The 23rd Discworld
novel and the fifth or sixth in the Witches Theme, depending on whether Equal Rites
King Verence and Queen Magrat of Lancre have had their first child, a daughter, and have invited all the nearby rulers to her naming ceremony. Unfortunately, this includes the de Magpyr family of vampires from neighboring Überwald
, and now that they've been invited to Lancre, they have no intention of leaving. It's up to the witches, along with a drippy Omnian priest called Mightily Oats, to defeat them and save the kingdom from its new vampire overlords.
Preceded by The Last Continent
, followed by The Fifth Elephant
. Preceded in the Witches series by Maskerade
, followed by The Wee Free Men
Contains examples of:
- Above Good and Evil: The vampires. Just ask them.
- Acquired Garlic Immunity: The de Magpyrs have built up a tolerance to, among other things, garlic, holy water, sunlight, and OCD.
- Having used this method to build up tolerance to holy symbols ends up backfiring on them. Near the end of the novel, the 'Weatherwaxing' they undergo after trying to vampirize Granny strips them of their tolerance — and the de Magpyrs realize that the weakness is dependent on the vampire recognizing that the holy symbol is a holy symbol, and their training has given them a very broad knowledge of holy symbols, many of which are common geometric figures...
- Acrofatic: Whenever Perdita takes over Agnes' body. Agnes has a quite a lot of muscle she never knows how to use.
- Affably Evil: Count de Magpyr insists that he is Affably Evil and talks like a self help guru - but in actuality his attempts at being friendly and affable lead to him being a far greater horror than his genuinely Affably Evil uncle.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Magpyrs are strong believers in eugenics.
- And I Must Scream: Used as a threat by Granny. While (presumably) there's no way to permanently kill off a vampire, it's entirely possible to, say, trap said vampire in gaseous form in a bottle and then drop the bottle from the edge of the Disc.
- No way that they're aware of, anyway, although Witches Abroad indicates that being eaten by a cat will do the trick.
- Arc Words: "Everyone knows that, who knows anything about vampires," and "Everywhere I look I see something holy."
- As the Good Book Says: When Mightily Oats must build a fire in a wet, cold forest, he looks for guidance in the Book of Om. First, he runs into irrelevant passages ("...and in that time, in the land of the Cyrinites, there was a multiplication of camels..."), but then he finds this: "Where there is darkness we will make a great light." So, he takes the book and makes a great light.
- Assimilation Backfire: The Magpyrs suck Granny Weatherwax's blood and attempt to turn her. She survives the experience without becoming a vampire; the Magpyrs aren't so lucky, however, as feeding on Granny Weatherwax has allowed her to turn them. By the end, they're craving tea instead of blood and even talking like her.
- Awesome McCoolname: Inverted, the vampire teenagers all have "Goth" birth names like Lacrimosa, so they think calling themselves "Wendy" or "Susan" is edgy and rebellious.
- Badass Preacher: Oats, eventually. See the Took A Level In Bad Ass example below.
- A key moment comes when he's alone with Granny in a wet, cold forest at night, afraid she's going to freeze to death, and the only dry material he has that could start a fire to warm her up is the paper his Bible... er, Book of Om is printed on. He recalls a passage that says, "Where there is darkness we will make a great light..." He takes out the Book again... and makes a great light.
- Importantly, the whole book Oats had tried to gain faith by reading random passages from the Book of Om. When he meets Granny she stresses that he has the ability to make his own faith...and in the end, he does.
- Batman Gambit: Granny getting the vampires to bite her so that she could control the blood inside them.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Many. Granny resists being turned into a vampire, Oats and questioning his faith, Agnes fights the allure of Vlad and becoming a beautiful, powerful, eternally-young vampire.
- Berserker Rage: Verence, of all people, succumbs to this when the Feegles give him an overdose of Big Aggie's battle-brew. He breaks Jason Ogg's nose and needs half the men in Lancre Village to restrain him from bashing his way through his own castle's oaken doors.
- Big Friendly Dog: Scraps.
- Bilingual Bonus: The title. It's a play on the Latin phrase "Carpe Diem" (seize the day). "Carpe Jugulum" means "seize the throat".
