Awesome Music: In-universe, this leads to the goblins being emancipated. Lampshaded by Vetinari: "One song!"
Even more awesome it was only one girl playing a harp for thirty minutes.
This music even inspires Vetinari to have the villain of the book killed off screen. "Not all sins are forgiven," indeed.
It should also be noted that, while Vetinari has had plenty of people killed for pragmatic reasons, this is the first time he has ever killed someone purely out of moral outrage.
And this, from a man who'd always preferred reading music to listening, as he'd never encountered a musician who lived up to his standards of precision or refinement. As Vetinari says, it touched people's souls, and reminded more than a few people that they actually have one. The fact that it was her own piece may also have been a factor, since the other reason he read his music was that it was closer to the mind of the composer.
Badass: Sam Vimes kicks ass and takes names even more than usual.
Badass Abnormal: The Summoning Dark from Thud! has... left its mark on Vimes, meaning he can see in the dark, understand goblin language and have a reliable witness to any events happening under the cover of darkness.
Badass Bureaucrat: A.E. Pessimal, even though he's only mentioned briefly. He's now the Ankh-Morpork version of the Intimidating Revenue Service, keeping an eye on businesses and absolutely terrifying them just by showing up.
Badass Creed: The Ramkin's Family motto is "What we have, we keep".
Badass Crew: Basically Vimes's Watch, family (Sybil) and staff (Willikins). Taking Willikins and Detritus on a walk meant Vimes and his son were accompanied by "enough firepower to kill a platoon."
Batman Gambit: Vimes' impromptu lecture/rant to the Gordon girls turns out to have been one by Sybil for the benefit of their mother, and the whole party was organized around causing it.
Batman Grabs a Gun: In this and other books, Vimes frequently worries that he could become a monster if something ever pushes him to act outside the law, and hoped that he'd never come across something horrifying enough to push him across the line. In this book, he finally does encounter something that, while technically legal, is horrifying enough to make him take action anyway, concluding that a crime is still a crime, even when there's no law against it.
Battle Butler: Willikins, showing more of the "battle" side than the "butler" this time. He still finds the time to make a mean cocktail. Without alcohol, at that!
Brick Joke: Jane Gordon's novel. Pride and Extreme Prejudice.
Also, early on Vimes isn't sure how you can own a mile of trout stream, because surely the bit of the stream that's yours is moving onto your neighbour's land? Much later, Colonel Makepeace reflects that he rents half a mile of stream, but can no longer run fast enough to keep up with it.
Sybil's huge and exhaustively maintained list of friendships have been a running joke since The Fifth Elephant, complete with Vimes thinking that she and the network of women like her wield tremendous behind-the-scenes power if they felt like it. We finally see that in action here.
Busman's Holiday: As stated in the blurb. Played with. Vimes is relieved to have a crime to deal with... at least at first.
It's mentioned that the grounds of Ramkin Hall have a hoho (like a haha, but deeper), as mentioned in Men at Arms. (As well as a "hehe", though whatever that may be is left to the imagination of the readers.)
Also, Zoons are mentioned for the first time since Equal Rites.
The line "Sybil will go librarian" is a long-established running gag also appearing as the phrase "going librarian-poo" from an earlier book, which of course is itself a version of "going apeshit".
Merkle and Stingbat's Very Famous Brown Sauce was previously mentioned in Guards! Guards!.
Vimes's comment that he's never drunk starboard echoes a conversation from Jingo.
Also, this isn't Gravid Rust's first encounter with the long arm of the law: In Feet of Clay mention is made of how Lord Rust's son got into a lot of trouble for shooting servants for putting his shoes on the wrong feet (most likely why he was made to leave Ankh-Morpork proper for the countryside). As Vimes put it then, "He'll have to learn right from left like the rest of us. And right from wrong, too." Apparently, the lesson didn't stick.
Vimes' botched one liner reply "Burleigh and Stronginthearm" (to "on whose authority?") in Night Watch is repeated more successfully by Willikins.
Vimes's schoolroom had the same book of fairy tales as the Aching family, and he had the same reaction to the goblin on page seven as Tiffany.
The book Vetinari reads at the beginning, whose author is actually willing to acknowledge Goblins having a culture and religion is Mightily Oats, whose religion-inspired liberal views had already been displayed with Mr Nutt.
