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WMG / Thief of Time

WMGs for Discworld / Thief of Time

Lu-Tze is Clodpool the Apprentice.
Clodpool is consistently shown to be not really at home with the enlightened philosophy muck that Wen tosses about, but is also shown to be intensely practical, e.g. asking Wen what he wants for breakfast rather than asking after the aforementioned enlightened philosophy muck. This fits neatly with Lu-Tze's own mindset: he focuses on practical matters like keeping the place clean, resolving conflicts with minimum applied force rather than with big showy actions. In addition, it fits well narratively: Clodpool the Apprentice, frustrated to no end by Wen's repeated attempts to teach him philosophy, goes off to Ankh-Morpork to find his own way, finds it in the practical common sayings of Ms. Cosmopolite, and returns enlightened as Lu-Tze the Sweeper. However, to the others, he's still stupid Clodpool, leading to their contempt of him.
  • Not only that, but also this:
Wen: I know the answers to all questions. Ask me.
Clodpool: What does Master want for breakfast?
Wen: Ah, one of the difficult ones.

Lobsang: Can I ask a question?
Lu-Tze: Yes?
Lobsang: What the hell is going on?
Lu-Tze: Ah, one of the difficult ones.

Lord Vetinari is the son of Susan Sto Helit and Lobsang Ludd
His ancestry is never really discussed in the books, beyond his having an Aunt (and since Susan is part of the Sto Plains nobility, she probably has lots of distant relatives that could take care of him.) The Assassin's Guild is known as being a common place to leave infants (much like Lobsang and Jeremy were at their respective Guilds.) And really, he has a lot of characteristics from both of them- Susan's massive unflappability, ability to bend people to their will just by glaring at them, and ability to move through solid objects, which he disguises with some fake secret doors. From his father he gains the ability to predict future events, his above average reflexes, and his boundless-seeming knowledge and super-fast problem solving skills. Also, being a cross between the two of them probably explains his ability to go without sleep, exist on very little food, and never need to care out basic hygienic tasks (while anyone's watching anyway.)
  • Except that is already an old man long before Susan and Lobsang ever even meet.
    • Between how messed up history is due to Monkish meddling and the fact that Lobsang is Time now, I don't think order of events matters much.
    • Well, Nanny Ogg said she had delivered Lobsang about 2 weeks prior to when the story was set, and he was somewhere in the 14-16ish age range, so Vetinari could have been sent back in time as well.
  • ...I love you. This is now canon in my mind.
  • Slight problem with this: her nobility goes back only one generation: Mort and Ysabel were created the Duke and Duchess Sto Helit. Ysabel was Death's adopted daughter, and as such was out of the world for at least 30 years. We never find out about her biological family except that she was orphaned at a very early age. It's possible, then, that Susan has a number of maternal great-aunts and great-uncles (and cousins from said lines of descent), but unlikely that she'd have any idea who they were. On the paternal side, the only confirmed relatives are Lezek, her paternal grandfather (who she remembered, but also remembered dying years before Soul Music), and Hamish (Susan's paternal great-uncle), who gets at best a two-page mention and is promptly forgotten about. I really can't see how she'd arrange fosterage on that side without messing up her own timeline.
    • Perhaps future!Susan tracked down Ysabel's sister or aunt, and convinced her to take care of young Havelock until he was old enough to live outside of time himself or choose to stay on the Disc, or until he became inextricable from present history?
    • Lady Merosole in Night Watch compares young Havelock to his father, in terms that imply he is deceased by then, and was well known to her.
  • But could any child of Susan's and grandchild of Ysabell's really be content, living a life without chocolate? And wouldn't a grandchild of Wen the Eternally Surprised look a bit more Hublandish?
    • Lobsang went unremarked. Hublanders don't really seem to look much different from Morporkians, aside from cultural differences in outfits and suchlike.
    • Although somebody did call Lu-Tze a "little yellow bastard", or words to that effect, in Small Gods.
    • Concerning the chocolate issue, Vetinari would also technically be the son of Jeremy Clockson. That should certainly be enough to cancel it out. Incidentally, the reason Death never contacts his great-grandson is that Vetinari is a dog lover.
      • Death doesn't hate dogs, he spared Gaspode and Laddie back in Moving Pictures and played with Scraps in Carpe Jugulum.
    • Almost "right". But think of who else could be in the frame as the female incarnation of Time. One who has learnt to walk up and down the timelines at will. One who knew, because she had been born in Lancre and apprenticed to Granny Weatherwax, exactly where to go to find the world's best midwife, Nanny Ogg. One who, when she re-appears in the series in "I shall wear Midnight", explains that she has a son she must take care of...
    • wait a minute. You mean... Eska??!

