Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:47 pm

The dwarves think of Tak the way you or I might think of an architect or even a writer. They are convinced that Tak is a real entity who did a real act of creation, the way we might say that Frank Lloyd Wright designed a certain building or a real man named Shakespeare wrote all of this plays. In our world, we don't necessarily have documentation of these 'facts'--i.e., manuscripts, building plans, receipts, etc.--but we accept this version of the truth because it makes logical sense and in most cases no one has presented a compelling, contrary argument based on actual evidence.

Since the dwarves are a people of words, and since someone once wrote the words that appear in the Book of Tak, the dwarves take it for granted that the story must be true (although later generations of dwarves do fight over the exact words themselves). It has nothing to do with religion, any more than one would worship Jonas Salk for creating a polio vaccine.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Bron H » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:30 am

I loved this book, it is my fave of terry's books. (So far, i havn't read "I shall wear midnight" or "Snuff" yet and i might prefer them)
I know it doesn't have as many laughes as many of his books, but it had a great story line and i was hooked since i first picked it up.
One thing i don't overly like is the relationship between Angua and the new vamire (forgoten her name), but i definatley don't think it brings the quality of the whole book down at all.
I have loved all the watch books i'v read and as i said this one is right up the top. I rate it a 18/20 (extremely good). :D
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HIM WHO SUN STOP HIM NO
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby cabbagehead » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:21 am

I was going over the arguments about whether or not dwarfs had a religion. I must say that as a person who was raised a secular Jew it is obvious that dwarfs aren't merely religious but specifically Jewish. Yes, even their belief in a creator that wrote the laws and created them (and other races) and left is similar to a common Jewish belief (except the Jewish deity stuck around for a while before leaving, or going into hiding). Specifically, Orthodox Jews believe God gave the Law on Sinai, together with rules by which said law is to be interpreted, and left the interpretation to the rabbis of each generation. Once God attempted to interfere in an argument between factions of rabbis, but the leader of the majority quoted Deuteronomy 30:12 and Exodus 23:2 as proof that a) God had no standing and b) interpretation followed majority rule. Since then God has been silent. As for prayer - while Jews do pray to God, they do so out of obligation. It is yet a rule to obey (and fulfilling an obligation is considered a higher form of religious expression than anything done voluntarily). Prayer is very structured, it isn't a way for individuals to ask for personal intervention. Also, Jews are supposed to obey the religious laws because they are. Not because God will reward them if they do or punish them otherwise but because obeying the laws is the purpose of their life. And yes, the laws cover everything from the correct time and manner of washing hands to laws of legal arbitration. So being an Orthodox Jew is a life of obeying religious law.

The differences between dwarfs in the mines and those in in Ankh Morpork are very much like the differences between Jews in the east-European stetls (regardless of whether they were Hasidic or Misnagedic) and those that moved to cities in western Europe or the US - they adapted to their new cultural environment but retained a core of customs - not all necessarily religious in origin, but all considered reminders of who they were and where they came from.

The wars between the dwarf factions about using the mine-damp detecting lamp have parallels in 18-19th century Jewish history - wars between Hasidim and Misnagedim, between Hasidic factions (these led to the handing of rabbis to the Tsarist police) and conflicts related to the influence of the Jewish Enlightenment movement. And Grag Bashfulson is definitely a Reform rabbi - he doesn't need to live in a mine to have Deep thoughts, indeed! A grag who doesn't cover his face - a rabbi who doesn't cover his head. The parallels are impossible to ignore.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby cabbagehead » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:22 am

Continuing my post: Someone said the dwarfs were the Pharisees. Of course they are. Traditional Rabbinical Judaism is built on Pharisee thought. It is a religion that downplays revelation and personal experience and in its ideal form is a veneration of law that must be obeyed, ideally as a purpose of its own, regardless of reason and consequence. Christians identify with Jesus' criticism of Pharisees, but to Jews Pharisees are the ideal and Jesus' criticism makes no sense.

Also - in The Fifth Elephant, when the dwarfs in AM are carrying out the fights between their respective mines of origin - that's exactly what happens in Jewish communities whether in Jerusalem or New York.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:59 pm

Cabbagehead, while as a fellow secular Jew I don't think that your statements about the beliefs of Orthodox Jews or their reasons for prayer are necessarily true (this is a whole different topic that probably isn't right to go on with here), I do agree with your assertion the the dwarf culture, starting in The Fifth Elephant, are modeled after the Orthodox Jews. In fact, many years ago, I expressed this viewpoint on one of the alt.pratchett news group and Pterry himself emailed back to me saying that this hadn't really occurred to him--he was modeling them more on the orthodox sects of the monotheistic religions in general, whether they were Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, since all three religions have historically had internal fighting over the interpretation of scripture.

