Algernon's Reviews > Night Watch

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
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Mar 31, 12

bookshelves: 2012
Read in March, 2012

One of the best books in the Discworld series. The story revolves around Sam Vimes, and it's a very good example of the author's shift from slapstick comedy to a subtler form of humor and to targetting in his imaginary world real problems from the world we live in.
Using the plot device of time travel, the author throws the Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch back to a revolutionary episode of the city history and to his own apprenticeship in the Watch. The theme offers the author rich pickings in lampooning both moneyed olygarchy and revolutionary zealots. It's easy to see why Sam Vimes is becoming one of my favorite characters from Discworld - he is a pragmatist and a cynic who expects the worst from his fellow men, yet does not give up, and "concentrates on the job at hand" , he fights dirty when it needs to be done, and he fights for his principles even when nobody else cares. His fondness for the city and its unruly inhabitants shine through the soles of his cheap boots, telling their own history to the perceptive mind.

The book has an added attraction in the encounters with younger versions of staple characters like Cut-Me-Own-Throat-Dibbler, Nobby Nobbs, Vetinari or Reg Shoe.

I will continue with the series, and I wish we could have many more years and many more books from the author.
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Quotes Algernon Liked

Terry Pratchett
“That was always the dream, wasn't it? 'I wish I'd known then what I know now'? But when you got older you found out that you NOW wasn't YOU then. You then was a twerp. You then was what you had to be to start out on the rocky road of becoming you now, and one of the rocky patches on that road was being a twerp.”
Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

Terry Pratchett
“There were plotters, there was no doubt about it. Some had been ordinary people who'd had enough. Some were young people with no money who objected to the fact that the world was run by old people who were rich. Some were in it to get girls. And some had been idiots as mad as Swing, with a view of the world just as rigid and unreal, who were on the side of what they called 'the people'. Vimes had spent his life on the streets, and had met decent men and fools and people who'd steal a penny from a blind beggar and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he'd never met The People.
People on the side of The People always ended up dissapointed, in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up. What would run through the streets soon enough wouldn't be a revolution or a riot. It'd be people who were frightened and panicking. It was what happened when the machinery of city life faltered, the wheels stopped turning and all the little rules broke down. And when that happened, humans were worse than sheep. Sheep just ran; they didn't try to bite the sheep next to them.”
Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

Terry Pratchett
“One of the hardest lessons in young Sam's life had been finding out that the people in charge weren't in charge. It had been finding out that governments were not, on the whole, staffed by people who had a grip, and that plans were what people made instead of thinking.”
Terry Pratchett, Night Watch


Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Nataliya This is my favorite Discworld book (together with "Hogfather" and "Monstrous Regiment"), and Sam Vimes is my absolute favorite character. I loved stories about the Paris Commune as a kid, and so reading this one was great. It is much more serious and sad than most of Pratchett's stories, and I love it.

Have you read "Snuff" yet?


Algernon I tried reading all the Discworld novels in publication order some time ago, and I got burned out around Clay Feet. Now I stretch them out, and I'm loving them again. I think Mostrous Regiment is next on my list.


Clouds My favourite Discworld novel in recent years.
Truly superb.


Algernon glad you liked it. I'm trying to space them out, because there are not as many as I would like left unread


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