Night Watch Discussion *spoilers*

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Postby swreader » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:40 am

kakaze wrote: About the cigar butt and beer bottle, I think they don't matter. I think Lu Tze just acted annoyed so Vimes would stop persueing a pointless digression to their conversation.

So why didn't Lu Tzu just tell younger Vimes about Carcer and where to find him easily in the future, and avoid having older Vimes & Carcer being sent back in time and getting Keel killed ahead of schedule?


First, the beer bottle is mentioned only in Sam's first visit, but the beer bottle is just Terry having a small joke, while building up the garden as representative of the pattern of life and history--a point which will become important later. This time the spell in the garden restores Sam to the tranquility to accept the actions of the Monks of History and to accept what has happened and that what he does now matters.

"So what people do matters!" said Sweeper. "People invent other laws. What they do is important! The Abbott's very excited about this.... It means the multiverse isn't infinite, and people's choices are far more vital than they think. They can, by what they do change the universe."

Terry is doing two things with the passage here--one is setting up in a way the fact that the Garden is indeed a Mandala (like he does with the small one he shows Lobsang on the way to Ank-Morpork). Second, he is explaining why it is so important to history that Sam act as Vimes.

Sam is old enough and wise enough to understand and accept the existence of the Monks of History even if he doesn't grasp all the details of what they do. And he knows that what he does as "Keel" will affect how Vimes grows up.

There are two answers to your last question. First, Terry chooses to write the book in this fashion (with the time travel) partially to enjoy telling us about Vimes's younger self and the world 30 years ago. But he also uses this book to stress the importance of decisions and actions. Your question then becomes irrelevant, since there would be no book then.

The fact that the Garden/Mandala begins to move when Sam tosses his cigar butt down in the 2nd visit is a sign that things are changing in the world. The two monks, watching the garden shifting by Sam's action of tossing the cigar butt and ..."felt the fingers of History spreading out and into the world."
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:10 pm

Getting away somewhat from the time-travel aspect of this book - I find it interesting that the new boss (Snapcase) turns out to be pretty much like the old boss (Winder). It's amazing how often people seem to vote in someone just as bad as the last one.

The whole thing about calling out the troops to deal with a relatively peaceful protest and thus escalating it into a major riot, is something that keeps on happening even today. Terry seems to be pointing out the way that people insist on repeating history. :D
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
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Postby raisindot » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:06 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Getting away somewhat from the time-travel aspect of this book - I find it interesting that the new boss (Snapcase) turns out to be pretty much like the old boss (Winder). It's amazing how often people seem to vote in someone just as bad as the last one.


So true. Maybe my memory is goin' bad, but doesn't someone (Vimes, maybe?) say, at some point, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" or some other lyric check from The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again."?

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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:22 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I find it interesting that the new boss (Snapcase) turns out to be pretty much like the old boss (Winder). It's amazing how often people seem to vote in someone just as bad as the last one.


and by saying that, he also tells us once more how Vetinari is a good ruler now. He was presented as a tyrant, and they talk about him like that still now, but he's not bad as they were bad. they thought about themselves, vetinari thinks about the city, how to make it progress, how to maintain peace, and finally even vimes realise how difficult it is.
:lol: this one they didn't choose him, but he turned out better than the ones they had chosen for themselves :lol:

p.s.what a nice discussion you've made here. couldn't read it before, didn't have time, finally i've found a few minutes more :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:01 pm

Exactly Chrys! :D

The previous Patricians have been interested in the job to make them more rich and powerful than they were. Vetinari seems to have a real love for the city - maybe something like Vimes loves it.
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Postby swreader » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:34 am

And the time travel aspect explains a bit of why Vetinari doesn't think much of Sam originally. He's only met him as the youngster--not Keel. And it's only at the end that everything clicks into place for both of them.

It struck me as interesting that on his second time to be there thirty years ago, Sam/Keel thinks so much more like Vetinari (down to the number of carts coming into the city) and wishing that he had a couple of trolls or dwarfs along to help the Watch--things which Vetinari has done to improve the city.

Has it ocurred to anyone else to wonder who let Captain Rust out of the cells where Sam had him locked up?
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:52 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I find it interesting that the new boss (Snapcase) turns out to be pretty much like the old boss (Winder). It's amazing how often people seem to vote in someone just as bad as the last one.


The Who(m) says it beautifully in a song.... "Won't get Fooled Again" Here comes the new boss, Same as the Old Boss... Good song. good truth... Lewis Black is correct, We are screwed either way, you just close your eyes, roll the dice and hope for the best. *shrug*
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:59 am

Tonyblack wrote:The previous Patricians have been interested in the job to make them more rich and powerful than they were.
Vetinari seems to have a real love for the city

yes :D
first sentence : how things really are around here :cry:
second sentence: why i'd love and i dream of the day we'll have a vetinari too :roll:

p.s.ehm...i don't even remember rust...i guess some things got stuck in my mind, and some other can't stay even for 5 minutes... there's no room for everything :oops: i'll go refresh my memory :oops:
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:17 pm

Talking of Rust (who actually had been an old boyfriend of Sybil's), I loved the bit where Sam considers the amount of lives he could save by getting rid of Rust once and for all. It's a bit like the idea of travelling back in history and killing Hitler before he came to power.

Nice idea that it might seem to get rid of rust, it would do untold damage to the timeline. History is a fact - you can't change it - you can only (hopefully) learn by it and not make the same mistakes again. :)
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Postby poohcarrot » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:30 pm

Having not contributed greatly to this discussion but avidly read all the comments, I'd just like to say that nobody has so far convinced me that this is a great book. As stated earlier, I love it, but it's not in my top 5.

In the Pyramids discussion that is next, I'm currently working on a theory that will explain why I think Pyramids is one of TP's greatest books, explain the reasons why some people don't like it, and even explain why TP doesn't sell so well in the US. 8)

Come on! If you all rate this book so highly, convince me that I should too. :P
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:33 pm

NW, One of Terry's darker books,but I do like Pyramids not quite in my top five but very close. :)
He willnae tak' a drink! I think he's deid! , on the other hand though A Midgie in yir hand is worth twa up yir kilt.
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Postby raisindot » Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:06 pm

poohcarrot wrote:In the Pyramids discussion that is next, I'm currently working on a theory that will explain why I think Pyramids is one of TP's greatest books, explain the reasons why some people don't like it, and even explain why TP doesn't sell so well in the US. 8)


I am very much looking forward to reading your theory, Pooh. Will it include things like Planck length, super symmetry, and closed string loops?

:wink:

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Postby poohcarrot » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:58 pm

Nope. :P

So far it involves a banana and a football match. :?
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
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Postby swreader » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:01 am

Pooh, I get the impression that the books you like have lots of semi-slapstick comedy bits--and that's why you like them (though I may be totally wrong about this). On the other hand, I suspect that one of the reasons you don't much like Night Watch is that it isn't funny -- at all.

One of the things I enjoy and admire about this book is that it is a technical tour de force weaving together the themes of time as expressed in two different books. It also gives Terry a chance to acquaint us with the kind of world which both Sam and Vetinari grew up in--a world of deceit, corruption, and general depravity--with some specific differences. It's a world much like the medieval worlds, I suspect, with all of the corruption of the old royalty of AM, but none of the later virtues. It explains a great deal about the nature of Vetinari and Vimes as we have come to know them in the later books.
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:09 am

I like Night Watch but it's not my favourite, although i like it more than Pyramids :roll:
Anyway, as Swreader said this book is not funny, it's hard, kids die, when they entered the torture room I almost felt sick, but it's a very city-book.
And talking about the book, when everybody let the old Patrician die, they were convinced by the others? I mean, the few who at the beginning were loyal to him, they were just "convinced"?
What happened then to the other Patrician? Snapcase, if I remember right?

One thing I don't like about the book, or maybe about Vimes, is:
why is he so angry at Vetinari in the end? Ok, he had maybe the worst day of his life, but he was able to remain himself with everybody else, he could calm down in front of Carcer and not kill him, but he got furious with Vetinari. Why? Just because he doesn't like him? But things like "that day" don't happen with Vetinari, so why all the anger? why the "how dare you" and the "I warned you" parts?
What has he done? And it was Carrot who wanted to promote him every time, and by the way Vimes likes his promotion so he can order people around, he enjoys it, so why the "you can't bribe me with another promotion" at Vetinari?
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