This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.
I was actually tempted to split this post into more than two. I’m already splitting the favourite female character-post as well, so this is getting a bit much. So I’ll just make a list to say who else I would have liked to write about and then leave it at that.
If I had the chance, I would also have liked to write about Pippin from LotR; Lord Veternari, Moist von Lipwig from Discworld; Artemis Fowl and Christopher Chant.
But today I am going to write about His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes from the Discworld-series and then leave it at that.
Sam Vimes is the main character of the Watch-subseries of Discworld-books. He started off as the captain of the Night Watch in the first book that features him and eventually progressed to Commander of the Watch.
He is an extremely conflicted character, but, thank goodness, not one given to angsting. That is simply the way he is: he has the conflicting traits of cynicism and idealism. He expects the worse of people, but would like to believe the best. This is caused by him being born “knurd”, which is the opposite of being drunk. His body does not produce any “natural alcohol” and this means that he cannot have any illusions about life. In Guards! Guards! he kept trying to correct this mental state, that was sending him into a depression, by drinking, but he always got the dose wrong and ended up getting drunk. Later, after getting married, he gave up all alcohol and became a teetotaller, though he was always testing himself by keeping drink in his bottom drawer. He always passed the test.
Vimes fears the darkness inside himself. He knows that everyone is born with good and bad inside them and he fears that one day, his will gain advantage and take him over. This led to him creating a guard in his mind that contains the darkness. Vimes is an extremely moral person, someone who will never take a bribe and is always insistent that he has never killed anyone. Oh, there were victims of circumstance, but he never meant to. That is what counts, as he tells himself to keep his sanity.
His wife describes him as “not a gentleman, thank goodness, but a gentle man”. He is intensely, incredibly good, not because he’s written as a “good guy” and therefore everything he does must be right, but because he strives to be this way. Often, he ends up going into morally-uncertain waters, where the truth is basically the way you bend it, but he always strives to do the moral thing and to be fair.
Sam Vimes is a character you can learn a lot about as you follow his story, starting with Guards! Guards! and ending with Snuff. He changes somewhat as the story progresses, but mostly he is very stable and dependable. He can also teach you a lot about trying to be morally good in spite of everything that gets thrown at you and never losing sight of your good intentions.
Vimes has been a drunk and a hero, he turned into an ambassador and a preventer of wars. He started off hating nobility and social rank and with a touch of irony, became a noble himself through his marriage. That did not stop him from hating it and he became a reluctant class traitor.
Through all of it, the Vimes-character has remained mostly stable. He can be relied on to make a cynical remark at the least provocation and to never let go off his morals. He grows and is enriched by his marriage and the birth of his son, Young Sam, but he remains a character to be admired.
I love his character and I still think he is at his best in Thud! It is there where he refuses to give in to the darkness and commit murder that he stands the climax of his character development. There is something hard to describe about him at that moment, but I do know that it is this which makes him supreme as a character: it’s in the way he inspires others to also be supreme.
Tomorrow I will write about my favourite female character.