- Ankh-Morpork City Watch
The Ankh-Morpork City Watch is a fictional police force within the Discworld series of books by Terry Pratchett. It is based in the city-state of Ankh-Morpork on the Discworld. The Watch was originally two units, the Day Watch and the Night Watch which were combined after the events of Men at Arms. While Pratchett initially intended only to give the Watch a minor role in the Discworld novels, it has since made frequent appearances, and several books feature the Watchmen prominently. As Pratchett himself has stated,"I wanted to give them a spot to shine in the sun, but it turned out to be a full blown tropical vacation."
Starting with Guards! Guards! in 1989, the major novels featuring the City Watch are:
- Guards! Guards! 1989
- Men at Arms 1993
- Feet of Clay 1996
- Jingo 1997
- The Fifth Elephant 1999
- Night Watch 2002
- Thud! 2005
- Snuff 2011
Note: Some of the information repeated below was taken from The Discworld Companion and the 1999 Discworld Diary, which had a City Watch theme, and has not been confirmed in any of the Discworld novels.
The Ankh-Morpork Watch & Ward was founded in AM 1561 by King Veltrick I. They had full copper armour and a copper shield inscribed "Fabricati Diem, Pvncti Agvnt Celeriter" ("Make the Day, the Moments Pass Quickly", Veltrick's motto). Four days later Veltrick's son assassinated him, and became Veltrick II. Since he had little interest in maintaining a police force, the smart armour and equipment of the Watch quickly deteriorated.
At this time there were four separate forces: The Palace Guard, who guarded the palace; the Cable Street Particulars,(The name 'Cable Street Particulars' seems to have been inspired by the Baker Street Irregulars from the stories of Sherlock Holmes, and perhaps by the Battle of Cable Street, a riot started between Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists and anti-fascist protesters in 1936. They are also known as The Unmentionables (a colloquial British term for underwear), possibly a parody of The Invincibles, an Irish extremist nationalist group, or of The Untouchables, a prohibition-era law-enforcement group.) who served as government intelligence; the Ward, who acted as gate-guards, thief-takers etc. during the day; and the Watch, who served the same purpose in the hours of darkness. The force comprised one commander, five captains, ten sergeants, forty corporals, lance-corporals, constables and lance-constables, and, in times of emergency, a "citizens militia" of varied size.
Public opinion of the Watches (the Ward became known as the Day Watch) was never high, and reached an all time low when a Commander, who had told the public not to take the law into their own hands, was thrown onto the Ankh with a cry of "If it's not in our hands, whose hands is it in?" The Guilds were policing themselves by this point, so the Watch was becoming increasingly irrelevant.
The Watch had a brief respite in AM 1688, following the Ankh-Morpork Civil War, when Commander Suffer-Not-Injustice Vimes and his Ironheads became the city's rulers. However, after he was deposed in favour of the Patricianship, the Watch sank even further into obscurity; he was (until recently) the last Watch Commander. Under the rule of the Patricians, not only did Guild Law apply in the Guilds, but the only laws that applied anywhere else were the whims of the man in charge.
By the time of Homicidal Lord Winder's rule as Patrician, there were only a handful of Watch Houses remaining. The Cable Street Particulars were thriving, however, having changed from intelligence agency into a secret police force, employing torture with gusto. During the Glorious Revolution of the Twenty-Fifth of May, their building was burnt down by members of the Night Watch from Treacle Mine Road. The change in Patricians did not lead to an improvement in perceptions of the Watch, and when Lord Vetinari replaced Mad Lord Snapcase, and even theft was legalised, there seemed to be no point to them at all.
The Night Watch now comprised three men, based in the old Treacle Mine Road Watch House, and all there because they couldn't do anything else. While the Day Watch had become another of the city's gangs, the Night Watch couldn't even manage that. As they saw it, their purpose was to walk down the street chanting "Two o'clock and all's well", and if all wasn't well, they found another street.
This changed when Constable Carrot joined, and the Watch saved the city from a dragon. Following the destruction of their Watch House, they moved to larger premises in Pseudopolis Yard (a name remniscent of Scotland Yard) and started recruiting more members, especially from ethnic minorities such as dwarfs, trolls and the undead. The Watch has even admitted a vampire (under duress, of course; Vimes detests vampires for that same reason he does kings and assassins — in his mind, they prey on people). When they saved the Patrician's life Vetinari agreed to increase the force's stature, with new Section Houses being built around the city. The remains of the Day Watch were incorporated into a new City Watch, commanded by Samuel Vimes.
Since then, the Watch has become a proper police force, dealing in crime prevention and investigation, rather than simple thief-chasing. They now have a forensics section, a Traffic Division and the thankfully long-gone Cable Street Particulars have been replaced by a plain-clothes division, on irregular cases because although Vimes and Carrot believe watchmen should wear a uniform, Vimes also thinks that sometimes one has to have secret policemen because sometimes there are secret crimes, . A Watch Academy has been set up, although watchmen trained there often get "poached" by other Sto Plains city-states who have seen the advantages such a force has. Vimes tolerates this, because it is useful that coppers all over the plains have been trained to obey him.
A Guild of Watchmen was set up by Corporal Nobbs during a series of interesting events in The Fifth Elephant, but lasted only as long as it took Samuel Vimes to find out about it.
Another recent addition are "the Specials", based on the Watch's ancient right to establish a Citizen's Militia as needed. Known members include the Librarian (who was actually made a Special Constable long before the Militia was set up); Mr Boggis of the Thieves' Guild; Sam Vimes' butler Willikins; and a clacks operative named Andy "Two Swords" Hancock who carries a disturbing amount of weaponry.
