The Fifth Elephant Discussion *Spoilers*

Moderators: Jason, Toothy, Tonyblack

Postby poohcarrot » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:17 pm

I remember him too! :P

He sang "Spiders and snakes"
"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 poohcarrot » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:42 am

:oops: Whoops! No he didn't! I lied. That was Jim Stafford.
The song I remember is "I'll have to say I love you in a song."

Here's a video of spiders and snakes - which has absolutely no connection to anything. :roll:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NxCEjMbNqY
"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 Tonyblack » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:05 am

In an effort to wrench this discussion away from Country & Western Music... :shock:

What did you all think of Gaspode?

I was disappointed that everyone seemed to forget about him. No one went to look for him - or his body and no one seemed to mention him again.

He was (for me) one of the best characters in this book. A sort of Nobby Nobbs but more intelligent. I was very glad that he made it home safely to A-M - even if no one else seemed to care less.
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 28619
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Postby raisindot » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:24 am

Tonyblack wrote:In an effort to wrench this discussion away from Country & Western Music... :shock:


Thank you!!!!!!

One of my favorite jokes about this kind is music is Martin Mull's:

"Remember the great folk music scare of the 60's? That s**t almost caught on!"

:)

Tonyblack wrote:
What did you all think of Gaspode?

I was disappointed that everyone seemed to forget about him. No one went to look for him - or his body and no one seemed to mention him again.



Yeah, that's his lot in life...to be someone's little doggie for awhile then shunted aside. Carrot didn't treat him very well--another sign of his transforming personality throughout the book.

Fortunately, Gaspode does have a much better role in "The Truth", having found a 'family' (if you can call it that) that truly needs his unique skills.

J-I-B
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3106
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:33 am

:oops: If you get me talking about Gaspode I'll never stop... :twisted:

Thing is with Gaspode being the Littlest Smelly Hobo (remember the old TV series with the german shepherd dog? Image) is that he's a 'drifter' character so nobody's really supposed to care about him too much aside from the Canting Crew perhaps? And they're too mad to take much notice of him half the time :P

I think perhaps Carrot and Angua did look for him along with Gavin but of course they found him so maybe they did assume he'd been swept away to doggie heaven. In a way this adventure was Gaspode's 'Valhalla' - he always wanted to run with wolves so being carried around like a puppy and riding the sleigh with Carrot came close. Plus of course he stuck by Gavin to the end and tried to help him so I reckon he was feeling pretty pleased with himself on the way back to A-M. He doesn't really need humans at all, he just likes to hang around with werewolves... :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: 10307
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby swreader » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:11 pm

I didn't altogether like Gaspode in his earlier appearances (in MP and MAA) but I came to like him (and perhaps understand Pratchett's use of him) a good deal more in this book.

Gaspode is, in some ways, the canine version of Angua. That is, he has some human attributes (speech and increased intelligence over the ordinary dog), but in other ways he wants to be a "good dog" and have a benevolent master--only he doesn't want that either when Carrot, rather than providing for him himself in MAA, asks Vetinari to find a home for him.

Gaspode has in some ways a major role in this book, and because of what he learns about humans (especially Carrot), when he returns to Ankh-Morpork on his own, he joins the Canting Crew and becomes invisible. I suspect that Pratchett, who had painted himself into a corner in his development of Carrot in previous books, tried to use this one to make him somewhat more human and less "divine kingly". And part of this effort is to give Carrot a dark side, and in that Gaspode plays a major part.

Carrot unashamedly manipulates Gaspode into helping him track Angua and promises steak every night. (Gaspode gets the odd chicken, but no steak ever.) Gaspode, as he has ever since MP, tends to see himself in "movie role" terms (Brave Dog Defends Master from Wolves). But throughout, Gaspode is the only reason Carrot can track Angua at all. Carrot, who has come off totally unprepared, nearly gets both of them killed before they are rescued by Angua and Gavin. Gaspode does his best to save Carrot's life from attack by what he thinks are "ravening wolves." But Carrot, rather than acknowledging Gaspode's heroic actions, explains his presence to Vimes as "Yes, he . . .helped me get here." Carrot, of course, would have failed miserably in his chase without Gaspode.

And Gaspode is, of course, instrumental in the fight between Wolfgang and Gavin, and goes (along with the others) into the river. And intelligent thought by Angua would have indicated that there was good reason to believe that the howl was started by Gaspode (as indeed it was). But neither Angua nor Carrot make any effort to look for him when they go to bury Gavin. Carrot, when told about Gaspode's apparent fate by Sam, makes his usual banal comment, "Poor little soul. He was a good dog at heart."

Pratchett tried to redeem Carrot (unsuccessfully) by telling us the words which would have sounded trite and wrong on anyone else are somehow redeemed by the fact it is Carrot saying them. They sound trite and banal anyhow, and Pratchett's statement doesn't change anything. Rather it makes Carrot sound like a pompous ass. But this is an indication of Pratchett's failure to redeem Carrot--to make him a viable, useful character.

Carrot, who once was "a man of the city" henceforth is only concerned with his own importance, pleasures and self-image. Significantly Carrot has extremely small roles to play in subsequent books.

Gaspode, on the other hand, has a major role in The Truth where he now steers absolutely clear of all humans other than the canting crew who serve as camouflage for his remarkable skills and talents. No wonder he doesn't trust "sane" normal humans any further after his experiences in 5th Elephant.
User avatar
swreader
Member
 
Posts: 804
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:39 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

Postby raisindot » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:18 am

swreader wrote:Pratchett tried to redeem Carrot (unsuccessfully) by telling us the words which would have sounded trite and wrong on anyone else are somehow redeemed by the fact it is Carrot saying them. They sound trite and banal anyhow, and Pratchett's statement doesn't change anything. Rather it makes Carrot sound like a pompous ass. But this is an indication of Pratchett's failure to redeem Carrot--to make him a viable, useful character.

Carrot, who once was "a man of the city" henceforth is only concerned with his own importance, pleasures and self-image. Significantly Carrot has extremely small roles to play in subsequent books.


Again, I think this is less about Pterry's attempts to make Carrot a "viable and useful" character and more about his efforts to "knock Carrot of his throne" by humanizing him. Indeed, Carrot is nearly completely useless in TFE and the action in Uberwald would have unfolded nearly the same without him. You stated before that you thought Carrot's sole role was to rescue Vimes. I would say that his more significant role was to give Vimes moral justification for killing Wolfgang (killing him protected Carrot from being attacked at a future time. The Carrot of "Jingo" would easily have been able to dispatch the Wolfgangs of the world. The Carrot of TFE is vulnerable and a hindrance more than a help).

You get a sense here that PTerry was getting a bit nervous with the way Carrot was being built up in previous books (particularly Jingo, where he was basically a superman), and felt that Vimes couldn't continue to evolve as a character as long as he had to 'compete' with Carrot and rely on him for help. Thus, in TFE, Carrot's is "dethroned' by acting like a fool in love. This--along with Angua's encouragement of Carrot to 'act' nasty--makes him human, and, as you said, less appealing.

As you said, with TFE Carrot is finished as a main character. In future novels, he becomes Vimes's true 'second banana,' used more often to demonstrate the occasional investigative ineptitude of the Watch (think of his interviews with De Worde in "The Truth" and Moist in "Going Postal") in non-Watch books. Even in "Thud!" he doesn't really uncover any real answers--Sally and Angua uncover the "smoking gun" evidence.

Personally, I like it better this way. Vimes is a much more appealing character than Carrot.

J-I-B
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3106
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Postby theoldlibrarian » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:34 pm

Tonyblack wrote:In an effort to wrench this discussion away from Country & Western Music... :shock:

What did you all think of Gaspode?

I was disappointed that everyone seemed to forget about him. No one went to look for him - or his body and no one seemed to mention him again.

He was (for me) one of the best characters in this book. A sort of Nobby Nobbs but more intelligent. I was very glad that he made it home safely to A-M - even if no one else seemed to care less.


Thats part of Gaspode's character I suppose. He's tough, street-smart, liked but ultimately he doesn't have anyone. He gets on with life.
It is not enough to succeed, others must fail
-Gore Vidal
User avatar
theoldlibrarian
Member
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:24 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby Verns » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:57 am

There's an awful lot to enjoy in The Fifth Elephant, but I must admit that, whenever I re-read it, I skip the chapters featuring the mental disintegration of Colon, left in charge while Carrot uncharacteristically neglects his duty to follow Angua to Uberwald. Maybe it's just that I don't find anything terribly humourous in watching mental illness unfold, but it also seems unlikely to me that Sergeant Colon, the very essence of phlegm (horrible thought!), would be so quickly reduced to counting sugar-lumps in quite this way.

I was very interested to read others' take on Captain Carrot, particularly some very acute insight into why he has taken a bit of a back seat in subsequent Discworld books. It simply hadn't occurred to me that Terry Pratchett has taken him just about as far as he can. I like Carrot (isn't the whole point in the series that everybody likes Carrot?) but in this book, for the first time, I wondered what Angua sees in him.

Oh, and I agree about the higher than normal body count. I was very sorry to lose Skimmer so early on, as he looked like a character who could have developed into a very interesting, erm, civil servant.

