Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:02 pm

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

Actually yes - Granny! :lol:


Oh, absolutely! Vimes and Granny are nearly spittin' images of each other. Their mental processes work exactly the same way. The only difference may be that Granny always had self-confidence, whereas Vimes had none until relatively late in life.

I once tried to start a fanfic short story that featured both Granny and Vimes, somehow thrown together to solve some kind of mystery that involved them both. Common sense took over and I shoved it aside, but, in the wishful thinking department, wouldn't it be amazing to have them both (perhaps with Ridcully serving as the third point of a triangle) in a DW novel?

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:28 pm

Tonyblack wrote:FE = Fifth Elephant
WA = Witches Abroad

I think... :wink:

Yes that's it - thanks Tony

J-I-B - you're usually so authoritative I thought you'd get the usual shorthand for the book titles as I'm sure I've seen you use them yourself occasionally.... :wink:

raisindot wrote: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).

I can't and you know I can't because there aren't any! :lol: This is what I mean about the 'true' Trolls - there's so little written about them apart from in Colour of Magic & Light Fantastic :P where they are at least coherently sensible (apart from Grandpa who's so much like the mountain that people shelter IN him!). So who's to say they do or don't live on or in rock, just because Terry's never written much about mountain trolls. He hasn't written that much about dwarf miners either when it comes down to it... :P

raisindot wrote: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.

That's because the other races don't see much of either trolls or dwarves in their original homelands because trolls and dwarves are now living more cosmopolitanly in A-M and some of the other communities in the temperate parts of the Disc and both of them are different there. Dwarves are easier for humans to understand and relate to because they're more or less in the same (smaller) shape and act pretty much like humans most of the time.

Not only that but in the cities they're very industrious law-abiding citizens (until they get a drink inside them) and make all kinds of interesting and useful things and excellent ironware and weaponry, movable print, masonry - and lately underground mine workings... In Fifth Elephant - sure they live underground and mine fat etc but in the actual story you find out far, far more about local political factions and sexism in the dwarfish nation than on industrial matters.

Whatever Trolls do in the mountains is much more 'invisible' and all we really seem to know, courtesy of the dwarves in the cities, is that they behave as stupidly and thuggishly in their homelands as they do on the warmer plains or on loam. We know they don't because we've seen how clever Detritus is in Men at Arms and in Jingo too (at night when the temperature plummets) so why is it so hard to believe that Mr. Shine is the troll leader partly by virtue of his ability to function well at sea-level as well as other trolls can do in their natural habitat. We simply don't see trolls in that way because most of the time they're exactly like the dwarves are saying - by our standards, which are not troll standards because they're not remotely like us. :lol:

So it's cultural/racial prejudices and bias that allow the trolls to look like the big bad stupid aggressors even when the dwarves are still acting like sneaky cunning little baskets who love gold and want to get their hands on as much as possible because we know they're like that since they've started to live in cities to get their mitts on the other sort of gold by working in non-traditional but still skilled trades.They can do that simply 'cos they're equipped better to handle the climate. Another bias and stereotyping, because they don't just mine gold in their own natural territories of course... :wink:

As 'civilised' beings trolls have to overcome major hurdles to be considered decent, honest and sensitive beings whilst dwarves don't have to make that many concessions because they're better adapted to make their way in the world.
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Postby chuckie » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:06 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:FE = Fifth Elephant
WA = Witches Abroad

I think... :wink:

Yes that's it - thanks Tony

J-I-B - you're usually so authoritative I thought you'd get the usual shorthand for the book titles as I'm sure I've seen you use them yourself occasionally.... :wink:

Don't know about any one else but i don't always know which book is being refered to when abreviations are being used.
I would ask that if anyone refers to a book then they use the full title at least for the first time, only using abreviations for any further references.
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Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:42 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:I can't and you know I can't because there aren't any! :lol: This is what I mean about the 'true' Trolls - there's so little written about them apart from in Colour of Magic & Light Fantastic :P where they are at least coherently sensible (apart from Grandpa who's so much like the mountain that people shelter IN him!). So who's to say they do or don't live on or in rock, just because Terry's never written much about mountain trolls. He hasn't written that much about dwarf miners either when it comes down to it... :P