The Watch's current motto is "FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC", as inscribed on the old Treacle Mine Road Watch House; presumably the last part of the original "Fabricati Diem, Pvncti Agvnt Celeriter" had been lost. This is nonsense in Latin, and doesn't actually mean "Make my day, punk", although it looks as though it ought to; this is the nature of most "Latatian" in the books, and is not unusual. Fred Colon insists it means "To protect and serve". Interestingly, the motto of the Vimes family is "Protego et servio", or "I protect and serve".
Ranks in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch (and insignia where known) are:
- Special Constable
- Lance-Constable (rank used while in training)
- Acting Constable (brevet rank to which Corporal Carrot promoted Lance-constables Cuddy and Detritus during their time in the Citizen's Watch in Men At Arms)
- Lance-Corporal (one-bar chevron)
- Corporal (two-bar chevron)
- Sergeant (three-bar chevrons)
- Sergeant-at-Arms (crown over three-bar chevron, may no longer be in use)
- Lieutenant (was only mentioned in the book Night Watch, may no longer be in use)
- Captain (one pip)
- Commander (traditionally comes with a knighthood)
Uniform and equipment
Watch uniform consists of a brown shirt and knee breeches (hence the derogatory nickname of "brownjobs", which could also be a reference to the equally derogatory term for the RAF, "Bluejobs"), chainmail, an iron breastplate, an iron and copper helmet, sandals or boots and a waterproof cape. A watchman is also issued an oak truncheon, a sword and crossbow (or cultural weapons of choice) and an hourglass and bell. Special consideration had to be made for the troll Sergeant Detritus. His armour was originally made for a war elephant (though he has since received his own custom-made - and very large - breastplate), and his crossbow is a reformatted siege weapon (very much like a comically overpowered and primitive shotgun) from which the only safe haven is at least one hundred yards behind Detritus.
Dress uniform for a Commander of the Watch, unfortunately, originally included a highly polished breastplate, red tights, and a helmet with plumes. Vimes never wears this if he can possibly avoid it. He has since radically altered the dress uniform, removing the tights, but was unable to delete the ornamental breastplate. The Commander carries a ceremonial truncheon with a silver knob on the end and the legend "Protector of Thee Kinge's Piece," a spelling mistake that greatly amuses Vimes (his reaction on seeing it was, "Which piece?").
The current watch badge was commissioned following the events of Men at Arms. It is an eight-pointed copper star, with the city coat-of-arms in the centre. Around the arms is written "Fabricati Diem, Pvnc", a truncated version of Veltrick's motto. Sam Vimes retains his original badge, a simple copper disc or shield (accounts vary) inscribed AMCW and with the badge number 177. A badge with the motto "The Innocent Have Nothing To Fear" was proposed by Carrot, but vetoed by Vimes. The watchman Wee Mad Arthur, who is a Nac Mac Feegle, carries his as a shield
Until recently, a watchman could send a message for back-up by ringing his bell as hard as possible. This was briefly replaced by a whistle. Currently, a watchman on patrol will have at least one homing pigeon and a set of semaphore paddles. The Watch did at one point experiment with "semaphore helmets", however they were not a huge success, particularly in a high wind.
The City Watch also has an ancient oath:
- I, [recruit's name], do solemnly swear by [recruit's deity of choice] to uphold the Laws and Ordinances of the city of Ankh-Morpork, serve the public trust, and defend the subjects of His/Her [delete whichever is inappropriate] Majesty [name of reigning monarch] without fear, favour, or thought of personal safety; to pursue evil-doers and protect the innocent, laying down my life if necessary in the cause of said duty, so help me [aforesaid deity]. Gods Save the King/Queen [delete which is inappropriate].
Vimes, with his slightly tarnished personality, sees the oath as leaving huge amounts of freedom for the officer, and ruler after ruler has failed to notice that the City Watch's oath says absolutely nothing about obeying orders and is firmly worded in favour of the subjects rather than the government. Carrot Ironfoundersson, with his extreme literal sense, instructs recruits to say it precisely as written, including punctuation ("... and defend the subjects of His slash Her bracket delete whichever is inappropriate end-bracket Majesty ...") completely avoiding the problem of naming the reigning monarch.
During the events of Men At Arms, then-Acting-Constable Detritus recruits a number of Trolls into the Watch, swearing them in using instead a Trollish oath: "I will do what I told; otherwise I get my goohuloog head kicked in."
The primary members of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch are (see the linked articles for full details of the characters):
Commander Sir Samuel Vimes
Samuel Vimes is the Commander of the City Watch, it is all he has ever known and he now brings the dirty tricks he learned as a street copper to his new role. He also makes sure to pass these tricks of the trade on to new recruits. Under Sam Vimes, the Watch has become a real force in the city and both the force, and its Commander, have become targets for those they annoy. Unfortunately for Vimes, this is practically everybody. In his time in the Watch he has married the richest woman in Ankh-Morpork and had a son with her, young Sam.
Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson
Adopted by dwarfs after the deaths of his human parents, Carrot grew up in the mines. He is "six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders". His dwarfish name is Kzad-bhat, which, roughly translated, means "Head Banger", a logical nickname for a 6-foot-6-inch-tall (1.98 m) man living in a mine built by 4-foot-tall (1.2 m) dwarfs. He was quite surprised the day he found out that he was human. His adoptive father thought that he ought to go and live amongst humans, and found him a job with the Ankh-Morpork Night Watch under the misapprehension that they were respected and respectable.
Carrot joined the Night Watch while it was only a small group of misfits who ran from evildoers rather than arrest them (see Guards! Guards!). He had difficulty with this attitude, as his "old-fashioned" view of justice led him to arrest the leader of the entirely legal Thieves' Guild on his first day. He since has learned to understand the city a bit better. The city learned about him as quickly when he won in a fight against every miscreant in the Mended Drum tavern, including the then splatter (like a Bouncer but harder) Detritus the troll.
Captain Carrot has made quite a name for himself, rapidly and effortlessly coming to know everyone in the city by name and tax papers. He is big on paperwork and organization and always (often to the dismay of his girlfriend, Angua) takes time to see all sides of a story before getting involved. When Sam Vimes planned to retire after his marriage to Lady Sybil Ramkin, Carrot was named his successor. He is not particularly skilled in comma placement and has a bit of trouble with the whole concept of "i before e." He is considered "the Disc's most linear thinker:" For instance, as part of a murder investigation, he interviews Death. Carrot is also famous enough that there are action figures of him available (as seen in the novel Hogfather).
Carrot is often thought of as non-threatening, which is a dangerous conclusion if you are the unlucky person who disappoints his honest nature. People think of Carrot as being simple, however their mistake is in confusing "simple" with "stupid". Carrot's simplicity is his cunning. In Soul Music, Carrot adds supplementary questions to the quiz machine in the Mended Drum, asking players who was responsible for recent crimes and frequently making arrests as a result. Carrot often sees the bright side of life. When Angua, a werewolf, tells him that her brother Andrei is stuck in wolf form and is forced to live as a champion sheepdog, Carrot notes that at least he's a champion. Carrot has also promised Angua that, should she ever follow in her brother Wolfgang's murderous footsteps, he will be the one to stop her.
While it is common knowledge that Carrot is the true heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork, he doesn't acknowledge it, and has even hidden evidence of his royal heritage. The Patrician, Havelock Vetinari, considers him useful for this reason as well as others, as it means that a revolution under the claim of being true heir is impossible, and that if anyone complains that only a king has the authority to do something he does, he can simply refer to Carrot.
Carrot himself never uses his royal powers or acknowledges his royal heritage. After having learned about it (Men at Arms), he confides in Vetinari that he wants the people to obey the law because it's the law, not because "Captain Carrot is good at being obeyed," and that he is content with his job of ringing a bell and yelling that all's well "provided of course that 'all is well'."
Carrot does, however on rare occasions, hint at his royal powers to make things happen. In Jingo, Lord Vetinari gives Sam Vimes the title of Duke, something only a King can do, while Carrot is present - Vetinari goes so far as to say that he "had been reminded" that Vimes could have that title. In The Fifth Elephant, when faced with the defection of most members of the Watch, Carrot puts his (plain and battered) royal sword on a desk in plain sight and reminds Watch members that they had taken an oath to the King, and that the King had not relieved them of it.
Carrot is a stereotypical "perfect" policeman. Totally honest, law abiding and determined to be friends with everyone. People of all species can't help wanting to behave well in his presence. He has an attitude of loving everyone. His philosophy of love for everyone has caused distress for Angua. She worries that his love toward her is equal to that he gives everyone else and not special. While he would place the welfare of the public above hers (and his own), when she was in danger he travelled to the rim of the Disc to save her.
Carrot's attitude towards his relationship is considered particularly unusual. During Jingo, Angua is kidnapped on a Klatchian ship and the watch pursues them. Carrot does not stand at the front of the ship fraught with worry but, sensibly, gets some sleep so he will be ready to rescue her when they catch up. Although Sam Vimes and the ship's captain see the sense of this, they can't believe that someone in love could be so sensible.
In The Art of Discworld Pratchett says that Carrot has a bright future ahead of him, "should Lord Vetinari not survive the next assassination attempt." He also notes that although most people envision Carrot as Arnold Schwarzenegger he is actually modeled after Liam Neeson. In both the Discworld computer game and the BBC Radio production of Guards! Guards! he speaks with a Welsh accent.
Captain Angua von Überwald
Captain Delphine Angua von Überwald first appeared in Men at Arms. Angua is a member of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, originally hired as part of an affirmative action plan by Havelock Vetinari. Her physical beauty led coworkers to predict that criminals would be lining up to be arrested by her, but Angua's surprising strength and tough attitude soon made her one of the most feared officers on the Watch.
In the 1999 computer game Discworld Noir, and the 2001 books-on-tape version of Men at Arms, her name is pronounced "An-gyoo-uh" with a hard "g". Terry Pratchett writes on the terrypratchettbooks.com forum: "it's Ang as in Anger, you as in you, a as in a thing."
Angua comes from a family of werewolves. She is the daughter of a Baron and Baroness of Überwald, and has two brothers, Wolfgang and Andrei. Her sister, Elsa, is deceased, killed by Wolfgang who disguised it as an accident. Both Andrei and Elsa were "Yennorks", werewolves that are stuck in one form (Andrei always appeared to be a wolf, and Elsa a human). Angua and Wolfgang are the only children in their family with shape-shifting ability; known as "bi-morphs". Wolfgang is extremely violent and enjoys killing, even eating, "inferior" humans. Angua rebels against the traditional werewolf lifestyle of her parents and brother and leaves Überwald. Andrei manages to slip away as well and enjoys a career as a talented sheep herder.
After moving to Ankh-Morpork, Angua soon became the first woman to join the ranks of the City Watch. She met Corporal Carrot Ironfoundersson in the Watch, and the two soon fell in love. Since recovering from his initial surprise (which involved drawing his sword), Carrot has not seemed bothered by the fact that Angua is a werewolf. However, Angua often worries that their different backgrounds and needs will eventually doom the relationship.
One of Angua's closest friends in the Watch is Cheery Littlebottom the dwarf. In Feet of Clay, Angua helps encourage Cheery to "come out" as a woman (dwarf society expects both male and female dwarves to behave in an indistinguishable way), even lending her dresses and make-up. At the same time, Angua conceals her true nature as a werewolf from Cheery because she knows her new friend hates and fears werewolves. Throughout the book Angua debates with herself over whether it would be best to just return to Überwald and live among other werewolves. In the end, she decides to stay in Ankh-Morpork.
