SPOILERS Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

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RathDarkblade

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Oh! Thank you, Tony. :) I never thought about that etymology, but it makes sense. So, to summarise: what => wot => wit => Witan.

Is "Witan" derived from "Wotan", aka Odin, chief of the Norse gods, god of wizardry and knowledge? :) It seems possible.

It's strange: I always thought that "wot" was simply "what", but written as "wot" because the character is supposed to have a strange accent? ;)
 

Dotsie

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1. At the start of the novel, when Vimes walks around with Willikins, he comes across as put-upon and slightly wimpy (e.g. when he asks Willikins "Do I like chicken salad?", Willikins says "I am informed by her ladyship that you do, sir," and Vimes gives up and says "I guess I do, then.") When did Vimes become wimpy? :(
When he got engaged! He gave up drink for Sybil, then later she wanted him to eat more healthily and he had to cut a lot of B out of his BLT. He did it though because he loves her, and although she wouldn't get angry or bossy, he didn't want to see her get sad. So, not wimpy, but actually stronger.
 

=Tamar

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I am of the opinion that "what" as an interjection is a shortened form of "Eh, wot?" which is related to the use of "wot" as a synonym for "know". "Eh, wot" derives from "y wot", and means "you know." So all those posh folk saying "What" are actually saying the exact equivalent of "you know?" or "know what I mean?"
 
Oct 1, 2009
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1. At the start of the novel, when Vimes walks around with Willikins, he comes across as put-upon and slightly wimpy (e.g. when he asks Willikins "Do I like chicken salad?", Willikins says "I am informed by her ladyship that you do, sir," and Vimes gives up and says "I guess I do, then.") When did Vimes become wimpy? :(
I think Pterry meant to portray Vimes at the start of the novel as someone who essentially had become so used his to life as a lord that he had lost a lot of the "copperness" that made him Vimes. (Remember that nearly six years pass between Thud! and Snuff)

Being more of a lord meant that he was more under the control of Lady Sibyl (indeed, the first few pages are all about Vimes' feeble and ineffectual protests against going on vacation. Contrast this to the Vimes or earlier books who had no problem ducking out of any social occasion to chase a thief). Vimes remains essentially in this "timid" role until the actual copper stuff. That's when he "regains" who he is, although I maintain it's a shadow of how he was since he no longer has vulnerabilities of any kind.

BTW, the "Do I like chicken salad" bit is a rehash of a bit in Thief of Time when Death is trying to convince an emasculated War to rejoin the reconstituted 4 horsemen. He's so henpecked that he has to ask his wife (the wonderfully names Mrs. War) for confirmation that he likes things he doesn't remember liking before.
 

RathDarkblade

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Thank you, all. That makes more sense. :) I had no idea that nearly 6 years pass between Thud! and Snuff.

Raisindot - yes, the "Do I like chicken salad" thing did sound familiar. It even crops up about 20-30 pages later when Vimes and Sybil throw a dinner party, and a certain Colonel Augustus Makepeace is introduced. His wife henpecks him into not eating scallops or drinking beer, eating only greens, and speaking only when he's spoken to (surely an exaggeration, but probably not by much, of some wives/husbands).

Eventually the Colonel stands up for himself against his wife (she's even named Mrs. Colonel, reminiscent of Mrs. War).

Then again, If Pterry can't occasionally recycle his own ideas, whose ideas can he recycle? ;)
 

Tonyblack

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Here's a question that I don't think we've covered yet. What exactly is Stinky? He seems to have magic powers that the other goblins don't.
 

RathDarkblade

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The fact that Young Sam was a toddler in Thud! and is now a precocious junior scientist in Snuff is a Rather Obvious Clue. ;)
All right, it's been a long time since I've read Thud!, so I probably forgot. ;)

I haven't finished re-reading Snuff yet, so I can't comment on Stinky - I've only (re-)met him once.

But here's another contention to ponder: Raisindot raised the point that Snuff is not Vimes's story, because Vimes is basically invulnerable to anything that can be thrown at him. I agree - and I'd like to posit my hypothesis that this is actually Feeney's story. Feeney starts as a basically powerless accessory to the crimes committed by the Magistrates and Other Interested Bodies. By the end, however, Feeney is a Power to be reckoned with (though I can't recall how powerful he is). Any thoughts?
 
Oct 1, 2009
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All right, it's been a long time since I've read Thud!, so I probably forgot. ;)

I haven't finished re-reading Snuff yet, so I can't comment on Stinky - I've only (re-)met him once.

