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    Commander Samuel Vimes 
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Vimes: The trouble is, you know, that once the taste's got you it never lets go.
Carrot: But you've been very good, sir. I've not seen you touch a drop for -
Vimes: Oh, that. I was talking about policing, not alcohol. There’s lots of people will help you with the alcohol business, but there's no one out there arranging little meetings where you can stand up and say, "My name is Sam Vimes and I'm a really suspicious bastard."

Head of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, and a hardened copper to the bone. He was promoted to captain of the Night Watch during the rise of the Guilds and the decline of the Watch, and this combined with his natural cynicism drove him to drink. However, after stumbling into saving the city, he unexpectedly found himself moving up in the world, starting with his marriage to the wealthy socialite and swamp-dragon fancier Sybil Ramkin and culminating with receiving two titles: a knighthood as the Commander of the revitalized City Watch and the Dukedom of Ankh in Jingo in recognition of his accomplishments. He is also a truly incredible badass.


  • Addiction Displacement: From alcohol to cigars. As of Snuff, even cigars have mostly been displaced by Willikins' non-alcoholic mixers... and snuff.
  • Adult Fear: It used to be that angering the sort of people who would resort to murder amused him. Then came his son. Nowadays most of his nightmares revolve around screaming children and empty beds.
  • The Alcoholic: In Guards! Guards! — in his words, a drunk, since he wasn't posh enough to be an alcoholic. After that he quits, before falling off the wagon in Men at Arms after crossing the Despair Event Horizon, and wavering in Feet of Clay (however, despite the expectations of the Big Bad, he doesn't fall off the wagon), and switches to cigars and later, Willikins' very strong non-alcoholic cocktails. As Vimes puts it, "one drink would be too much, two not enough."
  • The Anti-Nihilist: If there's no justice in the cold, uncaring universe, he's damn well going to shove some where the sun does not shinenote .
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • His Grace Sir Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh, Commander of the City Watch, Blackboard Monitor. To some dwarfs it's actually Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick, as erasing writing is considered heresy. In Snuff, it's mentioned that Vimes was officially created "Blackboard Monitor" by the Low King.
      Lady Sybil: Yes, Sam, the highest honor that the King of the Dwarfs can bestow. Blackboard Monitor Vimes: one who can erase the writings, somebody who can rub out what is there.
    • Of course, Sybil might have been ironic there, as Dwarves generally tend to, er... aspire to the lowest honours. 'Blackboard Monitor' may as well be an honour disguised as a joke disguised as an honour, as suits the character of Rhys.
  • Ambadassador:
    • In one of his earliest outings as a Duke, he threatened to personally send a hostile ambassador 'home in an ambulance', which caused the man to redeploy his army so far from the border that it threatened a country on the other side of it. His reputation amongst diplomatic circles has only grown since, and since he treats issues like wars as crimes on a bigger scale, Vetinari has learned to defuse international issues by simply sending Vimes.
    • Vimes has also found that his policing instincts fit quite well in diplomacy, with Vetinari at one point testily remarking that Vimes' understanding of political reality was masterly, but his language wasn't. He has no qualms about provoking heads of states and stirring up controversy to do what he believes is right (like bringing a troll and an openly female dwarf into a still-somewhat-fundamentalist dwarven kingdom). The heads of states, in return, recognize that he is an unbendingly honest and honourable (if not particularly bright - or so they think) man, and thus treat him with a great deal of respect, and no small amount of fear.
  • Assassin Outclassin': To the point where after a while the Assassin's Guild stops trying, except for the occasional student they send after him so that Vimes can give the student a lesson in humility.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Vimes knows the streets. As in, just by the feel of his foot against the ground, he can work out which part of the city it is, due to the make of Ankh-Morpork's roads combined with a frightening knowledge of the details behind them. Sybil and Wilikins keep sabotaging this ability by buying "sensible" boots, rather than old and bedraggled ones that Vimes prefers. In Night Watch, Vimes gets a chance to wear proper, old boots with cardboard soles, and manages to retrace his steps to the History Monks just by road surfaces alone.
  • Badass Normal: A number of dragons, dwarves, trolls, golems, vampires, werewolves, assassins, criminals, politicians, and supernatural things of vengeance have tried to kill him at one point or another. He has managed to survive them all and kicked their asses to the Rim and back with nothing but his ruthless cunning and sheer willpower.
  • Being Good Sucks: This is one of his two guiding principles: the other is mentioned in The Anti-Nihilist, above.
  • Benevolent Boss: He's usually grumpy and he expects a lot of his subordinates, but he's also a good commander who takes care of his men, and in return they have Undying Loyalty to him. In the words of one dwarf sergeant, when your back's against the wall, Mister Vimes is right behind you.
  • Berserk Button:
    • War. Vimes hates murder, and war is just murder on a much grander scale. Also, calling a copper a soldier. For Sam, police protect the innocent, soldiers kill who they're told to. He'll even struggle to keep his temper if someone implies police officers aren't civilians. Having grown up during a time of secret police and repression, any form of political policing is a really sore point for him.
    • Despite ending up as the Duke of Ankh, he hates any form of classism, particularly when someone considers lower-class people (or people in general) as "not important", as noted by Carrot:
      Carrot: The candles killed two other people.
      Arthur Carry: Who?
      Carrot: An old lady and a baby in Cockbill Street.
      Arthur Carry: Were they important?
      [beat]
      Carrot: I was almost feeling sorry for you. Right up to that point. You're a lucky man, Mr. Carry.
      Arthur Carry: You think so?
      Carrot: Oh, yes. We got to you before Commander Vimes did.
  • Big Good: He may be cranky and grumpy, but there's a good reason why he commands the respect of his Watchmen, his city, and other nations on the Disc. As a Klatchian commander once said about Carrot (who had persuaded the D'Regs not to charge, something considered to be Beyond the Impossible): "This man can make water run uphill and he has a commander."
  • Bling of War: Is occasionally forced (practically at crossbow-point) to wear (or, at the very least, pack) this stuff. Has a habit of finding novel ways to ditch or break it, ASAP, with Moist von Lipwig independently noting that Vimes disapproves of armour that lacks that signature "kicked by trolls" look. To say that he loathes feathered, highly polished and utterly impractical ceremonial gear is an understatement.
  • Casting a Shadow: As of Snuff when he's pursuing just retribution and can secure the cooperation of the Summoning Dark, he can see even in pitch blackness, communicate with subterranean races like the goblins, and perceive any events taking place in the dark.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Learned from his mentor Sergeant John Keel in one timeline, at least. There is no one better than Vimes at using every scrap of advantage available in a fight. Including his own wife's wrath.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Paul Kidby draws Vimes as Clint Eastwood. Melvyn Grant draws him as Pete Postlethwaite, who Pratchett reportedly preferred.
  • Cowboy Cop: Deconstructed. Vimes, despite being promoted time after time, is nonetheless an archetypal Cowboy Cop, rejecting the rules if they stop him from doing his job and hunting down criminals - or, as in Night Watch, rejecting the code that has lead to the Watch becoming useless and Ankh-Morpork a police state - and frequently running up against Da Chief in the form of Vetinari (although Vetinari is quite trope-savvy in this case, and appears to willingly take the position of Da Chief in order to nudge Vimes in the right direction). The deconstruction comes because Vimes hates it - he hates that the system does not work, that it forces him to be a Cowboy Cop to get things done and that it keeps trying to push him into chaos when all that is important to him is the law. He's also very aware that the justification "It's all right to break the rules because it's me doing it" could very easily be the start of a very slippery slope. That's why Wolfgang von Uberwald was killed in a way that technically upheld the police procedure, and Carcer Dun was captured instead of killed on the spot, even though he had it coming.
  • Crazy-Prepared: By Night Watch, his home is liberally strewn with booby-traps to catch any Assassin trying to carry out a contract. The effectiveness of these traps is one reason why the Assassins' Guild keeps raising his contract price—right up until they take him off the register entirely as essential to the city's functioning. They do still send overconfident students on simulated missions against him to knock them down a peg.
  • Crushing Handshake: He can do this without even trying, as Moist finds out in Raising Steam, comparing shaking Vimes' hands to a bag full of walnuts.
  • The Cynic: In Going Postal, Adora Belle Dearheart calls him even more cynical than Vetinari.
  • Da Chief: Manages to combine this with Cowboy Cop in some very strange ways. As Vetinari put it:
    Vetinari: I have noted before that you have a definite anti-authoritarian streak, Commander.
    Vimes: Sir?
    Vetinari: You seem to have retained this even though you are Authority.
    Vimes: Sir?
    Vetinari: That's practically Zen.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Darkness is something of a running theme with Vimes, and it gets rather more literal in Thud! when he's possessed by the Summoning Dark, an incarnation of berserker vengeance... which he subdues with his own internal Darkness. It was impressed, and in Snuff it's taken to helping him out a bit.
  • Deadpan Snarker: One of the most sarcastic characters in the Discworld series, which takes some doing. He believes his - already quite noticeable - cynicism still is not as cynical as reality, and will often make this known to others.
  • Determinator: The Discworld dwarves know that there is a Darkness under the world - a Darkness called forth by the death of innocents, which will possess anyone in a quest to destroy the killer. In Thud! it attempts to use Vimes as its cat's-paw, only to find that he's already got his own, home-grown 'demon' of an even more implacable nature.
  • Disappeared Dad: Mentioned in Night Watch, expanded on in Snuff. It was probably drink and lack of caution that did his father in, but this clearly plays into his decision not to be an absentee parent for his own son.
  • Discriminate and Switch:
    • His main objection to Angua joining the Watch is that she's a werewolf. This, in conjunction with his alcoholism, is why Angua has a very low opinion of him for most of Men at Arms - though it improves rapidly after she gets to see some of his Hidden Depths. For instance, when she sees his bare room, she assumes that he spends all his wages on drink - and to be fair, she had just found him black-out drunk, then when told that this was the first time he'd fallen off the wagon in months and finds a list of female names and addresses with dates and cash amounts next to them equating to about half his salary, she assumes that they're seamstresses. She's then informed somewhat icily by Carrot that they're the widows and in one case, orphan, of dead coppers.
    • While Vimes claims to be prejudiced against non-humans, it's really more a matter of mistrusting everyone, especially his fellow humans. He'll force himself to give pretty much anyone a chance to prove themselves, no matter his kneejerk reaction.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Almost to Vetinari's degree. When he leaves the city, the crime rate goes down - because criminals are terrified at the prospect of Vimes coming back and being unhappy about the state of affairs.
    • After Thud!, Blackboard Monitor Vimes might as well have replaced the bogeyman for dwarfs.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Well, until his wife put a stop to it.
  • Drunken Master: Inverted. Drunk!Vimes is intimidated by a couple palace guards. Sober!Vimes has taken on werewolves, dwarf extremists, and politicians and won.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • In line with his Combat Pragmatist tendencies, Vimes will frequently grab something in his left hand to supplement his sword...and he can use ANYTHING as a weapon.
    • In a non-violent example, Vimes once made sure to be publicly seen with both hands full (one with a mug of cocoa, one with a cigar) when the city was on the verge of a riot, so that if and when he was violently confronted, even the most confused witness could not claim he'd been carrying a weapon or landed the first blow.
  • Enemy Within: Vimes has locked all of his mindless rage and animalistic instinct away in a Shadow Archetype he sometimes refers to as The Beast. Letting The Beast off its chain is almost a Superpowered Evil Side and when it comes out the Point of View jumps to his opposition, to describe how insanely terrifying he is when frenzied. How terrifying is this? While in the grip of it, he's killed werewolves with his bare hands.
    • This only gets more pronounced and terrifying when he's infected by the Summoning Dark in Thud!, with the latter half of the book involving his internal struggle not to snap and unleash the Beast.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: After his brush with the Summoning Dark, he access to Casting a Shadow style powers to augment his physical ass kicking.
  • Expy: Of Dirty Harry, except he subverts the Cowboy Cop tropes until he becomes Lawful Good.
  • Eyes Always Averted: When reporting to Vetinari, Vimes always stares at a spot slightly above the Patrician's head, in part due to the fact that the Windows of the Soul trope is extremely prevalent on the Disc (even gods can't hide or disguise their eyes).
  • A Father to His Men: Most strongly with Colon and Nobby, who are worthless cops but have been his companions through dark times. But it's true of any member of his force: criminals try not to injure a Watchman because Vimes might take it personally.
  • The Fettered: The source of his Determinator willpower is his unwavering belief in justice and law.
  • First-Name Basis: Fred Colon is one of the few entitled to call him Sam, as they've known each other so long. Nevertheless, he only does it in deeply serious circumstances. A slightly larger group of people are entitled to call him "Mister Vimes" - note that it's Mister too, and not "Mr". You can hear the difference when people say it.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: As of Snuff, he's on good terms with the Summoning Dark.
  • Good Is Not Nice:
    • He is justice in Ankh-Morpork, but he's also incredibly cynical, compulsively sarcastic, very irritable, fanatically paranoid, and a little sadistic. The fact that he's chosen "good" instead of "nice" is a sign of how devoted he really is to justice, as he's prepared to do the dirty work that requires.
    • His marriage to Sybil and the birth of his son softened him a bit. A bit.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Started out as a way of avoiding having a drink, but it's developed into one of his badass traits.
  • Guile Hero: Often coupled with Indy Ploy, as Vimes often goes up against forces that a way above his weight class with nothing but righteous fury and sheer cunning.
  • Happily Married:
    • To Sybil. True, he becomes a Henpecked Husband in some ways, but he's so in love with her (as said henpecking is nearly always to his benefit) he wouldn't have it any other way.
    • The henpecking now extends to the Watch as well. No officer will ever follow an order from Vimes if it means betraying one from Sybil. Hence why Vimes' "Bacon Lettuce and Tomato" sandwich suddenly actually has lettuce and tomato in it, and significantly less bacon.
    • As a measure of how much he loves his wife, Lu-Tze tells him in Night Watch that in all the various alternate universe versions of the Discworld, there is not a single reality in which he has ever killed her. note 
  • Heroic BSoD: Had one for twenty years until Carrot kicked his mind out of the bottle.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Vimes thinks Sybil is just being over-affectionate when she tells him You Are Better Than You Think You Are and that he's capable of much more than just being a Watch Captain back at the beginning of things. She was right.
    • Vimes also has a very low opinion of his own intelligence and has an inferiority complex with regards to the fact that he never had a formal education. However, he's got a surprisingly broad knowledge base and vocabulary, being able to translate the Discworld equivalent of Latin off the top of his head (albeit a little slowly) partly by working off etymological roots, he's extremely cunning, and very good both at reading people and thanks to decades of police work and observing Vetinari, manipulating them - the latter to the point where his ability to play a suspect impresses Moist von Lipwig. To be fair, several other characters (including Vetinari, 71-Hour Achmed, and Moist) note that Vimes is slow on the uptake but once you get him started he picks up fast.
    • His inability to do anything about the crime in Ankh-Morpork left him in a guilty spiral of self-deprecation until Carrot kicked him out of it. Once he was actually given the post of Commander and the power to do something, he worked astonishingly fast to establish the authority of the Watch so thoroughly that when he goes away to Uberwald the crime rate actually drops because no one wants to feel his wrath when he returns. But he still thinks of himself as basically a good copper that got lucky, and then of course there's his never-ending fear that he's not a good father to Young Sam...
  • Heroic Willpower: A contest of wills between Vimes and the Summoning Dark, an incredibly ancient Eldritch Abomination which specializes in controlling people through rage (which Vimes has in spades) was thought could have gone either way. In the long run, Vimes wound up on top.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Vimes spends half his life avoiding this trope through sheer force of will. It's implied in Snuff that he might be starting to go too far in bending the rules to make sure justice is done, which probably makes it just as well that he's nearing retirement.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Vimes is a hardened mean survivalist who pursues justice dogmatically... and while he was still a dirt-poor Captain he gave away half his paycheck to the widows and orphans of Watchmen, without saying a word about it. He will always offer a helping hand to those who need it, but will deny it categorically afterwards and may make a good stab at killing you if you try to spread the word around.
