The Fifth Elephant Discussion *Spoilers*

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Re: The Fifth Elephant Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:16 pm

raisindot wrote:[AVAST, THERE BE LITTLE SPOILERS AHEAD]

Yes, I thought that by the end of Making Money Vetinari was subtly grooming Moist to be the next patrician--a different kind of patrician, one who rules through showmanship and grifting rather than quiet diplomacy and behind the scenes manipulation. But we see in Raising Steam that, seven years later, Moist is still Vetinari's indentured servant, albeit a very wealthy, highly respected and very happily married one.

Yes, of course - Vetinari is still alive, still in position - but Moist is being carefully trained, and Vetinari won't live forever. When the day comes, Moist will be able to step in, all the more easily because he's very good at making people like him, and unlike Carrot's "krisma," Moist's talents work long-term. Vetinari uses showmanship when he wants to, as he did when he insisted that Vimes arrest him. Grifting is just another word for manipulation by deception. They are very much alike; Vetinari is making sure that Moist feels he has a stake in the city, a stake worth protecting.

But any further specific discussion should probably move to the Making Money thread.
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Re: The Fifth Elephant Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Mixa » Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:49 pm

Wow! Guys, it is so interesting to read your posts! :D

II’ve never debated about this with more than one person so it’s great to see all your opinions. I agree and disagree with some of you and I feel like it’s time for me to come...


To Carrot’s rescue too! :mrgreen:

Image

I’ve always seen Carrot as a terrific caricature of wise, good and stereotyped kings and heroes, but at the same time a deep character. He represents all the positive things of humanity and is a lighthouse to all the other characters, counteracting their darkness with his light. He’s pure but nobody’s fool. He doesn’t want to “control” people, he cares for them selflessly and there isn’t a trace of anything but altruism and understanding in his eyes. People are his reason for being.

But when he runs after Angua in TFE (renouncing to everything important for him), I believe it’s because he has found another reason. And that reason is her.

You call that selfishness, I call that true love.

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Re: The Fifth Elephant Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:28 pm

Mixa wrote:I’ve always seen Carrot as a terrific caricature of wise, good and stereotyped kings and heroes, but at the same time a deep character. He represents all the positive things of humanity and is a lighthouse to all the other characters, counteracting their darkness with his light. He’s pure but nobody’s fool. He doesn’t want to “control” people, he cares for them selflessly and there isn’t a trace of anything but altruism and understanding in his eyes. People are his reason for being.

[size=115]But when he runs after Angua in TFE (renouncing to everything important for him), I believe it’s because he has found another reason. And that reason is her.

You call that selfishness, I call that true love.


Up until TFE, I agree with you about Carrot, but there's subversiveness in Pterry's portrayal of him as a Polyanna. While we may possess the qualities of an oak-crown king, he is woefully deceptive of political headwinds, as we see in Jingo, where he is, at best, the "small picture" man to Vimes' soaring desire to stop the "big crime."

But, I would argue that in TFE he is not motivated by love. He has received as "Dear John" letter from Angua. If he truly loved her, he would let her go. But he can't accept that. His loyal dog has run away. He needs the resolution to be of satisfaction to him, even if that means he has to do nasty things, like forcing Gaspode to accompany him (the little doggie didn't really have a choice here) and leaving the Watch to fend for itself, shirking his duty at a time when the city needs him most to maintain control in Vimes' absence (although we see that ultimately the city does survivle without both of them fo awhile). He isn't in "love," he's obsessive. And his obsession causes all kinds of problems for Angua and Vimes. But this is one of the best aspects of the novel; Pterry is very purposelly "dethroning" Carrot here, showing us the dark side of his nature. It's one of the many aspects that makes TFE a pivotal book in the Watch series. The continuation of a "kingly" Carrot would have made Night Watch, Thud! and Snuff difficult, if not impossible, to carry out. Carrot's importance as a narrative lynchpin needed to be punctured to allow VImes to continue to grow into his role as the most important driver of social and political change on the DW.
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Re: The Fifth Elephant Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Penfold » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:32 pm

Just to play 'devil's advocate' here and to try a juxtaposition: Is Carrot himself also behaving a bit like a dog who has been abandoned by its master, pining, chasing after her, and generally behaving like he's a bit 'lost'; completely unlike his normal self.
The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.


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Re: The Fifth Elephant Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby NineTenthsMadness » Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:08 pm

But, I would argue that in TFE he is not motivated by love. He has received as "Dear John" letter from Angua. If he truly loved her, he would let her go.


I always felt that these sort of idealistic messages would be something a Discworld book would deconstruct. IMHO, "loving someone" doesn't mean you let them go when they say "I must go now", and it certainly doesn't mean not asking questions, even when you have to track down the person in question. IMHO, it means you want this other person to be happy and take an active part in ensuring their happiness, which is essentially what Carrot did. Also, I think love is in its nature selfish, but in a way that tells you "I want to feel good about this other person feeling good about the things I do with/for/to them"

Are the things Carrot did morally questionable? I think, from what I've read regarding fan oppinions, this all depends on Carrots motives, and his motives aren`t made clear at all. Is the Goddess of Narrativity merely smiling down upon her favourite Gary Stu? Or is he really thinking about the things he does much more than he lets on, and decided that he, too, deserves a personal bit of happiness? I don't think it is clear at all, and this ambiguity is what makes TFE so great, I think

From time to time, I like to entertain the thought that Carrot knew what he was doing on the bridge, fighting against Wolfgang, but I don`t think less about him for it, because he is, by design, a character that gives much of himself to the city of Ankh-Morpork. Sometimes you need something you can call your own, and this is something both Angua and Carrot seem to agree on (as Angua tells Vimes "Carrot's mine!").
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Re: The Fifth Elephant Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:58 am

NineTenthsMadness wrote:
But, I would argue that in TFE he is not motivated by love. He has received as "Dear John" letter from Angua. If he truly loved her, he would let her go.


I always felt that these sort of idealistic messages would be something a Discworld book would deconstruct.

In contrast, I feel that Discworld has a great many idealistic messages. However, they are not created by ignoring the less altruistic motives that people have. Instead, they are created in spite of the less altruistic motives, to counteract them.

NineTenthsMadness wrote:Are the things Carrot did morally questionable? I think, from what I've read regarding fan opinions, this all depends on Carrots motives, and his motives aren`t made clear at all.


From at least Men at Arms on, Carrot's character has an increasingly visible duality. He says things that can be interpreted two ways. Angua and Vimes begin to catch on to this doubletalk. Vimes in particular now thinks of it as typical of Carrot when Carrot says that if the fire at the Fools' Guild destroyed the entire building, it would be "a blow for" the arts and entertainment in Ankh-Morpork. The ambiguity is that the blow could be a blow that destroys it, or a blow that destroy something that has been harming it. Carrot is being either innocently positive or deeply sarcastic, and because we never see inside his head, we don't know. But we can look at his actions and make an educated guess. His actions lead to the death of his competition, a period of severe damage to the Watch, and to his making statements to Nobby at the end that are falsehoods.
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