Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:57 am

swreader wrote:Some of this comes, I suspect, from the fact that the concept of the orc is not Terry's but Tolkien's. And we know that Tolkien's orcs were created as evil creatures. It seems possible to me that this is where the problem arises. Nutt's sense of self-worth has been so warped (by Terry, and as he has other characters react to him) that in spite of the fact that he is incredibly talented, brainy, physically as strong at least as the Vampires--he himself feels he has no value.
But Terry never explains why he has these feelings--which are only cured through his psychoanalysis.

Lots to say and develop on this even though I agree both wholly and fundamentally. :D Regrettably my head is still mostly busted for the next few days, so I'll just throw another thought into the mix on this angle so that people can consider the direction that Terry's treatment of Discworld as a whole at least in part (if not largely) rests on his own inspiration and juvenile respect and awe of the Tolkien milieu.

Terry has admitted himself that he's laid some of the basis for his own creations including most of the Ankh-Morpork side of things as being an amalgam of Neo-Classical (Machiavellian) Italy merging with the World of Men in Middle Earth (and Minas Tirith) 500 years on, on the verge of an Industrial Magical Revolution and with a far more keenly developed and distinct sense of humour. As a Tolkien student, I'm very aware of his shortcomings as a story-teller from a characterisation standpoint at least, but in his own world, which was highly influenced by Empire and pre-World War standards of 'decency', he nevertheless had an understanding of people being prey to the influences they were surrounded with and had to live 'under', simply to carry on existing. In the Appendices to the Lord of the Rings and Christopher Tolkien's endless exploration of the copious notes and essays left by Tolkien Snr there is at least the beginnings of the rehabilitation of the mostly 'swarthy' Men who sided with Sauron and their eventual alliance or merging with the civilisation that Aragorn revives in Gondor. So they are assimilated into the dominant society as equals rather than 'conquered' and always to remain subjugated, never wholly integrated into the folds of the victor. Which is basically what Terry's in the process of doing for the Orc in UU and now in Snuff under Lady Margalotta and Sybil's auspices

Will stop there and come back to the Orcs later as there are distinct differences in how they are treated in Middle Earth which comes down to religion essentially as they are in part 'created' as well as debased and in that essential have no similarities to Discworld Orcs in almost the same ways that Discworld Elves are not similar to Tolkiens... ;)
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:09 pm

Because of said busted brain I hadn't totally read through this thread so had missed the interesting exchange between Tamar and Raisin on the Elf perspective (I think you're definitely onto something with the Elf influence :think: ).

I will inevitably have more to say on this when function returns a little, but if you both have a think about my post above and then apply them to all the Discworld books about Elves (as far back as Light Fantastic and certainly Soul Music as Buddy is related) and Orcs you will see that all Terry has actually done is to swap the natures of these two 'races' in the Tolkien worlds and plumbed in the humour? ;)
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby raisindot » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:42 pm

Tamar, I don't mind keeping this debate going on, since this is a textual discussion of literary opinions, and nothing at all is meant to be taken as an attack on the validity of your opinions--only an 'attack' on the conclusions. This is the main reason I keep coming to this forum--to discuss the work. What fun would it be if we all agreed on everything?

Anyway, it would take forever to put the 'quote' thingies around all of this, so I've messily attributed your points. Sorry if it doesn't make sense.

=Tamar wrote:
raisindot wrote:There's no evidence whatsoever that Pepe is an elf. Elves don't 'make' anything; they STEAL what already exists.


Tamar: The elves that are sealed into, and can't leave, the parasite universe nevertheless have some things, therefore they make some things. The Fairy Feller was using an axe, the various fairies had clothing, etc.


Yes, and all of this stuff they have 'stolen' from the worlds they invade. Remember how elves seem to be dressed in various collages of 'found materials'? Pterry mentions over and over again in both L&L and WFM that elves are parasites; Parasites don't create; they live on other things.


raisindot wrote:There's no 'magical armor' in UA; just very strong armor reflecting new advanced manufacturing methods.


Tamar: I beg your pardon... a loose assemblage of open links suddenly locks together and becomes an inertialess barrier, and furthermore does it before the threatening object has time to make an impact? That's magic.
[/quote]

Was it Ray Bradbury who said that any advanced technology people can't understand is magic? Same here. The dwarves have created many kinds of technologies that had never been seen before and thus 'ordinary' people would have seem them as magic. And even if the armor is magic, so what? Wizard can create magical things, so can witches. It's far more likely that Pepe is a half-wizard than a DW elf.

