Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

Moderators: Jason, Toothy, Tonyblack

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:20 pm

Penfold wrote:OK, maybe patriotism is the wrong word but the opinion of "we're better than you because we live here" and "our culture is more valid than yours" is equally as misguided and dangerous.

Like Boston, Mass & the 'burbs of Tokyo Bay back along :roll: :lol:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10588
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:27 pm

As to why no one had mentioned religious fanaticism before - well swreader did on page one. :wink:

Yes, it's an obvious theme of the book and one I was certainly planning on investigating. But this discussion has been a little slow to get under way since Monday. :P

The timing was somewhat apt regarding the London bombings - I know as I was in London the week after on my way to the Clarecraft event and there were armed police everywhere. Terry was writing the book at the time, but he practically finished by then.

The fact is that this sort of thing is not new - it's happened in the past and it will continue to happen. So, yes it was well timed, but it's hardly out of date now.
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29004
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Postby Penfold » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:59 pm

Tonyblack wrote:The timing was somewhat apt regarding the London bombings - I know as I was in London the week after on my way to the Clarecraft event and there were armed police everywhere. Terry was writing the book at the time, but he practically finished by then.

This isn't the only time that Terry has shown great timing with book release. Feel free to correct me, but wasn't Making Money released just prior to the world-wide banking financial meltdown? :lol:
The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.
10
User avatar
Penfold
Member
 
Posts: 7222
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:59 am
Location: Worthing

Postby raisindot » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:01 pm

Reacting to Pooh's comments:

When I first read Thud! I agreed with your b and c. There certainly seemed a lot more blatant commercialism here than the other books. I finally rationalized it by thinking that, hell, DW is PTerry's property, and he should be able to do whatever the hell he wants with it.

The humor level (or it being 'less funny') didn't bother me one bit. Perhaps because I started my DW journey rather late in the series, with more 'serious (i.e., less ha ha funny) books like TFE and NW. I almost have the reverse reaction--I like much less the ones that seem to be just in it for laughs alone (I won't mention them for fear of bringing up old debates).

I didn't see the dwarf/troll issues as one of religion but more one of culture. The DW dwarfs aren't religious--they don't worship a higher power because their higher power (Tak) went away after he 'wroten' the world. And, unlike fundamentalists, the deep downers don't think their way was the ONLY way--they just simply hated trolls and wanted to preserve that historical status quo. That's a lot different than radical fundamentalists in general, who feel that anyone anywhere who doesn't share their views either needs to convert or be destroyed.

Besides, I always believed that the Dwarfs of TFE and Thud! were the DW equivalent of Chasidic Jews, who are bound in tradition, are strong believers in the power of words and laws, and tend to isolate themselves from society as much as possible.

I think that, rather than religion here, the troll/dwarf debate has a better analogy in racism, particularly that of white people trying to asset their racial superiority over any of any other race (but particularly those of African descent). Olduvai (sp.) Gorge may be the Koom Valley for racists, for it more or less proved that humankind did originate in Africa and everyone is a descendants from the 'original' Africans. There are still white supremacists today who won't accept this version of evolution and do anything they can to discredit it (creationism, anyone?)

J-I-B
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3217
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:24 pm

Not necessarily creationism - how about convergent evolution? :wink:

The oldest fossil remains of australopithecus africanus were indeed found in Olduvai Gorge - but an earlier 'strain' called australopithicus 'afarenisis' was found in 1974 in Ethiopia and named 'Lucy'. So all of the fossil evidence for this early hominid have been found in Africa - so far.

That doesn't mean to say the 2 sub-species never existed beyond Africa - just that those are the oldest remains so far and they have been found there...

Palaeontology can only go on the latest evidence, so yes, the earliest hominid species has been found in Africa - but that doesn't mean it was confined to that range. :)
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10588
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby swreader » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:15 am

Responding more or less to Pooh's points and subsequent comments--

Humor - This is probably the most serious of Pratchett's books to theat time, and since I find his "laugh a minute" books less than satisfactory, I was pleased. He does try to insert a humorous thread, I think, with the Colon/Nobby and Angua/Sally/Cheery/Tawnee story lines. And I think that's pretty much the worst part of the book. The caricature of the posh museum director is funny, and I must admit that the comment about it being "art" if it's got cherubs and urns is worth a small chuckle. The idea of Nobby and Tawnee as a "couple" is almost too unbelievable to be funny--but I think that's what Pratchett was trying to do. The "girl's night out" section of the book that drags, and isn't funny (or fun). Letting Nobby off (since it seems clear to me that Tawnee will dump him) because he no longer wants her because "she can't cook" is supposed to be funny but is too stereotypical. But then, I don't think that Pratchett has been trying to write "funny" books for a long time.

b) As to the charge of "commercialism" -- I suspect the publication of the book and the board game is more due to the publishers than to Terry. DW fans will, and do, buy most anything. There is no need to buy the game or Where's My Cow ?as far as Thud! goes. The game is described and explained, and all of Where's My Cow? is quoted at one place or another. I can't understand how you can miss the point of Sam's reading to young Sam and the whole Thud! game/ Koom Valley war as major parts of the major themes of the book.

