Review: Guards! Guards!

Guards! Guards! by Terry PratchettGuards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
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My Rating5 out of 5 Stars5 out of 5 stars
First Published: 1989
Read from: November 21 to December 04, 2013

Guards! Guards! This much fun must be illiegal.

Wonderful fun! Best of the Discworld series so far. Loved the characters, plot, humor and excellent prose. And underneath it all incredibly deep undercurrents with serious (but ironically funny) truths about life, love, civilization, patriotism, politics, evil and heroism. But all those serious thoughts are delivered in such a way that they only add to, instead of disturbing, the fun.

In fear of acting like the Critters the Librarian avoids in this novel, (who leave behind small volumes of literary criticism after grazing on choice books,) I have decided to simply list some of the great quotes from this book rather than attempt to review it. However I highlighted so many awesome quotes from this novel, that even after seriously trimming back the number there is quite a collection. Here’s one example of the usual Pratchett irreverent, but strangely true, observations — this one delivered in a passing footnote early in the novel:

The truth is that even big collections of ordinary books distort space, as can readily be proved by anyone who has been around a really old-fashioned secondhand bookshop, one of those that look as though they were designed by M. Escher on a bad day and has more staircases than storys and those rows of shelves which end in little doors that are surely too small for a full-sized human to enter. The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, Pg. 363

Lots of pure fun:

People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, “Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else.” Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, Pg. 33

And silliness:

“The females are always the worst,” said another hunter gloomily. “I knew this cross-eyed gorgon once, oh, she was a terror. Kept turning her own nose to stone.” Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, Pg. 124

I pictured Graham Chapman from Monty Python as “the monarchist” in this series of quotes:

“I’ve always thought,” said the monarchist, pulling out a pipe and beginning to fill it with the ponderous air of one who is going to deliver a lecture, “that one of the major problems of being a king is the risk of your daughter getting a prick.”  There was a thoughtful pause.  “And falling asleep for a hundred years,” the monarchist went on stolidly.  “Ah,” said the others, unaccountably relieved.

A paragraph or so later…

“Ah, pageantry,” said the monarchist, pointing with his pipe. “Very important. Lots of spectacles.”  “What, free?” said Throat.  “We-ell, I think maybe you have to pay for the frames,” said the monarchist. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, Pg. 172

From the mind of private detective Sam Spade… I mean, City Watch captain “Sam Vimes”:

There must be a million stories in the naked city, thought Vimes. So why do I always have to listen to ones like these? Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, Pg. 215

Oh, how sad, but true…

“Well, well,” he said. “So we’re privy councillors now. Just fancy.”  “Hmm,” said the assassin.  “I wonder what’s the difference between ordinary councillors and privy councillors?” wondered the merchant aloud.  The assassin scowled at him. “I think,” he said, “it is because you’re expected to eat shit.” Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, Pg. 249

This reminded me of my time in the Navy; only in the Navy, the officers tool of choice was called a chief…

This was no time for half measures. He was a captain, godsdammit. An officer. Things like this didn’t present a problem for an officer. Officers had a tried and tested way of solving problems like this. It was called a sergeant. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, Pg. 327

This one seemed to be talking specifically about me…

Yes, they’d both started in the gutter. But Wonse had worked his way up whereas, as he himself would be the first to admit, Vimes had merely worked his way along. Every time he seemed to be getting anywhere he spoke his mind, or said the wrong thing. Usually both at once. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, Pg. 48

Finally, some possibly Spoiler-laden Quotes. Click “show” to reveal:

Spoiler: Spoiler-laden Quotes Show

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