Newsgroup Discussions: Nasty Carrot?

Nasty Carrot?

alt.books.pratchett

The question of Carrot's character and motives is a rich source for discussion. This thread contains major spoilers for all Watch books, up to and including "The Fifth Elephant".


Subject: Nasty Carrot? (T5E spoilers)
Date: 16 Nov 2000
From: Victoria Martin

I've been pondering the "Is Carrot in actual fact a manipulative bastard?" discussion, so it was rather in the forefront of my mind when I finally re-read T5E. I haven't actually come to any firm conclusions on the topic, apart from the conclusion that Terry definitely wanted us/his readers in general to have this debate. We don't get to see directly into Carrot's mind at all in T5E, instead we are privileged to approach him through no less than three "lens" characters, Vimes (the usual lens for viewing both Carrot and Vetinari, Angua (who has been wheeled on occasionally in the past to suggest that there might be a downside to going out with a very parfait gentile knight) and Gaspode. All three are used by Terry to suggest that Carrot might be more self-aware than his behaviour suggests.

Note that these three don't actually suggest that he might be a devious, manipulative, Machiavellian Vetinari-in-the-making, just that he may be conscious of the effect that he has on people around him. This in turn implies, of course, the possibility of being "manipulative", in the sense that he is able to factor this knowledge into any decisions he makes about how to achieve certain strategic goals. Thus when he ventures out into the Uberwald winter hopelessly ill-equipped, Gaspode thinks

If I was a suspicious dog

It reminds me very much of Vetinari in G!G!, allowing Wonse to swing at him because he had a "loaded" Vimes - yes, it's manipulation, but you could also call it trust, and both are prepared to stake their lives on the outcome.

The greatest criticism in the discussion has been reserved for Carrot's conduct in the fight with Wolfgang - it's been suggested that he deliberately attacked Wolfgang before Gavin did, because he knew (or guessed) that the first attacker would be rescued by the second; and that he deliberately fought according to the Marquis of Fantailler's rules in order to be sufficiently unthreatening that Wolfgang wouldn't finish him off before Gavin had a chance to intervene. With regard to the second accusation, it's worth noting that Carrot always fights according to the Marquis's rules ( Vimes says:

What have I always told you about the Marquis of Fantailler?
(p.385)

so his behaviour here is entirely consistent with his notions of honour as presented in previous books. With regard to the first charge against him, we are offered no less than two suggestions that there might be some substance to this, one by Vimes and one by Angua.

Vimes attributes Carrot's success in the "battle" for Angua to luck, in fact, at a deeper level, to destiny.

You mean every word of it

This suggests that Carrot doesn't have to be manipulative, he can be as straightforward and honourable and open as he has always seemed to be and Destiny will ensure that everything works out in his favour nonetheless (and the reader shouldn't have any problem believing that Destiny would intervene on Carrot's behalf, given what we know of his past). However, this reading is rather undermined by the fact that we know Vimes would be loath to think anything bad about Carrot (and the repeated emphasis on "I know you [aren't like that]" encourages the reader to recognise the limitations of Vimes' perspective and hence to doubt whether what he "knows" is true); and, given that Destiny is just the sort of concept Vimes hates (it allows individuals to be sacrificed for a Cause, a Greater Good), he must be pretty desperate to find something that will let Carrot off the hook if he's willing to entertain Destiny as an explanation.

Angua takes a very similar view.

He always, always finds a way in, she thought. He doesn't think about it, he doesn't plot, he simply slides in. I saved him because he couldn't save himself, and Gavin saved him because... because... he had some reason ... and I'm almost, almost certain that Carrot doesn't know how he manages to wrap the world around him. Almost certain. He's good and kind and born to be a king of the ancient sort that wore oak leaves and ruled from a seat under a tree, and though he tries hard he never had a cynical thought. "I'm almost certain."
(442)

Like Vimes' repeated "I know", Angua's repeated "I'm almost certain" serves to raise doubts in the reader's mind rather than to reassure them (as does her argument that she saved Carrot because he couldn't help himself, an episode which has already been given an alternative interpretation by Gaspode). The narrator is quite clearly inviting the reader to believe the worst of Carrot.

But what is, in fact, the worst? It appears to be nothing more nor less than self-awareness. Carrot has not actually done anything that is not decent and honourable, and he has laid his life on the line each time as well. But what Vimes and Angua both fear is that Carrot is aware of how Destiny is on his side, that he knows the effect his charisma has on people, that he knows he is playing with loaded dice. Yet, in fairness to Carrot, I don't think this is so very dreadful. Carrot's innocence was a romantic ideal which couldn't possibly be upheld in the face of his experiences in A-M. At some point, he had to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; it is now clear that he has done so, and it seems to me that he remains as unchanged as possible given that fact. Short of abandoning life altogether and going off to live as a hermit, it's hard to see how he could have acted differently under the circumstances. Carrot has to develop as a character, in order to keep up with the increasing complexities of A-M, and the old, innocent, two-dimensional character would have grown stale very quickly. A self-aware Carrot, conscious of his power over other people and hence always faced with the temptation to abuse that power, is a great deal more interesting.

And there is one reassuring piece of evidence that a great deal of the old, uncynical Carrot has survived his new insight. He is acutely embarrassed at the thought of such things as a packet of Sonkys, not only when talking to Vimes ("Carrot was bright red with embarrassment" (p.73)) - the reader's carefully nurtured cynicism might reasonably attribute this to manipulativeness - but even when talking to Gaspode, who can't begin to understand this naivety: on hearing that the wolf is called Arsehole, "to the dog's frank astonishment, Carrot blushed" (p.150).


From: Eric Jarvis

incidentally, did you notice the scene where Angua echoes Carrot's "threats" from an earlier book

A female voice by his ear said. "Now there are two ways this could go."

and finishing with

"what was the other way?" said Vimes as they hurried through the snow. "We'd go and look for another way in." said Angua.
(p.358pb)

did that strike anyone else as one of several hints that she and Carrot have had a very strong influence on each other's behaviour?

This suggests that Carrot doesn't have to be manipulative, as [...] Destiny will ensure that everything works out in his favour nonetheless

I think it's become very obvious that Carrot actually manipulates by being straightforward...it's moral judo...he gets people to lever themselves off balance due to their own cynicism and selfishness, all he provides is a fulcrum of honesty to do it with

I don't see it as a flaw in his character in any way...it would be if his goals were entirely selfish...but they aren't, at least they never seem to be

Angua takes a very similar view.

and I think Angua is sort of mistaken

my reading of Carrot's growth in character is that he started out with a very straightforward honesty...in the Watch he has had to deal with dishonest people...he has developed a way of doing this without changing his own character...he doesn't have consciously cynical thoughts...but he has become aware of the possibility and general tone of the cynical and opportunist thoughts of others...and he takes it into account

A self-aware Carrot [...] is a great deal more interesting.

I'd say that in T5E Pterry is definitely hinting at the possibility of "the evil Carrot"...I don't think the innocent made it as far as FOC...but in T5E it's actually possible to worry about his real motivations

it's a terrific character

He is acutely embarrassed at the thought of such things as a packet of Sonkys,

totally consistent the way I see it...I think he has no cynicism...he is simply subconsciously aware of the selfishness, opportunism and general unsavouriness of others...it's like the way he deals with Angua being a werewolf...he doesn't ignore it, he doesn't worry about it, and it doesn't scare him off...he just accepts that once a month he spends a few days in a relationship with a wild killer beast

erm?
I think I better leave it there before I get in too much trouble


From: Dave Gerecke

Rather, he has someone who likes to go on long walks with him. And I would leave it at that.


From: MikeXXXX

This in turn implies, of course, the possibility of being "manipulative", in the sense that he is able to factor this knowledge into any decisions he makes about how to achieve certain strategic goals.

I have a slight problem with your definition.

Can we discuss the difference between being manipulative and being clear and strong in your intentions and unafraid of possibility of harm.

Otherwise there's no argument. :) There must be a fine line in there somewhere.

He has always seemed to have an impossible charisma level and noble purpose which seems to sway people towards co-operation.

Does he use it? Does he not use it? I've seen him stand firm but I can't recall any instance where he hasn't either had a narratively illustrated clear purpose or stated his request clearly in character.

For manipulation you'd have to have 'unstated', yes?

ie: As they head out of town Gaspode says,

we're not talking a cold bucket of water here

He's just going off to fetch 'his girl'

Admittedly, Carrot seems to be doing the reverse of 'personal isn't the same as important' but this time he doesn't have Vimes to back him up and doesn't have Vimes to report to.

- it's been suggested that he deliberately attacked Wolfgang before Gavin did, because he knew (or guessed) that the first attacker would be rescued by the second;

This ignores that Tantony was approaching Serafine and who was attacked by Wolfgang in a rather tense situation where Angua was deferring to Vimes who had said that they were leaving having fetched Sybil.

Carrot is a Watchman and has, arguably, some reason to lend assistance while Gavin had no trigger reason to assist until Angua's Carrot was directly threatened.

Gavin has had enough time to see that Carrot is very important to Angua and we've seen already that Gavin has a special relationship with Angua.

What gets me is Gaspode going to Gavin's aid. Where on earth did he get the heroic streak! Too much time around Carrot?

I can understand Carrot and Gavin both hanging back until one event, Wolfgang attacking, triggered each of the following events.

Gavin travelled to get Angua because of the bad things about to happening. We never exactly discovered what that was, but the idea was that Angua was the only one who could control Wolfgang.

I'm afraid your analysis went a bit over my head. There are places where I want to disagree however time constraints mean that I can't do justice to a reply.

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely say "thank-you" for giving me a different perspective in reading the book.

I read through it from the point of view of a "Carrot" story.

And there is one reassuring piece of evidence that a great deal of the old, uncynical Carrot has survived his new insight. He is acutely embarrassed at the thought of such things as a packet of Sonkys,

How are you cross-referencing uncynical and sexual? I can't see that embarrassment as evidence of anything other than a deeply rooted sexual privacy/embarrassment motif. I've got one myself :)

The Dwarf's privacy regarding sexual matters combined with the human sex drive rooted in losing his virginity (aided, curiously enough by Gaspode. That little mutt has a lot to answer for doesn't he.) to Angua.

Maybe he's a little fixated on her. He could still be cynical with everyone else, not that I think he is.


From: Victoria Martin

Can we discuss the difference between being manipulative and being clear and strong in your intentions and unafraid of possibility of harm.

No, absolutely not, there is no room for discussion here, 'cos it'll only go on for paragraphs and paragraphs. You're right, of course, that coming up with a definition of "manipulative" that includes the moral judgment "is a bad thing" is terribly difficult. That's one reason why I finally concluded that what Vimes and Angua must be worried about was not Carrot's behaviour as such but his awareness of the effect he has on other people. It's that self-awareness that creates the distinction between "being clear and strong in your intentions" and "manipulating people".

There must be a fine line in there somewhere.

Visible with the aid of a high-powered magnifying glass, I have no doubt.

He has always seemed to have an impossible charisma level and noble purpose which seems to sway people towards co-operation.
Does he use it? Does he not use it?

I think the point is not whether he uses it but whether he's aware of the fact that he can twist people round his little finger - and the answer to that has to be Yes, he's known it at least since the end of MAA (when he tells the Patrician that Watchmen shouldn't only obey orders because it's Captain Carrot giving them). In T5E the waters become more muddied because for the first time we see Carrot gaining personally from the effects of his charisma etc (ie to defeat Gavin in the implied struggle for Angua - leaving aside the equally important question of which of them Angua would have chosen).

For manipulation you'd have to have 'unstated', yes?

Or perhaps two goals, one stated and on unstated - eg. defeat Wolfgang and get rid of Gavin.

Admittedly, Carrot seems to be doing the reverse of 'personal isn't the same as important' but this time he doesn't have Vimes to back him up and doesn't have Vimes to report to.

I don't see this as a problem - AM is not in crisis when Carrot leaves, nor is it plunged into crisis by his departure. Under the circumstances, he can legitimately pursue the personal. I don't believe the phrase "personal isn't the same as important" was ever intended to mean that the personal is of no importance at all, just that in times of crisis it shouldn't be given priority.

What gets me is Gaspode going to Gavin's aid. Where on earth did he get the heroic streak! Too much time around Carrot?

Too much time around Gavin, possibly, who seems to be almost as charismatic to a canine as Carrot is to humans.

How are you cross-referencing uncynical and sexual? I can't see that embarrassment as evidence of anything other than a deeply rooted sexual privacy/embarrassment motif. I've got one myself :)

Oo-er, you've got me there (temporarily). Let me think about it and I'll get back to you.


From: Beth Winter

What gets me is Gaspode going to Gavin's aid. Where on earth did he get the heroic streak! Too much time around Carrot?

I do think he's had it in him since we've met him -- in MP he may grumble etc, but he knows he's basically the wonder dog, doomed to save the world. He shows it clearly when he stays to light the fire. And it isn't an influence of Holy Wood either -- in MAA when he faces off with Fido and the dogs' guild without the slightest hesitation, though he knows just how dangerous they can be, and most of all when he catches Fido -- if risking your own life to save your mortal enemy from certain death isn't heroic, I don't know what is.


From: Miq

It's interesting to compare him[Gaspode] with Rincewind in that respect. Neither of them sees himself as a hero, but when it comes to it, they always end up Saving The World anyway...

Gaspode thinks a lot about what it means to be a dog - controversially, he thinks that it's something between a wolf and a human. Rincewind knows what it means to be a wizard - counter-intuitively, he knows that it's nothing to do with magical ability. Both are fairly introspective, and their self-image is very important in dictating their behaviour.

I'm most struck with the moment when he promises to come into the shadows and "fetch" Angua, because Carrot told him to. At this point he seems to be happy to identify himself as "Carrot's dog". (Much as he seemed to be "Victor's dog" when we first met him, in MP.)

One thing Gaspode doesn't do, however, is run away. His self-image as a dog includes notions of duty and obedience that simply don't exist in Rincewind's image of a wizard. Rincewind only has a sense of obligation to himself - although that does include the obligation to feel like a decent human being.

if risking your own life to save your mortal enemy from certain death isn't heroic, I don't know what is.

Much as Rincewind does in 'Sourcery'...


From: Kirsten Lynn

But what is, in fact, the worst? It appears to be nothing more nor less than self-awareness.

I'd add to that Carrot became self-aware at a reasonably early stage. At the end of M@A he refuses the post of Captain unless Vimes remains at some kind of higher rank. Carrot's reason, at least the one he gives to Vetinari, is (quoting from memory) that "People shouldn't do what I tell them to do just because I (Carrot) tell them". Obviously he already knows the power of his "charisma", but at this stage he is not prepared to use it.

There's something else too. Carrot goes to rescue Angua, which is honourable in the old "chivalric" sense. However, in doing so he has abandoned his post when the commanding officer is away, leaving the watch in the hands of Colon. Had another watchman done the same (and I know Carrot resigned his commission, but he is a different position to the average constable), when that watchman returned he would have been in big trouble. It doesn't happen to Carrot - Vimes is surprised to see him but doesn't appear angry, and Vetinari doesn't appear to be remotely concerned. Carrot acts without fear of retribution - self awareness again? He knows "destiny" is on his side, so when he comes back there will be no demotion or trouble?


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

Had another watchman done the same [...] when that watchman returned he would have been in big trouble.

Do you really think so?

It doesn't happen to Carrot - Vimes is surprised to see him but doesn't appear angry, and Vetinari doesn't appear to be remotely concerned.

Vimes has just been hunted by werewolves and nearly died when he meets Carrot, so he probably doesn't think about A-M right then. Even later, it would be strange to berate Carrot for leaving his post since he rescued Vimes' life.

Vetinari has no reason to be angry with Carrot, since he surely knows how things will develop in A-M during and after Carrot's absence. But your point stands nevertheless, because it's not likely that Carrot knows what Vetinari knows, or that he expects to save Vimes.


From: Victoria Martin

Had another watchman done the same [...] when that watchman returned he would have been in big trouble.

I think you undermine your own argument by pointing out that Carrot resigned his commission. He doesn't act incorrectly in any sense, and he's perfectly entitled to resign whenever he wishes. He does appear to reassert control over the Watch the minute he gets back to A-M, but since he mentions that he'd sent a message, perhaps he sorted out his reinstatement with the Patrician by clacks (and Vetinari did indicate that he expected him back; in fact, looking at that conversation, I'm swayed by the argument that the appointment of Colon is designed to teach Carrot a lesson).

Vimes has just been hunted by werewolves and nearly died when he meets Carrot

Absolutely!

so he probably doesn't think about A-M right then. Even later, it would be strange to berate Carrot for leaving his post since he rescued Vimes' life.

I don't think anyone can berate him for resigning. It's his life.

Vetinari has no reason to be angry with Carrot, since he surely knows how things will develop in A-M during and after Carrot's absence.

He knows exactly how they will develop and when Carrot returns he finds that it was Vetinari who was right about this and not him.

But your point stands nevertheless, because it's not likely that Carrot knows what Vetinari knows, or that he expects to save Vimes.

I really don't see how anyone can be "angry" with Carrot. Even Vetinari acknowledges that he is perfectly entitled to resign (just as he knows that only something really pressing would compel him to do so). And I don't suppose Vetinari had any objections to another of his best men being on the scene in Uberwald at this difficult political time (though it was a piece of luck for him that no particularly vicious dwarf in-fighting broke out in A-M during Carrot's absence - but then Vetinari is another person whose destiny wraps the world around him)


From: Tamar

I think you undermine your own argument by pointing out that Carrot resigned his commission. He doesn't act incorrectly in any sense, and he's perfectly entitled to resign whenever he wishes.

It's an interesting double standard.
Carrot resigns suddenly for unspecified personal reasons, comes back and has no apparent trouble at all. He claims he took the oath. The ordinary watchmen resign for good and proper reason - an insane temporary officer making working conditions untenable - and are threatened with court-martial and forced to come back, on the grounds that they took an oath (which is misstated in what it actually says).

I really don't see how anyone can be "angry" with Carrot. Even Vetinari acknowledges that he is perfectly entitled to resign

But Carrot doesn't think that any other Watchmen have the right to resign.

That oath doesn't specify any particular length of service.


From: Paul Andinach

Which is, surely, precisely the point.

When you take an oath, unless the oath specifies some time limit, it's generally assumed that you mean to uphold it for the rest of your life. That's what oaths are for.


From: Tamar

Yup. So how come Carrot gets to resign, with "a perfect right" to do so, and no hassle, but the other Watchmen who took the same oath can't resign?

Double standard.
Or Carrot lied about giving himself the oath in private.


From: Morgan Lewis

The thing about this oath is that it's directly tied to the job. Because it is an oath that they took upon taking the job, and would not have taken without the job, it is reasonable to assume that when the job ends, so does the oath.


From: David Tiemroth

So how come Carrot gets to resign, with "a perfect right" to do so, and no hassle, but the other Watchmen who took the same oath can't resign?

Or, Carrot went to Vetinari, the highest authority in the city and the person who employs the Watch, and offered his resignation.

The other Watchmen just stopped working.

Not a double standard, a different situation.


From: Tamar

Carrot's official restoration to his job is not described, it is only surmised by us. We have no evidence that he even inquired about the exact details of the resignation of the other Watchmen. They may have resigned just as officially as he did. I can imagine some of them being quite punctilious about following the correct form.

Carrot's orders to Nobby and Colon don't allow for any consideration that a given Watchman might have legitimately resigned and therefore would not have to come back. He only mentions the oath as being a binding contract, apparently permanent, and specifically as service to the crown (which it is not, it is to the city and the peace).


From: David Tiemroth

I can imagine some of them being quite punctilious about following the correct form.16

I still can't find any of them quitting, just some of them leaving (considering the official way of resigning is either through Fred Colon, currently Barking Mad, or the Patrician) and some of them striking. Kind of hard to strike if you resigned first.