But I don't care what Pterry said. I still think the dwarfs are based on Jews. For one thing, dwarf bread is clearly modeled after Mandel bread, one of the hardest baked substances in the multiverse. :D
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby cabbagehead » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:41 pm

raisindot, are you familiar with the philosophy of Yeshayahu Leibowitz? He took Orthodox Judaism to its logical conclusion, and the dwarfs must be somehow echoing his thoughts, whether Pratchett knows it or not.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:59 pm

Nope. I try not to pay too much attention to what the Orthodox think, since the more I read about them the more I want to string 'em up by their paises.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby One Man Bucket » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:16 pm

I haven't seen this discussed anywhere so I'll throw it up here since it's the book in which it was introduced. The Devices do you think they improve dwarfs or lessen them. The idea that a lot of dwarf technology is reliant on something they dug up and not in the same sense as fossil fuels makes dwarfs seem more lucky than advanced
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby raptornx01 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:56 pm

raisindot wrote: For one thing, dwarf bread is clearly modeled after Mandel bread, one of the hardest baked substances in the multiverse. :D


Please, you ever tried traditional hardtack? I have, and trust me, if ANYTHING is the basis for dwarf bread, its that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardtack

cabbagehead wrote:Once God attempted to interfere in an argument between factions of rabbis, but the leader of the majority quoted Deuteronomy 30:12 and Exodus 23:2 as proof that a) God had no standing and b) interpretation followed majority rule. Since then God has been silent.


raisindot wrote:But I don't care what Pterry said.


I couldn't help but crack up at this.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:20 am

And I thought it was based on Kendal Mint Cake. :lol:
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Prolekult » Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:41 am

Just finished this one. It was very good, but not but not as good as Night Watch imo.

A few observations:

A .E. Pessimal was great. I actually thought that sending him to Vimes was a typical Vetinari plan, so he would end up joining the Watch and getting Vimes to deal with some paperwork properly.

Angua was annoying, as swreader mentioned, and a bit of a bitch I thought, no pun intended. Tony, you said that you thought Terry likes writing for Angua, which I thought was funny because I got the opposite impression. Most of what we hear about her in this book is to do with the werewolf/vampire thing, and how she is pleased to hear about Carrot's heart beating faster, but this to me came across in a possessive, rather unemotional way. We don't seem to get any expression of her love for Carrot, or what really makes her tick as a person. I've always found her character to be lacking something to be honest. Maybe I missed something there, I don't know.

Also there is the bit where Angua sees Sally leave as the bats and decides not to tell Vimes, as he might just put it down to their rivalry, well this just doesn't make sense. She must know that Vimes would believe her after all this time.

Mr Shine should have made an appearance at Koom Valley, or at least met with Vimes later. He has the one very important meeting with Vimes, and then we don't see or hear from him for the rest of the book. I would have liked to have seen Cheery used more as well (is she a Sergeant by now? Surely she should be), especially as Detritus was great in this one.

And the whole Nobby/Tawnee business was just nonsense, sorry. I thought the girls' night out was a good idea in principle, but had the potential to be a lot better. And Vimes stopping the traffic to get home for 6 o'clock was a bit much for me as well.

It's starting to sound like I didn't like this one. Actually I enjoyed it very much, there is lots of action and it was very hard to put down (so I didn't, and read the last half of the book in one go), but there were just those few things that annoyed me.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:58 pm

Prolekult wrote:
Angua was annoying, as swreader mentioned, and a bit of a bitch I thought, no pun intended...Most of what we hear about her in this book is to do with the werewolf/vampire thing, and how she is pleased to hear about Carrot's heart beating faster, but this to me came across in a possessive, rather unemotional way. We don't seem to get any expression of her love for Carrot, or what really makes her tick as a person. Also there is the bit where Angua sees Sally leave as the bats and decides not to tell Vimes, as he might just put it down to their rivalry, well this just doesn't make sense. She must know that Vimes would believe her after all this time.

Mr Shine should have made an appearance at Koom Valley, or at least met with Vimes later. He has the one very important meeting with Vimes, and then we don't see or hear from him for the rest of the book.


