TerryPratchett's Night Watch (spoilers)

I’m still in the middle of it, I’m trying to read slowly to savour. I tend to gobble Pratchett because he’s so wonderful.

Sorry to bring this thread back from the depths, but I didn’t think it was worth starting another over – perhaps other people have read it and want to comment, now, anyways?

Anyways, I finally got my hands on Night Watch and read it in one day. Though I really need to ponder over it before I get my final impressions, my first impression is that it was a good book, but not quite up to my expectations.

Personally, I think my favorite of the recent DW books was actually The Last Hero!

Night Watch was still very good, of course, it’s pterry! I was rather disappointed though, at the lack of laughs… though, like Miller I loved the brick bit. I remember re-reading it. That’s one of the things that shows me pterry is really a skilled author – I often go back and immediately re-read bits I’ve just read, simply because they’re so wonderfully written and perfect.

Reading Reuben’s (and then photopath’s) comments I was once again amused by something that I’ve always noticed about the DW books: nobody seems to agree on which are the best and worst books. Oh sure, most people seem to agree that Small Gods is one of the best, and Eric is one of the worst, but opinions are fiercely divided in other ways.

Personally, I really enjoyed The Truth and The Fifth Elephant. I loved the end of The Truth and the characters of the two thugs. I’d rate them both very high in my list of favorites. But then, I loved The Last Continent and I know that’s rather unusual… I think I loved it so much because I was stuck in a hotel room 2000 miles away from my home and it was late at night and there was absolutely nothing to eat and everything was miserable and yet that book still made me laugh and laugh and laugh! I think that prejudiced me towards it.

I’m getting off the point here, anyways. Do I have anything else of interest to add? Let’s see…

(spoilers, though we should all know they are here already)

I really enjoyed the bit where Vetinari & Downey are at dinner together in the Assassin’s Guild dining hall. Very funny. I also thought the description of the dinner party where what’shisname is assassinated was very good. pterry is so good at explaining things in a visual way – so that I’m able to picture it. I usually have great difficulty picturing things in books.


I haven’t finished Night Watch yet (I like to conserve my Pratchett books), but it’s only marginally in the same universe as The Color of Magic. In that universe, Ankh-Morpork was a gleefully corrupt, dangerous place full of fantasy conventions to be skewered. In this universe, it’s closer to 17th/18th century London. In the first universe, tragedy is comic (the city burns down when TwoFlower introduces in-shur-ance). In this universe, tragedy is, well, tragic, because it happens to real people and not stereotypes. It’s actually an uncomfortable mix, because in one Anhk-Morpork, bad things happen to good people (and even worse things happen to bad people) for comic effect, while at the same time Vimes has to be outraged about it.

Anyway, so far my favorite part of “Night Watch” is my own private subtitle for it, “A Rembrandts of Things Past”.

You’re right about Ankh-Morpork changing throughout the books, but that’s okay with me. Keep in mind that it’s a very magic world, where reality is thinner than a very thin thing, so history might not be the same today as it was yesterday. Also, changes happen quickly there. I mean, look at all the things that have developed and then disappeared in the space of a book. Moving Pictures, Rock Music, Rule by Dragon, the Mall parasite, the Sourcerer. Ankh is a City On The Move.

Of course, as Terry has changed, so have the books, but I don’t think tragedy has lost it’s comic side. Look at the end of The Last Hero. It was tragic for the Silver Horde, but also quite funny and poignantly heroic.

By the way, I liked Eric.

This is definitely one of Pratchett’s more sober writings, mainly because Vimes is the only doggedly straight character in AM. I especially like the part where

while all the riots were going on, he had the doors to his precinct open and 2 local boys outside, smiling like nothing was going on. Doors that are closed and locked with nobody outside arouses distrust in the mobs.

My favorite of Pratchett’s past 10 books is Carpe Jugulum. I liked the way the father vampire conditioned the rest of his family to not get so freaked out by holy symbols and mirros.

I also am very fond of Carpe Jugulum, but especially for all the Granny Weatherwax bits, notably her trip with Mightily Oats and their exchanges on the nature of religious fervor.

Haven’t read Night Watch yet, so thanks for all the spoiler boxes :slight_smile:

With a little distance to it, I feel that Pterry really has something to say. That is - not only a story to tell, but something to say to us, right here and now, about ourselves. IT gets more and more obvious with every book, as DiscWorld and RoundWorld melts together and magic only exists as a very descreet backdrop to the story.
Me - I’m all for it.
Let’s see if those highbrows that sneer at him will continue to do so, or if they’ll eventuelly catch on. I doubt it, but I think Pterry deserves it.