Jingo is the 21st Discworld novel and the fourth in the City Watch theme. It's written as a criticism of war, with particular reference to the Falklands Conflict and the first Gulf War of 1990-1. And a few Shout Outs to R'yleh.
Politics is a funny thing, and all the more so on the Discworld. When the sunken island of Leshp rises again, the bustling metropolis of Ankh-Morpork and the Arabic Expy Klatch both stake claims to it - diplomacy leading to riots, assassinations, and eventually war. Commander Vimes is determined to keep the peace as much as he can - unless it involves the bastard who he suspects of murder getting away with it.
Soon Vimes and his ragtag group of Night Watchmen find themselves in the unfamiliar deserts of Klatch, trying to stop the war before it starts. In the meantime, Lord Vetinari is on his own quest, with designs of his own on the direction the future should take - and oddly enough, it involves Sergeant Colon, Nobby Nobbs, Leonard of Quirm, and at least one donkey.
Contains examples of
- Alien Geometries: For all the fighting being done over Leshp, nobody who actually visits the place wants to stay for long...
- All the Myriad Ways: At a moment of crisis decision - whether to pursue Ahmed's ship or stay in Ankh-Morpork where he might be needed - the timeline splits, and Vimes accidentally picks up the other timeline's Vimes' Dis-organiser, which reads off the other Vimes' appointments. Thus, he is able to find out, at the end, just what would have happened if he had stayed behind...
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Surely the idea of a brutal war being fought over an island that's just risen from the ocean is a fantasty narrative device used by Terry Pratchett to poke fun at the idiotic nationalism of a bygone age? The Other Wiki disagrees!
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Ankh-Morpork native Les and Klatch native Akhan bond over this while their fathers are threatening each other:
"Les caught Akhan's eye. They exchanged a very brief glance which was nevertheless modulated with a considerable amount of information, beginning with the sheer galactic-sized embarrassment of having parents and working up from there."
- Arc Words: the wind turns...
- Attractive Bent Gender: Subverted, in that the laws of narrative causality were up against the fact of Nobby Nobbs, and were forced to give up. Nobby once scares men away by threatening to strip.
- Badass Boast: Detritus, when Vimes and co. turn their badges in.
"I got my badge carved on my arm. Someone c'n try an' take it off if dey likes."
- Batman Gambit: Ahmed provokes Vimes into following him all the way to Klatch.
"Why did you drag me here?"
"Drag you? I had to sabotage my own ship so you wouldn't lose me!"
"Yes, but... you... knew how I'd react." Vimes's heart began to sink. Everyone knew how Sam Vimes would react.
- Bluff the Impostor: The Klatchians in the bar are instantly suspicious of Colon, so one asks him in Klatchian "Excuse me, fat one, but can you understand what I am saying?" Upon realizing he can't, they have some fun by telling him the army has gone to "En al Sams la Laisa": "The Place Where The Sun Shineth Not".
- Brick Joke: Near the beginning, Nobby and Colon notice a man painting "Pride of Ankh-Morpork" as the name of a ship has forgotten to include the 'e'. Later on, Lord Rust is dismayed to learn that one of his ships is named the Prid of Ankh-Morpork.
- Brought Home the Wrong Kid: An Ankh-Morpork fisherman and a Klatchian fisherman stumble on the newly-risen island of Leshp at the same time. When the two men realize that they can't lay claim to it for their respective nations unless they get home first, each grabs for his boy's arm and rushes back to his boat ... and then returns, lambasting the other man as a kidnapper, to swap for his own boy.
- Call Back: Carrot organizes two huge armies of hundreds of men each into playing football. When asked by Vimes where and how he got a football, Carrot replies that he has taken to carrying one in his pack, since it's a very effective pacifying tool. This is a reference to much, much earlier in the book, where he also pacifies two small (but armed and violent) gangs of street urchins by organizing them into football teams. In that case, they were too embarrassed to actually play, but they each picked up their weapons and went their separate ways without fighting.
- Of course, the whole scene is a shoutout to the Christmas truce of 1914, where English and German troops along the front lines put aside their differences and—among other things—played football together.
