->''[[ArcWords A lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on.]]''

The 25th ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel and the first standalone since ''Discworld/SmallGods''.

Building on the the themes of change started in the previous book ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'', another of the Disc's previous MedievalStasis principles is broken: no movable type. There's a rumour that dwarfs can turn lead into gold - and they can, by making the lead into typeface and undercutting the engravers. William de Worde, a young scribe who makes his living writing for the illiterate and sending letters of news to distant nobles, encounters the dwarfs and ends up writing the first newspaper, ''The Ankh-Morpork Times'' for them, with the help of engraver's granddaughter Sacharissa Cripslock and the photography-obsessed vampire Otto Chriek.

Meanwhile, a plot against the Patrician takes shape. The shadowy organization from ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'' returns, now named as the Committee to Unelect the Patrician. They've obtained a lookalike for Lord Vetinari from Pseudopolis, and hired [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Mr Pin and Mr Tulip]], the "New Firm" of hired thugs, to help them achieve their devious ends. It's up to William de Worde, with the help of Gaspode the Wonder Dog, to get to the bottom of their nefarious plot.

Preceded by ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'', followed by ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime''.

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!! Contains examples of:

* AddictionDisplacement: Otto replaces blood (and menacing well-endowed young women) with the capture of light, an odd choice for a vampire.
* AmbiguousSyntax: The Ankh-Morpork Times takes a little while getting the hang of headlines. One reads, "Patrician Attacks Clerk With Knife! (He had the knife, not the clerk.)"
* ArcWords:
** "The Truth Shall Make Ye Free!" (from the [[Literature/TheBible King James Bible]]). Initially appears to be a simple RunningGag as the printers keep misspelling it - successive editions having "... Shall Make Ye Fret", "...Shall Make Ye Frep" and "... Shall Make Ye Fred", yet it turns ominous when the edition that melts over Tulip and Pin reads "The Truth Shall Make Ye Fere"...
** Also "A lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on" (which in RealLife was coined by James Watt, and used by MarkTwain and WinstonChurchill among others)
** Dog Bites Man.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: From the blurb - "William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld's first newspaper. Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalists life - people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes."
* AskAStupidQuestion: [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] when William goes into the palace kitchen and asks a man handling a tray of bread loaves whether or not he's the baker.
-->'''Man:''' What does it look like?
-->'''William:''' I can see what it ''looks'' like. I'm still asking the question.
-->'''Man:''' I'm the butcher, as it happens. Well done. The baker's off sick.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Interestingly, even though it's specifically said that BigBad [[spoiler:Lord de Worde]] never gets his hands dirty with violence--he has men for that--he seems to be pretty good with a sword in the final confrontation. Of course, facing [[spoiler:a vampire]], that doesn't help him very much... [[spoiler:William does mention several times that the one thing the de Wordes are expected to excel at is charging into battle.]]
* BadDreams: Tulip has them.
* BadHabits: Mr. Pin dresses as an Omnian priest as a disguise, while Mr. Tulip dons a Vestigial Virgin's habit.
* BegoneBribe: William [[spoiler:pays his father a generous estimate of what it cost to raise him in order to sever any remaining ties between them. The money isn't the thing, as Lord de Worde has gold in his DNA, but instead is based on the Dwarfish tradition in which betrothed dwarves buy one another from their parents to symbolize their independence.]]
** Foul Ole Ron and his crew are the masters of collecting Begone Bribes.
* BerserkButton: William drops a scent bomb in front of Angua to throw her off his trail. As Gaspode informs him, "Vimes will go around the twist. He'll going to go totally Librarian-poo[[note]]ape-shit, the Unseen University librarian is an ape, long story[[/note]]. He's going to invent new ways of being angry to try it out on you."
** We see Vimes looking after Angua as she recovers. Gaspode was not wrong. Fortunately for William, Vimes is TheFettered and can't do anything in recompense because his actions were technically not illegal. By the time of ''Discworld/NightWatch'', the practice is almost commonplace, although with less potent substances to prevent the Vengeance of Vimes.
