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Guards! Guards!

(Discworld #8)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  142,916 ratings  ·  3,467 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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Tyson Fritz This would be a great book to read as a first Terry Pratchett book because it is one of his best. You don't have to read any of the other ones but…moreThis would be a great book to read as a first Terry Pratchett book because it is one of his best. You don't have to read any of the other ones but you'll want to.(less)
Joseph It's intended audience is adult. There are some adult themes that are not explicitly written about. There are subtleties that might be missed by…moreIt's intended audience is adult. There are some adult themes that are not explicitly written about. There are subtleties that might be missed by younger readers. I just re-read the book, and it still has as much relevance as it did when it first came out.

If looking for something Terry Pratchett for younger readers, try Wee Free Men. It's just as good, but is intended for a younger audience.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.33  · 
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Jun 29, 2009 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
Deborah Markus
Sep 23, 2014 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

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
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Discworld book.

I submit that the best way to rate a Discworld book is with a smile meter. As you read, imagine that there is a meter whose arrow jumps when you smile, moves further right when you chuckle and spikes into the red eleven when you laugh out loud.

Pratchett’s 1989 Discworld novel (his 8th in the series and 1st of the City Watch sub-series) made me smile all the way through the book, chuckle frequently and laugh out loud two or three times.

Set in Ankh-Morpork (inspi
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, sci-fi
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
Kevin Kuhn
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading Terry Pratchett’s “Guards! Guards!” was a joy for me. I don’t know why it took me so long to read a Discworld book, I’m a bit ashamed. I am a sucker for English humor, always have been. The good news is that I now have 40 more Discworld books to read. Honest reveal - I think I resisted because people said he was better than Douglas Adams and that rubbed me the wrong way. My view after reading one book, they are clearly in the same class, and while I still like Adams better that might be ...more
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2018-shelf
Dragons and kings and cross-dressing night watch. What can go wrong?

Meet Terry Pratchett, who can turn anything, and I mean, anything, on its head. :)

On this re-read, what I remember to be a less funny book than the Watch novels that came after it suddenly becomes a rich and nostalgic ride including dwarf bread, or in this case, CAKE. Decent, law-abiding folk versus the deeply corrupt populace. And don't just ask Mr. Cut Me Own Throat. He's suspicious.

I love all the tropes and the way Pratchett
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humor
First of all, my site has the videos that go with this:

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 t
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Noble dragons!

Noble dragons don't have friends. The nearest they can get to the idea is an enemy who is still alive. (c)
Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー
“A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.”

I always enjoyed Terry Pratchett's books - I have ever since I was about 13. But when this book came up, well - I gained even more respect for Mr Pratchett, accompanied by a bellyful of giggles and such a strong love for motley crew that is The Watch

Featuring Sam Vimes, the grumpiest man in all Discworld:

“It wasn't by eliminating the impossible that you got at the truth, however improbable; it was by the much harder process of
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before Guards! Guards!, Discworld novels are pretty good. This book is the FIRST GREAT Discworld novel in the series.

The foundations of successful formula of Watch sub-series are already on this novel(view spoiler)
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This eighth Discworld novel was a delight!

I hadn't known the Night Watch until now and couldn't imagine loving any character as much as Granny Weatherwax but there we are. Sam Vimes as well as his ragtag band of misfits (Sgt. Colon, Nobby Nobbs, & Carrot Ironfounderson) are hilarious when stumbling through Ankh-Morpork that is currently beset by a gigantic fire-spitting dragon.

Dragons, even on the Disc, are supposed to be extinct. Well, the reader is informed that they simply went to a diffe
The first book where Captain Vimes and I met back in 2011, though I did not know then that I would take him as my literary husband later on.
I think it was around Feet of Clay, I realised he was the ONE Literary Character for me - well "Here's looking at you kid!".


Though I always imagine him like the Divine Alan (RIP).

Nov 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Michael by: Nataliya
Shelves: humor, fantasy, magic, fiction
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
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Continuing the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group, we move on to one of my favorite books in the whole series and the start of one of the best sub-series in the overall Discworld universe.

Sam Vimes is the drunkard Captain of the nearly defunct Night Watch, down to three individuals and one raw recruit at the start of this novel. When the first proper dragon seen in centuries appears in the city of Ankh-Morpork the men (and one ape volunteer) of the Watch are all that stands agai
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
Jul 19, 2008 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
Richard Derus
Feb 09, 2013 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 . . .).

Michael Britt
Jul 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
I absolutely hate DNF'ing books, but I have to call it quits. This is my 6th try reading it and the first 5 times I couldn't get past page 4 and this time I only made it to 20. I've only ever DNF'd maybe 3 books, the last one being book 4 of Wheel of Time. Nynaeve tugs her braid .

This is completely personal preference. I'm just not a fan of the humor or the writing. A lot of people love it though, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. To me, the writing felt all over the place and very disjo
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Baxter
May 01, 2012 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
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My second 5 star book this year, both are Discworld books.
Apr 25, 2014 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
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 be dragons.

Guards Guards is the first book in the Discworld sub-series, where we
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: law-and-order, responsibility, social-standing, power, dragons.

This was an excellent audiobook - I think that Nigel Planer did a great job narrating the story.

I love the humour in these stories, and I'm quite glad of my decision to tackle the Watch Novels first in my great Discworld reading challenge, as it's off to an excellent (and Rincewind free) start.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars-4-0, 2016
“Someone out there was about to find that their worst nightmare was a maddened Librarian. With a badge.”

My first Pratchett book - finally!

Had no idea what to expect, apart of course from the author’s huge reputation, which did worry me a little. What if I didn’t like it?… Pfew! I DID like it :O)

The first thing that hit me was Pratchett’s writing style, full of metaphors, puns and irony. What looks like silliness is in fact very clever and comical. The play on words and cliches (as well as many
David Sarkies
Nov 25, 2012 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
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4,25 stars - English hardcover - I have dyslexia - Thanks Brenda for the read - Note in notebook about this book : new series from the and of this writter. And about dragons ! Like to read the next one. 😀😀😀
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story which details the rise from the gutters of the Night Watch and it's misfit bunch of heroes: Vimes, Colon, Nobby and new recruit Carrott. The Patrician is ousted from power by the arrival of a magical dragon and it is up to the Watch ( led by Vimes) assisted by swamp dragon breeder Lady Sybil Ramkin and the deputised Librarian to figure out who summoned the dragon and to restore order (of a sort) to the city. Loved this. Will definitely be reading more Watch books.
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had anyone asked me one year ago whether Terry Pratchett was an author I'd like to check out, my response would have been: nah. Right now, I have no clue why past me had an aversion towards his works (but let's be honest, the covers could have had something to do with it, since they looked appalling), because present me is HOOKED!

I didn't know this book had been that one thing missing in my life until I'd finally finished it. Reading it felt like going home to...well, to everything. Guards! Guar
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Born Terence David John Pratchett, 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, i

Other books in the series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 42 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1)
  • Mort (Death, #1; Discworld, #4)
  • 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)
“A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.” 1313 likes
“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.” 809 likes
More quotes…