Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:49 pm

raisindot wrote: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.

Terry himself told us that there was a touch of Elf in Buddy's heritage and in his alternative life in Quirm (there's a boy works down the fish shop swears he's Elvis(h)? :dance: ). And he also has a touch of Celtic hiraeth, mourning for his harp and generally moping around (playing sad songs instead of hitting the bottle) whilst he's unfulfilled and self-piteously searching for recognition for 'his' music. What Terry's Elves have a propensity for is to get what they want through 'glamour' - so yes they can innovate enough to clad themselves in shininess, to hide their true nature and appearance by feeding vampire-like off their victims imaginations and yes, behaving sadistically breaking people's limbs and spilling blood purely for their own cynical amusement. Even Nazis appreciated the subtler artistic moments of the Ring Cycle didn't they? Granted books didn't get so much respect but the Corleones of this world can still be moved by Madame Butterfly whilst planning assassination in nasty ways. Elves are the motif for the glamour of evil aren't they?

They can 'learn' to find new ways of doing all that and so why wouldn't their 'children' that survive them thrive in such vapid and highly image-conscious industries as the minstrel and fashion design businesses? All smoke and mirrors and very little substance that only puts a minuscule veneer of pixie dust over not very important contributions to human culture? :P All spin and no effort essentially? Pepe spins and leaps and dazzles his way around the Hippo to lead the chants for Trev and away from Nutt. Buddy flings his hair about and twangs his way languidly into his fans libidos with little or no effort. They both draw on the wild free magic in the Disc's make up and it's this that adds the bones to the ethereal nuances of their otherwise empty fatuous little talents for making reinforced/bouncy pants and pretty ditties?

Elves may not have imaginations but they sure like other people's and so this is all about taste and nuance and what you really need to get by ;) Nobody's saying Pepe is actually an Elf - just that he's got some of their characteristics and that's what makes him a moody little diva who likes to get drunk. Is that Sam Vimes? He doesn't like to get drunk from what I remember? And that's why he's not like an Elf because he wants to be real :mrgreen:

Buddy and Pepe are dreamers essentially - Buddy makes them into music and Pepe sells them as clothes that are more about style than function. Neither of them deal in reality as such, just a perception of it. ;)
"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 =Tamar » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:40 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
raisindot wrote: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.

What Terry's Elves have a propensity for is to get what they want through 'glamour' - so yes they can innovate enough to clad themselves in shininess, to hide their true nature and appearance by feeding vampire-like off their victims' imaginations and yes, behaving sadistically breaking people's limbs and spilling blood purely for their own cynical amusement. [...]
They can 'learn' to find new ways of doing all that and so why wouldn't their 'children' that survive them thrive in such vapid and highly image-conscious industries as the minstrel and fashion design businesses? [...]
Elves may not have imaginations but they sure like other people's and so this is all about taste and nuance and what you really need to get by ;) Nobody's saying Pepe is actually an Elf - just that he's got some of their characteristics and that's what makes him a moody little diva who likes to get drunk.


Hi, Jan. Yes, that's basically what I'm saying. I think Pepe has some elven heritage, like the other offspring of elves and human women who survived their encounters with elves. He's not 100% elf, not even 50%, he just has some heritage - as you put it, some of their characteristics. Not much - less than the giggly, easily-sunburned pointy-eared types who worked in Holy Wood for a while [MP] because he doesn't have pointed ears - but enough for him to have more talent than an ordinary non-wizard human for creating the magical effects of one or two pairs of the new micromail pants. (If he told them how, I think the dwarfs could make them as well; I'm pretty sure the dwarfs make the non-chafing effect without quite realizing that it's magical. If you've ever worn mail, you know that it not only chafes, it pinches.) And he has enough elven heritage - honed by growing up in the Shades, which admittedly can do that to a normal-born human - to give him a certain level of carefully controlled cruelty, made subtler by his intelligence which is also unusual for an elf (when you have easy magic and royalty to order you around, you don't need high intelligence and creativity).

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Buddy and Pepe are dreamers essentially - Buddy makes them into music and Pepe sells them as clothes that are more about style than function. Neither of them deal in reality as such, just a perception of it. ;)

Most of it is about style, but the micromail is actually about function, in that the main thing people mention is that it doesn't chafe. Yeah, it's shiny - but the other people in the Dwarf court can't see that the king is wearing it, which means that it is normally worn entirely covered, as underwear.
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby raisindot » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:02 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Terry himself told us that there was a touch of Elf in Buddy's heritage and in his alternative life in Quirm (there's a boy works down the fish shop swears he's Elvis(h)? :dance: ). And he also has a touch of Celtic hiraeth, mourning for his harp and generally moping around (playing sad songs instead of hitting the bottle) whilst he's unfulfilled and self-piteously searching for recognition for 'his' music. What Terry's Elves have a propensity for is to get what they want through 'glamour' - so yes they can innovate enough to clad themselves in shininess, to hide their true nature and appearance by feeding vampire-like off their victims imaginations and yes, behaving sadistically breaking people's limbs and spilling blood purely for their own cynical amusement.

They can 'learn' to find new ways of doing all that and so why wouldn't their 'children' that survive them thrive in such vapid and highly image-conscious industries as the minstrel and fashion design businesses? All smoke and mirrors and very little substance that only puts a minuscule veneer of pixie dust over not very important contributions to human culture? :P All spin and no effort essentially? Pepe spins and leaps and dazzles his way around the Hippo to lead the chants for Trev and away from Nutt. Buddy flings his hair about and twangs his way languidly into his fans libidos with little or no effort. They both draw on the wild free magic in the Disc's make up and it's this that adds the bones to the ethereal nuances of their otherwise empty fatuous little talents for making reinforced/bouncy pants and pretty ditties?

Elves may not have imaginations but they sure like other people's and so this is all about taste and nuance and what you really need to get by ;) Nobody's saying Pepe is actually an Elf - just that he's got some of their characteristics and that's what makes him a moody little diva who likes to get drunk. Is that Sam Vimes? He doesn't like to get drunk from what I remember? And that's why he's not like an Elf because he wants to be real :mrgreen:


You could say all of these things about Moist Von Lipwig.

1. He manipulates people by glamouring them.
2. He clads himself in shininess
3. In the past, he hid his true nature and appearance by feeding vampire-like off his victims imaginations and weaknesses. No, he's not violent (but neither is Buddy and neither is the King or Queen of the Elves), but does ruin people's lives for his own amusement..
4. It would make perfect sense that a half-elf like Moist would become a con man, and that his rise to become one of the most powerful men in Ankh Morpork is due to his elvish 'glamour of evil.'
5. Moist admits that everything he does is mostly about smoke and mirrors and very little substance. Instead of dancing and leaping and leading cheers, he stands in front of crowds and glamours them into believing whatever false dreams he wishes to spin.
6. There's no evidence at all that Pepe draws up magic for his totally 'human powers.' And don't use micromail again as the red herring example. No evidence of anything magic about, no more than the 'magic' of a kevlar vest in keeping a bullet from entering your body.

If Pepe is drawing magic to accomplish things, then Moist must be, too.

And yes, by your definition Sam Vimes could be half elf as well. In GG he was a drunk. He can be sadistically violent. He has learned how to manipulate people to do his bidding. Just because he doesn't dance and sing could simply mean that that aspect of the elven experience didn't manifest itself in his personality (just like being sadistically violent didn't manifest itself in Buddy's or Moist's personality either).

The point here is the original argument being made on this post wasn't that Pepe had elven personality characteristics, but that Pepe himself was genetic either an elf or part-elf. Whether Buddy or someone else from a pre Lord and Ladies book is half-elf is irrelevant. There's absolutely no narrative evidence to support the argument that Pepe is GENETICALLY elvish. If the only way to substantiate this claim is by attributing elven characteristics to him, then you must also concede that Sam Vimes and Moist are also genetically elvish.

This is a fun discussion! :D
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:37 pm

raisindot wrote:You could say all of these things about Moist Von Lipwig.

I think I already have many times and not in this thread... The man's a complete fake and not fit to lick Vetinari's boots in the puppetmaster stakes :P
raisindot wrote:This is a fun discussion! :D

And hardly any poo of any variety to be found - yet :lol:

Your point about Elves not learning is moot anyway - but humans can learn of course and they've learnt a shedload of tricks from the Elves. As Sharlene's pointed out this is all about perspective in which perception also plays a part and is given a Discworld twist. So Pepe's Calvin Klein but went to a ninja school run by the Marquis de Sade; Madame Sharn's Coco Chanel with a business and public relations degree from the Machiavelli Academy and a diploma in engineering under the tutelage of Brunel.

And the tin can's the ball - :doh:

What you are/become is a matter of choice - your choice, is the message in this book. Whether you choose the Warhol option to be famous for 15 minutes (as updated for the new century - for nothing in particular) is entirely up to you and what you want to be remembered for ;)
"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 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:48 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
raisindot wrote:This is a fun discussion! :D

And hardly any poo of any variety to be found - yet :lol:


And just where is the poo these days? It's just not as much fun around here without the poo messing things up. Hope the poo hasn't gone away forever. :(
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Re: Unseen Academicals - a Fresh Perspective

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:25 pm

Poo sticks? :twisted: I doubt he's gone altogether and will pop up as soon as the afterglow of the Olympics has shuffled off - or summat like that :P
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