Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8)
By: Terry Pratchett
Here there be dragons…and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis (“noble dragon” for those who don’t understand italics) has appeared in Discworld’s greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all…).
I was going to start this entry off as a review but then I realised I didn’t really want to review the book per se but rather just talk about it a bit. As a reader, this was just a joy to read. I mean, it’s not laugh-out-loud funny but it’s my brand of humour, I found myself snickering in amusement here and there and pretty much everywhere. The bits that especially amused me had to do with whenever Vimes or one of the members of the Watch found themselves confronting the general population; concepts of “the people” and various forms of government (the secret society trying to figure out how a king works, Vimes’ “This is going to be the world’s first democratically killed dragon. One man, one stab.”, etc.) come into play here. I guess as someone who spent a considerable amount of time studying political science it amuses me when these concepts are used in comedic and satirical situations (like watching Yes, Prime Minister…or Monty Python…notice that they’re all British, mind you ^_~).
The other bit that really amused me while reading this book was the Patrician, Havelock Vetinari. I’m reading these books out of order so I believe the first time I really paid attention to Vetinari was in Going Postal (hilarious book btw). I thought he was much more interesting in this volume because you learn quite a bit about him. I don’t know if he was featured in the books published before Guards! Guards! but it was nice to learn more about how the man operated (very logical, very Machiavellian). A lot of my favourite lines actually came from his scenes:
“Never trust a ruler who puts his faith in tunnels and bunkers and escape routes. The chances are that his heart isn’t in the job.”
The Patrician didn’t believe in unnecessary cruelty. He did not believe in pointless revenge. But he was a great believer in the need for things to be sorted out.
Come to think of it, I wish that Pratchett would write a Discworld novel or short story or something featuring the Patrician as the main character. Granted, it’s probably a lot starker in tone compared to other Discworld novels but if all of the other characters make an appearance, it’ll be a zany novel nonetheless =P
Right, I think that pretty much covers what I wanted to note about Guards! Guards! I’ve actually been telling my brother to read it (I’ve actually been telling my brother to read the Discworld novels for a while now) since there are dragons involved but I would highly recommend reading this novel. It’s also my first novel featuring the Watch (my favourite character’s Death so I’ve read all of his books) and yeah, I was definitely entertained! =)