Carrot's orders to Nobby and Colon don't allow for any consideration that a given Watchman might have legitimately resigned and therefore would not have to come back.

It does, actually.

They are all good lads. I'm sure if the two of you call on each and every one of them and explain the situation, they'll see where their duty lies. Tell them... tell them there is always an easy way, if you know where to look.

What he's saying is "You made this mess, now you have to convince them to come back to work, and we'll pretend this little episode never happened when Vimes comes back".

He only mentions the oath as being a binding contract, apparently permanent, and specifically as service to the crown (which it is not, it is to the city and the peace).

It's binding until you resign officially. Not that the binding part is ever mentioned by Carrot, of course.


From: Tamar

I still can't find any of them quitting,[...] Kind of hard to strike if you resigned first.

Point taken about the strikers. But I suspect there are other ways to resign - and how do we know they didn't throw a written resignation through the Watchhouse window into Colon's office, or even do it more politely, and he just didn't bother to read them? That pile of burned paperwork might have contained a stack of resignations. It seems unlikely that you'd have to go to the Patrician just to resign a constable's job. Heck, with Nobby a corporal, they could've resigned to him as their most immediate superior officer.

What he's saying is "You made this mess' now you have to convince them to come back to work' and we'll pretend this little episode never happened when Vimes comes back".

What Carrot is also saying is "If they don't take the easy way, there will be a hard way." The implied threat is right there. "We can do this the easy way, or the hard way." It's a threat he's used before, too.

[The oath is] binding until you resign officially. Not that the binding part is ever mentioned by Carrot' of course.

Is that irony I detect? Carrot mentions it the way UU rules say no women in UU - it doesn't say it anywhere, it says it everywhere.

The Truth, page 174: in a list of the sort of things thought by villains and people who want to cover up the unpleasant recent past:

They'll say "We must look to the future." And so, quietly, things change.

Compare this to the end of T5E, where Carrot tells Angua "Wolves never look back." Note that Carrot is being characterized as a large cat, with retractable claws; he is not saying he is a wolf, he is telling Angua how to be a wolf, Angua, who is a werewolf, who knows wolves, and knows perfectly well how wolves behave. Talk about arrogant!


From: David Tiemroth

That pile of burned paperwork might have contained a stack of resignations.

Someone would have had to go into Colon's office, deliver the written resignations ('written', that rules out the trolls), place them neatly on the pile and get out without Colon seeing them, all done before Colon burned the pile. Nowhere in the book do we hear about any written resignation from anyone, all we hear is that they stopped working, most after signing on with the Guild Of Watchmen to go on strike.

It seems unlikely that you'd have to go to the Patrician just to resign a constable's job.

You wouldn't have to, no. As I saw it, there was two ways. You go to the highest commanding officer, or to the Patrician. Since Vimes was out of town, Carrot was the highest commanding officer, so when he wanted to resign, he went to the Patrician.

Heck, with Nobby a corporal, they could've resigned to him as their most immediate superior officer.

But he wouldn't have been the highest commanding officer. That would have been Colon, despite his current descent into madness.

What Carrot is also saying is [...]"We can do this the easy way, or the hard way." It's a threat he's used before, too.

Yeah, but he's not threatening the constables, he's threatening Nobby and Colon. "Work it out the easy way, or explain this to Vimes.".

Considering Nobby's reaction when he found out about the plan to make him king [in FoC], having to explain it to Vimes is not only the hard way, it's the HARD way.

Carrot mentions it the way UU rules say no women in UU - it doesn't say it anywhere, it says it everywhere.

Ah yes. That's also how he mentions that all Watchmen have to wear a ballerina skirt, yes?

Carrot never says "The oath is binding forever, you can never leave the Watch.". Not out right, not hidden, he never says it. The only way to bring it up, which is how you do it, is to impose own views onto the subject and then say "How do we know it ISN'T so", rather than "This is how we know that it IS so".

It is aching to explaining everything that happens in the book as "How do we know the Discworld isn't just an advanced computer simulation in a lab somewhere, with a scientist changing the variables? Nowhere does it say that the Discworld ISN'T a computer simulation.".


From: Miq

Nowhere in the book do we hear about any written resignation from anyone

That's not the point. The point is that we don't know they didn't - and, more importantly, neither does Carrot. For all we know, they might have trooped up to the Patrician's palace and sung their resignation outside his window in four-part harmony. And whether they did or not, Carrot doesn't know either - he doesn't even ask.

You go to the highest commanding officer or to the Patrician.

This is pure speculation on your part. We have absolutely no information about that detail of Watch procedure. I can well imagine that they could have given their resignations to Nobby, or to Sergeant Flint. Or sent them by carrier pigeon, as Angua apparently did.

Since Vimes was out of town, Carrot was the highest commanding officer, so when he wanted to resign, he went to the Patrician.

He went to the Patrician because there was no-one senior to him in the watch at the time.

Incidentally, there's no mention of a written resignation there, either.

"We can do this the easy way, or the hard way." It's a threat he's used before, too.

But it's a bluff - or at least it has been in the past. "The hard way" seems to mean, he doesn't do anything - and he finds that very hard...

[...] and then say "How do we know it ISN'T so", rather than "This is how we know that it IS so".

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what you've been doing with regard to the resignation process...


From: David Tiemroth

That's not the point. The point is that we don't know they didn't

No, we're not TOLD that they did.

and, more importantly, neither does Carrot. For all we know, they might have trooped up to the Patrician's palace and sung their resignation outside his window in four-part harmony.

Yes, and for all we know the entire population of the Discworld was killed and replaced by genetic copies almost perfect in every way, apart from a little problem digesting fruit. Neither has any effect on the book, because we're not told about them. Not in a straightforward way, or in a subtle reference to it having happened.

And whether they did or not, Carrot doesn't know either - he doesn't even ask.

He doesn't ask why there are no Watchmen around either. Having travelled home along all those clacks towers, it's almost like he already knows why there are no Watchmen around.

[Resignation] You go to the highest commanding officer, or to the Patrician.

This is pure speculation on your part.

Yup. In this case because it's the only two types of resignation I've seen. Either resign with the highest commanding officer, or the Patrician.

We have absolutely no information about that detail of Watch procedure. I can well imagine that they could have given their resignations to Nobby, or to Sergeant Flint.

Have you seen it happening before? A Watchman giving his resignation to anyone but the highest commanding officer?

Or sent them by carrier pigeon, as Angua apparently did.

She sent it to Carrot, correct?

[Carrot] went to the Patrician because there was no-one senior to him in the watch at the time.

Yes, that's what I was saying.

Incidentally, there's no mention of a written resignation there, either.

Correct. I suppose a verbal resignation while handing in your badge would be just as good, like in Jingo. Where it is also to the highest authority.

say "How do we know it ISN'T so", rather than "This is how we know that it IS so".

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what you've been doing with regard to the resignation process...

Only because, again, it's the only types of resignation I've seen.


From: Simon Callan

He doesn't ask why there are no Watchmen around either.

Is it me being confused, or are you working off books with a few pages missing? On P313, Carrot says "There's no one on the gates, there's no one on patrol. Didn't anyone get my message? What's happening?"

This sounds precisely like Carrot is asking what has been happening, and Nobby proceeds to give him all the details of what has been happening, though it does take three attempts to get everything out of him


From: Victoria Martin

Carrot's official restoration to his job is not described, it is only surmised by us.

I looked back at the conversation with Vetinari at the beginning and he tells Carrot that he is choosing to regard his "resignation" as extended leave of absence, since he must be owed a lot of holiday. Carrot doesn't have to re-enlist since he accepts (by implication) Vetinari's offer.

the resignation of the other Watchmen. They may have resigned just as officially as he did. I can imagine some of them being quite punctilious about following the correct form.

Yeah, but exactly which of them can you imagine going to the Patrician to hand over his badge? No-one but Carrot would dare.

Carrot's orders to Nobby and Colon don't allow for any consideration that a given Watchman might have legitimately resigned and therefore would not have to come back.

Carrot knows perfectly well that the other watchmen left because they couldn't stand being under Colon. Once he was back in charge none of them had any reason not to want to come back. His method of summoning them back avoids the necessity for anyone to have to provide embarrassing explanations for their behaviour, which could only make working with Colon close to impossible in future. he offers Colon a way out by taking the blame on himself, and everyone else a way out by simply ordering them to 'come back to work and we'll say no more about it.'


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

So how come Carrot gets to resign, with "a perfect right" to do so, and no hassle, but the other Watchmen who took the same oath can't resign?

Well, the oath was made to the king. Since Carrot is the king, he can release everyone from the oath, including himself. He just doesn't release the other Watchmen.


From: Tamar

But the oath isn't to the king. Carrot says it is, but he's lying. The actual words are:

I, [recruit's name], do solemnly swear by [recruit's deity of choice] To uphold the Laws and Ordinances of the City of Ankh-Morpork, serve the public trust, and defend the subjects of His/Her [delete whichever is inappropriate] Majesty [name of reigning Monarch] without fear, favour, or thought of personal safety; to pursue evildoers and protect the innocent, laying down my life if necessary in the cause of said duty, so help me [aforesaid deity]. Gods Save the King/Queen [delete whichever is inappropriate].

Nowhere in that oath does it say that the recruit swears to serve the monarch; instead, they swear to serve the public trust. They don't swear to uphold the king's commands; instead, they swear to uphold the laws of the City of Ankh-Morpork. They don't even swear to defend (or even obey) the monarch; instead, they swear to defend the subjects of the reigning monarch. And currently there isn't a reigning monarch, and hasn't been for centuries.

Saying "Gods save the King/Queen" at the end isn't an oath to the crown either. It's a prayer, and could even be taken as a statement that the recruit is leaving it to the gods because the recruit isn't about to try to save the monarch.


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

Hmm? The actual words are not important to find out if the oath is to the king, I think. You have to distinguish between
- what the recruits swear (uphold laws, serve public trust, etc)
- by whom / what they swear (recruit's deity of choice)
- to whom they swear - probably either the king, or the current ruler, or even only to their superior. In 2 of these 3 cases, that would be Carrot.

