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[[quoteright:199:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GG_7484.jpg]]

->''They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No-one ever asks them if they wanted to.''\\
\\
''This book is dedicated to those fine men.''

The eighth {{Literature/Discworld}} book and the first to feature the City Watch, one of the most popular of the major character groups/themes in Pratchett's creation, plus the first appearance of [[HonestJohnsDealership C.M.O.T. Dibbler]], though as a one-note gag character. It is also notable in that it is the first of the Discworld books in which Patrician Vetinari is the [[MagnificentBastard Magnificent]] [[TheChessmaster Bastard]] we all know and love. Up until this point Pterry was still working out the character, and aspects of the final product appeared in other books, but ''Guards! Guards!'' is the first book in which the character is recognisable as he exists now.

Once upon a time, the Ankh-Morpork City Watch was a proud lawkeeping organisation, but nowadays the Machiavellian Patrician, [[MagnificentBastard Lord Vetinari]], keeps the peace by the simpler notion of instituting the [[ThievesGuild Guild of Thieves]] and asking them to police crime themselves. The Night Watch has dwindled away, and now there are only three watchmen left - Captain Sam Vimes, Sergeant Fred Colon and Corporal "Nobby" Nobbs. The fourth, Herbert Gaskin, died a week before the book takes place when, while routinely half-heartedly chasing some crook, he accidentally got ahead of the group and killed by the crook's buddies hiding behind a corner.

They are joined by the newest recruit, Lance-Constable Carrot Ironfoundersson, who was raised by dwarfs in the mountains. A huge, powerful and highly moral and innocent young man, he immediately tries to arrest the head of the Thieves' Guild and clean up the Mended Drum pub - ''and succeeds''. Not only is he tough, he also has a strange... charisma.

At the same time, [[SecretCircleOfSecrets The Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night]] is planning to summon a noble dragon using a book stolen from [[WizardingSchool Unseen University]]'s Library and use it in a ploy to place a puppet ruler on the throne as king. Almost unwittingly, Vimes and his crew are on the case, with the help of upper-class swamp dragon breeder Sybil Ramkin. But can these unlikely heroes save the city when the dragon decides to take the throne for itself?

''Guards! Guards!'' has been adapted into a play and a graphic novel, and is often cited as the best Discworld novel for new readers to start the series. Notably, Pratchett said that Carrot was originally going to be the viewpoint character, but the structure of the book didn't allow it so he made up Vimes - who is now one of the most popular and complex characters in the whole of Discworld.

Preceded by ''Discworld/{{Pyramids}}'', followed by ''Discworld/{{Eric}}''. The next book in the Watch series is ''Discworld/MenAtArms''. ''Very'' loosely adapted into the {{Point and Click|Game}} AdventureGame ''VideoGame/{{Discworld}}''.

----
!!Contains examples of:

* AdmiringTheAbomination: Lady Sybil has this reaction to the Noble Dragon. Vimes does not.
-->'''Sybil''': Do you realise we're very probably seeing something no-one has seen for centuries?\\
'''Vimes''': Yes, it's a bloody flying alligator setting fire to my city!
** And again when they have a similar exchange near the end about stopping the mob from killing it. This time Vimes decides that since she was about to be eaten and still doesn't hate it, she may have something of a point.
* AdventurerArchaeologist: Mentioned, in the form of "smart bastards whose idea of a day's work was prising the Ruby Eye of the Earwig King out of its socket."
* AlienGeometries: It's mentioned that Unseen University Library "would make even Creator/MCEscher take a good lie down, or possibly sideways".
** There's a very good argument made that because "books = knowledge and knowledge = power"[[note]] = energy = matter = mass[[/note]], then any decent-sized library or bookstore has power on the scale of a small black hole, turning libraries into reality-warped redoubts.
* AntiquatedLinguistics: The oath of loyalty sworn by the Brethren, especially the bit about what will happen to them if they break faith, is full of obscure and antiquated words; it's a running joke that they're all in mortal fear of having their figgin taken out and toasted on a spike, without any of them being entirely sure what a figgin ''is''. (A footnote tells us it's a pastry filled with raisins, and the guards enjoy some later on.)
** Other words in the oath include welchet ("a type of waistcoat worn by certain clock-makers"), gaskin ("a shy, grey-brown bird of the coot family") and moules ("a game of skill and dexterity, involving tortoises"). The oath, when one doesn't know the meaning of the words in it, sounds much more menacing than it actually is. The Supreme Grand Master notes the fact that none of them have asked what any of the words mean as a sign of their stupidity.
* AttackItsWeakPoint: Colon attempts to hit the dragon in it with an arrow. He has no idea what its Weak Point actually ''is'', but you'd know it if you saw it, right?
* BerserkButton: The first book where saying monkey[[note]][[OhCrap ohshit]][[/note]] in front of the Librarian is potentially lethal.
** Also, Vimes is shown as loving Ankh Morpork and hating kings so much that when a dragon is destroying his city and being revered as a king, that he picks up a ape by the chest fur and shakes it in a rage.
* BigBad: [[spoiler:The Dragon goes from enigmatic plot device to this when it declares itself king of Ankh-Morpork.]]
** DragonAscendant
** TheManBehindTheMan: [[spoiler:Lupin Wonse]].
* TheBigGuy: Carrot, who not only manages to take out the entire clientele of the Mended Drum at once, but beats ''Detritus'' at the same time. For those who don't know, Detritus is a troll, and therefore made of ''solid rock''.
* BizarreAlienLocomotion: What [[spoiler: Errol]] managed to come up with.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: The Patrician explains his worldview to Vimes in this way:
-->"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people - ''but some of them are on opposite sides''."
** Then again, Vimes' reaction to this worldview (namely pointing out that, even with such a dark view, Vetinari still chooses to get up in the morning), the loyalty and bravery of the Watch (particularly Carrot) and the scene near the end where [[spoiler:the watch subverts the Patrician's expectations of them by asking for a dartboard instead of ego-boosting honours]] seems to hint that Vetinari's worldview might not actually be correct. And Vetinari's comment as Vimes walks away, "There's a good man", might seem like just a comforting statement, but given Vetinari's tendency to never say things accidentally might mean Vetinari himself doesn't entirely believe his philosophy, or that Vetinari has reconsidered his previous views. (It might even be that he doesn't believe it at all, and was saying that [[ReversePsychology to wind Vimes up]], as he does in later books.)
* BookEnds: When we're first introduced to Vimes, he's drunkenly comparing the city to a woman. At the end of the book as his romance with Lady Sybil blossoms, he compares the woman to a city.
* BreadEggsMilkSquick: a couple of examples:
** A list of strange and terrible things Errol has eaten includes things like fireplace pokers and cobblestones, but what astonishes everyone is that he ate ''three'' of [[LethalChef C.M.O.T. Dibbler's sausages]].
** And the rules of the Librarians of Space and Time are:
--->1) Silence.
--->2) Books must be returned no later than the last date shown.
--->3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.
* BreakThemByTalking: See HumansAreBastards, below.
* BrickJoke: When the heroes refuse to slay the dragon because Vetinari doesn't have a daughter to give her hand in marriage, Vimes mention he ''does'' have an aunt. This was never referred to again until ''Discworld/NightWatch'', years later and mostly set before this book, when Vetinari's aunt Lady Roberta Meserole is a significant character.
** Also, his little dog, which shows up in ''Discworld/TheTruth'' as a major character and gets another mention in ''Discworld/GoingPostal''.
** The "eye-watering words" mentioned at the start keep popping up. For instance, after going out to get some food, Nobby innocently asks the captured Brother Fingers if he wants his figgin toasted, with predictable results.
** Among the things C.M.O.T. Dibbler sells are mystic products "made from over fifty different rare spices and herbs to a recipe known only to a bunch of ancient monks what live on some mountain somewhere". Vimes (and the reader) dismisses this as his usual sales talk given the quality of the rest of his goods, but at the very end of the book, as we pan across the Discworld, there's a brief moment where two monks on a mountain at the Hub of the world prepare to send their latest shipment to Dibbler.
** Brother Dunnikin's contribution to the first set of magical items for dragon-summoning is an amulet that supposedly protects him crocodile bites. The Supreme Grand Master sneers at buying such a thing in a temperate city. Later he misses a meeting of the Brethren because...he's been bitten by a crocodile. The Supreme Grand Master insists this is just a coincidence.
* ByTheBookCop: Carrot. "The Book" in this case being ''The Laws and Ordinances of The Cities of Ankh and Morpork'', published some six generations previously. Carrot isn't just the only copper who follows the book, he's probably the only one who's ''read'' it.
* CallBack: As it opens, the book describes the state of the dragons, concluding, "Possibly the word we're looking for here is...[[SealedEvilInACan dormant]]." Much later, the passage is repeated again, concluding, "Possibly the word we're looking for here is...''angry.''"
* CanisLatinicus: "FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC" the modern-day motto of the Night Watch. [[note]]It's actually gibberish, but Fred Colon thinks it means "To protect and Serve" and Vimes thinks it means "[[DirtyHarry Make My Day, Punk]]". The old motto was ''Fabricati Diem, Pvncti Agvnt Celeriter'', which means "Make the day, the minutes pass by quickly", but most of the mural wore away. Another possible reading (from a reader's point of view, though not explicitly given in the book) is "Built in the year dot", appropriate to the Watch House's extreme age and dilapidation.[[/note]]
** Interestingly, the Vimes family's motto is ''Protego et servio'', which means "[[StandardPoliceMotto I protect and serve".]]
* TheCatCameBack: How Vetinari torments Wonse near the end.
* ChandelierSwing: A DiscussedTrope; the tales the old guardsman tells young Carrot involve a lot of chandelier swinging, and later a group of guards ordered to arrest Sam Vimes worry that he'll turn out to be a swashbuckling hero and fight them all off while shouting "Ha!" and swinging from the chandelier.
