Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby raisindot » Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:34 pm

swreader wrote:I found Angua very annoying in this book. Did anyone else? She has been acting (as Sally points out) like a dog with a master. Granted, in some ways a werewolf is, I suppose, a kind of dog...

One of the "comic" people that I do think works brilliantly is A.E. Pessimal--and his transformation, which absolutely confounds Vetinari and turns his deliberate "joke" of foisting him on Sam Vimes completely around.


I think the Angua/Sally thing is their own, personalized treatment of the overall theme of racial one-upmanship in the book. If the coverup of the truth of Koom Valley is a larger scale expression of the dwarves' desire to continue to perpetuate ages-old speciest stereotypes, the Angua/Sally thing represents their own struggles (more Angua's really) to overcome their own traditional relationship, where the werevolves are the trolls to the vampires' dwarves.

100% on little A.E. Pessimal. Not only is his transformation a fulfillment of the "Walter Mitty" fantasy that nearly all weak, little bureaucrats have about themselves, but also a tribute to Vimes' new-found ability to use 'Vetinarian' techniques to manipulate people to accomplish his goals without even realizing that they're are being played with. His little scene with Vimes where he gets his wish to join the Watch is one of the many little treasure in the books.

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:03 pm

Back to whether this a belief/cultural/racial conflict. :roll: :lol:

Part of the problem for us as 'connoisseur' readers in this, is that, because we mostly see metamorphorical Discworld Trolls in A-M in the 'lowlands', we also see them in a much different light to how they are up in the mountains. We all know that Trolls are severely impaired in hot climates and so we don't see them in places like Genua, a delta city on semi-tropical swampland, or at all in Djelibeybi or Omnia which are largely desert as Trolls wouldn't go anywhere near those places, unless there was a v. good reason (and therefore why we only see Detritus in Klatch during Jingo and in a terrible state during the day of course). As I say - we know this, but actually we very rarely see Trolls in their natural home ranges in the books.

I can just about recall 1 encounter in the Witch series, which was either in WS or L&L and a toll bridge was involved. :roll: The only other instance (so far as my mashed brain can remember), where we see Trolls in cooler mountainous territories, which of course suit them very well indeed, is right back in LF where we see a more 'traditional' fantasy fiction troll clan living nocturnally in a temperate area, not mega bright, but pretty much on the ball and, in the elderly (Grandpa) reverting more and more to their natural silicous state as they grow tired of life amongst the pretty oograh and come to resemble the rocks they live amongst.

Wiki is fairly helpful on troll culture (see Wiki - Troll (Discworld)) in the later books and in the first sentence says that they have many gods. So from this PoV, belief does play a big part in the Trolls many conflicts with the Dwarves, who are not exactly godless, but do have other motivations which I'll come back to in a mo. However, I disagree that Koom Valley is 'simply' a rallying symbol of opposed ideological factors - is more fundamental (in a non- religious manner) and much simpler than that. :P

Dwarves love to mine for ore etc and so they are attracted to the same kind of territories that are inhabited by Trolls, who choose to live there purely because that type of climate and landscape is their natural habitat...
    Dwarves burrow and delve into the mountains and bedrock
    Trolls live in mountains and bedrock
This is not about belief, or even race as such - this is about conflicting territorial and cultural clashes :wink: How would you like a bunch of determined little squirts bashing your bedroom wall down, just to get at a promising vein of copper or whatever. Or excavating a nice piece of quartz (even if it does clog the arteries) in your larder that you fancied for your supper...

Koom Valley is like a metaphorical rainforest with the Dwarves as the tree-fellers and the Trolls are the indigenous natives who are defending their ancestral territories and literally their lifestyle :twisted: :wink:

Thud is gang 'turf' warfare taken too far - it's all about rock and how each faction wants to use it, where the Dwarves are the invaders and the Trolls are the eco-warriors :D
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Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:06 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:

Dwarves love to mine for ore etc and so they are attracted to the same kind of territories that are inhabited by Trolls, who choose to live there purely because that type of climate and landscape is their natural habitat...
    Dwarves burrow and delve into the mountains and bedrock
    Trolls live in mountains and bedrock
This is not about belief, or even race as such - this is about conflicting territorial and cultural clashes :wink: How would you like a bunch of determined little squirts bashing your bedroom wall down, just to get at a promising vein of copper or whatever. Or excavating a nice piece of quartz (even if it does clog the arteries) in your larder that you fancied for your supper...

Koom Valley is like a metaphorical rainforest with the Dwarves as the tree-fellers and the Trolls are the indigenous natives who are defending their ancestral territories and literally their lifestyle :twisted: :wink:

Thud is gang 'turf' warfare taken too far - it's all about rock and how each faction wants to use it, where the Dwarves are the invaders and the Trolls are the eco-warriors :D


While I can see that point about trolls being insulted that dwarves are "into" breaking apart rocks in a big way, I don't buy the eco-argument. Trolls don't live IN mountains, they live ON mountains. Dwarves don't mine the surface areas where trolls live--they mine UNDER it. Since trolls eat rocks (or mineral derivatives), they don't consider consumption of rocks to be cannibalistic, and probably don't consider the mining of rocks or minterals to be the equivalent of destroying the trollish life force in general l. After all, Detritus doesn't take a hizzy fit when Rhys gives him a bag of gold at the end of TFE. (Although I hazily do remember somewhere in some DW book something about how trolls were once so rocklike that people mistakenly did 'mine them.' Was that the dwarfs?)

Yes, the Dwarf/Trolls conflict might be a territorial issue, but no trolls get destroyed by the drarfish mining activities, any more than the humans living in AM or Uberwald get destroyed by dwarves mining under their cities. In fact, were the dwarfs not so 'speciest' against trolls, they probably could have arranged mining agreements with the trolls that would allow them to mine under the ground, where no trolls would be living or injured. It's their arrogance that made them choose war instead.

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More things I love about "Thud!"

Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:27 am

One of the reasons I think Thud! may be the best DW book is because it really seems to be perhaps the first DW book (okay, most of Night Watch and parts of Monstrous Regiment and Going Postal have it, too) where there are scenes of real genuine drama with genuine emotion that aren't designed to be funny and don't have magical or mystical overtones. There are so many scenes here--some long, some lasting seconds, that paint the picture of a Sam Vimes who is no longer just the copper or duke but a man who has developed a much broader range of emotional concerns that he ever had before. Just some of the scenes that are wonderful in this way:

- His first reading of "Where's My Cow" with Young Sam, where his fears over how good his life has become rear their head

- His reaction of shock and shame when Detritus angrily calls him for treating trolls differently than dwarfs during the interrogation of Brick

- Vimes' fear and fury when he sees the black dward entering Young Sam's room and his grief and relief when he finds his son is okay, seeing how close he was to losing him

- The moment after the dragons destroy the black guard, when Vimes realizes how close he was to losing Sybil as well

- The scene where Vimes confronts the city dwarfs, full of hatred until it suddenly vanishes when one of them reveals that the deep downers killed his son

- The interrogation of Helmclever, and Vimes's reaction of surrendering himself to Bashfulson's fate when the young dwarf is seemingly killed by the Summoning Dark

- Vimes insights into the dreams of A.E. Pessimal and his willingness to fulfill them

- Vimes rage at the dwarfish guard in the cavern for putting weak chains on Brick and Detritus

- Vimes' refusal to let anyone else take the cube from him, and his challenge to Rhys to take it from his hand

- Vimes whole rationalization of the Summoning Dark and his refusal to bend to 'myth'

All of these are simply marvelous scenes that add a whole new dimension of depth to the character of Sam Vimes. It's too bad that the Vimes we see in subsequent books--Making Money and UA--possesses none of these hard earned attributes.

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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:52 am

I've got to agree with you about those scenes, Jeff - they are all really well written and observed. :D

Vimes has always tried to steer clear of magic, which is sort of strange with him living on a world that is essentially powered by magic. But that's Sam Vimes - he doesn't trust magic and realises that it doesn't ultimately solve problems but rather, it creates more. Like he explains to AE Pessimal when he suggests the wizards could spot the rioters.

Then he has to go to the wizards and ask them for their help in getting to Koom Valley. :lol: This is, I feel a plot device more than anything. In the old days of Pratchett, if Terry wanted to get a character hundreds of miles in a short time, he'd use Rincewind. You could do anything to Rincewind but you can't with Vimes. So the compromise was a magical coach and that works just fine.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:34 pm

raisindot wrote:Trolls don't live IN mountains, they live ON mountains

Who says that? :lol: We don't know enough about Trolls in their natural habitat to dismiss that point so blithely, or assume that much about the life of Trolls. They have different uses for rocks, ores and minerals - for a start they're food for them and people whose food sources get pretty antsy about others 'wasting' them (to whit Iceland v Britain during the Cod Wars). :wink:

Same for Dwarves too - we don't really know a great deal of their lives underground and before you start firing FE and WA at that hypothesis are they actually mining in those books? No they're not, or not much. In Guards! Guards! they are, but not for very long as the action shifts to A-M. There are other types of mining too - open cast mining is done on the surface and that wouldn't be any different on Discworld. :wink:

Also - and here we stray back to belief systems the Trolls not only live on and possibly in rocks, but they are also made of metamorphorical rock. Sentient, mobile rock. The other kinds of rock are their ancestors and in some ways are also alive (I forget which book it's in and maybe there's more than one as well), as Terry has also put out a theory that rock/mountains do have some form of 'self-awareness' over huge timelines.

It still comes down to how the rocklands are perceived in the end - in the natural order Trolls have to and want to live on/in and with rocks. Dwarves do not need rock in the same way as Trolls and whilst there's plenty of rock around for everyone, when two ways of existence are fundamentally opposed what happens when they meet on disputed territory? Differences take on more aggressive connotations and world views get skewed and battered. :roll: :wink:

Remember what they think happened Koom Valley! then takes on a far more evocative and immovable racial, cultural and eventually ideological connotation. The core differences between the two communities then get buried under entrenched resentments and the need for vengeance... :roll: :)
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:38 pm

The natural habitat for a troll is under a bridge - I thought everyone knew that. :wink:
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Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:38 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Then he has to go to the wizards and ask them for their help in getting to Koom Valley. :lol: This is, I feel a plot device more than anything.