Compare it with an oath during a trial: You swear by God or whatever, to the judge (probably - I'm not so familiar with trials) that you will say the truth.

Nowhere in that oath does it say that the recruit swears to serve the monarch; instead, they swear to serve the public trust.

That's not the point. A point could be that nowhere in this oath do they swear that they will serve the public trust etc. by being a Watchman.


From: Tamar

Hmm? The actual words are not important to find out if the oath is to the king, I think.

What? The words of the oath aren't important? I think that idea wouldn't hold in a court of law.

- to whom they swear - probably either the king, or the current ruler, or even only to their superior. In 2 of these 3 cases, that would be Carrot.

Carrot is not a reigning monarch. He has no official position as king. The oath does not say anything about the monarch except that (1) he existed at the time the oath was written and therefore (2) has subjects (whom he can't protect himself and therefore they need watchmen), and (3) expresses a pious wish for his saving at the end. The oath itself is sworn to, if anything, the law itself, or at least the ordinances of the city of A-M. There is also no implied punishment for failing to keep the oath. The recruit merely promises to do something.

I'm not entirely sure Carrot is even their superior at the time he introduces the oath. Is he a corporal when new members start being pressed into the Watch? I recall quite a few watchmen being unwillingly impressed by force and threats. I doubt that their oaths would hold water in court either.

A point could be that nowhere in this oath do they swear that they will serve the public trust etc. by being a Watchman.

Quite so. So they needn't stay Watchmen and yet can still keep their oaths, can't they. So there's no way to use it to force them to come back...


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

I really don't see how anyone can be "angry" with Carrot. Even Vetinari acknowledges that he is perfectly entitled to resign (just as he knows that only something really pressing would compel him to do so).11

Even if someone has a right to do something, you can be angry with him when he does it.

In this case, Vimes could well have been angry about Carrot leaving the Watch in Colon's hands if everything in Uberwald had gone along nicely. But OTOH, perhaps Carrot doesn't expect the events in A-M and therefore judges his leaving as not so serious.


From: Orjan Westin

Just jumping in to prevent Tamar and David to keep bickering without any external input ;-) I'm busy working on my analysis of Carrot in T5E, but this isn't directly connected to that, so...

What Carrot is also saying is "If they don't take the easy way, there will be a hard way." The implied threat is right there. "We can do this the easy way, or the hard way." It's a threat he's used before, too.

True, but you are missing the point, Tamar. Carrot says to remind them of their duty, thus acknowledging their worth as watchmen, which is nice to see after the faeces comment earlier. Or was that another book? And earlier, when both he and Angua has used the "There's an easy way..." threat, it's always been referring to "Easy for me". The easy way for Carrot is to take them back and brush the whole mess under the carpet, and avoid having to explain to Commander Vimes how come he left the guard in the hands of Colon and let the whole organisation fall to pieces. That would be the hard way. But knowing fully well how he would be misinterpreted, he can tell the truth.

wolf, he is telling Angua how to be a wolf, Angua, who is a werewolf, who knows wolves, and knows perfectly well how wolves behave. Talk about arrogant!

I'm afraid it's worse, Tamar. Carrot is telling Angua: "Now you've tried to break away from me, and it didn't work. You have nowhere else to go. You can't look back at Uberwald, you can't look back at Gavin. You can't look back. You have to face the present. And here's only me."

That's the side of Carrot I'm investigating. See it as a teaser.


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

The Truth, page 174: in a list of the sort of things thought by villains and people who want to cover up the unpleasant recent past:

They'll say "We must look to the future." And so, quietly, things change.

No, not so. The people who say that are, in fact, not the villains, but the guild leaders who supported Vetinari while he was in power, but let him fall once he's away. And it's not an unpleasant past: The meaning is rather 'it has been nice with Vetinari, but now he's gone, and we don't want him back'.

You're reading too much into sentences isolated from their context.

Carrot is telling Angua: "Now you've tried to break away from me, and it didn't work. You have nowhere else to go. You can't look back at Uberwald, you can't look back at Gavin. You can't look back. You have to face the present. And here's only me."

It's funny that such a statement can be interpreted so differently by different readers.

A major theme in T5E are partnerships - if I had the time, I'd analyze this perhaps more deeply - and what I read in Carrot's 'wolves never look back' is an apology and a promise. He's saying that Angua should forget the troubles between them caused by Gavin etc. and that he wants to live with her without such troubles from now on.

He doesn't tell her how wolves behave, but that she should behave as a wolf and not as a human in this matter, and that he will try to do so as well.

And I'm fairly certain that he doesn't tell her 'you're forced to stay with me because you don't have anyone else'. She isn't his prisoner or his trophy but his girl-friend (sorry if I misinterpreted you there, Orjan).


From: Rachel Butt

A major theme in T5E are partnerships - if I had the time, I'd analyse this perhaps more deeply - and what I read in Carrot's 'wolves never look back' is an apology and a promise. [...]

Without having interpreted it so carefully, I found that last line of Carrot's to speak powerfully of love and comfort - saying 'I know, and I understand.' Re-read the last section a few times just because it felt so good.

Why can't Carrot just be a good guy? Simple tactics used to good effect in a complex world? Winning while playing fair? Isn't it good to read about that? Methinks Carrot has a life of his own by now. Do we suspect Nanny Ogg's motives?

She isn't his prisoner or his trophy but his girl-friend (sorry if I misinterpreted you there, Orjan).

That kind of treatment wouldn't work on Angua anyway - she's been on her own before.


From: Tamar

what I read in Carrot's 'wolves never look back' is an apology and a promise. He's saying that Angua should forget the troubles between them caused by Gavin etc.

Were those troubles really caused by Gavin? Gavin came to A-M for a reason connected with Angua, yes. But if Angua hadn't been seriously interested in Gavin anyway, there would have been no 'troubles'. Now Gavin is dead, Angua might quite reasonably be in some mourning for the loss of an old friend, and Carrot is saying Angua should just wipe it all away? That's a very controlling attitude.

Carrot is implying that Angua should behave like a wolf, but Angua is not a wolf, she is a werewolf , and the two are very different. Gavin was unusual in that he was willing to cross the barrier. That was so unusual that she speculates that he might have been part werewolf, the kind that stays wolf all the time.

He doesn't tell her how wolves behave, but that she should behave as a wolf and not as a human in this matter, and that he will try to do so as well.

He specifically says "wolves don't look back"; that is telling her how wolves behave. He implies that she should behave as he says wolves behave.

I found that last line of Carrot's to speak powerfully of love and comfort - saying 'I know, and I understand.' Re-read the last section a few times just because it felt so good.

We're probably intended to feel that way.
It seems comforting at the moment. Carrot is good at saying something that seems one way and is interpretable as the exact opposite if you read carefully. Vimes's suspicious mind ("My name is Vimes and I'm a suspicious bastard") tends to rub off, especially when we are carefully told at the beginning that Carrot's statements can be read two ways.

Why can't Carrot just be a good guy? [...] Do we suspect Nanny Ogg's motives?

I'd like Carrot to be innocent, but there's a lot of ambiguous evidence. Right now he's in a condition of "not proven".

We don't have to suspect Nanny Ogg's motives because she's quite open about them.

That kind of treatment wouldn't work on Angua anyway - she's been on her own before.

But when she was on her own before, she wasn't anyone's girlfriend. Her attachment to Carrot has a bit of the dog in it, which has been pointed out. He says that 'wolf' line right after she has been thinking her usual semi-suspicious, don't-want-to-believe-it thoughts, just about to catch on to his methods. He hooks her with emotions, with apparently supportive statements - and I admit, 'be like a wolf' is better than 'be like a dog', but I'd've preferred 'be a fully adult human', or 'look to the future' rather than 'don't look back'.


From: Orjan Westin

You want nasty? You can't handle nasty!

I'll give you sinister instead...

He knows exactly how they will develop and when Carrot returns he finds that it was Vetinari who was right about this and not him.

You think so? I believe they both taught each other a lesson here.

Carrot tells Vetinari:
"The watch cannot function without me since no one has the organisational skills, and even should you find someone, that poor bugger will find that the watch is too ethnically/specially[1]/animatedly[2] diverse to function without a charismatic leader[3]. And by the way, don't take me for granted, I can quit and do something else, somewhere else."

Vetinari tells Carrot:
"See the results of your irresponsible behaviour. Why haven't you put an organisation in place to handle situations like these? And why is it, do you think, that the miscreants fear Vimes, not you?"

I think both were aware that the watch would be put in the hands of Colon, and the likely qualities of leadership he has. Vetinari is a bit surprised, actually, and hopes Colon is stupid enough to keep it up. His intention is to show Carrot the weaknesses of the watch.

[1] lots of species, right?

[2] animated as in being alive.

[3] what about Vimes' charisma? Look at what the dwarves in the watch let him get away with, look at Carrot's respect... Just because it's a charisma that draws its power, not from nobility as Carrots does, but from indignation, idealism and cynicism doesn't mean it's not charisma.

But that's just my introductory remark. Maybe I'll come back with my thoughts on Vetinari in a later post, but then I'll probably join that with TT. I'll just have to mull that one over a bit. And the picture I painted here is much too simplified, really. Here's the real stuff.

Ok, sinister then. Lets look at some scenes in chronological order. Page number from the Doubleday hardback.

p15.
Vimes looked sideways at him. That was a true Carrot comment. It sounded as innocent as hell, but you could take it a different way. "It certainly would," he said. "Nevertheless, I supposewe'd better do something."

These simple sentences has been battered over and over here, but let's take closer look. What is Vimes actually saying and thinking? It sounded innocent as hell? Now, call me a foreigner, but is this a valid idiom? To me, it sounds like 'white as soot'. And what is Vimes answering to? It's not the concerned, but the cynical remark. Then, as an afterthought, 'Nevertheless...' which reinforces the cynicism. Is that only Vimes' attempt to joke, or does he believe that Carrot's remark is cynical? I've not decided. Now lets turn the page and look at the riot.

p16.
"I think it's ... sort of political."
[...]
"Get a statement off Gimlet."
"Not a good idea, sir [...] He didn't see anything."
[...]
"He didn't see anything. He didn't hear anything either."
[...]
"Look, it's all over, sir. I don't think anyone's seriously hurt.
It'll be for the best, sir. Please?"

