The Truth Discussion **Spoilers**

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Postby Teppic » Sat May 14, 2011 6:20 pm

rockershovel wrote:Magrat always seems to be gullible - as reference her collection of magic knives and other pseudo-New Age clutter


Certainly. And even when she threw them away into the River Lancre she never really stopped believing in them:

She'd secretly hoped for a string of multicoloured bubbles, or even a hiss. But it just sank. Just as if it wasn't anything very important.

And later:

She thought wistfully of her bags of charms and talismans at the bottom of the river. They'd never really worked, if her life was anything to go by, but maybe - it was a horrible thought - maybe they'd just stopped it getting worse.
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Postby swreader » Sat May 14, 2011 6:49 pm

Teppic wrote:
rockershovel wrote:Magrat always seems to be gullible - as reference her collection of magic knives and other pseudo-New Age clutter


Certainly. And even when she threw them away into the River Lancre she never really stopped believing in them:

She'd secretly hoped for a string of multicoloured bubbles, or even a hiss. But it just sank. Just as if it wasn't anything very important.

And later:

She thought wistfully of her bags of charms and talismans at the bottom of the river. They'd never really worked, if her life was anything to go by, but maybe - it was a horrible thought - maybe they'd just stopped it getting worse.


Magrat may be gullible in WS & WA, but by the end of L&L she is hardly gullible. She takes on the Queen and would have killed her, but for the appearance of the Oberon figure She's justly annoyed that everyone (even Shaun) have been instructed NOT to tell her anything about what the Lord & Ladies are and what they are really like. And in CJ, both she and Nanny fall under the spell of the vampires, but once they are freed from it and realize what is going on, all of them including Magrat play important roles.

Magrat, after all, is only slightly older than Agnes/Perdita. She's still a young witch and Queen. Unsophisticated, perhaps--but gullible? I think you underestimate her.l
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Postby Tonyblack » Sat May 14, 2011 7:46 pm

:lol: Dragging this discussion kicking and screaming back to characters that are actually in this book. . .

I found it really interesting that Terry is fleshing out the dwarf race and explaining their culture a good deal. The whole thing about dwarf marriages was fascinating and even logical. Terry seems to say that people might seem exotic and do things strangely, but when you get to know them you enrich your own culture. Paying off his father certainly worked for William, even if he did use the dwarf idea in a kind of backwards way.

The dwarfs seem to have a sort of 'don't ask, don't tell' approach to sex, but I wonder who is the male and who is the female out of Goodmountain and Boddony.
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Postby Teppic » Sat May 14, 2011 8:16 pm

swreader wrote:
Teppic wrote:
rockershovel wrote:Magrat always seems to be gullible - as reference her collection of magic knives and other pseudo-New Age clutter


Certainly. And even when she threw them away into the River Lancre she never really stopped believing in them:

She'd secretly hoped for a string of multicoloured bubbles, or even a hiss. But it just sank. Just as if it wasn't anything very important.

And later:

She thought wistfully of her bags of charms and talismans at the bottom of the river. They'd never really worked, if her life was anything to go by, but maybe - it was a horrible thought - maybe they'd just stopped it getting worse.


Magrat may be gullible in WS & WA, but by the end of L&L she is hardly gullible. She takes on the Queen and would have killed her, but for the appearance of the Oberon figure She's justly annoyed that everyone (even Shaun) have been instructed NOT to tell her anything about what the Lord & Ladies are and what they are really like. And in CJ, both she and Nanny fall under the spell of the vampires, but once they are freed from it and realize what is going on, all of them including Magrat play important roles.

Magrat, after all, is only slightly older than Agnes/Perdita. She's still a young witch and Queen. Unsophisticated, perhaps--but gullible? I think you underestimate her.l


Fair enough. What I think I meant was, she seems to still want to believe in the "fluffier" stuff in Lords And Ladies even in rejecting it. Her naivity may have gone to the extent that she can defeat the Elf Queen, but she still has soft spot for the sack full of "pseudo-new age clutter" that she throws into the River. She'd love it to be more than junk, but she ultimately knows it isn't.

I'm yet to read the subsequent Witch books so I don't know how she develops further as a character.

I think, getting this thread back on to The Truth, this is interesting. And it's a theme Pratchett comes back to many, many times. In the Witch books its mentioned several times that witches have an advantage over normal humans in that they can see what IS there rather than what we WANT to be there. The same fact, I think, is said about Wizards. And that is why, it is said, humans can't see Death but witches and wizards can. And it's also why Magrat, at the end of Lords and Ladies, is able to see the Elf Queen for what she is, rather than as a personifcation of perfection she dare not lay a hand on. With Granny's help, she is able to see what is, rather than what ought to be. In fact, there's a quote in Lords and Ladies which is very pertanant to The Truth:

"If cats looked like frogs we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That's what people remember. They remember the glamour. All the rest of it, all the truth of it, becomes . . . old wives' tales."

So, if we take the established fact that humans see what they want to see rather than what is there into The Truth, why should't so many of them in Ankh Morpork buy into The Inquirer's version of events rather than The Times'? It seems entirely consistent with Terry's portayal of...I don't want to use this awful phrase but I can't think of anything better....the human condition.

The fact that this observation about people can span the witch novels, people's perception of Death, and a brutally funny parody of the British Press is really brilliant. And that's why I think The Truth is one of my favourite DW books; it contains great philosophical insight into how people think whilst being a great parody of an aspect of the real world, in this case journalism. I don't think some of Pratchett's other parodies, and I'm thinking particularly Moving Pictures, Reaper Man and to a lesser extent Soul Music, have this same depth.

And then of course you have the Deep-Throat connection Tony's already pointed out, plus commentary on immigrant groups like the vampires and dwarves, the Watch are there from a different persepctive (again, how people SEE them), Vetinari is not in control so we see something different there too, and two of the best "character jokes" in the novels; a vampire who tries to use a flash (dedication to your work!), and a thug who is an amazing art connoisseur.

I want to listen to it again now! Writing this I'd forgotten how good it was. But I must carry on with the Witches books, so Masquerade is up next for me.
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Postby raisindot » Mon May 16, 2011 12:48 am

swreader wrote:
A better comparison would have to relate to the people of AM--those who want to know (even if they disapprove) what's going on read The Times. This is a paper that may require one to take some action, or refrain. It requires thought. People who are drawn to The Inquirer are those who want to be entertained by the fantastic, and to be able to claim they understand what's going on, even though there's not a scrap of truth in the paper.


Well, the reason why the Enquirer works is because it only does deal in "the olds." The stories it publishes confirm the inherent superstitions and attitudes that ordinary citizens have about "others," whether it's the strange person who claims to have been abducted by aliens of the "foreigner" who gives birth to snakes. That's why all these tabloids are so popular; the pander to the worst instincts of people and confirm their paranoia.

That's why the most popular part of the Times isn't the hard-hitting stories about government conspiracies but the pictures of funny looking vegetables and stories recounting the attendance of gardening clubs. Stuff that doesn't require a lot of thinking (another reason why the comics are still the most popular part of many newspapers). Heck, nearly the first thing Vetinari turns to every day in his Times is the crossword puzzle.
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Postby dune » Mon May 16, 2011 8:40 am

That might be because he already knows what's in the rest of the paper :p
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Postby rockershovel » Mon May 16, 2011 5:23 pm

straying back to Magrat, when she fights the Elf Queen she believes she is wearing the armour of the legendary ( but fictional ) Queen Ynci..
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon May 16, 2011 6:32 pm

rockershovel wrote:straying back to Magrat, when she fights the Elf Queen she believes she is wearing the armour of the legendary ( but fictional ) Queen Ynci..
Please keep the discussion on topic. I don't normally bother too much about this, but please bear in mind that some people who have come here to discuss The Truth may not have read the book you are referencing and therefore your post could act as a spoiler.

That is the reason for my soiler warning post at the start of this and other discussions.

Tonyblack wrote:**Warning**

This thread is for discussing The Truth in some depth. If you haven’t read the book then read on at your own risk – or, better still, go and read the book and join in the fun.

For those of us that are going to join in the discussion, here are a few guidelines:

Please feel free to make comparisons to other Discworld books, making sure you identify the book and the passage you are referring to. Others may not be as familiar with the book you are referencing, so think before you post.

Sometimes we’ll need to agree to disagree – only Terry knows for sure what he was thinking when he wrote the books and individuals members may have widely different interpretations – so try to keep the discussion friendly.

We may be discussing a book that you don’t much care for – don’t be put off joining in the discussion. If you didn’t care for the book, then that in itself is a good topic for discussion.

Please note: there is no time limit to this discussion. Please feel free to add to it at any time - especially if you've just read the book.

And finally:

Please endeavour to keep the discussion on topic. If necessary I will step in and steer it back to the original topic – so no digressions please!
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Postby swreader » Tue May 17, 2011 2:03 am

One of the fascinating things about this book is the way Terry develops the characters as he uses them to explore the ideas of the book. For example, when we first meet Sacharissa, Terry gives a rather unflattering while flattering description of her. She is, he notices, "...quite beautiful if considered over several centuries." Terry, for all her bourgeois notions of what is proper, allows her to make her mark on William--she slaps him for taking away the business that William had with her grandfather. They need that money - they have to eat. Sacharissa understands ordinary people in a way that William never has and never will. She and the dwarfs are the ones who are interested in making The Times a profitable newspaper. William is all wrapped up in deciding what is meant by news and olds, and what is Truth.

Nonetheless they make a remarkable team. Sacharissa is the one who catches the point that the Charter for the new Guild hasn't been signed by the Patrician, and thus is not legal. And she seems to like the dwarfs and Otto without the struggle to accept them that William always has.

Terry sets up some unanswered (and perhaps unanswerable) questions. What is "The Truth" and is it important to report "serious, political news" or to write about the meetings of ordinary people who want to see their names and activities reflected in the paper? I think that his answer is probably the position William takes--that if ordinary people don't pay attention to the political and "serious" news, if they don't support the papers (or mediums) that provide such news, then there is a serious danger that the city will revert back to it's pre-Vetinari state. But, Terry doesn't allow his characters to take themselves too seriously. They recognize that they have become journalists--and that the news only has to be true for today.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue May 17, 2011 7:58 am

Interesting points! In many ways it's the 'olds' in a newspaper that allows for the occasional 'news'. As rainsindot points out, people buy newspapers mainly to have their own beliefs reinforced. They buy them for the sports, the comics, the crossword, the TV listings and such and that's the meat and two veg of a newspaper. But it's those 'olds' that allow the newspaper financially to sometimes find the Watergate, to report such things as the Scopes Trial, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and many other world changing events.

The Times wouldn't last five minutes if it was just left to William. He and Saccharissa are truly a great team. Terry uses them both along with Otto, the dwarfs etc. as a sort of microcosm of what a newspaper really is.

Sure the big stories are the ones that get the kudos, but without the small stories, there would be no one to make the big ones. :)
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Postby raisindot » Tue May 17, 2011 12:36 pm

I'd hazard that the Sacharissa/William professional/personal relationship is Pterry's tribute to the great newspaper plays and movies of the 1920s and 30s, specifically "The Front Page" and "His Girl Friday (an updated version of The Front Page)," where a star "girl reporter" from humble origins teams up with a male editor to cover 'the big story' and end up falling in love (or back in the love, in the case of HGF).
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon May 23, 2011 6:29 am

You have two weeks to read or reread Feet of Clay for the discussion starting Monday 6th June. :)
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Postby LilMaibe » Mon May 23, 2011 12:32 pm

A last small note on the Bursar as seen (for the last time) in this book:

I always had the feeling the (over)dose of pills he took here didn't actually make him appear sane, but appear as the general public imagines the common wizard. IMHO he seemed OoC compared to his former sane moments.
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Postby DaveC » Mon May 23, 2011 12:34 pm

LilMaibe wrote:A last small note on the Bursar as seen (for the last time) in this book:

I always had the feeling the (over)dose of pills he took here didn't actually make him appear sane, but appear as the general public imagines the common wizard. IMHO he seemed OoC compared to his former sane moments.


Is it the last time? I think a coulpe of the Science books are set after, though his role is lessened in the last two.
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Postby LilMaibe » Mon May 23, 2011 1:31 pm

DaveC wrote:
LilMaibe wrote:A last small note on the Bursar as seen (for the last time) in this book:

I always had the feeling the (over)dose of pills he took here didn't actually make him appear sane, but appear as the general public imagines the common wizard. IMHO he seemed OoC compared to his former sane moments.


Is it the last time? I think a coulpe of the Science books are set after, though his role is lessened in the last two.


I don't know when on the timeline Science II and III (was he in III actually?) are to be placed. Anyone?
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