- Canis Latinicus: An Ozymandias-like statue in the ruined Ankh-Morporkian outpost bears the inscription Ab Hoc Possum Videre Domum Tuum, which means "I can see your house from up here!"
- Also Prince Khufurah's diploma, which is a "Doctorum Adamus cum Flabello Dulci," or "Doctorate of Sweet Fanny Adams," i.e. nothing
- Continuity Nod / Ironic Echo: the line "the night is always old" is one to Hogfather, where Death says it in an attempt to be dramatic. Played very straight here.
- Cool Boat: Going-Under-the-Water-Safely Device.
- Cowboy Cop: 71-Hour Ahmed.
- Cunning Linguist: Carrot, who eventually acts as a Shout-Out to Lawrence of Arabia; Also done humorously with Colon who is able to speak "Morporkian" and pass for a Klatchian, as Morporkian is a lingua fraca in Klatch, and he respondes to the question "where are you from?" with "Er." Ur, (as Vetinari points out, after a long story that made no mention of Colon's incompentence) is a region renowned for the stupidity of its inhabitants.
- Carrot's linguistic expertise is, however, instantly subverted if he's ever asked to write down anything.
- Dawn Attack: Jabbar claims that "Charging is what dawn is for."
- Deadpan Snarker: Vetinari is on particularly good form here, especially in the early stages.
- End of an Age: the fate of the Gnolls, who in Equal Rites were the Apache-like race who "practiced hospitality to travellers of the red-hot knife variety" and terrorised the remoter parts of the overland trade routes. Debased remnants of the race have surrendered to civilization, and have entered the city, like Reservation Indians, to occupy the lowest rung of the social ladder, as street-cleaners and rubbish pickers (in all fairness, they seem to enjoy this new occupation a little too much). By Going Postal, the wild hills will have been ethnically cleansed of the last residual gnoll problem. Echoing the fate of American Indians?
- Either World Domination or Something About Bananas: Lord Rust brings his Lieutenant Hornett as a translator to the pre-battle meeting between the Klatchian and the Ankh-Morpork army officers. Sadly for Lord Rust, Lt. Hornett only knows how to read Klatchian, resulting in Lt. Hornett being unable to translate "Do any of you gentlemen speak Klatchian?" and then partially translating "this clown’s in charge of an army?" as "Er... something about... to own, to control... er... ".
- False-Flag Operation: Used in a rather complex way.
- Fauxreigner: Ahmed is a real Klatchian who has been educated in Ankh-Morpork, but he feigns bizarre "foreign ways" as a form of Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Foil: Ahmed is shown as similar to Vimes in being an honest cop, but unlike Vimes is decidedly not a Technical Pacifist.
- They even think alike. "Both of us suspected our own people first. The only difference is that I was right."
- For Halloween I Am Going as Myself: The Klatchians that Colon talks to immediately realise he's a spy, but believe he's so blatantly obviously a Morporkian spy that he must actually be from another country and trying to implicate Ankh-Morpork.
- Which, as it happens, is very much like the real villain's scheme to deflect suspicion for the assassination attempt!
- Foreign Money Is Proof of Guilt: Played about with the "clumsily set up to look like it's Klatchian-funded" assassination attempt. Actually, in a double bluff, it actually is Klatchian-funded.
- For Want of a Nail: The Dis-Organizer's very creepy alternate timeline.
- Full-Frontal Assault: A couple of Mooks on the Klatchian ship are attacked by a naked Angua.
- Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: When the Klatchian embassy is on fire, Vimes saves a Klatchian woman by throwing her out of the window and letting Detritus catch her. Detritus is a troll. He is made of rock.
- Giver of Lame Names: Naming things is the one area where Leonard of Quirm's inventing genius fails, for some reason.
"Well, because it is submersed in a marine environment, I've always called it the Going-Under-The-Water-Safely-Device."
- Glory Hound: Lord Rust. Actually, more like he has such a low opinion of "Johnny Klatchian" that he thinks Hollywood Tactics will work and the glory is just for the taking.
- He's also been trained since birth that the most important part of a battle is that you took part and there were huge casualties. If they were on the other side or not is a very minor thing.
