Guards! Guards! Discussion Group *Spoilers*

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Guards! Guards! Discussion Group *Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:14 am

**Warning**

This thread is for discussing Guards! Guards! 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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Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 1989

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Introduction

Terry Pratchett wrote:“This is where the dragons went.
They lie . . .
Not dead, not asleep. Not waiting, because waiting implies expectation. Possibly the word we’re looking for here is . . .
. . . dormant.”


When Carrot, a six foot plus Dwarf (adopted) arrives at Ankh-Morpork (to have a man made of him) he shakes up the existing Night Watch.

Arresting the leader of the Thieves’ Guild may seem logical to you and me, but things don’t work that way in Ankh-Morpork.

Meanwhile a group of malcontents are trying to gain power over the city by the use of a dragon. They can control the dragon of course…

or can they?


--------------------------------------------

I think this is probably the book that I’d recommend to a new reader of Terry Pratchett. It has a lot going for it. Not only do we see the city of Ankh-Morpork through the eyes of an outsider in the form of Carrot, but we also get to meet some of the all time favourite characters from the Discworld series. Add to that a really good page-turner of a story with a whole bunch of humour and it’s a recipe for getting a new reader of Discworld well and truly hooked!

I like this book a lot.

Before we get into a deeper analysis of the book, tell us what you liked or disliked about it. :)
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
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Postby poohbcarrot » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:08 am

By far the best character in the book is Carrot. Without Carrot it would only be half as funny.
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:13 am

I think I probably agree about the Carrot thing. But one thing I like about the book is that it introduces the Watch, & Vimes goes on to become one of my favourite characters, whereas Carrot runs out of steam later on.

I didn't like Vetinari in this book. He was still finding his form I think, & wasn't as intelligent as he is later.
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Postby MattK » Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:00 am

I like the evolution that takes place. The characters aren't static like we see in a lot of other fantasy or series books: Indiana Jones is the same character in all 4 movies, Harry Potter essentially doesn't grow up through the whole series (phyhsically, yes, but his attitudes largely remain the same). Even Tolkien's characters had a certain static quality to them.

That's where I think these books shine, they make the characters more engaging and human (or dwarfish) because they change their attitudes, their outlooks, and sometimes even the basic nature of a character. Carrot isn't the same naive newcomer, Vimes isn't a cowardly drunk of a cop, even Vetinari is more approachable by the end of Guards Guards.
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Postby swreader » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:24 pm

I was delighted and amazed at re-reading Guards! Guards! for the umpteenth time to realize just how good it is. And I was impressed also by the fact that even in this first of the Watch series--Pratchett begins to show that talent for writing an incredibly funny book that makes you stop and think, that has the beginnings of some philosophical questioning in it.

Like Tony, I find Carrot (as the series develops) grows more and more irritating--but in this novel, he's really quite superb. And there is the first indication of the "leadership" when he convinces Colon and Nobby to go to Sybil's aid.

I think you're right, Matt. One of the great things about Pratchett's writing generally, is that his characters change and develop - in general. And that makes them fun to read!
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Postby Cheery » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:48 pm

You know, that's exactly what I wanted to say. I agree with all of you. This is one of the greatest books he ever did. :D

The funny thing is, that I wasn't much interested in Carrot when I read it the first time. It was Vimes who fascinated me the most, for some reason. He's intruduced as a drunk copper, a looser at the bottom of society, but as the story goes on, he starts to put the bottle aside and starts to become a real policeman, surching for clues and fitting them together. He starts to think and by the end he's on his way to be the Vimes who will change the whole watch. I think he goes through the biggest change of all.

Of course this wouldn't have happened without the help from Carrot and Sybil. Carrot, reminding him of his duty and the fact that there was a law, even if it was strange sometimes and Sybil, showing him, that he wasn't only some copper, that he actually could change things and eventually putting him off alcohol.

When I read Guards Guards, Vimes became my favourite character ant still is. :D
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:55 pm

I loved Guards! Guards!. I felt sorry for Vimes in the beginning. I get that way about people I feel empathy for. Wonse just came across as a total Git. Vetinari is simply growing into his character, I still love the bit about him and Vimes in the dungeon where he shows his derision of Wonse... " I mean reallly, snakes, scorpions AND rats, it was just going too far." and "Advise, I advised them, that is all." and "Never build a dungeon you cannot escape from."

Carrot is hilarious, he is so literal, and such a good boy. He takes everything seriously, and when Sgt. Colon had to save him from arresting the Patrician, it was PMSL!

Nobby and his "social mountaineering" skills are marvelous. "And she gave me tea in a cup as fin as paper, she did, wif a silver spoon, and I gave it back." Too much!!

Lady Sybil Ramkin and her bevy of friends continues to amaze and stun Captain Vimes. I can't get the first meeting out of my head (Otherwise it is the Choppy Chop for him). It is too funny. The whole bit about clothing being so good that it never wears out and being rich enough to dress down rocks my world.