Interesting points, Prole. I'd counter your Angua argument by saying that Angua is acting EXACTLY the way a Discworld werewolf would. They're "owned" animals, with inferiority complexes that can easily be triggered when dominated by an alpha. Here, Angua is initially "owned" by Sally, and her bitterness is one of someone who knows they're owned (both literally and folklorically) and is trying to fight against it. She's never really expressed her 'love' for Carrot in any other books, and has always viewed her relationship as being more of a 'pet' than one of equals. She is definitely not all that likeable here, but we do get more of an inner glimpse of the issues that driver her emotionally than we do in most of the other Watch books, including TFE. And it's completely understandable that Angua didn't tell Vimes about Sally's night-time battiness. What exactly was Sally doing wrong? Members of the Watch don't 'snitch' on each other just for doing sneaky things.

As far as Mr. Shine is concerned, he does show up at the end of the book, at the banquet. while they're all waiting for Vimes to arrive. It really would be overkill for him and Vimes to have another conversation. Shine knew the secret of Koom Valley; Rhys didn't (or at least he didn't have proof). Vimes needed to expose the deep downer's conspiracy and facilitate the revelation of the secret to the Dwarfs. One can assume that Shine would have been able to communicate the secret to the Trolls on his own since he was their one true king.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Prolekult » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:09 am

All good points raisindot, it occurred to me after posting that I may have been a bit harsh, but thought I would leave the post up to encourage discussion.

It seems I missed Mr Shine the second time around, I guess it must have been a fleeting mention. that's what comes of reading the whole second half of the book in one afternoon I guess.

I think it's fair to say we are not really supposed to like Angua in this book as such, as you point out as a werewolf with all the associated baggage it is natural her character should be 'edgy'. This is one reason I thought it was a shame more wasn't made of the girls' night out, it could have been a chance for us to see more of her human side, but evidently she doesn't take easily to 'fun' :)

I'm pretty sure she does say that Vimes might not believe her word against Sally's though, and this was her reason for not telling Vimes, but the library has the book back now so I can't check. Indeed your reason is better than hers in any case.

It also bugged me that it took several hundred pages for Vimes to find out about the stolen painting, maybe it was necessary for the way the narrative went, but didn't seem very plausible to me that Colon & Nobby wouldn't have informed him sooner. Terry used the interrupted sentence trick for this one, he does this a lot and it does get on my nerves sometimes, I think it tends to be overused - it's like a soap opera tactic.

I'm in danger of getting too negative again - I really did think this was a good book, but Night Watch was a great book.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:18 pm

Prolekult wrote:I'm pretty sure she does say that Vimes might not believe her word against Sally's though, and this was her reason for not telling Vimes, but the library has the book back now so I can't check. Indeed your reason is better than hers in any case.

I think you're right about that. But, again, it does support that idea that Watchmen ain't snitches unless there's a good reason (i.e., they can be damn sure that the snitch will end up okay). Angua probably also thinks that if she did Vimes would chalk it up to the old "werewolf vs. vampire" thing.
Prolekult wrote:It also bugged me that it took several hundred pages for Vimes to find out about the stolen painting, maybe it was necessary for the way the narrative went, but didn't seem very plausible to me that Colon & Nobby wouldn't have informed him sooner.

Well, given all the craziness going around at the time, it makes sense that 'clueless' coppers like Fred and Nobby wouldn't have made enough of a connection between the theft of the painting and the murders to tell Vimes personally, and instead leave it on his desk as a report. We all know that Vimes is bad at paperwork. Now, one could argue that either A.E. Pessimal or Vimes' imp should have brought F&N's report to Vimes' attention, but these weren't the kinds of paperwork they were assigned to look at. Part of this is also Vimes' own fault for trying to do all his investigative work on his own without informing his officers of what to look out for. It's a fault he's always admitted. In the end, however, you're right that Pterry probably chose this approach because of narrative need. Vimes needed something to get him so upset that he'd knock the candlesticks over, and this was one of the few things that would get him that angry. I found that bit a little hard to swallow in itself.

BTW, if you do have a subscription of Audible.com and some extra cash to spend, get the audiobook version of Thud! I'd classify it along with Wee Free Men and Wee Free Men as Stephen Briggs' finest readings.
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Re: Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby raptornx01 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:30 pm

Vimes is informed, by cheery i think, that fred wanted to talk about a theft at the art museum, but vimes was basically, "Theft? we're worrying about a murder, a theft can wait" or something to that effect.

that whole bit worked for me. i never saw it as something out of the ordinary, or anything.
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