In our first (more than) full-length episode, Elizabeth and Ben are joined by comedian Cal Wilson to discuss the winner of our poll – Men at Arms (1993)! The fifteenth Discworld novel, Men at Arms is the second to focus on the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, following Guards! Guards! (1989).
Captain of the Night Watch Samuel Vimes is only a week away from retirement – so of course “ethnic tensions” between dwarves and trolls are at boiling point, something explodes in the Assassin’s Guild, and there’s a murderer on the loose. Luckily the Watch has expanded, with three unorthodox new recruits…
It’s a real smorgasbord of Discworld stuff and a great introduction to the world, especially the quintessential Discworld city of Ankh-Morpork.
Show Notes and Errata:
- You can follow Cal on Twitter at @calbo, and we promise to let you know the title of her book when she knows what it is! (Watch out for it in July.)
- Clowns in our world can and do copyright their face makeup, and the egg gallery is based on the “Clown and Character Registry”, where many clowns actually did register to have their makeup painted on a goose egg and displayed, though we were unable to discover whether the UK or US registries still exist. We’re sorry again, clowns. (Ben uses commedia dell’arte more-or-less correctly.)
- 99% Invisible is a podcast all about design, hosted by Roman Mars. The episode Ben mentions while discussing the Alchemist’s Guild is The Post-Billiards Age from May 2015.
- There are indeed ghosts on the Discworld, appearing in several of the novels. We’ll be meeting some of them fairly soon…
- The final Discworld book is actually The Shepherd’s Crown; I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth-last, and the second-last to feature young witch Tiffany Aching. (We’ll keep our spreadsheet handy for future episodes.)
- “Shoot” is used for arrows, as the term predates guns by many centuries.
- CMOT Dibbler is pervasive once he arrives, but is not in The Colour of Magic. In fact he first shows up when the Watch does, in Guards! Guards!
- Not only are Lord Vetinari’s plans for the future unknown, but it has also never been revealed how he ascended to the position of Patrician in the first place.
- We are aware that despite being asked “which Guild would you join”, we decided we would be wizards, witches or members of the Watch, none of which have an official guild (at least at the time of Men at Arms).