Angua has also made friends with Gaspode, a matty, hairy canine who gained and lost the talent of human speech in Moving Pictures. He then regains it by the time of Men at Arms by sleeping too near the Unseen University's High-Energy Magic building. Gaspode flirts with Angua constantly and has helped her out on missions many times.
In The Fifth Elephant, Watch Commander Sam Vimes is sent to Überwald on a diplomatic mission. Lord Vetinari chooses Angua to be a member of the Watch team that will accompany him, but Angua has already left for Überwald on business of her own. Carrot, assisted by Gaspode the dog, sets out after her. This is the first Discworld book to reveal much about Angua's background, and her parents and brother Wolfgang all figure in the story. Angua's relationship with actual wolves also provides much tension. Wolfgang plays a significant role as the leader of a violent werewolf movement in Überwald. Ultimately, Vimes kills Wolfgang in a violent confrontation in the city square. Angua is gratified to hear this, as Wolfgang threatened her and anything she cared for while he remained alive.
The fact that the Watch now has a werewolf has become common knowledge throughout Ankh-Morpork, but that hasn't affected Angua's privacy substantially, as, for obvious reasons, it is generally assumed to be Nobby Nobbs; Carrot, Vimes, Vetinari and Angua herself all play along, mostly rather amused. However, in The Truth, it is revealed in passing that several members of the Ankh-Morpork aristocracy, as well as the lawyer Mr Slant, are well aware of her nature, and in Making Money, Moist von Lipwig also figures this out upon seeing Angua in her werewolf form with Nobby standing beside her and recognizing her hair. Though the widespread recognition of the werewolf presence in the Watch has not inconvenienced Angua on a human level, it has led to a growing sophistication within the city's criminal underworld in evading capture. The first recorded use of a scent bomb is by William de Worde in The Truth, using a combination of oil of aniseed and oil of scallatine. Several references to scent bombs have been made since, most notably its usage by the insane murderer Carcer in Night Watch.
Angua assists Vimes in another diplomatic mission in Monstrous Regiment, and is mentioned in Going Postal as being difficult for criminals in Ankh-Morpork to avoid. Angua also appears in a supporting role in Thud!, where she gains a rival in the form of the Watch's first vampire officer, Sally. Angua is an extremely practical and level-headed person. While not as cynical as Commander Samuel Vimes, she balances out Carrot's naïveté (although she occasionally wonders if he's really as innocent as he appears). In human form, Angua is a strict vegetarian. In wolf form, she has a tendency to go after chickens, but she is always careful to go back and slip some money under the door the next day.
Though she is deeply committed to Carrot, even likening herself to being his dog (or as she puts it in Jingo, a wolf that lives with humans) it hasn't stopped others with romantic interest; there is tension with a wolf named Gavin in The Fifth Elephant, and she receives a marriage proposal from the small mutt Mr. Fusspot in Making Money.
In the events of I Shall Wear Midnight it is noted that Angua has been newly-promoted to Captain. Captain Carrot arrests Tiffany Aching after a disturbance involving the Nac Mac Feegles in the King's Head, who are defeated by Wee Mad Arthur, another Feegle, (the rat catcher from Feet of Clay who rescues Sgt Colon from the King Golem, although he was referred to as a gnome in the original novel), who has now joined the watch, he tells Tiffany that she shall be escorted by his colleague, Captain Angua.
Sergeant Fred Colon
Frederick "Fred" Colon is a sergeant, and appears to have been so for a long time. May have been first mentioned in The Colour of Magic as "a Sergeant of The Watch" who enters the then Broken Drum. He is described on several occasions as "one of nature's sergeants". He is overweight, and prefers to avoid trouble and exertion. He is also rather unimaginative. When not on desk duty (a post he gets more often than other sergeants, due to being responsible for working out the rota), he generally "guards" bridges or large buildings against theft. His reasoning is that until someone attempts to steal the geographic feature in question, he can lean against it and stay out of danger (as well as the wind). He was a corporal in the Watch at the time Samuel Vimes first joined, and subsequent to this spent some time in the army (the Duke of Quirm's Middleweight Infantry and then the Duke of Eorle's First Heavy Infantry), before returning to the Watch.
In The Fifth Elephant, Colon became the head of the Traffic Squad, which also included his best friend Nobby Nobbs. This role perfectly fit the above described qualities, especially as the Traffic Squad is "self financing" (i.e. they keep the fines). A brief promotion to acting-captain confirmed what everyone, himself included, had suspected, and he has returned to his previous rank. Once he put clamps on various buildings for "causing serious traffic congestion". Among the clamped were the Opera House, three other buildings, six fountains, three statues and a gibbet. He also clamped the Patrician's Palace for the same reason, but he let it slide because Vetinari parked it on business. He is currently holding dual position of Custody Officer and Watch Liaison Officer; jobs so vague that no one is entirely sure what they entail, least of all Colon himself. They serve the dual purpose of preventing his brain from becoming overburdened with responsibility and avoiding the catastrophic possibility that he might be given a task of any real importance. His office, in a separate building from the main watch house, is frequented by old acquaintances who want somewhere quiet to get away from the wife, hear what's happening on the street and - in Vimes' words - "gossip like washerwomen." For this free-flowing source of information, Vimes considers the cost of doughnuts on an expense voucher a very favorable trade.
Closer examination, though, shows that Colon has some hidden depths. As Vimes thought it, most of the other watch officers saw a fat, stupid, lazy, cowardly man and that was mostly what was there, but Colon and Nobby have a street-level knowledge of Ankh-Morpork on a par with Vimes and are good at sensing tension in a crowd. Both are also survivors of the Glorious 25 May when, as described in Night Watch, in the aftermath of a coup an assortment of regular police and hangers-on (including an apprentice Assassin called Vetinari) took out, at some cost, the hard-line remnants of the outgoing regime's secret police. Colon also performs his duties in Thud! fairly well. He is an amiable jailer, and bright enough to keep the keys in a closed tin box in the bottom drawer of his desk, well out of reach of anything an inmate would be able to use. He is often portrayed as being prejudiced against women in the Watch, dwarves, undead, "foreigners" and virtually any other group that could be considered a minority in Anhk-Morpork. However, his prejudice is so non-specific and naive (and frequently short-lived when actually exposed to the group in question) that nobody takes it seriously.
He is possibly related to Sergeant Doppelpunkt (German for 'colon', as in the punctuation mark), one half of the town watch in Bad Blintz, Überwald, seen in The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. Other Discworld characters with a notable similarity to Colon include a member of the guard in the Überwald town of Bonk (who was nicknamed "Colonesque" by Samuel Vimes) and one of the market guards in Al Khali, Klatch. Like the various Dibblers, this may be due to morphic resonance.
Colon is married, though his wife works during the day; since he works at night, the two seldom see each other and instead communicate by leaving notes. Vimes even goes as far as to privately attribute the longevity of Fred's marriage to this fact. They have three kids (now grown up), who are attributed to a particularly persuasive handwriting.
Colon made a brief appearance in the Cosgrove Hall adaptation of Soul Music. In the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Guards! Guards! he was voiced by Stephen Thorne. In the 1988 stage play he was played by Roger Bingham. In the Radio 4 adaptation of Night Watch he was voiced by Sam Dale.
Corporal Nobby Nobbs
Cecil Wormsborough St. John "Nobby" Nobbs is untidy, smelly, and despite being human, about the same height as a dwarf. He therefore carries a certificate signed by the Patrician to prove that, on the testimony of his parents, and the midwife who delivered him, he is a human being. The text of this note can be read in Feet of Clay (page 268 in the UK paperback) and states that on the balance of probability, he is a human being. A running joke is the inability of others to believe this, despite—or even because of—the evidence. In fact, in Hogfather, even Death-himself was unable to discern Nobby's species. According to the blurb of Men At Arms, Nobby was 'disqualified from the human race for shoving'. He always seems to have a cigarette butt about him, normally stowed behind his ear, which has been described as a nicotine graveyard. Cigarettes quickly become butts in his presence, and stay as such for an apparently infinite amount of time.
Samuel Vimes is Nobby's commanding officer, and Sergeant Fred Colon his partner and longtime friend. Together, Nobby and Colon have managed to have many strangely philosophical (or just strange) conversations, including one on whether Death has a first name, or even any friends to call him it. Oddly enough, these conversations hint at Nobby being more intelligent than Colon, with Nobby continually pointing out fatal flaws in Colon's statements and arguments, and Colon mentally scrambling to come up with an answer (this is not unlike some of the byplay in the Laurel and Hardy films). He is fond of folk dancing.
As a child he was a street urchin, that is, small, prickly, and smelling of fish, and a major source of information for various city notables. His father was abusive, and broke his leg at least once (Vimes notes in "Night Watch" that Nobby used to have his arms broken by his father too - and in "Hogfather", Nobby claims that he never got anything in his stocking... except once, when his father vomited into it). The young Nobby sometimes refers to his father as "Number One Suspect", and is afraid of going to prison because his father is currently in there. He was apparently inspired to join the Watch after meeting with Sergeant-At-Arms John Keel (and alternatively, due to time travel, Sam Vimes), who once gave him a spoon.
Nobby was once thought to be the Earl of Ankh, but it was all a charade to make him king as he would be easier to manipulate than the 'real' heir in the form of Captain Carrot. Nobby proved less tractable than the conspirators had expected, turning down a cushy life as figurehead ruler of Ankh-Morpork largely, by his own account, for fear of what Vimes would have to say—or more importantly, do—when he found out given his and his infamous ancestor's opinions on royalty. It was also due to his family's long-standing belief that they should never volunteer for anything as there is always going to be a catch. Indeed, he fled the offer at a dead run, all the time terrified Vimes would "go spare." However, at the end of the book Feet of Clay, it is also suggested that he may be a real nobleman, due to the amount of family heirlooms he has not mentioned to any other person. On the other hand, the Nobbses have stolen so much stuff over the years that, as Vimes has said, "you could probably prove Nobby was the Dowager Duchess of Quirm."
Nobby played a role in the resolution of the "war" between Ankh-Morpork and the empire of Klatch in Jingo, and in recognition the Patrician gave him a new job in traffic control. He has since been "promoted" to assistant to the Watch Liaison Officer (in other words Fred Colon), a job vague enough to ensure he never has to do anything actually important.
He believes he is in a romantic relationship with Verity "Hammerhead" Pushpram, a girl who runs a fish stall and gets her nickname from the fact that her eyes appear to be looking in opposite directions. However, this "relationship" seems to consist solely of her hitting him with a fish and telling him to bugger off. He remains "faithful" to her, however, in all books except Thud!, in which he is temporarily in a relationship with exotic dancer Tawneee.
He is possibly related to Corporal Knopf, (as Knopf can be translated as knob), one half of the town watch in Bad Blintz, Überwald, seen in The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. Other Discworld characters with a notable similarity to Nobby include a member of the guard in the Überwald town of Bonk, who was nicknamed "Nobbski" by Vimes, and one of the market guards in Al Khali, Klatch. Like the various Dibblers, this may be due to morphic resonance. Despite this, being related to Nobby is not seen as a good thing in Ankh Morpork. One of the Unseen University bedlows who, by sheer coincidence, shared the same last name as Nobby was incredibly swift to denounce any potential ties of family.
According to the Pratchett Portfolio, his typical sayings is: " 'tis a lie sir, i never done it," (like all other 'typical sayings' in the Portfolio [except that of the Death of Rats] he has not actually been recorded saying it).
During Nobby's time in Klatch he "got in touch with his feminine side," and is quite fond of wearing women's clothing. This can occasionally be useful, as he dressed up as an old lady as part of a Traffic scam before being stopped by Vimes.