* BewareTheNiceOnes[=/=]BewareTheSillyOnes: Otto spends most of the book speaking in a VERY thick accent (even lampshades it by speaking cockney for a sentence), remenisces about Uberwäld and complains about shirts being ruined as they're covered in blood. Even in his CrowningMomentOfAwesome he's taking boxing stances and kissing people on the forehead.
** A later novel strongly suggests that this is [[ObfuscatingStupidity a deliberate act]] on Otto's part. He's SO silly and stereotypical that it's actually quite endearing and people forget that he's also got keen intelligence and supernatural powers. More importantly, they forget that vampires are scary.
* BigDamnHeroes: Near the end of the novel William realizes that running off alone to confront the villain of the piece was maybe not his brightest move, [[spoiler:even if it is his father]]. Fortunately for him, that's when Otto shows up.
* BondVillainStupidity: GenreSavvy Mr. Tulip notices something is wrong when Mr. Pin fails to kill Mr. Slant ([[KillItWithFire with fire]], from which even a zombie would be hard-pressed to come back) and mutters something about "I think I shall let you live today."
* BrainsAndBrawn: Pin is the brains, Tulip is the brawn (outside of [[HiddenDepths his encyclopedic knowledge of art]]).
* BreadEggsMilkSquick: Sacharissa has been holding the fort while William's out, and when he comes back she tells him, "There's a man who's lost his watch, there's a troll who wants a job, there's a zombie who wants...well, I can't make out what he wants, oh, and there's someone who doesn't like what you wrote and wants to behead you."
* BreakingAndBloodsucking: Otto, a "[[VegetarianVampire black ribboner]]" vampire, reminisces about his past experience doing this, preying on not-always-unwilling bosomy young ladies in negligees.
* BrickJoke: DOG BITES MAN!
** Also, the (alleged) rain of dogs in Treacle Mine Road. ("It was just one dog!")
** Hughnon Ridcully's SidetrackedByTheAnalogy moment comes up later in passing, when he starts telling everyone about the Patrician's "plan" to send shrimp by semaphore.
* BuxomIsBetter: Sacharissa is apparently extremely busty, and believes that a corset and a plain dress will tone those endowments down. [[FetishFuel They do not]].
* BystanderSyndrome: William is disappointed to learn that stories in "the public interest" (such as the plot against the Patrician) are not the same as stories the public is interested in (unlikely rumours, funny animals and such.)
* CallingTheOldManOut: Eventually done by William to his father.
* CharacterFilibuster: As per usual with later ''Discworld'' books, and evident in the argument between Sacharissa and William before the climax (with William voicing the author's opinion).
* ChekhovsGun: Or rather, [[spoiler:Chekhov's desk spike.]]
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: Mr. Tulip believes, but he doesn't believe in anything in particular, which causes something of a problem [[spoiler:after he dies.]]
* ContinuityNod: William's oafish brother managed to be one of the only casualties in the war with Klatch, which was the subject of ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}''.
** Vetinari also mentions the events of ''Discworld/MovingPictures'' and ''Discworld/SoulMusic'', comparing them with the introduction of the printing press. %%''Soul Music'' had a reset button at the end, but Death did say that people would retain some memory of the events, and this is neither the first nor the last indication that he was right.
** Harry King grouses about how much golems are demanding to be paid these days. The golems' liberation from slavery first got started in ''Discworld/FeetOfClay''.
** When his ominous statment is finally backed up [[EmpathicEnvironment by thunder]] Otto yells "[[Discworld/SoulMusic Music with rocks in!]]" which is the slightly mangled Discworld way of saying "[[HoldYourHippogriffs Rock'n'roll!]]"
** The Committee to Unelect the Patrician appears to be the same group ultimately behind the plot in ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'', judging by their SmokyGentlemensClub description.
** Mr. Pin claims that he and "Sister Jennifer" work for the Bishop Horn Ministry to Animals. In ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'', Constable Visit preaches to the Watch's carrier pigeons, reasoning that the historical Bishop Horn had ministered to animals.
* DeadpanSnarker: Boddony the dwarf. The vast majority of his dialogue consists of sarcastic remarks.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: It helps if [[TheGrimReaper Death]] gives you a little post-mortem therapy to help with the redemption. [[spoiler:However, as Mr. Pin finds out too late, redemption is only possible if you're ''sincere'' about your regret for your crimes... ]]
* DidntSeeThatComing: In contrast to his usual borderline-omniscience, Vetinari suffers from this twice.
** First, he sees [[spoiler:a perfect double for himself. It throws him off his game for just a second or two but that's enough for the New Firm.]]
** Second, [[spoiler:he's completely nonplussed by William's inquiry as to whether he'll be attending Harry King's daughter's wedding, until Drumknott fills him in on some details. To be fair, he had been unconscious for several days before that.]]
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: The conspiracy [[spoiler:lead by Lord de Worde]](coordinated by the Committee to Un-Elect the Patrician) is clearly modelled after the Watergate scandal (coordinated by the Committee to Re-Elect the President) -- to the point that Pin and Tulip ''literally'' enter the city through the Water Gate. The unravelling of the plot begins with a botched burglary (the Patrician's Palace, the DNC Headquarters) that requires a coverup far larger than the initial crime, a pair of rookie reporters (William and Sacharissa, Woodward and Bernstein) uncover a money trail that implicates politicians at the highest levels ([[spoiler:Lord de Worde]], Richard Nixon), and the most damning/exculpating evidence comes first from an anonymous tipster (Deep Bone who meets William in a multi-story livery stable, [[Film/AllThePresidentsMen Deep Throat]] who meets the reporters in a parking garage) and later from secret audio recordings (the Disorganizer, the Oval Office tapes).
* EmpathicEnvironment: According to Otto, {{Uberwald}}ian weather is obliging enough to provide dramatic thunder after a portentous statement like "zer dark eyes of zer mind," so he's disappointed that Ankh-Morpork's environment doesn't care. It obliges at the climax, and once things are sorted, he invokes it joyfully.
* EvilLawyerJoke: William delivers one deadpan when attempting to prevent a fight between Goodmountain and his dwarfs and Mr Slant and his troll heavies:
-->'''William:''' Hold on, hold on, there must be a law against killing lawyers.\\
'''Goodmountain:''' Are you ''sure?''\\
'''William:''' There're still some around, aren't there?
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: [[spoiler:Lord [=DeWorde=] is horrified to learn that the New Firm tried to kill William. It doesn't stop him from trying to ship William to another continent to stop his interference, but it's the thought that counts.]]
* ExactWords: Tuttle Scrope, who was earmarked [[spoiler:to replace Vetinari]], is head of the Guild of Shoemakers, Cobblers and Leatherworkers. His shop [[spoiler:sells sex toys made from leather.]]
* FakeHigh: Mr. Tulip [[BeatBag never seems to get his hands on real drugs]], but that doesn't stop him from claiming it keeps his mind sharp.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** After the scene where the New Firm notice the reward posted for finding Vetinari's missing terrier Wuffles, Foul Ole Ron is seen [[spoiler: breaking a sausage into ''three'' pieces instead of the normal two for him and Gaspode, hinting as to where Wuffles went.]]
** One of Otto's dark light photographs hints at [[spoiler: the fire that burns down the original offices of the Times and melts the lead in the press.]]
** In a conversation about their respective motives, Goodmountain explains to William that he and Boddony came to Ankh-Morpork to earn each other's marriage prices: dwarf custom requires a prospective spouse to compensate their intended's parents for care and education costs, so that the newlyweds owe nothing to their families but pure gratitude [[note]]This does not preclude the parents actually ''owing'' a particularly industrious child net wages, or choosing to make a very generous wedding gift[[/note]]. William initially sees keeping track of familial obligations with literal debits and credits as overly cold and calculating. Later in the book, however, he indicates he'd be ''willing'' to buy himself free of his father's influences… to the tune of $20,000.
* FreudianExcuse: [[NoodleIncident Something very bad]] happened to Mr. Tulip as a child.