* CharacterisationMarchesOn: Actually pretty understated compared to other first-in-the-sub-arc Discworld books. In fact some characters who had been introduced in earlier books (such as the Patrician, and maybe even the city of Ankh-Morpork itself) emerged from EarlyInstallmentWeirdness into their recognisable selves. Vimes, however, is markedly different in this first appearance from his later self. Some of it is of course simply character development. But it's pretty startling to revisit a Vimes who has no strong opinions on the monarchy (rather it's Colon who rails against it), and leaves a fellow officer to fend for himself in a [[BarFight bar brawl]].
* ChekhovsGun: The footnote about the nature of libraries initially seems like a one-off gag, but the Librarian later quotes the equation to himself and uses it to [[spoiler:travel back through time to learn who stole his book]].
* CombatPragmatist: Vimes, who is here presented as preferring a cleaver to a sword as a weapon.
* ComicallySmallDemand: After the Night Watch is honored for saving the day, the Patrician asks them to name their reward. The guardsmen put their heads together and request a five-dollar pay raise, a replacement tea kettle, and perhaps a dart board.
* TheCommandments: The three rules of the Librarians of Space and Time are:
##Silence.
##Books must be returned no later than the last date shown.
##Do not interfere with the [[TimeyWimeyBall nature of causality.]]
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: the GenreSavvy [[{{Mooks}} Palace Guards]] believe that being asked to take out a single man means certain defeat for them, as he might even [[ChandelierSwing swing from the chandelier]]. Fortunately for them, Vimes isn't feeling heroic. And there's no chandelier.
** [[HilariousinHindsight As later books show]], if he was in the right mood (i.e. pissed off) he ''could'' have taken them all on and won.
* ContinuityNod: when Vimes is fired from the Watch, Lady Sybil suggests that he leave for Sto Helit, where the Duke and Duchess (a rather young couple) are looking for a guard captain. [[Discworld/{{Mort}} Guess who?]]
** And a certain witch referred to as "[[Discworld/{{Wyrd Sisters}} Mistress Garlick]]".
* CoolSword: Carrot's sword. It hasn't got a name, it has no jewels on it; it's just a long piece of metal with very sharp edges. But in a magical land like Discworld, Carrot's sword is unique for ''not'' being magical at all. It is so non-magical it's realer than most of the Discworld. It's one of those things, like Death, where it simply is. Since most of Discworld is magical, and the sword is not, it's a hot knife through butter.
** Invoked with the "royal sword" that the Supreme Grand Master had made for the king-to-be, but subverted in that it's crafted to only ''look'' cool, but is completely worthless as a weapon.
* CriticalStaffingShortage: The night watch, made virtually redundant by the legalizing of crime, is reduced to four men (Two incompetents and an idealist, commanded by an alcoholic) to police a city of a million by the time this book is set.
* CurseCutShort: All over the place. Special mention goes to Nobby's description of Colon's fall through a privy roof.
-->'''Nobby''': Talk about a short sharp shower of—
-->'''Vimes''': And then what happened?
* [[DefeatMeansFriendship Defeat Means A Little More Than Friendship]]: [[spoiler: Errol and Her Majesty]].
* DecoyProtagonist: Carrot. Actually an unintentional example: Pratchett intended to make him the protagonist, but needed a voice in the city before Carrot arrived, threw the character of Vimes together out of clichés as a stop-gap, and he ended up taking on a life of his own.
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler: Lupine Wonse, a.k.a the Supreme Grand Master]]'s ultimate fate.
* {{Dissimile}}: How a LiteralMinded Sergeant Colon interprets [[RunningGag Vimes' "This city is a woman" idea]] when they're both drunk. "Got a river running through it, sir. Lots of people and houses."
* DontTellMama: One of the first things Carrot does on his first night on patrol is shame a bunch of bar-brawling dwarfs into behaving themselves by asking what their mothers would say if they found out.
* DragonHoard: The dragon that takes over the palace of Ankh-Morpork demands all the gold for its hoard. Since Ankh-Morpork is a VestigialEmpire of gilded treasures and heavily diluted coinage, there's a lot of ugliness before the dragon is satisfied.
* DrowningMySorrows: Vimes, constantly. Colon explains that most men's bodies produce a bit of alcohol naturally, but Vimes was born "two drinks low," so when he's sober, he's ''really'' sober. The resulting clarity of thought makes him cynical and depressed, so he self-medicates, but as Colon says, he usually gets the dosage wrong.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: All (Morporkian) writing is in YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe, and years are numbered rather than given animal names as in later books.
** Still later books have gone back to the numbers; the Century of the Fruitbat is the 20th Century.
* EntendreFailure: Happens with Carrot admitting he "got a girl back home in trouble" (because she was a dwarf and he was a human), and that he stays at Mrs. Palm's brothel (which he thinks is a boarding house) every night.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Vetinari in the cell, Vimes' rant about the law to Lupine Wonse (or perhaps his earlier defence of Lady Sybil using one of her own swamp dragons as a handgun).
* ExtremeOmnivore: The swamp dragons. Errol in particular.
* FantasticScience: The equation that explains the AlienGeometries of Unseen University Library--not because it is magical, but simply because it is a library. "Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass: a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read".
* FakeUltimateHero
* FeelingOppressedByTheirExistence: The motivation for most members of the Elucidated Bretheren.
