swreader wrote:For example, prior to this novel, Pratchett has explored the different societies of Genua, Omnia, Tsort and Ephebe, the Agatean Empire, Klatch, the Lost (XXXX) continent, and to some extent Sto Helit and other cities of the plains as well as Lancre. The only place he introduces after this appears to be Borogravia. Nor are the philosophical or political explorations of 5th E a major step forward for Pratchett.
Sorry, but you've missed it. Books like "Pyramids" and "Small Gods" did 'examine' certain cultures of DW, but these were done in isolation, and neither of these countries have been prominently featured again since that time or again figure prominently in the DW narrative chronology. The world of "The Lost Continent" is little more than an extended goof on 'Down Under.' The Klatch of "Jingo" wasn't much more than a satire of all the old "Foreign Legion" movies. Other than the culture of the Dregs, we get only a sketchy picture of what Klatch is really like. OTOH, In TFE, Pterry creates an Uberwald this is culturally and psychologically rich. He gives the Universal Pictures "monster classes" historical, cultural, and political motivations. He turns the hi-ho lawn ornament perception of dwarfs on its head by instilling in them both their stereotypical traits (love of gold, beards, axes) and an entire cultural and historical tradition that provides a rationale for their mythology. And, contrary to what you said, Rhys DOES reveal himself to be a female--if only in an indirect way and only to Cheery (with Vimes hearing the confession). In no other DW book before this has Pterry created a culture this rich.
swreader wrote:Carrot does not “transform” Sam or the series, although it is possible that this bookrepresents Terry’s last effort to develop Carrot as a rounded full character, an attempt which fails miserably. Carrot’s primary function in this book is to rescue Sam at the end of Sam's battle with the werewolves. Only by recognizing this very limited function can we understand the almost otherwise inexplicable actions which his character takes...For someone who has always reiterated the principal that “Personal is not the same as important,” Carrot’s actions at the beginning of this novel make no sense at all. In Jingo he watched Angua be carried off on a Klatchian ship with no emotional disturbance.
Again, you've totally missed the point here. This is the first Watch book where Carrot BECOMES a fully rounded figure, PRECISELY because he, for once, lets his heart repudiate his philosophy of "personal is not the same as important." In Jingo, Angua's ran off as part of her job as a copper. In TFE, Angua takes off for reasons only explained in the pigeon message we never read but must assume is a "Dear Carrot" letter. The "old" Carrot would have let her go. The Carrot of TFE acts like any man obsessed with the love of his life. Most men don't have the strength or resources to try to get their girlfriends back. Carrot thinks he does, and nearly dies when it becomes clear that he no idea how to survive the harshness of an Uberwald winter. Through his interactions with Angua and the wolves, he finally gains an understanding of why Angua is the way she is and why she, rather he, is the "master" here. This expansion of the depths of his character removes him permanently from his "kingly pedastal" making him a much more appealing character. But he ever would have gotten their without Angua teaching him what it means to "think like a wolf."
This, his function is the book is NOT to rescue Vimes from the werewolves. Angua would have rescued him anyway whether Carrot was there or not--she had "smelled" the presence of a human running away from the werewolves and would have discovered it was Vimes very quickly. Neither does Carrot help in any way help Vimes solve the central mystery. He is useless in the battle against Wolfgang, has no involvement in the "detectoring" in the dwarf mines, and doesn't even show up at the "rewards" ceremony. He knows he is useless here and, more importantly, he knows what should be most important to him, and it's personal.
From TFE on, we never see Carrot in a dominant role again. In past books, he was responsible for most of Vimes' success. Even Vimes is in awe of his physical and mortal strength and his amazing ability to make everyone "bow down" to him. In all future books, Carrot is little more than an investigator or right hand man. I think this is intentional on PTerry's part--in expanding the role and importance of Vimes, the importance of Carrot needed to be diminished--there could only be one true "commander of the Watch"
swreader wrote:While Sam does not change the world in this book (Rhys does not reveal that he is a she), there is the beginning of a change that culminates in Thud! . And he does so more in spite of Carrot than because of him. Carrot and Angua’s relationship in this book degenerates—especially when they bury Gavin—to that of dog and master. Angua finds (in her dog-like devotion) his handling of Colon and Nobby masterful. I found it repressible. He, and he alone, has caused the mess in A-M’s watch, but he makes his “old friends,” think it’s their fault. After that, I quite understand his increasingly circumscribed and unflattering use in the later watch books.
Once again, you've missed it. Vimes absolutely DOES change the world, Without him, the werewolves would have succeeded. Rhys would not have become king and a civil war would have erupted among the dwarfs that might have extended all the way to AM. Without Sam, Rhys's world-changing handshakes would not have been possible, and, thus, female dwarfs would have been returned to chainmail and the wars with the trolls would have continued indefinitely. As Vimes changes the world, he changes himself, from the "Vetinari's terrier" of previous books to the extremely powerful diplomatic problem solver who becomes the one person in the world all races turn to to uncover "the truth," even if they must manipulate him into initiating the pursuit.
And while Angua may finally understand and accept her role as Carrot's dog, what's wrong with this? DW is a male-dominated society, with very few human women in positions of power. If Angua has become the dog, than this is her choice, not something that has been imposed upon here. By saving Carrot's life, she earned the right to decide how she wanted to relate to him. In werewolf terms, being someone's dog is perhaps the ultimate expression of love, so why look at it from a roundworld point of view?
And Carrot's manipulation of Fred and Nobby, while demonstrating his new-found "nastiness," is completely understandable given what he;s learned in this adventure. The great irony here is that, except for the one time Carrot and Vetinari obliquely discussed Carrot's claim to kingship in Men at Arms, Carrot never explicitly exploits the "common knowledge" that he was the undeclared king until this very last scene, when he points his sword at Colon and Nobby. The "old" Carrot would never have done this. The Carrot of TFE, as Granny might say, has "learned."