like a house on fire :D
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Postby sheilaj » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:29 pm

Every book Terry writes IMO has a central message. It seems to me (sorry Terry if you are reading this and I am wrong) goes deeper into the argument that we need to be kinder to each other and in some way it seems to me there is a subtext that we shouldn't even create in literature beings who are totally evil without explaining why. Especially IMHO when the evil beings are creating by sentient evil but are treated as though they had a choice when in fact they didn't.
Does that make any sense or am i wittering?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:29 pm

Yes it does make sense - I've played on several Tolkien RP sites and most people who play Orcs (very therapeutic not to have to be nice the whole time :lol: ) do play them sympathetically at their twisted core, whilst giving full rein to obnoxious and violent behaviour... :twisted: This has more to do with how orcs were 'made', on which the lore nazis constantly argue back and forth on whether it was Men or Elves who were corrupted and mutilated so horribly. The Prof himself never committed himself ( a very bad habit with him) but the Silmarillion comes down in favour of Elves, as apparently men weren't around until after the first few of the many battles in Beleriand so it had to be the Elves at first anyway...

Terry's villains normally have a redeeming quality here or there and you normally do get their side of things to 'judge' the wrongness of their being. The only villains in my view who have no plus points whatsovever are Vorbis (Small Gods) and Dios (Pyramids) and even then I can find some sympathy for them in their respective ends with the latter doomed to cycle eternally through time, and the former unable to find eternal rest because he can't believe in anything, not even himself.

On Discworld, Death himself, being real, impartial and, in most respects honourably merciful, is not really to be feared to our eyes and I think that has a lot to do with the appeal of Discworld as a place where most peoples/races are self-determining. There's actually very little true discrimination on there (well certainly not since Thud :wink: ) and when life is extinct they largely go to where they know deep down they deserve to go... :wink:
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Postby sheilaj » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:29 pm

Think I just had an epiphany.
I just finished re re re re re re (you get the picture) reading Carpe Jugulum. In in Granny Weatherwax says that there is only one sin and that is treating people as things.
Thinking over all of the books, I reckon this is a central message.
Orcs are treated as things in UA
Women are (kind of) treated as things in Equal Rites
Trolls are treated as things in Thud
The islanders are treated as things in Nation

what do you think?
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:32 pm

I know what you mean sheilaj though I think its dangerous to look for too much of a unifying message in books written over suck a long time frame and primarily as entertainment/satire (I'm thinking especially of the earlier ones here), but there certainly are ideas that crop up repeatedly, taking responsibility is probably another one.

And welcome btw

@ the discussion about Orcs and evilness I think there's a basic difference between middle earth and discworld - middle earth is primarily "barbarian" the "good" races are just as happy to go out slaughtering any one not from their tribe even if they pose no immediate threat whereas discworld is primarily "civilised" - war and killing are generally to be avoided (Sam VImes is probably the epitome of this) (see The science of discworld 2 for Terry's definition of barbarian).

The problem with making villains too understandable is that we start to overlook the harm they do when we are to busy empathising wioth them.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:14 pm

DJ wrote:The problem with making villains too understandable is that we start to overlook the harm they do when we are to busy empathising wioth them.


That's my beef with Moist mostly - quite frankly he doesn't change at all in how he thinks or operates, he simply changes sides and carries on behaving and thinking his way out of trouble more or less as he always has. I think Mr. Pump does have an effect, as does Adorabelle, in making him listen to his conscience more and in seeing how his actions can be bad for other people in small and nasty ways (mainly because he lost Adorabelle her job) but there's very little difference in how he operates aside from motivation and that's hardly noble either as it becomes a matter of pride for him to 'beat' Gilt and be the top of the heap dazzlingly dynamic con artist, because that's what he still is, just working for Vetinari and Ankh-Morpork
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Postby sheilaj » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:22 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
DJ wrote:The problem with making villains too understandable is that we start to overlook the harm they do when we are to busy empathising wioth them.


That's my beef with Moist mostly - quite frankly he doesn't change at all in how he thinks or operates, he simply changes sides and carries on behaving and thinking his way out of trouble more or less as he always has. I think Mr. Pump does have an effect, as does Adorabelle, in making him listen to his conscience more and in seeing how his actions can be bad for other people in small and nasty ways (mainly because he lost Adorabelle her job) but there's very little difference in how he operates aside from motivation and that's hardly noble either as it becomes a matter of pride for him to 'beat' Gilt and be the top of the heap dazzlingly dynamic con artist, because that's what he still is, just working for Vetinari and Ankh-Morpork


I reckon that is another central message.
"Where you stand isn't as important as which way you face"
Vetinari isn't "good" , neither is Granny Weatherwax or Vimes. Even Carrot can be nasty. What they do (and Moist learns to do it too) is use what they are for good and (again) not to see people as things. GW and Vimes aren't even altruistic in what they do...I am not sure about the Patrician but if he was. he'd never admit it.
That's the difference IMO between them and Gilt. They love the doing and "keep score" by their achievements, Gilt just loves to smash and grab.

before I retired from working in the NHS, I had a notice on my wall.
it said
"To get things done for people, it is necessary to love the doing; it is not necessary to love the people"

I agree to an extent about not looking for one message in books written over many years, but without intruding on Terry's private life too much, it seems to be a theme that is important to him and he can't not put it in his books, including the non DW ones. Its actually one of the things that i find attractive about him as an author in that he is a Brighton rock kind of guy.
Certain moral stances(sounds priggish but you know what i mean) are right through his core like rock.
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Postby raisindot » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:10 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:That's my beef with Moist mostly - quite frankly he doesn't change at all in how he thinks or operates, he simply changes sides and carries on behaving and thinking his way out of trouble more or less as he always has. I think Mr. Pump does have an effect, as does Adorabelle, in making him listen to his conscience more and in seeing how his actions can be bad for other people in small and nasty ways (mainly because he lost Adorabelle her job) but there's very little difference in how he operates aside from motivation and that's hardly noble either as it becomes a matter of pride for him to 'beat' Gilt and be the top of the heap dazzlingly dynamic con artist, because that's what he still is, just working for Vetinari and Ankh-Morpork


Do you have a similar 'beef' with CMOT Dibbler, who is essentially, as someone here put it, a unsuccessful version of Moist? Do you have a beef with Vetinari, who is, essentially, the "uber-moist," using the gentle art of politics and manipulation to hold on to power and guide the forces of the city? And isn't Vimes pulling a con on the city as well, assuming power and authority by creating the impression that the Watch is a lot more powerful than it really is and that it (and he) are the true "upholders" of the Law?

Life in Ankh-Morpork is one big con game, with people using power and commerce to one up each other. Moist is at least honest enough to admit that he is a con man at heart. But at least he was able to find a moral center in Going Postal that inspired him to "return" the money he stole to use for nobler ends. Indeed, by the beginning of "Making Money" he has become so respectable and honorable that nearly all of his actions are done not to enrich himself personally but for the benefit of the city.

In fact, I wouldn't find it hard to believe that Vetinari is secretly grooming Moist to become the next Patrician. The only quality Moist lacks is a penchant for violence. But, then again, maybe in the Century of the Anchovy this kind of tyranny may no longer be needed.

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