* FemaleMonsterSurprise: [[spoiler:The dragon.]]
* GenreSavvy:
** The Palace Guards are absolutely terrified of Vimes because he is alone, unarmed, and smiling - the most dangerous kind of enemy to a henchman army. Subverted in that he actually is as little of a threat as such a person should be.
** Also, the members of the Watch believe that a MillionToOneChance will be practially guaranteed to succeed - more likely than a Thousand to One or even Hundred to One Chance - and [[InvokedTrope intentionally manipulate the situation to make it more unlikely]], until it is as close to Million to One as possible. [[spoiler:It still fails--but fortunately, their chances of surviving the failure were ''exactly'' a million to one.]]
* GiantFlyer: The dragon, a walking (flying) in-universe flagrant violation of the SquareCubeLaw.
** It's flagrant enough that several characters call it out as physically impossible, finally [[AWizardDidIt attributing it to magic]].
* GrailInTheGarbage: Carrot's utterly mundane sword. His aggressively, uniquely, ''powerfully'' mundane sword.
* GroinAttack: Actually somewhat ''subverted''. Since Carrot has a "Protective", people who try to knee him end up injuring themselves.
** Also, Nobby kicks a troll "[[LiteralMetaphor in the rocks]]" while it's down and nearly breaks his foot in the process.
** Their attempt to hit the dragon's "voonerables", apart from being a ShoutOut to the lore about a dragon's one vulnerable spot in ''Literature/TheHobbit'', might be a GroinAttack, since that's what the characters tend to mean when they refer to a person's "voonerables". Unfortunately, if so, they were aiming for a spot [[spoiler: that particular dragon was missing.]]
--->'''Colon''': You know all about voonerables, Nobby. I've watched you fight.
* HereThereWereDragons: Although the Discworld is still a magical place, the contrast is drawn between its sad little realistic swamp dragons and the noble dragon which laughs in the face of physics thanks to its magical nature.
* HijackingCthulhu: The book has [[spoiler:Lupine Wonse]] use a book called ''The Summoning of Dragons'' to [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin summon a dragon]] and control it...but [[TheDogBitesBack the dragon doesn't stay under his control for long.]]
* HoldingOutForAHero: [[spoiler: Wonse]]'s plan relies on the NarrativeCausality that people will look to a hero when there's a dragon problem.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters:
--> ''We were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless and terrible. But this much I can tell you, you ape: [[EvenEvilHasStandards We never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.]]''
** HarsherInHindsight once you've read ''Discworld/NightWatch'', and realize [[spoiler: Wonse's memory of living in terror of the Cable Street Particulars is probably what the dragon found so horrifying, not just unspecified historical atrocities.]]
** Vimes also gets this when he overhears a crowd of citizens rationalising away the idea of feeding their own people to the dragon, as Vetinari discusses with him later:
--> '''Vetinari''': Down there are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any iniquity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathsomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass-produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept evil not because they say ''yes'', but because they don't say ''no''.
** Also, this quote:
--> “I thought, in Nature, the defeated animal just rolls on its back in submission and that’s the end of it,” said Vimes, as they clattered after the disappearing swamp dragon.
--> “Wouldn’t work with dragons,” said Lady Ramkin. “Some daft creature rolls on its back, you disembowel it. That’s how they look at it. Almost human, really.”
* HypocriticalHeartwarming: Vimes gets very upset over the idea of someone setting fire to ''his'' city.
-->'''Vimes''': “Listen, if anyone ever sets fire to this city, it’s going to be ''me''.”
* HypocriticalHumor: "But when I rule the city, the Supreme Grand Master said to himself, there is going to be none of this. I shall form a new secret society of keen-minded and intelligent men, although not too intelligent of course, not too intelligent. And we will overthrow the cold tyrant and we will usher in a new age of enlightenment and fraternity and humanism and Ankh-Morpork will become a Utopia and people like Brother Plasterer will be roasted over slow fires if I have any say in the matter, which I will."
* ICannotSelfTerminate: "Help. Me." To the head of the Guild of ''Assassins''. There's only one sort of help he can give...
* ImpossibleInsurance: Dibbler promises that his "dragon protection" cream will save you from being burned to death by dragon flame, and if it doesn't work then you get your money back (upon personal application only).
* InnocentInnuendo:
** "Why? It's ''my'' bloody dragon."
** A monarchist hazards that one of the chief problems of being a king is your daughter getting a prick. [[[{{Beat}} Long pause.]]] And falling asleep for a hundred years.
-->“''Ah,” said the others, unaccountably relieved.''
* InterspeciesAdoption: Carrot was raised by dwarves.
* IronicEcho: When Vimes tries to get through the Palace Guard, a Guardsman called Clarence calls him "Captain Slimes" and then, after Vimes evenly corrects him to "Vimes with a Vee" then repeatedly refers to him as "Captain Vimes with a Vee" in a supercilious fashion. When Vimes later interrogates Clarence from a position of power, he calls him "Clarence with a C".
* JustLikeMakingLove: Vimes refers to some particularly weak coffee as "love-in-a-canoe" coffee. The standard punchline[[note]] (it's fucking close to water)[[/note]] is [[StealthPun omitted]].
* KarmaHoudini: Elucidated Brethren member Brother Fingers escapes the dragon's attack on their headquarters, and later escapes from the Watch by sheer terror.
* TheLastDJ: Although this becomes famously inverted as the watch series goes on, Vimes starts as a classic case, complete with DrowningMySorrows.
-->"Every time he seemed to be getting anywhere he spoke his mind, or said the wrong thing. Usually at the same time."
* LawfulStupid: Carrot to the nth degree, although the fact that he can knock out ''trolls'' means there's not much the hardened criminals can do about it. He wises up in later books, but finds it useful to keep pretending he's like this.
* LethalEatery: [[CMOTDibbler C.M.O.T. Dibbler's]] traveling sausage stand, which even [[NiceGal Sybil]] can't quite compliment without hesitation.
-->"Hot sausages, two for a dollar, made of genuine pig, why not buy one for the lady?”
-->“Don’t you mean pork, sir?” said Carrot warily, eyeing the [[TakeOurWordForIt glistening tubes]].
-->“Manner of speaking, manner of speaking,” said Throat quickly. “[[FalseReassurance Certainly your actual pig products]]. [[ExactWords Genuine pig]].”
* LiteralMinded: Carrot doesn't understand the concept of metaphors, which leads to some [[HilarityEnsues hilarious moments]], not the least of which involves a time where he is told to [[ThrowTheBookAtThem throw the book at someone.]] He obliges, unfortunately for the victim.
* LonelyFuneral: Only his three squad-mates attend to "Leggy" Gaskin's funeral.
-->Poor old Gaskin. He had broken one of the fundamental rules of being a guard. It wasn't the sort of rule that some­one like Gaskin could break twice. And so he'd been lowered into the sodden ground with the rain drum­ming on his coffin and no-one present to mourn him but the three surviving members of the Night Watch, the most despised group of men in the entire city.
* LoveAtFirstPunch: [[spoiler: Or rather, Love At First Sonic-Boom Backlash, between Errol and the King.]]
* MadeOfExplodium: The swamp dragons are very prone to exploding because of their digestive processes.
* {{Malaproper}}: Colon repeatedly mixes up the phrase "You're history" with other educational fields.
** Nobby, talking smack to the Palace Guards, comes up with things like "doggybag", "doucheballs", and "slimebreaths"... and "[[GettingCrapPastTheRadar motherbreath]]".
* TheMeddlingKidsAreUseless: The Watch end up being superfluous during [[spoiler:the Dragon's takeover of the city, and it is implied that Vetinari was already aware of Wonse's plot. How much control Vetinari had is debatable, however, as Vimes does save him from Wonse's attempt to kill him]].
* MedicalMonarch: Parodied when a group of royalists start claiming the King will right all wrongs, Vimes demands to know what wrongs the people of Ankh-Morpork are suffering. Someone comes up with "premature baldness", and another instantly replies "Ah, kings can cure that, you know."
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: Immediately after isolating that the city is like a woman, a drunken Vimes digresses: "Roaring, ancient, centuries old," - before describing how it strings you along only to kick you in the teeth and so on.
* MillionToOneChance: A [[InvokedTrope hilarious attempt at invocation.]]
* MindScrew: Vimes wonders how Vetinari can still claim to be in control when he's locked in a cell. Vetinari invites him to look at the cell door (a heavy iron one with many bolts), ''really'' look at it. It takes Vimes a minute before he sees it:
--> Vimes stared at the door until his eyebrows ached. And then, just as random patterns in cloud suddenly, without changing in any way, become a horse's head or a sailing ship, he saw what he'd been looking at all along. A sense of terrifying admiration overcame him. He wondered what it was like in the Patrician's mind. All cold and shiny, he thought, all blued steel and icicles and little wheels clicking along like a huge clock. The kind of mind that would [[XanatosGambit carefully consider its own downfall and turn it to advantage.]]
--> It was a perfectly normal dungeon door, but it all depended on your sense of perspective.
--> In this dungeon the Patrician could hold off the world.
--> All that was on the outside was the lock.
--> '''All the bolts and bars were on the inside.'''
* MonsterProtectionRacket: the Brethren's scheme.
* {{Mooks}}: The dedication makes it clear that this book was intended to subvert the idea. But Terry liked the Watch too much to let them go after one book, and the rest is history.
** He said (in ''The Art of Discworld''), "I wanted to give them [[ADayInTheLimelight a moment in the sun]], but it turned out to be a full tropical holiday."
* MuggingTheMonster: A relatively rare example from Discworld where the monster is ''not'' [[{{Werewolf}} Angua]]. The first two times the dragon appeared, it was in the Shades. People tried to mug it the first time and the second time it accidentally saved the Watch from getting mugged, scaring the crap out of them in the process.
** Subverted by Carrot's highly uneventful trip to Ankh-Morpork from the mountains; every would-be bandit who gets a look at him immediately backs down.
* MyopicArchitecture: Vetinari is revealed to have done this on purpose: while the lock to the palace dungeon is on the outside, the locking mechanisms are on the inside. Would-be usurpers throw him in the dungeon expecting it to serve as an {{oubliette}}; instead, it's an impregnable fortress that he can "escape" at his leisure.
