Mark Reads ‘Guards! Guards!’: Part 13

In the thirteenth part of Guards! Guards!, Vimes’s concern about the dragon is used against him. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.


The Librarian

It’s clear that it was very tempting for the Librarian to use the L-space to stop the theft of The Summoning of Dragonsin the first place. But that just can’t be! You know, this brief section from the Librarian’s POV got me thinking… this character is probably going to outlast everything, isn’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 doesn’t steal it, the Librarian knows that could have disastrous effects for the future.


Okay, I’m nervous. Well, that’s the case in general, since this whole chapter left me uneasy about the dragon. MORE ON THAT IN A SECOND. I’m nervous because I’m already way too into Errol as a character, but everything I’ve learned about swamp dragons is telling me that Errol is about to die. As Vimes realizes later in this chapter, he hasn’t been taking care of Errol as he should. He hasn’t watched what the swamp dragon has been eating, and now Errol is sick… I think? The boiling scales, the rumbling noises, and now, Errol is craving… oil? I feel like that’s a set up for a pretty fantastic joke involving the swamp dragons’ 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 don’t feel like there’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 he’s just trying to make things better for himself. Yes, it was a mistake to think a raven was a dragon. (IT’S KIND OF FUNNY, THOUGH.) But Lupine’s response to Vimes is to TAKE HIS BADGE AWAY FROM HIM. It’s easier for Wonse to dispose to Vimes this way than to admit that he may be right. But just in terms of the writing… holy shit, this was such a shocker. I haven’t even had all that much time with Vimes compared to other characters in the Discworld universe, but I already feel like he 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 can’t even be angry at this development, at least not yet. A part of him is relieved it’s over, but that’s just for the time being. He doesn’t get much time to think about a life that isn’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.

The Dragon

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 the Discworld, but I didn’t know if we’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 isn’t gold at all. (Did he seriously think a dragon wouldn’t know???) Lupine Wonse, however, is spared. Why is that? I think that the dragon knows Lupine can lead the way to… the king? The Supreme Grand Master? Both, probably. By the way, where the hell is the Supreme Grand Master??? I find it suspicious that we haven’t heard from him once since the “”king” appeared. YOU ARE TRYING TO TRICK ME, PRATCHETT. I’VE GOT MY EYE ON YOU.

But let’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:

We’ll really do it, he thought. That’s the Ankh-Morpork way. if you can’t beat it or corrupt it, you pretend it was your idea in the first place.

Which sounds exactly like the Patrician, y’all. And what’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 “idiot,” “mad,” and “whore.”

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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