Contrived Coincidence: A very special Unggue Pot manages to end up in a cigar which is sold to Sergeant Colon. It's said that this is why Fred and Nobby are still on the (now quite respectable) force — this happens all the time to them.
Disney Death: Stinky. No explanation is given, but it is slightly implied that the Summoning Dark may have saved him.
The reference to Vimes' picture-book suggests he's a manifestation of childhood scary-goblin fears, like the bears and Scissor Man that Susan intimidated in Hogfather. One that's actually taken an interest in the normal goblins it was imagined to resemble.
‘Stinky don’t need no badges, fellow po-leess-maan! Stinky worst nightmare all by himself! Remember a little boy? Little boy open book? And he see evil goblin, and I see nasty little boy! Good for us, little boy, that we were both right!’
Does This Remind You of Anything?: The enslavement of the local goblins calls to mind both the Holocaust (the neighbours turn the other way) and the African slave trade.
Not to mention the treatment of Australian Aborigines.
On a more mundane note, the plot of this book has more than a little in common with Feet of Clay.
Easy Evangelism: It takes about five minutes for any recurring Watch character to accept that goblins deserve the same rights as any other species, including Sergeant Colon. Of course, given the make-up of the Watch (it's mentioned that goblins are pretty much the only sapient species not currently included), they're bound to be more understanding of the odder species on the Disc—they employ Nobby Nobbs, after all. The rest of the Disc comes around once they see that goblins can create absolutely beautiful musical works, and therefore are not simply "vermin" to be ignored, enslaved, or exterminated.
Although with Colon it takes having a goblin soul accidentally get shoved in his head for a period of time to get him to come to terms with it all, and the music wasn't just "absolutely beautiful", it was enough to make Vetinari of all people take pause.
Vetinari felt sympathy for the Goblins before the song was played, and in the opening pages, is discussing with Drumknott, his secretary, how terrible he finds their plight, that an entire race is regarded as vermin. And Vetinari is not a person typically known for having sympathy for anyone.
Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Igor describes a tropical weevil that's been known to lay its eggs in people's brains, entering them through the ears and then exiting their skulls via the nostrils.
Fantastic Racism: In spades, directed towards the goblins. They're officially seen as vermin, and killing them or even enslaving them and shipping them off to another continent is entirely legal. At the end of the book, most major powers are passing legislations to regard them as sapient and under the protection of common law.
Not surprisingly, the actions that the Goblins are forced to perform just to survive are used to "justify" the fact that they are treated the way they are. The thing is, the goblins are stuck having to perform these acts quite literally because they are hanging on the edge of survival. Let's put this in perspective: if a race is given no means of making an honest living, is hunted zealously where ever they are found, and is only, say, two feet to three feet tall and typically extremely malnourished due to poor diet and lack of a steady food supply, is it any surprise that they turn to thievery, will threaten uninvited strangers on sight, and are extremely "cowardly"?
Flanderization: Willikins, formerly a model manservant with a perhaps somewhat checkered past (perhaps even a chessed and backgammoned one, at that), now cannot let a paragraph in which he figures pass by without it containing some or several references to his myriad methods of maiming menfolk, and his diction has fallen into similar decline. Where previously he spoke quite well, being an experienced butler for many many years, now he speaks like street scum who happens to also be a butler.
Stephen Brigg's reading of the audiobook gives Willikins an appropriately posh butler-type accent, but that makes his dialogue a little jarring.
Averted, the Morporkians all like Quirmian cooking, but they do use too much avec.
Folks around the Ramkin estate are also partial to a bit of Bang Duck Suck (or Man Dog Suck Po on Sundays).
Foreshadowing: At the start, Vimes is given a bucket and spade as a joke by the Watch, even though he's not going to the seaside. He retorts that he wishes it was the seaside, there's smuggling and piracy at the seaside. Smuggling proves to be the impetus of the entire plot, and the most holidayish part of his holiday is when he ends up on the Quirm coast with Young Sam, catching winkles.
Freudian Slip: Vetinari of all people has one when he refers to the good ship Wonderful Fanny as, well... the Enormous Fanny.
