Monday, June 18, 2012
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Captain Sam Vimes of the Night Watch is a drunk. There is a dragon loose in his city. Why is there a dragon? They’ve been extinct for ages. But some overly ambitious Elucidated Brethren have summoned it and it’s wrecking havoc on poor Ankh-Morpork and Sam will not have it! So that means Sam is going to have to sober up, his men will have to find their courage to stop it. And with luck - quite a bit of luck, actually - perhaps they can manage to not get killed along the way.
Back when I read Snuff I became a fan of Sam Vimes. I met him at a point in his life where he’d already achieved so much, he is a husband, a father and Commander of the City Watch, having gained a few more titles along the way. I’d always wanted to see what he was like before that and I got my opportunity to do so in Guards! Guards! This Sam is so very different yet he is the Sam I met in Snuff. In Guards! Guards! we meet Sam for the first time, drunk and mumbling to himself in the gutters. He is just a captain of the Night Watch, with only two men under his command. Not much is expected of them and they actually prefer it that way. But Sam will not stand by to let a dragon destroy his city. When he came to his senses and knew he would have to do something about it I couldn't help but feel proud of him; that was the Sam I got to know in Snuff.
I also got to meet Lady Sybil Ramkin, Sam’s future wife (I am not considering this a spoiler since I already wrote about her in my Snuff review), an eccentric heiress who is an expert on swamp dragons, the very small brethren of the very large dragon causing chaos. She also plays a big part helping Sam and the Night Watch towards a future or being more than just mall security. It’s also nice to see the beginnings of their romance. They’re so cute!
The Patrician is back too and this book just made me like that guy even more. I also got to meet some new people: Colon, Nobby, Carrot, the Librarian and Errol, the swamp dragon. I’m not sure if Errol makes much of an appearance in other books but I had to talk about him because he plays an important part in the fight against the dragon menace. We learn from Lady Sybil that swamp dragons will often re-work their plumbing, sometimes with messy results, but Errol manages a way to re-work his plumbing that made me do a double take before realizing that what I read was what I read. It’s so delightfully hilarious and silly (and gross). Colon and Nobby are the grizzled veterans; grizzled veterans in the way that they know where all the good watering holes are at. The Night Watch takes on Carrot, a human raised by Dwarves (visions of Elf can not be helped with this scenario). Carrot is very naive and the conversations he has with Colon and Nobby are great when they try to explain how the non-Dwarf world really works. And there’s the Librarian, a wizard-turned-orangutan after a spell gone awry, who does not concern himself much with the goings on of humans but when someone dares steals a book from his library he is dead set to find it, even if he must communicate by charades.
A great cast of quirky, unique characters... check! Excellent and witty dialogue... check! A laugh out loud storyline... and check! I’m sensing a pattern with these books and I’m liking it. So far, the 3 out of 3 I’ve read have been fantastic. I have not been disappointed and once again I’m looking forward to more!