* FriendlyNeighborhoodVampire: Otto, at least to his friends.
* GoodThingYouCanHeal: Otto gets decapitated, and it's only a minor inconvenience. His flash also reduces him to ashes several times; eventually he takes to carrying a vial of blood, which breaks on the ashes and revives him.
* GrewASpine: William de Worde relative his father. An example of the ComingOfAgeStory variant of the trope.
* HaveIMentionedIAmADwarfToday: One of the other residents opens his boiled egg... with a precise blow from a very small axe after hearing a racist remark from Mr. Windling. It illustrates how persistently foolish Mr. Windling must be, as there are mentions of the preparations for opening the boiled egg throughout the scene.
* HiddenDepths: [[spoiler:Due in part to his terrible childhood, where the only thing of ''any'' value in his village was the decorations in the church,]] Mr. Tulip has an ''excellent'' knowledge of art history and value. He can also gauge a gem's worth by sight.
* HoldYourHippogriffs: [[Discworld/SoulMusic Music with Rocks In]] = Rock and Roll.
* HypocriticalHumor: A subtle version, but when Vimes asks William who he's answerable to, William answers "The truth," and Vimes pointedly remarks on truth's lack of a fixed address/incentive to smack William in the face if he lies. Coming from Vimes, a man who gets on the nerves of Ankh-Morpork's upper crust mainly because, to paraphrase Rust in a previous book, he sees the law as "some sort of shining thing in the sky", that's pretty rich.
* ImpaledPalm: The Spike.
* InterruptedSuicide: Subverted - the "jumper" was really just seeking attention, and has to save ''William'' when he faints from vertigo after climbing up to talk to him.
* IronicEcho: Once William's got his hands on a recording of "A lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on," he replays it, slightly shorter each time until all it says is "the truth has got its boots on."
** He later tells his father "The truth ''has'' got its boots on. It's going to start kicking."
** "Let it fry!"
* KillItWithFire: Mr. Slant is visibly worried when threatened by flames.
* LetsFightLikeGentlemen: When Otto rescues William from [[spoiler: Lord de Worde's]] thug, he's childishly excited to "put zem up in traditional Ankh-Morpork puglism!" When they refuse and gang up on him with clubs, he expresses disappointment at their ungentlemanly behavior while [[OneHitKill One-Hit KOing]] them.
* LikeFatherLikeSon: William doesn't appreciate the comparison. They're both arrogant, single-minded, stubborn jerks. But William tries not to be. Vocally. He's not always very good at it. [[spoiler:Towards the end of the book William seems to have realized just how strongly he resembles his father and resolved to at least make constructive ''use'' of his arrogant single-minded stubbornness.]]
* LiteralMetaphor: One possible effect of Otto's dark light-using iconograph is to make metaphors real in the resulting pictures. When he takes a picture of William, it comes out as showing his father standing behind him looking over his shoulder.
* LondonGangster: Pin and Tulip. They fit the archetype, describe themselves as "the New Firm" and Ankh-Morpork is part London in its conception.
* MeaningfulName: William de Worde's name is a {{portmanteau}} of William Caxton and Wynkyn de Worde, two prominent early printers.
** Goodmountain. It's a slightly altered English translation of Gutenberg.
** The dwarfs Boddony and Caslong are named after the historic designers of typefaces Giambattista Bodoni and William Caslon (or the famous fonts that bear their names).
* MentalPictureProjector: With a side-helping of SpookyPhotographs: Otto's dark light pictures have... strange results, at various points showing two Vetinaris, silver rain underground, and William's father proverbially "staring over" his shoulder.
* MisterXAndMisterY: Tulip and Pin, as befits ThoseTwoBadGuys (as noted below).
* [[invoked]]NamesTheSame: There are brief mentions of two characters named Hermione (one a homeless beggar's dissociative personality, the other a daughter of a [[WeBuyAnything waste management businessman]]). The fourth Harry Potter book was just coming out as this novel was published.
