Feet of Clay Discussion **Spoilers**

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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:34 pm

Tonyblack wrote:
poohcarrot wrote:So, exactly like the Red Army in Interesting Times which are also golems. :D
I don't want to get into too much of a discussion about Interesting Times as that discussion is due in August, but I wouldn't say they were golems as they have to be remote controlled by a human. They don't seem to have anything resembling life at all. :)

But without the human control (ie chem), all golems were merely statues. :?

Can someone explain to me why the golems wanted to make a king in the first place? :?

Kings are masters of their subjects. Golems must have a master. Were the golems making a king so that this king could become their master, thus starting a rebellion without breaking their chem? :?
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
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Postby raisindot » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:15 pm

poohcarrot wrote:
Can someone explain to me why the golems wanted to make a king in the first place? :?

Kings are masters of their subjects. Golems must have a master. Were the golems making a king so that this king could become their master, thus starting a rebellion without breaking their chem? :?


I think PTerry was using this device to parallel the ongoing attempts of the guilds and aristocracy to replace Vetinari with a figurehead king.

What purpose a golem-king would serve is a bit of a mystery, but given all the different 'commands' the golems included in its chem it may be that that they were looking for a wise and highly moral leader who would provide them with some kind of spiritual guidance that would add more meaning to their 'lives.' That they were working on their own to create a king suggests even before Dorfl's 'chemless' transformation that they did have their own innate intelligence and free will of some sort, since it's doubtful that any golem master wrote "create a king" on any golem's chem.

Thus, one might argue that their yearning for a king was their expression of desire for a new kind of 'master' that would complement, but not necessarily 'replace,' their 'owner-masters.' Slaves seek meaning in their lives, even if they accept the idea they are 'property, and will designate leaders in their society to provide as much spiritual and moral guidance as their taskmasters allowed. This happened in the American south during the antebellum period, when many slaves organized into informal churches and elected lay leaders, while others turned to voodoo priests for such guidance.

Contrast the golems' concept of a 'moral' king with the guildmasters' concept of what they wanted AM's king to be--a dimwitted, powerless figurehead who could easily be pushed around--in short, everything that Vetinari isn't. I think that's the point PTerry is making here. The golems wanted a king for a good reason, but in their quest to create a good king, it went terribly bad. Whereas, Dragon and the guild conspirators wanted a bad king for bad reasons.
Last edited by raisindot on Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:23 pm

I think I agree with that. :D They actually reject the idea of Carrot as the king because he is too honest and likely to look after the ordinary people - which would not be in the interests of the guilds. They want a king in name only. A figurehead that they can control.

I think it's no accident that Vimes's ancestor is rather like Cromwell. In our own history, Cromwell tends to be remembered in a negative way and we couldn't wait to get kings again. Although I think it's significant that the kings after Charles 1 never really had the power and were controlled by Parliament. :)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:06 pm

I always think of Old Stoneface Vimes, the regicide, as a Cromwellian figure (Old Ironsides :lol: ) and certainly Sam's much the same in the way he takes a very robust, soldierly view of people being allowed to be self-determining (meaning that this has to be done in a disciplined manner, so still needing to have a 'guiding' principle in place, in this case the law, rather than a principal/leader, or figurehead... :P ).

I don't think that the golems wanted a king as we see one, as it was more that they wanted the clay of their clay to be free as well as better than them, which was the idea behind them putting all the goody two shoes stuff into it's chem under the spiritual/moral guidance of a holy man and the practical supervision of the bread museum curator - did they not try to find a master for Meshuga after he started to go insane? Not sure of the timing of that so much? Certainly Dorfl regarded the priest very highly in the way he tried to make things 'right' for him as he died so that makes some sense but I find the choice of using a battle bread oven to actually make Mehshuga quite disturbing aside from the fact it was totally unsuitable - perhaps they were sub-consciously also trying to make a weapon or a warrior? :?
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Postby swreader » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:48 am

Haven't had a chance to post this week as I'm up to my ears in doctor's appointments. It seems that the blood pressure medication I've been on for about 10 years I've developed an allergy to. Just how long is any one's guess. But it's taking a long time to recover from the damage it's done. Don't have time to do anything right now with the Golem King of Prague (J.I.B--see photo-- it's amazingly like the King golem in this book).

Has anyone else noticed that it seems very likely Pratchett has made the cabal of wealthy nobility the hidden villains in Feet of Clay. When they fail to de-throne Vetinari this time , they try again in The Truth. In this book, the Dragon King at Arms is their tool, just as Slant is in The Truth. The point of view of these "unseen" movers and shakers is remarkably similar, and rather frighteningly close to the attitudes displayed by some of the monied "nobility" of our time. The head of the IMF who clearly believed he was above the law, as well as all too numerous lecherous and/or corrupt politicians in this country provide current examples.

They see everyone except themselves as a different (perhaps non-human) breed who can be treated as they choose. The scene in which Vimes almost throttles the sewing factory owner who treats both golems and human workers as things gives us Vimes's view (and Pratchett's) of the evil, filthy nature of this type -- Sam says to him:
I mix with crooks and thieves and thugs all day and that doesn't worry me at all but after two minutes with you I need a bath. And if I find that damn golem I'll shake its damn hand, you hear me?


I find it interesting that Granny's view of evil is treating people as things--it's apparently Pratchett's also.
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Postby Dotsie » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:45 am

swreader wrote:I find it interesting that Granny's view of evil is treating people as things--it's apparently Pratchett's also.

Good spot on that - it sums up why Terry chose golems for this book.
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Postby raisindot » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:01 pm

swreader wrote:Has anyone else noticed that it seems very likely Pratchett has made the cabal of wealthy nobility the hidden villains in Feet of Clay. When they fail to de-throne Vetinari this time , they try again in The Truth. In this book, the Dragon King at Arms is their tool, just as Slant is in The Truth.


