Samuel Vimes, you’re my hero!

CoverI’ve never been the sort of person to put up movie star posters in my room, or sigh over rock bands.  What I DO have, though is an enduring love of some book characters.  I know, it doesn’t get much more nerdy-librarian than that.  Even worse, my current infatuation (and an enduring one, I must confess) is for a cynical, middle-aged, angrily sober ex-alcoholic career policeman, who lives in a city that he loves to hate, in a world that doesn’t exist.

I first met His Grace, His Excellency, the Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes (Blackboard Monitor) in 1989 in Guards! Guards! (a book that continues to be my favourite out of all Terry Pratchett’s novels).  At the time, he was a mere Captain of the City Watch, and I a recently-married student.  We have grown up together, Vimes and I, although I have not attained the heady heights of nobility and career stardom that he has.  Like millions of fans worldwide I am worried that Snuff, the latest title by Pratchett, may also be his last, and I am both pleased and saddened that of all the characters and stories he could have chosen, it’s Vimes who is the hero of Snuff.

Cover Pratchett’s books, on the surface, are all about farting dragons and innuendo-ridden witches, very tall dwarves and orangutan librarians, and as such are frequently dismissed as being for kids or people who like to dress up in old curtains and pretend they are wizards.

But they are also full of genuinely historical crunchy bits, retellings of classic tales, myth and legend, and characters that are so real you feel you already know them.  Their foibles are our foibles, their humanity just like ours (even when they are not, strictly speaking, human), and their dreams and aspirations as valid as ours.  All Sam Vimes wants to do at the end of the day is be the best copper he can be, keep his city and home safe for his wife and son, and make it home by 6pm each night so he can read Young Sam his favourite book, Where’s My Cow?

Snuff is a delight, a fabulously funny, heart-warming tale of mystery and murder on a policeman’s holiday, that is also about justice and slavery, nobility and prejudice and standing up for what you know to be right.  It is one of the very best books I have read recently, and has only cemented my ongoing love for Vimes, Duke of Ankh, Blackboard Monitor, and policeman extraordinaire.

Now make me feel better by confessing YOUR literary crushes …

11 thoughts on “Samuel Vimes, you’re my hero!

  1. top50sf 9 December 2011 / 2:19 pm

    I really do love the DIscworld novels, though my personal favorites are Mustrum Ridcully and Granny Weatherwax—I think because both take a refusal to recognize the world the way it is and elevate it from a character flaw to a strength (though of course it takes magic to survive if you do that). But if I were going to pick a character I came close to having a crush on…hrm…probably Rae Seddon from Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, as she’s just so much herself. Although that’s three very powerful and intensely magical characters, I note…

    • bronnypop 10 December 2011 / 5:38 pm

      Granny is brilliant, isn’t she! And thanks for reminding me about Sunshine – I read it a few years back, and had forgotten just how fantastic it was. There was some talk about a kind-of sequel, to be called Albion, but I never managed to track it down.

      • top50sf 11 December 2011 / 1:26 pm

        Oh, I quite adore Granny Weatherwax when I’m reading about her. I don’t know if I’d get along with her in person, mind you. Now, Ridcully…he’s a bloke you could enjoy hanging around with, I think. At any rate…Albion may not have ever appeared, but McKinley did discuss the novel in her blog ( back in 2008. I have no idea what happened to the novel, but she has said that if the Story Council gives her the story, she’ll write it…

  2. Keri Hulme 9 December 2011 / 1:45 pm

    PTerry is one of my most favourite-of-all-times writers!*
    Sam Vimes is superb but the Pratchett character I most love is The Librarian- ook ook ook!
    *I have all the Discworld books (including the illustrated ones & Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook) m- except “Snuff” (which I am getting for Christmas I understand…)

    • bronnypop 10 December 2011 / 5:32 pm

      I think ALL librarians and lovers of books love the Librarian. I also have every one of PTerry’s books, and the maps too! Did you ever do one of the many “Which Discworld character are you?” quizzes? Last time I did one, I ended up as the Patrician. Should I be afraid? Should everyone else?

  3. littlepixik 11 December 2011 / 10:41 am

    I have read every Pratchett book there is – apart from Snuff which I am waiting for. But I don’t own any… I think I know what is going on my birthday wishlish now!
    My favorite characture? I don’t know, there are too many to chose from: chain-smoking Adorabelle Dearheart, Two-flower, Nanny Ogg… but I must confess I’ve always had a soft spot for Grebo. I knew a cat like him once, tough, scarey, occationaly homicidal and yet loving to certain people. Then Nanny turned him into a man for a short time… swoon!

  4. berniceccl 12 December 2011 / 12:02 pm

    I’m right with you there Bronnypop. I love Sam Vimes too. His hilarious and highly creative rise to power has kept me reading far too late on many a night. I have a soft spot for the Igors (or should I say Igorth) as well

  5. beachpenguin 17 December 2011 / 1:45 pm

    Well said, from another Pratchett (and Vimes) fan.

  6. Alison Weathers 20 December 2011 / 12:03 pm

    Tiffany Aching! I want to adopt her. I want to watch her at work. I want to *be* her. She truly is Weatherwax: the Next Generation 🙂

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