- Sadly, in a lot of languages, the phrase "Carpe Diem" is not commonly used in its Latin form, but is simply translated, which also led to the book's title getting translated to the actual language, thus losing the bilingual bonus.
- The musical beer stein that Shirl Ogg gave Nanny plays a German tune that translates as "I am a drunken pig".
- Blood Bath: One of the Magpyr ancestors in the story is a parody of Elizabeth Bathory (although her name's Carmilla). The modern Magpyrs believe the story of her bathing in the blood of two hundred virgins is highly exaggerated. The bath would overflow if you used more than eighty. They've checked.
- Bluff the Impostor: Even when they're being chased by homicidal vampires, Magrat knows that Nanny Ogg would never say that now isn't the time to be telling a lewd joke. The vampires don't (nor do they know the joke that Magrat asked "Nanny" to tell).
- Borrowed Catch Phrase:
- Nanny uses Granny's "I can't be having with all this" at one point, but the other witches are quick to point out that it's just not the same.
- Borrowing Granny's mannerisms is one of the first signs that she's infected the vampyres instead of the other way around.
- Likewise when Granny leaves Nanny and Magrat's mannerisms start to change to reflect their new roles in the coven (Nanny has taken Granny's place as the Hag and Magrat has become the Mother). Fortunately it doesn't stick.
- Brick Joke: Granny Weatherwax still aten't dead.
- Burn the Witch!: When Oats mentions the records of Omnians doing this, Granny suggests that the victims were more likely ordinary old women who looked like easy targets. In her opinion, witches are more likely to be the ones doing the burning ("We ain't all nice.")
- Classical Movie Vampire: Count von Magpyr pointedly doesn't look like this. The Old Count does.
- Continuity Nod: Granny's darker nature mentions that her sister Lilith (of Witches Abroad) gave into it.
- Oats is something of an update to Small Gods. He laments that his faith's new direction, spending their time arguing points of dogma and comparative religion studies, lacks the passion they had in earlier times. This proves Brutha's reforms worked well; when they had that fire, they were a terrible force that focused more on the monolithic church than on Om, resulting in only a single true believer, the last in an enormous institution believing only in itself that committed horrifying deeds and declared bloody holy wars in its own name, and had every neighbouring country setting aside their differences to attack Omnia exclusively. Now the church is less militant, it has spread peacefully across the continent. Ultimately Oats ends up striking a balance between pre-Brutha Omnianism and post-Brutha Omnianism that eliminates the worst aspects of both. It seems to be working pretty well.
- Oats is also referenced in I Shall Wear Midnight as having become an inspiration to other preachers of the church of Om who have taken up his teachings
- There are also a lot of continuity nods to Lords and Ladies, in particular the reappearance of many minor characters.
- For example, it is shortly mentioned that one of the would-be-witches from Lords and Ladies now has a baby. But to actually recognize her, you have to have read Maskerade too (because she took her husband's last name). The references in this book and Maskerade are both well hidden in lists of random names used as examples for a recent topic.
- Contractual Genre Blindness: Traditional vampires like the old count did this (for very good reason) and Igor does it too (though mostly just to aggravate the new count who he finds insufferable as he refuses to stick to the old ways) though the old count did it so people wouldn't try to make sure he stayed dead, Igor does it as a matter of style (which is integral to being an Igor)
- Convenient Weakness Placement: Deliberate on the part of the Old Count, who kept a flowing moat, easily-opened curtains, and objects that could be bent into religious symbols lying around to give his victims a fighting chance.
- And to encourage his killers not to take extreme efforts. Be easily dispatched, and it'll be called a day once you're dust. Be hard to kill, and they'll make certain you stay dead for a long time.
- Covert Pervert: Magrat. This shocks even Nanny. Magrat reminds her that she is a married woman and a mother now.
- Daywalking Vampire: The vampires have gotten rid of their sunlight problems with the power of positive thinking.
- Decon-Recon Switch: Of the Classical Movie Vampire, especially Dracula himself. The Magpyrs are the deconstruction, having overcome their various weaknesses and dropped the Villain Ball so that they can be effective monsters and rule over humanity. Granny presents the reconstruction, and this is demonstrated by the Old Count, who is just enough of a threat that his victims get to have a fun adventure without anybody getting seriously hurt.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "I'm fed up with you smarming at me smarmily as if you were Mister Smarm!"
