The Watch: The What?   Books Included 
January 12, 2021 6:32 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

The Watch goes undercover in order to infiltrate The Assassins Guild.

Carcer uses magic to spy on Vimes while the Watch pretends to be a band in order to sneak into the Assassins Guild to obtain an artifact that the control the dragon. Lady Sybil confronts the man who killed her parents.
posted by miss-lapin (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This was the first episode that I liked for itself, rather than being an obviously poor copy of a Discworld story. Since it's been so long since I read the books (if it was even in them), I wasn't at all prepared for the Music Guild scenes and quite enjoyed them.

Punk Vimes ftw \m/
posted by Marticus at 2:03 PM on January 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

Only just now noticed that they open the show with "Somewhere in a distant secondhand dimension" so the showrunners have some inkling of what they're messing with. But the impression I'm getting is that they have no idea how much fans love the source material.

Appreciate the callbacks; music with rocks in it is the theme in 'Soul Music' (#16, 1994) (does not involve The Watch) and the reference to the Dwarven songs where the lyrics is just "gold" was cute.

The song 'Rise Up' is a direct reference to 'Night Watch' (2002), part of a really poignant denouement. It is something that even this version of Vimes might actually sing in his sleep, especially if drunk.

The assassins wearing unique masks is reminiscent of how clowns' unique makeup is archived at the Fool's Guild Hall of Faces so no one could accidentally reuse someone else's.

I am really digging the aesthetics throughout, though. And the diversity. Sybil's weapons closet features arms from a number of different civilizations, and the kid assassin is wielding karambits.

Based on the fresh inhumation plaque, the show is set in a year numbering 1985.
posted by porpoise at 5:10 PM on January 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

So sort of the very end there - wasn't the watch always its own guild, or was it separate from the guild system? It's been so fricking long since I read the books. And I can't remember that that was any sort of useful get-out-of-jail-free card, either. Honestly, to be, that feels like the least pratchettian part of the world. (Which of course probably means it's word for word out of a book, I know, I know. Like I said, it's been a while, right?)

Everything else I can kinda roll with.
posted by Kyol at 12:58 PM on January 14, 2021

No, I don't believe the Watch is actually a guild.


It's also a little complicated, depending on where one is looking at the timeline. Caveat emptor, I might have some details wrong.

In 'Guards! Guards!,' there were the Patrician's Guards (bit of a non-issue), the Ward/ Day Watch, and the Night Watch. The Night Watch is totally dysfunctional and was... just Vimes, Colon, and Nobby until Carrot joins up.

At the conclusion of 'Guards! Guards!' the Night Watch gets a little more respect, and Sybil Ramkin basically sponsors them (gifting them Psuedopolis Yard) and Vimes starts creating a modern policing force.

In 'Night Watch,' we're taken back in time when Vimes was a raw recruit in the Night Watch and Sergent (at Arms) "Keel' (time traveling Vimes, replacing the original Keel whom time-traveling Carcer murders) wages war with the Cable Street Particulars (bastards, secret police, with whom time-traveling Carcer joins up) leading to the Glorious Revolution of the Twenty-Fifth of May (after which Vetinari becomes Tyrant of Ankh-Morpok). 'Keel' and Carcer "die" at the conclusion.

The Day Watch becomes just another gang (not a true guild) and the Night Watch is reduced to just Vimes, Colon, and Nobby - and young Vimes develops his drinking problem.

The confusion here is that the show story is mainly set in 'Guards! Guards!' but the composition of the Night Watch is a mix of the next (few) The Watch novel(s) but nowhere near as developed as 'Night Watch' when Carcer becomes a thing.

So the show is set in 'Guards! Guards!' with the summoning of dragons. Anchoring it to that timepoint, Carcer is from the far future and should have been interacting with fresh recruit Vimes and time-travel older sober Vimes in the show's past. Current Vimes should be young recruit Vimes grown up to be a drunk.

As for guilds, I think that came after Vetinari took over and legalized theft, murder, clowning, prostitution, etc. I can't remember the details, but guilds generally left one another alone to avoid getting into a hot war (and were regulated by Vetinari, so just guilding is more profitable than getting into guild wars). The Night Watch - being only 3 people (plus new recruit Carrot) - even if they were a guild, wouldn't have much protection/ clout against a real guild. At this point in A-M history, the Night Watch is an utter joke.

Further evidence that the guild thing doesn't apply to the Watch is that later, there is a standing contract on Vimes and assassins keep going after him without repercussions (to the guild itself, at least; individual assassins were not so lucky).

BUT, in 'Guards! Guards!' the Assassins had nothing to do with the dragon. It was a random bumbling cult who wanted to depose Vetinari and install a puppet "lost King of A-M" who can save A-M from the (summoned) dragon (by the cult unsummoning it).

Incidentally, Carrot is actually the legitimate "lost King of A-M" (but the cultists don't know that; they had a different candidate in mind - but Vetinari is fully cognizant) but wants nothing to do with being king.
posted by porpoise at 1:59 PM on January 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

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