Guards! Guards! Discussion Group *Spoilers*

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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:58 am

He was thinking of the city when he was in the gutter. It was his first love.
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby Trish » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:06 am

swreader wrote:But Pratchett's going to develop him into a King in the next book, before Terry either gets bored or "painted into a corner" with the character of Carrot. In my opinion, there is a slow but steady decline in the interest and likability (by the reader and also by the author) in the character of Carrot. He's too perfect most of the time.

But in this book--Carrot is the comic character, the BIG, DUMB HICK FROM THE COUNTRY, a standard comic type. And as such, he's funny in the kinds of mistakes he makes (or almost makes) because of his naivete and his 'dwarfish simple-minded-focused-no metaphors' nature.



You really think? I don't and here's why.

Oh yes, Carrot is funny in GG. In a straight-man sort of way, he continues to be. Look at his involvement with the Dwarf bread Museum and the iron structures --he is fascinated by both and simply assumes everyone else would be, too.

That's part of his charm, his naivete, to seemingly take things and people at face value. Note the seemingly, because Carrot is not a fool.

A two-dimensional character at times, yes, but not a fool. Carrot doesn't care if people think he's hokey or old-fashioned (he has Views, remember, from Feet of Clay), what he cares about is AM.

Carrot is the catalyst. Since his arrival, he has not only been promoted, but the Night Watch has become "the Watch," respect that began when he arrested the dragon.

The Watch was left to itself at night when it couldn't do too much harm or get in anyone's way. Carrot has a way of getting in peoples' ways and getting them to behave like jolly chaps and up with their back taxes.


When Vimes had Wonse cornered in the Palace and Carrot came in, do you think he was actually stupid /dense/ naive enough to believe that Vimes's "throw the book at him" was a literal instruction?

No.
In that moment, Carrot knew that Wonse, not the dragon, was the real threat to Ankh-Morpork. Perfect characters don't do things like that and Carrot is not perfect. Far from boring, he has managed to keep an air of innocence about his person that I (based on absolutely nothing) believe masks as calculated a mind as Vetinari's.
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Postby Trish » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:10 am

Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit wrote:Hey Trish, we can work together and perhaps even take over part of Indiana and make a bi-directional Trebuchet... it has possibilities.

Does your espoused-sig-other ride those silly machines I mentioned earlier? It is altogether too much testosterone. :lol:


I'm up for that, but why exactly are we taking over Indiana?
And a 2-directional trebuchet is a see-saw with heavy bits on.

No espoused or sig-other. I had one but I killed him and ate him.
He lusted after my welder, you see, and a girl's welder is very personal.

Besides, I ride those silly things and the boys don't like it when I tell them to get off and get your own. ;0)
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:06 am

Vimes is an unfortunate person whose natural state is knurd. He can see the world as it really is, hence his cynicism. He needs one drink just to be sober.

He'd been in charge of the night watch for 10 years and during that time, it had shrunk to a level of insignificance due to the formation of the guilds.

If you are impotent and watch your career (the only thing you have) go down the drain, it's enough to make anyone seek refuge in anything that can help you escape reality.

At the beginning though, he's drunk mainly because of the death of Gaskin.
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Postby kakaze » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:56 am

Wow! you guys write a lot!

I still don't particularly like Carrot & Lady Ramkin's descriptions. It's not that it was bad, it was just over-doing it. There's no need for Carrot to be a human version of a troll or for Ramkin to be some kind of towering monster of a woman when just being "beefy" is enough.

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.

My mom was this kind of woman. She could never ignore a hurt or stray animal. Besides the numerous cats and dogs, I've seen her adopt hampsters, rabbits, birds, mice, and even a crow! She allowed a family of raccoons to live under our house until the babies were big enough to survive outside before ejecting them. Aside from strays we've also raised goats, horses, and cows. But even she wouldn't keep animals that drool and piss acid.

Also, most women that I've known (even the most fashion un-selfconcious) are kind of attached to their hair. I could probably count the number of women I've met who have shaved their hair on one hand (and this is usually done by "punks" for whom a shaved head is a fashion statement). At most they have it cut into a short "tom-boy" style so it doesn't get in their way. Remember that while Ramkin doesn't care at all about fashion or high-society, she is a social person who sends Christmas letters to all her old school-chums every year and would presumably be affected by their opinions of her.
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Postby swreader » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:15 am

Trish-- you and I see Carrot almost completely differently. And part of the reason, I think, is because in your analysis of Carrot, you are using parts of the later books to bolster your view of Carrot. I don't want to get too far off the discussion of GG, but I think you're wrong about Carrot's nature as a character (and I'll eventually get around to showing you more precisely why.)