Hang on!? Is this Carrot Ironfounderson, choosing to, and pleading his commander to, ignore an evident crime? No quote from The Laws and Ordnances of Ankh-Morpork? And it's not just a dwarf thing, either; Carrot has never before shown any leniency towards dwarves just because he was brought up as one. Furthermore, he admits to knowing what it's all about, too, without letting Vimes share that knowledge. Intriguing, but lets move on to the next page:

p17.
"Well, this is Ankh-Morpork, captain [...] it's my job to keep the peace, and /this/, captain, doesn't look like it. What are people going to say about rioting in the streets?"
"They'll say it's another day in the life of the big city, sir." said Carrot woodenly.

Here Vimes reminds Carrot, and formally too by calling him by his title - twice - that Carrot can't just ignore this. Carrot's answer is such a cynical remark I had to check it twice to see that it wasn't, actually, Vimes' line. He is mimicking, albeit with not too much success, Vimes in order to disarm him. Then, after allowing Vimes to get fooled by a dwarf without interfering, Carrot reminds Vimes about the meeting at the palace to divert his attention. So what transpires in the meeting, then?

p19.
The Patrician smiled. "Ah, captain, you have long ceased to surprise me."

Note this for future reference. Is this true? Is it a platitude? Is it a reflection of Vetinari's peculiar mindset, that since he doesn't anticipate anything, nothing will surprise him? How much, we ask ourselves, does Vetinari know? We'll come back to that question. But first, we see how Vimes' objections to his mission are countered by Carrot:

p22
"Ticking over nicely now, sir," said Carrot.
[...]
"More or less sorted out, sir [...]"
[...]
"Can't do much for a week or two, sir [...]"
[...]
"I've got the plumbers working on it, sir."

Is Carrot bending himself over to get Vimes away? I'd say he is. But he is not alone in this; Vetinari has already arranged everything by speaking to Sibyl, well knowing that this will tie the hands of Vimes better than any direct order. Then on the next page, Carrot and Vetinari continue their little game of showing each other how clever they are over the head of Vimes. I won't bother quoting; suffice to say that none get the better of the other, and they take turns on briefing Vimes. Both Vetinari and Carrot seems to have the same fount of knowledge to draw from. This scene establishes firmly that the two of them know a lot more about the situation - both in Uberwald and how it affects A-M - than Vimes.

Now, when that's settled, Carrot is free - knowing that Vimes is going away - to indulge him and tell him a bit about Dwarfish politics. So why does he have to take him to the museum to explain the repercussions of the choice of the new Low King? Hmm?

p28.
There was a tinkle and a scrabbling noise somewhere in the gloom. "Rats," said Carrot. "They never stop trying to eat dwarf bread [...] The Scone of Stone. A replica, of course."

Rats, previously described as intelligent creatures, trying to eat dwarf bread? Nope, rather setting the scene for the next lie...

p29
Vimes sniffed. The air had a certain pungent quality. "Smells strongly of cats in here, doesn't it?"
"I'm afraid they get in after the rats, sir. A rat who's nibbled on dwarf bread tends not to be able to run very fast."

But the sulphuric smell comes from the rubber solution in the hands of the hiding in the museum! And rats nibbling on dwarf bread? A food you need hammer and chisel to eat? Nibble - yeah, right. To emphasise: Vimes has been in the museum before, without noting the strong smell of cat, otherwise he wouldn't have remarked on it. Therefore we can be rather certain, if we add the intelligence of rats and the inedibleness of dwarf bread, that it's quite unlikely that the museum is a common hunting ground for cats. Carrot isn't known to miss things like that either.

Then Carrot tells Vimes about Ankh-Morpork being the biggest dwarf city outside Uberwald, about dwarfdom, and about Rhys and Albrecht. Yes, this is to tell the readers what they have to expect, but also to tell Vimes the same thing. Why didn't Vetinari brief Vimes on the political situation in the country where he's sent to represent his city? Sure, he gets briefing material, but no hint from Vetinari what the, ah, 'general thrust of his views in this matter' are. Instead, those hints are given by Carrot. So why do they both think that Vimes is the right man for the job? He's not a diplomat, he's a copper, but that objection was dismissed as easily as all his other objections. But wait, there's more!

p33
... surely the patrician couldn't know that much...

So Lady Margalotta thinks Vetinari would send Vimes if he knew exactly what was going on, does she? Apparently he does know, doesn't he? But how? Well, maybe he has in his service a young, keen officer with very good connections in the dwarf community. You know, those dwarfs who write letters home, and get answers from home? An officer, in fact, who hasn't hesitated to suggest what the Patrician should do previously, in other books ...

Ok, so what have we then:

p35
Carrot was on the doorstep. "It's a bit ... political, sir." he said.
[...]
"The Dwarf bread museum has been broken into, sir," said Carrot.
Vimes looked into Carrot's honest blue eyes.
... " a certain item has gone missing."
[...]
"Yes, sir. Either they broke in just after we left, or," Carrot licked his lips nervously, "they were hiding while we were there."
"Not rats, then."
"No, sir. Sorry, sir."

Firstly, note that Carrot's first line echoes the one on page 16.

Secondly, we are reminded of his honest blue eyes. Why? To reaffirm his honesty? Hardly. To remind us that he always looks honest, no matter how much he's letting you fool yourself? Could be...

Thirdly, Carrot is nervous. Say what? Nervous? The ever cheerful and confident Carrot? What does he have to be nervous about? Not realising there were thieves in the museum? Well, Vimes didn't note that either, and he has taught Carrot all he knows about policing. No, Carrot is nervous that Vimes will realise he lied. And when Vimes doesn't, but wryly notes that it wasn't rats, after all, he actually admits and apologises. He says he's sorry about lying.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Back at the museum, the scene of the crime:

p38
"No, sir. They were inconsiderate thieves."
"They certainly were," said Carrot grimly.

Carrot, grim? For a theft of something he later explicitly says is impossible to fence, a replica? Or is it in reaction of the botched job? Maybe. This is refuted, though, by his exclamation on the next page.

"But what's the point?" said Carrot. "It's just a replica, sir."

The he tells about the cross in the bottom, and the plaster. But hang on:

"But it was a good idea, sir," Carrot said encouragingly. "You weren't to know"

So, even if Vimes' original idea wouldn't work, Carrot encourages him to continue along those lines, and to ponder over the question 'What's the point?'. And then, in a bit of honesty he knows will be misinterpreted, 'You weren't to know'. No? Let's see, then. Now it's getting interesting. The aim of the thieves was to make a mould of the Scone at the museum, and then leave it as it was - without anyone knowing! You weren't to know, indeed. Far-fetched? Please bear with me, I'll play Poirot at the end of the post and try to put these clues, thoughts and ideas together to a conclusion. For the moment, though, we'll jump a but forward, to Vimes musings about his mission:

p45
Vetinari was throwing him amongst the wolves. And the dwarfs. And the vampires. [...] And Vetinari never did anything without a reason.

No, he doesn't. But neither does Carrot. As we are told a couple of times later in the book:

1. There is neither police nor law in Uberwald.

2. Where you have policemen, you have crime.

Following discworldian logic, then, Vimes is sent to make what's happening in Uberwald a crime. Does that matter, you ask? Yes it does. Because if it isn't a crime, it will be politics, and thus more acceptable. The world is watching... If Wolfgang isn't a political leader, but a criminal, he won't get the approval of the rest of the world. And if there is someone who can find a crime, it's Vimes. Which also explains Lady Margalotta's reaction to the news:

p46
A dainty hand came out of the partly opened coffin and punched the air.
"Yes!"
[...]
"Then the midden has hit the windmill

I guess I could expand on her role in leading, helping and guiding Vimes along to first find, and then solve, the crime, but I'll leave something to you...

p53
"She's been a bit worried about the future, I think," said Carrot.
..."the werewolf thing?"
"It preys on her mind," said Carrot.

Aw, ain't that cute? He's worrying about his girlfriend, the poor dear. Well, she has been worried about the future, and 'the werewolf thing' preys on her mind. Does that really mean what we think it does, though? If Carrot knows about the situation in Uberwald, and we've already concluded he does, he's bound to know about both the new movement among the werewolves, and who is the leader of it.

Now, this has been going on long enough, so I'll keep it brief. Just another couple of quotes, and we'll be ready for the earthshattering conclusions. Oi! Stay awake, you in the back there!

p66
[Carrot] had set up a folding table in the corner.

Not too important, but a wink to the Patricians chair at the foot of the throne. Then, on the next page:

"Just news, constable. Don't let me detain you."

Who is fond of using that phrase? So, when no one who would spot it - ie Vimes - is watching, Carrot is mimicking Vetinari. Hm. But lets move on to the resignation:

p68
"Nevertheless, it is a long way to Uberwald."
There was silence.
"Sir?"
"Yes?"
"How did you know?"

This is an important scene. Carrot is shocked to learn that Vetinari knows - he is told he'd have to get up early to put one over the Patrician. Then:

"I think the term is ... deduction. [...]"
Carrot said nothing.
"And if I was you, I'd begin my search for Sergeant Angua at [...]"
After a while Carrot said quietly: "Is that as a result of information recieved, my lord?"
Vetinari smiled a thin little smile. "No. But Uberwald is going through some troubling times, and of course she is from one of the aristocratic families. I surmise she has been called away."

Note how worried Carrot is of the spy and informant network of Vetinari, until he is satisfied that nothing of importance is known. Once again, Vetinari tries to impress Carrot with his grasp of current events and his powers of deduction, and this time he succeeds. Carrot is very careful here, and spends a lot of time thinking.

But now I'm tedious. I'll skip the voyage - nothing of great importance for this post happens until our hero meets his beloved again.

p124
"He's an /old/ friend?" said Carrot.
"Yes."
"A ... friend."
"Yes."

And that's it, basically. Carrot doesn't worry more about Gavin after this little conversation. He's established that Angua hasn't had a relationship with him, and thus he isn't a threat.

"You said this was family

And that's it. Aw, again. Well? He does stay to make sure she'll come back to him, later. But why? Does he love her? Well, he's never said it so we heard, and while we have heard Angua say as much in her thoughts, his has been silent. With no concern for what she wants, he decides to stay with her, making everything much harder for her, since she'll have to look after him. And what does he think he'll be able to do?

p125
"He's [Vimes] got mixed up in this?" said Angua.
"Mixed up in what?"
"Oh

So Angua knows that Wolfgang is up to no good, and we get the message that this is what Gavin came to tell her. And Carrot? He's checking what she knows, what part of it she thinks Vimes has become mixed up in.

Ok, that's it.

What? A point? Well, to be perfectly honest I think I've misplaced it...

However.

Carrot found out about the Uberwaldean political problems, and the notion to declare the Ankh-Morpork dwarves not to be dwarves. Since this would upset both him and his subjects, he decided to keep an eye on the proceedings. Now, when Rhys was chosen king instead of Albrecht, he could feel relieved, but only for the moment.

Having kept track on the Uberwaldean politics he learns about Wolfies movement, and realises that Wolfie would benefit from letting the tension among dwarfdom erupt into war. So how do you do that, then? Well, how about doing something to the symbol of kingship?

But when Carrot learns about the plot to make a replica of the Scone, his hands are tied. If he prevents this, the original might still be destroyed, which would be a terrible blow to dwarfdom, so he lets the hired helpers get on with it, but does take Vimes to the museum in order to put his mind on the right track. That's why it's so important to send Vimes to Uberwald: he needs to stop Wolfgang and retrieve the Scone.

Then, when Angua sends him a message that she's going back to Uberwald, he needs to stop her from just taking on her brother, since he knows it's not as simple as that. With Wolfgang out of the way, there would be no way to tell who's got the Scone or what happens to the dwarves.

Finally, with the Scone retrieved, he can lose nobly against Wolfie to impress Angua. But you'll notice that our dear Carrot has never done so little in a book as he has in this one. He's just in place, to oversee what's happening.

On the other hand, there is no guarantee I'll vouch for this interpretation, or, indeed, that I'm not extracting urine. This, like any other piece of fiction, is open to interpretation.


From: Miq

Incredible. Beautiful. Thank you, Orjan. I do have a few questions, though...

First: how does Carrot find out about the plot to steal the Scone? You mention dwarf letters, but it seems to me that this is the sort of thing that wouldn't be widely talked about in such insecure media.

Is Carrot bending himself over to get Vimes away? I'd say he is.

I wouldn't say so. Vimes is blustering - he knows that this sort of piffling objection isn't going to get him out of the assignment - and Carrot is simply taking a short cut through the objections. Vetinari could easily overrule them himself - it's just quick and painless this way.

Both Vetinari and Carrot seems to have the same fount of knowledge to draw from. This scene establishes firmly that the two of them know a lot more about the situation - both in Uberwald and how it affects A-M - than Vimes.

But there's a world of difference between knowing, in general terms, what sort of place Uberwald is (general knowledge), knowing the intricacies of dwarf politics (current affairs), and knowing about highly secret and dubious plots (intelligence). Obviously Carrot has a fair grasp of the first two of these - but it's a big step from there to having knowledge of the third.

In fact, I think it's a fair bet that Vetinari doesn't have much detailed knowledge of the plot itself. That's one reason why he sends Vimes - he knows Vimes can be trusted to ask the embarrassing questions and isn't afraid of annoying people.

Now, when that's settled, Carrot is free - knowing that Vimes is going away - to indulge him and tell him a bit about Dwarfish politics. So why does he have to take him to the museum to explain the repercussions of the choice of the new Low King? Hmm?

This is where your theory starts to look distinctly thin. Does he expect to find the thieves in mid-heist? Surely not - in that case, why would he take Vimes there and then so carefully steer him away from the crime taking place right under his nose?

No, I think he shows Vimes the Scone by way of explanation, just as he says. Whether he smells a rat, so to speak, while in the museum is another matter.

Why didn't Vetinari brief Vimes on the political situation in the country where he's sent to represent his city? Sure, he gets briefing material, but no hint from Vetinari what the, ah, 'general thrust of his views in this matter' are.

We don't know quite what's in the briefing material. I think Vetinari only knows that the werewolves are plotting 'something' to coincide with the coronation, which is what His Man In Bonk had previously noted; I don't think either he or Carrot knows the details.

So Lady Margalotta thinks Vetinari would send Vimes if he knew exactly what was going on, does she? Apparently he does know, doesn't he?

He knows what Margalotta, and anyone else who's well informed in Uberwald, knows - that there's a plot. I don't see any evidence that he knows about the Scone - only the leading conspirators know that. If that were such common knowledge, there'd be no way of preventing the dwarfs from hearing about it.

Secondly, we are reminded of his honest blue eyes. Why? To reaffirm his honesty? Hardly. To remind us that he always looks honest, no matter how much he's letting you fool yourself? Could be...

No, the word honest' is there to cast doubt on his honesty. But I repeat - how could he know that much? What are his sources?

Thirdly, Carrot is nervous. Say what? Nervous? The ever cheerful and confident Carrot? What does he have to be nervous about?

The replica Scone is a precious thing in its own right, and it was in his charge. And it looks as if it was stolen from right under his nose. That's - embarrassing, whichever way you look at it.

Having kept track on the Uberwaldean politics he learns about Wolfies movement, and realises that Wolfie would benefit from letting the tension among dwarfdom erupt into war. So how do you do that, then? Well, how about doing something to the symbol of kingship?

Umm. Again, you're crediting Carrot with supernatural powers of deduction here. What would allow him to work this out while keeping it so well hidden from Rhys, who is also no fool, and who has much more up-to-date information? If the plot were that transparent, it wouldn't have got so far.

he lets the hired helpers get on with it, but does take Vimes to the museum in order to put his mind on the right track.

Nah, this doesn't work. Taking Vimes while the theft is in progress, for those reasons, is far too risky. If he wants to feed Vimes clues, it'd be much better to take him the next day, explaining that he suspects Foul Play.

Finally, with the Scone retrieved, he can lose nobly against Wolfie to impress Angua. But you'll notice that our dear Carrot has never done so little in a book as he has in this one. He's just in place, to oversee what's happening.

I've always been impressed with how downright ineffective Carrot is in this book. From the moment he leaves Ankh-Morpork, it seems his only agenda is to get Angua back - and he doesn't do anything that's not directly related to that aim. It's Vimes who solves the crime, Vimes who rescues Rhys, Vimes who settles Wolfie, Vimes who recovers the Scone. Even when Sybil is kidnapped, Carrot is completely useless. He's found Angua - that's all he cares about.


From: MikeXXXX

Finally, with the Scone retrieved, he can lose nobly against Wolfie to impress Angua.

At the point of the fight wouldn't even this scheming, Machiavellian Carrot only have known that the fake scone was in the possession of the werewolves. ?

They hadn't actually retrieved the stone yet. Vimes had the yell on the litter about the theft - but he didn't explain it, did he?. From whence comes the knowledge of where the 'real' scone is?

You certainly have taken an interesting slant to Carrot and dug very deep. Congratulations. The veracity of any contradictory interpretation will only be in admiration of your analysis.


From: Victoria Martin

Carrot tells Vetinari:
"The watch cannot function without me since no one has the organisational skills [...] And by the way, don't take me for granted, I can quit and do something else, somewhere else."

Hmmm, any evidence for that? Beyond your own desire to read that into the text? What Carrot actually says is "The Watch now functions like a well-oiled machine, it can cope very well without me, so it doesn't matter if I quit" and Vetinari says "But like a machine it occasionally goes boing. And I think you'll find it awfully hard to leave the Watch, so how about if I treat this as a holiday and expect you back when you've finished your business?"

Now I'll grant you that with both Carrot and Vetinari it isn't always appropriate to take what they say at face value, but equally I don't think one should leave the apparent meaning out of account. And if you have an alternative interpretation, then I'd like a bit more evidence than mere lurking suspicions (or a rigid determination to see things one way only, like the Vetinari-is-a-vampire conspiracy theorists).

Vetinari tells Carrot:
"See the results of your irresponsible behaviour. Why haven't you put an organisation in place to handle situations like these? And why is it, do you think, that the miscreants fear Vimes, not you?"

That I find a more plausible reading:-)

Hang on!? Is this Carrot Ironfounderson, chosing to, and pleading his commander to, ignore an evident crime?

Be fair, Carrot has grown rather more sophisticated since the days of G!G! Even by MAA he had recognised that a literal interpretation of the law wasn't always appropriate.

So Lady Margalotta thinks Vetinari would send Vimes if he knew exactly what was going on, does she? Apparently he does know, doesn't he? But how? Well, maybe he has in his service a young, keen officer with very good connections in the dwarf community.

Or, alternatively, Mr Sleeps, who seems to have picked up on a great deal of what is going on in Uberwald, if not on the precise details of that complicated stone-replacing plot. And Mr Sleeps is in Uberwald, which Carrot is not. I'm sure Carrot is as well-informed about events as any dwarf in A-M, but probably less well-informed than most dwarfs in Uberwald (and less well-informed than human spies, who are not exclusively interested in dwarf affairs). Carrot can't be getting information about the werewolf plot from Angua, because she doesn't know about it till Gavin tells her.

Aw, ain't that cute? He's worrying about his girlfriend, the poor dear. Well, she has been worried about the future, and 'the werewolf thing' preys on her mind. Does that really mean what we think it does, though? If Carrot knows about the situation in Uberwald, and we've already concluded he does, he's bound to know about both the new movement among the werewolves, and who is the leader of it.

Here I have to disagree - it all depends on how much Angua knows, and presumably she doesn't realise how bad things are until Gavin turns up, otherwise she would have left long before.

[Carrot's resignation]
Note how worried Carrot is of the spy and informant network of Vetinari, until he is satisfied that nothing of importance is known.