  • I Hate Past Me: In Night Watch Vimes goes back in time, and ends up meeting his past self, who has just joined The Watch. He is horrified as to how naive and stupid he was, and resolves to try and train himself up. Ironically, though, he's also annoyed when his past self isn't totally naive and starts niggling away at little inconsistencies that Vimes really doesn't want questions being asked about.
  • Insult Backfire: Happens when upper-class antagonists accuse him of being "no gentleman" or "a thief-taker". Vimes is proud of the former and only feels properly grounded when he's being the latter.
  • Inter-Class Romance: Captain Sam Vimes and Lady Sybil Ramkin (subsequently Sir Samuel and Lady Sybil Vimes). The resultant class dynamics lead to Vimes being seen as "a jumped-up copper to the nobs, and a nob to the rest" - while Feet of Clay reveals that his ancestor, Stoneface Vimes, executor of Lorenzo 'the Kind' (last King of Ankh-Morpork, whose nickname was in no way indicative), had a coat of arms and was by implication fairly upper-class in his own right. However, he was deposed and executed in his own right, and the Vimes family were solidly working class for the following three centuries. On the upside, being wealthy and socially prominent gives him the resources and connections to go after upper-class criminals.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a hard-faced, hardheaded, arrogant, foul-tempered, cynical thug, but even the most dangerous mob boss in the city respects him as a straight-arrow, unbribeable, almost painfully upright man who always does the right thing and never lets the Watch overstep its authority.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Pretty nearly defines it, and is in fact a knight. He also prefers wearing battered, rusty armour to ceremonial Bling of War.
  • Lawful Good: One of the most cynical examples in literature. Vimes holds the law in absolute regard, even and especially when he is tempted to just end crazed criminals like the animals they are. It causes him no end in pain, but it also makes him into The Paragon in the eyes of the rest of the world.
  • Man of the City:
    • And he likes it that way. In Ankh-Morpork, Vimes can feel where he is through the soles of his boots and tell everything going on in a street with one look. At sea, he decides to throw the anchor overboard to increase speed and then tells the captain, "Right. Stop here. Aren't there some sort of brakes?"
    • It is literally his job title and the summary of his character: POLICEMAN.
  • Married to the Job: Sybil knows that he's never going to stop being a copper. It doesn't take her long to come to grips with this, although she does make certain demands regarding vacation time and the like.
  • Memetic Badass - In-Universe:
    • Criminals don't fear the Law, they fear the Sam. Becomes even more blatant whenever someone starts listing things he's done, which includes arresting Vetinari for treason (and still being alive afterwards), arresting two entire armies for attempted murder (after all, what else is war?), beating up a group of werewolves bare handed, and fighting off a demon older than civilization itself by sheer willpower. When Vimes was out of the city and the Watch was on strike in The Fifth Elephant, crime - both guild-sanctioned and unlicensed practically disappeared - because no-one wanted to be on the Vimes Shit List when he got back.
    • A significant part of his Memetic Baddassery is the fact that he is a major player in the politics of Ankh-Morpork, quite possibly the most important leader after Vetinari himself, and yet remains uncorrupt. This is explicitly stated as part of the reason he commands such respect.
    • People of Ankh-Morpork call Watchmen the "Old Sam". Watchmen from Ankh-Morpork who move to other places are called "Sammies", even if the locals have never heard of Sam Vimes. The Watch bears ferocious loyalty to Sam, and when the Watch includes the uncrowned King of Ankh-Morpork, huge trolls, tenacious dwarfs, unbreakable golems, zombies, vampires, vicious wee men, a werewolf, and Nobby Nobbs, you had better watch your back.
    • The dwarfs in particular are terrified of him ever since he was branded with the Summoning Dark's mark. They believe that Blackboard Monitor Vimes has the power to erase you from existence. In Raising Steam he only has to show the scar to have two dwarf suspects spilling everything.
  • Nobility Marries Money: Subverted in Discworld, where Sam Vimes (then poor and a common copper) is marrying Sybil Ramkin (the richest and highest-titled lady in Ankh-Morpork). Only in later books is it revealed (or retconned) that the Vimes family had noble origins but were stripped of rank and title after Suffer-Not-Injustice executed the last King. Vimes becomes a Duke only after he's been married for quite some time.
    • Since the stripping of rank and title took place over three centuries before the present, and Vimes didn't know that there had previously been a Vimes family coat of arms until he went to the Royal College of Heralds in Feet of Clay, it's quite possible that he wasn't aware of it and had assumed that Stoneface Vimes had simply climbed the ranks the same way he had.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Subverted with his butler Willikins, who knows exactly what Sam struggles with as a cynical, alcoholic ex-street rat (being a cynical ex-street rat in his own right) and respects him all the more for it.
  • Not with Them for the Money: A Rare Male Example. He's got almost no interest in his wife's vast fortune - in fact, he was downright terrified when he realized it was going to become his vast fortune as well (it nearly sent him down the bottle again). That said, he does throw around the money when it's for a good cause: i.e. the Lady Sybil Free Hospital - where people actually live after being operated on. It's implied that he founded it out of gratitude after Dr. Lawn saved Sybil's life during labor complications.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: In the spin off Nanny Ogg's Cookbook we're told that Commander Vimes (who believes Burnt Crunchy Bits are a food group) nearly submitted a recipe for Pork Scratching Cookies, before his wife stopped him.
  • Off the Wagon:
    • He quits drinking after Guards! Guards! largely due to his wife's influence, but he climbs back into the bottle for a while after Vetinari fires him in Men At Arms.
    • At one point in Feet of Clay, he pretends to have fallen off the wagon in order to find out what the plotters who attempted to drive him there are really up to.
  • Only Sane Man: Vimes feels like this on most days.
  • Papa Wolf: He's always been punctilious about arresting, not executing, criminals no matter how heinous their crimes. That would be police brutality, And That's Terrible. But a couple of 'clever' antagonists have attempted to pressure Sam Vimes by going after his wife or his child. That's 'clever', not 'wise'.
  • The Perils of Being the Best: The downside of being known far and wide as the best, most respected, and most honest policeman on the Disc is that Vimes has to live up to that reputation. That includes taking insane risks in order to avoid becoming a Broken Pedestal, (like in Night Watch, when he wound up having to run back into a burning building to save a torturer he tied up inside earlier and then forgot about) or to confront criminals and situations no one else will be capable of adequately dealing with. (Also in Night Watch, Vimes knows that he has to drop everything to arrest Carcer, because otherwise someone who has never encountered such a devious sociopath will attempt to arrest Carcer by the book and get themselves killed doing so.)
  • Powers via Possession: When he has a run-in with the Summoning Dark, it starts to nudge him towards becoming The Berserker. After he forces it into submission, it gives him Innate Night Vision and the ability to communicate with things that live in dark places, like goblins. He's reasonably certain that it isn't affecting his behaviour anymore, but not quite enough to be comfortable with it.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Vetinari's Blue, and usually but not always to Sybil's. (Sybil's not as Blue as Vetinari; no one is.)
  • Running Gag:
    • Despite his loathing of the nobility, Vetinari foists increasingly-impressive titles onto Vimes against his will, both to wind the Commander up and to annoy the city's entrenched nobles.
    • It used to be that he had an increasingly elaborate set of booby traps strewn around his mansion's rooftop, shrubbery, railings etc to foil the numerous Assassins sent to kill him (a sign that he was angering powerful people and therefore doing the right thing). He has since been taken off their registry after proving to be invaluable to the running of the city (but uppity student Assassins are assigned to his mansion as punishment).
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Notably, he's completely impossible to bribe. Granted, he's so rich now it would be silly to try anyway, but he was like this before he married Sybil.
  • Self-Made Man: Subverted. While it is true that the Watch is a credible institution in large part because of his efforts, his influential positions (Duke of Ankh-Morpork, Commander of the Watch, etc etc etc) were forced on him against his will. If he had his way he'd still be a lowly Captain.
  • Sherlock Scan:
    • Awesomely averted, if not to say, entirely deconstructed. Vimes thinks that the Sherlock Scan is just a method of inductive reasoning made on generalizations and assumptions by a pompous idiot who is trying to show off how smart he is. He thinks that the universe is so varied and multi-faceted with so many people and situations happening simultaneously that finding a set of clues that leads to a logical conclusion is probably someone trying to screw with you.
    • Not that this opinion stops him from instantly suspecting that Skimmer is a trained assassin, simply by observing how very harmless the man's way of walking appears. So he lobs an orange at him.note 
    • His police instincts are sharp enough that it's practically a form of Sherlock Scan. As he describes it, a rookie will glance into an alleyway and think there's nothing there; An experienced copper like Carrot or Angua would look harder into an alleyway to see more details; Veterans like Vimes, Colon and even Nobby on a good day only need to glance into an alleyway because they've already seen everything they need to see.
  • Smarter Than You Look: While he has a low view of his own intelligence, and the general oft-repeated view is that he's not all that bright, with his main threat being that he's as honest as a Midsummer Day is long (and thus incorruptible - when the possibility of bribing him is brought up in The Truth by the New Firm, who're new to Ankh-Morpork, Mr Slant observes that the last person to try and bribe Vimes still doesn't hasn't regained full use of his fingers) and unbelievably persistent (he's known as 'Vetinari's Terrier', something noted by a number of characters and used as a threat). He also comes off as a thug - young Vetinari explicitly describes him as such in Night Watch, saying 'his muscles do the thinking'. However, he also goes on to note with astonishment that in every single moment, Vimes overrules them - and that's before one gets into his surprisingly broad and eclectic knowledge base, which includes the ability to translate phrases from the local equivalent of Latin off-hand and fluency in Dwarfish (the Ankh-Morpork street version, anyway, which is informal and full of slang). Moreover, his street smarts, knowledge of human nature and decades of experience as a copper mean that in an interrogation room he's capable of being a playing a suspect with such skill and deftness that it leaves master con-man Moist Von Lipwig absolutely astounded and deeply impressed - and those skills aren't confined to the interrogation room, either. He might be a little slow to get going, but once he does, you'd better watch out...
  • Street Smart: Grew up on the streets. They never left him.
  • Superpowered Evil Side:
    • Initially a natural part of his personality which he occasionally refers to as 'The Beast', but gets a boost in power once he's infected with, and manages to overcome, the Summoning Dark.
    • He has a vastly more powerful Superpowered Good Side that controls 'The Beast' called The Guarding Dark, the manifestation of his lawfulness so powerful it can pursue and subdue an ancient interdimensional thing of vengeance infecting Vimes without breaking a sweat.
  • Technical Pacifist: He's not reluctant to knee you in the unmentionables, or use every dirty trick you haven't thought of yet to win a fight, but he will avoid killing suspects at almost any cost because he believes that the law has a process that can be bent but not broken. Hence why Watchmen are issued truncheons, not swords. On the upside, this means that the Watchmen can now charge people for Breaking A Truncheon With Their Face. Apparently paying for them is part of the threat.
  • Terror Hero:
    • After the events of Thud!, Vimes can immediately cow any dwarf by showing them his Summoning Dark-shaped scar. Most take one look, soil themselves, and comply or surrender at once.
    • Hell, just about every criminal in the city is terrified of pissing off Vimes. To whit, when he goes out of the city for a 'holiday', the city is preternaturally quiet, because if he comes back and finds his city in a mess, nobody wants to be the focus of his wrath.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Vimes can't seem to let go of a blade without it sticking in something. Even a chisel. And it's lampshaded every single time.
  • Throw It In!: Vimes was thrown together from clichés so Carrot would have someone to interact with after arriving in Ankh-Morpork. He ended up taking on a life of his own and becoming one of the most interesting and important characters in the series.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Over the course of Guards! Guards! Vimes transforms from a depressed, drink-sodden coward into the hard-nut we all know and love. For example, around midway through the story he's shown to be intimidated by two regular palace guards, while later in the book he effortless trounces said guards in a fit of anger.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: In later books, the bacon sandwich. And most things that involve considerable amounts of salt, sugar, fat, and "burnt crunchy bits". While Sybil has become an expert in making such things for Sam, of late she's been keeping him on a diet, to his dismay.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: His Excellency His Grace the Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, Lord of Ramkin Estate, Blackboard Monitor, King of the River.
  • Turn in Your Badge:
    • Played with; it was because he'd already announced his resignation. And then we have this gem from Feet of Clay... "In all, I have had seventeen demands for your badge. Some of them want parts of your body attached."
    • In Men at Arms, Vetinari fires him, demanding his badge (but accepts Vimes' refusal to hand it in). This firing, along with other pressures, drives Vimes into falling Off the Wagon and getting horribly drunk, clinging onto his badge so tightly that the edges cut into his hand.
    • When Lord Rust was running the city in Jingo, Vimes and his entire officer corps turned them in immediately so they wouldn't have to follow his insane orders. Vimes then proceeded to exploit an old law stating that noblemen could raise a militia, which he did by recruiting all his watchmen, and then headed off to the warzone to resume his investigation of the crime, reducing Rust to incoherent rage.
    • Earlier in his career (back when he was still captain and not a knight, let alone a duke), Vimes did have to turn his badge over to Wonse, the Patrician's mad clerk. Vimes didn't know what to do with himself afterward, since being a copper was all he knew how to do.
    • In Snuff, Vimes is asked by several people to hand in his badge temporarily while he goes on a holiday to the countryside. Vimes complies and hands it over in a sealed envelope. Even without looking at or feeling the envelope, Vetinari knows that Vimes instead put a metal canister (of Snuff) into the envelope.
  • Tyrannicide: Suffer-not-Injustice "Old Stoneface" Vimes, ancestor of the current Vimes, chopped off the King's head after he was sentenced to death by a tribunal for his horrific crimes. He was the only one with the balls to do it. He was later executed, his body getting the Osiris treatment. His bad reputation was so powerful, his descendants many generations later are still being bugged about it.
  • Underdressed for the Occasion: Played with, in that he does this on purpose - to the extent of throwing his ducal regalia into a convenient canyon in The Fifth Elephant.
    • Repeatedly mentioned in Monstrous Regiment, as despite being a duke and leading a large coalition army, he is dressed as a City Watchman. Polly sees him early and thinks he's a random guard who slipped into an important meeting.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Except that he can stop it.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Vimes when he was just starting out in the Watch, as seen in Night Watch used to be an intelligent, bright-eyed kid who believed in heroes and justice. Then the Jade Coloured Glasses set in...
  • We Help the Helpless: Several of the Watch books start, or involve, investigating the murder of someone who wouldn't be considered "important" by those in power. It's not out of idealism — Vimes doesn't think that the poor and unrepresented are less mean, small-minded, or wicked than the rich — but someone has to be on their side to balance things up and that's Vimes.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: Despite growing up in a notoriously poor and crime-ridden neighborhood and spending some time in a street gang, where he learned to fight dirty, his street had Standards (buying soap to clean the table is better than putting food on it). He was shamed by a future version of himself masquerading as his mentor out of taking a bribe by the thought of what his mum would say if she knew. This keeps him clean in an era where police corruption was standard practice.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Before Guards! Guards!, Vimes was shackled by political restrictions and drinking himself into an early grave. In the course of that novel he gains the support of Carrot (an unwavering and efficient lieutenant) and Sybil (a wife eager to supply both affection and discipline), resulting in a startling change in his personality and rocketing him to an internationally famous figure.

    Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/carrot.jpg

A tall, strong, and somewhat naive young man who came to Ankh-Morpork looking to have a man made of him (in more ways than one: Carrot had been raised by dwarfs all his life). He signed up with the Night Watch, and was largely responsible for pulling the organization to its feet and making it what it is today. Despite all evidence to the contrary (such as his incredible charisma, his crown-shaped birthmark, and his old but very well-made sword), he will do everything possible without actually lying to indicate he is not secretly the last long-lost heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork. Currently Carrot holds the rank of Captain of the Watch, which makes him Commander Vimes' second-in-command.


  • The Ace: Single-handedly won a barfight in the Mended Drum and stops dwarf and troll riots by being nice. He's also incredibly intelligent and creative despite his naivety, has a nigh-photographic memory, and makes friends with everybody, even ruffians and scoundrels who usually shank a copper without a second thought.
  • Always Someone Better: It'd surprise most people, considering that he is pretty much The Ace of Aces, but he sincerely considers Vimes as his better, and would never think of usurping the Commander's position. As he puts it, people would take orders from Carrot because he's Carrot, but people take orders from Vimes because it's the right thing to do.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: Vimes and Angua often wonder how much Carrot uses his likeability and charisma on purpose- to bend other people's will and get out of trouble. He's certainly a pure-hearted and simple man, but he's too smart, in his own way, to not be exploiting it.
    Angua: He always, always finds a way in. He doesn't think about it, he doesn't plot, he simply slides in. I'm almost, almost certain that Carrot doesn't know how he manages to wrap the world around him. He's good and kind and born to be a king of the ancient sort that wore oak leaves and ruled from a seat under a tree, and though he tries hard he never had a cynical thought. I'm almost certain.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Although he doesn't usually have to use his incredible asskicking potential when getting humans and members of other civilised races to see things his way, in The Fifth Elephant he briefly becomes alpha of a pack of wild wolves by beating the biggest and strongest of them in a brief fight (he wrestled it to the ground and bit it on the scruff of the neck) then intimidating the rest to make them leave him and Angua alone.
  • Batman Gambit: Carrot is terrifyingly good at pulling these off, but the really terrifying part is that nobody (including the reader) ever knows if he's even conscious that he's pulling them off.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • He's a 6.5 foot adopted dwarf, meaning he grew up in a mine swinging a pickaxe all day as soon as he could hold it. He's just as strong as any Dwarf, only scaled up 200%. Oh, and he's got the Narrative behind his back.
      Vimes: If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk. They'll gloat. They'll watch you squirm. They'll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar. So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word.
    • The quote comes in an ironic echo when Carrot later does just that to Dr. Cruces, who was then under the influence of a magically-possessed firearm. He then destroys said firearm without flinching, when Vimes could barely keep himself from murdering with it. This probably comes from the fact that Carrot is so naively idealistic that he would never even entertain the thought of shooting someone, so the gonne had no way in, though being raised dwarf helped.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: He has a crown-shaped birthmark on his arm, which marks him as the rightful heir of the Ankh-Morpork throne.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Doesn't help that being raised by dwarves makes him take things literally.
  • Born Lucky: As an Ideal Hero, he's favored by the "narrative reality" of the Discworld to an absurd degree: the universe bends around him, ensuring the best outcome for him in every circumstance. After a while it gets to the point that he starts becoming an In-Universe Canon Sue: other characters start noticing this and getting somehow unnerved by it, sometimes subtly resenting Carrot. Carrot himself may be aware of this "power" he has.
    Vimes: [to himself] You meant well, I know you did. But it worked out all right for you, didn't it? It always does. If you were dice, you'd always roll sixes. Gods help the little people who are around when a big destiny is alive in the world, bending every poor bugger around itself...
  • Bothering by the Book: Would you believe that this is Carrot's greatest weapon? Not his muscles, not his charisma, but his encyclopaedic memory of every law and ordinance in the book, which he will quote and impose in order to get you to do exactly what he wants just to avoid breaking the law.
  • Celibate Hero: He originally never noticed he's lodging with the, hem-hem, seamstresses until his encounter with Angua. Apparently his upbringing by a race that thinks of puberty as something that happens in the fifties had something to do with it.
  • Characterization Marches On: Carrot's superhuman charisma was absent, or at very least greatly toned down in his first appearance in Guards! Guards!. He does successfully shame a bar full of brawling dwarfs but that is more a case of their nature than his and otherwise he is just a likable and naive young officer.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Captain Carrot is this between humans and dwarfs, being a human raised by a dwarf king. He occasionally acts as mediator between extremist factions of either. He once described himself as "the Brothers united," the Brothers in question being the legendary first man and first dwarf.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Before he started dating Angua, the text noted that he "needed to beat the young ladies off with a stick," but he was still largely unaware that, say, he was lodging in a house of "seamstresses" who kept trying to seduce him.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Pratchett himself has stated that he intended Carrot to be the main character from the beginning, but Vimes took over the story, lending credence to the "stories write themselves, the author is just the conduit" theory.
  • Dork Knight: he's painfully decent and, especially at first, rather naive in some ways, but as mentioned above, not someone to mess with.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: The absolutely ordinary-looking, non-magical sword wielded by Carrot Ironfoundersson. It doesn't gleam or have embellishments, it has minor chips along the edge, and is sharp enough to effortlessly nail someone to a stone pillar. And by 'nail' we mean shoved up to the hilt by Carrot.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The only serious flaw Carrot ever exhibited was prejudice against undead. He got over that one quickly.
    • In regards to "out" female dwarfs, he seemed okay with it once someone explained it to him. At first he just didn't see the point more than anything, but he was probably the first dwarf who is not actually part of the movement to accept it.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Including the 'not alive but still people' category which constitutes a substantial minority on Discworld (zombies, golems, etc). Carrot can and does instantly befriend anyone. He had a few Noble Bigot tendencies at first, but he got over that real fast, and is now probably second only to Nanny Ogg when it comes to learning about the lives, pasts and cultures of anyone he meets, no matter which part of the Disc they come from.
  • The Good Captain: Though Captain is a fairly high rank in the Watch (the second-in-command), Carrot often emphasizes his role as Vimes' subordinate and the one who gets things done, not the one giving out executive orders.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Part of his In-Universe Alternate Character Interpretation. Is Carrot actually that naive and things go well for him because of narrativium, or has he realized that the narrative bends around Ideal Heroes and consciously acts like one?
    Carrot often struck people as simple. Where people went wrong was thinking that simple meant the same thing as stupid. - Men at Arms
  • Good Is Not Soft: As noted by Angua at the end of The Fifth Elephant. He is capable of being nasty, but he uses it like a claw: it only appears when he needs it, and the rest of the time, you'd never know it was there.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Attempts it in The Fifth Elephant, to disastrous effect. Onlookers wonder if he's attempting to put up a respectable show for the foreigners.
  • Happily Adopted: Once he wraps his head around the fact he WAS adopted.
  • Heroic Build: So much so that he's actually named after it, due to his great height and broad shoulders giving him the general shape of... well, you get the idea. Vimes has him exploiting his naturally photogenic qualities in Thud! by leading the city dwarfs in unsealing the mines with his shirt off while photographers are around.
  • Honor Before Reason: PlayedWith.
    • For Carrot, doing the "right" or "honourable" thing is doing the reasonable thing, as the narrative ensures he'll somehow come out victorious. The fact that he could be aware of this means he demonstrates this trope in a strange, level-headed way.
    • One of the strangest occurrences was when he decided to take a nap while they were trying to catch up to the ship Angua had gotten stuck on. When Vimes expressed a great deal of surprise at how calm he seemed about his girlfriend getting kidnapped, he said that worrying about her wouldn't do her any good, and if he was well-rested he would be better-prepared to rescue her. Compare this attitude to the one about two dozen pages back, where he was barely able to keep himself from attempting to single-handedly arrest a suspect surrounded by at least a dozen armed guards.
  • Ideal Hero: Probably the straightest example on the Discworld... probably. Even his closest friends and his girlfriend aren't sure.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: In maybe the oddest variation of this trope ever, he uses his straight-forward idealism and honesty to be one of the most accomplished Manipulative Bastards in Ankh-Morpork. By being nice!
  • Literal-Minded: At first at least, and later depending on how one views his Obfuscating Stupidity. Carrot's literal mindedness was Vimes remembered all too late about after ordering him to "throw the book" at a criminal that was backed up to a very harsh drop.
  • Love You and Everybody: Causes some friction with his girlfriend Angua. As an All-Loving Hero, she's insecure about how important she is to him compared to his overall love for everybody. Proven very wrong in The Fifth Elephant when Carrot charges after her when she leaves to sort out matters in Uberwald.
  • Muggle–Mage Romance: Has a Will They or Won't They? version of this with Angua, which settles down after The Fifth Elephant. Sally was interested on her appearance in Thud!, before backing off once she realised that Carrot only had eyes for Angua.
  • No Social Skills: At least some of his quirks and naivete come from his unusual (for a human, anyway) upbringing.
  • Not So Different: From Vetinari, no less. Despite the two of them being at opposite ends of the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism And Idealism, both of them are Aces who are entirely devoted to serving the city of Ankh-Morpork and putting its best interests far above their own, who respect Commander Vimes (though in Carrot's case, it's entirely sincere admiration, while Vetinari's view is a little more condescending), and extremely skilled manipulators. Rather than a clash, this leads to the two of them coming to an understanding at the end of Men at Arms, when Carrot - without outright admitting that he's aware that he's the long lost heir to the throne - indicates his Refusal of the Call and preference for life as a watchman, specifically as Number Two to Vimes. This is on the grounds that he dislikes people following him because he's supernaturally charismatic rather than because it's the right thing to do, and because as a watchman, he can serve the city much more directly, indicating that he'd only reconsider if he felt that he absolutely needed to.
  • Not So Stoic: Angua believes Carrot's love for her is less than his love for Ankh-Morpork, and that if she disappeared Carrot would be quite sad, but he would calmly accept it and move on. When she does disappear, Carrot calmly resigns from the Watch and goes on a suicidal journey through Uberwald to try to bring her back. During this journey, everyone who meets him notices just how close he is to snapping and is terrified by it.
  • Obfuscating Naiveté: In the later books, no one is quite sure how much he's obfuscating. Not even his girlfriend Angua.
  • Oblivious Adoption: He was the only one who had to stoop to avoid banging his head in the mine back home.
  • Out of Focus: While Vimes was always the real star of the Watch books (see Decoy Protagonist above) Carrot was clearly the Deuteragonist in the earlier novels. His 'onscreen' role has diminished in more recent stories like Night Watch or Snuff.
  • Prophecy Twist: "The king will come bringing Law and Justice, and know nothing but the Truth, and Protect and Serve the People with his Sword." Does the prophecy say anywhere that the king would actually claim the throne?