I thought I'd explained this well enough earlier, but obviously not. It seems quire clear to me that Terry is satirizing the mind-set which uses "religion" as a justification for war. It's pretty clear at the beginning of the book when Sam describes what Hamcrusher has been preaching--

"He preached the superiority of dwarf over troll, and that the duty of every dwarf was to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers and remove trollkind from the face of the world. It was written in some holy book, apparently, so that made it okay, and probably compulsory. [emphasis added]
Young dwarfs listened to him because he talked about history and destiny and all the other words that always got trotted out to put a gloss on slaughter. "

The beauty of this satire is that it fits on fundamentalists of whatever stripe precisely because it's told as a war between Dwarfs and Trolls. And it illustrates why Hamcrusher is "accidentally" killed by the others and why they must destroy the proof that Tak created the Trolls as well as the Dwarfs. If this isn't a religious war--never mind what the dwarfs sayabout not having a religion--I can't imagine what else it is.

Wars are fought, almost always, with some "religious" or "moral" imperative--consider the Crusades, the Moorish invasion of Europe, the Aryan theories of the Nazi's used to justify the slaughter of non-Aryans, and even the abolitionist part of the Civil War. That's because war is irrational. Faith is, by definition, not rational. And religious coloring can be added to whatever war or atrocity you want to justify. The most obvious analogy is to the Al-Qaeda terrorists, but it works just as well with the anti-abortionist murders or other justifications for killing those who disagree with you. That's why I find this a better book than Jingo, which is also anti-war--but with a more "patriotic" theme. That one is the book where he satirizes nationalism (Jingoism is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy". )

Sam is the target of The Summoning Dark because he has a well of anger at stupidity and cruelty. But he is able to defeat The Summoning Dark, because he knows the darkness of his own soul and chooses to control it--by creating the Guardian Dark. Certainly, there are strong religious and/or moral overtones in this.

Does anybody think that what I describe as the humorous thread really works as "funny"? I think it's the one weakness in an otherwise magnificent satiric novel dealing with not only the problems of our times, but those of human nature.
User avatar
swreader
Member
 
Posts: 806
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:39 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:20 pm

I've only read Thud once and enjoyed it but thought it was pretty 'flat' because of the lack of humour. Whilst warring over 'people who are not like us' is part of human nature (in the broadest way possible - which is on the Discworld) so is having a joke or a lark in even the darkest of times.

Biggest possible example - WW1 killed a million people on the battlefield, but Spanish 'bird' flu' killed as many as it struck immediately afterwards and killed as many women as men. This re-established the procreative balance and allowed the birth rate to recover relatively quickly once peace was established. BUT, in the UK the birth rate during WW1 and WW2 actually rose drastically amongst the unmarried population - why? Because death is scary and almost certain death doubly so. What do people do when they're scared? In Britain they went to the pub and the theatres (which hastily switched from dramas to musicals and burlesque/music hall style comedies) and had FUN. After the theatres and pubs chucked out they all went and had yet more fun of the carnal variety and during both wars a lot of kids were born without fathers either because they'd been killed or had only stuck around the one crucial night... The same thing happened on the continent in both World Wars of course, especially in places like Paris where soldiers went on furlough occasionally and did exactly the same kind of thing as they did before they left home in Berlin, or Birmingham, or Boston (Lancs or Mass). They went out and blew off a lot of steam and then got laid.

Life/Hope and Death/Fate double date during wartime. :lol: Anyway the debates between boys and girls in Thud are simply there to add light relief, absolutely in context, except they're Tawnee and Nobby, not dwarves and trolls. When I hit bottom the other day I made a very off-colour and extremely cynical joke about suicide - deliberately laughing at 'death' (of hope in this case) is my way of coping with demons.

Terry's written this book in the same way as he wrote Small Gods and Jingo. The reason it's not as funny is because he was further down the maturity road and no longer needs to be as funny or just wanted to be funny in a different manner. That's all it is. Horses for courses.
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10588
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby raisindot » Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:33 pm

Swreader--

Very thoughtful analysis. I agree with everything you said except the "religious" element. Not that I'm defending religion--not at all--but because it's quite clear that the dwarves are NOT religious at all. They don't pray to any higher power, and their rituals are cultural, not religious in nature. Remember that Bashfulson says that the Tak origination story is not religious is nature--the dwarfs consider this to be history, the literal truth, and that Tak left the world after creating it and therefore there is no reason to pray to him. In fact, there's no evidence that dwarves have any religious (i.e., worshipping in higher powers) at all. They do believe in the "paranormal," i.e., the Summoning Dark, but this is no different than humans believing that ghosts exists, which doesn't require one to be religious, either.