TAMAR: The other characters mentioned are straw men, having nothing to do with my point. However, I never said that other characters couldn't make magical items. I just said that Pepe made magical armor, and I don't recall anyone on the Disc actually having magical armor before (despite the short-lived beliefs of some Heroes -'you can't hurt me, I have magical ar-rgghhh').

They all have everything to do with the point. Your argument is: Only elves can make magical armor. Pepe makes magical armor. Therefore, he is an elf. Since it's quite clear that men, wizards, witches and priests can infuse ordinary materials with magical properties, the argument that Pepe must be an elf because only elfs can make magical armor isn't supported by the DW narrative; elves are simply not 'creators' of anything other than illusions.

raisindot wrote:Mightily Oats 'created' a magical axe that mortally wounded a vampire.

TAMAR: No, Mightily Oats used a non-magical axe to kill a vampire. Any axe can kill a vampire. Oats's axe is just very sharp, and he has made it a symbol, but it is not magical.[/quote]

Re-read the section. Without its becoming 'magical' with the spirit of Om brought into to it with Oats' faith, the axe would not have worked on the Count. That's the whole POINT of the scene. Is Oats an elf?

raisindot wrote:Humans created golems, being of magical stone, some of whom ultimately evolved to became sentient beings on their own.

TAMAR: Golems are of clay, not stone. The magic that makes them live is put in by the use of the correct prayers, which is arguably religion, rather than ordinary magic. They are all sentient from the start, but were made to behave like machinery.

Now you're differentiating between 'normal' and 'holy' magic? in the DW it doesn't matter where the magic comes from; magic is magic. The original point is valid: Golems are only sentient, rather than statues, because their makers infused them with magical properties. Doesn't matter whether that magic came from a priest or a baker; a thaum is a thaum. And the golems of Making Money, while magical (what else other than magic would make them move?), are not sentient. Did elves create them?


[quote="raisindot" Pterry's elves have certain characteristics that don't change: They're stupid, they never LEARN, they 'glamor' people to gain power over them and make them feel useless, and they attempt to enslave ALL humans. Pepe has absolutely none of the characteristics of Pterry's elves at all.[/quote]
TAMAR: Well, that is essentially my point: that Pepe, as a part-elf, has inherited some human characteristics yet retains some elven ones as well, specifically a certain degree of viciousness along with the style sense and a form of magic that owes something to Tolkien's elves. Although it apparently suited Sir Terry to make fashion into a kind of dream of freedom for species that hadn't previously had that opportunity (trolls, dwarfs), at its worst fashion is literally a glamor that gives the fashionistas power over any human that falls for it and makes them feel bad about themselves for not looking like models. It's practically elvish that way.[/quote]

Again, a conclusion not in any way supported by Pterry's own definitive definitions of elves in L&L and WFM. Besides, lots of people are vicious in the DW. Fashionistas in general are vicious purveyors of fantasy. You'd have a better argument claiming Pepe is a DW vampire, since vampires are magical by nature, can be quite vicious when they want to be, like to be around young women wearing negligees, and love to exert their power over people by making them feel inferior.

I do get the point about Pterry rethinking Tolkien's elves, and he struggled to define them in earlier books (just as he struggled to come up with a cohesive portrayal of dwarfs, trolls and vampires at first) but it's quite clear than in L&L he had come up with his own definition of what elves were, and his elves are just about the opposite of what Tolkien's were (as well as the opposite of all the tales of little keeber elves and happy elves and cute elves that had been instilled in folklore over centuries). His elves are so well-defined that I don't see why he would even need to come up with a new definition of a 'half-elf' in UA, and if he had, this would have been explained, since at least Pterry almost never misses a chance to provide a bit of a definitional backstory for character-races he introduces.
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Tonyblack » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:56 pm

raisindot wrote:Was it Ray Bradbury who said that any advanced technology people can't understand is magic?



No, it was Arthur.C.Clarke and is one of Clarke's Three Laws. ;)
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:17 pm

Raisin - on behalf of Elves in any fantasy world including Discworld... :P Elves are not stupid in the normal usage of the word as unintelligent. Obviously they are not unintelligent otherwise why do both Granny, Tiffany and indeed the Wizards in Darwin's Watch have such trouble with outwitting them?

What Elves are not in Discworld terms is imaginative as they seem unable to invent or innovate, which I grant you means they're not clever in some respects, but it doesn't mean they're morons or even evil morons. Terry's translation of them in comparison to Tolkien's hegemony (and whose influence must be taken into account in terms of fantasy genre in general terms) is that they are amoral and parasitic - not stupid.
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Sjoerd3000 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:45 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Raisin - on behalf of Elves in any fantasy world including Discworld... :P Elves are not stupid in the normal usage of the word as unintelligent. Obviously they are not unintelligent otherwise why do both Granny, Tiffany and indeed the Wizards in Darwin's Watch have such trouble with outwitting them?



The Elves are in the Globe not Darwin's Watch. It's the Auditors that are the problem in Darwin's Watch ;)
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby raisindot » Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:05 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Raisin - on behalf of Elves in any fantasy world including Discworld... :P Elves are not stupid in the normal usage of the word as unintelligent. Obviously they are not unintelligent otherwise why do both Granny, Tiffany and indeed the Wizards in Darwin's Watch have such trouble with outwitting them?


Okay, maybe not stupid, Jan, but intellectually stunted. That's Granny's whole point in L&L: That elves can't win because they don't LEARN. They remain the same, never evolving, never being able to do anything other than their old tricks (as compared to the Vampyrs of Carpe Jugulum, who see physical and intellectual improvement as a means of both ensuring their survival and power). While the elves have remained the same, humans have become smarter over time and are more able to defend themselves (otherwise, how would a wet hen like Magrat be able to defeat a few of their soldiers?) The reason the Lancreans got hoodwinked by the elves in L&L is because they had forgotten what the elves were really like; Granny and Nanny had to remind them.

The Queen hasn't advanced any in Wee Free Men, either. Perhaps because she's becoming a witch Tiffany isn't glamored by her, at least not until near the end, but she is able to see all through all of the illusions the Queen and the Dromes throw at her, and she's even able to hit the Queen with a frying pan. Heck, in L&L the Lancreans couldn't even bring iron in the Elven realm.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with Tamar's originally argument--that Pepe is half elf. :D
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:29 pm

Whoops - this brain is obviously still mostly fried! Yes, the Globe and no, I accept they don't learn except on their terms, but they are exclusively predatory in their parasitic way and so their intelligence has a different and in some respects sharper focus to humans (remember Terry's description of sharp silvery predatory minds in Equal Rites and Witches Abroad) and the other DW magic-users. You therefore can't make a level comparison as Elves have different strengths and weaknesses to species like humans which are more adaptable and can be both predator and prey? Do you see the distinction and the parallels to the traditional perceptions we have/have had about orcs in other realms? :lol:

I've only ever read UA once so far so I need to go back to it as well (just as well I'm reading Snuff now so I'll get to it after that) so I can't remember enough about Pepe to comment on any inherent Elvishness, but Dwarves and Trolls were also molested by them as well as humans with at least the former perhaps being viable on a breeding basis? :? This ties in with the Tolkien legacy and hypothesis I'm wanting to discuss along the original idea of worthlessness in a degraded and demonised 'created' race so I can come back on that later but the role swapping of Elves to Orcs in Discworld is a valid point, especially when you consider that Middle Earth also has relatively little perceptible magic-wielding in its story arcs, with most of it being vested in the creation of angelic beings and artefacts made by the Elves rather than 'power-slinging'. Dwarves in Middle Earth did not produce magical weapons - those properties (such as the doors of Moria and possibly even Bilbo's/Frodod's mail shirt) were actually supplied to them by the Elves and they formed the metal or jewels around them so from that PoV Dwarves in Middle Earth are similar to Discworld ones in being cunning artificers rather than magical themselves.
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby raisindot » Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:02 pm

Jan, putting Tamar's thesis aside for the moment, I'm still trying to grasp your theory of "orcs and elves changing places."

Are you suggesting that Pterry's orcs have the attributes of Tolkien's elves and Pterry's elves resemble Tolkien's orcs?