  • Refusal of the Call: Repeatedly - or at least, the throne related aspects of it. It looks in Men at Arms like he might be stepping up and exploiting his preternatural charisma and position as the long lost heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork, with the plot of the book being about the antagonist (both of them) trying to get him to pull the Rightful King Returns, and Carrot raising a militia towards the end of the book, he decides firmly against becoming King and quietly disposes of the evidence. In a conversation with Vetinari afterwards, he explains in a back-handed manner that while he would take the throne if it was absolutely necessary, he doesn't actually want to be King, and until it does become necessary (if ever), he'll continue serving his people as best he can - in this case, as a Watchman.
    • However, it is worth noting that he does occasionally use said throne related aspects, albeit usually throuhg other people. Examples include he writes a declaration that makes Vimes the Commander of the Watch and a Knight (while it is attributed to Vetinari, who agrees with and signs it, the intentionally formal language, complete with royal 'we' and dodgy spelling means that is very clearly written by Carrot), and at the end of The Fifth Elephant, when he essentially puts the Watch back together (almost all of them having resigned, driven away by Colon's behaviour when he was put in charge) by having Colon and Nobby remind them that they swore an oath to serve. An oath, moreover, that they swore to the King.
  • Rightful King Returns: Defied. He would rather be on the Watch than be king of Ankh-Morpork. What good is a preternaturally charismatic king? Then people aren't doing right because it's right, they're doing right because the King commands it.
  • Right Makes Might:
    • He firmly believes this in Guards! Guards!, and since he can beat trolls in bare-fisted fights no-one is going to argue. He gets a little more pragmatic in Men at Arms.
    • Subverted when he tries using Good Old Fisticuffs against an actual superhuman werewolf who's not unwilling to play dirty. Double Subverted by narrativium when it turns out losing that particular battle was the best thing for him in the long run, as it ensured he was not the one who had to sacrifice himself.
  • Taking the Bullet: Carrot almost makes a habit of this trope, having taking a gunshot through the shoulder to protect Vetinari and a silver-tipped crossbow bolt through the hand for Angua's sake.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: So understanding it gets on Angua's nerves at times. Their relationship ironically becomes a little more stable after The Fifth Elephant, when he proves he's a little selfish by leaving his duties in order to ask her to come back to him.
  • Undying Loyalty: He doesn't take kindly to people speaking poorly of Vimes. In Men at Arms, Angua finds Vimes' ledger which lists a number of female names with dollar amounts. She jumps to the conclusion that he's been frequenting prostitutes and wonders aloud how Carrot can respect a man like him. She then notes that the room's temperature has dropped several degrees. Carrot grips her wrist, takes the ledger away and icily has Colon inform her of whom the women are: namely, widows and orphans of Watchmen killed in action, whom Vimes pays pensions out of his own wages.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Trope Namer, coming from Vimes's description of his reports. Though very intelligent in certain ways, and able to write a formal high style declaration on pretty short notice, Carrot never really got the hang of grammar. Vimes describes his approach to punctuation as "ballistic".
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    Sergeant Frederick Colon 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fred_colon.jpg

The longest-serving member of the Watch, Fred Colon is "one of nature's sergeants"; he has a trained street ear and can pick up rumors with amazing speed, and has many years of experience on the extremely mean streets. He's also touchingly loyal to Vimes. However, he's a fat old fool, none too brave and completely unsuited to the pressures of executive command.


  • Blade on a Stick: He tends to favor spears and polearms, probably because both weapons allow you to be far away from the person attacking you.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ends up literally covered with shit several times.
  • Cowardly Lion: It's noted in Men at Arms that he's not actually as much of a coward as is generally assumed, what with how he stood on a rooftop firing arrows at a giant dragon, trying to hit its weak spot. Moist von Lipwig also observes in Raising Steam that while Colon and Nobby (also an example of the trope) conscientiously avoid fights, they're more than capable of fighting extremely effectively if they're put into a corner, deploying all the expertise of decades of being coppers in Ankh-Morpork, including before it got cleaned up.
  • Fat Bastard: Too amicable and friendly to be one as a default, usually being more of a Nice Guy (albeit with Racist Grandpa moments), but if pushed out of his comfort zone or given more authority than he can handle he can turn into one of these.
  • Fat Idiot: He's certainly seen as one by everyone except his closest friends... who still see him as one, but at least acknowledge that there's more to him than that. It's noted by the narration and the likes of Vimes that under the fat idiot, there's something very smart that sniffs the wind and listens to the street, which has helped keep him alive all these years.
  • Feigning Intelligence: Enough to fool Nobby, anyway... Or is it?
  • First-Name Basis: Noted in Thud! that he's the only member of the Watch to be allowed to call Commander Vimes "Sam", something he only does when he's extremely worried. Vimes notes that "he's earned it", since Colon is not only the longest-serving watchman (as shown in Night Watch he joined up even before Vimes did) but has stuck with him through thick and thin. He even got to be Sam's Best Man.
  • The Fool: With Nobby. Expressly given as the reason why they're still on the force now that the Watch has moved past when their antics are amusing or acceptable. They both have countless clues and crimes practically fall into their laps - and it helps that Colon is essentially in a semi-retired role, nominally running a training school, with his office being a de facto club for his old mates which helps him pick up the word on the street.
  • Genre Savvy: When it comes to being a jailer at least. He's noted as keeping the cells' keys in a place where no person or highly trained animal can get hold of them, making him quite possibly unique in the annals of jail history.
    • He also notes some of the typical traits of long lost heir to the throne (birth-mark, special sword, etcetera), albeit without being remotely aware at the time that he's describing Carrot in Guards! Guards!, and is the first to figure out in Jingo that the plot is actually a Batman Gambit by the Seriph of Klatch on Vimes, knowing that he would assume that his own people were behind it, to provide a pretext for an invasion - though that might fit Too Dumb to Fool better.
  • Greek Chorus: With Nobby, in several books that are not focused on the Watch.
  • Happily Married:
    • And with several children as well. Despite the fact that he and his wife work different shifts in the day and usually communicate with notes (they do occasionally meet on the doorstep). Vimes at one point speculates that their children have been born as the result of "particularly persuasive handwriting".
  • Hidden Depths: Which is why Vimes keeps him on the force, admitting that he's something of a dinosaur in the modern watch. When new recruits look at him, they see a fat, stupid coward. Vimes admits this is true, but that's not all there is to him.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: A proud if unwitting graduate of the College of What Some Bloke In The Pub Said. Nobby, via Obfuscating Stupidity, tends to punch holes in this.
  • Knowledge Broker: Of a sort. Colon is one of those people who naturally gets along with everyone, so Vimes gives him a comfy little office with a meaningless job title in the training building, where the kettle is always on and the doughnuts are free. Retired cops, old friends and former jailbirds come by all the time to, as Vimes puts it, "gossip like washerwomen," and Vimes happily signs the bills for the tea and doughnuts in exchange for this free-flowing source of information. Vimes mentions that he uses Colon to figure out what the "man in the street" is thinking since Colon basically is the man in the street.
  • The Neidermeyer: In The Fifth Elephant when Vimes, Carrot and Angua all leave the city at once, Fred gets promoted to Acting Captain and almost immediately cracks under the pressure, becoming this. Also shades of this during basic training in Men at Arms. This is why, although he's served for longer than Vimes and Carrot, he hasn't risen above the rank of Sergeant and generally patrols with Nobby (though it is sometimes mentioned that he's patrolled with new recruits).
  • Nice Guy: Apart from his The Neidermeyer and Racist Grandpa moments (which are, well, moments, not habits or tendencies) he pretty much can get along with everyone. Also he has a tendency to make tea for people in bad situations (Nobby when he's near-catatonic after people accuse him of being an earl - It Makes Sense in Context - in Feet of Clay , and Vimes when he was just dead overworked in Guards! Guards!).
  • Non-Action Guy:
    • If he can possibly get away with it. When all officers were summoned to contain Carcer at the beginning of Night Watch, he and Nobby were posted to the least likely escape route.
    • However, Moist von Lipwig notes in Raising Steam that while he and Nobby generally don't fight, if they have to, they fight with all the viciousness that you'd expect from two men who spent most of their careers pounding Ankh-Morpork's streets before it got cleaned up (or at least, made acceptably grubby).
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Don't ever ask about the Lilac. The beginning of Night Watch has Colon get very angry with a young recruit innocently asking about it.
  • Pretend Prejudice: Colon expresses some not very enlightened opinions about Ankh-Morpork's non-white citizens, but continues to eat in his favorite curry restaurant which knows to make their food bland enough that he won't think it's "foreign", and is friendly with the proprietors. In fact it is pretty clear he was jumping on the national mood against Klatchians only, as it was pointed out by Nobby (who, via Obfuscating Stupidity, neatly pokes holes in every mindlessly regurgitated prejudice) he had no problem with other non-white people, such as the 'pretty brown' Constable Visit, lending credence to his characterization as amicable to most people as a rule.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: He's not particularly heroic, nor does he have any heroic skill (though Moist notes that when he and Nobby actually has to fight, they're surprisingly good at it). He's just a man of the Watch.
  • Racist Grandpa: Occasionally has moments of this variety, though expressed in the generality rather than personal - he's basically just regurgitating the mindless prejudices of the man in the street, because he basically is the man in the street (the information this brings is one of the reasons Vimes keeps him around).
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: Considering this is Discworld, that's an impressive rarity.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: He lives in utter terror of Vetenari being sarcastic at him... but is so dense he completely fails to pick up on the Patrician's increasingly unsubtle hints.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Which isn't all that hard. He's not especially clever, and usually something of a Know-Nothing Know-It-All, but he's the only officer other than Vimes himself (and on good days, Nobby) who's noted as being able to glance into a street/alley and see all he needs to, he can usually read Vimes very well, and it's noted that there's a part of him that - under the fat, dim old coward - is actually very smart indeed, sufficient to help him survive working the mean streets of Ankh-Morpork for decades.
  • Snipe Hunt:
    • Self chosen: Because he's not exactly the most dedicated and selfless officer, Colon likes to assign himself jobs like watching the Opera House or Unseen University to make sure no-one steals it.
    • To his credit, they've only ever been stolen once, and that one doesn't count because it was a prank by the students of the Unseen University.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Played with. He and Mrs. Colon intended to go live in the country in a little farmhouse before Feet of Clay. However, the events of that novel led him to have a deep-seated distaste for farm animals, so he decided not to retire after all.
  • Those Two Guys: With Nobby.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: In Jingo he accurately predicts the motivations of the villains long before anyone else by not falling for the "faked" Klatchian plot to kill the prince and realizing that said murder would give Klatch a justification for invading.
  • Weirdness Censor: Along with Nobbs, they're among the few non-magical people to be able to see Death, after their years in the Night Watch meaning they've seen far more disturbing things.

    Corporal Cecil Wormsborough St. John "Nobby" Nobbs 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nobby_discworld_watch_a.jpg

Despite his resemblance to a shaved chimpanzee with bad acne, and despite his many bad habits (including kleptomania, chain-smoking, and telling off-color jokes in mixed company), Nobby Nobbs has a skill for getting along with people; Commander Vimes suspects it has something to do with the "common denominator", as there's nobody more common than Nobby. He shares a strong camaraderie with Fred Colon, as well as street smarts, a fear of responsibility, and a belief in 'safe' policing (like keeping the peace in neighborhoods that have plenty of peace to keep, or guarding city landmarks from theft).


  • Abusive Parents:
  • Ambiguously Human: Many, many characters are unsure as to his species and he actually carries paperwork proving he's human ('I, Lord Vetinari, after hearing the testimony of several witnesses including Mrs. Slipdry the midwife, state that the balance of probability is that the bearer of this document, Cpl. Cecil W. St. J. Nobbs, is human'). Even Death had trouble trying to determine his species during one scene in the Hogfather book. Snuff and Raising Steam suggest that he's part Goblin (which would explain a great deal).
  • The Artful Dodger: When young. As a temporally displaced Vimes notes in Night Watch, Ankh-Morpork had more than its share of urchins and pick-pockets, and Nobby had been the best of the bunch.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: "In this case the laws [of narrative convention] were fighting against the fact of Corporal Nobby Nobbs, and gave up."
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: In Men At Arms when getting supplies for Carrot's 'Militia', playing on his experience from his time as a Corrupt Quartermaster.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Vimes no longer allows him to do this, since beside all his other defects, he has absolutely no tact. Once is more than enough of the "bet-you-a-dollar-you're-the-widow-Jackson" nonsense.
  • Bile Fascination:
    • He tends to attract this from the other characters. invoked
      Noble: There's something strangely compelling about the little tit.
      Other Noble: What do you mean?
      Noble: He's got charisn'tma: He's so vile he actually fascinates people.
    • He is, however, fantastically attractive to Goblin women... and the feeling is mutual.
  • Butt-Monkey: Especially his multiple attempts at getting a love life despite his looks.
  • Corrupt Quartermaster: Nobby was a Quartermaster for several armies, a number of whom lost due to his having sold all their gear. He uses this experience to his advantage to get into the Ankh-Morpork armoury, claiming to be an inspector and accusing the man in charge of everything he used to do.
  • Cowardly Lion: Though during his military service he was so prone to changing sides so often that commanders actually took to using this tendency as an indicator for how well the battle was going, and he's noted as conscientiously avoiding fights wherever possible, it's noted in Raising Steam that like Colon, when presented with no alternative, he is actually a very good fighter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Though it's occasionally hard to say just how many of his off-the-wall comments are heartfelt and how many are sarcasm hidden behind his Obfuscating Stupidity act.
  • The Fool: With Colon. Expressly given as the reason why they're still on the force now that the city watch has moved past when their antics are amusing or acceptable. They both have countless clues and crimes literally fall into their laps.
  • Gonk: Few Discworld characters are described as ugly, but Nobby's looks and doubtful species is a running joke.
  • Greek Chorus: In many a non-Watch-centric book, a couple of Watch officers show up to act like this. Nobby is almost always one of them. Fred Colon is usually the other, but some books pair Nobby up with someone else (such as Corporal Visit in Hogfather and Detritus in Maskerade).
  • Groin Attack: It's said that when he's forced to fight, he makes up for his lack of strength with Combat Pragmatism aided by steel-toed boots.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • It's frequently implied that he's much smarter than he lets on, with it being hinted that he uses Obfuscating Stupidity to subtly dismantle Colon's latest Pretend Prejudice.
    • Thanks to his past as a Corrupt Quartermaster and regular collecting of magazines like Bows and Ammo, he's got an encyclopaedic knowledge of weaponry.
    • Oh, and after his experience in Jingo, he's rather fond of cross-dressing.
    • Additionally, he's into folk-dancing and historical re-enactment.
  • I Am Not Weasel:
    • "Disqualified from the human race for shoving." People seem to have trouble believing he's human. He carries papers from the Patrician to this end.
    • ...and when they were presented to Vetinari, he accused Nobby of forging them.
    • And even this ostensibly forged document only goes so far as to say that the "balance of probability" is that he's human.
    • According to Pratchett, "While most people know there's a werewolf in the Watch, most people think it's Nobby, for obvious reasons."
    • Even Death doesn't know what his species is — responding with a confused delay then tentatively suggesting he is a "male" when he meets him while playing the role of the Hogfather.
      Death: And have you been a good bo-, a good dwar-, a good ma-... a good individual?
    • There have been some hints that he may be a human-goblin hybrid in Snuff and Raising Steam, but nothing definite. Whether it's true or not, he's considered a regular Adonis by goblin standards.
  • Instant Dog End: It's noted by the narrative that any cigarette he smokes will instantly become a dog end, and stay that way.
  • Interspecies Romance: One could technically argue that Nobby with a human girl is this, given how people tend to mistake him for some kind of goblin or primate-creature on first sight. However, it becomes canon (between Nobby and a female goblin) in Snuff.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Vimes probably sums him up best when he describes him as someone you can trust with your life — but you'd be daft to trust him with half a dollar. In Men at Arms, Vimes heartwarmingly describes him as having a criminal mind, but not a criminal soul.
  • Lovable Coward: "When the call came out, it would not find Nobby wanting. It would not find him at all". It's even mentioned that he served as a soldier during his younger years and his superiors would keep an eye on which uniform Nobby was wearing to know which way the battle was going. However, he can actually fight if he has to.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: His conversations with Fred often give the impression that he's 'pulling a Socrates', or feigning stupidity in order to challenge Colon's prejudices.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: He's known almost exclusively as "Nobby Nobbs." Even Fred Colon didn't know his real name was Cecil, and that was after having known him for the better part of two and a half decades (more, if he's older than his stated age of 'probably 34').
  • Orphaned Punchline: It's probably for the best that we don't hear how his jokes start out.
  • Overly Long Name: Cecil Wormsborough St. John Nobbs
  • Real Men Wear Pink: And have a fabulous dress sense... and are regular members of the Folk Dance society... and, given that this is Nobby we're talking about, aren't much in the way of 'real men' either.
  • Sticky Fingers: He's got at least a touch of kleptomania and will steal any small valuables that happen to be unguarded — though he'll give them back if prompted. Other members of the Watch have learned to exploit this; any small things they want to get rid of they'll just leave around unguarded in places where they know Nobby will find them.
  • Those Two Guys: With Fred Colon.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
    • In Thud!, briefly and highly improbably. It's explained as (to paraphrase the book's description) the Hot Girlfriend having low self-esteem because all the normal men who would otherwise be all over her automatically assume she's out of their league and thus she thinks she must be dreadfully ugly. Nobby does not have these men's inhibitions.
    • A few characters think this about his later relationship with a goblin. Said opinion was mostly expressed by said goblin girl's relatives.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: In Nobby's...unique case... make that Unwholesome-in-a-non-villainous-way Crossdresser. After wearing female clothing as a disguise in Jingo, he's begun to enjoy those assignments a little too much. He strains the powers of Narrative Causality which state that any plain male, when wearing women's clothing, will seem attractive, a very rare occurrence in Discworld.

    Captain Angua (Delphine Angua von Uberwald) 

A female Watch officer, love interest for Carrot, and resident werewolf. Probably one of the most formidable Watch members and her werewolf skills make her very useful, but she has to deal with an entire city getting Genre Savvy about werewolf abilities. Like Vimes, she is constantly battling with her dark side (or technically, battling between the dichotomy of her two states of being), making her tough and absolutely terrifying when she loses her temper.


  • Action Girl: Best fighter on the Watch and most obviously displayed in The Fifth Elephant. Throughout the book, her brother Wolfgang is presented as a deadly dangerous Ax-Crazy muscle bound psycho who scares everyone, including his own mother. He goes toe to toe with Carrot, takes two of his best punches - which, bear in mind, have knocked out Detritus in the past - without even blinking, then drops him with several punches to the torso that sound like 'a shovel striking cement'. Even Vimes, who's fought several werewolves with his bare hands by this point and won, just knows that in a straight fight, Wolfgang will kill him. Angua, however, isn't remotely afraid of him, making casual reference to always being able to send him off whimpering when they fought as children and in their single on-page fight, sends him running. The only thing about him that frightens her is the likelihood that he'll go after Carrot, because Carrot is hers.
  • Action Girlfriend: She's a better fighter than most of the Watch, and Carrot relies on her heavily. There is a very short list of people who could outmatch her on a good day, and an even shorter list on a bad hair day. It can cross-over to Violently Protective Girlfriend if you make a serious attempt to hurt Carrot.
  • Animal Stereotypes: As the books frequently point out, a proper term for a creature caught between a wolf and a man is also a dog. And Angua herself admits it - though she doesn't like it being pointed out.
  • Badass in Distress: in Jingo, when her attempt to spy on 71-Hour Ahmed is foiled by his Genre Savvy. She rescues herself.
  • Big Sister Instinct: For Cheery Littlebottom in Feet of Clay, since Cheery (who doesn't know about Angua's lycanthropy) is pretty much the only person besides Carrot who doesn't look at her with the hint of fear most people have.
  • Breast Plate: The watch had to have one made, due to her anatomy.
  • Broken Bird: Continually dogged by the wild wolf half of her persona and (at least until The Fifth Elephant) feared it was only a matter of time before she had to leave or was chased out of town.
  • Combat Pragmatist: An odd version. Instead of taking advantage of anything she takes advantage of any shape. She's a werewolf, where it's inbuilt to change shape as much as needed to take advantage of any given situation. Watching a werewolf fighting another werewolf will make you very dizzy.
  • Damsel in Distress: Playing with a Trope in that she's capable of rescuing herself - one memorable scene in Feet of Clay has several very stupid criminals take her hostage in the Gleam (the Watch's unofficial pub). They take her outside, and the rest of the scene has Vimes somewhat awkwardly asking Carrot how their relationship is going to the sound of screams and growls in the background. If Carrot comes to save her in a straight version of this trope, she usually ends up saving him instead.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Driven to it by being a Broken Bird and one of the more intelligent Watch officers, one aspect in which she's remarkably like Vimes.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Part of the distress Angua feels about her relationship with Carrot is that her wolf side causes her to behave less like a woman, and more like a pet note . She does not like it when people point that out to her.
  • Fanservice: Played with. Her shapeshifting doesn't include her clothes, so nudity is a recurring state for her. To avoid embarrassment (and, in some cases, wolf bites) on the part of witnesses, she's pretty careful about being out of sight when she reverts to humanity.
  • Fantastic Racism: Both against her and on her part (towards golems in Feet of Clay, and vampires in Thud!). She works hard to get along with them if they're fellow watchmen, but it's always an effort.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Briefly in Jingo, the delirious person who sees her mistakes her for a different mythical creature.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal:
    • Her Healing Factor means she can be grievously injured in the course of the plot without being taken out of the action for long and/or Killed Off for Real.
    • Detritus even suggests making her explode along with her Ax-Crazy brother while they're brawling and then "collecting all of her bits and letting her regenerate". Luckily, Vimes doesn't agree.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Described as an ash-blonde with a generous figure: attracts a lot of male attention, to the point where her taking her helmet off and shaking her hair out in Men at Arms gains attention from a dwarf and a troll (trolls, it should be remembered, are made of rock), but hardly any of them make a pass at her. Something about her eyes seems to put them off.
  • Insecure Love Interest: She has trouble with Carrot's endless wells of peaceable acceptance before The Fifth Elephant. Even in Thud!, though, when she and Sally are both forced to wear literal stripper clothing thanks to losing their clothes via shapeshifting, she keeps thinking that her dress doesn't work on her at all and being jealous of Sally's instant ability to make hers look good... while getting lots of male attention that implies she's got nothing to worry about and even rendering her lover speechless.
  • In the Blood: Werewolves aren't human and they aren't wolves. However, they are constantly caught in-between the duality of both those forms, trying to find a balance. This is not good for mental health. Angua's entire family is on the wrong side of the mental balance sheet, and she's very afraid that she'll eventually lose it and become like her brother.
  • The Lancer:
    • Develops into this to Vimes when Carrot is Out of Focus, largely thanks to their shared cynical outlook, major degree of mutual respect (after she realises that she gravely misjudged him in Men at Arms) and the fact that she's probably the most all-round competent of his subordinates. Particularly evident when they appear together as secondary characters in The Truth and Monstrous Regiment.
    • To Carrot in some of the main City Watch books, notably Feet of Clay.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • Very, very stupid criminals regularly try to take her hostage. After about two minutes, they'll usually tell the Watch everything or confess to any and all crimes just to make her stop terrorizing them.
    • She is one of the only people in Ankh-Morpork who can walk through the Shades at midnight without fear. Resident criminals apparently learnt their lesson the hard way...
  • Muggle–Mage Romance: Has a Will They or Won't They? version of this with Carrot.
  • Noble Shoplifter: She sometimes kills chickens during her "time of the month," but always remembers where she's been and leaves money under the door.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: What she initially believes, although the "has problems staying humanoid during full-moon nights" thing really did cause some dating problems.
  • The Nose Knows: The ability that she uses most often for the Watch, even after the more cunning criminals begin taking countermeasures. Unfortunately it's not something she can shut off, so it's also a vulnerable point: stink bombs of various kinds are employed against her on occasion.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Although she is different from most of the Discworld werewolves as well — her lupine form looks less like a pure wolf, and more like a cross with an Afghan Klatchian Hound.
  • Sarcastic Devotee:
    • To Carrot. Most noticeable in Feet of Clay, especially when attempting to deal with his reactions to Cheery's self-outing, but fairly prominent feature of their relationship from the start.
    • Also to Vimes, after she realises that she misjudged him in Men at Arms, the key moment being when she found a list of women's names next to amounts in cash that equated to nearly half his pay. She assumed he'd been seeing prostitutes. Carrot icily set her straight; they were the widows and in one case, orphan, of dead Watchmen. Afterwards, she rapidly readjusts her thinking.
  • Superpower Lottery: At least on paper Angua is absurdly powerful — very little is made of it in the books, but she can actually regenerate from near death unless silver is involved, is insanely strong, has a canine like sense of smell and a nigh unbeatable combat form. Oh and she can speak dog. And is very beautiful. It's on paper though, because it's common knowledge that the Watch has a werewolf, and so silver and peppermint bombs have almost become routine for criminals.
  • Transformation Trauma: Subverted. Gaspode was expecting stock hollywood werewolf transformation antics. Turns out it's "like a whole-body sneeze". It's the people who watch it happen who get traumatized.
  • Twofer Token Minority: "But you're a w... " ...erewolf.note 
  • Working-Class Werewolves: Zig-Zagged. The most notable werewolf in the series is Angua, who works as a typically underpaid copper (not least because she has to pay for the chickens she eats during her "time of the month"). She comes from a family of werewolves who are aristocratic, but is still very much a case of an Impoverished Patrician living in a fairly rural backwater town. Angua herself mentions that part of the reason for Fur Against Fang is that werewolves instinctively feel unkempt and slovenly compared to vampires (who tend to be supernaturally stylish).

    Sergeant Cheery "Cheri" Littlebottom 

The Watch's first forensics expert, Cheery was hired straight after being kicked out of the Guild of Alchemists for blowing it up even more spectacularly than usual. She promptly met Sergeant Angua, who, having a very good sense of smell, immediately knew she was female, something dwarfs Do Not Talk About. Cheery became one of the leaders in the dwarf feminist movement, respelling her name, wearing skirts, putting on makeup, and admitting that she really doesn't like beer that much. She's very competent but gets embarrassed when she has to yell at people, and as such Vimes doesn't promote her until she's been on the force for a while.


  • Ambiguous Gender:
    • Defied: Dwarfs don't usually talk about gender, it being widely considered something that a couple should only talk about behind closed doors. Cheery is openly female and darn proud of it, even if more traditionally inclined Dwarfs don't approve.
    • She still doesn't shave her beard off, though. There's declaring you're female, and then there's declaring that you're not a dwarf.
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Due to dwarven fighting heritage on the very rare occasions that she's actually forced into fighting.
    • Also, in Night Watch, Vimes was surprised his forensics desk officer was competent in fieldwork.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Fears werewolves (due to having heard her cousin was killed by one), says to Angua: "You're normal; I like you." Doesn't guess the truth even after Angua brings her to an undead bar where a patron makes a tasteless joke. Their friendship continues when she does find out, however.
  • Hot Scientist: By dwarf standards, once other dwarfs get over the whole "ha'ak" thing, this seems to be so...
  • A Day in the Limelight: She was given a prominent role in The Fifth Elephant.
  • Literal-Minded: Like most dwarves.
    Vimes: [during the employment interview] How did you come to leave the Alchemists' Guild?
    Cheery: Through the roof, sir. But I'm pretty sure I know what I did wrong.
  • Misfit Lab Rat: Being apparently the first openly female dwarf.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Subverted, tentatively at first, but more aggressively in later books.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: In The Fifth Elephant. Dwarf women are generally so pleased to actually be able to wear dresses that they go a little... overboard. She scales it back a little bit later and appears in the usual leather and armour, explaining to Vimes that she can wear those dresses, and likes to, but she doesn't have to, either.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Her name actually is Cheery, but she spells it as the more feminine "Cheri", as part of her defiance of Dwarven tradition.

    Sergeant Detritus 

One of Discworld's great success stories, Detritus went from a splatter outside a pub ("like a bouncer, but trolls use more force") to a Sergeant in the City Watch charged with yelling at recruits until they behave. He's not too bright unless it's cold out, but can eventually reach a satisfactory conclusion given enough time. He carries a converted siege crossbow and wore elephant battle armor until they could find something better.


  • Ascended Extra: He first showed up as an unnamed extra in Wyrd Sisters, referred to simply as "an enormous troll, employed by the owners to keep a measure of order in the place." In Guards! Guards! he shows up again, still in a very minor role but now with a name. Then, in Moving Pictures he gets a substantial role for the first time as he gets involved in the new movie industry, before he joins the Watch in Men at Arms and becomes one of the most noteworthy and reliable members of the Watch who plays important roles in most of the subsequent Watch books.
  • Berserk Button:
    • He absolutely hates troll drugs. Any troll dealer or supplier that he finds about, he'll very quickly make short work of.
    • Insulting his fellow watchmen results in Tranquil Fury.
  • BFG: Except that it's a crossbow. A crossbow that fires a massive sheaf of arrows that shatter and burn due to the forces involved, so the target is hit with a huge cloud of burning splinters that can take walls off houses. Said 'crossbow' is a converted ballista, and can be compared to the combination of a real-world shotgun and bazooka. It's called "The Piecemaker."
  • The Big Guy: Being a troll, and big and tough even by troll standards, makes him not only huge, but able to intimidate assassins, since nothing they have works on geology. He's also Vimes' go-to troll whenever an obstacle needs to be cleared in a hurry.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: In Men at Arms, he becomes good friends with a dwarf, which is unusual for a troll. In Thud!, he's compared to a "mother hen" twice (once toward Vimes and another time toward Brick).
  • The Comically Serious: First, it was because he was too dumb to understand humor. After he acquires his special helmet, it's for another reason:
    For him, the humor was a human aberration, that had to be overcome by talking slowly and with patience.
  • The Dreaded: For the common criminal. The fastest way to stop a riot in Ankh-Morpork is to announce that Detritus is coming.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Detritus discovers a talent for this in Men at Arms, which leads to his promotion to Sergeant and given the job of training (read: shouting at for six weeks) new recruits.
  • Drugs Are Bad: He hates drug dealers, rather logically given that troll drugs don't just figuratively melt people's brains.
    Jus' say "AarrghaarrghpleeassennononoUGH"
  • Dumb Muscle: Before joining the Watch, being deemed stupid even by troll standards. This is later hinted to be because where other trolls have brains optimised for cold temperatures, his brain is optimised for even lower temperatures, and after he's locked in the Pork Futures Warehouse in Men At Arms, he very nearly figures out a Theory of Everything.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The Piecemaker is very, very useful for getting through things. And also the things behind those things.
    Carrot: How are we going to get in, sir?
    Vimes: How would you go about it, Carrot?
    Carrot: Well, I'd start by knocking, sir.
    Vimes: Really? Sergeant Detritus, blow the bloody doors off!
    Detritus: Yessir!
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Develops this with Cuddy in the course of Men at Arms.
  • The Fool: He'll often play this role in earlier books, but gradually grows out of it. Mostly.
  • Genius Bruiser:
    • Trolls in the Discworld are walking minerals with silicon-based brains. The colder it gets, the smarter trolls get, and this applies to Detritus more than most. When he was trapped in the Pork Futures Warehouse, Detritus very nearly worked out a Unified Field Theory while he was freezing to death. He survived, but alas, the equations did not. His friend Cuddy figured this out, and after this incident built him a helmet with cooling fans in it that raised his everyday intelligence quite a bit.
    • It's implied that Detritus is in fact, extremely intelligent by any standard when in cooler environments. The problem is that such temperatures are rarely achieved in a temperate environment like Ankh-Morpork's, and that his optimal temperature is unfortunately, also at the point where he is about to freeze to death.
    • It's actually been shown that trolls are all pretty smart in their home territories. It's just when they decide to travel to Ankh-Morpork to make a living that their intelligence drops, due to the hot, muggy weather. In The Fifth Elephant, when Detritus is in Uberwald, he shows signs of being dangerously clever.
  • Gentle Giant: Not so gentle when he's first introduced, and still very capable of getting violent and nasty when the situation calls for it, but over the course of several books, he develops into a very warm and considerate person.
  • Happily Married: In Thud!, it is revealed that he did marry Ruby (which was his reason to join the Watch), and that they are happy but childless, at least until they adopt Brick.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Detritus starts out as a lowlife thug, noted to be extremely stupid even by troll standards. Turns out that the reason for this is that his silicon brain is even more sensitive to heat than most trolls, and needs a very cold environment to work. The problem is mostly negated when Cuddy makes the famous "cooling fan helmet" for him, but even without the fan he has on occasion surprised others with some very astute observations and insights.
    • He points out in Thud!, in a moment of frustration, that Vimes is bending over backwards to accommodate the dwarf traditionalists and community (though mainly because the alternative is snapping spectacularly) without putting nearly as much thought into his people's thoughts and opinions, and points out that that and things like Carrot's well meaning attempt to describe himself as "the Brothers united" in a bid for peace and harmony between human and dwarf is referencing a creation myth that is actually rather offensive to trolls (or at least, the bowdlerised version is. The central conflict of the book is driven by the fact that the original version of the creation myth had the Dwarf creator god Tak see the cosmic egg he'd hatched the 'brothers' from trying to come to life and was delighted at 'life coming unbidden', saying "all things strive", so formed it into the first Troll as gratitude for the service it had rendered.).
  • Mighty Glacier: Usually slow on the uptake and tends to walk by dragging his knuckles, but can move and think very quickly when the situation calls for it.
    Detritus walked fast now, with that lava-like deceptive "slowliness". He moved so fast that he was halfway through the crowd before the dwarf hit the cobbles. His arm dipped into the press of bodies and hauled up a struggling figure. He spun round, thudded back through the gap that hadn't had time to close yet, and was beside Vimes before Ringfounder's helmet had stopped rolling.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: The aforementioned Piecemaker.
  • Parental Substitute: Becomes one in Thud!
  • Police Brutality: Played for laughs, he nails a troll drug dealer to a wall, by his ear, no less, and later remarks to Cheery in a very matter-of-fact manner that he has to hide a hammer.
  • Putting On My Thinking Cap: Literally. It keeps his brain cool.
  • Sergeant Rock: In a literal sense and the fact he's disturbingly competent at being Vimes' ideal of the basics of coppering, despite (or perhaps because of) his penchant for intimidating damn near every non-Watchman.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: He invokes this occasionally. Most of the times he gets his answers by simply repeating the same questions over and over.
  • Unable to Support a Wife: His reason for joining the Watch in the first place. Going back to being a splatternote  didn't seem right for marrying Ruby.
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    Constable Reginald "Reg" Shoe 

The City Watch's resident zombie. Began as an "undead rights activist" before joining the Watch. Rather affable and upbeat about his status as an undead, and he approaches his service as a Watchman with the same passion he did social activism before and after his death (see Night Watch).


  • Ambiguously Gay: Reg is intent on including "free love" in the list of demands for the revolution, and is a parody of Enjolras, whose sexuality is the topic of much discussion among Hugo's readers.
  • Badass Normal: He was badass even before becoming a zombie, as his heroic death in Night Watch shows.
  • Break the Cutie: During Night Watch, when he realises that Vimes' cynical attitude ('the same bastards always end up in charge') was actually entirely correct, when the new regime sends assassins led by Carcer after 'Keel' (Vimes) to prevent the risk of him leading another revolution, with the same sort of people who were working for Winder now working for Snapcase. It leads to his Dying Moment of Awesome, which just opens up a whole new chapter of his (un)life.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Was a conspiracy nut in life, and now carries everything he needs to stitch his body back together when it falls apart. Of course, this is probably because it tends to be necessary on a regular basis.
  • Determinator: He lives on as a zombie because of his sheer willpower in life, death being merely a minor (and very temporary) inconvenience.
  • Dumbass No More: He's far more intelligent and savvy dead than he ever was alive, though admittedly he's had thirty plus years of un-life to improve.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: He tends to lose body parts practically every other scene. He just sews them back on.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In Jingo, he gets his arm chopped off, and uses it to attack the enemy, who run off in terror.
  • I Reject Your Reality: During Night Watch, a tetchy Vimes tells a younger Reg that the police don't have a file on him. No-one has a file on him because no-one cares about him. It takes a few seconds for Reg to tune this out.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: In life, and to some extent, in undeath.
  • La Résistance: Was a member of the Glorious People's Republic of Treacle Mine Road (Night Watch), which led to his death and subsequent afterlife. The seven comrades he lost on that day are the only dead people he doesn't regard as 'lacking ambition'. Instead, to honor each anniversary, he goes to the open grave alongside theirs and joins them for a day.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Very much so before he joined the Watch, less so afterwards. He'll still lead any pickets and strikes and continues to work for undead rights, including hanging out in graveyards haranguing the dead to stop just lying there.

    Captain Salacia "Sally" [...] von Humpeding 

The first vampire constable, debuted in Thud! She and Angua don't get along very well at all, but wind up having a grudging friendship. Vimes has a pathological distrust of vampires, but he is able to suppress this in light of her utility.


  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Like most vampires, she substituted her taste for blood for a talent at being a copper, and despite her blood-sensing abilities creeping out her coworkers, proves to be very effective at the job.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Pretty much the standard movie selection of powers including super strength, turning into a bat (well, one hundred and fifty bats), fear inducement, immortality etc.
  • Genre Blind: As with all vampires, she has a racial tic where she thinks it's absolutely impossible for anyone to know it's her if she just spells her name backward. Vimes cheerfully refers to it as 'one of the lesser known failings of the vampire'.
  • Genre Savvy: Lampshades a lot of the preconceived notions of about vampires and subverts almost all of them knowingly.
  • Love Triangle: Expressed interest in Carrot, making Angua go Clingy Jealous Girl, something aggravated by the Fur Against Fang aspects of Discworld werewolf/vampire relations. Thankfully, she had the good sense to back off before it got nasty. Besides, between the ways their heartbeats reacted to the sight of each other, she knew she'd never have a chance.
  • The Mole: She was a spy for Rhys Rhysson the Low King. However, she only took the job because it was for a good cause, and because, like all cops all over the continent, she wanted the chance to work with Vimes.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Built like a slender, pretty teenager. Stronger than anyone in the Watch who isn't a troll or Dorfl.
  • Older Than They Look: She looks about sixteen, but is 51 as of Thud!.
  • Overly Long Name: As befitting a Discworld vampire.
    'He is in fact she,' said Lord Vetinari. He glanced down at his paperwork. 'Salacia Deloresista Amanita Trigestatra Zeldana Malifee...' he paused, turned over several pages, and said, 'I think I can skip some of these, but they end "von Humpeding".'
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Believes she can disguise her messages by putting her first name on them backwards. Vimes notes this as a common, if less known, failing of vampires.
  • Put on a Bus: As of Raising Steam she's now a Sammy in the Bonk City Watch in Uberwald.
  • Super Strength: As she notes, she's the strongest person on the Watch pay-roll who isn't a troll (or a golem).
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: She and Angua seem to be heading in this direction, much to the latter's chagrin.
    Angua: We are not bonding, okay? I am not a bondage sort of person!
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: A vampire standard, though after being reformed, she has to transform not into one bat, but around 150 (since she weighs about 150 pounds and the relevant type of bat is about a pound). Unlike male vampires, though, she can't take her clothes with her, which is pointed out by Angua - according to Sally, she suspects it has something to do with the whole 'underwired nightdress business' that's usually associated with female vampires. This can be problematic because, as she notes, it's very hard to remember to have a couple of bats carry basic underwear.

    Constable Dorfl 

The resident golem on the City Watch. Taken on by Vimes partially because he wanted to piss off "the establishment". Currently is saving up his wages to buy other golems their freedom, and has a friendly but recurring argument with Constable Visit over religion.


  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted. When he is given the power of self-determination, Dorfl chooses to be law-abiding, industrious and helpful.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: He is an atheist without any kind of chem. But, after a brief bit of trying to nonlethally pay back the slaughterhouse workers, he ultimately comes to decided that being a moral and industrious member of society is what he wishes to do, and that freeing his people by lawful means to self-determinate is a good thing.
  • Determinator:
    • Unlike other Discworld golems, Dorfl returned to life after his chem (the magical text in his head that grants him sentience) was destroyed.
    • The way he's freeing his fellow golems is also a demonstration of his determination. He's going to work and earn an honest wage so he can free other golems by purchasing them, who will then earn their own wages to free other golems.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: At the end of Feet of Clay he expresses doubt in the existence of the gods. He's immediately struck by lightning, but all it does is melt his helmet.
    Dorfl: I Don't Call That Much Of An Argument.
  • Exact Words: As noted below, he doesn't believe in gods. When confronted on this by a group of priests, he concedes that he's willing to debate about it on his time off with the high priest of the most accomplished god. In the same scene he tells Sam Vimes that he doesn't need time off, and says the line about "most accomplished god" to the crowd of all the holy men in Ankh Morpork, that proceed to bicker about this the moment he turns his back.
  • Expy: Of RoboCop and The Six Million Dollar Man.
    Carrot: We can rebake him. We have the pottery.
  • Made of Iron: He's harder and tougher than trolls, which, considering the world he inhabits, is a big damn deal.
  • Messianic Archetype: As probably the first truly free golem, he has tasked himself with buying his fellow golems to set them free. The irony of this was that he was one of the golems who created a golem king, who was supposed to be the golems' own messiah, but went mad with too many chems in his head.
  • Nay-Theist: He refuses to accept the possibility that gods exist. When they chuck a lightning bolt at him he simply remarks that he doesn't consider that a very good argument. He has, however, expressed a willingness to believe if a logical argument can be presented by their priests. So far this has yet to happen.
  • No-Sell: Since he's made from clay, Dorfl is lightning-proof. When a god threw a Bolt of Divine Retribution at him, all it did was melt his armor.
  • Painting the Medium: He Speaks With Every Word Capitalized. As If It Were Holy Writ.
  • The Quiet One: Even after he can talk, he generally doesn't.
  • Raised by Wolves: Golems have peculiar ideas about possession, work ethic, and religion. They regard themselves as property unless they are granted their freedom, but don't consider themselves as slaves.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Dorfl is kept Out of Focus a lot after Feet of Clay, even though he works every shift. Generally justified by the fact he could be anywhere in the city and he's their slowest non-gargoyle member. But from the writer's perspective, The Juggernaut working for the City Watch has to be kept out of the way for reasons of drama.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: A big part of being a golem. Murder is a horrifying concept to them which was why when the golem king created from the clay of several golems starts murdering people, they commit suicide out of grief. The great irony of this is that a lot of people are afraid of them, what with being silent, invincible, mighty automatons. There are always stories from 'friends of a friend of a friend' about golems killing people, when there has not been a single actual case of that happening.
  • The Voiceless: All normal golems are mute - giving them speech is supposed to be blasphemy. When Dorfl was reconstructed in Feet of Clay, he was given a voice.

    Constable "Washpot" Visit-The-Infidels-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets 

A native of Omnia, Corporal Visit is the resident ultra-religious member of the watch. He and Dorfl disagree of the existence of God, but this is more of an intellectual dispute than heated rivalry, and he is generally one of the nicest and most moral members of the Watch. Vimes considers him an excellent copper (largely due to his abilities at keeping the peace)


  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his evangelism and tendency to quote Omnian proverbs that nobody understands (such as "What profit it a kingdom if the oxen be deflated?") he's never shown to be bad at his job.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Not crazy, but does come off as very odd due to some of his beliefs.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Has a fondness for pigeons (and some of them ironically become meals for the gargoyle members of the Watch).
  • The Fundamentalist: Mild version, played for laughs. See Overly Long Name below for modern Omnian evangelism.
  • Knocking on Heathens' Door: Speaking sincerely to the infidel through their (pamphlet-filled) letter boxes while people all over Ankh-Morpork pretend they're not at home.
  • Odd Friendship: He and Dorfl are close friends. They share a lot of principles, even though their motivations differ, and Visit enjoys having someone who is actually willing to discuss religion with him.
  • Overly Long Name: "Visit-The-Infidel-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets." Also a Meaningful Name. Shared with his friend and colleague "Smite-The-Unbeliever-With-Cunning-Arguments".

    Constable Downspout 

The first gargoyle on the City Watch. Patient, loves pigeons (as food), and Vimes' ideal choice for prolonged stakeouts.


  • The Stoic: A racial characteristic. Gargoyles aren't good at changing expression.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pigeons. This was somewhat of a problem when the Watch used messenger pigeons for communication.
  • Verbal Tic: Common to all gargoyles of his generation; they talk as though their mouths were permanently stuck gaping wide open, because they are.
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    Inspector A.E. Pessimal 

A former Obstructive Bureaucrat hired by Vetinari to examine Vimes' operations in Thud! Despite his aggravating nature, he's secretly a City Watch Fan Boy, and Vimes unwittingly gives Pessimal his dream by making him an acting constable (erroneously believing that seeing real police work up close would get him to shut up and go away). This merely inspired Pessimal to Take a Level in Badass, and become a Crazy Awesome Ascended Fanboy, committing an act of bravery (attacking a rioting troll with his teeth) so insane that Vetinari couldn't believe it. By the end of Thud!, he's a full fledged Lance-Constable Trainee, whom Vimes poached from Vetinari partially for his Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass qualities, and partially because the Watch needed a good paper pusher. Is also one of the few people who so impressed Vimes with his Hidden Depths that he's allowed to call him "Mister Vimes". As of Snuff, he puts his talents to work discovering the dirty laundry in other people's account books.


