Guards! Guards! Discussion Group *Spoilers*

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Postby Dotsie » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:46 pm

poohbcarrot wrote:Are you suggesting that Sybil, who took in unwanted swamp dragons, was going to have Errol put down ie; killed?


I did think it was strange that a woman who'd put "Whinny if you love dragons" on the back of her carriage would kill one who couldn't mate. It really doesn't add up. But she did say, the first time she met Vimes, that if he couldn't manage it he was for the "choppy chop". Then she admitted it was cruel, but the only way. So Vimes was under the impression she was a sex-crazed murderer.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:52 pm

(improvising while searching for book)

Sybil knows Errol is a whittle. She knows he can't mate. So why has she keep him so long? He's obviously not a baby coz he falls in love with the big dragon, so she must have had him for a while.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:22 pm

poohbcarrot wrote:(improvising while searching for book)

Sybil knows Errol is a whittle. She knows he can't mate. So why has she keep him so long? He's obviously not a baby coz he falls in love with the big dragon, so she must have had him for a while.
I think the inference is that he was a breeding attempt that went wrong. Breeders try to breed for specific traits and sometimes the result isn't what they wanted - this is the same for breeders of show dogs etc. So Errol was hatched and grew to maturity but was found to be a genetic mistake.

Sybil says that Errol's sire was "Brenda Rodley's Treebite Brightscale" - who was presumably a dragon worth breeding from. But the result - Errol was a disappointment.

It's like racehorses - the chances are that if you breed a champion with a champion you may get a champion - but it is by no means a guarantee. You may get some throwback. :)
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:45 pm

...but she couldn't kill a dragon even if she wanted to because,

"I suppose I shall have to (get rid of Errol).
You know how it is, though. They look up at you with those big, soulful eyes -"

She isn't just a breeder. Killing a dragon would be no problem to a breeder. She actually loves dragons (including the whittles) and I don't believe she would ever hurt one.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:53 pm

poohbcarrot wrote:...but she couldn't kill a dragon even if she wanted to because,

"I suppose I shall have to (get rid of Errol).
You know how it is, though. They look up at you with those big, soulful eyes -"

She isn't just a breeder. Killing a dragon would be no problem to a breeder. She actually loves dragons (including the whittles) and I don't believe she would ever hurt one.
Sorry - I don't think I ever said she was going to kill Errol. But she does say (on page 138) that she supposes she will have to get rid of him. I don't quite know what that means and can only guess. :?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:02 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:......... Having been on the receiving end of rejection so long, she [Sybil] tends to look deeper and find the value and quality of the beings she's inclined to love - with Errol she hasn't given up on him just because he's a poor runt of a pedigree and so she doesn't really want to do what most [of the] fanatical of breeders would do and get him neutered or even put down. She gives him to Sam because she feels sorry for them both and perhaps she thinks they will bond - and it's her opening 'negotiations' with Sam as well of course, but also she's testing him a little as well, seeing if there's more to him and not completely trusting her instincts?

...... But Sybil's looking for something real on both sides - certainly not romance as such, because she knows she's not cut out for that. Also she's a sensibly compassionate person so she sees clearly and assesses what's important on both sides before deciding that Sam is worth the risk of falling in love with. Then she goes for it with the pink bunny dressing gown!

also
kakaze wrote:As for raising the swamp dragons, I still think that he makes them too disagreeable. It's one thing to be soppy over a stray dog, or cuddle a smelly hampster, it's quite another to breed animals that are a cross between an alligator, a chemical waste dump, and a fireworks factory.