The Ghost: Gravid Rust, the man behind the entire evil plot, who is introduced, plans, is arrested, exiled and assassinated, without ever appearing on the page. In his stead, the most visible villain of the piece is Stratford, who, like Carcer, is an Evil Counterpart to Vimes.
Jurisdiction Friction: Even though Vimes is technically the lord of his lands, he has no jurisdiction as a police officer - that belongs to the appointed magistrates. Of course, the magistrates appointed themselves...
Defied. Willikins serves the same role as Pepe in Unseen Academicals, when the Psycho for Hire escapes from custody again, instead of apprehending and returning him to police and having the justice system hang him, Willikins slits his throat in the night for going after young Sam.Vimes wanted to, and Vetinari asked if he gave the order, but Vimes' inner Watchman is still in control.
And then played frustratingly straight with Gravid Rust. Maybe. Then again, Lord Vetinari's people are watching him, and XXXX is a dangerous country, plenty of poisonous spiders...
Not played very straight at all. The "lady" responsible for watching him is an Assassin, and after making the decision to send him, Vetinari remarks that "not all sins are forgiven."
Played straight with most of the magistrates.
Kidanova: Young Sam is (innocently) quite popular with ladies of every age. As well, Vimes notes he has a habit of taking the hand of any female he meets, one which will "serve him well in later years".
Non-Human Sidekick: Stinky. Serves as human-goblin liaison, is made special constable, keeps Vimes' secrets and helps him with the horse, and learns how to operate the clacks. He also may or may not be an avatar for the Summoning Dark, or some other supernatural entity.
Noodle Incident: An account of how Fred and Nobby keep serendipitously stumbling onto major clues includes a case that was solved thanks to something that tried to lay its eggs in Nobby's nose.
Positive Discrimination: The Goblins are portrayed as largely flawless people, and what few negative qualities they do have are rendered in such a way as to suggest that this just makes them that much better.
Precision F-Strike: Sybil referring to someone as a bitch. It's actually quite jarring, given previous characterization.
Prison Rape: Alluded to by Vimes when explaining why the Watch House lockup is infinitely preferable to the 'Tanty'.
Psycho for Hire: Stratford, to a tee. Definitely not the brains of operation, but doesn't flinch from killing to get a job done. When he marks Vimes as an enemy, he tries to sneak into young Sam's room at night.
Also something of a deconstruction; none of his murders or threatened murders are actually called for under his orders, and it is his actions that gets Vimes so involved and motivates his terrified allies to give King's evidence just to bring him down.
Punch Clock Villain: Flutter and some of the hirelings count as this, as they're mostly smugglers who have been dragged into a murder and slavery plot, and for the most part give up as soon as Vimes has identified himself. Brassbound, however, portrays himself as this but is actually Stratford in disguise.
Raised By Goblins: Subverted. The Poo Lady is the daughter of a woman who was raised by goblins, and was forced to watch as a party of human "rescuers" brutally murdered the entire colony of goblins that had raised her with love all her life. Said child was then beaten, often, by her "rescuers" whenever she spoke in the goblin tongue (the only language she originally knew), did anything "goblin-like", and was forcibly educated to being more "normal". Said child escaped custody the second they let her out of the house.
Riddle for the Ages: The exact nature of Stinky is never explained, but he's clearly no ordinary goblin.
Running Gag: Vetinari vs the Times crossword compiler, carrying over from Moist's books. She seems to be getting to him.
Also, Vimes' tendency to accumulate increasingly-impressive and unwanted titles culminates (sort of), with him being declared King. But (to his immense relief) only of the River, for his role in bringing the Fanny in safely.
Specific to this book, the fact that any small child will be instantly and enormously entertained by any mention of disgusting bodily functions.
Also a bit of a Stealth Pun; The Bennets become the Gordons who go on to design and wear Gordon's Bonnets. ('Gordon Bennett' being a rather British exclamation of surprise or shock.)
James Gordon Bennett liked to shock people. He allegedly urinated in a flowerpot in full view of a large group at a party and was reported to enjoy tipping over food-laden tables at restaurants. That he was the millionaire publisher of the New York Herald made folk forgive his eccentricities—and to commemorate them in the form of the expletive "Gordon Bennett!"
Other shout-outs to classic British fiction in a rural setting include, but are not limited to, Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm, Thackeray's Vanity Fair, Trollope's Barchester Chronicles, Orwell's Animal Farm and the long-running BBC radio soap opera The Archers.
The real-life case of Lord Lucan, who mistakenly murdered his children's nanny thinking she was his wife, and who disappeared without trace, thought to have escaped to Australia or South Africa with the closed-rank collusion of the British aristocracy (who together confounded and snarled up a police investigation by refusing to co-operate), is used here to illustrate the Discworld nobility's refusal to accept they are subject to the same law as anyone else. Even Sam Vimes had to give up investigating the Marquis of Fantailer's murder and flight to Fourecks in remarkably similar circumstances to Lucan's. Lucan's disappearance, amidst the absurd privilege enjoyed by British nobility, happened in 1974. And could so easily happen again tomorrow.
Entrepreneur and Self-Made Man Harry King has now been knighted, and he enters by throwing someone out of his office and telling them "You're fired!" It sounds a lot like a reference to Sir (now Lord) Alan Sugar, of the UK version of The Apprentice.
Tombstone: At one point, when a sworn-in country lawyer attempts to arrest Vimes, he decides "not to let him do so that day". Immediately after, on his way to see the town constable, he informs Willikins that as a civilian he shouldn't get involved. Willikins tells Vimes that that is "a hell of a thing to say to him."
After being sworn in as a special constable, Stinky tells Vimes that anyone who gets in his way will find he's their worst nightmare. "A goblin with a badge?" (No, says Stinky: "Stinky don't need no badges, fellow po-lees-man! Stinky worst nightmare all by himself.")
Though previously mentioned in Thud!, one of the Watch's more recent constables is named Precious Jolson, a large Howondan-Morporkian woman and possibly a reference to either The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency or Precious. (Snuff was written shortly after the film of the latter came to the cinemas.)
Wee Mad Arthur's method of acquiring a steed for his flight to Howondaland is identical to the technique used in James Cameron's Avatar, though not the first time something like has happened in the series.
Title Drop: Played with. Snuff is mentioned several times, but never in a context that is important to the plot.
To Be Lawful or Good: Vimes chooses good right away, but he does get a bit angsty over it with hindsight. It is suggested this is the corruption of the Summoning Dark taking hold, as previous books had him firmly on the Lawful side of Lawful Good. In many instances in this book, he's doing outright unlawful things for the greater good. The fact that he's out of his jurisdiction might also have been a factor in this.
Two of Carrot's first acts were to (misguidedly) arrest the head of the Thieves Guild and knock out Detritus. Feeney is just as impressive, achieving both at once by (misguidedly) arresting Vimes and knocking him flat on his back when he resists.
Gravid Rust. The colonel considers that clearly no-one involved in choosing it knew animal husbandry.
Nor, presumably, did the parents of riverboat captain Gastric Sillitoe own a dictionary.
Also, Captain Murderer and the riverboat, which the captain named after his daughter Francesca: the Wonderful Fanny. Everyone else is hit in the face by the invokedAccidental Innuendo. *
If it's bad enough that American readers will see it as "nice ass", it's even more profane in British English (see Country Matters).
Vapor Trail: Vimes soaks a wooden tower in brandy and then leaves a trail of brandy leading away from it. He ignites the tower by dropping his cigar in the trail of brandy.
Verbal Judo: Paradoxically, this time using this technique involves Vimes deliberately getting into a fight. It's just that he makes sure it doesn't have to really get real, and his opponent comes out subdued, if anything more so than if Vimes had just smashed his face in as he could have.
Virgin In A White Dress: Sybil mentions that a particularly ridiculous tradition (the maids must turn to the wall when being spoken to by a man) happened so the girls "wouldn't feel ashamed of wearing white on their wedding day).
You No Take Candle: Subverted. The goblins speak like this in their own language, at least as far as the Summoning Dark's translation is concerned. However, the two goblins we hear speaking Morporkian are both fairly fluent; one talks "as though she was taking the words out of a filing cabinet and carefully slotting them in place", and the other sounds like a typical working-class city boy.
Eloquent In My Native Tongue: Their language is actually richly textured, with an enormous number of words for emotions, how colors mix together, and the like, but it doesn't necessarily translate well.