- Verence fits multiple uses of "respect" into a single paragraph. Lampshaded by Nanny.
- Dirty Business: Granny doesn't like having to make all decisions that she's had to make.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The Nac Mac Feegle are pretty similar to their later portrayal in the Tiffany Aching books, but their accent is quite stronger. Also, Terry stated that childrens' books are "...written with the knob turned down a level, so it will be more accessible to the younger market." This was probably deliberate "de-obfuscation" so that young readers wouldn't be going "Mummy, what's he saying there?" every other line.
- Eat Me: Granny letting the vampires suck her blood.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Princess Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre.
- Also mentioned: James What The Hell Is That Cow Doing In Here? Poorchick and King My God He's Heavy the First.
- Empathic Environment: The "gnarly ground" changes its appearance to match the mood of visitors.
- Enemy Within: Granny's dark side tries to tempt her while she's unconscious from the vampire bite.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Once Count von Magpyr takes baby Esmerelda hostage, Igor decides that enough's enough and revives the old Count. (Killing his dog probably factored into it, too.)
- Even the count, to a little extent. When Lacrimosa mentions they should put Granny out of her misery, she likens it to when the Count said the same thing about her cat. The Count clarifies that what he really meant was for her to stop what she was doing to it.
- Fair Play Villain: The Old Count (see above).
- Genre Blindness: King Verence kindly invites the Magpyrs to the naming ceremony. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize that this counts as a Vampire Invitation.
- Genre Savvy: The Magpyr vampires. They train themselves to overcome vampire weaknesses, and mock the old count for his Hammer Horror style Genre Blindness - easily-opened curtains, objects easily broken into holy symbols and stakes, copious holy water, etc. Turns out the old count is far more Genre Savvy than his offspring. He deliberately allows humans to exploit his weaknesses so that, being an easily dispatched villain and giving the village boys something to feel good about, he is never Killed Off for Real.
- Go Fetch: Death plays fetch with Scraps, at least until Igor resurrects the Franken-dog.
- Good Old Ways: Everyone agrees that the old fashioned vampires were better.
- Hate at First Sight: This basically sums up Agnes's reaction to Lacrimosa.
- Heart in the Wrong Place: The Old Count turns out to have an anatomical chart showing where the heart is to help would-be heroes, otherwise he might end up leaky as a colander.
- Heel Realization: The Count outright asks the villagers of Escrow to look at him, and then at the newly-resurrected previous Count, believing that the comparison will convince them that he's the better of the two. But Villainous Breakdown ensues when he realizes that being Dangerously Genre Savvy is considered far, far worse than the old Count's intentional use of the Villain Ball. Vlad gets this too, presumably, since he genuinely believes that the alternative for Escrow that his father offers is better than what it used to be.
- Heroic BSOD: Granny Weatherwax, when she thinks she's becoming unnecessary.
- Heroic Willpower/Fighting from the Inside: King Verence is noticeably attempting to resist the vampires' mind control.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The vampires' Acquired Poison Immunity to religious symbols backfires when that immunity wears off. They'd learned to recognize so many religious symbols by sight that everything looks like a religious symbol.
- The Igor: This book introduces Überwald's clan of classically trained Igors.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Vampire mind control and mind reading doesn't work well on Agnes (because Perdita interferes). Vlad finds that fascinating.
- Industrialized Evil: The orderly and systematic blood-draining that takes place in the villages surrounding the Magpyr estate horrifies Agnes more than anything else the vampires do.
- Immune to Mind Control: Agnes and Mightily Oats are able to resist the vampires' hypnosis because of their split personalities.
- I Never Told You My Name: When Agnes meets Vlad he says her name without being told. When she considers that he might have asked someone, Perdita asks her why anyone would ask for her name.
- Ironic Echo: "Everywhere I look I see something holy!"
- Light Is Not Good: The vampyres. Also Granny's Battle in the Center of the Mind.
- Living Shadow: Played straight, when King Verence's (second) shadow has to be removed and "killed" by the Nac Mac Feegle (with a well-aimed crossbow bolt) because its presence allows the vampires to control Verence.
