Pratchett, Terry: (29) Night Watch (audio)

Some time ago I finished my re-listen of the Discworld books’ City Watch subseries with Night Watch, narrated by Stephen Briggs. When I first read this, I didn’t think the time-travel sections had a coherent plot. Audio helped me pay better attention to the narrative flow and understand the way the two versions of the past were in tension. Time-travel plots still make my head hurt, but at least now I comprehend the past events.

It strikes me that this and Thud! are the culmination of the books about Vimes, in the same way that Lord and Ladies and Carpe Jugulum are the culmination of the books about Granny Weatherwax. (I was going to say that Thud! was superfluous, but it contains Vimes as a father.) Unless something highly unexpected happens in Ankh-Morpork, I predict that Vimes will be a supporting character at most in subsequent Discworld books.


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  1. At the very least, I’d expect that Vimes will be very important in any books about the immediate post-Vetinari era in Ankh-Morpork.
    Assuming Pratchett ever writes any such books, of course.

  2. Important, yes, but in the way Granny is to Tiffany; supporting and/or opposing, not central.

  3. Unless Pratchett decides to make Vimes the successor to Vetinari.
    I sometimes suspect that Vetinari may actually be grooming Vimes for that job.

  4. I doubt it. The skills and tendencies needed to be a successful Commander of the Watch are not congruent with those needed to be a successful Patrician, and it would surprise me if both characters didn’t know that.

  5. It’s more a matter of “who else is there?”
    Carrot, perhaps. Although he might be even more reluctant than Vimes to actually take the job.
    Naq lbh fhttrfgrq fbzrbar V unqa’g gubhtug bs va lbhe erprag erivrj bs Znxvat Zbarl.
    Still, Vetinari might well have decided that his best bet is to try to give Vimes, through experience, as much of the right skills as he can and hope that (along with Carrot’s support and Sybil’s advice) will be good enough.

  6. I don’t what Pratchett is going to _do_ with Carrot, but I would lay even more money on not making him Patrician than I would on not making Vimes.
    But, we’ll see. Or not–perhaps Pratchett isn’t interested in writing that. Just have to wait . . .

  7. For what it’s worth, Pratchett gave a talk at the National Book Festival in DC yesterday.
    One of the things he said (if I’m interpreting him correctly) was that he DIDN’T generally have long-term arcs planned out for the Discworld series and that it mostly goes where it goes novel by novel.

  8. Thanks. That doesn’t really surprise me, but I can ignore authorial intent for already-published books. =>

  9. Hi, can you tell me whee to buy the audio version of Night Watch narrated by Stephen Briggs? Thank you, Arlene

  10. Arlene, I got it from, though I don’t know why it doesn’t seem to be available from them now.

  11. I also had the suspicion that Vetinari might be grooming Vimes to replace him; in particular, the way he was sending him off on diplomatic assignments felt like Vetinari was trying to round out Vimes’ experience.
    The way he’s been shunted somewhat to the background in the Moist books, though, along with gur nyernql-erznexrq-hcba vapvqragf va gur Zbvfg obbxf gung fhttrfg ur’f orvat tebbzrq sbe gur wbo, suggest that pTerry’s changed his mind on this. Unless he’s thinking in terms of a joint role?

  12. Travis, I still can’t imagine Vimes as city leader in anything but an emergency situation, whereas the other option makes so much sense. Vimes needs to be a counterweight–if anything I think the diplomatic stuff shows his role there.

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