* NaiveNewcomer: Carrot, though he's not really an audience surrogate because, at least if the readers have read the previous books, they already know most of the stuff about Ankh-Morpork he writes home about.
* NeedAHandOrAHandjob: Carrot ends up staying with Mrs. Palm and her 'daughters' thanks to this.
* NeverForgottenSkill: Sgt. Colon claims shooting a longbow is like "riding something you never forget being able to ride," while having terrible problems even drawing his bow, let alone aiming. In reality archery is most definitely NOT a case of this, it requires constant practice to keep your hand in. (The main reason crossbows became so much more popular.)
* NoNameGiven: The BigBad's stand-in "king" is never named. Lampshaded when a minor character assumes his name is "Rex Vivat" ("Long Live the King") because he keeps seeing the phrase on banners.
* NonsenseClassification: The four food groups: sugar, starch, grease, and burnt crunchy bits.
* ObliviousAdoption: The novel provides the page quote for that page.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Vetinari of all people, who has not yet come around to the usefulness of Vimes and spends most of their early interactions carefully stomping out the watch's investigations.
-->"But there's the footprints, sir," said Vimes doggedly.
-->"We're close to the river," said the Patrician. "Possibly it was, perhaps, a [[RunningGag wading bird]] of some sort. A mere coincidence," he added, "but I should cover them over, if I were you. We don't want people getting the wrong idea and jumping to silly conclusions, do we?" he added sharply.
* OddJobGods: Vimes knows there's a thieves' god and a whores' goddess and think there's probably even a god for assassins. But none for the Watch.
* OfferedTheCrown
* OffscreenTeleportation: After he's [[spoiler:let himself out of his cell ("escaped" would imply he hadn't planned to be there)]], Vetinari pulls this on Wonse repeatedly to mess with him, using hidden passages.
-->''"That was commendably speedy, Wonse."''
* [[OhCrap Oh shi--]]
* OneManArmy: Carrot.
* OnlyTheKnowledgableMayPass
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Two kinds (see ''Discworld/TheColourOfMagic''). This book explains the relationship of the two types.
* OverlyLongGag: When Colon tries to diplomatically explain to Vimes how IAmNotWeasel applies to the Librarian:
--> '''Colon:''' "You don't use the 'M' word. Gets right up his nose, sir. He can't help it, he loses all self-control. Like a red rag to a wossname, sir. 'Ape' is all right, sir, but not the 'M' word. Because, sir, when he gets angry he doesn't just go and sulk, sir, if you get my drift. He's no trouble at all apart from that, sir. All right? Just don't say monkey. ''[[OhCrap Ohshit]]''."
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: Double subverted. When one of the Supreme Grand Master's conspirators is trying to get into their meeting, he has to exchange a long string of non sequitur SpySpeak to get in the door. However, these are apparently so generic that he manages to get quite a long way in before realizing one of them doesn't match up and they realize he's got the wrong address, and is trying to get into a completely different secret society. Furthermore, when he does have the right place, it turns out one of the people belonged to the other society, but no one had noticed until they said their society's name.
* PetTheDog: The villainous Supreme Grand Master (a.k.a. [[spoiler:Lupine Wonse]]) does one nice thing in the whole book. After the summoning magic consumes Brother Dunnikin's anti-crocodile amulet (see BrickJoke, above), Brother Dunnikin moans that it cost him three dollars. On finding out that Brother Dunnikin has been bitten by a crocodile and being told that the Brethren are having a whip round for him, the Supreme Grand Master asks to be put down for three dollars.
* PlatonicProstitution
* PosthumousCharacter: "Leggy" Gaskin, who was killed shortly before the start of the book and we first meet Vimes on the way back from his funeral.
* ProphecyTwist: Near the start a character briefly mentions (and dismisses) a prophecy that "Yea, the king will come bringing Law and Justice, and know nothing but the Truth, and [[StandardPoliceMotto Protect and Serve]] the People with his Sword". Although hardly anyone notices, the prophecy is fulfilled exactly. Note that the prophecy doesn't actually say he'll ''take'' the throne.
* QuietCryForHelp: Wonse's desperate whisper to the assassin.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler:Wonse is the Supreme Grand Master]] and [[spoiler:The Place Where the Dragons Went is actually the human imagination.]]
* RightfulKingReturns: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by the plan of the Grand Supreme Master. [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] [[ViewersAreMorons heavily]] by the Elucidated Brethren in general, providing the trope's page quote. [[spoiler:Subverted with Carrot.]]
* RunningGag: Vimes' various attempts to convey that the city is [[JustLikeMakingLove like a woman]] and their [[SidetrackedByTheAnalogy decidedly]] [[{{Metaphorgotten}} mixed]] [[{{Dissimile}} success]].
** The identification of the dragon's footprints as those of a wading bird also crops up repeatedly.
* SealedEvilInACan: The old dragons.
* SecretCircleOfSecrets: The Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night.
* SecretHandshake: The Supreme Grand Master notes to himself that the members of the Brethren are "the sort to dislocate their fingers with even the simplest secret handshake".
