Posts tagged discworld.
He said to people: you’re free. And they said hooray, and then he showed them what freedom costs and they called him a tyrant and, as soon as he’d been betrayed, they milled around a bit like barn-bred chickens who’ve seen the big world outside for the first time, and then they went back into the warm and shut the door.
He could lead armies, Angua thought. He really could. Some people have inspired whole countries to great deeds because of the power of their vision. And so could he. Not because he dreams about marching hordes, or world domination, or an empire of a thousand years. Just because he thinks that everyone’s really decent underneath and would get along just fine if only they made the effort, and he believes that so strongly it burns like a flame which is bigger than he is. He’s got a dream and we’re all part of it, so that it shapes the world around him. And the weird thing is that no-one wants to disappoint him. It’d be like kicking the biggest puppy in the universe. It’s a kind of magic.
You’re not me, he thought. I don’t think I was ever as young as you. If you’re going to be me, it’s going to take a lot of work. Thirty damn years of being hammered on the anvil of life, you poor bastard. You’ve got it all to come.
And then it arose and struck Vimes that, in her own special category, she was quite beautiful; this was the category of all the women, in his entire life, who had thought he was worth smiling at. She couldn’t do worse, but then, he couldn’t do better. So maybe it balanced out. She wasn’t getting any younger but then, who was? And she had style and money and common-sense and self-assurance and all the things that he didn’t, and she had opened her heart, and if you let her she could engulf you; the woman was a city. And eventually, under siege, you did what Ankh-Morpork had always done - unbar the gates, let the conquerors in, and make them your own.
I don’t myself own a copy of Night Watch so I can’t quote chapter and verse on this for you, but at one point Vimes-as-Keel stops an angry mob by taking off his weapons, sitting on the stoop of the guard house, and drinking a mug of cocoa. That’s one of those images that sticks in my head, the simple setup of Vimes and mug and steps and blue station lamp.