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Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Guards! Guards! (1989)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Discworld (8), Discworld: City Watch (1)

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This is what I get for reading the stream of the Discworld out-of-sequence. I finally got to learn how Captain Vimes met Dame Sybil and how Carrot came to Ankh-Morpork and joined the Night Watch. I suspect this may also have been the first appearance of Lord Vetinari, the city's Patrician. ( )
  dickmanikowski | May 15, 2015 |
This was the third Discworld novel I read. First being Wyrd Sisters, second being The Colour of Magic. Don't ask, I like a bit of non-order. From the first pages mentioning the night watch I fell in love with vimes and his world, from a few more pages in, I fell in love with the watch. Thus starting my secret love affair with every watch novel that i came into contact with! What a great start for the gang. You get vimes, nobby nobbs, colon, carrot the last lost king, dragons, lots of dragons, fat, jolly, strong women and the patrician... So maybe i'm biased but did i mention Vimes? THIS BOOK WILL NOT DISAPPOINT!! Any fantasy lover will love these books, all of them, every last one. Not one creature goes unnoticed by Terry Pratchett. He writes like words were made for his use alone. If it was a crime to be as intelligently funny as this writer is/was, he would of been hung a long time a go, because as we all know time is a funny thing with loopholes. I now (after reading his full works) consider these the standards by which i judge all books. READ THEM ALL, ALL OF YOU, RIGHT AWAY............. THE END ( )
  darceypaige | Apr 25, 2015 |
I have a love/hate r'ship with the Discworld books.
I enjoy every encounter I have with Rincewind, the Luggage, and the Librarian.
Carrot is mildly interesting
Bits of concepts throughout the series are clever.
Pretty much the rest of the characters, and books, annoy and/or frustrate me. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
I read this one out of order, which was a terrible thing to do, but how can you resist reading anything Pratchett when you own it, even if it's out of order?

A lot of things were obviously explained to me from books written after this one that I had read first (obviously obvious), and what a gloriously funny read! Pratchett at his best with added dragons as a bonus. Once again Vetinari and Vimes shine out as solidly good characters for me, and the relationship between them is one of the best I've encountered in any books.

Also a good starting point if you're not interested in reading them in chronological order.

(Second read through (chronologically!) and I totally forgot I wrote a review. Huh. I stand by it second time round, only I want to add that Carrot is an epic dwarf. ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
I highly recommend Guards! Guards! a fantasy novel that follows a cast of unusual heroes: the city watch. This hilarious novel works great as a stand alone or as an introduction to the Discworld, the sprawling forty book series created by Sir Terry Pratchett.

All the previous Discworld books touched on the city of Ankh-Morpork, a bustling city that slowly transforms over the course of the series and becomes so vivid that it might as well be a character itself.

“Vimes felt a sudden surge of civic pride. There had to be something right about a citizenry which, when faced with catastrophe, thought about selling sausages to the participants.”

However, Guards! Guards! is the first book to be set totally within the city. The result is a novel with a simpler yet stronger plot line where everything ties together really well.

In Guards! Guards!, a group of dissatisfied citizens work together to summon a dragon. It’s a simple plan: summon a dragon, then have a malleable “true heir to the throne” show up to defeat it. But things do not go as planned, and it is up to the night watch, lead by Samuel Vimes, to save the day.

Vimes is my favorite character. Not just in this book, or in Discworld, or in literature, but my favorite fictional character of all time. Why do I love him so much? Well, for a start he has an amazing character arc. At the beginning of the book you see him literally in the gutter, “brung low” by the city itself. Over the course of Guards! Guards! you realize that beneath the grungy exterior is a man who really cares about injustice.

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

Yet Vimes lives in a world where there is so much injustice, where it feels hopeless to try and do the right thing. But when the dragon comes and things go down the drain, Vimes is willing to stand up and do what he believes is right even when no one else will. He serves the law, not the Patrician or any other person, the law.

What’s great about Guards! Guards! is how the secondary characters shine as well. The three other members of the night watch are all utterly memorable and continue to grow over the course of the books. Lady Sybil Ramkins, while pretty much the only female character, is absolutely wonderful and an expert on all things dragons.

Discworld books are funny, no doubt about that, but the jokes often overlay a serious core. In Guards! Guards! this is seen by how easily people accept the presence of the dragon, so long as they aren’t the ones being eaten. There’s a conversation at the end between Vimes and Vetinari, the ruling Patrician, on the nature of humanity and how Vimes need to believe that people are not fundamentally good or fundamentally bad but just people. This is an overarching idea for many of Pratchett’s books.

“One of the things forgotten about the human spirit is that while it is, in the right conditions, noble and brave and wonderful, it is also, when you get right down to it, only human.”

While people familiar with the fantasy genera may get particular enjoyment from how Guards! Guards! plays with the tropes, I would ultimately recommend this book to everyone. It’s just an excellent book, no doubt about it.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page ( )
2 vote pwaites | Apr 6, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pratchett, Terryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersen, DougCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pieretti, AntonellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No-one ever asks them if they wanted to.

This book is dedicated to those fine men.
And also to Mike Harrison, Mary Gentle, Neil Gaiman and all the others who assisted with and laughed at the idea of L-space; too bad we never used Schrodinger's Paperback . . .
First words
This is where the dragons went.
"Have another drink, not-Corporal Nobby?" said Sergeant Colon unsteadily. "I do not mind if I do, not-Sgt Colon," said Nobby.

-- The joys of working undercover (Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!)

This audio book has been produced under the auspices of the Ulverscroft Foundation, a registered UK charity which helps visually impaired people.

For more information, or if you wish to make a donation or a legacy, please contact: Ulverscroft Foundation, The Green, Bradgate Road, Anstey, Leicestershire LE7 7FU Tel: 0116 236 1595 email: foundation@ulverscroft.co.uk Website: www.foundation.ulverscroft.com
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Copies of this work with the ISBNs 0575063025, 0575070714 and 3442545331 may be Graphic Novel versions. Changing the Title of your copy to reflect this may facilitate correct combination with other Graphic Novel versions of the work.
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Book description
This is where the dragons went. They lie…not dead, not asleep, but…dormant. And although the space they occupy isn't like normal space, nevertheless they are packed in tightly. They could put you in mind of a can of sardines, if you thought sardines were huge and scaly. And presumably, somewhere, there's a key...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061020648, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:14 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis ("noble dragon" for those who don't understand italics) has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all . . .). Meanwhile, back at Unseen University, an ancient and long-forgotten volume -- The Summoning of Dragons -- is missing from the Library's shelves. To the rescue come Captain Vimes, Constable Carrot, and the rest of the Night Watch who, along with other brave citizens, risk everything, including a good roasting, to dethrone the flying monarch and restore order to Ankh-Morpork (before it's burned to a crisp). A rare tale, well done as only Terry Pratchett can.… (more)

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