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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by TvTyrant
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    True enough, but they still undermine a lot of the story.

    No one used golems when attacked by a dragon.
    Golems are more dangerous then guns but aren't brought up in Men at Arms.
    Golems aren't used to clear the cart monsters.

    Basically they get retconned into the story, but are way more powerful then the other components.
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    Perhaps ironically, I have always felt that this was justified in another forward-retcon in the opened scene of Going Postal, when Angharad is dredged up from the ocean and Mr.Pump explains his back-story.

    Golems don't feature in the earlier stories because Golems are forgotten. They're mostly just treated like we treat machines - at the bottom of wells, deep in mines, buried under junk and so on, and in doing that they take on their "role" as their name and as the meaning for their existence. It's not until Feet of Clay when Meshugah and Dorfl are the first to break out of that centuries-long pattern and come to the forefront of the public consciousness.

    No, Golems weren't asked to stop the Dragon. My interpretation of that, on behalf of the people of Ankh-Morppork, is: Would you think to ask your lawnmower or your car to help you in that same situation? Because that's pretty much what Golems are thought of, if they're thought of at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Do we actually know that for a fact, or are we just taking Mr Pump's word for it?

    Because it occurs to me that "lying" would probably require a much less drastic change than "murder".
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    I think it's quite strongly implied by Dorfl - Golems are not forbidden from lying, but they simply choose not to. They value the truth because words are important to them - they literally have words as their 'soul'.

    Killing people, on the other hand, is still morally wrong... But can be justified under the right circumstances. It's strange logic, granted, but then Golems are strange people in more than one way.
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  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
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    Perhaps ironically, I have always felt that this was justified in another forward-retcon in the opened scene of Going Postal, when Angharad is dredged up from the ocean and Mr.Pump explains his back-story.

    Golems don't feature in the earlier stories because Golems are forgotten. They're mostly just treated like we treat machines - at the bottom of wells, deep in mines, buried under junk and so on, and in doing that they take on their "role" as their name and as the meaning for their existence. It's not until Feet of Clay when Meshugah and Dorfl are the first to break out of that centuries-long pattern and come to the forefront of the public consciousness.

    No, Golems weren't asked to stop the Dragon. My interpretation of that, on behalf of the people of Ankh-Morppork, is: Would you think to ask your lawnmower or your car to help you in that same situation? Because that's pretty much what Golems are thought of, if they're thought of at all.
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    Agreed for the most part, but I'd also point out that golems aren't just machines - they're expensive machines. Of the golems in Ankh-Morpork, most are just left to do their job and forgotten. And those that do remember they exist see them as dumb machines that are extremely useful and difficult to replace. I'd definitely put this more on "recruiting your car to fight a dragon" than "recruiting your lawnmower to fight a dragon". Neither one is expected to have the capacity to do the job, but the car is expensive enough that few would readily sacrifice their own for a small chance of a temporary advantage.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
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    I think it's quite strongly implied by Dorfl - Golems are not forbidden from lying, but they simply choose not to. They value the truth because words are important to them - they literally have words as their 'soul'.

    Killing people, on the other hand, is still morally wrong... But can be justified under the right circumstances. It's strange logic, granted, but then Golems are strange people in more than one way.
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    It's worth noting that the golems are written as fantasy-grade robots. Even the "words in their heads" are pretty darn analogous to programming. As such, it's explicitly said on numerous occasions that most golems have rules written into their chem. Basically, they're "Three Laws compliant", to reference Asimov's famous philosophy. They won't, can't harm people. The only exceptions are Meshugah and Pump. Pump because Vetinari gave him a chem that allowed him to do so if ordered to. Meshugah because he was, as his name implies, guano insane. Dorfl, the first "liberated" golem, is still unwilling (or unable) to harm anyone... though he is very much more than willing to humiliate and/or threaten them, he still doesn't do any lasting harm. That doesn't involve apples, anyway.

    Liberated golems, when they appear in later books, aren't reliant on their chem and instead rely on "words in the heart", learning through experience like any mortal would. This is why Gladys is able to absorb various books representing female roles to better present herself as such. It becomes very hard to predict what a liberated golem can and can't do because of this. Fortunately, they are shown to have an intensely moral standard by default and a desire to protect the mortals around them - enough that they actively provide an impromptu fire brigade after the human version was shut down for corruption.
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  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
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    No, Golems weren't asked to stop the Dragon. My interpretation of that, on behalf of the people of Ankh-Morppork, is: Would you think to ask your lawnmower or your car to help you in that same situation? Because that's pretty much what Golems are thought of, if they're thought of at all.
    (Note, there's not much point using spoiler tags unless you say *what* you're spoiling. Otherwise how does the reader know whether it's safe to look? I don't consider this to be a spoiler, but if you're very sensitive to such things, then don't read it before Feet of Clay.)

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    I for one would absolutely use a car to attack a (hostile) dragon, if the opportunity presented itself. That's what tools are for - they make it possible to do things that would otherwise be impossible, or at least ridiculously hard.

    Lawnmower - well, it's kinda hard to imagine a scenario in which I could use that against a dragon.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    (Note, there's not much point using spoiler tags unless you say *what* you're spoiling. Otherwise how does the reader know whether it's safe to look? I don't consider this to be a spoiler, but if you're very sensitive to such things, then don't read it before Feet of Clay.)
    Fair enough - I thought it would be obvious that I was continuing the previous conversation, but I shall endeavour to do that in future.

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    I for one would absolutely use a car to attack a (hostile) dragon, if the opportunity presented itself. That's what tools are for - they make it possible to do things that would otherwise be impossible, or at least ridiculously hard.

    Lawnmower - well, it's kinda hard to imagine a scenario in which I could use that against a dragon.
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    I think it speaks not just of the mentality of the Ankh-Morporkians but also of the tropes at play in the story. Everyone was expecting a hero to show up and kill the beast because that's how the story goes; dragons are killed by heroes. Therefore they didn't look too far in order to find an alternative method of fighting it.

    At the same time, no one wanted to step up and try to find out if they might be that hero - the odds were that they would just get immolated or eaten. That's entirely a Morporkian trait - expecting something to be done, but being the first one to get the ball rolling themselves is out of the question.

    Volunteering their own property when no one else had done so, I think, falls under that mentality. *You* might try using your car to fight the dragon because you're not a selfish bastard... Or maybe you are, because it's not your car that you're intending to sacrifice for the cause? That's pretty Morporkian, too

    As for the lawnmower comment.... That's pretty much my entire point. Golems were taken for granted - they were not seen as a universally adept humanoid, they were seen as "the thing that runs the treadmill" or "the thing that carries beef carcasses to the wagon". Why would you tell "the treadmill" to fight a dragon? What would "the treadmill" be able to do against a giant flying lizard? Especially if it's going to cost you $500AM to replace it if it gets broken?
    It's not until much later, when Dorfl quite literally breaks the mould, that anyone realises just how moral and versatile that they can be - and even then, people still hate them and try to oppress them as "tools" to be owned.
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  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Guards! Guards!

    Finally finished "Guards! Guards!". I actually read the whole book in 3 sittings, because of how entertaining it is... But I had long breaks between my readings, since most of the time I was either busy or too tired to do read anything...

    ... And I gotta say: I now understand why so many people say the City Guard books are their favorites. The characters are all memorable and likable, despite the relatively large cast! Carrot actually reminds me of one of my favorite RPG characters! A human raised by dwarves who refused to accept the fact that he was a human (he called himself "the world's tallest dwarf" and if anyone pointed out his lack of darkvision, he simply said that just because someone needs glasses, it doesn't make them a different race). Of course, Carrot and all the others are far better written than anything I could come up with.

    Captain Vimes, Carrot and the Patrician are some of my favorite characters in the series so far... And I can't forget The Librarian! That monkey ape is hilarious. But it was Carrot's naivety and sense of duty that made for the funniest moments in the book, IMHO. His letters home are super funny, and I was actually laughing out loud when he tries to arrest the dragon. And hey... We even get a quick reference to "Mort"!

    So far, "Mort" remains as my favorite "main plot" in the Discworld series (Death itself has a mid-life crisis and history fights back against being changed), and "Sourcery" has my favorite history climax (Rincewind deciding to face the Sourcerer with just a brick in a sock, but then changing his mind not out of fear, but because he finds out the sourcerer is a just child is still the moment with greatest emotional impact so far, IMHO)... But "Guards Guards" definitely has my favorite cast! It's quite amazing how Sir Terry Pratchett managed to make so many characters so funny, memorable and likable.

    Definitely another book to add to my list of favorites.

    Next is "Eric", which I have no idea what's about... But I'm hyped!
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    As was mentioned upthread, Eric starting its life as a graphic novel goes a long way towards explaining some of the off bits. Still a decent book, but not one I go back to reread much.
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    we had guards! guards! as theme at this year's Discworld Con. A lot of secret societies, a coronation banquet and dragons everywhere. It was great fun. And we did Nightwatch as the play.

    Guards! Guards only shows the city watch for the first time. You'll get to know them better in later books and then you'll see that this book was just a very good introduction to what's about to come.

    As to Eric, it's not the best but also not the worst of the series IMO. We did that one as the play a couple of Discworld Cons ago and it was great Whosname (you'll get that reference soon enough).
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  8. - Top - End - #188
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    As I think I mentioned, 'Eric' is my absolute favourite. Brevity is not a fault.

    It riffs on the classics, by which I mean real, serious works from centuries ago. The legend of Faust (touching on both Goethe's and Marlowe's versions), the Aztec Empire, the story of the Trojan war, the Inferno. Oh, and the creation of the world. If you're familiar with those kinds of classics, you'll enjoy it.
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  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    As I think I mentioned, 'Eric' is my absolute favourite. Brevity is not a fault.

    It riffs on the classics, by which I mean real, serious works from centuries ago. The legend of Faust (touching on both Goethe's and Marlowe's versions), the Aztec Empire, the story of the Trojan war, the Inferno. Oh, and the creation of the world. If you're familiar with those kinds of classics, you'll enjoy it.
    that's oh so whossname… true.
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  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by The New Bruceski View Post
    As was mentioned upthread, Eric starting its life as a graphic novel goes a long way towards explaining some of the off bits. Still a decent book, but not one I go back to reread much.
    It's not so much a graphic novel as an illustrated novel - you have straight text with pictures in the margins (admittedly for a very loose definition of margin...). However if you are going to read it I really would recommend the illustrated version. Just to get the full picture.
    Warning: This posting may contain wit, wisdom, pathos, irony, satire, sarcasm and puns. And traces of nut.

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    Just read it in whatever order you find them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    Finally finished "Guards Guards!". I actually read the whole book in 3 sittings, because of how entertaining it is... But I had long breaks between my readings, since most of the time I was either busy or too tired to do read anything...

    ... And I gotta say: I now understand why so many people say the City Guard books are their favorites. The characters are all memorable and likable, despite the relatively large cast! Carrot actually reminds me of one of my favorite RPG characters! A human raised by dwarves who refused to accept the fact that he was a human (he called himself "the world's tallest dwarf" and if anyone pointed out his lack of darkvision, he simply said that just because someone needs glasses, it doesn't make them a different race). Of course, Carrot and all the others are far better written than anything I could come up with.

    Captain Vimes, Carrot and the Patrician are some of my favorite characters in the series so far... And I can't forget The Librarian! That monkey ape is hilarious. But it was Carrot's naivety and sense of duty that made for the funniest moments in the book, IMHO. His letters home are super funny, and I was actually laughing out loud when he tries to arrest the dragon. And hey... We even get a quick reference to "Mort"!
    The City Watch main Trilogy ("Guards Guards!", "Men at Arms" and "Feet of Clay") is truly a gem in its own right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    Finally finished "Guards Guards!". I actually read the whole book in 3 sittings, because of how entertaining it is... But I had long breaks between my readings, since most of the time I was either busy or too tired to do read anything...

    ... And I gotta say: I now understand why so many people say the City Guard books are their favorites. The characters are all memorable and likable, despite the relatively large cast! Carrot actually reminds me of one of my favorite RPG characters! A human raised by dwarves who refused to accept the fact that he was a human (he called himself "the world's tallest dwarf" and if anyone pointed out his lack of darkvision, he simply said that just because someone needs glasses, it doesn't make them a different race). Of course, Carrot and all the others are far better written than anything I could come up with.

    Captain Vimes, Carrot and the Patrician are some of my favorite characters in the series so far... And I can't forget The Librarian! That monkey ape is hilarious. But it was Carrot's naivety and sense of duty that made for the funniest moments in the book, IMHO. His letters home are super funny, and I was actually laughing out loud when he tries to arrest the dragon. And hey... We even get a quick reference to "Mort"!

    So far, "Mort" remains as my favorite "main plot" in the Discworld series (Death itself has a mid-life crisis and history fights back against being changed), and "Sourcery" has my favorite history climax (Rincewind deciding to face the Sourcerer with just a brick in a sock, but then changing his mind not out of fear, but because he finds out the sourcerer is a just child is still the moment with greatest emotional impact so far, IMHO)... But "Guards Guards" definitely has my favorite cast! It's quite amazing how Sir Terry Pratchett managed to make so many characters so funny, memorable and likable.

    Definitely another book to add to my list of favorites.

