In the twenty-second and final part of Jingo, Lord Vetinari has one last surprise for Vimes. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.Â
Oh, friends, this was such a treat. The end of Jingo brings some humor and a wonderful examination of Sir Samuel Vimes, the policeman who arrested an entire army just to stop a war. It’s kinda neat that this is so obviously a City Watch book, yet it unfolded in ways that were utterly unlike all the other books in this “series.” The fact that it was a very “international” novel, so to speak, certainly helped that. The scope of it felt so huge. And it should! This is a book about Big Ideas: Xenophobia. Racism. War. Nationalism. Complicity. Perception. And in the end, it’s about the one guy who decided to do the absurd and try to fight all of it.
So yeah, it was really weird to start this section and be back at Sybil’s home. We’d traveled so far during Jingo, but life goes on, no? That includes awkward moments with Willikins, who only bit one nose off, thank you very much. It includes lukewarm baths and interruptions and visits with Lord Vetinari… and yet it still feels different. Vimes stopped a war! Everyone experienced one hell of a journey. How the hell do they continue on?
A Change in Titles
So, while Leonard willingly returns to his cell in the Patrician’s Palace (because of course he would), Vimes is summoned to Lord Vetinari’s office, along with Carrot. (Sybil is there, too, and I hope we get more of her in a future book. I really like her!) I figured that Vetinari just wanted to tie up loose ends, to make sure the Guild heads were satisfied and that Ankh-Morpork could run as smoothly as it had always run. Indeed, that’s what I thought was happening at first. I learned that Prince Khufurah had taken over after Cadram had suddenly disappeared. (And been swallowed by the desert, I assume. You better believe that Ahmed went after him!) It was clear that Vetinari had, once again, planned for practically every possibility.
Except that’s not really how he works, is it? It’s not that he has a plan for every possible outcome; he just gently manipulates events so that his version of the world comes out at the end. That includes what he does here. His transition to talking about traffic enforcement is a way for him to thank Colon and Nobby in his own strange way, but it also makes it possible for there to be yet another aspect of Ankh-Morpork society for him to control. And when he suggests that he’d like to change Vimes’s title from “Commander” to “Duke,” that’s a deliberate thing, too.
Even then? I think it’s the most sentimental I’ve ever seen Lord Vetinari be. Ever. The title might be meaningless to Vimes, but the offer to have the historians re-write the history of his ancestor, Old Stoneface, is just… really goddamn sweet? Yes, I’m sure all of this serves a purpose. I can see how it mollified Sybil, since she’ll be less likely to complain about Vetinari always calling on Vimes. (He gave Sam the new title, which makes her a duchess, which elevates her social standing.) The political implications of the statue work in Vetinari’s favor, and there’s no way that Carrot would ever disagree with Vetinari’s choice in a duke. (If he ever becomes king, and that’s a HUGE if.)
It all works out in the end. Sort of like the Dis-Organizer finding someone to organize, finally! The Goriff family comes back to Ankh-Morpork; Colon and Nobby are promoted, and realize how living among the Klatchians has changed their worldview; Sybil is pleased; and Sam…. ah, Sir Samuel Vimes. Never one for pomp and circumstance, he gets what I’d argue is the most satisfying ending for anyone in Jingo. Because you know, at the end of the day, he’ll always be a member of the Watch. You can dress him up in fancy clothes, you can drop him in a parade, but when duty calls, that is what defines him. The chase. The pursuit. The feel of the cobbles of the street under his feet.
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