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Lord Havelock Vetinari - The Patrician

This Who's Who was originally featured in Issue 5 - September 1997


The Patrician is the role of leader of the largest city on the Discworld, Ankh Morpork, and Lord Havelock Vetinari is the Patrician. In a democratic society of one man, one vote, he is that man and he has the vote.

He never tried to fix things that worked. Things that didn't work, however, got broken.

The Patrician looks after the city, making sure all the wheels run smoothly and applying whatever pressure is necessary. He is credited with introducing the Guilds into the city and these are probably the best example of the Patrician's approach to government. By legalising things such as assassination and theft, there is now a legal limit on the number of times a person can be robbed. The Thieves' Guild surely began as a direct parody of the classic Thieves' Guilds of RPG's and modern fantasy novels. It becomes symbolic of the whole Ankh-Morpork mindset: stoic, pragmatism in the face of the utterly ludicrous, if you like. Thieves even have to give a written receipt. Some of the more wealthy families in Ankh Morpork arrange to get mugged near the start of the year so they are then free to go about their business for the rest of it. The Guilds are self regulating and take a dim view of freelancers, who are often found floating (rather slowly) along the river.

Vetinari is a musical fanatic; he loves music in its purest form, written on the staves. He feels that trying to make sounds with instruments made from bits of dead cats spoils the music.

His pet hate, on the other hand, is mime artists. Anyone suspected of miming is hung upside down in the scorpion pit looking at a sign that says "Learn the words".

William - My top quote is: "I shall deal with the matter momentarily," the Patrician said. It was a good word. It always made people hesitate. They were never quite sure whether he meant he'd deal with it now, or just deal with it briefly.

Jason - I like this line from Soul Music: The Patrician was a pragmatist. He never tried to fix things that worked. Things that didn't work, however, got broken.

Richard - I don't really like the Patrician that much.