This thread is for discussing Thud! in some depth. If you haven’t read the book then read on at your own risk – or, better still, go and read the book and join in the fun.
For those of us that are going to join in the discussion, here are a few guidelines:
Please feel free to make comparisons to other Discworld books, making sure you identify the book and the passage you are referring to. Others may not be as familiar with the book you are referencing, so think before you post.
Sometimes we’ll need to agree to disagree – only Terry knows for sure what he was thinking when he wrote the books and individuals members may have widely different interpretations – so try to keep the discussion friendly.
We may be discussing a book that you don’t much care for – don’t be put off joining in the discussion. If you didn’t care for the book, then that in itself is a good topic for discussion.
Please note: there is no time limit to this discussion. Please feel free to add to it at any time - especially if you've just read the book.
Please endeavour to keep the discussion on topic. If necessary I will step in and steer it back to the original topic – so no digressions please!
Thud! by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 2005
Not only does Commander Sir Samuel Vimes have a murder to solve, he also needs to stop a war in the city and solve the mystery of Koom Valley. And he still has to make sure he’s home by six to read to his son. He also has to deal with vampire recruits, troll gangsters, government inspectors, rabble-rousing dwarfs, suicidal assassins and a mysterious entity that’s trying to use him as a weapon of mass destruction.
Can Ankh-Morpork’s top-cop come out ahead of the game?
I want to thank raisindot for volunteering to write the introduction to this month’s discussion.
raisindot wrote:If we are never blessed with another Watch book again, we can at least be satisfied that the series ends on a high note, for Thud! is, in many ways, a noble coda to the evolution of Sam Vimes from the drunken, fearful, and powerless bell-ringer of "Guards! Guards!" to the sober, fearless, and powerful copper's cop of "The Fifth Elephant" and "Night Watch."
"Thud!" is in many ways, a sequel to "The Fifth Elephant." The maguffin of the story is a standard police procedural into the death in Ankh-Morpork of a controversial “deep down" Dwarfish grag, or wise man, apparently by a troll. This investigation is the springboard into the history and mythology of both dwarfs and trolls and the efforts of these ancient enemies to control their history in modern times.
In previous DW books where dwarfs are prominently featured, words—and the assembly of words into sentences and books—are central leitmotifs. In Thud, symbols—and their literal and mythological meanings—form the central theme. Dwarfish minesigns highlight the growing fears of its diminutive inhabitants. Hand-written symbols call into existence ancient evils. Graffiti of diamonds etched into city walls express the aspirations of trolls. A huge painting of the legendary Battle of Koom Valley, a central event in the history of trolls and dwarves—carries many levels of meanings, from the literal to the legendary. Even literal-minded Sam Vimes cannot escape the need to immerse his young son in the symbology of the copper's never-ending quest for the truth, as revealed to his young son in his nightly reading of the book "Where's My Cow."
Although the "A" story centers around the 'mystery,' PTerry, for the first time, devotes a significant portion of the 'B" story to its female coppers. Sergeant Angua and a new recruit, Sally, a black-ribboner vampire forced upon the Watch by politics, conduct their own investigation into the mystery while dealing in real terms with the symbolism and mythology of vampire-werewolf relations. The symbolic and psychological nature of male-female relationships is drunkenly explored within a multi-racial context by the female coppers in the first of its kind 'girl's night out.' While these scene bog down the narrative at times, they do reveal a side of the Watch that has never been fully explored before.
Behind every symbol is the nature of its meaning, and it is the battle to control, reveal, or destroy these symbols and their meanings that forms the narrative thrust of Thud! The deity Tak may have 'written' the world and the dwarfish, human, and troll races, but it is the interpretation of Tak's intentions in creating these races that has driven the struggle between dwarfs and trolls for thousands of years, peaking in the Battle of Koom Valley, whose literally earth-shattering 'mystery' becomes imperative for Vimes to solve as its approaching anniversary becomes a rallying cry for dwarves and trolls to re-start their ancient war. But this time the battle won't be restricted to Koom Valley, but will spread across the Discworld and explode in the city with the largest concentration of both trolls and dwarves—Ankh-Morpork. The murder of the grag is the tip of gigantic conspiracy that must be solved, one that will ultimately reveal the true meaning behind the symbolism of Koom Valley, whatever its repercussions. And only one man can reveal that truth—Ankh Morpork's legendary symbol of truth and incorruptibility. As Lord Vetinari urges him, the world needs Sam Vimes' version of the truth. The question of Thud! is: Can Sam Vimes deliver it in time?
Want to write the introduction for the next discussion (Carpe Jugulum)? PM me and let me know if you’d like to – first come first served.