SPOILERS Gaspode the Wonder Dog, Character Discussion

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Tonyblack

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#1
Sometimes it can actually be quite hard to think of who I will start a discussion of next - but I had a think and decided that Gaspode might be a good one.

We first meet Gaspode (like so many regular characters) in Moving Pictures where he suddenly gains self conscious. It comes as quite a shock to him, especially as he also seems to gain human eyesight in regard to colours. He is quite a sympathetic character, and it's easy to see why Terry thought he could use him in other books.

But what do you all think of Gaspode the Wonder Dog?
 

RathDarkblade

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#2
First, let's get rid of the inevitable Lassie comparisons. *dumps Lassie comparisons in the bin* Done. ;)

Gaspode has a tragic puppyhood, having been tied up in a sack-with-a-brick-in-it and dumped in the river. It's lucky for Gaspode that this river was the Ankh, so he was able to walk ashore in the sack, even if he did have a confused relationship with the brick for a few days.

He was "rescued" by a kind family and given a blanket and bowl with the name "MR HUGGY" on it. But they also wanted to give him a ... shudder ... B-A-T-H. Ugh!

We see Gaspode again in MAA, TFE and "The Truth". Not sure if he pops up elsewhere, though.

To be honest, I didn't give Gaspode too much thought. He's a funny character, but he never develops much beyond the "I'm in this for myself" stage. His job is to walk on, deliver his lines, and exit stage left. He doesn't have the same character development that (say) Vimes or Granny have, or even someone like Perdita X. Nitt (who, let's face it, doesn't develop much either - but at least her character changes over time).

Gaspode's character, on the other hand, alternates between being a wise-cracking kind of dog (i.e. let's-make-fun-of-humans-aren't-they-a-riot), and the bark whine, doggie wants a biscuit kind of dog. So while he's a good supporting character, I doubted we'd ever see a book based around him. I mean, would you read one if it was written? :)
 

Tonyblack

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#3
Gaspode, to me, is a somewhat tragic character. After the way he was treated by Carrot in TFE, it's understandable that, when he finally makes it back to A-M, he basically goes into hiding. Living with the Canting Crew, and especially Foul Old Ron, he has the perfect disguise. I doubt if even Angua could find him with Ron's stink. He's stuck somewhere between being a dog and being a human. He doesn't belong in the dog society and humans treat him as a pet. So he does his own thing.
 

Penfold

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#4
No fantastic insights or any real thoughts on Gaspode as a character, from me, but I always wanted to see him teamed up with Maurice in a 'buddy movie' type of way. Mind you, both their personalities were quite similar.

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Terry originally want Gaspode to die at the end of Moving Pictures? I believe it was the publishers that talked him out of it but I cannot remember where I heard or read this?
 

Tonyblack

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#5
That's what I heard regarding Terry's plan for Gaspode.
 

RathDarkblade

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#6
Hmm. Tony, now that I've read your post, Gaspode's character makes more sense. I wonder, in that case, why Gaspode and Angua don't hit it off, since they're both stuck in between species. If Gaspode turned down his sarcasm and Angua her moodiness, they might have been better friends. :) Carrot is stuck between species too, but he doesn't seem to suffer from bad moods in the same way that Angua does.

And now that I said that ... huh - suddenly I see why some people hate Carrot in TFE. Here's why:

1. He bullies Gaspode throughout TFE.
2. He sets off after Angua, after basically ignoring her needs throughout FOC; and
3. He basically comes across as needy and clingy. Angua's gone? Oh no! Must get her back! He never realises that Angua has feelings, too.

No wonder Angua blows up at him when he finally catches up with her. And yet, by the end of the novel, he's still portrayed as "heroic", which is very annoying.

Anti-heroes like Vimes and Moist are much more interesting characters than Carrot. I'm not surprised that after MAA, Terry decided to dump Carrot as an MC (Main Character). ;)
 
Oct 1, 2009
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#7
Tangent time again!

Actually, the one "heroic" thing that Carrot does in TFE is take the first punch at Wolfgang, an action that ends up being little more than a delaying tactic. There's nothing heroic about him before or after. He doesn't really care all that much about Gaspode's fate even though he's responsible for it. And in the last scene he leverages his "kinglinke qualities" and newfound nastiness to intimidate Fred and Nobby into cleaning up after the mess Carrot made when he abandoned the Watch. There's absolutely nothing admirable about him in the novel, which is why TFE is the real turning point in his character's narrative.
 

=Tamar

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#8
I read somewhere, probably on the old alt.fan.pratchett group, that it was the beta-readers who told Terry in no uncertain terms that he should not kill Gaspode. If I recall correctly, it was Terry himself who posted it as part of a discussion.

In my opinion, Gaspode is the true protagonist of Moving Pictures. He is the only major character who goes to Holy Wood voluntarily, to find out what's going on. He is the agent of much of the action, nudging people to follow, talking to the newly-talking animals, becoming the agent to the star dog, etc. He's sort of the Peter Falk character.
 

Tonyblack

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#9
I agree, =Tamar. The so-called main protagonists are somewhat 2D in comparison to Gaspode.

Interesting fact - the original trainers to the various dogs that played Lassie, were a family named Weatherwax.
 

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