Guards! Guards! Discussion Group *Spoilers*

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Postby mspanners » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:46 pm

Point taken Sir! :D It is a bit strange that Carrot spends time on His Armour buffing and no time on the Sword, maybe He He thought He would get a new one eventually if He left it Rusty! :lol:
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Postby Trish » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:18 pm

I have a request that is related to the Watch, but not to GG.

It's not a difficult surmise that "Men at Arms" will be next, but I dont' have a copy. Neither does Chapters, Waldenbooks or that other place --the library. So can we hold off on "MatA" til I get one? Please.....
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:23 pm

Trish wrote:I have a request that is related to the Watch, but not to GG.

It's not a difficult surmise that "Men at Arms" will be next, but I dont' have a copy. Neither does Chapters, Waldenbooks or that other place --the library. So can we hold off on "MatA" til I get one? Please.....
Well it's not one of the ones that has been suggested for the next discussion, so I think you're safe. :wink:

But these discussions are meant to be on-going so that anyone can pick up on them in the future and add their comments. After a while I'll post a whole bunch of links to the various discussions - when we have a few more. :)
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Postby mspanners » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:01 pm

Trish ..... YOU HAVE NOT GOT ALL THE WATCH BOOKS !!!!!! :shock:

I envy you... you have such a feast of fresh reading ahead of you,(I am assuming you have not read them yet!).

I wish I could reset my memory and re-read them all, been trying to over the Years with Cider but it has not worked.... :lol:

Don`t know if you have any other Watch Books BUT if not then...


Just try to read them in the right order to get the most from them..... 8)
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Postby swreader » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:50 am

Tonyblack wrote:It's interesting to imagine that this book was going to be a one-off. If that's the case then the kingship thing is undecided - Terry leaves us, the readers, to chuckle over the fact that there may be the rightful heir to the throne of A-M doing a fairly mundane job in the city. But the important thing is that he never says one way of the other.

We tend to look at G!G! with Men At Arms and the other Watch books in mind. We know that Carrot is the rightful heir from these books, but suppose G!G! was the one and only Guards book.

If that was the case then the sword is a plain, un-magical sword that is incredibly well made and sharp. The fancy sword was made to look good (as was Wonse's nephew). It looked like a king's sword should look - encrusted in jewels and very shiny. But it was probably just a piece of crap that broke the first time a real sword hit it.

So - taking G!G! as a one-off book, we simply do not have enough evidence to say whether Carrot's sword has power in the hand of a king or a leader of men. And if Terry had left the series at just that one book we would never know. :)


I know that you keep insisting that GG was intended to be (at the time he wrote it ) a one-off book. Do you have any interview quotes that support this?

It seems much more likely to me that by the time Terry finished GG, he knew perfectly well he was going to write at least M at A--there are too many questions left unanswered. Is Carrot the rightful King? Will he take over Ank-Morpork? Will Vimes & Lady Rankin get married? What will Vimes's future be if he marries the richest lady in Ank-Morpork? I can almost believe that (as he says in the introduction to HFOS) that there was this book that kept demanding to be written--even if he held it off for a bit.

And let me expand on the sword as literary device just a bit-- clearly Terry describes it to fit into a particular scene, to make it believable and relevant for that scene. Therefore the sword when Carrot's father gives it to him is "more a sword than saw" (i.e.--it's got lots of nicks in it), it's old and has a good balance. As to being non-magical--remember that it was Magrat that said that. Do we really think she can tell if a sword is magical (she certainly can't manage a fairy godmother's wand).

And the sword survives the Dragon's fire--and the plunge into the pond. It's there because Terry needs it to be there. In the final scene with Wonse Terry is, among other things, making a pointed contrast between the types of government that these two people want. Wonse's sword-- false, glittery but not real-- is a metaphor for his view of government. But Wonse is trying to kill the Patrician with that sword. It may have been false--but I suspect (and so does the Patrician) that Wonse would have killed him with that sword had Vimes not acted. The sword, then, is part of the contrast between what is being developed as a workable (if not perfect) government which takes the weaknesses and follies of the general public into account, and the self-aggrandizing government with Wonse as an eminence grise because of the contempt with which Wonse regards every one but himself.

In other words, Terry has read Emerson "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," and doesn't bother to make the descriptions match. He's writing a novel, a work of art--not a catalog of the King's possessions.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:24 am

swreader wrote: It seems much more likely to me that by the time Terry finished GG, he knew perfectly well he was going to write at least M at A--there are too many questions left unanswered.


100% agree! 8)
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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:18 am

swreader wrote:

I know that you keep insisting that GG was intended to be (at the time he wrote it ) a one-off book. Do you have any interview quotes that support this?

"Insisting"? No I don't think I ever insisted that was the case and no I don't have any interview qutes to support the idea that it might have been a one-off. I'll agree that G!G! left some questions that people would want to know the answer to - but they didn't have to be answered. In the same way, people are always asking Terry what happened to Esk and Simon after Equal Rites - well he didn't feel obliged or motivated to write another book about them and he could have left G!G! as it was.

Could have, but didn't and in some ways I think it was a mistake to take it the way he did because he changed Carrot to fit the next book and in my opinion he changed him too much and set himself too rigid character development for Carrot.

But that's for later book discussions. :wink:

And incidentally we do not know that it was Magrat who appraised the sword. Magrat is mentioned in connection with letter writing in the book. The book says (page 31 UK paperback):
we had a witch look at it. In case it was magic. But it isn't. Quite the most unmagical sword she'd ever seen, she said.


Now given the various witches in that area, you might take a letter to Magrat to find out how to stop spelling recommendation, but would you take a possibly magical sword to her? When there are other more experienced witches living nearby?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:15 pm

The sword of the King is a symbolic and legendary device in many cultures but the only attribute that it has to have for a plausible functionality in A-M's pseudo-medieval environment is to be used as a sword and not as a theatrical prop. It has to be very, very sharp.

What Carrot's sword is on Discworld is an anti-Excalibur to match his own status as the anti-King or King-who-doesn't-want-to-be-one if that suits better. It has to be/was a conqueror's sword and in a very real sense as Terry uses it - a King Maker. But now it's history (not legend that's the Wonse sword) and it's true and original significance is lost on everyone except Carrot, Vimes and Vetinari - and, in the later books, the rest of the Watch in greater or lesser degrees.

Back to the anti-Excalibur thing. When you think about that - taking aside the stone (which may even have been another sword come to think about it as the legend veers about so much) and alternatively the getting it from the Lake thing and Bedivere chucking it back in when Arthur died - what was actually 'magical' about it in Arthur's hand. Nothing. It was a weapon pure and simple and he used it as such.

It's origins and disposal are romanticised and the sword in the stone part (if Excalibur) is simple physics as Arthur takes it out in the dawn when the metal blade hasn't expanded, whilst everyone else was trying to get it out in the heat of the day... the rest is the embroidery of myth and fits into more legends than the Arthurian one. The sword itself belongs to the King as warrior aspect. Like Carrot's.
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Postby Trish » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:38 am

mspanners wrote:Trish ..... YOU HAVE NOT GOT ALL THE WATCH BOOKS !!!!!! :shock:
I am assuming you have not read them yet?


I have read all the DW books, I just don't own all the DW books.
Getting close...

Finding Pratchett books in the US isn't easy and even harder in the depleted Rust Belt.
I've found a few online (eBay, craigslist) and have my friend Jan from Nova Scotia to thanks for the rest.
Hey, she started me on these, keeping my fix handy is the least she could do. ;0)
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Postby Trish » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:52 am

swreader wrote:And let me expand on the sword as literary device...

[T]he sword survives the Dragon's fire--and the plunge into the pond. It's there because Terry needs it to be there.
In the final scene with Wonse Terry is making a pointed contrast between the types of government that these two people want. Wonse's sword-- false, glittery but not real-- is a metaphor for his view of government. But Wonse is trying to kill the Patrician with that sword. It may have been false--but I suspect (and so does the Patrician) that Wonse would have killed him with that sword had Vimes not acted. The sword, then, is part of the contrast between what is being developed as a workable (if not perfect) government which takes the weaknesses and follies of the general public into account, and the self-aggrandizing government with Wonse as an eminence grise because of the contempt with which Wonse regards every one but himself.

Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."



YES.
Carrot's sword is simply as swreader describes and for those very reasons.

If I was trying to explain this sword-metaphor to an 9th or 10th grade English class, I would tell them that Wonse's sword was pretty but useless, ergo as false as his king and as impure as his motives.

That Carrot's sword is true and pure; it is never flourished, but used and never used in haste or hate.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:20 am

Official notification that the next book for discussion will be Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. The discussion starts on Monday 3rd August. You have two weeks to read or reread the book before then. :D
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Postby mspanners » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:50 am

Thr thing is with terry He borrows quite heavily for mythology and folk lore so sometimes it is easy to see where His ideas come from, King Arthur, Norse Gods and so on........

now we try to read into His stories something deep and meaningful and to quite honest I think He uses these ideas because they are already well established in the social conciseness and makes it easier to write a book, no need to explain everything.....

We all know about Kings and Swords..........

BUT He has a way of putting a twists in these Legends that are funny and keep us interested, this is what sets Terry apart from all the other Dungeon and Dragon gender writers I think.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:05 am

And long may he do so! :lol:
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:05 am

:oops: Ooops! :oops:
Last edited by Tonyblack on Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dotsie » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:20 am

I know we've flogged the sword thing to death really, but I've just read something in Maurice (no discussion yet I promise!) which might help to explain why Terry described the sword as he did ie is it magic or not:

You probably are the rightful king of some country... you'll have a magic sword, only it won't look magic, you see, until it's time for you to manifest your destiny.
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