- Looks Like Orlok: Vlad's grandfather in the Magpyr portrait gallery (which is something of a lesson on How Vampires Have Been Different through the ages.
- Lots of Luggage: In a maternal variant, when Magrat leaves the castle, she insists that Reverend Oats haul along every toy, blanket, nappy bag, basin, potty or bath item which her baby daughter might possibly need. Most are things which an infant that age won't be old enough to require for months, and they're only away for a day or two.
- Magpies as Portents: Flocks of them. Pterry jokes that none of the traditional counting rhymes work very well because "they're not the ones the magpies use."
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Agnes's superhuman vocal range lets her scream high and loud enough to stun keen-eared vampires, albeit not for long.
- Mercy Kill: Granny sometimes did something similar; she didn't actually kill people, but she helped them to die. "There was no need for desperate stuff with a pillow, or deliberate mistakes with the medicine. You didn't push them out of the world, you just stopped the world pulling them back. You just reached in, and... showed them the way."
- The Missionary: Reverend Oats decides to act as a missionary to Uberwald. As seen in Unseen Academicals, it works.
- Monster Shaped Mountain: The witch-shaped rock formation near the cave entrance where Granny goes to isolate herself.
- Multiple-Tailed Beast: "Scraps", the Frankenstein's Monster of a Big Friendly Dog created by Igor.
Nanny Ogg: He's as happy as a dog with two... oh, he does have two tails.
- Nay-Theist: Granny. Oats is terrified of the idea of her actually finding a god who met her moral standards, given her sheer passion and persuasive ability.
- Noble Demon: The Old Count.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Omnianism is pretty much a Discworld version of Christianity, right down to having an instrument of torture as its most holy symbol.
- Noodle Implements: Magrat mentions a joke Nanny told about "the priest, the old woman and the rhinoceros." Nanny says that even she didn't understand that one until she was forty.
- A reference to the joke about the priest, the nun, and the camel. "Well, what are you waiting for? Stick it in the camel and let's get the hell out of here!"
- OOC Is Serious Business: Nanny Ogg upset is a pretty bad thing to see, even worse than an angry Nanny. A Nanny Ogg who misses the chance to mock Agnes' Accidental Innuendo? Shit just got real.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Notably, thanks to the Count training them with a little exposure at a time, the Magpyrs are not affected by traditional vampire weaknesses such as garlic, holy symbols, holy water, and sunlight.
- Also, the vampires of de Magpyr family turn into flocks of magpies instead of bats.
- They're also capable of conventional reproduction, as Vlad and Lacci were both born as vampires.
- The trope is also invoked in the story, since the method for disposing a vampire depends on which village he's from. And a footnote compares vampirism to diseases — some are extremely virulent and deadly, and some just make you avoid fruit and walk funny.
- Goth: Completely turned on its head: Lacrimosa and her vampire friends partake in a subculture that has them wearing bright colours, pretending to drink wine, staying up well past Midday, and adopting names like "Henry" and "Freda".
- Pragmatic Villainy: The Count occasionally objects to his daughter's sadistic habits, but not for altruistic reasons. They discuss the phoenix, concluding that it's absurd for a bird to burn. After all, Lacrimosa tried with a chicken — the count says that she really should have killed it first because at least then it would've been quieter.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "An axe isn't even a holy symbol!" "Oh... let's make it so." (thwack)
- Reminiscing About Your Victims: The Count and Countess have a textbook example when they recall their honeymoon.
Countess: And we met such lovely people. Do you remember Mr and Mrs Harker?
Count: Very fondly. I recall they lasted nearly all week.
- Reverse Psychology: The Magpyr's castle is named Don'tGoNearThe Castle, and route is regularly marked by signs like "Don't take this quickest route to the Castle". According to Igor, it was always full of guests.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The new Count uses his wealth to establish his own idea of order in his hometown.
- Shout-Out: "I do not drink... wine."
"Thith ith water from the Holy Turtle Pond of Thquintth," said a voice above them. "Blessed by the Bithop himthelf in the Year of the Trout." There was a glugging noise and the sound of someone swallowing. "But you don't have to take my word for it. Duck, you thuckerth!"