But as far as Carrot in this book-- the last two paragraphs of your post are, in my opinion, an almost total misreading of the character. Carrot not only takes the command to "throw the book at him" literally (like a good dwarf) and throws The Laws and Ordinances of Ankh and Morkpork at Wonse, hitting him on the forehead and causing him to step backward and fall to his death. He thinks that's what he was ordered to do.

The hero of this scene is Vimes. Vimes doesn't intend to kill Wonse--though he'd come to the Palace to do so. Rather he acts like the Captain of the Watch--he upholds the law. But when Wonse resists, Vimes tells Carrot to "throw the book at him", meaning to arrest him. Unfortunately--(and lest you misunderstand Carrot's literalmindness, Pratchett writes:)

"Vimes remembered too late.
Dwarfs have trouble with metaphors.
They also have very good aim
." (emphais added)

In fact, when all the Watch members are looking at Wonse's dead body and Colon comments that he's been "Killed by a wossname. A metaphor," Carrot is quite concerned and asks the Captain, "That was right, wasn't it, sir?" said Carrot anxiously. "You said to--" and Vimes has to calm him down.

Carrot was following his understanding of orders just as much here as he was when he arrested the Head of the Thieves Guild, and almost arrested the Patrician.

In this book, Carrot - a 16+ year old boy who has been raised in a mine by dwarfs and come to the city where he has his first real contact with human beings (except for the mailman who gives him the Protector) is Pratchett's perfectly naive, dwarf-raised and therefore absolutely literal-minded comic character.

The only "heroic" things he does is jump off roofs (and pull the other watch members to safety). Even his "great battle in the dwarf bar" only proves that he is incredibly naive and incredibly strong. It accomplishes nothing for the city. It sets up the rest of the Watch as they are at the beginning of the book--a bunch of drunken misfits. But it's a wonderful comic scene!

Carrot doesn't even know how to use the sword, which his father gave him just before he left home. It is Vimes, at the critical point, when Wonse attempts to kill the Patrician with the "royal" sword, who finds himself (for reasons he doesn't quite understand) using Carrot's sword to block Wonse's blow. And that's how the whole question of whether this is a special sword - belonging to the kings--comes up. Because Vimes has to "do it by the book" and his blocking stroke cuts the fake sword in two.

In this book especially Carrot is nothing but a fairly minor comic figure, the hick from the sticks who has all the literal-mindedness of the dwarfs who raised him. Vimes, on the other hand, discovers the first evidence (albeit in a drunken stupor) of the dragon, finds the one person (Lady Sybil) in the city who can educate him about dragons, tries to follow orders while trying to solve the crime and find the dragon. Incidentally he wins the fair lady, aids Erroll in his quest to transform himself, and saves Ankh-Morpork. :D
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Postby mspanners » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:19 am

Carrot has potential to be King, IF Terry ever gets round to writing another Watch Book I think this life line could have a great future.... there are sooooo many unfinished ends started in the Book Guards! Guards!

Ok we have seen the development of some of the people from this Book over the series, no spoilers so cant mention any names or instances BUT Carrot unfortunately appears to be in a state of stagnation... He started well, His career and personal life developing nicely in the first books then just a side lined and now a comic prop to Vimes.

He could be so much more......
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:23 am

swreader wrote:.Incidentally he wins the fair lady, aids Erroll in his quest to transform himself, and saves Ankh-Morpork. :D


How does Vimes aid Erroll in his quest to transform himself, and how does Vimes save AM?
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:28 am

poohbcarrot wrote:
swreader wrote:.Incidentally he wins the fair lady, aids Erroll in his quest to transform himself, and saves Ankh-Morpork. :D


How does Vimes aid Erroll in his quest to transform himself, and how does Vimes save AM?
Well Sybil was going to get rid of Errol but Vimes took him off her hands - and Sybil certainly wouldn't have let Errol consume the stuff that he needed to. In this case it was more Vimes not stopping Errol - but it had the desired effect. Without this transformation and Errol's courting of the dragon, it seems doubtful that A-M would have gotten rid of the dragon at all.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:37 am

Tonyblack wrote:
poohbcarrot wrote:
swreader wrote:.Incidentally he wins the fair lady, aids Erroll in his quest to transform himself, and saves Ankh-Morpork. :D


How does Vimes aid Erroll in his quest to transform himself, and how does Vimes save AM?
Well Sybil was going to get rid of Errol but Vimes took him off her hands - and Sybil certainly wouldn't have let Errol consume the stuff that he needed to. In this case it was more Vimes not stopping Errol - but it had the desired effect. Without this transformation and Errol's courting of the dragon, it seems doubtful that A-M would have gotten rid of the dragon at all.