- Go, Ye Heroes, Go and Die: Carrot's attempt at a Rousing Speech. It still works, because it's Carrot.
Carrot: "If we succeed, no one will remember! And if we fail, no one will forget!"
- Good All Along: As said in the summary above, 71-Hour Ahmed turns out to be an honest Klatchian police officer trying to prevent the war, like Vimes.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: In the dunes in Klatch, when the Klatchian soldiers cut off Reg's arm he hits them with it until they run away screaming. (He's a zombie, so it's not as bad as you think). Detritus also attacked people by hurling other people.
- Heroic Fire Rescue: Vimes. Parodied when he gets accused of trespassing (of the embassy on fire) and kidnap (of the woman he rescued).
- Hypocritical Humor: After Vimes chews Colon out for calling Klatchians "ragheads", Colon complains to Nobby that it's not as if he cares what people call him...
Nobby: "That's right, Fred."
Colon: "That's Sergeant Colon, if you please."
- I Can See My House From Here: Rather, 'I Can See Your House From Here', carved into the base of General Tacticus' statue, as a boast and a threat.
- Impostor Exposing Test: Angua sneaks aboard 71-Hour Ahmed's ship in wolf form by posing as a Klatchistan wolfhound. Ahmed quickly catches her, however, by having the dogs eat from silver plates.
- Informed Flaw: Klatch has been seen before in the Discworld books, but this is the first time it or its people have been seen in such detail. This might even be the first mention of a prominent Klatchian subculture in Ankh-Morpork. (The city has always been cosmopolitan, but details about Klatchians there weren't necessarily filled in.) Therefore, Colon's casual, petty racism or at least jingoism comes out of nowhere just in time for the Hypocritical Humor and Aesop.
- On the other hand, his own utter inconsistency in this is instantly picked up on and mocked by Nobby as part of the joke. Also, Vimes previously noted in Guards Guards how the average Morporkian man in the street can suddenly become seized with anti-Klatchian Patriotic Fervour when the moment strikes.
- Insult Backfire: Lord Rust means to belittle and insult Vimes when he refers to the Commander as a "thief-taker" and nothing more, but Vimes wears the appellation with pride because, well, he IS a thief-taker. It happens AGAIN with Rust when he contemptuously refers to Vimes as "not a gentleman", with all the venom he can muster. Vimes' response?
Vimes: I knew there was something about me I liked.
- Internal Reformist: Defied. Vimes briefly wonders if he should have been an Internal Reformist to Rust's regime, rather than throwing down his badge and storming out, before thinking "No. When had that ever worked?"
- Ironic Echo: "Things to do today: die..."
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: A soldier thinks this to himself, but ten years of experience with the D'regs and their form of guerilla warfare leads him to consider what the noisy parts of war are like, and he concludes that it can never be too quiet.
- The Key Is Behind the Lock: The Bursar locks himself in the Unseen University safe and takes the key with him. "It's not even as if there's a keyhole on the inside".
- Language Equals Thought: The D'reg's particular Klatchian dialect. Most informatively, their word for freedom is the same as their word for fighting.
- Leeroy Jenkins: The D'regs. "At dawn we shall charge!"
- Look on My Works Ye Mighty and Despair Vimes expects an equally impressive quote on the ruined statue of General Tacticus. However, see Canis Latinicus above.
- The Magnificent: 71-Hour Ahmed.
- Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Ahmed was educated in Ankh-Morpork - specifically, the Assassin's Guild school. He claims that life among the D'regs is a picnic next to years at a boarding school "patronized by the sons of gentlemen".
- Modern Major-General: Lord Rust, and also Colon's old general when he reminisces on his army days - who actually had the troops form up into big arrow-shaped columns so it would look like all the tactical maps he'd seen.
- Mook Horror Show: Reg Shoe (a zombie), Detritus (a troll) and Angua (a werewolf) vs. some raiders.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: 71-Hour Ahmed again. An explanation of his name: in D'Reg culture, anyone you offer hospitality to is completely safe for three days i.e. 72 hours. Ahmed, a D'Reg, didn't want to wait the extra hour to dispense with a man he arrested for poisoning a well.