Nobby made a brief appearance in the Cosgrove Hall adaptation of Soul Music. In the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Guards! Guards! he was voiced by Melvyn Hayes. In the 1988 stageplay he was played by David Brett, formerly of the Flying Pickets. Nobby has also appeared in two computer adventure games, Discworld (The Trouble With Dragons) (where he was voiced by Tony Robinson) and Discworld Noir (where he was voiced by Rob Brydon). In both cases Nobby had a distinct Irish accent. In the 2006 TV adaptation of Hogfather he was played by Nicholas Tennant.
See Trolls (Discworld)
Constable Reginald Shoe
See: Undead (Discworld)
Lance-Constable Salacia "Sally" von Humpeding
See: Golems (Discworld)
Visit-the-Infidel-with-Explanatory-Pamphlets (sometimes referred to as Visit-the-Ungodly-with-Explanatory-Pamphlets) is a Constable of the City Watch. He is generally just called 'Constable Visit', or occasionally by his nickname 'Washpot'. The term comes from one of Visit's favourite quotations, "Moab is my washpot. Over Edom will I cast out my shoe," from Psalm 60 in the book of Om. His name is, apparently, shorter in Omnian.
He first appeared in Feet of Clay. He is referred to by Pratchett as follows: "There's one in every station, and Constable Visit was enough for two." Samuel Vimes says he is a good copper, his highest form of personal praise. He is an Omnian of a gentle but determined proselytising nature. He can clear a large crowd in seconds, just by talking to them about religion and threatening them with pamphlets, principally "Unadorned Facts" and "Battle Call" (parodies of The Plain Truth and The War Cry).
In off-duty moments he goes door to door with his fellow Omnian, Smite-the-Unbeliever-with-Cunning-Arguments. Entire pubs have been known to draw the curtains, turn off the lights and lie on the floor whimpering at news of his coming down the street. The only "entity" not afraid of Visit's endless proselytising is his friend and fellow constable Dorfl, a golem with endless patience and a desire to argue faith rationally.
He appears in the SkyOne television adaptation of Hogfather, portrayed by Richard Katz.
Inspector A. E. Pessimal
A. E. Pessimal was first the government Inspector of the Watch assigned (in Thud!) by Lord Vetinari to inspect the Watch and judge whether the Watch gave fair value for the civic funds it used, ("who watches the watchmen?;") and to inspect the Unseen University in A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices.
He is described as a neat little man, with very shiny shoes, and has no friends and no sense of humour. He does not have a first name, as others would understand; he was 'initialled' at birth rather than named. He was in a position to seriously inconvenience Vimes with difficult questions such as; "Why is C.W.St.J. 'Nobby' Nobbs in the Watch? Are you aware you employ a petty criminal?"
Eventually, Vimes decided to shake the man up, and swore him in as a Special Constable for the duration of an impending street fight of roughly a thousand trolls and dwarves. Vimes thought he could scare the man while showing him what it was like to be a copper. Instead, A. E. took his position seriously, to the point of bare-handedly attacking and trying to bite a troll who took a swing at Vimes. This action remains one of the few events to have totally shocked Vetinari, when he heard about it in Vimes' report ('Mr Pessimal? Mr. A. E. Pessimal? We are talking about the same person? Small man, very clean shoes?').
A short while later, A. E. came to Vimes' office and was offered the position of Lance-Constable and adjutant, with an estimate that he could be a Sergeant in a year. Vimes' reason for taking A. E. on was A. E.'s patience and intelligence; Vimes needed someone who could look through paperwork and understand what was being said by sifting out important or suspicious facts. Vimes reasons that A. E. always wanted to be a Watchman and was stopped by his weak stature. As a condition of his employment, A. E. was told that he would go on patrol twice a week, so he would be able to learn what's important. A. E. is also one of the few people Vimes allows to call him "Mister Vimes," saying that the man "earned it all in one go." Along with Vimes' Dis-Organizer Mark Five, ("The Gooseberry",) it would seem that A. E. is the start to a new department in the City Watch...
By the events of Snuff, A. E. has raisen to the newly-minted rank of Inspector in the City Watch, and his forensic accounting has become legendary and feared through-out Ankh-Morpork, as people fear what he may uncover in their financial records.
Igor is an Igor who was considered "too modern" for Überwald by his family, and went with Samuel Vimes to Ankh-Morpork. He specialises in genetic experiments ("bio-artificing"), which, on the Discworld, involves really small stitches. His creations include a pet rabbit called Eerie, a particularly suitable name as he grows spare human ears on it (a reference to the human ear equipped mouse of 1995, a few years prior to the creation of the book).[original research?] Another early experiment was breeding noses, which act as independent lifeforms until sewn on. He also experimented with swimming potatoes in the hopes of breeding instant Fish & Chips. Like with all Igors, Constable Igor is highly talented in successfully sewing back on arms, legs and other assorted body parts, even if they aren't the person's original bits. He is, in short, Ankh-Morpork's finest tissue and genetic engineer.
He has a speech impediment (for an Igor, anyway) in that he sometimes forgets to lisp. Vimes employs him because of his surgery methods, which Vimes considered to be considerably more advanced than most of Ankh-Morpork's doctors in that most of his patients survive, and he doesn't use hot tar, nor cut hair for a living. Igor first appeared in the novel The Fifth Elephant.
Constable Downspout, who first appears in Feet of Clay, is a surveillance expert for the Watch. Being a gargoyle, he is capable of remaining motionless in one spot and watching for days at a time, a "world champion at not moving" as Vimes once put it. He has no use for money and instead receives his salary in pigeons, which he eats.