** And the waste management businessman, a product of a life spent up to the elbows in, er, waste, is called Harry...
** Theres also Foul Ole Ron "Bugrit! Millennium hand and shrimp!"
* NarrativeProfanityFilter: Played with. At first it seems as though Mr Tulip's use of "[=----=]ing" is a 19th-century-style censoring of the F-word, but it turns out that what he's saying is actually just [[VerbalTic a glottal stop and then "Ing!"]] [[spoiler: When Sacharissa decides to try out swearing, she clearly can't reproduce the glottal stop correctly.]]
* NotSoDifferent: William and his father, as noted by more than one character.
* NotSoInvincibleAfterAll: Mr Slant is a zombie and already dead, and has also escaped being involved with other anti-Vetinari plots in the past, so he has previously been presented as having JokerImmunity. Then we have a slowly, lovingly described scene where Mr Pin ties a burning rag to his spring-gonne and the text talks about how ''dry'' Mr Slant is...
** [[spoiler: Still a KarmaHoudini for Slant, as William never actually turns in the recording to the police and Slant's only "punishment" is getting blackmailed into acting as the ''Times''' lawyer. Possibly forever.]]
*** [[spoiler: ''For free'', [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment which must be agony for him]].]]
* NunsAreSpooky: [[DumbMuscle Mr]] [[TheBrute Tulip]] briefly disguises himself as a Nun, and he's pretty spooky... but Sacharissa claims that the nuns who taught at her school were ''far'' worse.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: On the surface, Otto Chriek is a ridiculous FunnyForeigner who speaks in VampireVords. This is part of a deliberate effort to seem cartoonish and cute rather than threating because he IS a vampire.
* PayEvilUntoEvil: The majority of the protagonists' successful denouement involves [[spoiler:taking the New Firm's payment for themselves and using it to pay all necessary bills, breaking into a rival's pressroom and holding him at crossbow-point, and plenty of blackmail]].
* PoorCommunicationKills: The New Firm is much less effective than they should be because their employers neglected to mention a lot of things. They are not -ing happy about this.
* ProductionForeshadowing: Some of the first chapter's text (particularly the example of the fill-in-blanks letters home that William sells) was first published in ''The Discworld Companion'' nearly a decade earlier, ending in "it seems the future may hold great things for young de Worde". Evidently Creator/TerryPratchett was planning this story for ''a long time''.
** That he was. The original working title for this book? ''Discworld/InterestingTimes'', which ended up coming out as a vastly different book the same year as the first edition of the ''Companion''.
* RedHerring: The story introduces a new member of the Canting Crew of beggars, the multiple-personality-bearing Altogether Andrews. On his first appearance his personalities are listed and one of them, Burke, is mentioned with trepidation (the beggars saw him once and never want to see him again), which makes the reader think he will be involved later on. In fact nothing comes of this apparent {{Foreshadowing}}.
* {{Reincarnation}}: Pin and Tulip both get this after death. Mr Tulip (who had HiddenDepths and true (though empty) belief and waited to reincarnate until he felt true repentance for his actions) comes back [[spoiler:as a woodworm in William's antique desk, happily enjoying fine works as he did in his previous life]]. Mr Pin (who tried taking Tulip's symbol of belief and treated it as though it were a 'Get out of eternal punishment for being an evil git free card' without needing to repent) is reincarnated as [[spoiler:a potato in his former likeness that was destined to fry]].
* RewindReplayRepeat: William with Mr Pin's Disorganizer.
* RunningGag: Mr. Wintler and his humorously shaped vegetables, Sacharissa's chest size, typos of "The Truth Shall Make You Free", Mr. Tulip's abuse of the phrase [[UnusualEuphemism "----ing"]] and bad habit of getting stuck with {{Beat Bag}}s.
* [[AWizardDidIt A Scientist Did it]]: When Vetinari wonders aloud what makes it so that frozen ink isn't as dark as unfrozen, Hughnon Ridcully waves it off with a vague "science, probably".
* SecretlyWealthy: William, who's become estranged from his wealthy family.
* SelfMadeMan:
** Harry King went from a poor kid who collected trash to sell to the owner of the largest waste processing center in the city.
** William tries to be one, as he has renounced his father's wealth, but he still makes his living with the writing skills from his fancy expensive education.
* SewerGator: Ace salesman CMOT Dibbler briefly peddles a kind of "Fung Shooey". He is so good at it that one buyer discovers the Dragon of Unhappiness ''literally'' comes up through a lavatory which has been celestially mis-aligned and bites the believer in the bum.
* ShameIfSomethingHappened: Vetinari at one point uses this phrase about William. Drumknott considers drafting a contract with the Guild of Assassins until he realizes Vetinari is using the phrase literally and isn't intending to cause any "something".
* ShoutOut: Mr Pin and Mr Tulip, being ThoseTwoBadGuys, have a number:
** They call themselves the "New Firm," which has to be a reference to {{Neverwhere}}'s "the Old Firm" (where there's a New, there must be an Old), though the characters themselves and the general idea behind them are based on a common archetype, not direct {{Expy}}s.
** Mr. Pin also has [[Film/PulpFiction "'Not a Nice Person at All' done in pokerwork on his purse,"]], Mr. Tulip at one point elaborates on "Get medieval on his arse" (see under NoodleImplements), and Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip discuss foreign food at one point, including "what they call sausage-in-a-bun in Quirm."
** The troll Rocky [[Film/{{Rocky}} puts up a boxing pose when fighting.]]
** A possible one to ''Literature/TheHobbit'', as one character mentions one winter so cold the river froze, allowing wolves into the city (swerving from the story when it turns out the wolves were quickly killed and eaten).
** Harry King's name may be a reference to E.G. Kingsford, who made his eponymous charcoal out of scrap wood from Henry Ford's factories.
* SidetrackedByTheAnalogy: Vetinari begins talking to high priest Hughnon Ridcully about what a wondrous thing the Clacks are for communication, using an example with a merchant being able to order a cargo of prawns from Genua via clacks. Ridcully, [[LiteralMinded thinking in a way common to the family]], spends the rest of the conversation trying to figure out how the prawns would travel from tower to tower and starts wondering if possibly the claws allow them to grab on to the towers as they're tossed.
* SirSwearsalot: Subverted with Mr Tulip, who doesn't [[NarrativeProfanityFilter --ing]] swear. He just says [[UnusualEuphemism "--ing"]] [[VerbalTic a --ing lot]].
* SmallNameBigEgo: Mr. Tulip and Mr. Pin, big time. They believe they are absolutely the latest, greatest thing in crime and that Ankh-Morpork's underworld is full of lily-livered amateurs. They never catch on that Ankh-Morpork is to evil and corruption what guns are to bullets and the only reason the city's criminals no longer try to upset the status quo is that is they're up against two of the most fearsome forces on the Disc: [[MagnificentBastard Vetinari's intelligence]] and [[TheFettered Sam Vimes's dedication to the law]].
* StealthPun:
** Sacharissa's "It gives me the humorous vegetables" (Read: willies).
** Mr Tulip describes a musical instrument thusly: "It's not a --ing harpsichord, it's a --ing virginal. One --ing string to a note instead of two! So called because it was an instrument for --ing young ladies!" to which the response is "My word, was it? I thought it was just of sort of early piano!" (also qualifies as GettingCrapPastTheRadar. See also VerbalTic below).
* StereotypeReactionGag: Otto Chriek is an {{Uberwald}}ian stereotype who gets offended when de Worde assumes he's a vampire. Even though he ''is'' a vampire.
* StinkBomb: William deploys an ''epic'' one to incapacitate the Watch werewolf's nose.
* SuicideBySunlight: More like suicidal ''behavior'' involving sunlight which gets Otto disintegrated twice while taking flash iconographs.
* SupremeCouncilOfVagueness: The Committee to Unelect the Patrician (a reference to the Committee to Re-elect the President from the Watergate affair).
* SympatheticPOV: From William's point of view, Vimes and the Watch are antagonists obstructing free speech, whereas in most previous Ankh-Morpork novels they've been the protagonists.
** This gets even funnier several books later, when [[Discworld/GoingPostal Moist]] considers William "a pompous windbag with a bum stuffed full of tweed." He likes Sacharissa, though. Vimes himself has a rant in ''Discworld/{{Thud}}!'' about how the ''Times'' seems to know about goings-on in the Watch almost before ''he'' does.
** Pterry may be deliberately setting up three of Ankh-Morpork's most influential political voices (Commander Vimes, Moist von Lipwig, and William de Worde) to dislike and/or distrust one another, as this is how Vetinari always keeps power-blocks within his city from uniting to challenge his authority.
---> '''Vetinari:''' In return, however, I must ask you not to upset Commander Vimes... ''(cough)'' more than necessary.
---> '''William:''' I'm sure we can all pull together, sir.
---> '''Vetinari:''' Oh, I do hope not. I really do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress.
** It helps that none of them want the top job. Vimes hates exercising or interacting with any kind of authority outside of the Watch. William says that there have been far worse rulers than Vetinari and fights to clear his name (and he wouldn't want to be Patrician because it would make him too much like his father). Moist throws himself in front of a pie because, as a known felon, he would not survive in a post-Vetinari city. Vetinari's installed powerful figures who both owe him their success and want him to stay exactly where he is.
* ThemeNaming: Many of the dwarf printers (aside from the leader Goodmountain, which is an Anglicization of Gutenberg) are named after fonts - Gowdie for Gaudy and Boddony for Bodoni, for instance.
* ThereAreTwoKindsOfPeopleInTheWorld: Parodied with William's ever-evolving take on the glass-half-full/half-empty metaphor.
* TheyCallMeMisterTibbs
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: Mr Pin and Mr Tulip.
* VerbalTic: Mr. Tulip's got a [=----=]ing bad one. It's implied for most of the book that the word is censored, but it turns out he's actually pronouncing it that way.
* VillainousBreakdown: Mr. Pin. Big time.
* VillainousBSOD: [[spoiler: Mr. Tulip, after Death shows him his life "as it flashed before other people's eyes".]]
* WeirderThanUsual: "Wizards doing strange things wasn't news. Wizards doing strange things was wizards."
* WellDoneSonGuy: William at first.
--> '''Otto''': You only have to talk to [[VampireVords Villiam]] for any length of time to see that, in a vay, his father is alvays looking over his shoulder.
* WeNeedADistraction: As De Worde notes, a vampire flailing in pain because of his own flashbulb is ''always'' the center of attention.
* TheWorfEffect: Rocky is hired for stopping a barbarian tavern brawler attacking the staff. When Sacharissa goes to the de Worde estate, William tells her to bring Rocky for no particular reason. When they stumble upon the Vetinari double, Rocky gets punched unconscious by Tulip.
** Rocky's lack of martial prowess is set up when he is first interviewed for a job. He tells William that he quit boxing because he kept getting knocked down.
* WrongGenreSavvy: Unusually, Vetinari. At the start (see ContinuityNod above) he confidently predicts that the printing press will have some sort of occult power behind it and will be a passing fad followed by ResetButton. But now the dynamic of the series has changed, and MedievalStasis is slipping away, as noted by William de Worde at the end. Vetinari actually seems subtly disappointed when his predictions were dashed.
** Given that the main question he asked was whether Dibbler had any part in the operation, it's likely that he wasn't so much WrongGenreSavvy as Multiple Genre Savvy: he knows that if Dibbler gets involved, everything goes to hell. If an industry starts up ''without'' Dibbler's participation, as with the clacks, it's probably okay, so his questions about curses could've been asked merely to determine ''which'' genre applied.
* XanatosSpeedChess: How William handles Slant when he shows up to dismantle the press.
* YouKnowWhatTheySayAboutX: Mr. Windling, one of the tenants at the boarding house William lives, likes to use this phrase; William [[RantInducingSlight eventually gets fed up with it]] and angrily demands Windling tell him who "they" are and what it is "they" say.
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