    Next is "Eric", which I have no idea what's about... But I'm hyped!
    Yep. Vimes, Carrot, and the Patrician are great and only going to get better, and I think they are at their best when their playing off one another. All three portray different kinds of good leaders - the practical, the inspiring, and the ruthless. Carrot's evolution in particular is amazing to watch, as he matures without ever ceasing to be... well... Carrot. Sadly, the Watch series is probably the only one I feel Pratchett never properly closed before passing away. It is an exceptional series, don't get me wrong, easily in my top three, but the story of Vimes and Carrot is hinted in places to be bigger than we get to see.

    Plus, Colon and Nobby are the perfect everyman peanut gallery. The conversations they get into in random corners of random books have to be seen to be believed. They, along with Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler, are the loam this setting is built on.

    Eric is an odd one, no doubt. It somehow manages to be "not exactly Discworld" and "perfectly Discworld" at the same time, as the structure seems a little off but the comedic pragmatism remains on point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kairos Theodosian
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  14. - Top - End - #194
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    On a recent re-read, it also first occured to me how interesting Nobby is when almost all he says to Colon is read as subtly sarcastic.
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    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    On a recent re-read, it also first occured to me how interesting Nobby is when almost all he says to Colon is read as subtly sarcastic.
    Oh, yes. You can read him as earnest or sarcastic, and it works either way. But when you read it as sarcastic, as Nobby being much more aware than he lets on, he becomes hilarious. He becomes the biggest troll in the setting, and we have trolls that get mistaken for mountains! Colon thinks he's imparting hard won knowledge to a... young(?) man(?), and Nobby is just running verbal circles around him but Colon is just too simple to notice it (most of the time). He kinda reminds me of Rincewind and Carrot in that regard. Carrot because he proves that you can be simple without being stupid, and Rincewind by virtue of common sense being something of a handicap on the Disc. Sarcastic Nobby sees the world more clearly than most, and it just leaves him free to play mind games with his superior officer.
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    Eric

    I finished "Eric". It's good to see Rincewind back. Eric's naivety and Rincewind's pessimism make for a hilarious combination. IMO the book keeps getting better as it goes on. I liked the first wish, enjoyed the second one more... But I particularly enjoyed seeing Rincewind in the Beginning of Time and DEATH on the opposite end. I love how DEATH gets agitated at the mere mention of Rincewind's name . Although it lacks the powerful story climax from previous books, it was really funny to see demons effectively overthrowing the king of hell by burying him in a (quite literal) bureaucratic hell. And as always, it's clear that nothing is safe from PTerry's humor. I never expected to laugh at not-Ponce de León, not-Trojan Horse, not-Aztec Empire AND Not-Dante's Inferno all in the same book. And a very short book, at that. I'd say I feel sorry the book doesn't last longer, but it ends at a good point. I really like how Discworld books don't drag longer than they need, which can really ruin a story, but still many writers seem to not notice or care.

    All in all, a good book. It's fun and short enough that I see myself re-reading it over a weekend to kill time.

    Next is "Moving Pictures"... Which I'm guessing has something to do with cinema? Or maybe it just has a very misleading title... I'm eager to find out.
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    Ah man, Moving Pictures, I hope you are up on your cinema trivia because this is where the references start flowing.

    Rereading and seeing some familiar faces for the first time again is always atreat, but hush, hush, you will find out soon...

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    Nah, 'Moving pictures' is actually a Watch book about art smuggling (trust me, you need to read between the lines)

    It's been a while but I think it was among the first books I read, still in German, but I can't remember the title. I think it was pretty decent, though a little bit heavy on the references with not too much depth. But that's not a problem I think.
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    Moving Pictures was pretty average for me (by which I mean Discworld average, which is still very good), but I remember I liked the main character, especially his very special brand of laziness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cozzer View Post
    Moving Pictures was pretty average for me (by which I mean Discworld average, which is still very good), but I remember I liked the main character, especially his very special brand of laziness.
    Agreed. Victor is awesome, but the book is only "very good". It's one of the first "Wild Idea" books, though, which have always struck me as fascinating.

    Plus, if I recall correctly, it's the introduction of Mrs. Cosmopolite, one of the most influential and mysterious beings on the Disc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calemyr View Post
    Plus, if I recall correctly, it's the introduction of Mrs. Cosmopolite, one of the most influential and mysterious beings on the Disc.
    Two Words: Mrs. Cake.


    As to Eric, a couple of Discworld Cons ago, we did Eric as the play. That was great fun, although it was quite hot underneat the stage as we had a smoke machine and a spot there to backlight (and put in smoke) the demon Quetzovercoatl (who was a handpuppet coming out of a trapdoor in the stage).

    The demons don't really bury their leader in bureaucratic hell (it looks as if he has nothing to do actually), they promote him away.
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    Quote Originally Posted by farothel View Post
    Two Words: Mrs. Cake.
    Oh, there's Cake, I'll give you that. She may be feared in religious institutions the world round, but Cosmopolite's influence is the greater of the two, regarded as the teacher of the greatest martial artist that's ever lived and the source of his infinite wisdom. Fear her might with substitious awe and be saved!
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    1 Sentient Sword
    1 Jammy Dodger (I was promised tea)
    1 Godwin Point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kairos Theodosian
    It appears someone will have to saddle my goat, for we now must ride out in glorious battle.

  23. - Top - End - #203
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quite a few of the more important Wizards (Ridcully, Ponder, etc) make their debut here as well.
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  24. - Top - End - #204
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    Cozzer's Avatar

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    I'm starting to be pretty interested in this Discworld Convention... where does it happen?

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cozzer View Post
    I'm starting to be pretty interested in this Discworld Convention... where does it happen?
    There are many of them. There's one every two years in the UK (we just had that one at the beginning of the month so you'll have to wait). There are ones in North America, Australia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and probably some others I don't know about. Google is your friend here I guess.
    Clacks-Overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett

    "Magic can turn a frog into a prince. Science can turn a frog into a Ph.D. and you still have the frog you started with." Terry Pratchett
    "I will not yield to evil, unless she's cute."

  26. - Top - End - #206
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calemyr View Post
    Oh, yes. You can read him as earnest or sarcastic, and it works either way. But when you read it as sarcastic, as Nobby being much more aware than he lets on, he becomes hilarious. He becomes the biggest troll in the setting, and we have trolls that get mistaken for mountains! Colon thinks he's imparting hard won knowledge to a... young(?) man(?), and Nobby is just running verbal circles around him but Colon is just too simple to notice it (most of the time). He kinda reminds me of Rincewind and Carrot in that regard. Carrot because he proves that you can be simple without being stupid, and Rincewind by virtue of common sense being something of a handicap on the Disc. Sarcastic Nobby sees the world more clearly than most, and it just leaves him free to play mind games with his superior officer.
    Yeah, that. For the longest time, I read them as "those two idiots". The Anti-Greek Chorus, two people who comment on the plot, but without understanding most of it or the themes. But once you read Nobby sarcastically, it opens up an entire new world that makes the character that much more interesting.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

  27. - Top - End - #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Yeah, that. For the longest time, I read them as "those two idiots". The Anti-Greek Chorus, two people who comment on the plot, but without understanding most of it or the themes. But once you read Nobby sarcastically, it opens up an entire new world that makes the character that much more interesting.
    It never occurred to me that Nobby (or indeed any part of Pratchett's books) could be read anything but sarcastically...
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  28. - Top - End - #208
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    Eldan's Avatar

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    Really? There's always a lot of characters i'd read as brutally honest, or, well, straight idiots. Pratchett's narrator voice, sure. But not the characters.

    I mean, would you ever read anything Colon says as sarcasm?
    Last edited by Eldan; 2018-08-30 at 04:17 AM.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

  29. - Top - End - #209
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    Zombie

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    I generally got the impression towards the end of Discworld (say, from roughly Jingo onwards) that Pratchett had transitioned completely from being a writer of comedic fantasy to being a writer of social commentary and satire, especially of British culture and history, and setting his work in Discworld was mostly something he did to keep his publisher happy and because he liked using Sam Vimes as a protagonist. In the early books, the comedy is fairly broad and plots rely heavily on fantasy tropes. That reliance later disappears, and the comedy becomes so British that I have to wonder if international audiences really appreciate half of it.

    Stuff like The Truth, Night Watch, Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal, etc, have virtually nothing in common with the early books in the series (apart from paying lip service to the setting), and needn't really have been set in Discworld at all. Monstrous Regiment, for instance, has fantasy elements because it's technically set in Discworld, but they are entirely incidental to what is really a mash up of 19th century war story tropes. I remain convinced that Pratchett would probably rather have not written that story as a Discworld novel at all, and likely only did so because Discworld books were what his audience wanted.

    I remember a lot of people moaning when Nation was published, for no other reason than that it wasn't set in Discworld, but really, the later Discworld novels have more in common with Nation than they do with the earlier Discworld novels. I kind of feel like Nation was Pratchett's last attempt to escape the shackles of Discworld to write the stories that, by this point in his career, he actually wanted to write.

  30. - Top - End - #210
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    Eldan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    I mean, he could write non-Discworld if he wanted. He had some short stories, he wrote Good Omens, there's the entire Long Earth series, all good books.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

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