Thud! Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Dotsie » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:14 pm

The thing about dwarfs and gender on discworld is that, and sorry to have to say this, one man made it all up. From scratch. Sometimes he changes his mind about what he's written before. Sometimes he even forgets (his words, not mine). So if he says that Vimes can tell the difference without the aid of make up, then I completely believe that he can. :wink:
What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:50 pm

That's very true - if you really get into Tolkien there holes and complete U-turns all over. Sometimes orcs are twisted elves and the next they're botched copies of the first men - or demons like elves... :roll:

It's hard work being a creator! :lol:
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Postby One Man Bucket » Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:40 pm

He's been fairly consistent so I think I can forgive him a few errors but I find it more intellectually stimulating to find explanations for supposed errors than I do shrugging my shoulders and moving on.

There's always the trousers of time or quantum.
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Postby raisindot » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:30 am

Ummm, you lost me here. What is the error or inconsistency Pterry made regarding Vimes's ability to identify the gender of dwarfs? There are a lot of the things the "later" Vimes can do that the "earlier" Vimes never could. That's character development. Knowing how to identify dwarf gender is one aspect of his development.

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Postby The Mad Collector » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:28 am

I think one point that is missed here is that not only is Vimes getting better at identification but that the dwarfs are helping. Terry makes the point that in Ankh Morpork at least, that many dwarfs are finding that their 'sons' are dabbling in make-up and heeled boots, maybe styling their beards differently. Vimes is getting better at picking up subtle clues but the clues are also getting less subtle. This does not mean he could have told the difference between old style (pre Cheery Littlebottoms one dwarf revolution) dwarfs just that now there are often noticable differences.
One of those? Oh I'm sure I have one somewhere..

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Postby One Man Bucket » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:51 am

raisindot wrote:Ummm, you lost me here. What is the error or inconsistency Pterry made regarding Vimes's ability to identify the gender of dwarfs? There are a lot of the things the "later" Vimes can do that the "earlier" Vimes never could. That's character development. Knowing how to identify dwarf gender is one aspect of his development.

J-I-B


The error is that ascertaining another dwarfs gender requires dwarfs to exercise their best detective skills, so the implication is that Vimes is even better at ascertaining dwarf gender than dwarfs. In addition, the sort of dwarfs working at a place that would refuse a police officer access because she's openly female would consider signs of femininity on their guards grounds for dismissal. Thus, Vimes is even better at ascertaining dwarf gender than dwarfs who make a point of slamming any visible example of femininity.

@The Mad Collector

See above for reasons why the Grags are unlikely to hire and retain all but the old style dwarfs

Alright, I've figured out an explanation that satisfies me. The guards were hired by Helmclever without any of the Grags inspecting them. Helmclever wasn't the hardliner that the Grags were. As such he might hire a dwarf displaying subtle signs of femininity.
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:02 am

I agree with you OMB. Vimes being able to tell a dwarf's gender when other dwarfs couldn't is silly! :D
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Postby Anilori » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:20 am

Traditional dwarfs can't tell each other's gender, but if I remember well, the clues Vimes picks up are related to the lady dwarfs timidly adopting markers of human feminity (eyelashes etc.), as the Mad Collector said?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:25 am

Blokes of any species are terrible at picking up on subliminal gender signalling so what's the problem. :wink:

Sometimes you don't see the detail from the inside because they're always there and lose significance. The expressions familiarity breeds contempt and can't see the wood for the trees also feeds into the fact that in a purely dwarfish community inertia will set in and so neither gender will notice any differences until things descend or perhaps deepen (relatively) and beards get thicker or softer... :twisted:

Actually we don't talk about it much on this board but The Truth is a bit of watershed for Dwarf gender politics - doesn't Gunnilla (who's the one who's leading the movable type revolution) announce her engagement plans with Bodoni to William at one point? The dwarf names are all font-based and so you just don't twig that she's a girl at all until that point - they all just get on with their work quite happily without making any gender distinctions whilst they're 'on the job' :lol:
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Postby pip » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:37 am

There could be an interesting split setup in dwarf society.
Gender is not defined specifically by biological attributes according to most anthhropologists and societies do not always limit themselves to two genders so currently dwarf society can be split into three genders -
Male standard , female standard and now the new female.
The potential splits beyond this could be quiet fun
Will we suddenly get a shift in the opposite direction of Ultra masculine Dwarfs. or male dwarfs also adopting female dress.
The possibilities are endless. :D
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Postby raisindot » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:14 pm

Anilori wrote:Traditional dwarfs can't tell each other's gender, but if I remember well, the clues Vimes picks up are related to the lady dwarfs timidly adopting markers of human feminity (eyelashes etc.), as the Mad Collector said?


Yes, this makes sense. A dwarf who truly wanted to hide her gender wouldn't be able to be 'detected' by Vimes. But those who were using very subtle signs--like Cheery probably did in Feet of Clay, would be 'detectable' by Vimes because he knew, through Cheery and some of the other female dwarfs in the Watch (we know there are some, because they all go ga-ga over Young Sam when he's brought to the station), what to look for.

Dwarfs, on the other hand, because they generally don't care about gender, don't go out of their way to try to distinguish between males and females, and, therefore wouldn't be looking for the "subtle" feminizing signs that Vimes can detect.

[SPOILER AHEAD]

Don't think this is consistent? Well think of Jackrom in Monstrous Regiment. The sargeant knows right from the beginning that all of the recruits are females, because the sarge has this ability. Yet, none of the recruits knows the others are female under they start admitting it to each other or they catch them in obvious acts. An 'outsider' can often 'detect' tells that those in a group can't.

If you don't agree with this, go a poker room some time and watch a table without playing. With enough observation and hands, you'll be able to tell, through their various facial tics, posture, and gestures, when certain players are holding strong or weak hands. This is something that is extremely difficult for someone actually playing the game to do and those who can do it, as long as they have sound skills, generally end up winning more often.

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Postby raisindot » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:19 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
Actually we don't talk about it much on this board but The Truth is a bit of watershed for Dwarf gender politics - doesn't Gunnilla (who's the one who's leading the movable type revolution) announce her engagement plans with Bodoni to William at one point? The dwarf names are all font-based and so you just don't twig that she's a girl at all until that point - they all just get on with their work quite happily without making any gender distinctions whilst they're 'on the job' :lol:


Did Gunnilla actually come out and say that he/she was female? I only recall that he/she said that she and Bodoni were saving together to buy a mine and to buy each other off their parents, but unless I totally missed this, it was never made clear which one was the male and which was the female. Which, if this is the case, is what's really nice about this whole bit.

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:48 pm

Could have been Boddony who was the female (well one of them had to be) but Gunilla's a girl's name so I'm assuming it's her. :lol: The buying each other thing was couched in terms of it being a marriage settlement but it was never absolutely stated who the bride was.

I was slightly wrong about the typeface thing but the dwarf names are print related -

Gunilla Goodmountain (translates from Gutenberg) Caslong/Caslon and Boddony/Bodoni (both fonts) etc
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:51 pm

They could have both been female or both male too. :P
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:54 pm

Steady on there! :lol: It's taken long enough to let the girlies wear a bit of lippy without causing apoplexy to every passing grag without bringing civil partnerships into the equation! :shock:

Although I suppose Pepe and Madam Sharn could be pushing the envelope there perhaps? :twisted:
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