Discworld/The Colour of Magic/WMG
WMG for The Colour of Magic. Spoilers may be unmarked.
Word of God says it is the case but many refuse to believe it. They cite the unnamed Patrician's weight (it is said he has "chins") and the offering of candied sea urchins as proof that he isn't Vetinari. I disagree. I see this as part of how he got to be Patrician. No one in their right mind would back a man like Havelock Vetinari for Partician. He has all the qualities that would make a competent and efficient ruler, and who wants that? What you want is a vaguely intelligent ruler you can control. And he would have needed a certain level of support to get the job. So he needed to damage his reputation and simulate a vice or two. The two best vices to simulate are Gluttony, a vice that is easy to use on a person and is socially acceptable, and Lust, which is commonly expected. This is what happened.
- Vetinari goes off on the Grand Sneer. This is expected of him.
- Whenever he arrives in a location that is likely to eventually trickle back news to The Big City he acts like the standard Young City Toff, drinking and partying.
- Whilst away he ensures he overeats to gain weight. Or wears a fatsuit. He also adopts a few affectations like the black glove that make him look like a Fop.
- When he gets back to the city he holds several parties, in which the vain and selfish of The City see one of their own and the politicly savvy see a candidate for Snapcase's replacement.
- He also "has his trousers mended" a lot in order to establish good relations with The Seamstresses and quite possibly The Beggars and The Thieves too.
- Once he gets the job he keeps up the act whilst he gets his position stable. The offering of strange foods and the doing of odd things are a carefully weighted tests of character. If an absolute ruler in a job with a history of violence offers you something that you are certain you are going to hate, what would you do?
- Once he no longer needs it, he ditches it. By then they could not get rid of him if they tried.
Alternately, he'd picked up a taste for candied marine life while passing through Krull on his Grand Sneer, putting on weight solely because of this craving. Later, after getting turned into a bug-eating newt (he got better) in Sourcery, he was so repelled by the thought of consuming still more invertebrates that he broke the habit, and rapidly lost the flab.
Death, humanized beginning in Color of Magic due to Rincewind's escapes, is and isn't bound by time. The initial time and place of death was right in an Arthur Dent sort of way. Only because he lives past, before and sideways to said event simultaneously due to his strange travels the timer began filling up again implying a false positive. Rincewind will be sent back in time to that spot to die. Eventually.
And probably in some sort of Alternate Universe. In the book Rincewind's age is not actually stated, but he's implied to be in his thirties (like his Roundworld counterpart). The Patrician in the book is described as a fat guy who behaves quite differently from Vetinari. But in the movie the Patrician is easily recognizable as Vetinari and Rincewind appears to be an old man. (I'm not sure why Twoflower doesn't look any older. I blame the History Monks.)
The Krullians were wasting their time: Great A'Tuin's gender poses no danger to the Disc.[edit | hide]
As revealed at the end of The Light Fantastic, A'Tuin has already successfully reproduced, yet the Disc is still intact. But even before the Coming of the Red Star, a little simple logic could lead one to the same conclusion: ordinary sea turtles only mate male-on-top because if they did so belly to belly, one of the mates would be held underwater and drown. But members of A'Tuin's species, Chelys galactica, can survive in the airless depths of space, meaning that they can safely copulate with their ventral surfaces in contact, endangering neither participant's discworld. Well, no danger except embarassment, at least.
We know that Death's personality is susceptible to adopting the behaviors and attitudes of others, especially when he's sharing roles with someone else (Mort, Bill Door, the Hogfather). We also know that Ysabell was already living with him when The Colour Of Magic took place, and may have been developing psychological problems from her prolonged isolation. Furthermore, we know that Death passed on the task of collecting Rincewind to the petty Anthropomorphic Personification of Scrofula, with the excuse that he'd be otherwise occupied in a plague-ravaged city ... an excuse which, in retrospect, we know is ridiculous, as Death can be everywhere at once, and usually is.
But what if Death arranged for Scrofula to perform his work as an experiment, to test out whether he could entrust the Duty to someone else, on a temporary basis? He must've hit upon the idea of recruiting an apprentice (and potential boyfriend for Ysabell) at some point before Mort. Having never tried anything of the sort before, Death must've realized there could be complications to sharing his power with a mortal, so he first tested the procedure by delegating some work to Scrofula: a petty underling who's not much more powerful than a human, but is already familiar with the responsibilities of anthropomorphic personifications. As it happens, Scrofula blew it when Rincewind escaped him, meaning Death had to go back and review his method for transferring the Duty to someone else. Hence, Mort doesn't start until some time after Rincewind fell off the Edge. Best if Death gets all the bugs worked out before he risked sharing power with a mere human, right?
Except he didn't get all the bugs out. Because, in sharing his power with Scrofula, Death also took on some of the personality-traits of Scrofula ... who's a far more small-minded, vindictive, envious little creep than his boss. Death's out-of-character behavior in the early part of The Colour Of Magic wasn't the behavior of the Grim Reaper, but that of a petty, cruel disease-bringer acting out of spite. Later, when he spoke to Fate, he'd managed to get a grip on his mental state, regaining his proper attitude of dignified, businesslike dispassion. It was just Rincewind's typical bad luck to have run into Death when he was still swept up in Scrofula's nasty streak.
This, incidentally, explains why Death got so uncharacteristically angry when Mort spared Princess Keli, and why he'd said he might've fired the boy if Mort had shown pleasure in the Duty. Why? Because Scrofula hadn't just messed up by failing to collect Rincewind: he'd temporarily infected Death himself with his cruel streak, causing his boss to behave shamefully, and even to take lives slightly sooner than was destined (the flies), for his own vindictive satisfaction. Death had already seen the Duty sullied by one incompetent assistant, and now the lad he'd hoped would do things right had disgraced the office even further.
General Rincewind guess, not just CoM, but here's the evidence and explanations:
- He seems to keep not dying the the most ridiculously lethal circumstances. Really, he just regenerates into an identical body.
- He runs a lot. A lot a lot.
- He speaks many languages, mainly to plead for mercy. He did not learn them, he has a TARDIS somewhere translating.
- You mean, somewhere near Rincewind there's likely to be a mysterious, innocuous-looking box that's bigger on the inside than the outside?
His name? The Wizzard, of course!
He never explicitly stated what would happen if you moved mountains of gold from the Counterweight Continent. Given that it's so named because, thanks to all the gold, it balances the Disc against the combined weight of the other three continents, the biggest problem wouldn't so much be economic destabilization as the more physical kind.
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