Disturbing Trend in UA and Snuff: **Major Spoilers**

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Disturbing Trend in UA and Snuff: **Major Spoilers**

Postby windscion » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:57 pm

The two latest books -- Unseen Academicals and Snuff -- end with a "bad guy" getting scarred (UA) and killed (Snuff) by a "good guy".

It looks a lot like TP is advocating vigilantism. I read an article about vigilantes in the USA, the type who dress up as superheroes. Part of the problem, one law-enforcement type notes, is that these people have no training in how to defuse situations, so they can makes matters worse.

The other problem, of course, is that the solution to lawless bastards is supposed to be more lawless bastards, only they are to be 'good' lawless bastards? (Apologies to any illegitimates, &c.) This seems to be a judgement that society as a whole cannot function by laws because people break them?

Secondly, I felt that the end of Snuff was contrived, insofar as a half dozen guards (the law) failed to secure one man, but a single (lawless) vigilante won the day.

This is not reality. In the real world, the law operates collectively, and the many are stronger than the few. Having Mr Trooper fit the villain for a hemp collar is a much better message. It is also many times more likely to actually happen.

I realize this is a potentially incendiary topic, so please try to discuss calmly.
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Postby LilMaibe » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:13 pm

Oh dear, oh dear, that is one of the major points that annoyed me about UA and got me off the idea to pruchase snuff.

As for UA, it's even WORSE

Pepe had been jabbering about why bullying is wrong the whole bloody time and what does he do in the end?

Let's take a look at it:

There's the big match, followed by the celebration. Pepe was present at BOTH.
Andy gets assaulted by Pepe the very same night.

That means
Pepe, of whom we are to believe assaulted Andy because Andy did not learn his lesson, could NOT know whether or not Andy learned his lesson or not.

instead Pepe went straight from the party to the streets (possibly got the lemon FROM the celebration) to attack Andy SOLEY because Pepe 'knows people like Andy never change'
Not to mention to Pepe Andy was double-bad because Andy would not admire the orc, aka not be part of the majority and instead have his own opinion on things aka NOT share pepe's opinion.

THAT is WORSE bullying than anything Andy is said to have EVER done.
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Postby windscion » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:32 pm

Um, not accurate. Andy sliced "farter" Carter for disagreeing with him. Trevor seemed to feel that Carter's vision had been endangered, but there is no indication that Andy's vision is endangered.

Also, for what it's worse, nothing Pepe said struck me as "high minded." I just thought he saw in Andy a lot of people he had despised. To be clear, what I am saying is this. Pepe was not 'passing judgement' on the Andy's of the world. I doubt Pepe would expend the effort to judge. I just think he hated Andy -- and wanted to protect his investment in 'Jewels'.

Put it another way: Pepe is not a good guy. As such. But, because we are rooting for Trevor and 'Jewels', readers will see him as a 'good guy' because he is on the right side.
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Postby raisindot » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:10 pm

MORE SPOILERS


The ending of Snuff is one of the many things I hate about it.

That Stratford was never brought to justice or given the opportunity to dance the hemp fandango essentially invalidates the ending of "Night Watch," where Vimes resists killing Carcer as much as the bastard deserved it because to do so would be to put himself above the law.

That Willikens essentially does serve as Vimes' vigilante proxy in killing Stratford (rather than capturing him and taking him to AM himself) is a gigantic stain on his (Willikens') character and turns him into as bad a murderer as Stratford.

That, in the end, Vimes knows, after hearing of Stratford's death, that Willikens was responsible and decides never to ask him about it shows how far Vimes has strayed away from his own concept of the law and justice.

Compare this to the Vimes at the end of The Fifth Elephant, where he makes absolutely sure that he has informed Wolfgang of all of his rights and has gotten Wolfgang to admit that he is resisting arrest--thus rationalize his cold blood killing of Wolfgang as a legally justified act (although, inside, Vimes knows that his grasp of the law at this point of time is tenuous at best).

Compare this to the Vimes at the end of Thud, who would have been fully justified in killing the grags, but his inner control keeps him from doing so because, as he says, "you just don't kill unarmed helpless people. "

Compare this to the Vimes at the end of Jingo, where he faces a struggle within himself (the first hint of The Beast we see in this series) over whether he should kill the Kalifh, and, quite possibly, is only prevented from doing so by Vetinari's quick action.

All of this great buildup of the concept of Law and justice is tossed away at the end of Snuff in favor of frontier justice.
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Postby LilMaibe » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:19 pm

windscion wrote:Um, not accurate. Andy sliced "farter" Carter for disagreeing with him. Trevor seemed to feel that Carter's vision had been endangered, but there is no indication that Andy's vision is endangered.


Thing is: Read the text again:
Carter is NOT Pepe's reason to assault andy. Pepe's reason for what he did is he 'knows' that 'people like andy' will not learn their lesson.

In that way what you say about pepe being a prejudiced bastard is correct, but, the thing about carter isn't.

In general, who of you knows the book 'How not to write a novel'? It is truly disturbing how many beginner's mistakes and no-gos from that book are spottable in UA and apparently Snuff...
(And advise: DON'T, if you value your health, DON'T try to make a drinking game out of it)
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Postby windscion » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:43 pm

LilMaibe:
I was not talking about motives. I was talking about actions. Specifically, where you said that "THAT is WORSE bullying than anything Andy is said to have EVER done." And Pepe did not do worse damage to Andy than Andy did to Carter. If your definition of bullying is based on something other than actions, please explain what that something is.

re: Pepe's motive. I thought that Pepe's motive was to protect his investment, as I noted. If indeed, his motive was that Andy was a rabid dog who needed to be put down, why did he not simply kill him? You cannot take everything Pepe says seriously. Well, I dont, anyway.

raisindot:

**Major spoiler**

Yes, this book sends a different message. But let us not forget that Vimes now has a son, and that Stratford was going to attack that son. Pay careful attention to what Willikens says: that Vimes would have taken him (Stratford) prisoner, rather than kill him, even tho doing so would have torn him apart inside.

Now, consider Vimes options. He can either punish Willikens, or reward him, or let the matter lie.

Consider also that Stinky, and to a lesser extent, I think, Willikens are being guided by The Summoning Dark. Admittedly, I may be reading a bit into the book as it stands to come to that conclusion.

Myself:

Which thought makes me wonder if I am not giving Sir Terry too little credit. Perhaps he realized that, in Thud, he let the genie of vengeance out of the bottle. And now he requires several more books to get the damned thing back in. If so, I can only say that I hope he can complete it before the curtain falls. (Yes, but there's no good way to say that.)
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Postby LilMaibe » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:51 pm

Ah, I see.

Well, as said elsewhere, UA feels like (bad) fanfiction. Starting with the established characters' personalities getting altered, them becoming mere cheerleaders to soem uber-perfect characters with no real personality whatsoever, too many plot-convinient coincidences even for a world like the disc, plotholes, discontinuity within the story, the story breaking with ALL established rules etc...
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:51 pm

Well I enjoyed both sections. There's something satisfying about that sort of justice in fiction. I was initially somewhat disappointed when Stratford was caught, but had a feeling that wasn't the end of it.

His escaping in the first place added to the tension of the narrative because the reader along with Vimes, knew that he was going to pop up again at some stage.

Knowing that something is going to happen does not necessarily spoil the moment when it does.
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Postby raisindot » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:59 pm

windscion wrote:raisindot:

**Major spoiler**

Yes, this book sends a different message. But let us not forget that Vimes now has a son, and that Stratford was going to attack that son. Pay careful attention to what Willikens says: that Vimes would have taken him (Stratford) prisoner, rather than kill him, even tho doing so would have torn him apart inside.

Now, consider Vimes options. He can either punish Willikens, or reward him, or let the matter lie.

Consider also that Stinky, and to a lesser extent, I think, Willikens are being guided by The Summoning Dark. Admittedly, I may be reading a bit into the book as it stands to come to that conclusion.


I think you're illustrating my point. Willikens kills (rather than captures) Stratford because he simply felt that Stratford deserved to die rather than face justice. What Stratford would have done to young Sam is irrelevant and Vimes' theoretical reactions to such an event are irrelevant; Stratford never succeeded. Throughout the book, Vimes tells others that Willikens is not bound by the same adherence to the Law that Vimes is. It's almost as if Vimes is giving Willikens permission to be a vigilante. It's quite likely that Vimes had an inkling that Stratford would attempt to escape. It's also likely that Vimes was aware that Willikens was following the coach. But do we have ever have evidence that Vimes tells Willikens that he should not kill Stratford if the murderer escapes? No. I think Vimes tacitly approves of Willikens serving as the vigilante, the one who can do all the nasty, barely legal things that Vimes himself should not do.

Also, Willikens is not affected by the Summoning Dark. He doesn't need to be, since he isn't subject to the same moral and legal codes that Vimes is. In a sense, he is Vimes's Id, the Beast personified. He doesn't need the Summoning Dark to convince him to murder because he is not subject to the same level as self control that Vimes must be.

I also don't think that Stinky is affected by the "violent" side of the SD either. Its influence on the goblins is more about understanding the darkness, rather than releasing its destructive potential, otherwise the goblins would have all fought back.
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Postby windscion » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:49 pm

raisindot:
"What Stratford would have done to young Sam is irrelevant and Vimes' theoretical reactions to such an event are irrelevant; Stratford never succeeded."

Um, it is relevant to the issue of whether Vimes' character has shifted. Willikens expresses the opinion that it has not, and I suggest that Willikens (a) has no reason to lie, and (b) is likely to be correct in his assessment of his master's probable course of action.

"Throughout the book, Vimes tells others that Willikens is not bound by the same adherence to the Law that Vimes is."

Yes, and that can look very bad. Or it could be that he is giving them fair warning lest they should try something and get killed.

As far as the SD is concerned, I know that I am reading a lot into the text but I see it using those around Vimes in a way it couldn't use Vimes. That Willikens doesn't need the SD to tell him to kill ... by no means indicates that it isn't influencing him. It simply makes him a tool more fit for its purposes. My point wasn't that being influence by the SD makes you not guilty, but I admit it sounded that way.

What I really meant was: nothing I now care to defend, because it was highly speculative and sidestepped the issue that the books, on the surface, condone vigilantism.

re: Vimes:

But, to continue defending Vimes. Vimes avoids asking because doing so would put him in the intolerable position of either punishing loyalty or rewarding an 'extralegal execution'. Consider also that he cannot subject Willikens to the law w/o evidence, and there is no evidence unless Willikens confesses. Vimes is a pragmatist: he holds himself to a different standard than others, because he (Vimes) is the embodiment of the Law. Is that hypocrisy? No, because the Law, being rules, cannot evade rules just because they are inconvenient. Hence Vetinari's question: did you give orders? And the answer is no. Meaning he had no advance plans. He was letting justice, the law, take its course. Forgiving an action is different from deliberately encouraging it.
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Postby raisindot » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:08 pm

windscion wrote:raisindot
Vimes:

But, to continue defending Vimes. Vimes avoids asking because doing so would put him in the intolerable position of either punishing loyalty or rewarding an 'extralegal execution'. Consider also that he cannot subject Willikens to the law w/o evidence, and there is no evidence unless Willikens confesses. Vimes is a pragmatist: he holds himself to a different standard than others, because he (Vimes) is the embodiment of the Law. Is that hypocrisy? No, because the Law, being rules, cannot evade rules just because they are inconvenient. Hence Vetinari's question: did you give orders? And the answer is no. Meaning he had no advance plans. He was letting justice, the law, take its course. Forgiving an action is different from deliberately encouraging it.


But, as someone who is supposed to uphold the Law in a fair and objective manner, Vimes SHOULD have asked Willikens. He doesn't, because he knows that Willikens would probably have confessed, and that would have forced Vimes to arrest the butler. Thus, he is purposely avoiding applying the law in a fair and objective manner. He is deciding to whom the Law applies and applying the decision to either administer or not administer the Law based on his own personal loyalty to Willikens. The Sam Vimes of Night Watch would have, upon hearing of the death of Stratford, immediately made catching Stratford's killer his number one priority, if only to prove that Sam Vimes doesn't approve of vigilante justice, particularly the kind for which he is a beneficiary. Indeed, the Sam Vimes of Night Watch would have led the hot pursuit of Stratford's killer himself. But he doesn't How far Vimes has changed!
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Postby LilMaibe » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:34 pm

What's in general a bit disturbing (as mentioned) is how all characters seem to have lost their general personality in favour of one that adjusts to the situation.
If there's a line one character would have never muttered before his personality changes instead of the line getting said by someone for who it'd be fitting.
Then of course what above has been said about Vimes.

It's unsettling to see these things in a Discworld novel.
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Postby ladyramkin » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:58 pm

Agree with most of the above. It seriously worries me that Vimes seems to put himself above he law in not questioning Willikins. Also, he seems to now take a positive delight in the idea of hanging people. Ok, they are bad people, and in the Discworld generally hanging seems fine by most people, but it sounds as though there are degrees of hanging i.e. breaking the neck or allowing to dangle. Dont like it. Hope Terry isnt endorsing this.

I also picked up a thread from back in July 2008, when we were discussing (I think) Thud on the other forum. Mrs. Cake said "It's the first time we've seen Vimes as part of the establishment rather than kicking against it. It felt odd and not entirely comfortable". I just feel that in Snuff, although he still disapproves of the Old Guard and their idiot ways, he is gradually being drawn into the Establishment. I must go back and re-read Guards Guards to re-discover the old, flawed, confused Vimes, who nevertheless never deviated from what he muzzily realised was right.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:47 pm

LilMaibe wrote:What's in general a bit disturbing (as mentioned) is how all characters seem to have lost their general personality in favour of one that adjusts to the situation.

Out of context I know - but this is just (real) life. The situation can and does govern the personality time and again.

I have been in situations where I - someone who hates and deplores violence of any kind - have twice been driven to an extreme where I would have done somebody serious physical damage if not permanent/terminal if only I could have laid my hands on them (2 different somebodys and 2 different situations). The fact that I was on one occasion drunk and on the other literally in a psychotic state on prescription drugs did not detract from my knowing exactly what I wanted to do and the only reason I didn't was because I was either far too slow or too late and the opportunity had passed. :shock: :oops:

In fiction characters do act out character for even the slightest of reasons or provocation and it is always the circumstances they are put in that apply. Although the situation may be similar or even identical (it is, after all, fiction) you can do something every day of your life and there can just be that one time when you've got a headache, or it's getting dark, or it's Friday 13th or you just broke a fingernail, or your hair went wrong and it can tip the balance for you to do something completely out of character with something totally familiar? :wink:

If Vimes is going to act in a certain way every single time then Terry'd have run out of storylines for him in Men at Arms. Life happens as well. People come and go or get older. Young Sam has been in dire jeopardy before remember? As a babe in arms in Thud? Seem to remember Old Sam went just a tad off the rails that time too...? :wink: Why is it so awful to suppose that Vimes doesn't behave perfectly and true to character 6 years down the line when he's even more committed to his child who is being put in some kind of peril? :roll:
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Postby LilMaibe » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:20 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
LilMaibe wrote:What's in general a bit disturbing (as mentioned) is how all characters seem to have lost their general personality in favour of one that adjusts to the situation.

Out of context I know - but this is just (real) life. The situation can and does govern the personality time and again.
[...]


You have a point in general, but that's not what I meant.
With adjust I meant they don't react 'uncharacteristically' to a situation, but seem to act in an uncharacteristic way so a certain situation can work. In a way I dare say too much even for a world that runs on narrativium.

When for example Ponder acts like a complete incompetent moron or when noone has doubts about anything the orcs does but is in total awe about it.

Or even the choice of words of some characters in certain situation feel/seem less like reaction but like forced cues.
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