I'm creating this as a separate, standalone topic because I don't want to wait until February's Lords and Ladies
discussion. So, if you don't like spoilers from different DW books....
That said, I find every now and then Pterry resorts to what I would term deus ex machina narrative conventions--'special appearances' by characters that seem to be designed to prevent what should have been the "natural' narrative outcome from occurring.
In the last scene, The Count ('resurrected' by Igor) arises and joins the final confrontation between Granny and the Magpyrs. Although he is not an 'active' participant, he keeps the younger vampires from joining the action (and thus potentially saves their "lives").
Lord and Ladies:
At the peak of the confrontation between Magrat and the Elven Queen, the Elven King (who has been encouraged to step in by Nanny) prevents Magrat from defeating--potentially killing--the Queen.
In both of these situations, it is highly likely that wanton destruction of the villains by the witches would have resulted had the deus ex machina intervention not occurred.
Personally, I find the use of these interventions narratively unsatisfying. Does Pterry use these conventions to prevent his witches from becoming murderers? Might he have felt that he had gone too far at the end of Witches Abroad when Granny facilitated the end of Lillith's rule by dragging her into the "mirror world," knowing full that Lillith would never be able to find a way out?
Consider the appearance of The Duchess as a supernatural messenger of peace at the end of Monstrous Regiment. At this point in the story, Pterry seemed to have tied himself into a narrative corner that neither the generals nor Polly could resolve on their own.
Compare these situations to the non-deus-ex-machina endings of the Tiffany books. In each story, she has to confront each villain alone, without any outside intervention (well, one could argue that "future Tiffany" in ISWM helped a little bit by starting fires) from "higher powers," and comes out all the stronger for solving these problems herself.
Or, compare these situations to the later Watch books, where Vimes either kills or tricks his enemies into killing themselves (or relies on his inner Watchman to prevent him from committing murder) and is forced to morally rationalize his decisions later.
Is Pterry resorting to deus ex machina in these situations or not? If so, why do you think he resorts to this? If not, do these 'cameo appearances' fit naturally into the narrative, rather than provide an escape hatch?