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#GNU Terry Pratchett

The Watch

Editors Note: We originally created this article for the 1998 Discworld Convention magazine the Discworld Chronicle - Issue 4 - September 1998. This who's who never appeared in any issue of Discworld Monthly.

It wasn't until Guards! Guards! that we were introduced to the remains of the old City Night Watch in the form of Captain Sam Vimes, Sergeant Fred Colon, Corporal Nobby Nobbs and new recruit, a dwarf by adoption, called Carrot Ironfoundersson.

Carrot's influence is also fundamental in changing the Watch for the better.

Before Carrot's arrival, the Watch were in a bad way. Their role as a police force had been undermined, largely by the Patrician. With the Guilds running the city, a police force was no more than an inconvenience, especially since the Guilds were self-policing.

Nobby is particularly adept at checking doors on a dark street to make sure they are locked. If they are, all's well; if they aren't, some lowlife might take advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, that lowlife is often Nobby himself.

Sergeant Colon is "one of nature's sergeants". He's hampered by being profoundly unsuitable for decision-making, taking responsibility and any activities requiring bravery or courage (apologies to any sergeants reading this).

Captain Vimes, however, always seemed to have something more about him. A strong smell of whisky, primarily, but beyond the alcoholic haze there glimmered the light of intelligence, determination, and a bloody-minded commitment to principle. A possible reason for his dependency on the whisky is his theory that he has less natural alcohol in his bloodstream than most people, so he drinks to make up for it. Only sometimes he overestimates the dose. At any rate, in attempting to resolve the catastrophe at the centre of Guards! Guards!, Vimes regains his pride, self esteem, and some semblance of sobriety.

Carrot's influence is also fundamental in changing the Watch for the better. On his arrival he brings with him a copy of The Laws and Ordinances of the Twin Cities of Ankh and Morporke, a mighty sword and a birthmark shaped almost exactly like a crown. Providentially his arrival in the city coincides with its hour of direst need when, according to legend, an heir to the throne will return and save the populace. Carrot doesn't seem to attach any special importance to this fact.

As the series progressed Vimes has expelled his personal demons - with the possible exception of Corporal Nobbs. The Watch has gained respect and recruits and has developed from an undisciplined rabble to a group of crime busting heroes.