Carpe Jugulum Discussion *spoilers*

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Carpe Jugulum Discussion *spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:24 am

**Warning**

This thread is for discussing Carpe Jugulum 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.

And finally:

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!

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Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 1998

Image

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Never invite a vampire anywhere – if you do they are likely to try and take over. King Verence has a bad case of vampires and Granny Weatherwax is not around to deal with them.

It’s up to the new coven to save the kingdom – along with little blue men, a man of many parts (and his dog), the Lancre pitchfork wielding mob and a priest who is in two minds about everything.

I want to thank swreader for volunteering to write the introduction to this month’s discussion. :)


swreader wrote:Carpe Jugulum (Go for the Throat) is the last of the series of books featuring the adult witches of Lancre, and, at least my opinion, is both the most serious analysis of this series and at the same time one of the funniest of this or any other series. Granny and Nanny, as well as numerous other adult witches, appear in the Tiffany witch series, but they have an entirely different function and are not the major characters.

In this book Terry explores the nature of good and evil—symbolized by the Phoenix and the Vampires. The nature of Good (whether religious or philosophical) runs throughout in the interactions of Granny and Oates. The exploration of the ultimate Evil is represented by the Magpyre clan and their servants who are exposed and opposed by Agnes/Perdita. But lest the book become too dark, Terry skillfully interweaves comic elements into his exploration of the nature of the good and evil.

Terry also introduces us to two new comic elements. First, there are the Nac Mac Feegles of this book. They are apparently an early draft of the Feegles who appear in the Tiffany books—but they are not the primary source of comic relief. Second, we meet the first of the many Igors Terry will use. (Tony points out they appear in every later adult book.) But the primary comic relief thread, however, is in the well-meaning but ultimately ineffective efforts of Nanny, Magrat and Igor to escape from and thwart the Magpyrs, and resurrect, in their place, The Old Master.


Want to write the introduction for the next discussion (Wintersmith)? PM me and let me know if you’d like to – first come first served. :wink:
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:09 am

I'm not posting a lot at this stage because I know there's much to be made of the various themes we see in this book. It's not my favourite Witch book (no Elves :twisted: ) but I think it's possibly the most interesting of the senior series. What's interesting is that Carpe Jugulam is about conflicting beliefs where all the different factions see that they are 'in the right'. Within those factions there are inner contentions and raging quarrels that are dealt with in different ways. What is really interesting however is that two of the characters are constantly fighting within themselves to find the route that best reflects their beliefs and how they treat other people as a result of that.

One of them is old and has lived a long time with her own conscience and ultimately believes primarily in herself and in her judgement which she has studied every day of her life and reined back many, many times because she fears that she is going to 'go over the top' in forcing people to make up their minds the way she would do. The other is young and very confused and also struggles with the sometimes unbelievably ridiculous ways in which people who share his core beliefs twist and defile the true meaning of his religion, as he sees it. Both of these people help each other because they understand that they are trying very hard to be rational and take others feelings and inclinations into account. They regulate their compassion and passion in equal measure and are all the better human beings because of that, however much they think people are wrong or aggressive or foolish.

One of them is outspoken because she doesn't believe that foolishness is a good thing and will always stand her ground and defend others against views and actions she knows are wholly wrong. The other is just plain worried that he will get something wrong and betray his own convictions that people should not be driven into belief, whatever that is. Both constantly weigh and examine their own behaviour and try to take the middle road on the extremes of their own consciences.

This is a book about judging yourself before you judge others and why seizing others by the throat is NOT a good idea.
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby raisindot » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:44 am

Jan, this is an excellent analysis. I would add, however, that there is a THIRD character who shares an inner struggle similar to that of the other characters, only hers is literally a struggle of ego over id, of attraction versus repulsion. In a sense, hers is a more personal and 'modern' manifestation of the more ancient moral and spiritual conflicts the other two characters face.

Carpe Jugulum was the first witches book and I read and for a long time I thought it was the best. Then, after listening to it again (Nigel Planer still beats Steven Briggs when it comes to voicing Nanny and Granny), I demoted it to second place behind Lords and Ladies, which I thought just had a richer narrative milleau.

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:16 pm

:lol: Snap! Lords and Ladies is always in my top 5 Jeff, along with Small Gods and with Guards Guards and Pyramids constantly swopping places in the rankings depending on which one I've re-read most recently :wink:

I agree that there's a third and even a fourth character in there but their's is a more personal argument and less abstract than these two who focus primarily on their beliefs and how they should applied. The intellectual versus emotional aspects of morality is more pronounced I think, whereas the other 2 it's still forming and they're both still settling their own self image to some extent :D

I was almost dreading debating in this thread up until yesterday. Now I think this is going to be the most interesting and enjoyable one to date :lol:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby raisindot » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:47 pm

Well, since let's assume that everyone here has read this, we can plow right into the details. On that note, I'd like to ask whether anyone considers the semi-deux-ex-machina endings of Carpe Jugulum (CJ, thank you Pooh) and Lords and Ladies (LL) a bit anti-climactic?

In both of these books, the action leads up to what one expects to be a climactic confrontation between the witches and Lancreans and the main villains. In each book, the confrontation begins and the witches/Lancreans seem to be on the verge of victory but then the battle is interrupted by the appearance of a legendary "figure of old" (always male!) who acts as the kind of referee and mythologically calls the game.

I find this appearance a bit disappointing in both cases. I was really hoping that the witches/Lancreans would wipe out the main villains. I can see the point of bringing in these cameos from a narrative perspective, but in some ways it seems like Pterry is trying to find a way from having to tar the witches and the Lancreans as murderers, warm blooded or otherwise. In fact, the best pure warrior out of all of them seems to be Magrat, who can turn on the nasty when she wants to.

Compare this to the endings of the Guards books, where Sam Vimes often has to resort to killing (or personally restrain himself from murder) his nemisis of the moment, and often ends up with a bit of psychological damage as a result. Or the climax of "Wee Free Men" when Tiffany has to face down the Queen alone, with no Feegles or other witches to help her.

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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:58 pm

I agree to a certain extent, Jeff. The end of Lords & Ladies has always bothered me and Carpe Jugulum as well, but to a lesser extent. But if you look at the ending of CJ, the count and countess have been dispatched as have the other vampyres - the only ones left are the Vlad and Lacrimosa, who are in effect the children (despite their age). They have been influenced by their father for so long that they never had the chance to act any differently and this ending gives them the chance to change their ways.

Terry could have had Granny destroy them, or hand them over to the mob, but that would have been a little out of character. This book is about learning about oneself and changing - the teenage vamps never got the chance to do that. :)
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Postby raisindot » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:24 pm

Tony, I can buy that. Wouldn't want to kill the kids, even if they are 200 years old. Although Lackey would have deserved it.

:)

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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:41 pm

raisindot wrote:Tony, I can buy that. Wouldn't want to kill the kids, even if they are 200 years old. Although Lackey would have deserved it.

:)

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:lol: Well maybe I didn't put it very well - but they certainly hadn't been given the chance to change.

Laccy is really quite interesting as she is annoying and vicious throughout the book and, as you say, she deserves what she gets - but, she's really only being just as nasty as the rest of them with less control. The more we find out about the Count, the more truly evil he seems - even if he does try to dress it up in respectability.

I'm not sure if everyone knows that The 'Lacrimosa' is part of the Dies Irae sequence in the Requiem mass.

Its text comes from the 18th and 19th stanzas of the sequence. Many composers, including Mozart, Berlioz, and Verdi have set the text as a discrete movement of the Requiem.

Text
Lacrimosa dies illa
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:
Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem. Amen.

Literal translation
Tearful will be that day
on which from the ashes will rise
the guilty man for judgment.
So have mercy, O Lord, on this man.
Compassionate Lord Jesus,
grant them rest. Amen.

The above text is from Wikipedia. :)
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Postby raisindot » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:30 am

Tumbleweeds...

Where is everybody? Thought we'd have at least one drop of pooh in here by now...

:D

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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:31 pm

OK. Here's one drop. :lol:

What does J-liB mean? Have you moved to Liberia, or are you intending to stand in the UK May 6 election as a Liberal? :shock: :lol:
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:40 pm

I didn't like how L&L ended, but liked enough CJ's end. And the old vampire was nice :P
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Postby raisindot » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:01 pm

poohcarrot wrote:OK. Here's one drop. :lol:

What does J-liB mean? Have you moved to Liberia, or are you intending to stand in the UK May 6 election as a Liberal? :shock: :lol:


THAT'S all you have to offer, after building up all the anticipation with comments about your highlighted book pages and your disc-shattering Igor theory?

Frankly, sir, it's quite a letdown from the usual quality of your tangental diversions!

:o

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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:31 pm

As you live in the US, you might not be aware of Freddy Parrot face Davies and his catchphrase.

But here's a question, if Igor had quoted "Thuffering Thouccatash" would you have thought it was based on Daffy Duck? :lol:
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Postby raisindot » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:17 pm

poohcarrot wrote:As you live in the US, you might not be aware of Freddy Parrot face Davies and his catchphrase.

But here's a question, if Igor had quoted "Thuffering Thouccatash" would you have thought it was based on Daffy Duck? :lol:


At first. For national pride, only. But not convincingly.

I originally believed that Pterry's Igor protype existed before CJ, but if you do a search on Igors on the web you find that nearly every reference to a lisping Igor begins with Discworld. So the inspiration might as well have been Parrot Face. Boy, I think that would be the one DW-related question I'd ask him.

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Postby swreader » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:23 pm

raisindot wrote:Well, since let's assume that everyone here has read this, we can plow right into the details. On that note, I'd like to ask whether anyone considers the semi-deux-ex-machina endings of Carpe Jugulum (CJ, thank you Pooh) and Lords and Ladies (LL) a bit anti-climactic?

In both of these books, the action leads up to what one expects to be a climactic confrontation between the witches and Lancreans and the main villains. In each book, the confrontation begins and the witches/Lancreans seem to be on the verge of victory but then the battle is interrupted by the appearance of a legendary "figure of old" (always male!) who acts as the kind of referee and mythologically calls the game.

I find this appearance a bit disappointing in both cases. I was really hoping that the witches/Lancreans would wipe out the main villains. I can see the point of bringing in these cameos from a narrative perspective, but in some ways it seems like Pterry is trying to find a way from having to tar the witches and the Lancreans as murderers, warm blooded or otherwise. In fact, the best pure warrior out of all of them seems to be Magrat, who can turn on the nasty when she wants to.

Compare this to the endings of the Guards books, where Sam Vimes often has to resort to killing (or personally restrain himself from murder) his nemisis of the moment, and often ends up with a bit of psychological damage as a result. Or the climax of "Wee Free Men" when Tiffany has to face down the Queen alone, with no Feegles or other witches to help her.

J-I-B


Jeff, I’m afraid that I must disagree with your initial premise, that Terry uses deux ex machina(s) in either Lords & Ladies or, more importantly in Carpe Jugulum. I’ll leave my discussion of L&L and why I think it’s much weaker than CJ til we get to L&L, and go directly to what I think is what is really going on in CJ.

In CJ, which is a battle between the forces of good and evil, The Old Master is not the dominant figure, nor does he resolve the action. Granny is in direct confrontation with the Count and gets him to the point of admitting that his plan “could have worked”, When he again refuses to acknowledge that he is beaten and tries to walk away with the hostages, Granny’s cohort (and perhaps equally transformed by their shared experiences) Oates performs something that looks awfully like a miracle. Having learned to see things as they really are, he makes the ax into a holy symbol—and cuts off the Coun’ts head without moving it from his neck.

The Old Master is not the one who resolves matters, and makes no attempt to wrest control of the situation from Granny. All he does is take control of the youngsters for the moment until Granny & Oates defeat the forces of evil. He is the one who offers the “children” to the Escroweans who very much want to kill them. It is Granny who refuses to let them be killed. When Piotr complains that “Death’s too good for them!”, Agnes (who has learned a great deal in the book replies—“Yes, I suppose that’s why she didn’t let them have it.” Granny has already told the Escroweans to accept the responsibility for their own actions and protections, and in a sense is forcing them to realize that they brought on their own degradation by not opposing the Vampires.

Granny tells the Count that he tried to take her mind away from her, and that is everything to her. She advises him to reflect on that during his 50 years and try to learn.

Where I have a problem with this book is with what follows – what it says about Granny and Oates, and to a lesser extent about the other witches, but I’ll save that for another post.
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