  • Ascended Fanboy: Got to live his dream of being a copper.
    A. E. Pessimal stepped forward, taking a deep breath. 'C'mon if you think you're hard enough!' he screamed wildly.
    Vimes coughed. 'Thank you, Mr Pessimal,' he said weakly. 'I imagine that should do it.'
  • Badass Bureaucrat: After he join the force he becomes The Dreaded to Ankh-Morpork's business community—nobody wants to be subjected to one of his audits.
  • The Berserker: When unexpectedly placed in a situation where he was allowed to use violence, he ended up wildly attacking a rioting drug-addled troll with his teeth. Even the Patrician doesn't believe it when he hears.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: As a bureaucrat, he's whiny and annoying, if very, very effective, as Vimes grudgingly notes. As a copper, he's fearless and willing to perform his job with dedicated zeal.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": A.E. doesn't stand for anything. He was only initialed, not named.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Was this originally, though he came across as clueless rather than malicious.
  • Paperworkaholic: Subverted. He certainly seems the type, being very fastidious and extremely able with an account book, and Vimes writes him off as such, at first. However, the only reason he became a clerk is because he was always too small and weak to be what he really wanted: a watchman. After unwittingly giving Pessimal a chance to live the dream, Vimes realizes this. He also realizes that the Watch needs people with Pessimal's skillset, and hires him into the Watch as his adjutant.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Did this by becoming a copper, and gained the respect of the Discworld readership at the same time.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: As Vimes is horrified to discover, he wasn't actually named, just initialled.

    Constable Buggy Swires 

The City Watch's resident Gnome.


  • Ascended Extra: A gnome character named "Swires" was found living in a toadstool in the very first Discworld story. Pratchett has hinted that the sequence of events that led to him appearing ten books later as a watchman is epic even by Discworld standards.
  • Characterisation Marches On: The Swires that appears in The Light Fantastic is not overtly violent in the least and is intimidated by a glare from Rincewind.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He hasn't been mentioned since a cameo in Monstrous Regiment, and his role as the Watch's gnome in the sky seems to have been totally absorbed by Wee Mad Arthur after the latter's family reunion with the Feegles.
  • Giant Flyer: His favoured means of transport, although the birds in question (while large) are only giant compared to him.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Fortunately, his raw strength makes this not a problem.

    Wee Mad Arthur 

Unlike most Gnomes, Wee Mad Arthur found he was less interested in repairing shoes as he was in kicking ass and taking names. He has since found out about his true heritage (he's actually a Nac Mac Feegle) and is all the happier for it.


  • Boisterous Bruiser: A racial characteristic of all Nac Mac Feegle.
  • Crazy Awesome: Used to be a pest exterminator before joining the watch, his preferred method for cleaning hornet nests was by sneaking his way inside, planting a bomb, then fighting his way out
  • Cultured Badass: Well-read and enjoys watching the ballet.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Being a Nac Mac Feegle, Arthur has a very short temper and tends to solve things with violence. He's still on the good guys' side, and it's all Played for Laughs.
  • Heroic Willpower: His ability to not kill everyone involved when he discovers what's really happening in Snuff impresses even Vimes.
  • One-Man Army: Go ahead: give him a reason to prove it by totally decimating all of you. Make his day.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Perhaps the ultimate Discworld example. Every Nac Mac Feegle is one of these, and Arthur defeats thirty of them.
  • Violent Glaswegian: As is the standard among Nac Mac Feegles. The rest of the Watch suspect he's intentionally overdoing it.

    Sybil Vimes (née Ramkin) 

Lady Ramkin (later just Lady Sybil) is a duchess, one of the richest women in the city of Ankh-Morpork, and wife of Commander Samuel Vimes. A hobbyist breeder of swamp dragons. Sybil is rather quiet, a good listener, and leans toward understatement. But like most Discworld characters, she's tougher (and smarter) than she looks. Her aristocratic birth is a source of mild frustration to Vimes, since he adores his wife, but can't stand being a duke or talking to most of her nobby rich friends.


  • Bald of Awesome: Wears a wig, as she lost her hair due to working with fire-breathing swamp dragons.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • When this woman gets pissed, Commander Sam Vimes gets scared. In fact, her potentially getting pissed is enough to scare Vimes. It also scares most other people, which is why Vimes has more than once pointed her at them when he sees her 'loaded and ready to fire'.
    • Even Lord Vetinari expresses nervousness at the thought of getting on her bad side in The Last Hero. She was kind enough to lend him some swamp dragons, but woe betide him if he doesn't return them safely!
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Gets compared to such things as cities and galleons.
  • Blue Blood: The Ramkins are one of the oldest and richest families in the city.
  • Boobs of Steel: The size of her breasts seem to be directly proportional to her impressive physical strength and stature. in Guards! Guards! she's described as looking like a Valkyrie.
  • Buxom Is Better: Part of her general largeness includes this. It's frequently mentioned as being quite impressive and intimidating.
  • Crazy Swamp Dragon Lady: She's introduced living alone in her mansion full of pet dragons.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Not only one of Discworld's foremost dragon breeders, but she also likes Nobby.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Sybil looks harmless and cheery, but she's got a razor-sharp mind underneath. Most ably demonstrated in The Fifth Elephant when she negotiates the fat trade for Ankh-Morpork.
  • Happily Married: Though she worries about Sam and his work. However, she knows the former without the latter would no longer be Sam.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Partway through The Fifth Elephant, she realizes Angua's family is holding her hostage. She then easily saves herself by, without apparent effort, removing one of the bars from her window and clobbering a werewolf (implied to be the Baron) unconscious with it so hard that it leaves a huge head-shaped dent in the bar.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Sybil is genteel and well-bred. However, she also comes from a line of lords reaching back to the days when "nobility" meant "he who can kill the greatest number of enemies". As befitting a noblewoman, Sybil's weapons of choice are words and gestures. But making her angry is not a good idea.
    • Vimes may be overestimating his wife's Mama Bear tendencies when he tells a villain in Snuff that if Sybil had caught the gentleman sneaking into young Sam's room with a selection of knives, said gentleman's corpse would have been unrecognizable. Then again, Vimes knows her better than the readers do.
    • Considering Thud!, if anything Vimes was underestimating her when he said that the corpse would be unrecognizable. Once she's done with the assassin that tried to harm Young Sam, there's no corpse at all, just a scorch mark on the wall.
  • No Indoor Voice:
    • Occasionally taken into Compelling Voice territory due to the sheer volume and charismatic force with which she can give a verbal command.
    • Has a lot of presence in Guards! Guards!, where it sometimes intimidates and sometimes gives people courage. Her description as being usually rather quiet comes from later books; it's implied she's paid more attention to her (non-dragon-related) social life since meeting Vimes, and has learned how to switch between "unintimidating, good listener" and "commanding presence" depending on the person and situation's needs.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • She does have a tendency to seem a tad airheaded, but that is a thin veneer hiding a mind capable of manipulating her husband like a puppet. She is notably one of the few people who calls Lord Vetinari by his first name (Havelock).
    • Sybil is also a very shrewd businesswoman when she wants to be, as demonstrated by the aforementioned The Fifth Elephant scene.
    • In Snuff, she surprises even Lord Vetinari by her gambit — getting the most important people in Ankh-Morpork to listen to Tears of the Mushroom play her harp.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She navigates high society with expert grace, to the extent that professional Magnificent Bastard Vetinari is a personal friend, and wields her rank like a scalpel. When that fails, she's been known to take a broadsword to a home intruder.
  • Simple, yet Opulent: Is so rich she can afford not to look it (most of the time), although she tends to buy her husband things too grand for his tastes. Before they marry Vimes notes that, because good quality goods last far longer than poor quality goods, she actually spends less money than him for a much higher standard of living.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Downplayed. Sam Vimes is average-height but spent most of his life running around half-fed, while Lady Sybil is a massively built woman who towers over her husband, thanks to her descent from true blue warrior nobility.
  • Women Are Wiser: She's realistically flawed in most of her appearances, but in Snuff she seems to have been holding the Wisdom Ball.
    Vimes: ‘You are, as always, right, my dear.’

    Willikins 

Sybil and Sam's butler. Seems like the stereotypical butler, but is capable of feats of stunning badassery.


  • Battle Butler: Has not only gone eagerly into battle for Ankh-Morpork, he has stood his ground to defend the Vimes homestead, and kicked serious arse while doing so.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He is perfectly civil and cordial to all. Until you cross him. Then he will be perfectly civil and cordial to you while disemboweling you with a carving knife. Of course, if you seriously threaten Vimes or his family you can bet on the following: if Vimes has caught you and put you in jail he will shadow you all the way to the gallows; if by unhappy chance you manage to elude him, Willikins will follow you to the ends of the earth and then slice you to pieces with cheesewire. If you're lucky.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his own butler-esque style.
    Willikins: Has Sir ever gone Sir-on-one with a troll?
  • Former Teen Rebel: Ran with a street gang in his youth that even a hardened streetfighter like Vimes considered to be a bunch of tough bastards. His Weapon of Choice was a cap with sharpened pennies sewn into the rim. Is now a butler.
  • Hidden Depths: When he first appears in the series he's almost a caricature of The Jeeves, with very little personality. Vimes can't stand the man being so subservient until he discovers more about Willikins' past and recognizes that there's more to the man than his servile attitude.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: He can fire through a mob of people to shoot a broomstick out of someone's hands without anyone seeing him do it.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Obviously, the Commander of the City Watch can't have his personal attendant killing people, not even burglars of murderous intent! So it's a good thing that a few of them coincidentally suffered fatal accidents.
  • Papa Wolf: He's extremely devoted to his employers, and is fiercely protective of Young Sam, whom he's become like a second father to. One of Snuff's villains found out the hard way why you don't go after Sam Vimes' son.
  • Poisonous Friend:
    • A subversion. Willikins will flagrantly break the law to protect the Ramkin family, and Sam isn't about to press him for details on exactly how certain things came to pass. However, Willikins would never ever involve Sam in his law-breaking, making sure that Sam can continue to be the good man he is, while he takes out the trash (without his knowledge).
    • Of course, he will still offer Vimes his choice of unorthodox weapons when things get gritty.
  • Old Retainer: Has been with the Ramkin family since at least events in Night Watch, starting off working in their household as a boy. He gets retconned a bit as the series progresses; in his earliest appearances he is an elderly fragile wreck, but later becomes the Battle Butler described above.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: He left behind the vicious street gang of his youth to become a proper high-society butler — and if someone intrudes too violently on his household, he'll straight-up murder them with the closest item to hand.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: To Vimes. They're basically Vitriolic Best Buds, with Vimes trusting Wilikins implicitly. They're pretty much the same age, and both ran in feuding street gangs as kids. Vimes is rather annoyed that there's a class distinction standing between them, while Willikins abuses his servant-hood for all its worth.
  • Screaming Warrior: During Jingo, he screams at the enemy and fellow soldiers during a charge. Once Vimes enters the scene, he oscillates between this trope and his butlery manners to humorous effect:
    "I'LL CUT YER TONKER OFF'F YER YER GREASY - Oh, is that you, Sir Samuel?"
    "Huh? Willikins?"
    "Indeed, sir." The butler straightened up.
    "Willikins?"
    "Do excuse me one moment, sir KNOCK IT OFF YOU MOTHERLOVIN SONS OF BITCHES I had no apprehension of your presence, sir."
  • Tranquil Fury: During the second climax of Snuff, when he is taking out the psychopath who went after Young Sam.

    "Young" Sam Vimes 

The beloved son of Sir Samuel and Lady Sybil Vimes. Born at the end of Night Watch, and six years old by the time of Snuff.


  • Cheerful Child: He's an affable and easygoing child and seldom much trouble — unless Dad isn't there to read for him at bedtime.
  • Children Are Innocent: For one thing, they haven't learned that goblins are viewed as inferior.
  • Constantly Curious: As of Snuff, which fits his age. He's unusually scientifically-mannered, though, especially when it comes to poo.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Though it may be a result of his youth, he seems to have inherited his mother's ability to get along with everybody, be they human or not.

    Captain Quirke 

A minor villain in Men At Arms, Captain Quirke is the commander of the Day Watch.


  • Corrupt Cop: He's quite easily bribed. In Night Watch, Vimes says that Quirke's claim of five years good conduct is "five years not found out."
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: "Prickle, prickle, prickle".
  • Fantastic Racism: Claims to have solved Hammerhock's murder by arresting Coalface the troll. The evidence? He's a troll. Never mind the fact that it would be physically impossible for a troll to get into the workshop where Hammerhock was killed.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Mayonnaise", because he is "rich, thick, oily, and smelt faintly of eggs."
  • Smug Snake: He's very condescending and dismissive towards the Night Watch.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Literally nobody likes this corrupt Smug Snake. He's presumably in charge of the Day Watch because of his connections.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Angua has a low opinion of Vimes for most of the book, but when confronted with Captain Quirke, she finds herself eyeing his jugular a little too intensely.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Does not appear again after Men at Arms, though his younger self does appear in Night Watch. It's a pretty safe bet to assume that Vimes fired him ASAP after being promoted to Commander.
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