SPOILERS Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

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RathDarkblade

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Although it takes Vimes to realise it, it essentially means that the local magistrates are no longer under the view of Ankh-Morpork.
It does? I'm confused. :confused: Doesn't it mean that the local magistrates are now under the view of A-M? Since there's a clacks tower within reach of the goblins, and since the goblins are such expert clacksmen clacksgoblins, then in the event of an emergency (such as a magistrate trying to eradicate the goblins), they can climb the tower and send an SOS to Lord Vetinari. Right? :)

So that means that the local magistrates of the Shires - if they even exist any more (I thought Vimes got rid of them?) - are now, in effect, answerable to A-M generally and to Vetinari personally.

I also thought that the trees were cut down not because of Vimes, but because Vimes's brandy-guzzling ancestor (I forget his name) ordered Hangman's Hill to be specially constructed to be so high. Or have I misunderstood? :confused:
 

Tonyblack

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A-M doesn't really have any influence in the Shires, neither does Quirm - however, the magistrates will be far less likely to get up to schemes are are dubious at best and downright evil at worst. The big city states are spreading their influence via the Clacks, newspapers and later, the railway. Again, as we have seen in other books, they can have a huge influence in what happens on the Disc and between the races there.
 

Penfold

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Not really to do with Snuff but anecdotal family history has it that back in the seventies, my farmer uncle chased the local hunt off his land with his shotgun in hand. These country 'gentlemen' had a few magistrates in their number but all thought they could ignore the laws (and land ownership) by virtue of their position in society.
 

RathDarkblade

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That's everything to do with Snuff, Penners. ;) It is - again - rich people trying to ride roughshod over not-so-rich people, all because "the law shouldn't apply to me". :mad:

Even if land ownership wasn't an issue, aren't incidents like these illegal in any case? Farmers spend simply ages trying to grow crops, and then the stupid, brainless 'gentlemen' trample all over said crops with their horses. :mad: And, to add insult to injury, these so-called 'gentlemen' want the farmers to pay a tax for renting the land, and where will this tax-money come from? Why, from selling the above-mentioned crops to begin with! GRR. :mad:

Of course, not all country gentlemen are like that. I know it, you know it, we all damn well know it. ;) It's just the idiots that give the rest of them a bad name. Sigh ...
 

Penfold

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Sorry, I should have said my Uncle was a livestock farmer who farmed free-range chickens and kept pigs, rather than grew crops. The same principle applies though, Rath, in that they thought it was their right to ride through his land without permission. The hunt leader even tried telling my uncle he should be grateful to them for killing the foxes. My uncle's response was the foxes rarely took any of his chickens (when I say free-range, they didn't even have a coop and could escape quite easily. He had to truly forage through his land and search his woods when collecting the eggs each day) and they kept the rat population under control. (He was probably the world's worst farmer in that when it came time to take the pigs to slaughter, he couldn't bring himself to do it and kept them as pets instead.)
 

Tonyblack

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What do you all think about how Gravid Rust was portrayed in the book? Just to remind you, he was the "brains" behind the whole scheme and he doesn't actually make an appearance in the book.
 
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I think it fits the theme of how an embedded social structure supporting a criminal custom makes it very hard to get hold of the higher-up people behind the crime. Even though we're pretty sure that he will be dealt with, it is done quietly and in another country. It won't hit the newspapers and the family name won't be attached to despicable practices. The villain in Snuff truly is the social structure itself. Ultimately, evil as he is, Stratford is just an underling.
 

Penfold

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I think it fits the theme of how an embedded social structure supporting a criminal custom makes it very hard to get hold of the higher-up people behind the crime. Even though we're pretty sure that he will be dealt with, it is done quietly and in another country. It won't hit the newspapers and the family name won't be attached to despicable practices. The villain in Snuff truly is the social structure itself. Ultimately, evil as he is, Stratford is just an underling.
Totally agree and this is emphasized even more in that Gravid Rust never makes a direct appearance in the book.
 

RathDarkblade

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If the villain in Snuff is the social structure, then that implies that Vetinari is a villain too, since he is part (even a major part) of that structure. But he earnestly wishes that he wasn't - and that he had the freedom to act like Vimes (i.e. take the villain prisoner, and all that jazz). ;)

Does this mean Vetinari is in favour of reforming the societal system of Ankh-Morpork? We already know he is in favour of cautious reforms - gradually introducing new things (e.g. dwarfs and trolls in MAA, the clacks way back in MR, newspapers in TT, railways in RS, etc.) so that people wouldn't get too annoyed too fast.

In that, Vetinari has his antithesis in Moist, who introduces new things quickly. It is this, perhaps, that is the greatest divide between Vetinari and Moist. Lord V is in favour of change, but gradual change; Moist is in favour of fast change.

In RS, Lord V gets his chance to act as quickly and decisively as Vimes, and rather enjoys himself. Who knows where A-M would have gone next? What a pity it ended on RS. :(
 
Oct 1, 2009
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Does this mean Vetinari is in favour of reforming the societal system of Ankh-Morpork? We already know he is in favour of cautious reforms - gradually introducing new things (e.g. dwarfs and trolls in MAA, the clacks way back in MR, newspapers in TT, railways in RS, etc.) so that people wouldn't get too annoyed too fast.

In that, Vetinari has his antithesis in Moist, who introduces new things quickly. It is this, perhaps, that is the greatest divide between Vetinari and Moist. Lord V is in favour of change, but gradual change; Moist is in favour of fast change.
The clacks was introduced in The Fifth Elephant, and there's no evidence that Vetinari himself was involved in anything other than approving the idea. But from, say, Thud! on, Vetinari does seem to be a proponent of rapid changes in technology and the adoption of new economic ideas that create a more unified, interconnected DW society with AM as its hub. That's why he puts Moist in positions where he can revolutionize outdated institutions like the post office and the banking system or kick the development of the railway system into high gear, as well as restore control of the clacks to those will expand its capabilities, rather than destroy it.
 

RathDarkblade

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Whoops, I forgot about the clacks introduction in TFE. Even further back, then. ;)

I am not sure that Vetinari is a proponent of anything. A proponent is "a person who advocates a theory, proposal, or course of action". Vetinari doesn't advocate or suggest any of these things, but he is shrewd enough to see their possibilities, and subtle enough to steer and guide the proponents towards what he wants to achieve. :)

As for Lord V and Moist, I'd have loved to see - for instance - what Pterry would have done with the tax system, if he'd have written "Raising Taxes", with Moist in the lead. :)

But now I have another question: is Vetinari a villain? If so, he is definitely not cut from the mould of moustache-twirling villains, so beloved of classic melodrama. I don't think he is a villain, because he doesn't act from selfish motives. Of course, he wants to preserve his own power, but so does any other politician - and not many of those have been called 'villains'. :) Aside from that, though, Vetinari behaves more or less like a shepherd whose flock is the city of A-M - but not necessarily the citizens. I get the feeling that he genuinely cares about the city and wants to keep it going, even though the individual citizens are (or can be) 'expendable', if they threaten the city.

What do you think, hmm?
 

Tonyblack

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If by villain you mean somebody that does evil or bad things, I'd say only partly. It's clear that he's going to have Gravid Rust, assassinated, but is that really a bad thing? Gravid pretty much escaped from serious penalties for his crimes (Terry talking about privilege here). Although Vetinari is correct that he can't charge anyone retroactively for a crime and his actual jurisdiction outside of A-M may be a bit shaky with regards to smuggling and manufacturing Troll drugs. So the quiet assassination on foreign soil seems reasonable. Apart from that (and being a tyrant) I think he is generally fair and, like Vimes, thinks about the city first. Although as we are getting to these final books, it's clear that certain key players on the Disc are trying to make it a possibly better place to live.
 
Oct 1, 2009
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I am not sure that Vetinari is a proponent of anything. A proponent is "a person who advocates a theory, proposal, or course of action". Vetinari doesn't advocate or suggest any of these things, but he is shrewd enough to see their possibilities, and subtle enough to steer and guide the proponents towards what he wants to achieve. :)
In the early books Vetinari is more of a reactionary, voicing his opposition to "innovations" like moving pictures and music with rocks in it, but more or less lets these innovations run their natural course.

One could argue that, starting with Jingo!, Vetinari does become a very visible "mover and shaker," turning the Klatsch situation into something that ultimately boosts AM's status as the DW's foremost city. Certainly in TFE he understands the importance of finding ways to negotiate favorable trade pacts and alliance with other regions (and uses Vimes in an underhanded way to accomplish these goals). In the Moist books, Vetinari is clearly an advocate of economic, technological and social changes that benefit the city. He might not originate the actual ideas, but he puts the people in place he knows will, in one way or another, achieve these goals. And by Unseen Academicals it's his idea to "professionalize" football.
 

Tonyblack

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The building of the Clacks Tower on the top of the hill, where everyone could see it, is an: "I'm watching you" gesture. Vimes has got a half decent force in the area, who seem to have some loyalty to him. Folks there are going to think twice before doing anything illegal.
 

RathDarkblade

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What do you all think about how Gravid Rust was portrayed in the book? Just to remind you, he was the "brains" behind the whole scheme and he doesn't actually make an appearance in the book.
I'm not so sure about Gravid Rust himself, given the fact that we never actually see him. But if the old saying about apples and trees is right, then Gravid will be a pompous, arrogant, opinionated idiot. ;)
 

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