I'll buy all of that. The best anyone can do is conjecture what the "true" mounain trolls are really like, given, as you said, that Pterry doesn't tell us too much about them. But I disagree with your assertion that we don't know much about the dwarf miners. Starting with "Guards, Guards," really, we learn quite a bit about the dwarfish miners from Carrot's letters home. Follow that through the very detailed descriptions of the dwarfish gender issues in "Feet of Clay," and the rich description of dwarfish history and tradition in "The Fifth Elephant," for those of you playing at home, and you probably a much richer vision of the reality of dwarfish life
than, say, Tolkien achieved with his dwarfs in Lord of The Rings.

8)


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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:12 pm

You're preaching to the wrong person on LotR dwarves - he wrote a lot about them, (even gave them their own languge - Khuzdul which wasn't as well realised as the Elven ones but ran to several hundred words :P ) just not in LotR necessarily - plus his generation of writers saw dwarves and trolls very narrowly and in the Grimm tradition of course :wink: :lol:

I'd say the dwarf info in Guards! Guards! is very superficial though it gets better when Cheery arrives and more detailed by Fifth Elephant, particularly on political issues - dwarves are more 'in the public domain' than trolls is what I'm really saying and everyone 'knows' that they're miners after they've seen Snow White when they're 4 or whatever. :wink:

In Discworld we know far more about dwarves and trolls in their UNnatural environments than their traditional ones and that's not Terry's ommission as such - Trolls are always the bad guys in fairy tales after all and so they have an immediate bad press in most people's reactions until they start to like Detritus and Ruby and Flint (in Moving Pics) and even Chyrsoprase. But they're all city trolls of course...

This is why Thud's out of the ordinary run of Discworld books as it's striking out into new teritory and showing us a fuller picture of how Terry's now looking at his trolls, starting with Detritus and his handling of Brick and then bringing in Mr Shine to literally dazzle our preconceptions away on how trolls 'work' in the multiverse and not just on Roundworld's traditional nightmare take of them :twisted:
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:11 pm

raisindot wrote: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:

Yes there is. I am 110% sure of it. But I don't know where the quote is.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:25 pm

poohcarrot wrote:
raisindot wrote: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:

Yes there is. I am 110% sure of it. But I don't know where the quote is.
You're right Pooh, but I'm not sure where it is either. :? Although it is suggested that the dwarfs tend to do this accidentally.
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:38 am

poohcarrot wrote:
raisindot wrote: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:

Yes there is. I am 110% sure of it. But I don't know where the quote is.


I thought Pratchett said something about dwarves sometimes trying to mine Trolls who were sitting quietly and that being a problem between them, but now I'm wondering if I'm confusing it with the bit about Druids from Soul Music and Trolls objecting to being dragged across the country and buried up to their knees in a stone circle?
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:52 pm

I believe the theme of Thud, like a lot of other Discworld books, is anti-religious fundamentalism, in favour of science and reason.

The very first page it says this
Thud wrote:The first brother walked towards the light and stood under the open sky. Thus he became too tall. He was the first Man. He found no laws, and he was enlightened.

The second brother walked towards the darkness, and stood under a roof of stone. Thus he achieved the correct height. He was the first Dwarf. He found the Laws Tak had written, and he was endarkened.


The Enlightenment (dictionary definition) = A period in the 18th century when many scientists and writers began to argue that science and reason were more important than religion and tradition.

Therefore;

The Endarkenment = When religion and tradition are more important than science and reason.

J-I-B stated that dwarfs have no religion. I totally disagree. They believe they were created by a God. They follow his laws. They believe in an afterlife.

The villains in the book are the religious fundamentalist dwarfs.

Nation wrote:Imo made us clever enough to work out that he doesn't exist.

Terry Pratchett (approx) wrote:I'd rather be a rising ape, than a fallen angel

The whole book is anti-religious fundies, especially Islamic fundies, written by a non-God believer. 8)
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:01 pm

I hadn't spotted that thing about Enlightened and Endarkened - at least I hadn't seen the significance of it, but I think you're right Pooh.

I also think that the dwarfs do indeed have a religion, whether they think so or not. I guess it's a case of how you define 'religion'.

Online Dictionary wrote:re·li·gion (r-ljn)
n.
1.
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.


Another Online Dictionary wrote:religion [rɪˈlɪdʒən]
n
1. belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny
2. any formal or institutionalized expression of such belief the Christian religion
3. the attitude and feeling of one who believes in a transcendent controlling power or powers
4. (Christianity / Roman Catholic Church) Chiefly RC Church the way of life determined by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience entered upon by monks, friars, and nuns to enter religion
5. something of overwhelming importance to a person football is his religion
6. Archaic
a. the practice of sacred ritual observances
b. sacred rites and ceremonies
[via Old French from Latin religiō fear of the supernatural, piety, probably from religāre to tie up, from re- + ligāre to bind]

These definition would seem to say that the dwarfs are religious. :?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:33 pm

Yes dwarves are religious, but in very practical/pragmatic way - the vast majority of the A-M dwarf population anyway. It's like saying you're CofE but never being seen inside a church except for baptisms/weddings/funerals :? - just a default setting. They don't let their beliefs interfere with their daily lives that much is what I mean.

The Deep-Downers - yes of course and their equivalents in Roundworld (for those who're in it mainly for the power, which seems to be all of them) are terrorists of any stripe (I see very little difference in Al Quaeda, KKK, Black September, the 'real' IRA or the Provos, amongst others). They are the far side of fundamentalism and their actions have nothing to do with any religion, except as a tool for terrorising other people indiscriminately, as they hurt 'their own' as much, or more, as the people whose beliefs/lifestyles they use as an excuse to target their hatred upon.

Trolls I'm not so sure about. They're not made the same as the other 'major' racial groups on the Disc so maybe their religion is more to do with what's natural to them perhaps - strength, endurance, inviolability*. They really are different to most other lifeforms so why should their belief system be the same, although Mr Shine is an almost perfect advocate for 'humanism' in the Roundworld sense... :wink:

*As a matter of interest as I chose the word haphazardly, but intending it as fitting for trolls like Detritus -
Wiki wrote:Adjective
inviolable (comparative more inviolable, superlative most inviolable)

1.Not violable; not susceptible of violence, or of being profaned or corrupted; incapable of being injured; not to be infringed or dishonoured
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Postby raisindot » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:27 pm

Tonyblack wrote:
Online Dictionary wrote:re·li·gion (r-ljn)
n.
1.
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.


Using Tony's first definition of religion as a guide (only because I don't want to have to do this with two sets), I am going to buttress my claim that dwarves are, in fact, NOT religious, or at least not religious in terms of woshipping a deity of some kind.

1.a.

The dwarves don't 'believe' that Tak created the races--they 'know' that Tak created the races and the laws, which they all follow, as one would any person who established a set of rules that people follow. But the dwarves do not worship him, pray to him, or ask him for spiritual guidance--which is the core component of any religious system. They don't consider him to be a mythical being--they consider him to be the "father" of their race, a "real" being who did his job, like dwarves do, and then left them on their own to fend for themselves (see the bird analogy below).

b. While the dwarves have a strict set of rules, they are not based on religious beliefs or practices. The roundworld analogy might be Confucius, a man who developed a system of rules for living, but (except for a few cults that grew up around him) never expected to be worshipped, and isn't generally treated as a deity by the Chinese. Or perhaps Mao Tze Tung or some authoritarian leader (I promise, won't bring up the "H" word again) who lays down a litany of rules and develops a cult of personality that is not necessarily religious in nature.

2. Irrelevant here. No dwarfs consider themselves to be part of a religious order. There is no "monastery of Tak" anywhere that we know of. The grags are not religious leaders--they are wise men. Misguided wise men, certainly, but wise men nonetheless and certainly do not claim to have any spiritual connection with Tak or any other god, as far as we know.

3. Dwarfish laws are not based in religious beliefs. If someone disobeys them, no higher power will punish them. Nor will a higher power reward them for obeying them. The only punishments for obeying dwarfish laws are in the form of ostracism from the Dwarfish community--being told you're no longer a Dwarf. Which is quite different than being told you're no longer a believer of Tak.

4. Again, Tak is not a spiritual leader. He did and his bit and moved on. Think of a him as a large daddy(or mommy) bird who fathered a brood, taught them to fly, kicked them out of the nest, and went on his way, never to be seen away. The fledglings know how to fly, but they no longer need Papa Bird to help them remember.

Now, this doesn't mean Dwarfs don't rely on faith, rather than reason, in certain situations. The most obvious example of this occurs in TFE (The Fifth Elephant, thank you, Pooh), when the 'fake' Scone of Scone becomes 'the thing, and the nature of thing" even to Dee, who destroyed the original, even to Sam Vimes, who gets caught up in this well of belief, because to not belief that it is real is intolerable--if this isn't the DW's version of transubstantiation, I don't know what is.

In any case, even thought the dwarfs argue about philosophical points, and the actions of the deep downers can be definitely be considered the equivalent of terrorism (and remember that not all terrorism is religious based), these arguments are largely about culture, race, and what it means to be a dwarf. The attempts of the deep downers to destroy the "truth" of Koom Valley is not an attempt to reclaim a position of spiritual authority--it's an attempt to preserve a cultural and historical tradition.



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Postby raisindot » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:40 pm

poohcarrot wrote:I believe the theme of Thud, like a lot of other The very first page it says this
Thud wrote:The first brother walked towards the light and stood under the open sky. Thus he became too tall. He was the first Man. He found no laws, and he was enlightened.

The second brother walked towards the darkness, and stood under a roof of stone. Thus he achieved the correct height. He was the first Dwarf. He found the Laws Tak had written, and he was endarkened.


The Enlightenment (dictionary definition) = A period in the 18th century when many scientists and writers began to argue that science and reason were more important than religion and tradition.

Therefore;

The Endarkenment = When religion and tradition are more important than science and reason.


Methinks you're reading too much into this. The two terms refer only to the habitats where the races chose to dwell, not on their beliefs. After all, the humans in the DW are far more religious, superstitutions, ignorant and 'unreasonable' than the Dwarves are. Dwarfs don't have temples to Blind Io, Om, or any of the others thousands of DW gods. Neither the wizards (other than Stibbons) nor the witches value science and reason over tradition and mystics beliefs unexplainable by logic. Whereas, while some DW dwarves do favor tradition over innovation, the majority embrace science and invention as a way of improving their way of life, at least in commercial terms. If they didn't believe in science, they wouldn't have become Ankh-Morpork's most prominent weapons makers, cosmeticians, and printers.

8)

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:41 pm

raisindot wrote:The attempts of the deep downers to destroy the "truth" of Koom Valley is not an attempt to reclaim a position of spiritual authority--it's an attempt to preserve a cultural and historical tradition.



J-I-B

Exactly - the rest in pure powerplay and political manipulation. You can hang a placard of religious outrage on it as an excuse but it's nothing more than a faction trying to hold onto their position in dwarf society which the real truth will undermine completely
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Postby raisindot » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:58 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:...which the real truth will undermine completely


Isn't it great when you can use a word like "undermine" in a sentence that gives it both literal and figurative meanings? :lol:

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