In the fourth part of Night Watch, Vimes finds an ally. Sort of. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For police brutality
I AM SO MAD, I JUST GOT THIS JOKE RIGHT THIS FUCKING SECOND.
“Yes, sir, I have a question,” said a voice behind him. “Do you ever listen to your own advice?”
THE LAYERS TO THIS ARE UNBELIEVABLE, I HATE EVERYTHING, EVERYONE GO HOME.
Truly, though, it’s just one bit of these sixteen or so pages that contributes to the odd and surreal experience that is Samuel Vimes traveling through time. Pratchett has thrown both Vimes and the audience into this, and I have no idea what’s going on, and MY BODY IS READY.
Take the first scene in this section, for example. Vimes knocks on the gate to Unseen University, convinced that if he can just get inside, he’ll be able to get the wizards’ help to go back home. There is just… so much wrong with that approach, which is sort of the point. Vimes hasn’t immersed himself in the past yet, and he’s learning the hard way that practically everything is different. Before he discovers that the wizards can’t even manipulate time yet, he learns that even the Watch is basically a different body of law. It’s not just that this time is rougher than the modern day. It’s sloppier. Less organized. More prone to chaos. And Vimes has—sometimes begrudgingly—whipped the Watch into shape over the years.
This is not the Watch he knows. It’s the Watch he knew.
Which means that Vimes gets the shit kicked out of him by the Watch men on duty because… well, that’s just what the Watch did back then. (Which makes me curious: Did Younger Vimes participate in the beating of his older self? ASKING THE REAL QUESTIONS HERE.) When he discovers that Carcer also traveled back in time with him, it’s just more salt in the wound. Especially since Carcer is seemingly freed WHILE he’s insisting that Vimes is the dangerous one. Indeed, it seems like Carcer is in the perfect time to be his homicidal self. He’s going to thrive in this place, right???
That realization led me to another, though. Vimes is finally ripped out of time again, though this time it wasn’t quite so accidental. I was THRILLED by the reappearance of Lu-Tze, who we haven’t seen since Thief of Time, and THE IDEA OF LU-TZE AND VIMES WORKING TOGETHER IS SO GREAT. It’s such an odd pairing, and I want Pratchett to wring this of all its worth. And it’s already happening! Lu-Tze reveals that he suspects that Vimes was brought back in time for a reason, hence my second realization: Was Carcer brought back in time for a reason? Did they have to arrive on this specific day? It seems more than just coincidental that Vimes chose the name of the Watch hero John Keel, only to arrive one day after he was murdered. That… that has to be on purpose.
But why? If John Keel is so important, why did Vimes get sent to a point just after he died?
I DON’T GET IT. I know it’s important, but I don’t have enough pieces to put it together!
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