Pratchett, Terry: (19) Feet of Clay

Continuing the re-read of Terry Pratchett’s Guards books, we have Feet of Clay. This is the third, after Guards! Guards! and Men at Arms. I generally think of this as one of my favorites. However, it rather suffers from being read in reasonably close proximity to the other two, because you really notice that this one hammers on the king theme, again. I had quite a good idea about Pratchett’s attitude towards monarchy after the first one, and an even better one after the second; the third is starting to feel like overkill. Other than that, this is another enjoyable police procedural. Someone’s poisoning the Patrician, and Vimes is on a rampage to figure it out: Vimes might hate the Patrician, after all, but the Patrician is Vimes’ to hate.

Things of note: Carrot continues his evolution towards superhumanity; we’re still getting his points of view, but not that many. I suspect we may lose his points of view completely in the next book, Jingo. I would really like to hear Pratchett’s explanation of Vetinari’s actions and motivations regarding the Watch; I can sort of make his attitude in these earlier books fit in with Night Watch, but it doesn’t quite work. And, on a lighter note, Nobby’s reaction at the end of the dinner party was absolutely perfect.


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  1. Re: reconciling earlier books with Night Watch— I don’t think Pratchett is overly concerned with internal consistancy, but if you want to rationalize it for yourself, you can just say that reality AFTER the events of Night Watch is slightly different from how it was before, so “it all makes sense in eighteen dimensions,” like you said in your review.

    Jingo hammers a bit less on the “monarchy is bad” theme, although there is plenty of “aristocracy is bad,” so maybe you will still feel it’s overbearing.

    In this time of “Freedom Fries,” Jingo is probably an appropriate read, although you’re not the one who really needs to read it. Too bad that in real life, there’s no Lord Vetinari and Sam Vimes to rescue us.

  2. You’re probably right about the internal consistency, but he’s pretty good at reconning when he needs to. And I do find the workings of the Patrician’s mind fascinating.

    As far as Jingo, I’ve wavering whether to continue the re-read of the sub-series or not just for that reason. Sometimes I don’t want my reading to be that topical…

  3. I did reread Jingo a couple of weeks ago. It resonated… oddly.

    Re Carrot, I’ve acquired a suspicion that Pratchett actually has an end in mind for him, making him quite different from most other Discworld characters. I didn’t notice this the first few times I read it, but by the time we reach 5th Elephant he’s picked up some of Vetinari’s speech patterns….

  4. I’m temporarily suspending the Watch books re-read for that reason.

    I would find Carrot taking Vetinari’s role very surprising. Very. But I don’t know what Pratchett is going to do with him, otherwise.

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