Terry says that he tolerates the bit about Paul Kidby making Vimes like Clint Eastwood, but I gotta say that Cap'n Vimes is the essence of Eastwood in the whole book, especially the "I know you're all wondering, Does he have any flame left?..." part, and down to the pink pompoms it is Eastwood.

Errol, what can you say about a man in love? He completely changes himself to take care of his lady, no matter how much inner hydraulics it takes.
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:00 pm

:oops: Gotta own up to my small edit 3/4 of the way down adding the Eastwood part. :twisted:
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:12 pm

Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit wrote:

Terry says that he tolerates the bit about Paul Kidby making Vimes like Clint Eastwood, but I gotta say that Cap'n Vimes is the essence of Eastwood in the whole book, especially the "I know you're all wondering, Does he have any flame left?..." part, and down to the pink pompoms it is Eastwood.

What did Terry expect? He's clearly written a parody of Dirty Harry, even down to the point of calling the swamp dragon he's holding "Lord Mountjoy Quickfang Winterforth IV".

Get that end bit 44 as in .44 Magnum! :lol:

But I don't really see Vimes as Clint - certainly not as Clint was in Dirty Harry.
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Postby MattK » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:13 pm

swreader wrote:Like Tony, I find Carrot (as the series develops) grows more and more irritating


Carrot, really? I rather like the paces he's gone through during the Watch series. It's Vetinari that kind of bugs me. At first he was a great character, but as time went on he seemed more and more invulnerable. It really took the suspense out of anything he was involved in.

To draw a bad parallel, it's almost like Neo in the second Matrix. In the first one he was vulnerable and had to rely on cunning and his wits. You were really concerned whether or not he was going to make it. By the second one, he could basically do anything (including bring people back from the dead). There's no drama when your characters are basically invulnerable. I think they have to lose from time to time, or at least present the sort of frenzied improvisation and uncertainty that Vimes displays.

I'd love to see Vetinari seriously challenged in an upcoming book (by a love interest slowing his wits, or whatever). I think it would bring the humanity back to his character.
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Postby Cheery » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:21 pm

MattK wrote:I'd love to see Vetinari seriously challenged in an upcoming book (by a love interest slowing his wits, or whatever). I think it would bring the humanity back to his character.


I don't think Vetinari is suppoest to be a character with lots of humanity. He's a tyrant, as he says himself. Actually, that's what I like about Vetinari. He always stays cool and never gets distracted by things like love interests. He has an air of mystery around him, you always find yourself wondering, what's going on in the man's head.
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Postby MattK » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:28 pm

Cheery wrote:
MattK wrote:I'd love to see Vetinari seriously challenged in an upcoming book (by a love interest slowing his wits, or whatever). I think it would bring the humanity back to his character.


I don't think Vetinari is suppoest to be a character with lots of humanity. He's a tyrant, as he says himself. Actually, that's what I like about Vetinari. He always stays cool and never gets distracted by things like love interests. He has an air of mystery around him, you always find yourself wondering, what's going on in the man's head.


That's true. And from that perspective I can see why his humanity is denied. But I never feel like he's really challenged, or that he doesn't have everything worked out beforehand. It's like he read the book already and is just following the story. :)
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Postby Cheery » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:31 pm

MattK wrote:
Cheery wrote:
MattK wrote:I'd love to see Vetinari seriously challenged in an upcoming book (by a love interest slowing his wits, or whatever). I think it would bring the humanity back to his character.


I don't think Vetinari is suppoest to be a character with lots of humanity. He's a tyrant, as he says himself. Actually, that's what I like about Vetinari. He always stays cool and never gets distracted by things like love interests. He has an air of mystery around him, you always find yourself wondering, what's going on in the man's head.


That's true. And from that perspective I can see why his humanity is denied. But I never feel like he's really challenged, or that he doesn't have everything worked out beforehand. It's like he read the book already and is just following the story. :)


I think we're trailing off here a bit...
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:31 pm

MattK wrote:
Cheery wrote:
MattK wrote:I'd love to see Vetinari seriously challenged in an upcoming book (by a love interest slowing his wits, or whatever). I think it would bring the humanity back to his character.


I don't think Vetinari is suppoest to be a character with lots of humanity. He's a tyrant, as he says himself. Actually, that's what I like about Vetinari. He always stays cool and never gets distracted by things like love interests. He has an air of mystery around him, you always find yourself wondering, what's going on in the man's head.


That's true. And from that perspective I can see why his humanity is denied. But I never feel like he's really challenged, or that he doesn't have everything worked out beforehand. It's like he read the book already and is just following the story. :)
I'm inclined to disagree about Vetinari being challenged. He does make mistakes and sometimes his careful planning gets him in trouble - but those events are in later books and I don't want to get into them too much at the moment. :)
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Postby Cheery » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:34 pm

You know, I was very surprised when Errol wandered (or flew) off with the big dragon. I never would've expected that. :shock:

As for Vimes and Sybil: That one was obvious, really.
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