- Soul Jar: The heart in a hidden jar variation is mentioned to be used by magicians in Howondaland so they can't be killed.
- Split Personality: Agnes/Perdita X Dream
- Also Mightily Oats, to a much lesser extent - he just hasn't named it. At least not formally. He does have a habit of calling his "two selves" Good Oats and Bad Oats. Both his pious and skeptical sides agree with the terms, but have different interpretations of who is who.
- Split Personality Merge: Agnes and Oats again, though in different ways.
- Spot of Tea: Granny drives the vampires mad by giving them an insatiable thirst... for tea.
- The Smurfette Principle: The Nac Mac Feegle have one female and hundreds of males. Seeing as they're all six inches tall and blue...
- To Be Lawful or Good: Mightily Oats must build a fire to save the life of a wounded and freezing Granny Weatherwax - but all he has for dry kindling is the Book of Om, his holy scripture. He makes a great light.
- Too Dumb to Fool: More like, Too Singleminded To Fool. Hodgesaargh reckons a bird is a bird is a bird, even if it's a phoenix, and goes hunting for it like he would any other.
- Took A Level In Bad Ass: With a little coaching from Granny, Mightily Oats goes from a wishy-washy priest wracked with doubt and inner turmoil to chopping off the head of the evil Count Magpyr with a single axe blow.
- Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: The vampires suck Granny Weatherwax's blood, and they're the ones who come off worse.
I ain't been vampired. You've been Weatherwaxed.
- Trojan Horse: Agnes and Oats sneak into the castle by hiding in some empty coffins that are being delivered. Luckily, the peasants who carry them in are too befuddled from being fed upon to notice the difference in weight.
- Granny defeats the vampires by putting part of herself in the vampires but using Nanny to make them think she put herself elsewhere
- Vampire Invitation: A significant plot point. Verence sends a formal invitation to the Magpyrs for the naming ceremony, failing to consider what a very bad idea this might be.
- Vampire Vannabe: Inverted. Normal rebellious teenagers start dressing in black and giving themselves elaborate names. Vampire rebellious teenagers, apparently, try to act like ordinary people for the same reason.
- Villain Ball: Subverted with the old Count, who allows himself to die so that no one ever tries to render him Deader Than Dead.
- In effect, Granny enforces this trope on the other de Magpyrs when they ingest her Borrowed blood, and with it, her refusal to run when faced with a losing battle and tendency to bluff on a weak hand.
- Villainous Breakdown: The Magpyrs go through this, as their idea of what "modern vampirism" is about gets stripped away, leaving the bloodthirsty, power-hungry monsters at their core.
- Violent Glaswegian: The Nac Mac Feegle again.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Oats speculates that his own Split Personality is the schismatic tendency of Omnianism taken to its logical extreme.
- What You Are in the Dark - in the Battle in the Center of the Mind mentioned above
Granny: I knows what you are, Esmerelda Weatherwax, and I ain't scared of you anymore.
- White Sheep: The aforementioned goth-equivalents.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child:
- When the witches go after Granny to the "gnarly ground", an Empathic Environment, Nanny says that it's perfectly safe to take Magrat's baby daughter with them, because "it's Granny's thoughts that are shaping this place. But she wouldn't raise a hand to a child. Couldn't do it. Hasn't got it in her."
- After Granny's blood has its effect on the vampires, she's certain that they won't hurt baby Esmerelda, because she wouldn't.
- The Worf Effect: Sort of; in a Continuity Nod, the Count dismisses the previous enemies Granny dispatched as "inbred elves and gormless humans".
- More traditionally, the first thing the Magpyrs do is beat Granny in psychic battle.
- The Count was wrong about this, the witches never defeated the villains themselves, they just meddled so a deuteragonist could get the cojones/chance/abilities to do so. He fails to understand this, and he gets taken out by the deuteragonist.
- The first indication of how formidable the Nac Mac Feegle can be? Greebo is scared of them.
- Wine Is Classy: Played with, where the human subculture of vampires are considered freaks because they file down their teeth, wear bright colors, stay up past noon, and drink... wine.
- Your Vampires Suck: The Magpyrs practice this toward their fellow in-universe vampires.
- Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb