Pyramids Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:24 am

Camels :D

I can see what Terry was doing with the camels - they are such unlikely creatures, but they are superbly adapted for survival in some of the harshest environments. They seem to have a natural ability to find water - an ability that has probably saved countless human lives.

In Pyramids that ability allows them to (apparently) open a whole river valley that was in another dimension by using complex mathematics. So it would seem that You Bastard is not the only great mathematician in the history of camelkind, as it was Khuft's camels that found Djelibeybi in the first place. :)

Is Terry saying that complex math(s) can be learned as an evolutionary survival trait?
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:50 am

You Bastard is the greater mathematician alive. I don't remember TP saying "in the whole camel history", I think he said "the world greatest", which means "that there is now".
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:17 am

Well that still works - camels may be naturally good at mathematics. You Bastard is just the best.

Khuft was a camel dealer who was running away due to some dodgy selling he'd done. And suddenly he came across a river valley that doesn't seem to have been there before. In Teppic's dream, he meets Khuft who tells him what happened. Teppic works out that it was the camels that opened the valley from whatever dimension it was in and that's why he goes and gets You Bastard, making sure that he is really thirsty. You Bastard got them out of the country when it had reverted to its previous dimension (due to the Great Pyramid twisting all the dimensions) and it was You Bastard that got them back.

"And Khuft the camel herder became lost in the Desert, and there opened before him, as a Gift from the Gods, a Valley flowing with Milk and Honey", 'quoted Teppic, in a hollow voice. He added, 'I used to think it must have been awfully sticky.'

'There I was, dying of thirst, all the camels kicking up a din, yelling for water, next minute - whoosh - a bloody great river valley, reed beds, hippos, the whole thing. Out of nowhere. I nearly got knocked down in the stampede.'

'No!' said Teppic. 'It wasn't like that! The gods of the valley took pity on you and showed you the way in, didn't they?' He shut up, surprised at the tones of pleading in his own voice.

Khuft sneered. 'Oh, yes? And I just happened to stumble across a hundred miles of river in the middle of the desert that everyone else had missed. Easy thing to miss, a hundred miles of river valley in the middle of a desert, isn't it? Not that I was going to look a gift camel in the mouth, you understand, O went and brought my family and the rest of the lads in soon enough. Never looked back'

'One minute it wasn't there, the next minute it was?' said Teppic.

'Right enough. Hard to believe, isn't it?'

'No,' said Teppic. 'No, not really.'

Khuft poked him with a wrinkled finger. 'I always reckoned it was the camels that did it,' he said. 'I always thought they sort of called it into place, like it was sort of potentially there but not quite, and it needed just that bit of effort to make it real. Funny things, camels.'*



That inspires Teppic to jump ship and find You Bastard. Maybe this is Terry playing science (maths) against religion. :)

*Any mistakes in this passage are mine in typing - not Terry's.
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Postby Penfold » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:56 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Well that still works - camels may be naturally good at mathematics. You Bastard is just the best.

Terry definitely hints at this on page 153:
"Three stomachs and a digestive system like an industrial distillation plant gave you a lot of time for sitting and thinking...."

"Its not generally realised that camels have a natural aptitude for mathematics, particularly where they involve ballistics. This evolved as a survival trait, in the same way as a human's hand and eye co-ordination, a chameleon's camouflage....."

"And this particular camel, the result of millions of years of selective evolution to produce a creature that could count the grains of sand it was walking over, and close its nostrils at will, and survive under the broiling sun for many days without water, was called You Bastard".

The fact that he refers to You Bastard's ability being the result of selective evolution certainly suggests to me that he was playing science against religion. This also means that all camels throughout history have, to some degree, been mathematical geniuses (should that be genii, or is that another story?Image). I also wonder whether this lack of recognition is the reason for them being the most unpleasantly foul smelling, viscious, evil brutes ever to have existed? :twisted: :lol:
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:47 pm

Penfold wrote:I also wonder whether this lack of recognition is the reason for them being the most unpleasantly foul smelling, viscious, evil brutes ever to have existed? :twisted: :lol:


You're kidding, aren't you? :shock:

Camels are my favourite animal. I love them. They're just like big naughty dogs. :P

Here's a photo of the camel that I rode for 5 days in the Sinai.
How could you not love him? Just look at that face! What a cutie. :D

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Postby Penfold » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:23 pm

My comment refers more about when I was standing at the other end! :wink: Mind you, I have been up close and personal with lions, cheetah, rhino, elephants, scorpians, and assorted snakes to name but a few beasties. I have also been visciously savaged by a vulture but I still stand by what I said about camels :P Maybe its all down to personal experience? :lol:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:02 pm

Has anyone ever seen a camel spit? I have and luckily it wasn't aimed at me :lol: The 'payload' was murky yellow ochre coloured (hay mainly I think - this was in a zoo), reeked to high heaven and accurately drenched the head of a fractious younger camel, possibly his or her adolescent calf who was standing about 10 feet (approx 3 meters) away at the time :twisted:

It was a dromedary (the one-humped ones) but the bactrians (hairier and 2 humped) do it as well. In fact it isn't spit at all, but essentially re-gurgitated food carried up from one of the stomachs by the cud and delivered into the mouth for the usual purpose of re-chewing and a second digestion... However, when a camel is provoked or has reason to feel aggrieved for some reason, they aim the wodge of half-digested grass (or whatever it is they last ate) as a projectile weapon - literally a vomit missile... :lol:

I was going to go on and make much the same comments as Tony so I won't bother now, except to say that aside from any possible quantum mathematical ability camels are superb snipers with unrivalled eye to lip co-ordination (they're so mobile and flexible as observed HERE - sorry if someone's put this up before but I couldn't read absolutely everything in here from when I wasn't around last week).

We need another rule I think :twisted: Rule #2 never p*ss a camel off :twisted:
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:12 pm

Dotsie wrote:
Jan Van Quirm wrote:BTW - we always say 'we're going the gym' :lol:


Good for you! I never say that :lol:

I have to admit that 'gym' was to impress J.I.B - I should have said 'going to the pub' not gym - :P or 'the beach' or 'the doctor' yad di yada to infinity :lol:

Or even 'going to see the ENT specialist' - which is someone J-I-B might consider visiting for the blockage in his ear canal orifice 'cos he's obviously not hearing too well these days :twisted: :wink:

Back to Terry's camels and the greatest mathematician of all time - I think this venerable animal was mentioned about the time Teppic's in with the philosophers wasn't it? :wink:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:03 am

As I'm still catching up in here no apologies for back to backing :P

Another Brit comedy connection - has anyone picked up on the resemblance of Ptraci to Carry on Cleo star Amanda Barrie?

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Ptraci

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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:27 am

Camels Spit Accurately. 'Nuff said. YouBastard was stunning Seagulls with Olive Pits while Ptraci was feeding leaves to the fortunate Tortise.
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby swreader » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:32 am

Actually, I think that Terry's use of You Bastard (spitting or doing calculations) is more like incongruous humor. Camels (and lamas) don't technically spit--but they can propel the cud they are chewing accurately for quite a long distance.

But, Tony, the problem with your suggestion that the camels are the ones who "caused" the appearance of Djelibeybi that Khuft (as he points out to Teppic) is a dream and "If you're expecting a bit of helpful ancestral advice, forget it. This is a dream. I can't tell you anything you don't know yourself."

Actually, I rather think that Terry is having a great deal of fun with the camel(s) and their ability to spit accurately at anyone one or anything who annoys them. They are marvellous creatures who have the ability to subsist on food that no other animal can eat or digest. Like cows, they are ruminants. But though there are lots of myths about camels storing water in their humps--they actually have the ability to store water in their blood stream, which allows them to go for long periods without drinking. They certainly are an example of a animal adapted to it's environment. But mathematicians?
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Postby swreader » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:54 pm

Who is Dios?
Tony and I were talking about Dios this morning, and about Dios and Khuft. He said that Dios claimed to have a tomb buiilt for him. So I checked (having said, would you trust anything Dios said), and at the beginning of Teppic's reign after he and Dios have ordered the building of the giant pyramid, Teppic talks about how the pyramids radiate age, and asks (p. 97) if Dios will get one. "A pyramid?" said Dios. "Sire, I have one already. It pleased one of your forebears to make provision for me."

But, when Teppicymon and Gern and Dil reach the last of the pyramids to let out Khuft, they find the tomb is open and there are counting marks on the walls. And we know that Dios makes those marks.

So my question is, is it possible that Khuft is Dios?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:00 pm

Sharlene - I have to turn your usual stock objection to the wilder theories in the discussions around on you - :wink: This is a story not real life and the Disc has a high magical field so why can't camels be brilliant mathematicians? Discworld has a lot of idiosyncratic fauna and flora, so this is just one more thing to ice the cake, given that camels are naturals at calculating angles and tangents, even in this world, with their talented lips and long snakey necks... :lol:

Given that Khuft's camels 'found' the Djelbeybi valley in the first place it then follows that You Bastard was up to pulling off the same trick whilst in a similarly thirsty state, but then Terry ups the ante and has him miscalculate slightly in order to solve the Riddle of the Sphinx. Whatever you want to call Terry's humourous approach(es), for there's more than one, all of them feed the story. Really the amount of slapstick in Pyramids is neglible and anyway spun cleverly in context, as in You Bastard's target practice in Ephebe and the playing around with camel's unusual gait and stubborn natures in the difficulty that both Teppic and Ptraci have when they're trying to make a quick getaway... it's plausible and very well observed classy slapstick :D :wink:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:15 pm

swreader wrote:Who is Dios?
Tony and I were talking about Dios this morning, and about Dios and Khuft. He said that Dios claimed to have a tomb buiilt for him. So I checked (having said, would you trust anything Dios said), and at the beginning of Teppic's reign after he and Dios have ordered the building of the giant pyramid, Teppic talks about how the pyramids radiate age, and asks (p. 97) if Dios will get one. "A pyramid?" said Dios. "Sire, I have one already. It pleased one of your forebears to make provision for me."

But, when Teppicymon and Gern and Dil reach the last of the pyramids to let out Khuft, they find the tomb is open and there are counting marks on the walls. And we know that Dios makes those marks.

So my question is, is it possible that Khuft is Dios?

No he isn't Khuft - Dios is a kind of immortal time traveller and at the end of Pyramids, instead of being met by Death, he is cast back in time to meet Khuft yet again and go through the whole process again from scratch. :shock: :lol: I think he also has a kind of amnesia as well? (Terry being a kind chap and mitigating this horrible looping fate a little) so he at least only vaguely recalls that there's something that he needs to do to make sure Khuft is 'made safe' and meets his destiny as King of Djelibeybi.

Dios' tomb is open because he uses it quite frequently to recharge his mortal body enough to keep going as High Priest - I can't remember whether it's said he locks it up in some way, but given that the earliest mummies (including Khuft?) may have known he had one for himself perhaps they have broken into it to try and nail the horrible git. :lol:

Dios (god in Italian and Spanish as Crys points out) uses the time energy charges in his own pied a terre pyramid in a far more practical way to the poor old Kings as he cuts out the superfluous dying and mummification process and prolongs his own mortality by effectively having a little kip in his very own time-protection chamber aka a pyramid. So not only is he a fiendish control freak he's also peddling immortality on false pretences to Khuft and his royal descendants :shock: :twisted:

Djelibeybi itself may be inherently magical with the valley able to exist on different temporal planes (because the people are all still trapped in there) and perhaps the pyramids themselves channel the shifts (the Great Pyramid certainly does... :shock: ) but also keep them stable.

Khuft is dead but Dios lives on by literally recharging his batteries and persuading the next generation to keep on building pyramids - Dios is a kind of time vampire and Frankenstein's monster in effect :P :lol:

This is also why Dios gets so mad with the gods showing up - because HE made them... 8) Yes we're back to that ole myth/religion belief thing again - also why Teppic had to go to assassin school... :twisted:
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:06 pm

By the way, I don't know if this is deliberate, but besides the obvious joke about Djelibeybi = jelly baby, there is also such a thing as a Djeli or Griot. They are West African praise singers and repositories of oral traditions like bards. :D

Of course it could be a coincidence, but knowing Terry I doubt it.
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