Which is why I restate that in Thud! the issue is racism, not religion. One can be racist without being religious, as Hitler and Stalin amply demonstrated. Fundamentalists don't tolerate other beliefs and want everyone to join their religion. Dwarfs aren't like that all--in fact, they're the opposite--they don't wany ANYONE to join their club. Their mentality is the same as that of the bigots in the American south who practiced Jim Crow to keep blacks "in their place" or any of a thousand other examples of race-based discrimination based on the belief that one race is superior to another.

J-I-B
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3217
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Postby poohcarrot » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:06 pm

I thought Hitler WAS religious? :?
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
User avatar
poohcarrot
Member
 
Posts: 10425
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:11 pm
Location: NOT The land of the risen Son!!

Postby Lady Vetinari » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:24 pm

Actually Pooh Hitler detested ALL FORMS OF Religion - he was a manic evolutionist and thought he was God! It was the 'strong survive the weak die' that helped the Aryan cause and he thought that anyone who was not Aryan was weak.

Catholics, Protestants, Evangelists ... ANYONE who believed in God was put in Concentration Camps - as well as Jews, Homosexuals, Gypsies and Blacks ...
Who Watches The WatchMan?

Image
User avatar
Lady Vetinari
Member
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:17 pm
Location: Sator Square Patricians Palace Ankh Morpork

Postby poohcarrot » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:29 pm

Lady Vetinari wrote:Catholics, Protestants, Evangelists ... ANYONE who believed in God was put in Concentration Camps -


Um...I don't believe that! :?
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
User avatar
poohcarrot
Member
 
Posts: 10425
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:11 pm
Location: NOT The land of the risen Son!!

Postby Lady Vetinari » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:31 pm

I have shelves of books on the subject ... and all of the say the same thing!
Who Watches The WatchMan?

Image
User avatar
Lady Vetinari
Member
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:17 pm
Location: Sator Square Patricians Palace Ankh Morpork

Postby poohcarrot » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:42 pm

That's funny, coz Wiki says the complete opposite. :?

Wikipedia wrote:In public statements, especially at the beginning of his rule, Hitler frequently spoke positively about the Christian heritage of German culture, and his belief in the "Aryan" Christ. In a proclamation to the German Nation February 1, 1933 Hitler stated, "The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and co-operation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life."

Historian Joachim Fest wrote, "Hitler knew, through the constant invocation of the God the Lord (German: Herrgott) or of providence (German: Vorsehung), to make the impression of a godly way of thought." He used his "ability to simulate, even to potentially critical Church leaders, an image of a leader keen to uphold and protect Christianity," according to biographer Ian Kershaw. Kershaw adds that Hitler's ability also succeeded in appeasing possible Church resistance to anti-Christian Nazi Party radicals. For example, on March 23, 1933, he addressed the Reichstag: "The National Government regards the two Christian confessions (i.e. Catholicism and Protestantism) as factors essential to the soul of the German people. ... We hold the spiritual forces of Christianity to be indispensable elements in the moral uplift of most of the German people.

According to Hitler's chief architect Albert Speer, Hitler remained a member, at least formally, of the Catholic Church until his death. Although it was Speer's opinion that "he had no real attachment to it." According to biographer John Toland, Hitler was still "a member in good standing of the Church of Rome despite detestation of its hierarchy, he carried within him its teaching that the Jew was the killer of God. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of God—so long as it was done impersonally, without cruelty." However Hitler's own words from Mein Kampf seem to conflict with the idea that his antisemitism was religiously motivated.
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
User avatar
poohcarrot
Member
 
Posts: 10425
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:11 pm
Location: NOT The land of the risen Son!!

Postby Lady Vetinari » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:52 pm

You believe Wiki???

I read books written by people who have experts ... I also have a DVD Nazi's A Warning From History ... and that say's that he believed in Evolution and the Darwin theory of Weak die strong survive live - He funded propaganda movies stating Darwin sensibilities (though misrepresented - and remember I am saying that as a believer in God!)

Hitler may have put on a Catholic front but his inner beliefs were more in line with Darwin than with the Church.
Who Watches The WatchMan?

Image
User avatar
Lady Vetinari
Member
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:17 pm
Location: Sator Square Patricians Palace Ankh Morpork

Postby poohcarrot » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:06 pm

Yes I do believe Wiki.

And I believe the Albert Speer quote is correct too.

And the John Toland quote.

And the Ian Kershaw quote.

It would be terribly convenient for a Christian to claim Hitler was a Darwinian atheist, because that would explain his atrocities.

Next you'll be saying that Bush was an atheist too. 8)
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
User avatar
poohcarrot
Member
 
Posts: 10425
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:11 pm
Location: NOT The land of the risen Son!!

PreviousNext

Return to Discworld novels

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest