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Headscratchers / Night Watch

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    Altered timeline 

  • Why do Colon, Nobby, and Dibbler remember the altered timeline at the start of the book, before the storm? Alright, so it's perfectly possible that the original Keel promoted Colon and bought a pie from Dibbler, but the spoon has to have been Vimes. Keel wouldn't have recognised Nobby, and given that he apparently didn't attract Madam's attention and wouldn't have made instant enemies of Coates and Quirke the way Vimes did, Nobby probably wouldn't have been following him in the first place.
    • 'Cos of quantum, of course.
    • Chalk it up to time travel.
    • I don't see why Keel wouldn't have attracted Madam's attention. We never get to hear the real Keel's story, but he was apparently pretty awesome, and just as involved in the revolution as Vimes was. Like when every other Watch house was attacked except Treacle Mine Road, the only difference in the timeline was that the riot happened in Dolly Sisters instead of Morphic Street. We don't know if Keel pulled the same thing that Vimes did, but there's no reason to assume that what happened was wildly different, in the actual timeline it seems that Keel still prevented the Watch house from being attacked. I don't think Vimes did things all that differently, so he still would have attracted Madam's attention and Nobby would have been hired to spy on him. He probably wouldn't have made enemies of Coates, since Coates did actually know him before, but overall, I think that Colon, Nobby, and Dibbler had roughly the same experience with Keel as they did with Vimes.
      • Except the narration says Vimes remembers Dolly Sisters mentioned in the history books. It happened either way.
    • Keep in mind that it was ambiguously suggested that Keel was something of a revolutionary himself, though Vimes was not. Remember, Coates claimed to have been trained by the "real" Keel and it's not really a stretch to assume he brought his mentor into the group. With that in mind, it's quite likely that he would have come into contact with Madam. As for the rest, Vimes believes that he learnt nearly everything of importance from Keel, so it's hardly surprising that the two were so much alike.
  • The main page says,
    Lu-Tze also claims that it is not quite a Stable Time Loop in the first place, that Vimes was trained by John Keel, that the rebellion was crushed as he remembered, and all that. Strangely, though, Vetinari remembers the events of the book's past, and not the one that Vimes remembers. Which means either the Sweeper was wrong, that the past and present changed but only Vimes remembers it, or that Lu-Tze was lying to make sure Vimes maintained the loop.
    Is this actually the case? I think what Lu-Tze was saying is just that there was an original timeline where Vimes wasn't Keel, and this is going to be the one Vimes remembers having happened the first time around. Everyone else (for instance, Vetinari), will just remember the timeline that ended up happening in which Vimes was Keel. Because otherwise there's no point to most of everything Vimes did in the whole book. Right? But since that's not how other people seem to have figured, I'm doubting myself.
    • Lu-Tze states that there are two parallel timelines, and they are using a great deal of effort to keep the two apart and running concurrently, but the two will wind up snapping back together in a few days. As I figure it, for the two timelines to snap together without causing irreparable damage, certain things had to happen. "Keel" had to train Vimes, certain watchmen (including Keel) had to die due to treachery, the city had to have barricades, "Keel" had to have led some sort of revolution... And both Vimes and Carcer had to go back together. In previous Discworld books, the History Monks are described as taking boring time from some areas to patch others, reassembling fragmented history such that some wars had both sides win certain battles... basically, Discworld history is already a mess. Compared to that crazy quilt, the results of this particular timeline divergence are probably fairly simple to deal with. So most people probably remember it as it was and as it became, and Vetinari was the only one (or one of the very few) who realized that the dead Keel in the street wasn't the same exact person who led the defense of the barricades.
  • This is why I hate time travel!


  • Waaay back in Men at Arms, we had Vimes remembering the retirement of Sergeant Kepple, who kept coming in every night for the next six years until someone found him dead on the Watch house floor. Why is there no mention of him here? Different leg of The Trousers of Time?
    • Possibly Kepple was transferred in from another Watch house after the uprising was over, to re-staff Treacle Mine Road. It'd lost nearly all of its own Watchmen in the final skirmish, after all, and would lose Colon to the military for a while as well.

    Swing offing his own man 

  • Was it ever established why Captain Swing randomly killed the torturer in the Torture Cellar when the place was burning down around him? For the Evulz? You Have Failed Me?
    • Swing was bright enough to realise the jig was up, that revolution was in the air, and his henchman had Out Lived His Usefulness. He was getting rid of a potential witness against him.


Example of: