In the thirteenth part ofÂ Guards! Guards!, Vimesâ€™s concern about the dragon is used against him. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to readÂ Discworld.
I DID NOT EXPECT THIS.
Itâ€™s clear that it was very tempting for the Librarian to use the L-space to stop the theft ofÂ The Summoning of Dragonsin the first place. But that just canâ€™t be! You know, this brief section from the Librarianâ€™s POV got me thinkingâ€¦ this character is probably going to outlastÂ everything, isnâ€™t he? The Librarian always knows when to get involved and when to let things be. As easy at it might have seemed to just hide the book so Brother Fingers doesnâ€™t steal it, the Librarian knows that could have disastrous effects for the future.
Okay, Iâ€™m nervous. Well, thatâ€™s the case in general, since this whole chapter left me uneasy about the dragon. MORE ON THAT IN A SECOND. Iâ€™m nervous because Iâ€™m already way too into Errol as a character, but everything Iâ€™ve learned about swamp dragons is telling me that Errol is about to die. As Vimes realizes later in this chapter, he hasnâ€™t been taking care of Errol as he should. He hasnâ€™t watched what the swamp dragon has been eating, and now Errol is sickâ€¦ I think? The boiling scales, the rumbling noises, and now, Errol is cravingâ€¦ oil? I feel like thatâ€™s a set up for a pretty fantastic joke involving the swamp dragonsâ€™ inability to consistently create a flame, but mostly, I JUST WANT ERROL TO BE OKAY. Please???
Truthfully, Vimes does care about Ankh-Morpork, and as cynical and sad as he is some times, he believes in his city. I donâ€™t feel like thereâ€™s a selfish reason for his desire to protect others from the dragon, but the city is biased against him so much that people like Lupine Wonse think that heâ€™s just trying to make things better for himself. Yes, it was a mistake to think a raven was a dragon. (ITâ€™S KIND OF FUNNY, THOUGH.) But Lupineâ€™s response to Vimes is to TAKE HIS BADGE AWAY FROM HIM. Itâ€™s easier for Wonse to dispose to Vimes this way than to admit that he may be right. But just in terms of the writingâ€¦ holy shit, this was such a shocker. I havenâ€™t even had all that much time with Vimes compared to other characters in theÂ Discworld universe, but I already feel like heÂ is the Watch. How can you take that away from him so soon???
I think you can even see that shock in Vimes himself, who canâ€™t even be angry at this development, at least not yet. A part of him is relieved itâ€™s over, but thatâ€™s just for the time being. He doesnâ€™t get much time to think about a life thatÂ isnâ€™t in the Watch before the sounds of panic reach the Yard. And what does he do when he hears evidence that his city is trouble, that the dragon has indeed returned?
He placed his battered helmet on his head and gave it a jaunty tap. Then, humming a mad little tune, he sauntered out of the building.
He still goes out to do his job.
A lot of the dread and unease I felt in this section, however, came from my fear of what the dragon would do. I knew that the dragon specifically sought out those who had summoned it, but the dragon was also EXTREMELY UPSET. It had the capacity to roast this entire city, and I would not be surprised if it did so. So how bad would this be? Characters have certainly died in theÂ Discworld, but I didnâ€™t know if weâ€™d see something on a grander scale here. The High Priest of Blind Io is the first casualty here, since he offers the dragon a gold crown that isnâ€™t gold at all. (Did he seriously think a dragon wouldnâ€™t know???) Lupine Wonse, however, is spared. Why is that? I think that the dragon knows Lupine can lead the way toâ€¦ the king? The Supreme Grand Master? Both, probably. By the way, where theÂ hell is the Supreme Grand Master??? I find it suspicious that we havenâ€™t heard from him once since the â€œâ€kingâ€ appeared. YOU ARE TRYING TO TRICK ME, PRATCHETT. Iâ€™VE GOT MY EYE ON YOU.
But letâ€™s also acknowledge how hilarious and perfect it is that Vimes is certain that his city is going to adopt the dragon AS THEIR KING:
Weâ€™ll really do it, he thought. Thatâ€™s the Ankh-Morpork way. if you canâ€™t beat it or corrupt it, you pretend it was your idea in the first place.
Which soundsÂ exactly like the Patrician, yâ€™all. And whatâ€™s the Patrician up to?
In his rat-filled dungeon, behind a door with more locks than a major canal network, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork lay back and grinned in the darkness.
The original text contains use of the words â€œidiot,â€ â€œmad,â€ and â€œwhore.â€
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