Anyway, accentuating the positive, I loved Lady Sybil in this novel. She really developed as a character, as did her relationship with and utter faith in Sam Vimes. In this novel in particular, it felt as if Terry Pratchett was focusing on the inner grit of aristocrats rather than the more negative qualities that tend to dominate his characterisation of Ankh-Morpork's nobs. I also enjoyed learning more about the subtleties of dwarf culture and the delicate political balance between werewolves, dwarves and trolls. All good stuff.

And I love Gaspode. This is his book, in which he takes a more central role than in Moving Pictures or Truth. Does he remind anyone of a sort of canine version of Maurice? I can't remember where I got this from (the deeper recesses of my imagination, possibly) but he must have been scavenging in the same toxic rubbish dump outside UU as Maurice and the rats.

I can understand that some might feel he was disregarded in being left to find his own way back home at the end of this book, but I don't think that's entirely fair. After all, he was assumed to have lost his life in the fight that led him to fall into the river with Gavin and Wolf. Even if some of the characters realised that it was Gaspode who led the tribute to Gavin, and therefore he must have survived, it was Gaspode who chose not to work his way back to Uberwald and Carrot, but to make his own way home.

Ultimately, any book featuring Sam Vimes is a winner as far as I am concerned. He is my blind spot. Is it VERY daft to have a crush on a fictional character? :oops:
User avatar
Verns
Member
 
Posts: 262
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:01 pm
Location: London

Postby sheilaj » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:54 pm

i keep reading bits where people say that this or that part "is not humorous"

HELLO??????? Most of life isn't humorous and these are so much more than funny books....All the Pratchett stories are IMO.

As a well known paper whose name escapes me used to say "ALL Human Life is There." Only in Terry's case its not just the humans who have a life and not just the living either.
sheilaj
Member
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:03 pm

Postby Verns » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:05 pm

sheilaj wrote:i keep reading bits where people say that this or that part "is not humorous"

HELLO??????? Most of life isn't humorous and these are so much more than funny books....All the Pratchett stories are IMO.

As a well known paper whose name escapes me used to say "ALL Human Life is There." Only in Terry's case its not just the humans who have a life and not just the living either.


Well, indeed. But Colon and Nobby are are the perennial clowns on Discworld and I have no doubt that Colon in charge of the Watch was meant to be a humorous episode; probably many people found it so. But what I said was that I didn't find it at all funny. and watching Colon go into meltdown was, for me, a bit like having Eric Morecombe playing Lear in a Morecombe and Wise Christmas Special.
User avatar
Verns
Member
 
Posts: 262
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:01 pm
Location: London

Postby Tonyblack » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:20 pm

I think you're right that it was supposed to be amusing.

Sadly, I've known people like Colon, who got promoted beyond their abilities. It happened in a place I worked. The guy completely alienated everyone and went on petty vendettas against certain people that he didn't like and generally rubbed people up the wrong way.

The moral in the place hit rock-bottom. :( The only thing he managed to achieve was a solidarity amongst the staff AGAINST him! :lol:

In some ways, I think it's a keen observation of a situation by Terry. And yes, we normally expect Nobbs and Colon to supply some light relief - but it didn't really work in this book.
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 28619
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Postby sheilaj » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:18 pm

I don't think it was supposed to be amusing. I think this book is full people reacting to situations they aren't normally in and revealing things about themselves ...Angua's home/previous life, Carrots feelings, Sybil's school background and the worm turning, Vimes in love. Detritus' old Granny and his amazing tact and Fred Colon promoted.

I think the Igors are another bunch of people we shouldn't judge....we just don't know enough about them.

Terry is ALWAYS showing us other sides of people...Tough Magrat, Granny's friendship with Mrs Palm. Sam Vime's turn for diplomacy, Cheery's turn for policing, Mr Pessimals animal rage, Vetinari getting rascally drunk (I think he enjoyed it)

For me its part of the pleasure of the books. Just when you think you know and understand someone....whoops, no you don't!
sheilaj
Member
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:03 pm

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:46 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Sadly, I've known people like Colon, who got promoted beyond their abilities. It happened in a place I worked. The guy completely alienated everyone and went on petty vendettas against certain people that he didn't like and generally rubbed people up the wrong way.

The moral in the place hit rock-bottom. :( The only thing he managed to achieve was a solidarity amongst the staff AGAINST him! :lol:

In some ways, I think it's a keen observation of a situation by Terry. And yes, we normally expect Nobbs and Colon to supply some light relief - but it didn't really work in this book.

I could never get into The Office because of that - it was funny but it made me want to hit the bottle to get through an episode sometimes 'cos it was so close to the bone. I did work for the civil service though - it was nice to know the private sector had it fair chair of useless self-important tits in management too :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: 10307
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby Moon Dragon » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:53 pm

I last read this book many many years ago, so I don't remember too much. I just remember that this book, along with Nightwatch, are my two favorites of those that I have read so far :-).
Moon Dragon
New member
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:08 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Discworld novels

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest