Edmund Burke wrote:All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Or words to that effect... The specific problem for Escrow, along with the other untermenschen
is that 'good' men (those who were not untermenschen
in Uberwald or in Germany/Poland or later the neighbouring countries) did not act at all or else far too late. They were 'somebody else's problem' until the aggressor began to widen their nets, and as Jeff says, when you have nobody to protect you and are looking down the barrel of a gun, or at a set of long, sharp and very experienced canines, the option of flight, or even temporary survival of sorts, over 'fight' suddenly becomes rather tenuous. Everyone
should be fighting against people being treated as things, not sitting back letting it happen to places like Escrow.
We're anyway looking at the indefensibly reprehensible which the force of good, in this case the phoenix, must and does triumph over with a lot of help from Granny, Agnes and Oats and their friends.
swreader wrote:But the question Pratchett is dealing with is not so much how victims become victims as how evil is comes to exist - and that is when a group starts thinking of another group as "things."
I don't think this is strictly true, although it's certainly the most dominant theme in CJ and naturally all the action stems from ousting and defeating the Magpyrs.
However, from a purely developmental stance in terms of being the creator of Discworld, Terry's previously dodged vampires for a very long time, although they are mentioned in the earlier books, but never in a major way. So - suddenly they're the 'guest star villains' and, much more importantly, they're also a new breed
of vampires - evolved vampires in fact. Garlic, holy relics, daylight, crossing running water, mirrors etc - no problem whatsoever. Why? It's a little too soon for Carrot syndrome isn't it, but Terry's making them 'perfect' already (aside from the lamentable haemoglobin dependancy)? Is he?
I don't think so. He's peeling away all our preconceptions about vampires and making us look at how very strong they really are, without all the usual 'little' foibles and weaknesses that the Van Helsings and Harkers exploit before bringing on the coup de stake. Notice Terry keeps the core power that vampires can use on Discworld though - their willpower, immortality of sorts and ability to squish the will of weaker races. He makes them more than equal to Granny's forte in headology so she really is on the ropes and has to brave the possibility that she'll be beaten this time.
He also shows us that vampires can make choices too. These ones don't want to give up their exclusive carnivore diet, but they can overcome their other aversions by force of will. Then they try to corrupt Granny and think they succeed and of course that's where the tide turns. Suddenly we see vampires unable to feed.
Which then begs the question - does this mean their blood habit is just that - a habit. Well this is Discworld and yes it does mean that vampires don't have to bite into the odd artery every few weeks or whatever...
Whilst good rightly triumph over evil in CJ, the children of the evolved vampires - Vlad and Laccy - are left with the interesting choice of going back to the old ways with Uncle Magpyr or else learn from their father's lessons and
the extra bit that Granny's now put into the equation. They don't have to have 'meat'. Presumably Vlad at least sees that, though Laccy is probably a lost cause.
So a turning point for vampire lifestyle which is immediately followed up on in the very next book The Fifth Elephant
where we see an old vampire friend of the Patrician's, Lady Margalotta, as a Black Ribboner. I think CJ is also about how the vampires can
be rehabilitated and ushers in the 'new' vampires like Otto von Chriek and Sally von Humpeding who can be much more easily integrated into Discworld in the cities as well as in Uberwald