But here's another contention to ponder: Raisindot raised the point that Snuff is not Vimes's story, because Vimes is basically invulnerable to anything that can be thrown at him. I agree - and I'd like to posit my hypothesis that this is actually Feeney's story. Feeney starts as a basically powerless accessory to the crimes committed by the Magistrates and Other Interested Bodies. By the end, however, Feeney is a Power to be reckoned with (though I can't recall how powerful he is). Any thoughts?
I never said that Snuff is not Vimes' story. It absolutely is a Vimes/Watch story. It's just (as far as I'm concerned) a relatively inferior Watch novel in many ways, in part because Vimes has become such a powerful copper and authority figure that essentially the whole mystery is more of a game to him (even though the murder and crimes-against-goblinity are serious) than the life or death struggles he faced in previous books.
 
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Here's a question that I don't think we've covered yet. What exactly is Stinky? He seems to have magic powers that the other goblins don't.
It is possible that some or all goblins have similar magical powers, but that only Stinky's are evident because he has the most interaction with the human characters in the book. I think the general point is that Stinky is different than other goblins because he has somehow been able to overcome the "powerless victim" mentality that has kept the cave-dwelling goblins repressed. Then again, even in repressed cultures there are some who rebel against the system because they're smarter, braver, or more resourceful than the rest.

What's interesting, though, is that even though we can assume that many people in the countryside have met Stinky, his intelligence and cocky personality still haven't convinced them that goblins are a sentient species. It's rather ironic that it takes wotshername goblin-girl-playing-the-harp to generate this global sea-change in thinking about the goblins. I kind of found that whole subplot rather distasteful because it basically says that being a smart, talking goblin in itself demonstrates no worth at all (the concept that Nutt introduced in Unseen Academicals); you can only be recognized as "sentient" if you can do something that the other "sentient" races can perceive as a demonstration of sentience on their own terms.

It's the equivalent of people thinking that apes and chimpanzee were basically unintelligent creatures until they could be taught by humans to use sign language.

I think Pterry had a lot of problems in consistently crystallizing the idea of "sentient species recognition" through the series. On the one hand, dwarfs and trolls had been living and working and raising families in Ankh Morpork for many years. On the other hand, when Detritus is first introduced as a character, he's chained to a wall. Golems are recognized as sentient beings in Feet of Clay, and Vimes hires and pays gargoyles and gnomes to be Watchmen, yet in Snuff he still needs to be convinced that goblins--whom, in many ways are smarter and more talented than other "recognized" species--are truly sentient.
 

=Tamar

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If I recall correctly, in Going Postal, one of the UU wizards is studying the mating call of the giant clam and thinks he is on the verge of being able to communicate with them. The wizards also are aware that the creatures from the Dungeon Dimensions, while not especially bright by their standards, are able to communicate to some degree. Granny and Nanny have both treated trolls medically, decades before trolls were respected in Ankh-Morpork. I would say that the wizards and witches are more open-minded with regard to sentience of other species.
But there is a difference between acknowledging that they are sentient, and agreeing that they deserve equal rights. I think it was only after the concept of humans being equally lowly before the gods became standard that many people began to be disturbed by mistreatment of whole classes of people for political and economic reasons. In Ankh-Morpork the changes happen with remarkable speed.
 

RathDarkblade

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...wotshername goblin-girl-playing-the-harp...
Tears of the Mushroom. :) I'm re-reading the book and I actually just read the bit where she plays the harp.

If I recall correctly, in Going Postal, one of the UU wizards is studying the mating call of the giant clam and thinks he is on the verge of being able to communicate with them.
Devious Collabone. Sorry - but GP is one of my favourites, and definitely my favourite Moist von Lipwig book. :)

As for Snuff in general - I have one or two 'gripes' ...

pp 178-88. Too many monologues. :( Miss Beedle's life story (explaining how she knows the goblin tongue) is necessary, but has far too much exposition. This could have benefited from Vimes interrupting from time to time to break up the monologue.

Even that scene, though, is better than the following one. The scene with Carrot and Cheery is cute, but A. E. Pessimal dominates the scene with his exposition of "the dreadful algebra", which adds nothing to the plot. Perhaps Pessimal's "dreadful algebra" was one of Pterry's favourite bits - we'll never know for sure - but he should have remembered the old adage: Kill Your Darlings.