- Ahmed was the guest of the poisoner, and the custom also says you shouldn't harm your host. Ahmed, however, saw no reason to not to kill the man once he had confirmed that he really had killed a number of men, women, children, and camels, some of which were quite valuable. The fact he had poisoned the only source of water for 20 miles in a desert country makes it much worse than just killing the people, as he killed the PLACE ITSELF. The place will be uninhabitable until the water clears, if it ever does.
- Nose Tapping
- Not So Different: The Klatchian and Morporkian fathers who lead the groups of settlers on Leshp, and also vividly demonstrate that bigoted, small-minded pillocks come from all nations, races, and creeds.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Detrius does a bit of this in the beginning, almost seeming to play with Vimes for a moment of amusement at one point, though of course his comment about how amazing the weathercocks are could be taken at face-value. The latter part of their conversation did seem to throw Vimes off guard for a second, though.
- One Scene, Two Monologues
- Orgy of Evidence: Deliberately invoked. The killers leave behind 'everything but a camel' to point to the murderer being from Klatch; knowing that Vimes' suspicious mind will cause to look everywhere but Klatch.
- Outscare the Enemy: Vimes does this to a less-than-loyal sailor regarding a dangerous beach.
- Painting the Medium: Carrot speaks some Klatchian—i.e., he can change his font to an italics cursive. There's even a few letters in the normal font, because he's speaking with a slight accent.
- Pocket Protector: Parodied: Colon's ancestor was given a small book of prayers to take into battle, which he carried in his breast pocket. During a battle, an arrow came out of nowhere, hit the book, and stopped at the last page. Unfortunately, it didn't do much to stop the other seventeen arrows. After hearing this, Nobby goes and grabs the biggest religious book on the disc (about five inches thick) and tries strapping it to his chest as armor.
- Positive Discrimination: Vimes struggles with this a bit. He refuses to think that Klatchs can be evil or small minded because everyone else thinks that's all they can be. This story is slightly about him learning that even ethnic minorities can be awful, petty and cruel people.
- Pretend Prejudice: Colon is racist against Klatchians but still friendly towards the Klatchian... Er, probably Genuan owner of a restaurant he likes. Out of a sense of national pride he attempts to use racial reasons to justify Morporkian superiority, but this falls flat when it is pointed out the many people he has no problem with of other nations who are also 'pretty brown', such as Constable Visit. In truth Colon is just naturally amiably disposed to most people.
- Not to mention realising that Nobby probably has every colour in the world on him somewhere.
- Pretext for War: Leshp, one in Ankh-Morpork and Klatch's long history.
- Red Herring: Early in the text it's revealed that Leonard has discovered how to produce nuclear weapons. So when Vetinari takes a submarine to Klatch, carrying an important package that will end the war quickly, in a sealed tube... it turns out to be Ankh-Morpork's document of surrender.
- More probably it was just intended to evoke the bazooka-like tube-shaped rocket weapon Leonard threatened Colon and Nobby with earlier on; the nuclear weapons reference was more of a throwaway gag.
- Retcon: The second edition fixed a continuity error by changing 'Snowy can't read and write' to 'Snowy can barely read and write' - in the original, immediately after this is said they discover that Snowy Slopes wrote out a confession.
- Revealing Coverup: See False-Flag Operation
- Sacred Hospitality: Not only the D'reg's 72-hour rule, but they are duty bound to save anyone lost in the desert. Even if those people choose, like Vimes, to attack them.
- Sanity Slippage: The Dis-organiser when it begins reciting its final messages from the Alternate Universe where Vimes stayed in Ankh-Morpork, mainly manifested through repeating itself:
Things to do today today today...Die...
- Sergeant Rock: Vimes' butler Willikins, with a few Drill Sergeant Nasty tendencies.
- Shout-Out: Extensive ones to Lawrence of Arabia—Carrot and Vimes split the role of Lawrence between them, and Vimes plays out the "the trick is not minding that it hurts" scene with Rust. Of course, this is Terry Pratchett, so there's a Shout-Out and/or Lampshade Hanging on pretty much every page.
- A shout out to Sweeney Todd also occurs. "That business with the barber on Gleam Street--Sweeney Jones, his name was? Of course, he was killing people, but he hadn't meant to. He was just a very bad barber."