I simply can't see how you read this into that passage. I mean, if Carrot's question really is intended to elicit the strength of Vetinari's spy network, he surely doesn't expect the Patrician to respond with a lengthy list of the various operatives who had seen Angua go. I read this more as a flabbergasted "How did you know? Did somebody tell you?"

Carrot doesn't worry more about Gavin after this little conversation. He's established that Angua hasn't had a relationship with him, and thus he isn't a threat.

Really? You wouldn't take Carrot's discussion of the state of the watch with Vetinari at face value, and yet you'll buy Angua's claim that Gavin is a "friend" (in spite of that hugely significant pause)? And why does Pterry keep up the tension (eg having Angua squat down exactly halfway between Carrot and Gavin)? Hell, even Vimes can pick up on the fact that there's something going on ("Carrot, that Wolf and Angua...?" "They're just good friends, sir").

But I think we need to see the relationship with Gavin as more than just a rival to Carrot. He represents a choice Angua has about which world to live in, the lupine or the human (since, at least currently, the werewolf world seems to be out). Angua may not be a yennork, but she still has to decide whether to be primarily human or (like her father) primarily a wolf. And being human carries with it the responsibilities of duty, of being in the Watch, of standing up for the Law. It's bit more existential than just choosing between boyfriends.

He does stay to make sure she'll come back to him, later.

Or to make sure she chooses being human. There's more to coming back to A-M, I think, than just resuming her relationship with Carrot (although obviously the two decisions are inextricably linked). When Wolfgang nearly kills Carrot, Vimes expects Angua to howl with rage, like a wolf. But she weeps, like a human.

But why? Does he love her? Well, he's never said it so we heard, and while we have heard Angua say as much in her thoughts, his has been silent. With no concern for what she wants, he decides to stay with her, making everything much harder for her, since she'll have to look after him. And what does he think he'll be able to do?

I think, I hope, I've answered that question. He's trying to help her to stay human, not to give up on the human world, and if that means making her werewolf job (defeating Wolfgang) harder, well, so be it. This is one instance where the personal is important. Indeed, the one thing Angua fears most is becoming like Wolfgang. If she becomes too lupine in her attempt to fight him, then at a deeper level she will have failed terribly. carrot is helping her to win on her own terms and not on Wolfgang's ("might is right, strength is good").

So Angua knows that Wolfgang is up to no good, and we get the message that this is what Gavin came to tell her. And Carrot? He's checking what she knows, what part of it she thinks Vimes has become mixed up in.

Or maybe he really doesn't know about the werewolf plot, however well informed he may be about the dwarfs.

Ok, that's it.

It was magnificent! My thoughts have rarely been so provoked in ages.


From: Leo Breebaart

Seconded. Although I find myself firmly in the "Carrot truly loves Angua" camp (because he just does, and don't nobody come and try to tell me differently, dammit), I will now never be able to read T5E again and not see Carrot in the light of Orjan's brilliant analysis.


From: Karen

and don't nobody come and try to tell me differently, dammit

I do so like an easy challenge...

Does Carrot truly love Angua? The answer to that has to be an unqualified "mebbe".

Yes I can buy that he thinks he does, fairly easily. But all things are relative aren't they? It certainly isn't an entirely equal relationship it seems to me. When does Carrot have cause to doubt Angua's feelings in the way she sometimes has cause to wonder about his feelings and motivations?

For instance to steal quote from Victoria's earlier post:

[T5E]
Angua takes a very similar view.

He always, always finds a way in, she thought. He doesn't think about it, he doesn't plot, he simply slides in. I saved him because he couldn't save himself, and Gavin saved him because... because... he had some reason ... and I'm almost, almost certain that Carrot doesn't know how he manages to wrap the world around him. Almost certain. He's good and kind and born to be a king of the ancient sort that wore oak leaves and ruled from a seat under under a tree, and though he tries hard he never had a cynical thought.
"I'm almost certain."
(442)

In Real Life people don't live in isolation. You marry someone you marry their family. You meet someone you meet their friends. Mostly people are in packages to a greater or lesser degree and those packages affect the degree to which you can have successful relationships with other people.

Carrot just 'belongs' both in and to A-M. Maybe its the charisma and he is entirely the same wherever. But A-M is where he is for Angua, and everyone pays attention to him and wants him in 'their gang'.

Angua's situation is entirely different. She is accepted, tolerated, in spite of who and what she is, but a large part of her existence is dependent on Carrot and their relationship. Yes there are odd individual friendships, Cheery maybe (another outsider?) and people may recognise her useful qualities, her ability to police for instance, like her from a distance but she is always slightly to one side. Maybe a bit like Granny, they know where to find her when they need her but don't find her so comfortable to be with the rest of the time. Perhaps they recognise her ability to smell out their weaknesses :]

There is a related but fundamental subtle difference between them as well it seems to me. Carrot does the 'right thing' because he knows it is the right thing and wishes to do the right thing. Angua just does it somehow.

People notice Carrot in a very conscious way simply because he is there. They really notice Angua only when she acts with respect to themselves, otherwise they will keep a polite but distinct barrier between themselves and Angua.

Therefore to some extent I am not sure how compatible the two together are with the aforesaid package.

As time goes on and Carrot progresses, to be whatever-variety-of-leader-is-in-fashion-this-week Angua will become more of a problem to him not because they are incompatible with each other but because 'they' are not really compatible in the long term with the views of others. A-M will increasingly regard Carrot as 'theirs' and I don't see them wanting Angua too close.

So then what - would Carrot choose 'duty' in the form of A-M with whom he has already identified to a large extent, or Angua? I think he would really struggle trying to work out the right thing to do, and seeing that she would absolve him of the problem, of the choice. She would just up and slip away I think - not easily, but once she has run through all the possibilities and convinced herself that there is no practical way to live with the package situation she will do it. Because its the right thing to do. She'd leave Carrot to carry on in his 'rightful place', where he really belongs, where he wants to be, where he is happy. She doesn't really belong there, and she has no power to make significant change.

If Carrot and Angua's careers develop, if Carrot does continue on the path apparently laid out for him, if Angua does continue to be Carrots lover (or friend - the same would apply mostly) then this is something that will have to be addressed and not glossed over.

Terry can give Carrot three choices - he can take A-M, he can take Angua or he can work some arcane magic and keep both as he will likely want (he likes AM, he is happy there and they want him). But that third requires fairly skilful modifying of human nature given the social package situation and I think that that is beyond charisma even if he tried (and of course he would have to understand the problem to even consider dealing with it and I don't think he really does at gut level).

Terry can seem to give Angua two choices. She can stay and live with problem and let it increase until it dominates and threatens their relationship, and also that between Carrot's charisma and A-M. Or she can go. That really is only one choice for Angua, because Carrot is happy where he is, belongs where he is and she doesn't.

So does Angua really matter to Carrot? Yes probably, but not really as much and more importantly she won't want ever to put it to the test.

Does he love her? I think he means well...

People are people and will always want their pound of flesh. Probably wrapped up in yesterdays copy of TT, featuring photographs of King Carrot at home with A-M. Angua will be little more than a memory, the space will close up. They might still call on her policing abilities at times but that's probably it.

If you think I am wrong, suggest a fourth choice for Carrot or a third one for Angua which enables them to live as happy bunnies in this particular trouser leg of time. Because I just don't see it myself.

I will now never be able to read T5E again and not see Carrot in the light of Orjan's brilliant analysis.

Now that I agree with entirely.


From: Joerg Ruedenauer

When does Carrot have cause to doubt Angua's feelings in the way she sometimes has cause to wonder about his feelings and motivations?

I'm certain he doubts her feelings in T5E.

So then what - would Carrot choose 'duty' in the form of A-M with whom he has already identified to a large extent, or Angua?

I think T5E answered that question. Angua goes away - Gavin and his news being the last thing to tip the balance - and Carrot leaves A-M and follows her, what she would never have expected. And then he gets her back.

If Carrot and Angua's careers develop, if Carrot does continue on the path apparently laid out for him,

This path is not so apparent any more. See below.

Terry can give Carrot three choices - he can take A-M, he can take Angua or he can work some arcane magic and keep both

To me, it looks more and more like Carrot won't take A-M, especially in the light of TT. Carrot has been fading into the background gradually throughout the latest books: While he was the main actor in M@A and at least contributing significantly to the solution in FoC, he didn't accomplish much in J and even less in T5E. In TT, he has reached the point of being only an officer of the Watch, clearly much less important than Vimes regarding political matters. We can assume that many people don't know that he's the heir, and those who know don't want him to be king. Probably he doesn't want to be king either.


From: Karen

I'm certain he doubts her feelings in T5E.

I don't think he really doubts her feelings toward him - that's the problem to some extent. I think he knows very well that she would leave him for his own good or protection, or because it was the 'right thing to do'. That quite possibly its too ingrained in her to act any other way, even where it goes against personal interest. And in this case it very much would.

So then what - would Carrot choose 'duty' in the form of A-M with whom he has already identified to a large extent, or Angua?

I think T5E answered that question. Angua goes away - Gavin and his news being the last thing to tip the balance - and Carrot leaves A-M and follows her, what she would never have expected. And then he gets her back.

That's another one of those 'mebbe's.

Angua made some efforts not to be followed, maybe what surprised her was that they failed. Yes I think she was surprised he followed her because he had to risk A-M to some extent. On the other hand he was ultimately where Vetinari probably wanted him at that time, and back when he was called back.

Which he ends up with in the long term remains to be seen. I find Carrots motivation quite hard to fathom clearly a lot of the time. But that maybe because I never have been able to put him clearly in a nice or nasty camp. Just a 'person' camp <shrug>. Which of course doesn't detract from wondering at all...:]

To me, it looks more and more like Carrot won't take A-M, especially in the light of TT. Carrot has been fading into the background gradually throughout the latest books[...]

No I don't entirely buy this. So from our perspective he is less in the public eye? Vimes has indeed come more to the fore recently but that by no means precludes Carrot from doing so. I'd see the current situation as a period of consolidating a position, ready to move on when the time is right. He is there, established, for Terry^W A-M to pick up whenever they want.

