Guards! Guards! - Book Review

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Posted 2023-06-02 by PerthKelfollow
Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards! is the eighth novel in his Discworld series and centres around the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, a group of misfit law enforcement officers tasked with keeping order in the chaotic and corrupt city of Ankh-Morpork.

The plot revolves around the rise of a secret brotherhood called the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night, who seek to bring back the reign of dragons to Ankh-Morpork. Led by a charismatic and power-hungry individual named Supreme Grand Master Lupine Wonse, the brotherhood plans to use a stolen magical book called "The Summoning of Dragons" to summon a dragon and manipulate it to their advantage.

Meanwhile, the Night Watch, which consists of Captain Samuel Vimes, Corporal Carrot Ironfoundersson (a dwarf raised as a human), Sergeant Fred Colon, and Corporal Nobby Nobbs, face the daily challenges of maintaining law and order in the city. They are often disregarded and ridiculed due to their ineptitude and lack of resources.

However, when the dragon is summoned successfully, things begin to spiral out of control. The dragon, named Errol, is not the terrifying force the brotherhood expected. Instead, it is a small and perpetually sickly creature. The dragon's presence starts to disrupt the city, causing chaos and fear among the citizens.

As the situation worsens, the City Watch, along with various other characters, including Lady Sybil Ramkin, a dragon enthusiast, and Captain Vimes' love interest, come together to confront the dragon and the brotherhood. They must find a way to stop the dragon from wreaking havoc and prevent the Elucidated Brethren from achieving their nefarious goals.

Throughout the story, Terry Pratchett uses his trademark humour and satire to explore themes such as power, corruption, and the role of law enforcement in society. The book also delves into the personal growth and development of the characters, particularly Captain Vimes, as he rises to the occasion and becomes the leader the City Watch needs.

One of the central themes of Guards! Guards! is the nature of power and its corrupting influence. The novel explores the idea that those who seek power are often the least suited to wield it, and that even those with the best intentions can become corrupted by its allure. This theme is exemplified by the character of Captain Vimes, the disillusioned and alcoholic leader of the City Watch, who initially resists taking on a leadership role but eventually becomes consumed by his newfound power.

Another important theme in the novel is the idea of identity and self-worth. The members of the City Watch are a ragtag bunch, consisting of everything from a dwarf and a troll to a werewolf and a human who was raised by dwarves. These characters are all struggling to find their place in a world that does not accept them, and the novel explores the ways in which they come to accept themselves and their own unique strengths.

Pratchett's humour and wit are on full display in Guards! Guards!, as he satirizes everything from medieval fantasy tropes to modern politics. The novel is filled with memorable characters and scenes, such as the appearance of the dragon and the absurdity of the secret society that attempts to summon it. Pratchett also employs a clever use of language and puns throughout the novel, making for an entertaining and engaging read.

One of the most interesting aspects of Guards! Guards! is the portrayal of the city of Ankh-Morpork itself. The city is a place of chaos and corruption, with a ruling elite that is more concerned with maintaining their own power than with serving the needs of the people. The City Watch is seen as a largely ineffectual force, with most citizens believing that the only way to survive in the city is to look out for oneself.

However, as the novel progresses, the City Watch begins to assert itself and challenge the status quo. The members of the Watch are able to unite and work together in a way that the ruling elite cannot, and they are ultimately able to defeat the dragon and restore order to the city. This theme of the power of unity and cooperation is an important one throughout the novel, and it serves as a reminder that even the most unlikely of allies can achieve great things when they work together.

Another interesting aspect of Guards! Guards! is the portrayal of the fantasy genre itself. Pratchett is known for his irreverent take on fantasy tropes, and this novel is no exception. The dragon, which is typically portrayed as a terrifying and unstoppable force in fantasy literature, is instead presented as a pathetic and misunderstood creature. The novel also pokes fun at the idea of secret societies and the use of ancient prophecies as a way to justify actions.

In conclusion, Guards! Guards! is a witty and engaging novel that explores themes of power, identity, and cooperation. Pratchett's humour and insight make for an entertaining and thought-provoking read, and the novel is a must-read for fans of the Discworld series or anyone who enjoys irreverent and satirical fantasy fiction.

82719 - 2023-06-11 06:33:51


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