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Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8)

4.3  ·  Rating Details ·  106,915 Ratings  ·  2,231 Reviews
Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis ("noble dragon" for those who don't understand italics) has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 376 pages
Published August 2001 by HarperTorch (first published August 1989)
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Ksenia Laney You don't have to read the other ones. It's set in the same world, and there are some recurring characters, but you can pick up pretty much any book…moreYou don't have to read the other ones. It's set in the same world, and there are some recurring characters, but you can pick up pretty much any book in the series as its own story without being lost.(less)
Greg It isn't written as a book for children. There is no material really inappropriate for kids age 9 and up, but the story & themes will probably go…moreIt isn't written as a book for children. There is no material really inappropriate for kids age 9 and up, but the story & themes will probably go over the heads of anyone younger than 13 or 14.

We listened to an audio book of "Going Postal" with our 9 year old son and he loved it. But "Guards! Guards!" didn't catch his fancy.(less)
Night Watch by Terry PratchettGoing Postal by Terry PratchettGuards! Guards! by Terry PratchettSmall Gods by Terry PratchettMort by Terry Pratchett
The Best of Discworld!
3rd out of 49 books — 802 voters
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsGood Omens by Terry PratchettLamb by Christopher MooreThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanA Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Books that Make you Laugh
20th out of 2,518 books — 3,612 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 16, 2009 Jared rated it it was amazing
Terry Pratchett is a comic genius. In this first installment of the "Watch" series in his Discworld (a world not quite entirely unlike our own), we meet Captain Vimes of the Ankh Morpork Night Watch and a selection of his fine men as they face down a fire-breathing dragon with kingly aspirations.

This book has more one-liners than a joke book ("The people united can never be ignited!"), and is significantly funnier. Terry Pratchett also works his genius with situational irony: Nothing prepares a
May 01, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: bibliophiles, anglophiles, thingy
(4.5 stars, really.)

Perfectly structured, from beginning to end. Mean without being nasty, funny without being stupid. Insightful without being preachy. Terry Pratchett has a gift for lovingly pointing out the stupidities of the human condition.

This particular one is quite delightful. It's got dragons, a man named Carrot, and a group of three men who make up the city law enforcement, inept and lovable guardians of the backwards and corrupted joyful logic of the city called Ankh-Morpork.

Let me
Mar 26, 2016 Skip rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humor
First Terry Prachett Discworld book for me. A bit slow for awhile, but I liked the Clint Eastwood dialogue.

3/26/16: I love the City Watch series and characters, what a hoot!!
Oct 12, 2015 Patrick rated it it was amazing
I've been re-reading some of the older Pratchett novels. Partly because I simply enjoy them. Partly because they help keep me sane in an increasingly infuriating world. And partly because they are comfortable to me. The literary equivalent of a security blanket.

But I'll be honest, I'm also reading them so I can postpone reading the final Pratchett novel that came out a little while ago. It will be hard for me to read that, knowing that afterwards, there will be no more new Pratchett to read. Ev

What I love most about Pratchett's books is that under a thin layer of funny footnotes-peppered pun-heavy parody lies the core of deep seriousness rooted in the quite sobering understanding of the shallow pettiness of human mundanity fueled by jealousy, bile, spite, and closemindedness.
"There was a thoughtful pause in the conversation as the assembled Brethren mentally divided the universe into the deserving and the undeserving, and put themselves on the appropriate side."
In the end, the only
Jan 05, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all Discworld fans
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: all pratchett's previous books
"Guards! Guards!"
Based on the original line up and moral background of the guards in question, you would be forgiven for thinking that the shout of "Guards! Guards!" across the rooftops of Ankh Morpork would be shouted in the sense of "Watch out the guards are coming, hide the beer and any other portable victuals and keep that Burleigh and Stronginthearm out of sight lest they nick it". Rather than the more usual "help me please Mr Officer-of-the-law as something untoward is afoot."

This is the f
Megan Baxter
Jun 29, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
There is a kind of book that is exactly the right thing to read when you got up at 5:20 AM to catch a bus to a conference, and have since, without having a nap, listened to six academic papers, and need something to read while eating and before bed.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Oct 23, 2012 Melki rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've read Sir Terry Pratchett's entire City Watch Series and the related Moist Von Lipvig / Modernization series (books listed below, in order). The entire series gets 4.5 solid stars, and it all starts here, with this book, and these characters (especially Captain Vimes). Such fun! Danger, suspense, action, relationship, character-development, humor, punnery, and plenty of satire. Plus, a little romance and...here be dragons.

Guards Guards is the first book in the Discworld sub-series, where we
David Sarkies
May 29, 2015 David Sarkies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pretty much anybody who likes a good laugh
Recommended to David by: Stewart
Shelves: comedy
Turning the Cannon-fodder into heroes
1 December 2012

'This is probably the first democratically killed dragon, one man, one stab.'

If I were to pull out one theme from this book I would have to say that it is about the fickleness of the mob. Basically the mob, or as in this book, the population of Ankh-Morpork, simply switch and change throughout but really have no understanding about what they really want. It is not about the overthrow of an evil tyrant to be replaced with a good king, particula
Richard Derus
Feb 09, 2013 Richard Derus rated it liked it
Rating: 3* of five

The Book Description: Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis ("noble dragon" for those who don't understand italics) has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all . . .).

Feb 19, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I feel like such a curmudgeon rating this three stars. There are times in my life where I think I would have appreciated it a lot more, times when I binged on Douglas Adams and Tom Holt and Robert Aspirin and Piers Anthony. I think I was twelve.
This is actually more sophisticated than I'm giving it credit for, but the human themes are buried under so many layers of pun and goofy character development that they don't get a lot of air. The footnotes! The puns! The wacky anachronisms! And then a ti
Camille Stein
Mar 26, 2015 Camille Stein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un buen número de las religiones de Ankh-Morpork seguían practicando los sacrificios humanos, aunque la verdad es que ya no necesitaban practicarlos, porque se les daban muy bien. Las leyes de la ciudad decían que sólo se podía utilizar a criminales condenados, pero eso no tenía mayor importancia, porque en la mayoría de las religiones el negarse a presentarse voluntario para el sacrificio era un crimen castigado con la muerte.

Quizá la magia perduraría. Quizá no. Pero ¿acaso hay algo que dure p
May 15, 2014 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical
Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!

The debut outing of Sam Vimes, Carrot Ironfoundersson, Fred Colon, Nobby Nobbs, Sybil Ramkin, Detritus and Cutmeownthroat Dibbler,and what a barnstorming adventure it is. At this stage The Watch are a down and out bunch of losers who prefer to hide in the dark than doing any policing, led by the now legendary Sam Vimes who you'll find face down in the gutter drinking his misery away. And there are plots afoot in the city of Ankh-Morpork, plots to overthrow the Pat
*Reposting today* RIP Terry Pratchett 1948-2015


In late 2007, Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

I was very young at the time but I still remember it happening because one of my cousins is a huge fan of Sir Terry. It was devastating to her. Now, almost 7 years later, it is devastating to me too.

Alzheimer's is a serious issue on my father's side of the family. We usually go to the family cemetery on Memorial Day weekend with some of my older great aunts and uncles. So
Deborah Markus
Oct 15, 2014 Deborah Markus rated it it was amazing
How To Read Terry Pratchett's Discworld Novels

1. Skip the first two books in the series. This is crucial. If you read these first, you will be rightly annoyed by their just-barely-okayness, and spend the rest of your life muttering about how overrated he is.

Terry Pratchett wrote these two books. Then all of a sudden he started writing really, really well. I don't know what happened. Maybe he sold his soul. My own theory is that his long-suffering wife waited as patiently as she could for him to
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
It was kind of a fun read, but I found myself getting a little bored and skimming toward the end. To all my friends who love the Discworld series:


It's probably just me, but I don't think Captain Vimes and I are Meant To Be. Or Discworld and I, for that matter.
Dec 29, 2014 Michael rated it liked it
Recommended to Michael by: Nataliya
Shelves: humor, fiction, fantasy, magic
I delighted in another visit to Discworld as an escape into the satire and silliness. But I found I had to be in the right mood, so it took me a long time to finish the book in small doses, the safest way with a dangerous recreational drug.

Our hero, Captain Vimes of the Night Watch, has less and less to do in his service to the metropolis of Anakh-Morpork. The city bureaucracy has become so efficient that all criminal sectors have become sanctioned under a set of guilds, allowing for a stable cr
Aug 10, 2015 j rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahhh, that's good dragon.
Jan 09, 2015 Cherie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series
"Perhaps the magic would last. Perhaps it wouldn't. But then, what does?"

The magic is still there for me.
Dec 26, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites, fantasy
At the time of writing, Terry Pratchett passed away about a week ago. Beside making me sad, the news also triggered a sudden urge to read a Discworld book which needed to be satisfied immediately. I haven't read any Terry Pratchett books for years. I have always liked them but there are just so many books in the world and you know how it is, one thing led to another and somehow they didn't lead back to Sir Terry. In the meantime, I have been reading many inferior “flavor of the month” books like ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Executive Summary: I've had numerous people tell me this is the Discworld book to start with, and now I know why. Easily my favorite so far. 4.5 stars.

Full Review
My Discworld read continues, and finally I come to infamous Guards! Guards! I know there are fancy diagrams and details on all the different ways you can read Discworld, but I prefer publish order. I've enjoyed all of the Discworld books so far, albeit some more than others. I generally seem to enjoy the Rincewind books less than I ha
Apr 06, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, fantasy

A highly enjoyable entry into the Discworld series and a start of a new sub-series, "The Watch" series. This is basically Terry Pratchett does the police with his unique style of humour and insight. If you've read any previous novels in the Discworld series you know what to expect, if you haven't then this is a great entry point.

For, what is primarily, a comedy there is some great character progression and none more so than Captain Vimes. When first introduced to Vimes we see him at the bo
Aug 02, 2016 Marina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hope Death is taking good care of Sir Terry Pratchett, because when he comes to take me to the other side, I’d like to kiss Sir Terry on the mouth. Because I’m in love.

I don’t think words like clever, witty, cynical, hilarious, dark, gut-busting-funny really do justice to his writing, but it’s kind of all of those combined and you get this amazing writing that is both funny, clever, and underneath it all incredibly dark and somewhat sobering. But how else do you point out to people all that is
Vagner Stefanello
Review in Portuguese from Desbravando Livros:

Depois de ter lido Pequenos Deuses, senti que precisava saber um pouquinho mais sobre Discworld, o famoso universo criado pelo já falecido autor Terry Pratchett e sucesso de vendas mundo afora.

Aqui somos apresentados à cidade de Ankh-Morpork, onde a Patrulha/Guarda Municipal atua e agora recebe o reforço do "anão" de quase 2 metros Cenoura Ironfoundersson, que acreditava estar ingressando num dos órgãos mais respeitados de todo o Disco. Ah, mas que be
Magrat Ajostiernos

Divertidísima y genial. Se ha convertido en una de mis novelas preferidas del Mundodisco, que ya es decir :)
Sep 03, 2015 Carol. rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humor
First of all, my site has the videos that go with this: https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2015/...

But here's the lite version:

My Terry Pratchett Experience is remarkably similar to my Month Python Experience. Fun and funny, but really best done in small doses. Say, 15 minute doses if I’m watching, longer if I’m reading.

It turns out, I haven’t read Guards!Guards! before, although I thought I had. Quite possibly, it is because I had not. Quite possibly, it’s because I had and forgot, but you’d thi
Dany Burns
This was the first disc world book I have read. It didn't always hold my attention but I did find this book enjoyable to read and I will definitely read another book in this series. I did take me a little to get into this book and this world but once I did it was very interesting. The no chapters thing sort of threw me off at first but I got used to it. I did end up getting attached to most of the characters and I enjoyed reading about their adventures. I do like books that try to mix genres so ...more
Jun 12, 2016 YouKneeK rated it liked it
This book was cute, but it felt pretty average to me. The story didn’t bore me, but it didn’t really absorb me either. I liked the characters, but I didn’t feel invested in them. Part of the problem may be that I’d just finished one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time, so I was harder to please. Mostly I just felt like there wasn’t that much to the story, but it was a very quick read.

I thought this book was a little less humorous than the previous Discworld books. It did still h
Sep 24, 2016 Lualunera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: most-beloved, fantasy
Terry Pratchett dice: "¿Acaso hay algo que dure para siempre?"
Ojalá este libro lo hubiese hecho.
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Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel,
More about Terry Pratchett...

Other Books in the Series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches #1)
  • Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1)
  • Reaper Man (Discworld, #11; Death, #2)

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“If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life.” 680 likes
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