Lu-Tze is actually Simon the Digger.
Think about it. Ancient badass doing overlooked menial labor. Spiral Power can keep you around for quite a while(as Lordgenome proved.) At some point he decided to see how the universe he saved would turn out. So, he found a new home on an odd little planet, replaced his drill with a broom, and found a menial job in a place where living several centuries wouldn't raise an eyebrow and went about his business.

Two versions of Lu-Tze existed simultaneously at the end of the Century of the Fruitbat: a little bald wrinkly smiling man, and a naive youth in search of perplexity.
Lu-Tze learned his Way from Mrs. Marietta Cosmopolite, dressmaker, whom we first met in Moving Pictures. She hadn't been born yesterday hundreds of years ago, and as he was only a novice and untrained in time manipulation, Lu-Tze couldn't have jumped ahead to her time. Furthermore, it was a flyer from the Ankh-Morpork Guild of Merchants that drew him to the city, and we know that this Guild only came into existence due to events in The Colour Of Magic. This suggests that Lu-Tze was born quite recently, and his discovery of the Way of Mrs. Cosmopilite happened during the time period covered by the novels. Once the History Monks saw what his new Way made him capable of, they moved him backward in time by several centuries, probably because none of the present monastery staff had a clue how to teach or challenge him. Aside from numerous side-treks into past and future eras of the world, he's lived out the centuries there ever since, eventually catching up with (and possibly even recruiting!) his youthful self.

If we don't actually see a young Lu-Tze in the series, of course, that doesn't invalidate this WMG. It only goes to show that the Closing of the Flower worked so very well, in his case, it even erased his youthful self's presence from all the other Discworld novels.
  • This makes perfect sense.
  • It is stated quite clearly in the novel that Lu-Tze went seeking wisdom in Ankh-Morpork because of all the foreigners coming to Oi-Dong and other monasteries for theirs (Wisdom is only found far away). Furthermore he was familiar with the writings of Wen intimately during the time he was staying with Ms. Cosmopolite so he had been in the monastery for a long time. We are not told how long he has been a follower of the Way but we are told that he learned everything the traditional awesome janitor way, by cleaning up the same lectures over and over and over again. He is not part of the organization of History Monks (more of a consulting time fixer) and seems to do things as needed, not as ordered. It is possible (and I think quite probable) that him going to Ankh-Morpork and picking up the Way is a very recent event.
    • It's also stated quite clearly that "the young Lu-Tze" was the one to come to Ankh-Morpork seeking perplexity. Presumably that had to have happened quite a long time ago by Lu-Tze's own perspective, as he's been a little bald wrinkly smiling man since he learned enough to age circularly; indeed, long enough that advice not to act incautiously around such a person rates as the monastery's Rule One.

Clodpool the Apprentice is the Abbot
Wen himself went off to live in Time's glass palace, but we never get told what happened to his foolish apprentice. Presumably, Wen succeeded in teaching him about the nature of time ("It is fortuitous that you are my apprentice at this time, because if I can teach you, Clodpool, I can teach anyone"), and he went on to teach the next group of seekers after wisdom, becoming the first abbot of the order. Which, since the abbot is reincarnated, makes him the current abbot.
  • Awesome.
  • Except Small Gods says that the 59th Abbot was deposed and hunted down by his brethren for making bets on horse races using knowledge from the Books of History. That would break the line of succession.

Lu-Tze is a Time Lord
His broom is his Tardis.
  • That would honestly be a big step down.

The changes that the new personification of Time imposed on history laid the groundwork for Thud!.
When the new Time, formerly Lobsang & Jeremy, re-assembles history using the Procrastinators, he does more than just repair its fractures and re-start time. While some of the changes imposed would've been to cover up the glass clock — filling the shop with oranges, erasing Jeremy's history like Lobsang's had been, wiping Igor's memory of how to build one — he also took the opportunity to change things in other ways. The meta purpose of this was to justify discontinuities in the Discworld novels, but he might've also wanted to undo some damaging consequences of the previous glass clock: to be specific, how the repetitions of the Battle of Koom Valley had poisoned dwarf/troll relations for fifteen centuries.