- There are quite a lot of squid pictures in the sunken city of Leshp...
- A parody of the song that brought us the modern meaning of Jingoism. "We have no ships. We have no men. We have no money, too."
- And the whole assasination(-attempt, in this case) that's part of a huge conspiracy, with the apparent shooter being dead before being interrogated, and the conclusion of several people that there must have been 'a second bowman' also sounds familiar.
- Shout-Out to Doctor Strangelove: "Let's have no fighting, please. This is, after all, a council of war." (You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!)
- Shout-Out to Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy: the world's major powers are poised on the brink of war over ownership of a small, hitherto unregarded, island. Of course the intrepid crew of a submarine commanded by a devious manipulator (advised by a technological genius) are the right people to defuse the situation and avert war...
- Carrot's use of football to disarm two opposing armies is more than reminiscent of the Christmas Truce of World War I.
- Indeed, the Klatchian leader dismisses the opposition as "a contemptible little army", echoing Kaiser Wilhelm's dismissal of the tiny British army that stopped the massive German advance dead in autumn 1914. An even tinier and previously more contemptible "army" - the City Watch - succeeds in stopping the entire war...
- The statue of Tacticus with only its feet remaining is a reference to Shelley's poem "Ozymandias" (see Look on My Works Ye Mighty and Despair).
- Stealth Pun : Carrot gets important information about the assassination attempt from a lowly garbage collector who happens to be a kind of troll called a gnoll, who are more earth-like than stone-like and have plants growing all over them. He is a "grassy knoll"...
- More subtly, the actual Second Bowman is named Snowy Slopes. Not "grassy knoll", but then Ankh-Morpork is in a somewhat cooler climate than Dallas...
- Talk Like a Pirate: Subverted. Vimes tries to use sea-talk but Captain Jenkins tells him off. "All that yo-ho-ho stuff's for landlubbers, or it would be if we actually used words like landlubber. We don't say 'port' and 'starboard.' I've never even drunk starboard!"
- Ted Baxter: Lord Rust as a military commander.
- Title Drop: Doubling as a parody of the 19th-century song that led to the term "Jingoism". "We have no ships. We have no men. We have no money, too."
- Throw the Dog a Bone: After being repeatedly abused and ending up organizing a different universe than the one he was in, the Disorganizer was able to get a nice, easy job scheduling the life of a shark.
- Truth in Television: The main driver of the plot, an island rising from the bottom of the sea and being the source of diplomatic disputes? Really happened. Ferdinandea, or Graham Island, was a volcanic island that rose from the ocean and was the cause of a four-way dispute regarding it's sovereignty, between England, France, Spain, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. And yes, it did sink before the diplomatic issues could be resolved.
- And it's not the only time such a commotion developed around an island that likes to disappear.
- Turn in Your Badge: Lord Rust has Vimes hand his in, at which point the other present watchmen proceed to turn in theirs out of loyalty to Vimes. Except Detritus, whose badge is carved into his skin.
- This scene plays differently if you've read Men At Arms. After how pathologically reluctant to part with it he was there, handing it in quickly as a protest of what he's been asked to do speaks volumes.
- It also didn't make a speck of difference. Vimes still went back to the Watch House, everyone still obeyed him and he still saw himself as Commander of the Watch. He didn't even hesitate a moment in continuing his duties.
- This scene plays differently if you've read Men At Arms. After how pathologically reluctant to part with it he was there, handing it in quickly as a protest of what he's been asked to do speaks volumes.
- Unwitting Pawn: Vimes, despite his suspicions he's being set up and his Genre Savvy efforts to avoid it.
"That business with the Klatchian money and the sand on the floor, I saw through that right away-"
"Yes. You did."
- Upper Class Twit: The Ankh-Morpork nobles, who think that it will be easy to defeat Klatch, despite the facts that the Klatchian army outnumbers them by a wide margin and that the Morporkian army has no experience or training.
- Or, indeed, before the events in the book, no soldiers.
- Leonard sucks at naming things.
- Although with a burning coal rather than a match. It's a lot easier with a match...