So Errol saved AM not Vimes.

So Vimes helped Errol transform, accidently, by being a useless owner? :wink:

Surely if Carrot hadn't have kept his armour shiney, Errol wouldn't have eaten Carrot's polish, which helped him flame.

Therefore Carrot (not Vimes) did more to help Errol transform, and thus Carrot saved AM just as much (if not more) than Vimes.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:54 am

poohbcarrot wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:
poohbcarrot wrote:
swreader wrote:.Incidentally he wins the fair lady, aids Erroll in his quest to transform himself, and saves Ankh-Morpork. :D


How does Vimes aid Erroll in his quest to transform himself, and how does Vimes save AM?
Well Sybil was going to get rid of Errol but Vimes took him off her hands - and Sybil certainly wouldn't have let Errol consume the stuff that he needed to. In this case it was more Vimes not stopping Errol - but it had the desired effect. Without this transformation and Errol's courting of the dragon, it seems doubtful that A-M would have gotten rid of the dragon at all.


So Errol saved AM not Vimes.

So Vimes helped Errol transform, accidently, by being a useless owner? :wink:

Surely if Carrot hadn't have kept his armour shiney, Errol wouldn't have eaten Carrot's polish, which helped him flame.

Therefore Carrot (not Vimes) did more to help Errol transform, and thus Carrot saved AM just as much (if not more) than Vimes.


That's a very good point and one that came to my mind when I was reading the book. What exactly DO the Watch do to save the city? And I'm including Vimes and Carrot in that question along with Nobby and Fred. They get rewarded for apparently saving the city, but they don't actually do anything. Carrot tries to arrest the dragon once Errol has knocked it to the ground, but he doesn't persue it and Errol and the dragon fly off somewhere.

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

Errol took the dragon on, and yes, if you want to say that it was the careless way the Watch allowed Errol to eat what it wanted that allowed him to defeat the dragon, then yes, that's about the only way that I can see that they contributed to the outcome. :)
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:03 am

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)
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:18 am

Tonyblack wrote:Well Sybil was going to get rid of Errol but Vimes took him off her hands -


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

By the time that Vimes and Sybil were both talking about Vimes taking Errol, they had both fallen in love with each other. Errol was merely a "love trinket" which guarenteed they would have a reason to see each other again.

It's like you lending a CD to someone on your first date, or "accidently" leaving your sweater behind at their house. It gives you a reason to see them again.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:38 am

poohbcarrot wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:Well Sybil was going to get rid of Errol but Vimes took him off her hands -


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

By the time that Vimes and Sybil were both talking about Vimes taking Errol, they had both fallen in love with each other. Errol was merely a "love trinket" which guarenteed they would have a reason to see each other again.

It's like you lending a CD to someone on your first date, or "accidently" leaving your sweater behind at their house. It gives you a reason to see them again.
Page 138 of the paperback:

Vimes (talking about Errol): 'I thought you were, er, going to get rid of him'
Sybil: 'I suppose I shall have to.'

Sybil is a breeder and Errol doesn't cut the mustard. She mentions earlier in the book that she won't breed from him and couldn't even if she wanted to because he can't fly. She also mentions that she'll be sorry to lose the bloodline - all of which sounds pretty final to me.

Sybil might support The Sunshine Sanctuary for Sick Dragons and may even help out there, but she doesn't run it. That job is done by Rosie Devant-Molei. It's the equivalent of a breeder of bulldogs giving a donation to the RSPCA.

Incidentally, Errol is described as a 'whittle' - maybe Terry was thinking Whittle. :wink:
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:16 pm

I reckon it's all to do with the first meeting of Vimes and Sybil. However, as I've misplaced my book, I'll have to get back to you when I've got ammunition to back up my argument. I only had it a few hours ago too!
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