I don't think it's necessarily a plot device. After all, at the end of NW he gladly accepted Ridcully's offer to fly him to Dr. Lawn's. He doesn't trust magic, and would prefer not to use it, but the older, more mature, more accommodating Sam Vimes realizes that sometimes the "rules" need to be bent a little in order to achieve the greater good.

The scene with Vimes and Ridcully in the shed is also a great one. Considering that these two men have diametrically opposed philosophies, it's amazing that their relationship has grown over time. It shows how far Sam Vimes has come from his humble origins to earn the respect and friendship of a man as powerful and important as Ridcully.

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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:38 pm

raisindot wrote:Trolls don't live IN mountains, they live ON mountains

Actually, in Light Fantastic, trolls don't live IN mountains, or ON mountains. They ARE mountains. When they get young (backwards counting) they settle down and become mountains until someone lights a fire in their mouth. :D
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:41 pm

raisindot wrote:The scene with Vimes and Ridcully in the shed is also a great one. Considering that these two men have diametrically opposed philosophies, it's amazing that their relationship has grown over time. It shows how far Sam Vimes has come from his humble origins to earn the respect and friendship of a man as powerful and important as Ridcully.
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I wouldn't have said that Vimes and Ridcully have diametrically opposed philosophies. I can't think of another person more like Vimes than Ridcully, can you? :?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:55 pm

poohcarrot wrote:I can't think of another person more like Vimes than Ridcully, can you? :?

Actually yes - Granny! :lol:

Think about it - they both care really deeply about their responsibilities and cover it with an ingrained grumpy cynicism and will got to any lengths to protect their own. Also both are intelligent and analytical but inclined to being dogmatic and introspective. :wink:

Ridcully may seem outwardly the same, but that's mostly ebullient noisiness but he does have supreme confidence in his own effectiveness and instead of being cynical he's robustly self-assured and rarely thinks about failing - Nanny's like that too :P :twisted:
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:32 pm

OK. Apart from Granny and the aquaduct, what have the bloody Romans ever given us? :lol:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:50 pm

Just 'cos you got caught out on declension :twisted:

Actually there's at least one person who's exactly like Ridcully on this forum as well, come to think about it :P :lol:
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Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:30 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
raisindot wrote:Trolls don't live IN mountains, they live ON mountains

Who says that? :lol: We don't know enough about Trolls in their natural habitat to dismiss that point so blithely, or assume that much about the life of Trolls. They have different uses for rocks, ores and minerals - for a start they're food for them and people whose food sources get pretty antsy about others 'wasting' them (to whit Iceland v Britain during the Cod Wars). :wink:

Same for Dwarves too - we don't really know a great deal of their lives underground and before you start firing FE and WA at that hypothesis are they actually mining in those books? No they're not, or not much. In Guards! Guards! they are, but not for very long as the action shifts to A-M. There are other types of mining too - open cast mining is done on the surface and that wouldn't be any different on Discworld.


Ummmm, where to begin. First of all, what the heck is "FE" and "WA"? :roll:

Second, I haven't found a single reference in any DW book that says that trolls live 'within' mountains or within rock itself. References always discuss them living in mountainous areas, but never "inside" the rock itself. Maybe they do have a mythological connection with geography, but they're certainly not bound to it (in the way that, say, witches are bound to the geography of their territory). Certainly if that were a requirement you wouldn't find thousands of them living in AM or dragging their clubs across the plains. So, I'm not sure how your point is supported by the DW narrative itself. If it is, I'd love to see examples. :shock:

Third, every book where the dwarves are featured DOES portray them as primarily "underground miners." That why there's so much respect for the "deep downer" dwarfs who never come above ground. I've never heard of dwarves destroying the surface of mountains or do doing strip mining of any kind in any DW book--it would almost seem blasphemous to their very nature. And, again, we don't see any aversion by trolls to using rocks and stones to build garden sculptures, golems, or Slab. If the trolls did consider themselves to be made of the same essence as inorganic rocks, wouldn't you think they'd avoid working with or eating stones and minerals? :?

There's no DW book that I can think of that raises the issue of trolls hating dwarfs because dwarfs break apart 'inorganic' rocks and stones for their livelihood (if there is, please kindly point to it and I will retract this statement). :wink:

Sure, there is probably a territorial dimension to their emnity--any culture would reject any other culture that tried to invade their territory, even if they were only trying to "undermine" it. But none of this seems to be the source of the dwarf/troll animosity, which seem to be far more rooted in, as Thud! suggests, the "current" dwarves' assumption of ethnic superiority based on their (incorrect) interpretation of the Tak creation story. Even Shine admits that the dwarves have successfully used this interpretation to convince humans and other races that trolls are stupid, club-dragging beasts.

8)

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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:42 pm

FE = Fifth Elephant
WA = Witches Abroad

I think... :wink:
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