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Thought on what the Two Meanings of Snuff the title refers to

Well, first, obviously, it refers to snuffing out life. It's a watch book for Brutha's sake. Secondly, it refers to snuff as in snuff cocaine. It's a book about drug wars mayhaps?

  • Or perhaps it's about Vimes' aging... not longer feeling "up to snuff" as it were. Or perhaps it refers to Angua's method of snuffing out clues. Or Snuffing out a candle.
    • I suspect that one of the meanings involves Angua, given that, in a recent interview, Pratchett declared (to much audience cheering) that it is high time for Carrot and Angua to finally marry.
  • It could also refer to Snuff tobacco. Possibly Vimes switches to it from cigars. Maybe Sybil won't let him smoke in the house because of their son?
  • Or maybe Pterry released a fake title as a prank, because nobody believed him when he revealed the last Watch novel was going to be called "Thud!". ;-)
  • Snuff Films? The Moving Picture business is going to return with a vengeance after secretly turning evil?
    • Uh, "secretly"? "turning"?!
    • I had a talk with my librarian. Apparently, old murder movies were slang-titled 'Snuff'. Coincidence? Pterry's too bright for that.
  • Pterry knows he doesn't have all that much time left as a writer. Perhaps this is going to be Vimes's swansong, designed to wrap up the subseries for good.
  • "Snuff", being a monosyllabic word beginning with S, sounds a bit like a troll drug.
  • Anyone read I Shall Wear Midnight? Mrs. Proust uses snuff,copiously. And she's an Ankh-Morporkian witch who is fairly familiar with the Watch - particularly Angua (could tie in with above **)
  • Perhaps this book will follow up on the "extreme sneezing" Vetinari mentioned in Making Money?
  • The cover shows Vimes on a boat, with a small hourglass next to him (Also, some chickens). So lets hope that the "snuffing out life" part wont be true.
  • Pratchett has said the word has two meanings in regard to the book. Having now read it, I think the meanings are (1) to the tobacco/snuff smuggling trade that Vetinari sent Vimes on his "vacation" to investigate, and (2) the casual snuffing of goblins that attended said snuff smuggling.

Methodia Rascal's chicken will return.

Chickens on a boat. That is all.

  • I'd leave it up to Pratchett to make it into a philosphical question. Like "Why did the Chicken cross the road?", complete with bafflement and misunderstandings by the cast. And then have it be sybolic of the plot somhow, because as we all know, the Chicken crossed the road to see what was on The Other Side.

The whole thing was a Secret Test of Character...

...and Vimes failed.

Spoilers ahoy.

It's seemed for a while that Vetinari is grooming a successor. Or rather, a group of potential successors. People like Vimes and Moist are therefore put in positions where they have to deal with the sort of complicated conditions a Patrician deals with daily, to see how they react. Here, Vimes had to deal with a crime that was not a crime. A clearly unjust situation where no actual crime has been committed. Vimes performed admirably to a point, even getting it declared a crime...but could not accept that within the confines of the law, Gravid Rust had not actually done anything wrong at the time. He wanted Vimes to go that extra mile and punish the wicked who were outside the bounds of the law, while still punishing those who were well within it in the legal manner.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) Vimes was unable to accept this, and thus Gravid Rust got off with a mere exile and a fine. Vetinari tied up that loose end his own way, the way he hoped Vimes would have originally, and he mentally checked Vimes off the list of potential successors.

  • This has one major flaw: Vetinari and Vimes are the same age, to within a year or two. He also needs Vimes in charge of the Watch so that Carrot isn't the senior officer.
  • Another major flaw: While the Dark Clerks don't exist, they do exist. And so Gravid Rust gets off with a mere exile, a rather severe fine, and an unfortunate chance encounter with one of the many highly venomous spiders native to Fourecks. Sometimes, not all sins are forgiven.
  • And another: purposely killing a criminal in anything other than self defense, no matter what they've done, would be completely out of character for Vimes. Vetinari knows him better than that.
  • My own impression is that Vimes did exactly what Vetinari wanted him to do: put an end to smuggling by a bunch of aristocrats, thereby bringing aristocrats more under rule of law (a long-term problem in Ankh-Morpork), and liberating the goblins. The fact that Vetinari dressed Vimes down for doing this is irrelevant. Or rather it is: Vetinari can't let Vimes know that he sent him to act on the windy edges of the law, even if it was to extend those edges.

The next Watch book will feature Harry Dread

Pratchett mentioned in the interview with Gaiman, that he has some ideas for a book about Harry Dread, the Evil Overlord that appears in The Last Hero. Well, now we have Vimes with his Summoning Dark "symbiote", and we have Vimes with his Beast, the part of him that sometimes just wants to beat the bad guys to death, but that he always manages to keep at bay. At some point, Harry Dread is going to notice this lethal combination, perhaps he will be looking for the Summoning Dark in an attempt to improve his evil lord status, or to restore The Code which he will perceive as having disappeared from the world, and will discover where the Summoning Dark is. Then he will realize that what he actually has to do is free Vimes from the Summoning Dark, or perhaps the Summoning Dark from Vimes, because in the current state the combination is a ticking time bomb that would create a villain who exists in complete opposite of The Code. -Just imagine what kind of villain Vimes would make, and shiver- At the end, Harry Dread will end up saving Vimes, and in the process will realize that The Code remains, only in a more complex nuanced way.

Goblins are short lived creatures

Basically the only person who would employ Goblins before the events of Snuff was Harry King, who is not horribly old. A Goblin great grandmother has spent her life here. On the same note, a major plot point is the fact that they had a high attrition rate, which considering the fact that they survived as long as they did suggests that they have a replacement rate to match. Sam Vime's speculation of age was simply a guess from someone who frankly did not know much about Goblins. Even under optimum conditions, Goblins are lucky if they live to see multiple decades.

Nobby Nobbs has a goblin somewhere in his family tree.

In terms of physical description there's quite a bit in common with him and the goblins, and his attitude could often be considered that of an unhygienic, crude scavenger with surprising Hidden Depths, as well.

Stinky is a bogeyman.

He's an Anthropomorphic Personification of humans' childhood goblin-fears, which is why he made reference to young Vimes' having looked at his picture in a book. Like the original bogeyman from Hogfather, he eventually got interested in mortals, but in his case it's the mortal goblins he resembles, not the mortal children whose belief called him into being, whom he finds intriguing and wants to protect.

Stratford is Carcer's son.

While he's not the only Complete Monster villain to bear a strong resemblance to Carcer, he's probably the most similar, in actions and in other characters' descriptions—arguably to the point of being a full Expy. Maybe that's just random coincidence, or maybe it's the Theory of Narrative Causality...or maybe it's just In the Blood. Stratford isn't from Ankh-Morpork, but that doesn't really refute anything: he could've been born there and left sometime before Snuff happened, or Carcer could've grown up in the country and only come to A-M shortly before Night Watch, or possibly the Missing Mom left A-M to keep up a Stigmatic Pregnancy Euphemism. And since we don't know how old Carcer was in Night Watchand six years later Stratford is only in his early twenties, it's absolutely mathematically plausible.

Wilikins is an Assassin.

One of the rare smart ones who doesn't draw attention to himself.

  • He claims at one point that he considered it, but they have too many rules.