NineTenthsMadness wrote:Somehow, Sam doesn't seem to do much in this one, and is more of a plaything to the overall plot. The Dragon is a really strong villainous monster here, while other watch books are more about humans being at the center of the crime, although there is a strong human villainous character here as well.
The Vimes books are not just police procedurals; they are partly in the genre of noir detective stories in which human society is dark and crime-filled, there are no perfect heroes, and success is never complete. G!G! is closest to the pattern with the drunken policeman in a dispirited Watch who still tries, in fits and starts, to serve the City. Vimes does make a difference. He rescues Sybil and saves her innocent swamp dragons from being destroyed by a mob. He also stops the villain from calling up yet another dragon to fight the first.
According to the theory in How To Summon Dragons, the qualities of the dragon are based on the qualities of the human who summons it. The author of that book is said to have been a fairly decent human, though lacking in self-knowledge and forethought, yet his dragon killed him. The dragon the villain summoned had the darkest qualities of the villain. The conclusion is that all ordinary humans contain within them the elements of a rather nasty dragon, a very noir message. (Twoflower's dragon in TLF was positively sweet by comparison, which fits with what we know about Twoflower.)
On the other hand, if we take the position that the author of HTSD was wrong in that theory as well, the dragon becomes generic, which indicates that all female noble dragons are probably like that (again, except Twoflower's, though it wasn't around long enough for us to see it respond under differing circumstances). Lady Sybil said it behaved like a typical female dragon, more possessive and aggressive than the males.
In either interpretation, I feel that the unexpectedly semi-romantic ending is wholly appropriate, demonstrating the better aspects of humanity and adding a note of hope to counter the noir darkness of early-series Ankh-Morpork.