Throughout the book, (and in Men at Arms too) Vimes struggles with despair, with trying to fight evil in a world so full of it that will always be full of evil no matter what you do. (And now I understand why the Last Judgement is sooo important. To keep going, to fight for justice and truth now. The commees are wrong. To believe in heaven, in a final reckoning and righting of the world, is the only way to cope and keep fighting for justice and truth and mercy in this one). SO. So, I really liked Night Watch, even though it left me grieving, there was a sky in it. It ended with a baby, with the washed out doctor who had to help prostitutes with birth control, getting to deliver a child at the end. And the grief part, with Vimes grieving over Keel, because he is the only one who remembers him now. He grieves over the lost father, and that he had to be his own father instead, because his father was killed? I havent untangled it yet.
Then I read an excerpt from 'The Last Hero' in which Captain Carrot is AWESOME, but...better then his gods. By a really, really, really, really long shot. So I read MEn at Arms, and I love love loved Carrot. He was a different kind of hero than Vimes, in that he is young, and innocent, and 'naive' (vs cynical) but in Pratchett's desparate human attempts to explain Faith (vs. Vimes despair and coping with a messed up world). Carrot is all justice ('simpleness'), truth (never lies), kindness and valuing each individual human being for their own sake, humility (like Captain America, real humility), 'earnest innocence' (=purity. He drinks milk when they go to bars, and he doesn't even 'get' dirty jokes when people tell them.) and he really loves the law (he memorizes the dictionary like 'Laws and Ordinances of Ankh-Morphork). And innocent, idealistic, law-memorizing Carrot collides with a city like Ankh Morpork, with legalized prostitution and legalized assassination, full of corruption and rank human nature to its core. As Josh said, he would either
- A. crumble and become like everyone else, or
- B. commit suicide. (Vimes is teetering on the B option with his despair. Copes by living like a monk and giving his pay to widows and orphans.) or
- C. (the option Pratchett doesn't give him) Transcendence. A god that is higher than this mess, a god that stands above the human squalor and says wrong is still wrong (even if its legal).