In Twilight Watch, Anton is facing down this Beyond Categorization Witch and has to expend all his power just to survive, with no hope for actually fighting back or rescuing his kidnapped daughter... And his thoughts are that he just has to hold her until his wife gets there. She does. She kicks ass.
The whole book seems a great Moment of Awesome for Vetinari. We see how much he has changed the city, how positive those changes have been despite some questionable choices along the way (like empowering guilds instead of Watch), and probably the reason for these choices. And, most importantly we see that he does indeed have a heart (so doubles as a heartwarming moment). Foreshadowed right in the beginning of the story where he wore lilac in the original timeline as well.
I joined the fight. I snatched up a lilac bloom from a fallen man and, I have to say, held it in my mouth. I'd like to think I made some difference; I certainly killed four men, although I take no particular pride in that. They were thugs, bullies. No real skill.
Vimes takes down a large portion of the City Guard forces with little more than some willpower, a handful of ginger, and the greatest Ass Shove in the history of literature.
The end of the book deserves special mention when Vimes arrests Carcer (which is made awesome primarily because he manages not to murder him).
Vimes confronts the resistance at their barricade.
"I repeat, I order you to dismantle this barricade." [Vimes] took a deep breath and went on. "And rebuild it on the other side of the corner with Cable Street! And put up another one at the top of Sheer Street! Properly built! Good grief, you don't just pile stuff up, for god's sake! A barricade is something you construct!"
And before that, when he stands up to, and then knocks out Rust, after the latter tries to have the Watch shoot at the people behind the barricade.
When the old, corrupt watch arrests him, Vimes almost escapes by threatening the guy in charge with his own sword, which is even more awesome because he works this into a rant about all the holes in their form.
This is made doubly awesome because he is then finally arrested by a younger version of himself. Whichever way you look, Vimes comes out on top.
The greatest Moment of Awesome in Night Watch, nay for Vimes, nay for the entire series, takes place entirely in Vimes' own head:
He wanted to go home. He wanted it so much that he trembled at the thought. But if the price of that was selling good men to the night, if the price was filling those graves, if the price was not fighting with every trick he knew... Then it was too high. History finds a way? Well, it would have to come up with something good, because it was up against Sam Vimes now.
At the end, after arresting Carcer, Vetinari suggests a statue for the men who died, with a plaque to the effect of 'they did the job they had to do'.
That was even more awesome for Vetinari, because earlier in the scene Sam himself had mentioned a statue or something for the heroes, and Vetinari turned it around on him with deliberate use of the "job they had to do" phrase to make the insufficiency of a monument clear.
Not to mention Vimes yells at Vetinari AND GETS AWAY SCOT FREE. Though that's partially a CMOA for Vetinari as well, as he realizes at this time in this place, he can afford to allow it. But he points out to Vimes that's the only time he will.
Vimes leads a rather bedraggled group of Watchmen into battle against a much better-armed group of Unmentionables twice their size and completely and utterly owning them. A very decent proportion of the enemy ended up just running away from "a maniac with two swords." Let's just recap real quick. The evil, dark force that is the Unmentionables was half-obliterated and then chased out of action by Sam Vimes, armed with nothing but two swords and blind in one eye.
Ned's reply to Vimes finally owning up to being a time traveller. 'I traveled here through time.' Ned looks him over—post-battle—and has to ask 'From how far back?'.
One we never get to see, though it gets described: Vetinari failed his stealth final in assassin school, because his instructor marked him as absent. Let that sink in for a moment.
His Aunt also notes his repeated reprimands for not showing up for his concealment classes in general...
Vetinari's "assassination" of Lord Winder. He actually walks into a party that Lord Winder is in, takes out two miniature crossbows, shoots the bodyguards with them, then pulls out a sword. Before he can actually use it on him though, Lord Winder dies of fright. This is being done in a crowded room full of people, and Vetinari just walks out — with no one saying a word.
This becomes a neat bit of Fridge Brilliance when you notice that every previous scene had Vetinari talking about camouflage or demonstrating the correct usage there-of, only to prove in this scene that the perfect camouflage is not making people not see you, but making people not want to see you.
Which means it's even more of a MoA for Vetinari's aunt, who'd deftly arranged the crowd to ensure its convenient blindness, and to ensure that Winder had no allies when Vetinari came to kill him.
Let's rephrase: Vetinari walked into a crowded room in the middle of the palace, kills the most important man in the city (and his two bodyguards), and walks back out, all without being seen or leaving a mark on his target. Assassin legends rarely do as well.
Nobody in a crowded room of nobles saw Vetinari... except his target. There's stealth, there's style, and there's Vetinari.
Bonus points for using the same technique at the very end in the graveyard, only letting himself be seen after Vimes arrests Carcer.
Really, any time Vetinari opens his mouth counts. There's a reason why one of Sgt. Colon's greatest fears is that Vetinari will get sardonic on him. Also, when he holds flowers in his teeth. Don't ask.
Reg Shoe. Though throughout the book he was a silly revolutionary (and in the entire series he was at best Plucky Comic Relief), when he realizes that the revolution has failed, and the ones who fought are being killed by the ones they put in power he raises the flag and leads the attack against the secret police, refusing to fall over or stop fighting even after an enormous number of arrows have hit him, before he finally dies- to return as an equally revolutionary zombie.
And he returned as a zombie because he refused to accept being dead.
And because he had to keep fighting the good fight. He gave his all for the revolution, he died for the cause, he clawed his way back from the great beyond to find that the whole thing had been a joke all along and he was the punchline. Young Vimes crawled into a bottle in despair, but Reg Shoe built a new revolution, made a new cause, and kept right on fighting.
Heartwarming in Hindsight when you realize that Reg Shoe eventually joined the Watch, fulfilling his purpose to fight for the people. And he does it under Vimes.
So the Watch is slowly developing the various departments of a modern police service. It has detectives, forensics, surveillance, autopsies, traffic, fraud, internal investigations, all of that stuff. Now notice at the start of the book when Carcer kills Stronginthearm and hides on the Universitys roof Vimes tells everyone to surround the building but not go up because hes doing it himself Vimes is the Watchs (more or less) one-man SWAT Team!
Vimes turning around the plot to frame him for theft. You might think the stolen item would end up in the locker of one of the men who set him up, but nope. It's in its owner's safe, because Sam Vimes is incorruptible, even thirty years in the past and under an assumed name.
It's actually implied that he originally considered placing the item in one of those lockers, but when he found something far more damning inside he removed it to protect that man from far worse punishment. Putting the stolen item back was less because Vimes was incorruptible and more a display of how cunning he truly is-for the duration of that scene, the men who tried to frame him are reeling from uncertainty as each has his locker checked. In the end, they know that he is aware of what they did, showed mercy on them, one realizes that his secret is exposed, and they aren't sure how he managed it in the first place-the only reason the safe was insecure was because by the elder Vimes's time, its combination was common knowledge within the watch house.
At first it seems that the history has not changed. There are still seven graves and there is still lilac. But when you think about it, you realise that in fact, Sam Vimes has succeeded in defeating history. He held the barricades up till the morning and prevented bloodshed. His family, Watch, Vetinari, cemetery are all the same, but city might have a few hundred, if not thousand, people more than before the storm - people who owe their lives to Sam Vimes.
Vimes defuses a Powder Keg Crowd ... by deliberately making the watch house as unthreatening as possible, and channeling all their pent up energy into tending to one belligerent young man who works himself up into a hand injury. (Every other watch house in the city has fortified itself, which to a mob mentality means 'enemy'.)
To reiterate, Vimes averts a riot in the making by opening the Watch House door, turning on all the lights, and sitting outside it amiably drinking a cup of cocoa, which completely short-circuits the mob's expectations. As the narrator puts it, it's the first time in history a single man with a non-alcoholic beverage has been the subject of so much rapt attention. He then treats the one young man who tries to pick a fight with perfect courtesy and respecting, giving the other ample rope to hang himself and divert everyone's energy into helping out out with his subsequent injury.
Vimes making it back to the present just in time to learn that his wife was having trouble in child birth. Vimes ran naked and bloody through the city to fetch the only competent Doctor of Ankh Morpork and save his wife and child. He brought Dr Lawn, evaded a misplaced bazooka/shotgun shot, sat for the very long child birth and managed to see his son. Only then did he collapse from exhaustion and injuries.
At the start of the book, Vimes learns that the Assassin's Guild has taken him off the register.
And it's mentioned that just before they did that they'd raised his fee to 600,000 dollars, a number probably only second to Vetinari, who, let's be fair, was an assassin himself who mastered in poisons, and only failed Concealment and Stealth because his instructors could never find him and assumed him absent from their classes.
It gets better. In this book, we learn that the Assassins Guild has killed many of Ankh-Morpork's previous rulers for going too far. And Vetinari has not only survived, but was removed from the register because his death would do more harm than good.
Young Vetinari's revenge against Downey for destroying his book on concealment.
A little later that night, Downey was walking unsteadily back to his study after a convivial time in the Prefects' Common Room, when he noticed that a torch had gone out. With a swiftness that might have surprised someone who saw no further than his flushed face and unsteady walk, he pulled out a dagger and scanned the corridor. He glanced up at the ceiling, too. There were gray shadows everywhere, but nothing more than that. Sometimes, torches did go out all by themselves. He stepped forward. When he woke up in his bed next morning, he put the headache down to some bad brandy. And some scag had painted orange and black stripes on his face.
Vimes' sheer channeled fury during the scouring of the house of painnote What history would call the revolutionaries' destruction of the Unmentionables' Torture Cellar is terrifying and awesome to behold, especially when he catches the clerk who kept all the notes during the atrocities that took place there and dismantles his protestations that he's not a bad person because he only wrote things down and measured peoplenote Captain Swing was a believer in craniometrics- the nonsensical belief that you can tell what someone is like by measuring their head and facial features, which was as good as proof to a madman like Swing with a ferocious"The Reason You Suck" Speech:
"And what does daddy do at work all day, mister? ... You're all alone here. You have no friends here. You sat and took notes for a torturer, a bloody torturer! And I see a desk, and it's got a desk drawer, and if you ever, ever want to hold a pen again you'll tell me everything I want to know-"
Vimes using his ability to tell where he is in Ankh-Morpork by the way the street feels to find the Time Monks.
The fight between Swing and Vimes in the Torture Cellar. Swing puts up a surprisingly good fight (an awesome moment from an otherwise reprehensible bastard of a man), but ultimately it's Vimes who walks away from the battle, killing Swing with his own steel-tipped ruler.
Ned Coates gets a small moment towards the end when he interrupts Carcer, now his superior. Carcer goes to turn on his full Faux Affably Evil act but Ned just looks back at him. Even Carcer is made uneasy by this, making Ned the only character who manages to provoke this in him.