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Jul 18th 2010 at 9:55:31 PM •••

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  • Character Derailment: Lord Rust. When first introduced in Men at Arms he was explicitly a pragmatic and savvy nobleman. Here, and in his later appearances he has devolved into a dimwitted and arrogant Straw Aristocrat.
    • Not necessarily. Given the general corruption and arrogance of aristocrats in the Discworld universe, that's totally justified. And besides, Vimes' comment about how Rust considers it a victory if his side has more people alive at the end is classical tactics for a feudal warlord, and frankly, not very efficent or humane (especially considering that Rust treats the soldiers like expendable pawns, which is par for the course for an arrogant nobleman, which he was in Men At Arms)
    • What has this to do with Rust's personality shift? Arguably aristocratic ruthlessness was possibly part of the original character (though since he actually seems compassionate towards Edward D'eath even this is a bit of a stretch) but stupidity and wilful blindness to reality certainly weren't. The only similarity that the Rust of Men at Arms has with the Rust of this book (and Night Watch) is his name and title.
      • However there is a slight move back towards the original character in Monstrous Regiment where, although Rust still has the same stuffy facade, he seems to have hidden depths and grudgingly respects Vimes.
    • Rust seems to only be pragmatic and savvy in certain areas. He's not too keen on shaking up the status quo in Men at Arms mostly because, as the book puts it, he's done very well for himself under the Patricianship. Rust has been taught a million ways since birth that some people are "bred to lead" and he's one of them. Vimes being one of the most powerful people in the city is an affront. And even the apparently fairly sensible Ramkin ancestors have that odd "war is just jolly good fun, why don't you chaps charge, on to glory and all that rot" attitude, even to the point of ignoring self-preservation. "Duty calls" has been pounded into them. The aristocracy treat war more like a sporting event, which from Vimes's point of view, is incredibly stupid. Strategic retreat actually exists in the Vimes vocabulary. And in most of the books, we primarily get the Vimes view. Vimes and Rust rub each other the wrong way. We (and Vimes) also find out in Jingo that Sybil dated Rust, at least once, and wasn't much impressed. Rust may act an even bigger idiot when Vimes is around because he's reminded Sybil picked a man from Cockbill Street over him. Another contributing factor may be the 'new past' in Night Watch, in which a young Sam Vimes threatens to shoot Rust in a very sensitive spot. Possible wounded pride, much? They do tend to act like posturing schoolboys around one another.
    • This troper assumed that the intelligent, gracious Lord Rust from Men At Arms had died in the interim, passing his title on to his son. There's a mention in Feet Of Clay of how Lord Rust's eldest boy had been busted by Vimes for shooting a servant who'd left his shoes the wrong way round, and this seems very much in keeping with the childish-Jerkass Rust from Jingo.

Edited by DaibhidC Hide/Show Replies
Sep 7th 2011 at 2:52:06 PM •••

Yep, that works. The character in Night Watch is specifically the Hon. Ronald Rust, so there's no temporal confusion there; this at least is the current Lord Rust before he becomes a Lord.

Nov 30th 2011 at 4:28:55 PM •••

Ah, and now Jossed by Snuff, which establishes that Ronnie is notably older than Vimes.

Edited by DaibhidC
Nov 30th 2011 at 10:16:26 PM •••

Have not read Snuf yet, but I've never really thought his character was derailed. When Rust was shown as sympathetic and relatively intelligent, it was when he was among his fellow aristocrats. When he's around non-aristocrats, he's a pretty big jerk, and you have to take into account that Vimes' perspective isn't exactly impartial.

Also, while Vimes obviously doesn't like Rust, he often thinks of him as being honorable (although in a totally stupid and unhelpful way), which backs up the idea that Rust is a "bad guy" because of upbringing rather than malice (contrast him with Lord de Worde and other aristocrat characters).

Dec 1st 2011 at 4:31:01 AM •••

He doesn't have to be that much older than Vimes, 15 years would do it. He'd still be seen as a shiny new officer by Older!Vimes in Nightwatch if he was late twenties/very early thirties. And Since Vimes has to be knocking on the door of fifty that would put Ronnie in his mid sixties. Which, while not that old to us these days, once upon a time not that long ago would be wheelchair and tartan rug time.

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