Corporal Buggy Swires
A gnome. Introduced in Jingo (possibly in The Light Fantastic; there was a gnome identified only as Swires), Buggy possesses the hard-nosed, bellicose personality typical of his species, proving able to shout down uncooperative witnesses despite being only six inches tall. He has since established himself as the sole member of the Watch's Airborne Section through his ability to tame various species of bird (most recently a buzzard, acquired from the pictsies for a crate of whisky) to act as transport, for reconnaissance and messaging purposes. He resembles the Nac Mac Feegle, tiny, heroic men who use identical methods to tame birds for riding. He appears to have the same strength as a normally sized human, compressed into a gnome's body; as a result, being headbutted by Buggy is like 'being hit with a steam-powered toffee hammer.'
Special-Constable Andy "Two Swords" Hancock
Mentioned only in Thud!, Andy Hancock is one of the "Specials", a group of militia men trained by Sergeant Colon. He is described as being an "amiable man with an amiable smile". He fights with two curved Agatean swords and nunchaku, which he calls 'Agatean numknuts' (a reference to 'numchuks' a common term for the nunchaku in the United States, and a common accident occurring with their untrained use, as well as to the slang insult 'numbnuts' meaning 'idiot'). He is probably either an extremely competent fighter, or just a wild ninja wannabe. It is stated that he destroyed three practice dummies in thirty minutes. When not practicing, Hancock works for the "Grand Trunk" clacks company, supplying the Watch with information.
Dwarf desk sergeant, killed just prior to the beginning of Night Watch by the serial killer known as Carcer Dun.
Introduced in Men at Arms. The first dwarf recruit who put aside his differences with trolls and became a good friend to Detritus. Killed by Dr. Cruces towards the end of the story. There are hints that Carrot may have buried the "gonne" of the story, as well as the book containing the royal lineage, in Cuddy's coffin to keep it safe (and to give Cuddy a good weapon for the afterlife). He also created the special cooling helmet for Detritus.
Constables Flint and Morraine
Two troll watchmen. Introduced in Men at Arms but only have very minor roles. They were the first two non-watchmen "sworn in" (conscripted) into the Carrot's 'Citizen's Militia' by Detritus, using a special troll oath. It is unclear however if these two trolls bear any resemblance to the two trolls, Flint and Morry, in Moving Pictures.
Flint was briefly elevated to sergeant under the tenure of Acting-Captain Fred Colon (promoted to run the watch during the temporary resignations of Carrot and Angua while Vimes, Littlebottom and Detritus were serving as ambassadors to Uberwald in The Fifth Elephant), much to the annoyance of Nobby Nobbs, who had been obviously gunning for the promotion himself.
The Watch's largest Troll officer, Bluejohn is a gentle and retiring troll. He is so big that he is used as the riot shield for the rest of the Watch officers and he is often used during crowd control. This is because, wherever he is sent, he is the crowd. His name is taken from a type of fluorite found in Derbyshire, England.
Introduced in The Fifth Elephant, he has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. In the midst of a murder investigation, he takes a moment to inform Commander Sir Samuel Vimes that 'ping' is a dialect word, meaning watermeadow. He also appears in Night Watch.
A plain-clothes watchman of the reformed Cable Street Particulars, working in the Ankh-Morpork Opera House during Maskerade. Has not been seen or mentioned since, except indirectly in Feet of Clay, when Carrot writes to his parents that there are now "secret policemen".
Constable Wee Mad Arthur
Sworn in by Fred Colon during the events of Feet of Clay. He was made a special Watchman for that night. His species is never explicitly stated before the novel, I Shall Wear Midnight, though Detritus refers to him as a "ger-nome". During a fight in the King's Head, in I Shall Wear Midnight, he fights off about thirty members of the Feegle clan from the Chalk, before returning to the Chalk to discover that he is, in fact, a Feegle foundling who was raised by gnomes, much in the same way Carrot was raised by dwarves. He is noted to, like Buggy Swires, have human strength in a six-inch body. After returning from leave in the Chalk, he was instrumental in uncovering the enslavement of Goblins, exercising the use of his newly-learned Crawl-Step technique from his time with the Chalk Nac Mac Feegle clan.
Given a badge during the events of Guards! Guards! and refuses to give the badge back (but then who would argue with an orangutan who could twist your head off?). Because he still has the badge, he continues to help out the Watch from time to time, such as giving Vimes the book of General Tacticus in Jingo and helping keep a barricade between rioting dwarfs and trolls in Thud!
Haddock first appeared in Thud! assisting Corporal Nobbs in stopping a fight between a dwarf watchman and a troll watchman. The only description of him in this appearance was that he was "definitely human", as opposed to the "probably human" Nobbs. He later accompanied Commander Vimes on his trip to the dwarves' mine, but was sent away before reaching it with a message for Lady Sybil. During his off-nights, he works security shifts at the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork, where he appeared in Making Money apprehending whom he thought to be a would-be robber (actually Moist von Lipwig) in the vault. His latest appearance was in Unseen Academicals, where he found two of the main characters, Trevor Likely and Mr. Nutt, in need of assistance after a football riot spilled over into a gang fight. In all of his appearances, he's only notable for being a no-named, human copper without quirk who's exceptionally good at his job.
Lewton appears in the third Discworld computer game, Discworld Noir. Lewton is the Disc's first and only private investigator and a former member of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, having been banished from it for taking a bribe.
Lewton was once a member of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch (sometime before the books). Commander Sam Vimes had a particular unexplained grudge against him. Lewton met and fell in love with a female archaeologist named Ilsa and seemed to have a happy life; a particular moment fondly remembered was the Hotel Pseudopolis. Life seemed to be going well for Lewton. However, one day, Ilsa left Ankh-Morpork for unexplained reasons and this drew Lewton into a depression. He spent countless days drinking and drinking. During these hard times, Lewton took a bribe which ended in him being permanently excluded from the Watch. A few years later, Lewton decided to pick himself up, forget about Ilsa and the rest of his past and start a new life. He became a Private Investigator. However, he rarely got any cases.
When Carlotta Von Uberwald came into his life, Lewton's life changed forever. She gave him the Mundy Case and although Lewton didn't know it, she used him as a puppet in order to find Mundy (of whom she said was her lover but he was really an informant for her cult). After discovering this they argued, and during this argument Carlotta kissed and bit Lewton, turning him into a werewolf (or some variant type, several of which are named/referenced in the books themselves). Using his new wolf abilities, Lewton managed to put a stop to Carlotta's cult's plans and save Ankh-Morpork from being consumed by a giant god of destruction.
Captain Swing is the head of the Unmentionables in the Ankh-Morpork of the past in Night Watch. Swing is mainly remembered for his attempt to control crime by ordering all weapons confiscated, reasoning that this would result in a decline in crime figures, failing to acknowledge that criminals don't obey the law in the first place and would actually greatly enjoy the lack of weapons in society.
He is described as a thin, balding man dressed in a long, old-fashioned black coat with large pockets, and supports himself on an opera cane (which is in reality a swordstick). Swing moves and speaks in an erratic, jumpy fashion, in bursts, and sputters rather than a continuous flow of movement or sound. He is, however, a skilled swordsman, as he does not resort to flashy swashbuckling, but instead actually attacks his opponent.
Swing always carries with him a large set of calipers and a steel ruler, with which he measures the facial characteristics of people he meets in order to determine their personal traits (phrenology). Its reliability is questionable; according to it, Vimes has the eye of a mass murderer (Vimes says he indeed does... in his other suit), while Carcer's only problem was his environment (most likely all the dead bodies wherever he went).
He is killed by Vimes during the fire at the Unmentionables' headquarters. On arriving at the Great Desert he tries to use his phrenological skills to determine Death's character, only to find that Death has no characteristics he can measure.
Mayonnaise Quirke & The Day Watch
Before the merging of the Watches, the Day Watch dealt with all crimes committed during daylight. The only significant Day Watch member mentioned is its captain, "Mayonnaise" Quirke, who first appears in Men at Arms. Quirke is nicknamed "Mayonnaise" by the Night Watch as he is rich, thick, oily, and smells faintly of eggs. Appears in Night Watch where, he is revealed to be a little bit older than Vimes, he was originally a Corporal in the Night Watch before kicked out by Sergeant-at-Arms John Keel, (actually Vimes). Joined the Day Watch shortly there-afterwards and presumably rose to the rank of captain at the same time as Vimes did. When the Night and Day watches are merged, with Vimes as their Commander, Quirke appears to vanish from the Watch; it is probable that Vimes sacked him again.
A Klatchian warrior who accompanies the Klatchian envoy Prince Khufurah on a diplomatic journey to Ankh-Morpork in the novel Jingo. He speaks with a heavy accent and has a penchant for chewing on cloves. Following an attempt on the prince's life by an unknown assassin, he is suspected of killing the Watch's prime suspect, provoking Vimes and other Watch members to pursue him back to Klatch (Particularly after he captures Angua in werewolf form).
Apart from belonging to a vicious but honorable warrior clan known as the D'regs, he is later revealed to be the Alwi of Klatch, a Klatchian equivalent of a watchman on a par with Vimes. It also turns out his obsessive clove-chewing and broken Morporkian are in fact a disguise meant to delude foreigners into falsely assuming he is nothing but an uncivilized barbarian. Like many privileged foreigners, he was sent to the Assassins' Guild as a child on the assumption that he would get an excellent education. He confounds Vimes by his fond memories of Ankh-Morpork, and even Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler. He and Vimes eventually develop a wary respect for each other, mostly based on both of them being basically-honest cops in unenviable positions.
He got his nickname after killing a man (guilty of poisoning a well, and killing a number of villagers and very valuable camels) one hour before the traditional D'reg three days of hospitality, during which even your greatest enemy should be shown respect, would have run out.
Butler to Commander Vimes and Lady Sibyl, Willikins was in his youth a member of the Shamlegger Street Rude Boys street gang (whose skills at street violence were respected even by Sam Vimes) where his weapon of choice was a cap brim sewn with sharpened pennies. In Night Watch it is revealed that he has been in the service of the Ramkin family for most of his life. His only absence from this employment was during the events in Jingo when he joined the army during the war against Klatch, during which he was known to alternate between violently yelling at his men for showing disrespect and then politely apologising to Vimes for their actions. It is implied that he bit a man's nose off during the same war. He has proven himself more than once to be a competent fighter as well as a dutiful butler- sometimes simultaneously: during the events of Thud!, Willikins is surprised by a Deep-Down Dwarf carrying a flamethrower entering the house illegally, and is "forced to defend (himself) with the first thing that came to hand", the 18-inch long sharp serrated-steel ice knife; he also lodged another dwarf on a meathook. It is also revealed in Thud! that Willikins is a member of the 'Specials' - The Ankh-Morpork City Militia.
John "Mossy" Lawn
A doctor in Ankh-Morpork. He first appeared in Night Watch, as a backstreet "pox doctor", offering medical assistance to "seamstresses". He had trained in Klatch, where he had learnt techniques other Morporkian surgeons distrusted, but which kept patients alive for longer than it took to pay the bill. He also gave free treatment to those who needed it, including those who had been tortured by the Cable Street Particulars. He is quiet (if a tad sarcastic) and almost unshockable. Following his successful delivery of Young Sam, Samuel Vimes gave him a large area of land in the Goosegate area of the city. In Going Postal this is the Lady Sybil Free Hospital. Dr Lawn's preferred method of dealing with the nursing staff is to throw a handful of chocolates in one direction and run in the other as fast as possible. He claims that, when he dies, he wants a bell left on his gravestone so he can have the pleasure of not getting up when people ring.
References and notes
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