Jingo Discussion *spoilers*

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Postby raisindot » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:34 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Vetinari is both patron and protector and this is in fact how the Patrician treats [Leonard] - he's far too valuable to be left to wander around at liberty. because he is in fact a danger to himself and to the public at large! :twisted:


I bought this up earlier as one of the most significant narrative incongruity in a novel that probably has more of them any other DW novel.

In past books, Vetinari has kept Leonard under his 'protection' because Leonard is too dangerous to be left loose on his own. But then Vetinari DOES let Leonard loose in AM, at a time when the city is preparing for war, to find Colon and Nobby and to take them to the boat. Whyever would Vetinari have taken such a risk of someone possibly recognizing Leonard or someone steering him down a dark alley? What if one of the Guilds--or, even worse, a Klatchian spy--got hold of him? Vetinari could easily have sent Drumknott or one of his other clerks to find the two cops, or found them himself (as an assassin, he could have easily hidden his identity).

I mean, it's easy to see why Pterry would want to do this from a humorous standpoint--Leonard the babe in the woods walking around the city and meeting up with one of its most stupid and one of its most devious characters. But from a narrative logic it's a headscratcher.


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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:57 pm

Except that half of AM were getting ready to go off to Klatch and being ordered from pillar to post by Rust, so perhaps it was deemed safe enough for that one covert 'mission'. I think Leonard the Man is not terribly well known - it's his inventions and design work that's famous. His Roundworld equivalent also had to depend on the support of rich patrons, but often spent long periods in obscurity with limited funds not even able to afford to buy canvas or pigments, which is why so many of his paintings are lost because of inferior materials). Perhaps Leonard can roam the streets unharassed in short bursts maybe?

The part you're talking about, I had the impression that it was a kind of 'lurking in the shadows' affair and Leonard is so vague Nobby and Fred had no real fear of him to start off with at least - in some respects they're all alike in being incompetent in some degree of not being safe to let out on their own - the fumbling with the hand cross-bow being a case in point. :P

As for Drumknott el al - they're the servants of Ankh-Morpork aren't they? As Rust had declared military law by then Vetinari was technically no longer their boss and so he only had Leonard available to help him. His own movements were probably under scrutiny so Leonard, not being terribly well know on the Streets of AM is the better/safer person to lure Fred and Nobby to the docks... :wink:

The method of getting Fred and Nobby onto the sub to literally do the leg work is largely irrelevent to that part of the storyline - both Vetinari and Leonard had to get under Leshp again so they both could observe and calculate how much longer Leshp had above the waves. It's central to the political aspects of the plot so for me the kidnapping at gonne-point aspect is... nothing basically. :lol: Drumknott as a servant of the City not Vetinari personally couldn't have been used 'safely' and they needed to work covertly *shrugs* :D
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Postby swreader » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:08 am

There is only one other instance in which Vetinari "steps down" or aside--in Guards! Guards!, and he is nonetheless in control while locked (from the inside out) in the prison. I find it interesting (though probably lnot terribly important) that we do not "see" exactly how Vetinari steps down. He has been pointing out to the civic leaders that 1) they have no army or navy; 2) they have no money to acquire same. But that does not stop a certain breed of politician who insists on treating the world as he or she thinks it should be, rather than how it is. Rust is the prime example of this.

We have heard before of Leonard's dangerous inventions (which he never intends to be used in warfare). But suddenly we have a paddleboat submarine. And of course Nobby and Colon are perfect as the leg men of the voyage and as the cover for Vetinari's appearance in Klatch so he can locate the site of the battle.

If there is a parallel to Hitler in this book, it is Khadren. He is perfect willing to have his brother killed in order to have an excuse for a war -- and he wants a war to unify the country under his control. There's not a lot of talk about territorial expansion, but he makes a striking contrast to Vetinari.

What makes Vetinari a statesman is his knowledge--however it was acquired. He knows that he needs Vimes in Klatch to create a diversion so that he has time to find the right place. And of course he must appear to surrender, or the war would have commenced (again?). But it isn't ratified on Lesph, because it can't be, and Vetinari has protected the city at very little cost in the way of lives and financial expense.
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Postby raisindot » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:24 pm

swreader wrote:There is only one other instance in which Vetinari "steps down" or aside--in Guards! Guards!, and he is nonetheless in control while locked (from the inside out) in the prison.


You could argue that Vetinari 'steps aside' when he is arrested in "The Truth." Considering that, once he regained consciousness, he might have been able to send word out to his clerks or his personal guards to bust him loose--or he could have escape himself, if needed be. But he didn't, because, ultimately, he understands how the political game is played in AM and that he has been played in this occasion. And that he knows that Sam Vimes will ultimately uncover the real truth in his slow, steady way (although Vetinari doesn't seem all that aware of the role that Wm. De Worde played until the end).

This is what makes Vetinari a different kind of politician. He doesn't maintain his power for force like Hitler and other brutish dictators did. He does it by sheer intimidation and manipulation. Like Vimes, he realizes that his power is an illusion--that any mob or any exceedingly brave or intelligent group of conspirators could put him out.

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:22 pm

In Jingo however Vetinari doesn't 'step down' - Rust & the other war-mongering aristos raise their own forces and so declare martial law. This is why Vimes suddenly has to submit to being 'summoned' to report to Rust and his officers who, having declared martial law 'forcibly' removed Vetinari from office - Vetinari however seems to disappear and slips off with Leonard to press-gang Nobby and Fred.

Rust is the Hitler equivalent in that instance, as he's kicked Vetinari out pretty much the same way as the fascist Chancellor of Austria was removed from office by Germany in 1938 (after his predecessor was assassinated by Nazi activists 4 years earlier) was it?

Leonard don't forget has already been under the sea studying Lehsp several years prior to its rising again (before Vetinari has taken him into safe custody. The Under-the-sea Boat was presumably used then as well and so maybe he and Vetinari have to go and get that out of storage which could explain the gap between the Rustites seizing 'power' and Leonard's inept kidnapping of the Fred and Nobby show... :P
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Postby raisindot » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:01 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:In Jingo however Vetinari doesn't 'step down' - Rust & the other war-mongering aristos raise their own forces and so declare martial law.


Vetinari did step down voluntarily. He's far too powerful and resourceful a ruler to be forcibly removed from power if he doesn't want to be. If he didn't want to relinquish control, he could have easily stayed in. After all, Lord Rust and the AM army are complete military neophytes. As an assassin, Vetinari could have taken all of them on and won easily. Or, he could have called his alumni from the Assassins' Guild to easily wipe out Rust and his cronies.

Vetinari steps down voluntary because he understands how politics are played, and knows that during times of war the military has the right to take over. Obviously, he also knows that something is going on with the whole Leshp thing that he can't possibly find out if he is hobbled with a power struggle with Rust. Since he knows at this point in time the best way for him to serve the city is to go undercover, he very willingly cedes his authority to Rust. Because, being Vetinari, he already knows how he is going to solve the situation, and that he will be the one to literally save Rust's keister.

Leonard don't forget has already been under the sea studying Lehsp several years prior to its rising again (before Vetinari has taken him into safe custody. The Under-the-sea Boat was presumably used then as well and so maybe he and Vetinari have to go and get that out of storage which could explain the gap between the Rustites seizing 'power' and Leonard's inept kidnapping of the Fred and Nobby show... :P


Ummm, how do we know this? There's only one sentence in the entire book where we find out that Leonard has seen Leshp before, and that's when Leonard casually mentions that he did sketches of it (in his conversation with Vetinari). It doesn't explain how he got there, whether he discovered it by accident, or whether he was the only one who knew about it. And it certainly doesn't say whether he went explored under the island. That's hardly likely, given that the undersea boat requires at least three people to operate (and Leonard was always a loner).


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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:48 pm

Who knows what Leonard used? Maybe he invented the first going-under-the-water-in-a-suit device. But he presumably made sketches of it while it was submerged.
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Postby swreader » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:45 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I think that one of the messages of Jingo is that unless we change we are doomed to continue making the same mistakes. History will keep on repeating itself until we learn by it.

It seems that on previous appearances of the island, it had been claimed by various other nations - including the historical versions A-M and Klatch - hence the buildings on the island that had so many different styles.

What Vetinari did that was different, was to find out why the island appeared and disappeared and consequently discovered that it was worthless and not worth fighting for. He broke the cycle of conquest and destruction that had been going on for maybe thousands of years by asking questions rather than reacting.

This is an important point of the book. Human nature is doomed to keep on making the same mistakes unless we are prepared to learn by those mistakes.


While I agree that Pratchett takes this point of view in general, I find no support for this interpretation of this book. There is nothing in this book to support the statement that other nations around the circle sea have claimed the island--not even that they are aware of it. Obviously somebody once lived on that part of the disc and built the buildings, but unlikely as it seems, geologically it makes more sense to see Leshep (sp?) as the surviving part of a civilization that was built on top of a volcano which exploded. If Terry is referring to anything I think it may be the Atlantis myth.

Sorry Tony, but that's not really the point of this book.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:51 pm

It's extraordinarily hard to draw in any kind of diving gear, let alone make it stick to the specially waxed or whatever paper/parchment/canvas etc - :lol: Trust me I've tried it! Plus it would take ages and ages :P

I know it doesn't actually say it but it would take even Leonard a fair length of time to build The Boat within a week or so of Leshp surfacing (or however long that was - certainly not long enough to properly seal the thing, even if they had all the materials to hand, unless they involved wizards) so I expect he was in the dry the 1st time around as well... :lol:

Since when does Vetinari have anything much to do with the Assassins? :roll: Downey loathes him and Vetinari seems to mostly ignore them from a point of undoubted superiority and intellect as they ignore him back as a non-graduate from a point of extreme sulking and knowing they've been bested. :twisted: He left the Guild without 'formally' qualifying under cloudy circumstamces and appears to have had no real connections with them since or indeed, since becoming Patrician, with any of the other Guilds save for annoying the bile out of them, except perhaps the Seamstresses.

I can't be bothered to look up the quote (if there is one), but I can't remember anyone, least of all Vetinari actually saying "I resign". He said something like, "I've told you we can't afford an army. Period. So sort yourselves out if you want to fight that much. I'm not doing it."

And I certainly can't imagine Vetinari going up to Downey and saying "Hi me old mate me old buddy fancying helping me not to go to war and not inhuming anyone, thank you so very much, just out manoeuvre Rust and crew a little bit and save the city a bunch of money?" Bit too hard to inhume the entire Klatchian Army isn't it? Plus there's the question of the fee of course... :twisted: Much cheaper to let Rust go ahead and play soldiers, assuming that he's scared you off (thus 'removed' in his echoing brainpan and so martial law by default) whilst you quietly go off with Leonard, find out what the deal is with Leshp for sure and then, still in a position of being in charge (because he'd never actually relinquished that) make a seemingly disadvantageous peace treaty for which you then have to insist on being arrested for once you're back home, knowing that you've won all along... :roll:

Looking as though he was completely out of the picture freed him to do all he needed to do, so he looked 'removed' or as though he'd stepped down/run off, but hadn't done anything officially whislt Rust charged about to his heart's content and took all the focus off him. Manipulative enough for ya?

I don't think Vetinari's necessarily a statesman either - he's far too ruthless and nasty for that :twisted:
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:05 pm

This bit -

That's hardly likely, given that the undersea boat requires at least three people to operate (and Leonard was always a loner).

A prototype Boat then or as Tony says some kind of diving suit.

I'm pretty sure that Vetinari, in his moment of denouement, realises that Leonard had to have been to Leshp whilst it was submerged which is why he rushes back to him. When all four of them get there beneath the sunken city they find air/gas pockets and maybe that's where Leonard did his drawings in those 'flotation' chambers (and from memory presumably). Vetinari was examining those as they travelled to the island at any rate.
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Postby raisindot » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:36 pm

After reading the Vetinari/Leonard part, I'm now convinced that Leonard did actually do his sketches of the submerged Leshp, not a "resurfaced" Leshp. Only because he says he did it "several years ago" (although what does time mean to someone like Leonard?). If he had done it, say, 50 years ago, it may have been possible that he passed the island in a regular boat when it had surfaced in a different period and no one else noticed or bothered to make anything of it.

Leonard, if anyone, could have built a fully sealed submarine in a week. But since he does mention that no one had broken the lock of its berth and that it needed just a little grease, it does imply that he had used it before and was just keeping it there. Once Vetinari got his hands on him he never had a chance to go back.

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Postby raisindot » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:40 pm

Jan, I think we both now agree that Vetinari was not 'forced out' of power at all. Whether he asked others for help or took on Rust all by himself, it doesn't matter--it he had felt that the right thing to do at that time was to stay in power, he would have done so.

But he knew that he could do much more simply by going undercover and solving the situation his way. Although he did know he would need Vimes's help to offset Rust's idiocy, which is why he provided his subtle clue to the Commander.

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:20 pm

Yep - Vetinari is the Games Master and plays through, with and weaving around the rules no matter how or what other people think are the 'rules of engagement' :lol:

He's also the puppeteer - nobody can do it all but what he does is make sure his pieces/pawns are all set up in the right place to do the task they can do best. In chess terms Vimes is his Queen or Knight or other roles as needed. Maximum efficiency for optimum deployment - he doesn't need an army! :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:56 am

You have one week to read or reread The Last Hero for the discussion starting Monday 31st January. :D
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:07 am

I always thought Leonard did the sketches on a resurfaced Leshp. :?

They only went underneath it so Leonard could calculate when it would sink again, allowing Vetinari to agree to signing the surrender on Leshp.

Vetinari knew at his trial that it had sunk again, even though everybody else didn't know. :P
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