Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

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Re: Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

Postby =Tamar » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:13 am

raisindot wrote:Interesting. Do a little people have negative comments about her girth or Pterry's description of it?

Nobby makes a comment about the dragon that "it's sodding enormous" and then blushes and changes it to "wide, egg-bearing hips" and "statuesque", obviously catching the implications possible with Sybil and thereby giving the reader the "little man" observation. Sybil is definitely large in all ways. But I don't see her as not being pretty, just that she is large, even as, much later, Agnes Nitt is large.

raisindot wrote:I kind of see Sybil in GG as being kind of that stereotypical large-bodied, breeder-hipped aristocratic women you often see in the novels of PG Wodehouse of other English drawing room authors. [...] The most important point about Sybil's physical appearance is that Sam Vimes is physically attracted to Sybil in spite of it or perhaps because of it. Certainly enough to father a son and have a romantic scene with her in Snuff.


I can easily believe that Vimes would be attracted to Sybil at least partly because of her size. Sir Terry makes the point with Agnes that Ramtops women were often courted for their strength, not their slenderness. This can be demonstrated historically on Earth. My father was born in 1903. He used to try to get us to eat by saying "Don't you want to grow up to be big and fat like me?" He was not fat at all, by the way. A friend of my sister's once visited the house; she was large like Sybil and Agnes. Later, my father referred to her quite sincerely as "that beautiful, beautiful blonde."
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Re: Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

Postby DreadfulKata » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:15 pm

=Tamar wrote:
raisindot wrote:Interesting. Do a little people have negative comments about her girth or Pterry's description of it?

Nobby makes a comment about the dragon that "it's sodding enormous" and then blushes and changes it to "wide, egg-bearing hips" and "statuesque", obviously catching the implications possible with Sybil and thereby giving the reader the "little man" observation. Sybil is definitely large in all ways. But I don't see her as not being pretty, just that she is large, even as, much later, Agnes Nitt is large.


No, I haven't heard people explicitly having a problem with Sybil being fat. It's more something that seems to arise when casting suggestions are made. Names come up of actresses who are about as fat as Betty Page. Or people draw fanart where she's barely heavier than, say Angua.
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Re: Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

Postby Dotsie » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:32 pm

I felt that it was Terry who had a problem with her size - he seemed to change from descriptions of her being fat, to more like "strapping".
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Re: Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

Postby Dotsie » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:39 pm

DreadfulKata wrote: People who work with animals - vets and so on - care so much about animals they dedicate their lives to helping them. but they'll still put a dog to sleep without a flicker of sentimentality (and not just sick dogs - some shelters euthanise dogs they can't rehome etc). So to me there was nothing jarring about the implication that Sybil might put Errol to sleep.

I completely disagree that people who work with animals can put a dog to sleep "without a flicker of sentimentality". Of course they care, and it will definitely bother them, they just have to put this aside to be able to do their job. And a vet euthanising an animal is completely different to a breeder doing it, just because the animal can't be bred from. It's jarring to me because she runs supports the sunshine sanctuary for sick dragons (also in G!G!), keeps a dragon in the house that's old and smelly and has no teeth, and presumably isn't bred from (again, also in G!G!), and later 'rescues' a dragon that was being used to light a forge (forget his name - he was in MAA). This isn't a woman who would say a dragon was for the choppy chop just because she couldn't mate from him, so the inconsistencies are an error on the part of Terry, or just show Sybil to be more sentimental than she wants people to know.
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Re: Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

Postby DreadfulKata » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:25 am

Dotsie wrote:
DreadfulKata wrote: People who work with animals - vets and so on - care so much about animals they dedicate their lives to helping them. but they'll still put a dog to sleep without a flicker of sentimentality (and not just sick dogs - some shelters euthanise dogs they can't rehome etc). So to me there was nothing jarring about the implication that Sybil might put Errol to sleep.

I completely disagree that people who work with animals can put a dog to sleep "without a flicker of sentimentality". Of course they care, and it will definitely bother them, they just have to put this aside to be able to do their job.


I'd draw a distinction between sentimentality and caring. I'm sure no vet is unmoved when they're putting an animal to sleep, but they would never let sentimentality get in the way of doing the job.

But you're right, there's a difference between that situation and a breeder/keeper who is apparently talking about killing healthy animals. I can see that people take issue with this coming from a character who is later (and at other points in this novel too) extremely kind and big-hearted.

I think I also associated Sybil with the horse-and-hound set, the sort of (often posh) person capable of complete soppiness about animals in one sense, but utterly ruthless in others. The people who (used to) hunt foxes had justifications for why it was in the countryside's best interest to hunt foxes, and why it was just sentimentality to protest. I could imagine the Sybil of G!G! being similarly pragmatic about dragons.

I don't think the Sybil of T5E or T! would act in quite the same way, but the Sybil of G!G! is a rather more strident version of the character.

You're probably right, that this is a bit of Early Instalment weirdness for Sybil and is best ignored. All I'm really saying is that I'm able to read G!G! without that leaping out at me as particularly jarring for her character...


... Unlike some other bits. As we know, some of Terry's characters on first appeareance are a bit... different to how we know them later: Lord V, Granny etc.

G!G! isn't much of a case of this, I don't think; all the characters are fairly recognisable. But it;s funny to reread it and notice some anomalies, particularly with Vimes. Remember when Vimes had no very strong feelings about monarchy, and it was actually Colon who was enraged by the very concept? And that one time Vimes left a fellow officer to fend for himself in a barfight?

Ah, the relentless march of Character Development.
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Re: Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

Postby raptornx01 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:59 am

Don't forget that the time Sybil was making those comments she was doing so infront of someone she didn't know. And the issue of aristocrats and image comes up quite alot, especially later. This could be part of that.

As for the physical, Honestly, I never pictured her as being particularly fat. not like Agnes, but more of an amazon type. Big in general, not just around the waist.
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Re: Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

Postby Dotsie » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:16 pm

Nobby called her a "big fat party", which seemed a bit harsh.
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Re: Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

Postby Discworldpadawan » Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:29 pm

Hi All,
just finished Guards, Guards yesterday! Monstrous regiment was my last one, and the Tiffany Aching series before that, so the city watch lot are my next undertaking! Unfortunately I've already read snuff, so it wont be totally in order tho! Snuff was the first discworld novel I ever read. Anyway, it was a joy to see how the watch started out with only 3 members plus Carrot :D Also the mental image of Sybil I get in this book is alot different from the one I got whilst reading Snuff? as well as this, I'd not heared of Lupine wonse before, so I'd assumed he was Drumknott's real name, not knowing where drumknott comes from as Vetinari's assistant either (no spilers please! :D )
Vetinari is also different here than in other discworld books I've read, seems to be just finding his feet as tyrant :lol: :lol:

The only thing that confused me was why Wonse lifted up the floorboard in Vetinari's bedroom to retrieve (after the secret society robe) the summoning of the dragons book, just before being caught in the act by vimes? This implied to me that Vetinari was the Supreme grand master, who summoned the dragon with the book??
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Re: Guards! Guards! Discussion Group

Postby =Tamar » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:13 am

Discworldpadawan wrote:The only thing that confused me was why Wonse lifted up the floorboard in Vetinari's bedroom to retrieve (after the secret society robe) the summoning of the dragons book, just before being caught in the act by vimes? This implied to me that Vetinari was the Supreme grand master, who summoned the dragon with the book??


What room in the palace would be less likely to be searched than Vetinari's bedroom? Wonse would have free access, more than the other servants, so it was both safe and accessible. Hiding the materials there also gave Wonse a last-chance way to push the blame onto Vetinari, which he tried to do when Vimes caught him. But Vimes knew better because he remembered Wonse's peculiar style of running.

One thing I wonder about is whether Vetinari had found the cache and hadn't done anything about it, or possibly hadn't had time to do anything about it before the dragon took over. As was said before, this is still an early version of Vetinari, when he could still be fooled by his secretary.
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