* SeriousBusiness: The Librarian considers the theft of a book to be a worse crime than murder. Of course, it ''is'' [[spoiler:a magical book that allows one to summon dragons]], but it's implied that all librarians feel this way about all books.
** Traveling through L-Space is also not taken lightly. There are specific rules that librarians can't ignore.
* ShapedLikeItself: A description of the streets of Ankh-Morpork at night includes "thieves thieved" and "assassins assassinated."
* SheIsTheKing: [[spoiler: The dragon]]
* ShootOutTheLock: "What, with a bow and arrow?!"
** Vimes is rather confused as to why he'd given that order, but it's implied that he was tapping into some timeless copper folk-consciousness.
* ShoutOut:
** Lots to classic police films such as ''DirtyHarry''.
** And two to classic detective stories in the same paragraph: "[[Literature/SherlockHolmes Once you have eliminated the impossible]]" etc., and "[[Literature/SherlockHolmes the curious incident]] of [[Creator/EdgarAllanPoe the orangutan in the nighttime]]".
** There are at least two shout-outs to ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' as well: the line "Of all the cities in all the world it could have flown into, he thought, it's flown into mine," and "Here's looking at you, kid," the last line Vimes speaks in the book.
** And quite a lot to Creator/JRRTolkien, as noted above, both to ''Literature/TheHobbit'' and to ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''.
** Also ''Literature/TheManWhoWasThursday'', G K Chesterton's story in which all members of an anarchist group are progressively revealed as secret policemen of various descriptions.
** Creator/MCEscher is mentioned by name (see AlienGeometries) and his work ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptiles_%28M._C._Escher%29 Reptiles]]'' is alluded to in the prologue, which states that the Place Where The Dragons Went is similarly packed so tightly with dragons that if you look carefully at it, the space between each dragon ''is another dragon''.
** Carrot cries "[[TheThreeMusketeers All for one]]!" when he charges off to help save Lady Sybil, to Colon's and Nobby's puzzlement.
*** Carrot himself can also be seen as an Expy of d'Artagnan, with Colon, Nobby and Vimes as the Musketeers.
** "I heard where this guy, [[Literature/{{Beowulf}} he killed this monster in this lake, no problem, stuck its arm up over the door . . . and you know what? Its mum came and complained. Its actual mum come right down to the hall next day and complained.]] That's the respect you get."
** Various royalty-centric FairyTales are alluded to by the populace scraping together all they know about kings.
** To RaymondChandler - in times of stress Vimes resorts to a bottle in the in the bottom drawer of his desk. And Carrot, after spending some time polishing his old armour, steps out into the street "untarnished and unafraid". A reference to a line in Chandler's essay TheSimpleArtOfMurder,"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid".
** A human of heroic proportion, but naive? A foundling brought up by dwarfs, off to make his way in the world? Knows no fear? {{Siegfried}} from RichardWagner surely?
** The whole business of competing secret societies, each of which has a Brother Doorkeeper who will only let you past the Sacred Portal if you know the correct form of mystically oriented words, is reminiscent of similar shennanigans in Creator/RobertAntonWilson's ''{{Illuminatus}}'' trilogy.
* SidetrackedByTheAnalogy: After the above example of {{Dissimile}}, Vimes changes the subject, but Colon responds with little enthusiasm because "He was still wondering about his superior officer’s sex life."
* SmugSnake: The Supreme Grand Master, a.k.a. [[spoiler:Lupine Wonse,]] who vastly overestimates his own power in summoning and controlling the dragon, not to mention the fact that he thought he could do a better job running the city than Vetinari.
* SpySpeak: Very prevalent among the numerous secret organizations apparently, leading to more than one humourous misunderstanding.
* SquareCubeLaw: Lampshaded. Sybil specifically points out that you can't just scale things up and have them work the same way. Justified by the dragon [[AWizardDidIt using magic to support itself]].
** Real dragons are the size of dogs... and so [[RealityEnsues chemically combustible]] that they tend to blow themselves up rather than burn villages down.
* StandardHeroReward: Subverted. All the dragon slaying heroes insist on this for slaying the dragon, but Vetinari makes it clear there is no princess and this is not a kingdom. He does have an aunt, though. And a dog.
** Double Subverted, though, if you [[FridgeBrilliance think hard about]] what ''Vimes'' eventually gets as a result of this book. Namely, the hand of a duchess (if not a princess), and becoming one of the wealthiest men in the city, if not actually owning half of it.
*** Arguably he does own half of it; He's the Duke of Ankh, which is half of the composite city of Ankh-Morpork
** This trope got double subverted earlier, if you consider what the fellow ([[spoiler:Errol]]) who ''really'' defeated the King got out of the deal. [[spoiler: Granted, they didn't bother to take half the kingdom, but she'd already found out that Ankh-Morpork's idea of "gold" wasn't worth hoarding, and they could hardly bring half a city along when they flew away, perhaps to join Errol's distant relations on the Moon.]]
* StealthPun: [[WorldOfPun Several]], two notable GettingCrapPastTheRadar instances including the example under JustLikeMakingLove and Vimes' lamentation on the cruelties of Nature: "No wonder they call her a mother..."
** "They felt, in fact, tremendously bucked-up, which was how Lady Ramkin would almost certainly have put it and which was definitely several letters of the alphabet away from how they normally felt."
* SummonBiggerFish: Vimes catches [[spoiler: Wonse]] planning to summon ''another'' dragon to fight the first one.
* SwordOfPlotAdvancement: Subverted, of course. The fake heir to the throne has an incredibly shiny sword covered in gems and doesn't really do him much good, while Carrot's aggressively non-magical, completely sword-like sword can cut through pretty much anything (including the shiny sword).
* TeamPet: Errol. Who's pretty much a LethalJokeCharacter.
* ThinkNothingOfIt: Vimes is surprised to hear that he and his men will be rewarded for their efforts to save the city.
-->'''The Patrician:''' Oh, and do bring your men in tomorrow. The city must show its gratitude.
-->'''Vimes:''' It must what?
** When they are told that they can have a reward, his men ask for a small raise, a new tea kettle, and a dartboard (being afraid that they went too far with the last one.)
* ThisBedOfRoses: Carrot has no idea he's staying at a brothel.
* ThisIsYourBrainOnEvil: It's so freaky you're [[DrivenToSuicide asking the head of the Guild of Assassins for help]]. (And it's terrifying for the assassin: "[[AndIMustScream Help. Me.]]")
* ThrownFromTheZeppelin: Spoofed. The civic leaders all plan to just murmer a quiet agreement with whomever is stupid enough to loudly protest against having to give the Dragon a monthly VirginSacrifice. But since all of them are GenreSavvy enough not to talk back to the Dragon, [[WhoWillBellTheCat no one ends up protesting]]. And they all curse the others for their cowardice.
* ThrowTheBookAtThem: [[BluntMetaphorsTrauma Literally]], in one case.
* TimeTravel: How the Librarian eventually discovers who stole his book. He is able to do this because all libraries are interconnected through L-Space and he is able to find the paths connecting the Unseen University Library to any other... ''including'' the Unseen University Library of ''two weeks ago''.
* TitleDrop: The BigBad yells "Guards! Guards!" twice, once to summon the guards to arrest Vimes (see ConservationOfNinjutsu), and another to get rid of Vetinari.
* TrailOfBreadcrumbs: The Librarian does this when navigating through L-Space with a big ball of string. He ties one end to his desk in the middle of the Library... and when he reaches his destination, the same place but two weeks ago, he ties the other end to his two-weeks-younger desk with his two-weeks-younger self sleeping behind it. [[MindScrew Try not to think about this too much]].
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: At least [[http://books.google.com/books?id=ijGqzhDD2Q0C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false one edition of the book]] reveals on its front cover artwork and the back cover summary that [[spoiler:the dragon is crowned king]], an event that doesn't take place until the last third of the book.
* TrainingTheGiftOfMagic: This is one of the few places in the Discworld series where we see that characters lacking any aptitude for magic, and also any formal training, can in fact get it to work, sort of, using lengthy rituals based on stolen information, and a source of power. We also see why this is a really, really bad idea.
* TurnInYourBadge: Wonse demands this from Vimes after he disrupts the coronation (mistaking a raven for the dragon).
* UnfamiliarCeiling: This happens to Vimes.
* VillainousRescue: The Dragon saves the Night Watch from certain death in the Shades by wiping out their prospective murderers.
* TheVillainKnowsWhereYouLive: It's implied that Lord Vetinari got the leaders of the [[ThievesGuild Guild of Thieves]] to agree to his plan by quietly suggesting that he knew where their loved ones lived.
* WelcomeToTheBigCity: Carrot's arrival in Ankh has elements of this; he doesn't get robbed himself, but he doesn't cope well with the idea that theft is legal (and that the Watch are probably closer to criminals than the [[ThievesGuild Guild of Thieves]] is). Although he's so naive he doesn't notice the prostitution, even when he's staying at Mrs Palm's.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Vimes "being brung low by a woman" as part of the backstory for his alcoholic state is not referred to again, even though later books explore his earlier life some more and make more than one ContinuityNod to other elements from this book (such as Leggy Gaskin).
** The Watchmen might think that Vimes was referring to an actual woman, but considering that Vimes referred to Ankh-Morpork as a woman at least twice earlier in the book, the "woman" may have been there the entire time.
** In a later book, a plausible candidate for "the woman" is identified as a Miss Mavis Trouncer; Vimes, facing death, hopes that when his life flashes before his eyes, it fast-forwards through the bits pertaining to his association with Mavis.
** It turns out in the sequel that he is spending most of his pay on women... specifically, charity to the widows and orphans of watchmen killed in the line of duty. [[FromACertainPointOfView Worrying about their welfare might have helped drive him to drink.]]
* AWizardDidIt: The dragon is able to fly... because of Magic. Of course, in the Discworld, this is a perfectly legitimate explanation.
* YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe: The spellbook. And Vimes ''writes his notes'' like this - he doesn't speak that way. The joke is that people in Ancient Days used to speak like us, but write in YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe. ([[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness This was subsequently dropped in future books.]])
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