You can bet your life that the 'senior citizens' of A-M know exactly who and where he is and how to try and work any situation to their own advantage, using him to their own ends if they can, whenever they can. That could be interesting - overt manipulation versus Carrot, to make him or prevent him from being king. Rather than the indirect manipulation which is mostly demonstrated. I wonder how he would react to that?

The increase in Vimes position could be seen as establishing a succession almost - Carrot perhaps isn't ready for Kingship just yet...

Probably he doesn't want to be king either.

I don't imagine he does want to be king. Don't imagine Vetinari did either (for varying values of the word 'king'). They might deem it necessary though. Not wanting to be king could almost be deemed a good qualification for the job... :]

Orjan if I asked really nicely could you do this sort of analysis for Angua? :} After that I'll give you a shopping list...


From: Karen

Here I have to disagree - it all depends on how much Angua knows, and presumably she doesn't realise how bad things are until Gavin turns up, otherwise she would have left long before.

True and I don't think Carrot is referring to politics as such, half so much as Angua's awareness of her own dubious position - high ranking in wolfdom she may be but she exists in Carrots world only on sufferance of the locals. They can be very fickle... Popularity one day can turn to being driven out the next, and not even Carrot's charisma would be enough to prevent it...

But certainly I think she would have gone 'home to help' as soon as the news came, and that Gavin's arrival was the first she really knew.

[Carrot's resignation]
if Carrot's question really is intended to elicit the strength of Vetinari's spy network, he surely doesn't expect the Patrician to respond with a lengthy list of the various operatives who had seen Angua go. I read this more as a flabbergasted "How did you know? Did somebody tell you?"

I don't think he could be flabbergasted - he knows the scope of Vetinari's information network. I read it more as Carrot wanting to hear the words, see the face to judge for himself the gravity of the situation. Much as any of us might ask someone the same question more than once, not because we are deaf or stupid but simply because it is so very important to extract every last certainty of fact before making a key decision on action.

Chewing over the information - trying to hold it in different lights, maybe hoping to see a different answer to the only one which seems to be in front of us.

Asking Vetinari one supplementary probably equates to that...

Carrot doesn't worry more about Gavin after this little conversation. He's established that Angua hasn't had a relationship with him, and thus he isn't a threat.

Oh I don't think so...I think he has great uncertainty at the precise nature of that relationship, not least the 'just good friends' thing because:

And why does Pterry keep up the tension (eg having Angua squat down exactly halfway between Carrot and Gavin)?[...] But I think we need to see the relationship with Gavin as more than just a rival to Carrot. He represents a choice Angua has about which world to live in, the lupine or the human [...]

Agreed - its far more than just about boyfriends, and entirely about choosing where she can be. Not even, I think, about where she wants to be. Angua is no fool - she knows that wherever she wants to be she has to live at the very least with torn loyalties to two factions who will not even try to agree, who don't want to agree but both of whom want to win by their definition.

She wants to be with Carrot, she may want to be entirely human, but she is dependent on the tolerance and acceptance of others to some extent and what she wants isn't necessarily what she can or will do.

Within the limited choices she may have, she will do what she thinks is best. rather than that which she would like. Being primarily a wolf, or a human both carry duties for her. Maybe that is why I can't envisage her making that choice without considering the impact on everyone around her. She wouldn't stay with Carrot if she felt it the wrong thing to do for him I think.

He does stay to make sure she'll come back to him

Or to make sure she chooses being human.

Yep - see above comment - Carrot knows all too well that she will do the 'right' thing. Maybe that's what worries him most.

When Wolfgang nearly kills Carrot, Vimes expects Angua to howl with rage, like a wolf. But she weeps, like a human.

Because Carrot is human? Wasn't entirely sure why he expected wolf response other than the intensity of the emotion. But she shows distress more than anger really.

carrot is helping her to win on her own terms and not on Wolfgang's ("might is right, strength is good").

agreed - Carrot will try to load the dice to keep her there because as you say personal is important to him in this. Ironic really somehow that it could be Angua putting 'best interest all round ' or 'important' before 'personal' this time, and Carrot could lose by it.

The whole relationship between Angua/Carrot/the world fascinates me, mostly because I always have seen her, from her first entry to the books, as a very different character from most commentators it seems. Not sure why.


From: Sylvan

carrot is helping her to win on her own terms and not on Wolfgang's ("might is right, strength is good").

Wolfgang isn't really any more lupine than Angua. The Baron is like a wolf, and he has almost no human left in him. For Wolfgang, the wolf is more like an excuse. Remember Angua's line about "Wolves with that extra capacity for violence that is so very human." She's not afraid of becoming as wolflike as Wolfgang, but of becoming as human as him.


From: Karen

Wolfgang isn't really any more lupine than Angua.

Or any less.

The Baron is like a wolf, and he has almost no human left in him.

Because he has chosen to be wolf?

For Wolfgang, the wolf is more like an excuse.

I agree entirely with that - the choice of transition points, and use of the wolf state as a weapon is entirely human, not just an incidental part of his being. He controls it.

Remember Angua's line about "Wolves with that extra capacity for violence that is so very human." She's not afraid of becoming as wolflike as Wolfgang, but of becoming as human as him.

Angua treads a line between both sides. She can see the plus and minus points to both. I agree entirely - Angua may wish to be human but on her own terms. She doesn't want to become that human and that is one of the barriers between her current situation and her goal maybe. She could be much more human, join the gang as it were, if she was prepared to give up some of the values she holds most dear.

I agree totally that she worries about becoming human like Wolfgang. I don't think she will but just the concern about it will cause her to be probably excessively cautious and introspective. That won't actually help her any but she won't be able to avoid it. Being like Wolfgang would be too awful a fate to contemplate.


From: King Carrot

I've been pondering the "Is Carrot in actual fact a manipulative bastard?" discussion,

You might want to consider game theory.

Win::win scenarios often require selling others on the possibility of a win::win scenario. They can also require instilling confidence that the football won't be pulled back at the last second (reference CB).

If an ability to find and sell win::win situations makes someone a manipulative bastard then you have a very funny sort of phrase for someone who can and does find win::win situations.


From: Richard Bos

That's not the point; the scenario Victoria discussed was definitely not a win/win situation; it was a win for Carrot and several of his friends and/or acquaintances, but it was a loss for certain others.


From: Victoria Martin

He always, always finds a way in, she (Angua) thought. He doesn't think about it, he doesn't plot, he simply slides in. I saved him because he couldn't save himself, and Gavin saved him because... because... he had some reason ... and I'm almost, almost certain that Carrot doesn't know how he manages to wrap the world around him.

That big hesitation there in the middle when she tries to argue that Gavin had a reason to save Carrot that was independent of Carrot's ability to "wrap the world around him" looks as if its undercutting her argument - when it comes down to it, she can't actually think of a reason other than the involuntary response to Carrot's charisma.

On the other hand, when you look at the fight scene, an alternative explanation does suggest itself, one which Angua would be understandably reluctant to acknowledge. I suspect, in fact, that Gavin effectively commits suicide at the point where he realises he has lost Angua to Carrot and that point is the moment where Carrot is so terribly wounded (possibly even killed, according to the perspective of the onlookers) and Angua weeps over him:

Angua knelt down by the body, face impassive. Vimes had been expecting a scream of rage.
He heard her crying.
Beside Vimes, Gavin whined. he looked at Angua trying to lift Carrot, and then he looked at Wolfgang. And then back again.
"Anyone else?" said Wolfgang, dancing back and forth across the boards.
(p.379)

At this point, then, Wolfgang is no longer attacking Carrot. Gavin doesn't interfere to save Carrot (no matter what Angua thinks), indeed, as far as Gavin and Wolfgang know, Carrot is already dead. This also rather undermines the notion that Carrot attacked Wolfgang first on the assumption that Gavin would leap in to rescue him before he got too badly hurt.

Gavin attacks at the moment when Vimes is about to advance, fully aware that Wolfgang will kill him

Vimes drew his sword. It wouldn't make any difference now, Wolfgang wasn't playing now, he wasn't punching and running away. Those arms could push a fist through Vimes' ribcage and out the other side
(p.380)

So Gavin goes to face a certain death (made even more certain by his insistence on fighting fair) after he has seen Angua's reaction to Carrot's injury and, like Carrot, he faces up to his enemy in the most civilised way he can. Both he and Carrot underline their difference from Wolfgang in the way they fight as well as in what they are fighting for.

Perhaps Vimes, rather than Angua, is right in his interpretation of this particular episode. Destiny, rather than Carrot, ensured that he survived and his rival died.


From: Miq

The greatest criticism in the discussion has been reserved for Carrot's conduct in the fight with Wolfgang [...]it's worth noting that Carrot _always_ fights according to the Marquis's rules

Then why does Vimes think

It must be because we're abroad. He's trying to do things properly.
(p. 260, h/b)

Carrot has been in enough fights with enough hard cases to know that adopting that poise against an opponent who's bigger, stronger and meaner than you is suicide.

Besides, on the very next page, he

kicked Wolfgang in the stomach."

You can't tell me that's according to the MoF rules.

I think Carrot was consciously trying to highlight the difference between himself and Gavin. Carrot is the civilised man, the city man, the one who has rules. Note that Gavin, when he leaps into the fight, also fights by the canine equivalent of the MoF rules (according to Gaspode).

He's trying to upstage Carrot - because he can see, with the keen eye of jealousy, exactly what Carrot has just done.

I accept what you say about Carrot having remained reasonably 'good'... but as you say, he's increasingly aware of his power, and I think there's a process of corruption going on here. When it comes down to it, he can't resist the temptation to show off in front of Angua - and in this case it has the effect of getting Gavin killed. Probably he didn't plan that outcome, but it was still the result of his own recklessness.

There's a hint, at the end of the book, that he's feeling regret, possibly guilt, over what happened. When they're going to bury Gavin, on p.302 (h/b), Angua says

"... wolves look to the future. They don't try to remember things."
"They're lucky," said Carrot.


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