By this I don't, of course, mean that we should pick up an axe and ... :oops: No, no, no! "Kill Your Darlings" is advice to an author working on a new story: yes, I know you like this bit, and I agree that it is well-worded. But it slows down the action and adds nothing to the plot. Can it be re-worded to make it shorter? Can it be gotten rid of entirely? If you can get rid of a character within a scene, and the scene still makes sense, then you don't need the character, do you?

In this case, A. E. Pessimal doesn't need to be here except to tell Carrot about the goblins who work for Harry King. All the rest can go.

(And yes, I know I'm editing Pterry here. I'm sorry. In my defence, all I can say is that I've been working and editing my own work for years now, and while I won't compare it to Pterry's by any means, sometimes the internal editor just takes over. Apologies). *blush*
========================================
The second "gripe" is even worse, because - in pp. 195-202 - Young Sam disappears and re-appears. :oops:

End of Scene 1. Young Sam is in the goblin tunnel with his dad. Vimes exchanges a pot for a picture of Young Sam.

Scene 2. Vimes has a word with Jiminy, owner of the Goblin's Head Pub.

Scene 3. Vimes goes to see Miss Beedle, and hears Tears of the Mushroom play the harp.

Scene 4. Vimes rushes home to get Sybil, and get her to hear the music. She orders him to get Young Sam, who is in the laboratory with Willikins.

How did Young Sam - aged 6, remember - get from the goblin tunnel to back home? Magic? ;)

That's all for now ... :)
 

=Tamar

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It seems clear enough to me. After leaving the tunnels with Young Sam, Vimes dropped the kid off at home before going to the pub.
 
Oct 1, 2009
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It seems clear enough to me. After leaving the tunnels with Young Sam, Vimes dropped the kid off at home before going to the pub.
Pretty much. It would have been kind of dull for Pterry to write, "After Vimes was done talking to the goblins, he found Young Sam and brought him home." You don't have to explain EVERYTHING.
 

Tonyblack

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Stinky, seems to me to be a type of Goblin God. Remember it was him that touched Sam's "exit wound" and pleaded for help in much the same way as the dying dwarf did in Thud". He literally gets stomped to death but doesn't die. We know the power of belief on the Disc - is it plausible that the goblins' belief in Stinky took him to something more than a goblin?
 
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Hmmm. Interesting idea, Tony. I really didn't think about that part seriously, given that goblins had so many mysterious talents, such as the magic they create in the Ungue pots. But perhaps because Stinky was an important community leader, after he was stomped the cave goblins found about it telepathically and collectively prayed for his recovery? I'd rather think of this being the reason than to think of Stinky as a goblin equivalent of a small god.

Of course, if you believe this, you might ask why didn't the cave goblins "repair" the murdered goblin girl? If you want to go into great speculation, you might hypothesize that she was, for the purposes of the story, an adult version of the baby goblins whom their parents kill during famines. She wasn't resurrected because her life was a sacrifice that was needed to draw the attention of Vimes to the plight of goblins in general. Somehow, they knew he was coming and perhaps even worked with the Summoning Dark to make sure Vimes would get involved.
 

RathDarkblade

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It could be, Tony, rasin ... though this is all speculation. I'm more inclined to agree that Stinky was a "goblin small god" - although perhaps he is a magical being, a bit like Scrappy, the magical kangaroo, in "The Last Continent"?

I'm sure we'll never know, though. Even Vimes tried to figure it out, and gave up. :)

By the way, I have a couple of other questions:

In page 314, Captain Murderer pleads with Vimes that "goblins are cargo". Is that a reference to the British attitude to black slaves, back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries? It sounds plausible to me.

I'm also curious about the expression "...wouldn't run for a big clock", which Terry uses several times (though not in "Snuff"). Why a big clock? Does it have anything to do with the tradition of presenting a office worker with a cuckoo clock when he retired? ;)
 

Dotsie

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That’s certainly how I saw it. I’ve heard it elsewhere as well.
 

Tonyblack

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The installation of a Clacks Tower upon Hangman's Hill, is a significant point in this book. Although it takes Vimes to realise it it essentially means that the local magistrates are no longer under the view of Ankh-Morpork. It has been set on the highest hill with a direct view to A-M. The trees around it have been removed to make sure that the folks in the Shires are in no doubt that A-M is watching them. I also think it significant that the tower in right above the goblin tunnels.
 

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