May I refer you three honourable gentlemen to my previous comments (in the broadest sense)

May I also remind you that this is fiction, Ankh Morpork and Pterry's written this... so lets turn this blind dragon fancy/breeding/mania thing on it's head - if we had swamp dragons, exactly as Pterry writes them in the Roundworld I guarantee you some people would go nuts over the smelly little boilers and do exactly what Sybil and her friends do - and yes most of those people would most likely be lonely but capable big-hearted women. Women can love anything - look at the fanmail serial killers get? What woman in her right mind would marry Mike Tyson despite the money? What made Diane Fossey like living a humid hellhole jungle in a war zone and commune with gorillas? It's not at all unusual, just set on the Disc, and Sybil's a charismatic stereotype - like Carrot :lol:

And remember Sybil doesn't keep her dragons in the house - she takes them in there, yes of course, but they're kept outside and I repeat - she doesn't care about the horrid smell and the mess because that's part and parcel of her obsession in the same way that she has no interest in dressing for other people just to be socially acceptable let alone attract a man - she's completely given up on that until she meets her own romantically lame duck soulmate in Sam. :wink:

Also don't forget that Errol's exceptional in that he's totally contrary to the species as a whole so perhaps you can house-train them...

As for all the misadventures, neglect and literal-minded order-taking - that's just genius and an highly accurate rendition of how things very often happen on any world where million to one chances invariably work - a completely random chain of events that result in a happy and fortunate outcome where Sam gets Sybil, Errol gets the Queen and Ankh-Morpork gets saved. That's just a great Pterry plot coming together absolutely right :D
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:11 pm

Yes, Terry cunningly makes the reader think that a) the big aggressive dragon is a male and b) that Errol, another male, wants to fight it.

Genius! :D

They pinched the idea in Shrek. :lol:
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:23 pm

Tonyblack wrote:But she does say (on page 138) that she supposes she will have to get rid of him. I don't quite know what that means and can only guess. :?


She never actually says she's going to get rid of Errol until Vimes mistakenly asks her about it. She saw that Vimes likes Errol and knows he'd go to a good home, so she offers Errol to Vimes (plus the love trinket bit)
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:29 pm

poohbcarrot wrote:...but she couldn't kill a dragon even if she wanted to because,

"I suppose I shall have to (get rid of Errol).
You know how it is, though. They look up at you with those big, soulful eyes -"

She isn't just a breeder. Killing a dragon would be no problem to a breeder. She actually loves dragons (including the whittles) and I don't believe she would ever hurt one.


True, but she does say (about another swamp dragon):

"Oh, don't be squeamish, man. You just have to help him up into the air. It's me who has the tricky part. I know it's cruel, but if he can't manage it tonight then he's for the choppy-chop. Survival of the fittest and all that, don't you know."
Captain Vimes managed to get a grip on himself. He was clearly in the presence of some sex-crazed would-be murderess


ETA I do think this is very out of character though. I don't know why Terry left it in :?
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Postby Trish » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:50 pm

poohbcarrot wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:I honestly couldn't see why the Watch got the credit. :?


Because as Vetinari said "After every triumphant victory there must be heroes. It is essential.
Then everyone will know that everything has been done properly" (page 303 - pb)


Yes. Also the Watch "saved" the City by doing what it was supposed to be doing (but hadn't, for various reasons outlined in other DW books) by upholding the law.

Upholding means going through the proper channels --the arrest and charging of the dragon; Vimes's confrontation with Wonse --he wanted to kill him and Wonse deserved it (he made the bullets and had the rest of the Brethren fire them, after all), but Vimes realized he'd be no better and killing Wonse represent what he despised. So he followed the rules of society and law.

The phrase "throw the book at him" is a synechdoche. We all know what it means, but that isn't what it says. The question is did Carrot? Yes, he's young and impressionable, naive ("but they had no apples" is priceless) and does what he's told, eg: "Charge the men."

Another synechdoche perhaps taken at face value, but effective. Afterward, he asked Vimes If he'd done right and Vimes acquiesed, even though he said it "wasn't what I had in mind."

Effective. Remember that Carrot is a dwarf and wants results.
Literal. Carrot is a human raised by dwarves; he has the intuition of a human being coupled with the dwarf-instilled drive to see whatever it is (a new shaft, a trip to the city) completed promptly and fully, then finished.


What I really wonder is has Sir Terry peeked at this thread?
If he has, does he marvel at the deep understanding of his readers and their ability to ferret out his Faulknerian foreshadowing or is he laughing his arse off.
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Postby swreader » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:57 pm

After Tony asked me who Gomer Pyle was, it occurred to me that probably a great many of you will not be familiar with this TV character (from the 60s) either because you're too young, or you live in countries where the series was never shown. Tony said he thought the analogy was very good when I gave him a couple of links.
This is a link to Gomer Pyle, U.S. M.C. in Wiki, and if you scroll down to the character description, you'll get a feel for the comparison I was making. And if you just want a chuckle at the show this link takes you to a You Tube snipped - Gomer in Bayonet Training.

This is not a major post, but you may enjoy the film even if you don't agree with the analogy.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:06 am

Dotsie wrote:
"Oh, don't be squeamish, man. You just have to help him up into the air. It's me who has the tricky part. I know it's cruel, but if he can't manage it tonight then he's for the choppy-chop. Survival of the fittest and all that, don't you know."
Captain Vimes managed to get a grip on himself. He was clearly in the presence of some sex-crazed would-be murderess


ETA I do think this is very out of character though. I don't know why Terry left it in :?


Most pet owners talk to their pets, believing they can understand. Maybe Cybil was indirectly threatening the dragon, forcing him to mate.
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Postby kakaze » Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:48 am

Tonyblack wrote:I honestly couldn't see why the Watch got the credit


They caught (and killed) the man responsible for summoning the dragon.

They also prevented him from summoning a second dragon.

Guards! Guards! wrote: Wonse's mouth fell open. He dropped the remnant of his sword and backed away, clutching The Summoning.
"You'll be sorry," he hissed. "You'll all be very sorry!"
He started to mumble under his breath.
Vimes felt himself trembling. He was pretty certain he knew what had zinged past his head, and the mere thought was making his hands sweat. He'd come to the palace ready to kill and there'd been this minute, just this minute, when for once the world had seemed to be operating properly and he was in charge of it and now, now all he wanted was a drink. And a nice week's sleep.
"Oh, give up!" he said. "Are you going to come quietly?"
The mumbling went on. The air began to feel hot and dry.
Vimes shrugged. "That's it, then," he said, and turned away. "Throw the book at him, Carrot."
"Right, sir."


Jan Van Quirm wrote:if we had swamp dragons, exactly as Pterry writes them in the Roundworld I guarantee you some people would go nuts over the smelly little boilers and do exactly what Sybil and her friends do


I can agree with that.

Jan Van Quirm wrote:and yes most of those people would most likely be lonely but capable big-hearted women.


But I don't agree with that. I'm sure that there would be a few women who would fall in love with the things (for some reason or another), but I think most of the dragon breeders would be male. As a paralel example, look at alligators. Some people here in the states keep alligators as pets, but I've never known of a woman who does. It's the same with scorpions and tarantulas. I had a scorpion when I was in high school and I've seen the spiders for sale in the pet store, but I've never met a woman who wanted to take one home. Even my mom wouldn't (she'd pick it up gently with a jar & piece of cardboard and put it outside).
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Postby poohbcarrot » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:00 am

kakaze wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:I honestly couldn't see why the Watch got the credit


They caught (and killed) the man responsible for summoning the dragon.

They also prevented him from summoning a second dragon.


Vetinari already knew who had summoned the dragon and wanted to keep Wonse alive because he would have been useful.

He couldn't have summoned a second dragon without the assistance of magical items, which he wasn't in possession of at the time.
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:50 am

poohbcarrot wrote:Vetinari already knew who had summoned the dragon and wanted to keep Wonse alive because he would have been useful.

He couldn't have summoned a second dragon without the assistance of magical items, which he wasn't in possession of at the time.


Wonse was close to summoning another dragon. He had that bag of rocks with holes in them... a "known" magical item and they could smell the brimstone in the air. That is why Vimes told Carrot to throw the book at him.

At the End, Brenda Rodley of Quirm decided to breed Errol's line back a few times to see what happened. A New Dragon, just imagine...
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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