I defer to you in your Tolkien knowledge, but I always remember Tolkien's orcs as being nasty, violent beings who are essentially little more than warrior-slaves. Pterry's orcs, with the exception of Nutt, seem to fit the same description as well. They, like the goblins, are a degraded race with little power beyond brute strength and have no control over their own destiny.

Tolkien's elves, if I remember correctly, are beautiful, highly intelligent, magic-creating superbeings who are actively involved in partnering with humans (when it's in their best interests) but not enslaving them. Pterry's elves, on the other hand, are essentially illusion-creating, nasty little animals (based on the ending of WFM) that are only interested in being parasites on the worlds they invade and using glamor and (limited) cleverness to dominate those with weaker wills, like the vampires. This makes them completely unlike either Pterry's or Tolkien's orcs, unless I am truly missing something here?
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:43 pm

Sorry if I'm not making myself totally clear yet Raisin, but essentially I think this is what Terry's beginning to build on for the future of Discworld Orcs/Goblins - an evolutionary rehabilitation if you like so that Mr. Nutt's transcending of his nature and conditioning continues and is applied to the race as a whole, so they become more like the preconceptions that we have of Elves in Tolkien's world and find their inner beauty and creative integrity - or bollox to that effect. :P

Certainly Terry's Elves have some of the characteristics of Tolkien's Orcs in being vicious and, if not inherently evil, then naturally amoral and malign and behaving as he's at pains to point out very badly indeed, but under the illusion of style and natural grace (in the same way that cats can be so cruel and ruthless whilst looking beautiful?).

The twist is that Orcs in Middle Earth, although not fully explained in canon (mainly for the Silmarillion and the less mainstream books like Lost Tales and The Perilous Realm), are not created creatures like Terry's Orcs, but are the twisted and obscene manipulated product of mutilated breeding and degradation of both Elves and Men by renegades of the demi-godlike race of Ainur to whom Gandalf, Saruman and Sauron all belong. This is why Sauron and his own master Morgoth were so hated and feared by the Elves and by the 'good' Men who were allied to them (Aragorn's people), because the orcs were originally their ancestors and the Dark Lords had literally committed unforgivable genetic atrocities against both races in creating orcs and then breeding them in abnormal conditions as shock and awe troops (spawning is a term widely used for this which implies they were grossly interfered with progenitively by some monstrously arcane means).

It may be something Terry's exploring on Discworld of what happened in the unwritten future of Middle Earth, where Aragorn supposedly began a unification program with the races of Men who had sided with Sauron out of fear or lust for power. The other side of that after-story is whether the last of the Elves who remained (principally the twin sons of Elrond, whose fate is unknown as to whether they stayed in ME like their sister Arwen, or followed their father across the Sea) may have indulged in a little genocide exercise of their own and exterminated the orcs of the Misty Mountains. What may instead have happened is that the 'wild' orcs may have escaped that fate and in the end left their squalid existence in the mountains and mines and perhaps have merged with Men eventually, becoming neither good nor evil, but integrating into the surviving populations after the War of the Ring was long over.

Even on Discworld, a rehabilitation of that scale would be hugely difficult in terms of overcoming the extreme prejudice against goblins, and of course in getting the goblins to deconstruct their whole existence and completely overhaul their instincts to start on the journey that Nutt begins in UA.
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby =Tamar » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:39 am

raisindot wrote:Tamar, I don't mind keeping this debate going on, since this is a textual discussion of literary opinions, and nothing at all is meant to be taken as an attack on the validity of your opinions--only an 'attack' on the conclusions. This is the main reason I keep coming to this forum--to discuss the work. What fun would it be if we all agreed on everything?

Righty-ho. I'm back from the World SF Convention now.

raisindot wrote:
=Tamar wrote:I beg your pardon... a loose assemblage of open links suddenly locks together and becomes an inertialess barrier, and furthermore does it before the threatening object has time to make an impact? That's magic.

... even if the armor is magic, so what? Wizard can create magical things, so can witches. It's far more likely that Pepe is a half-wizard than a DW elf.

That's just silly. Either you're a wizard or you aren't; even Rincewind is a wizard, albeit one with a magical level of almost zero (he can do telekinesis). But elves are stated to be capable of breeding with humans, and the result is a part-elf, less vicious and clearly capable of learning (at least of learning lines and associating with humans and working for a living). Granny explained that in Lords and Ladies to Ridcully (p.166 US pb) and Victor Tugelbend saw some of them in Moving Pictures.

raisindot wrote:
=Tamar wrote: I never said that other characters couldn't make magical items. I just said that Pepe made magical armor, and I don't recall anyone on the Disc actually having magical armor before (despite the short-lived beliefs of some Heroes -'you can't hurt me, I have magical ar-rgghhh').

Your argument is: Only elves can make magical armor.

No, as you said above, wizards and witches and dwarfs (they make flying broomsticks) can create magical things. However, there is a strong cultural background of Tolkien's elves making a specific type of magical ringmail armor, that Sir Terry is playing on here. Since nobody else who has bought or been given it has been shown noticing any magic in the standard new Dwarf-made ringmail except that it doesn't chafe, I believe that the ringmail made by Pepe is magical in a way that the rest is not. Pepe himself indicates that his own personal ringmail has magical properties that are different from the ringmail he loaned to Dave Likely; it is most definitely not the kind that is being sold over the counter. (If all the ringmail sold had the same properties as the kind loaned to Dave, imagine the effect on the Watch, on any fighting Hero, etc.)

raisindot wrote:
=tamar wrote:
raisindot wrote:Mightily Oats 'created' a magical axe that mortally wounded a vampire.

No, Mightily Oats used a non-magical axe to kill a vampire. Any axe can kill a vampire. Oats's axe is just very sharp, and he has made it a symbol, but it is not magical.

Re-read the section. Without its becoming 'magical' with the spirit of Om brought into to it with Oats' faith, the axe would not have worked on the Count. That's the whole POINT of the scene.

No, any axe can kill a vampire. The Old Count has been killed many times, by ordinary axes and farm implements and crossed candlesticks, etc. The point of the scene is that anything can become a holy symbol if it is used for a holy purpose, such as killing vampires. The repeated line is "Everywhere I look, I see something holy." Everything in the living world is holy. Mightily Oats chooses to make the axe into a holy symbol, but it wasn't holiness that killed the vampire; it was killing the vampire that was a holy act.

raisindot wrote:
=Tamar wrote:
raisindot wrote:Humans created golems, being of magical stone, some of whom ultimately evolved to become sentient beings on their own.

Golems are of clay, not stone. The magic that makes them live is put in by the use of the correct prayers, which is arguably religion, rather than ordinary magic. They are all sentient from the start, but were made to behave like machinery.

Now you're differentiating between 'normal' and 'holy' magic? in the DW it doesn't matter where the magic comes from; magic is magic.


I think this is uncertain ground. UA pages 139-140 (US hc) Sir Terry has specifically differentiated between religion and magic. Although Ponder's thaumometer indicated "some kind of entanglement", Ridcully specified that it wasn't magic, and he suspected that it was probably religion.

raisindot wrote:The original point is valid: Golems are only sentient, rather than statues, because their makers infused them with magical properties. Doesn't matter whether that magic came from a priest or a baker; a thaum is a thaum.
Not exactly. The baker baked the clay, but the priest had to write the correct words for the chem. In Feet of Clay, it was words in the heart that revived Dorfl, not just the baking.

raisindot wrote:And the golems of Making Money, while magical (what else other than magic would make them move?), are not sentient.
I do not think that word means what you think it means. They were perfectly sentient, just not free. They thought and sang under the earth.

raisindot wrote:
=Tamar wrote:
raisindot wrote: Pterry's elves have certain characteristics that don't change: They're stupid, they never LEARN, they 'glamor' people to gain power over them and make them feel useless, and they attempt to enslave ALL humans. Pepe has absolutely none of the characteristics of Pterry's elves at all.

Well, that is essentially my point: that Pepe, as a part-elf, has inherited some human characteristics yet retains some elven ones as well, specifically a certain degree of viciousness along with the style sense and a form of magic that owes something to Tolkien's elves. Although it apparently suited Sir Terry to make fashion into a kind of dream of freedom for species that hadn't previously had that opportunity (trolls, dwarfs), at its worst fashion is literally a glamor that gives the fashionistas power over any human that falls for it and makes them feel bad about themselves for not looking like models. It's practically elvish that way.

Again, a conclusion not in any way supported by Pterry's own definitive definitions of elves in L&L and WFM. Besides, lots of people are vicious in the DW.

It is in L&L that Pterry has Granny describe part-elves to Ridcully (p.166 US pb). They sunburn easily and giggle a lot. The fact that other people are vicious does not change the fact that elves are.

raisindot wrote:You'd have a better argument claiming Pepe is a DW vampire, since vampires are magical by nature, can be quite vicious when they want to be, like to be around young women wearing negligees, and love to exert their power over people by making them feel inferior.

So Discworld vampires and elves have some similar characteristics. The one does not eliminate the other.

raisindot wrote:I do get the point about Pterry rethinking Tolkien's elves, and he struggled to define them in earlier books (just as he struggled to come up with a cohesive portrayal of dwarfs, trolls and vampires at first) but it's quite clear than in L&L he had come up with his own definition of what elves were, and his elves are just about the opposite of what Tolkien's were .... His elves are so well-defined that I don't see why he would even need to come up with a new definition of a 'half-elf' in UA...


He didn't come up with them in UA. The part-elves were shown briefly in Moving Pictures and described by Granny Weatherwax in Lords and Ladies. I just think he decided to use one in UA, but subtly.

raisindot wrote: Pterry almost never misses a chance to provide a bit of a definitional backstory for character-races he introduces.
The backstory was given in Lords and Ladies.
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:33 pm

Very shortly on Lord of the Rings style mail (as worn by Bilbo and Frodo) - it wasn't magic. That particular armour was brought back to Middle Earth 6000+ years before the LotR era, was made of a metal found in great quantities in the western continent of Aman (that only the Elves can reach), namely mithril which was lightweight and highly malleable whilst being harder than diamonds. Mithril could be imbued with magic in other applications (like the star writing on Thorin's map or on the doors of Moria) but as armour it needed no augmentation.

Tolkien's elves did employ magic in the forging of weapons - the sword/knife Sting, Orcrist and Glamdring (Gandalf's sword) had a kind of sentience so they glowed blue when orcs or 'evil creatures' were nearby. In the Silmarillion era their master weaponsmiths also made use of 'star metal' and developed a very hard black coloured steel alloy which was used for weapons and armour, but this was technology-based 'magic' in part pioneered by Dwarves as well (a Dark Elf studied with them). Dwarves also used mithril but they only sourced it in the one place in Middle Earth that it was found - in the Mines of Moria and it's discovery also brought about their downfall in raising the ire of the Balrog who was dormant until they mined deep enough to awaken it. Consequently mithril was very precious to them in its scarcity and they did not themselves use it for weaponry for offence or defence.

Will be starting UA this weekend and will pay particular attention to any Elvish tendencies that may reveal themselves... :lol:
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:18 pm

OK - finished both Snuff and then UA and the argument for Pepe having an elvish bloodline (not being an elf or even half a one) certainly has more evidence to substantiate it than Buddy (Imp y Celin) has in Soul Music. Which does not mean that he's definitely of the elvish persuasion, but he demonstrably has many elvish traits, not least his propensity to violence, extreme cynicism and need for alcohol to blur the more offensive effects of the social mores he's obliged to live by, even in his chosen profession (as an armourer as it's not a good idea to be p*ssed in charge of a forge).

However, he's chosen to live as a dwarf and his skill in metallurgy (so the nature of metal rather than it's shaping necessarily) is the keystone factor to his existence. So he's dwarvish by choice with the 'frillier' side of his character manifesting in the fashionista angle of micromail and of course in the sexual ambiguity that is inherent in both lifestyles so far as design for female fashion is concerned. In fact we have this almost as soon as he's introduced with Madame Sharn saying he's simply Pepe and not confined to any gender definition or accepted behaviour. Then we learn that he's certainly not dwarf shaped and has probably grown up in AM and so is obviously human and perfectly at home with the more thuggish behaviour in the Shove and more than capable of taking Andy Shank down at the end with a particularly acid sting in the vindictive tail. :P Which last is of course sadistic in the extreme so we're back with Elves again... :twisted: So he's indeed neither one thing nor t'other but an amalgam of racial traits that mostly mark him out as a survivor wherever he goes, with his alcoholism (or abuse as he's certainly functional still) as the human price to pay for his lifestyle choices.

Whether or not he's gay is another matter depending on whether you want to believe Sharn (of the deep, dark chocolately voice) is a female or not, but there's certainly inter-species nookie in some form going on whatever, as they do share a bed :lol:

There's also a distinction between goblins and orcs going on in UA (not in Snuff). Goblins are merely pariahs and despised accordingly (rather like the Untouchables in India and for the same reasons) whereas Orcs are creations of the Dark Lord's Igors and may have started off as goblins but definitely had men in their breeding programme at some stage as Vetinari points out to Lady Margalotta, because that's how they got to be so pathologically horrible. On the subject of Nutt's worthlessness, this is instilled in him from birth in effect and well before Oates' Forgiveness rescues him from the anvil and passes him on to Lady Margalotta to begin his rehabilitation.

Margalotta does not tell him he's worthless, she simply confirms his own distorted self-image and then supplies the means for him to acquire worth by giving him the run of her house and, most importantly, her library. The fundamental core of Nutt's personality lies in obsession and compulsion - the means by which the orcs were degraded into living battle machines in the first place. He has to strive to acquire worth to appease his own demons and so he learns obsessively, becoming an adept in everything he finds including candle dribbling of course and finally with football which he turns into an allegory for the human condition. He is literally Superman with OCD in other words. :twisted: A paladin of a paragon that reprogrammes the inherent abilities of his manufactured race so he transcends his genetic and behavioural programming and as a consequence his 'evil' nature.

So far as Nutt is concerned in the story (and Pepe too ;) ) it's a tale of an experiment to demonstrate that it's nurture over nature that determines someone's 'shape', whether of personality or inclination. Other examples are Trev, Jools, Glenda and even Andy as an example of the bully in society. They're all in their own crab bucket and in some way find a way out (except Andy). While Nutt still thinks he's a goblin he can work away complusively at attaining 'worth' without demonstrating any of the aggression he's programmed with. It's only when he manifests his retractable claws (rather like Wolverine's in X-Men? :P ) that he flips out for a while when he can no longer deny his true genetic heritage and for a time forgets all the accumulated talents he's got at his command and how they have changed him for the better. From there he has to realise, with the help of his friends, that he doesn't have to choose the natural path of his race any more - he has changed himself so he doesn't have to be the old Orc. He can be his own Orc, re-write the book on how they should be and pass on the rehabilitative solution in a manner of his own devising, perhaps with the help of Mightily Oates and clout of Lady Margalotta, but he needed to come to AM and analyse the 'beautiful game' and how to play it 'properly',to find out how to do that. :P
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby raisindot » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:20 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:OK - finished both Snuff and then UA and the argument for Pepe having an elvish bloodline (not being an elf or even half a one) certainly has more evidence to substantiate it than Buddy (Imp y Celin) has in Soul Music. Which does not mean that he's definitely of the elvish persuasion, but he demonstrably has many elvish traits, not least his propensity to violence, extreme cynicism and need for alcohol to blur the more offensive effects of the social mores he's obliged to live by, even in his chosen profession (as an armourer as it's not a good idea to be p*ssed in charge of a forge).


By that definition, Sam Vimes is far more of a likely candidate for elvish ancestry than Pepe. He is an alcoholic who drank to forget where he came from, has a propensity toward violence that goes way beyond normal thuggery, and is the most cynical person in Ankh Morpork. And, by the way, none of these characteristics are at all characteristics of Pterry's elves. They are not alcoholics. They are not cynical (if they were, would they be so easily transfixed by music and theater? Only the Queen is cynical, and it's more than she uses cynicism as a weapon. If everyone obeyed her, she wouldn't be cynical at all). The elves are essentially stupid, or at least incapable of learning anything on their own; they can only absorb knowledge from the people they are conquering. They also aren't interested in joining factions and aren't particularly interested in what goes on in a particular city; all they're interested in is taking over.

Again, not one shred of evidence that Pepe is anything other than a very talented human who is the David Bowie of the DW--someone who is a poser, a chameleon who takes on whatever identify he feels will further his interests.
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby cabbagehead » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:39 pm

Either you're a wizard or you aren't; even Rincewind is a wizard, albeit one with a magical level of almost zero (he can do telekinesis).


And he can see Octarine.
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