This isn't the first time. Arguably, the first three Watch books plus The Truth incorporated plots to remove the Patrician and replace him with a new ruler of some sort. In Guards, Guards! the man who summons the dragon (with help from his circle of conspirators, who one assumes are probably well to do) is of the aristocratic class. In Men at Arms! the impoverished aristocrat D'eath tries to rally the usual gang of aristocrats and guildbangers to support Carrot as king, and then takes matters into his own hands. Even in Jingo, Lord Rust uses the threat of war with Klatch to take military control of the city and remove Vetinari from power. (You can even argue that what doesn't happen in these novels actually does happen in Night Watch, although not in the "contemporary" timeline).

My guess is that by the time he finished The Truth Pterry realized that he had pretty much mined the "getting rid of Vetinari and replacing him with a king' theme as far it could go. In future books, Vetinari's position is threatened less by active coups from withiin than by whether his 'employees' succeed in their jobs. If Vimes had failed to solve the mystery of Koom Valley; if Moist had failed to stop the pie hitting Vetinari in the face; if the UA team had lost its football match the political ramifications might shake Vetinari from power.
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Postby Dotsie » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:10 pm

raisindot wrote: In Guards, Guards! the man who summons the dragon (with help from his circle of conspirators, who one assumes are probably well to do) is of the aristocratic class.

Not really - Wonse is Vetinari's secretary, who grew up on the same street as Vimes (he remembers his hopping skipping run, from trying to keep up with the bigger boys). The conspirators are decidedly not well-to-do, being as they are a thief, grocer, and toilet emptier (the ones I can remember).

So while there does frequently seem to be a plot to get rid of Vetinari, this one is mostly about a little man wanting power for himself alone.
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:15 pm

Yes indeed, but the fact remains that Wonse's plan is to put a controllable king on the throne. The thing these books have in common seems to be crafty people trying to legitimise their plans by hiding behind someone they can control.

This is why the idea of Carrot as a king is rejected in Feet of Clay - they realise that he would be too difficult to control.
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:21 pm

Just for the record;

The Laws of Robotics

1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2.A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3.A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law

Dorfl tried to hit Carrot, but couldn't because of the first law.
However, when Dorfl lied and said it was him wot done it, this broke the first law because robots can't lie.

The fact that Dorfl was prepared to take the rap for the two killings also broke the first law. His inaction of not telling about the Golem king, leaving it free to go on a killing spree, would have caused an Asimov robot to switch off.

And by killing themselves the golems were breaking the third law. 8)
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:46 pm

And I never got these 3 jokes;

[p. 17] "[...], he says Mrs Colon wants him to buy a farm, [...]"

'Buy the farm' is military slang for 'die'

[p. 22] "'Cheery, eh? Good to see the old naming traditions kept up.'"

'Cheery' would fit in very well with the names of the Seven Dwarfs in the Disney Snow White film. Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, Doc and Sneezy.

[p. 77] "'Ah, h'druk g'har dWatch, Sh'rt'azs!' said Carrot."

Littlebottom, in dwarfish, is "Sh'rt'azs". In British slang, 'shortarse' is a vaguely affectionate term for the vertically challenged.
:lol: :lol:
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Postby Dotsie » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:11 pm

poohcarrot wrote:Just for the record;

The Laws of Robotics

1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2.A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3.A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law

Dorfl tried to hit Carrot, but couldn't because of the first law.
However, when Dorfl lied and said it was him wot done it, this broke the first law because robots can't lie.

The fact that Dorfl was prepared to take the rap for the two killings also broke the first law. His inaction of not telling about the Golem king, leaving it free to go on a killing spree, would have caused an Asimov robot to switch off.

And by killing themselves the golems were breaking the third law. 8)

So, they're able to act indepently of their own rules then. Like humans.

Also, we don't know what would happen to golems breaking the laws, as the makers aren't around any more. Could be they have always been able to break them, but couldn't see the advantage.
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Postby The Mad Collector » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:27 pm

poohcarrot wrote:[p. 77] "'Ah, h'druk g'har dWatch, Sh'rt'azs!' said Carrot."

Littlebottom, in dwarfish, is "Sh'rt'azs". In British slang, 'shortarse' is a vaguely affectionate term for the vertically challenged.
:lol: :lol:


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:lol:
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Postby raisindot » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:16 pm

The one thing that bugged me about the story is how Vetinari knew exactly how he was being poisoned (and probably knew where the candles came from and who ordered them), but chose to play the victim so Vimes could have the "fun' of solving the mystery. It's also a bit cruel of him, since if he knew about this from the start he might have somehow prevented the cook (or whoever she was) from stealing the poisoned candle ends, thus saving her life and that of the baby.

Of course this is all part of Vetinari's nature--to always be in control and to always test the capabilities of his subordinates as a means of making them better at what they do--but it still made Vimes seem a bit of a plodder.
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:29 am

I don't think Vetinari knew from the start, but he probably worked it out quite quickly. Whether he knew before Mrs Easy and the baby died I don't remember if it's said. But it doesn't make Vimes look like a plodder, it makes Vetinari look like a (twisted) genius, which is the intention. Vetinari sees Vimes as his own invention, and Vimes does act like a terrier, as per his nickname. His reputation for hanging on and not letting go will be respected elsewhere, which is another reason why sammies can get employment wherever they go.

Having Vetinari solve the crime and the watch just standing there with their mouths hanging open, that would make Vimes look like a plodder (to those who count - none of the other characters have worked it out).
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