While the History Monks wouldn't have had much choice in the matter, when they desperately patched up Discworld's history the first time, the new Time can't have overlooked how their slapdash repairs had provided a virulent point of contention between the two races. Because he'd been able to perceive everything — not just past, present and future as they were, but as they could be or have been — Time had the opportunity to revise reality in ways that would, within a few years, expose the truth behind the original Koom Valley conflict. All he needed to do was slightly adjust the history of a crackpot artist, add a very large mural to the Royal Art Gallery (which he'd had to repair anyway, to undo the Auditors' "art appreciation" efforts), and make sure a certain long-forgotten Device was speaking loud enough for tunnelers with ear-trumpets to detect. The unlikely coincidence that the individual in the best position to expose the truth, one Sir Samuel Vimes, just happened to have a copy of that same mural in his headquarters' attic, was no coincidence at all: neither the original mural nor Sybil's pantograph even existed, until Time's changes took effect.

Time looked at the possible future outcomes of history, both in his and all possible alternate timelines, and chose to apply those alterations which could correct Koom Valley's toxic side-effects, while leaving the rest of history as intact as possible. Then he sat back and watched it unfold, precisely as it needed to. Indeed, the fact that Time didn't intercept Vimes and Carcer in Night Watch and immediately send them home, despite how their presence thirty years ago endangered the course of past events, suggests that Time had a hand in that novel, too: perfect insight into history had warned him that only a Vimes who'd faced the terror of losing his family, and re-lived the events of the 25th of May, would have both the fatherly devotion to fight through stone, water and darkness in search of his son, and a conviction to tether the Beast so strong, it could confront the Summoning Dark and make it back down.

While Lobsang/Jeremy took on Lobsang's name and personality, he took on (part of) Jeremy's age.
I always pictured Jeremy as being at least ten years older than Lobsang (who is sixteen according to the book), partly because of his preternaturally colorless persona but also because of the way his timeline seems to be constructed (he seems to have had ashop for several years, for instance). I'd place him at about 25-30. When Lobsang first met Susan, they seemed to be each other's type but there was really no indication that they'd finish the story with a "perfect moment"- Susan just seemed to find Lobsang annoying. Of course- he was a teenage kid and Susan was at least twenty (judging by the fact that she was sixteen in Soul Music). Once he'd combined with Jeremy and taken on some of his age (in addition to the gravitas that kind of comes with the whole personification of Time thing), he was a lot more mature and around Susan's age, which could lead to an attraction even if there wasn't one before.

Wen the Eternally Surprised first courted Time about 7000 years ago.
The rampant manipulation of time that was practiced in Djelibeybi for seven thousand years should've incurred the attention of the History Monks, if not Time herself, had either been aware of the development of Dios's Stable Time Loop in the era of Khuft. Given that the Djelibeybi pyramids simply burned off their excess time, rather than making it available for storage on procrastinators, there was no good reason for the Men In Saffron to allow the Old Kingdom to engage in this wasteful and ultimately destructive practice - they couldn't harvest time for other purposes if it was being converted to flarelight and destroyed, and they needed all of it they could get for their own work - and Time herself would likely have considered it demarcation for mortals to tamper with her domain so intensely.

However, if the History Monks avoid changing events that pre-date their own order's founding, to avoid irreconcilable paradoxes, then they couldn't intervene in something that happened before Wen established his "special relationship" with Time. Likewise, if Time herself were distracted from her duties by Wen's courtship at the moment Dios appeared from the future, then she could've missed her chance to derail the Stable Time Loop's initial formation. Once the looping priest had made a solid impact on the Djel valley's history, and neither Time nor the Monks had prevented it from happening, all they could do was let the Loop run its course, while minimizing the temporal damage to nearby regions.

The Abbot knew (or guessed) more about Lobsang than he let on.
When the Abbot, Lu-Tze, and the senior history Monks are discussing what to do with Lobsang, the Abbot asks Lu-Tze to help, and eventually Lu-Tze agrees, saying "I will help him find a Way."

However that wasn't what the Abbot asks. Specifically he says "Will you teach him? The boy needs to...find himself." Given the events later in the book, it seems likely that his choice of wording is no coincidence. There are, after all, many many instances in this book where phrasing and language are important, and brushing specific language off as just an old saying or turn of phrase is done at one's own peril (i.e. the teachings of Mrs. Cosmopilite)

Plus it just seems like such a Pratchett thing to do, to have such a small line really show far more about s character's depth than you'd be able to get with just one read through.