I can never quite figure out Lord Vetinari. I know he used to be an assasin (the best), but he is sort of a friend of Vimes, and seems like a good guy when he makes decisions and talks to people. Yet, I have only recently seen what he looks like, and he looks evil.
Which Discworld book has the most Vetinari in it? (or which book is about him?)
Vimes is still my favourite by far, and probably always will be, but Vetinari intrigues me.
No, you can’t really say that Vetinari is a baddie. The reference to him juggling fits what he does – he juggles the Guilds, making sure not one can gain ascendency over the others, and therefore lead Ankh-Morpork into the depths it was when Vimes was just starting out in the Watch.
It’s kind of like saying that the winner of a well-played chess game is neither good nor evil – just a very good strategist.
Vetinari is very, very EFFICIENT. He’s against unnecessary cruelty, though he will be cruel if the task requires. But consider how he treats Leonardo di Quirm…Leo has everything he wants and needs, and Vetinari is protecting a priceless natural resource.
That might be a good place not to go – I get the feeling that after Sourcery Pratchett went with Discworld V 2.0. A lot of the characters stuck around but they’re allmost all changed. Plus the heroine of the book is never even referenced again (I can’t even remember her name now).
Vetinari’s not good nor evil so much as a mix of both. As lee put it, he’s good as opposed to bad. He doesn’t go to great lengths to safeguard the welfare of the citizens, but he wants the city to run smoothly (by Ankh-Morpork standards, which are very loose standards). While he can be ruthless when he needs to be, he isn’t ruthless just for the hell of it. While his taxes suffice to maintain him in a reasonably opulent palace, he’s not running a kleptocracy. If you were an Ankh-Morpork resident, there would be far worse people to have in charge of the city than Lord Vetinari.
One rule of thumb I use is: what the rich folk want is evil, so going against them is the side of good. Vetinari is quite loathed by the rich and powerful in Ankh-Morpork. Lot’s of scheming on their part to put a “decent person” in charge. (I think “The Truth” was basically about this??) That makes him a good guy in my book. Or in short: