Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 06-19-2011, 11:51 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Middle ear
Posts: 5,767
How do you understand the ending of "Going Postal"?

Spoilers, duh!

[space]

[more space]

[probably enough space, don't you think?]

So my brother spotted something odd in TvTropes' entry on Going Postal.
Quote:
I Die Free: Reacher Gilt throws himself down a bottomless pit rather than work for Vetinari.
Now, both my brother and I had taken it for granted that Reacher was not aware of said bottomless pit. It was kinda stupid of him to take Vetinari at his word, true, but if he were as clever as he thought he was, he wouldn't have been taken down in the first place. Anyway, I can see him being confused and fed up and not thinking clearly, and walking out the door. I can't see him committing suicide. Pretending to agree so he can take time to weasel out of it, as Moist initially did, yes. Dying to get away, no. That's just not him.
Does that make sense to you? Who's totally off base here, me and Bro, or the Troper? Or is it supposed to be ambiguous? What's your $0.02?
#2
Old 06-20-2011, 12:05 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 15,368
Yeah, I think that's off base. It's been a while since I read this one, but as I remember it the point was that Reacher wasn't nearly as intelligent or perceptive as Moist. Whereas Moist understood the trap, Reacher wasn't perceptive enough and too self-absorbed to realize the subtext in Vetinari dismissing him.
#3
Old 06-20-2011, 12:14 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 354
Reacher Gilt was so dedicated to "free market" principles -- particularly to the idea that people in business should never be held liable for their business dealings -- that he stuck by it, even beyond the point where it became completely unreasonable.

Maybe he didn't know about the pit, but it wouldn't have made any difference if he did -- he valued the principle more than he did his personal safety, or even his own life. Basically, he was insane. And that was the big difference between him and Moist Von Lipwig.

That's how I read it.

Last edited by Kim o the Concrete Jungle; 06-20-2011 at 12:15 AM.
#4
Old 06-20-2011, 12:25 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 354
Bugger -- got caught by the five minute window for editing. Let me put it in a slightly different way.

Reacher Gilt was so completed fixated on the idea of "free" that he reflexively chose freedom over public service, even though it was an obvious trap. And he was too insane to even care that he was choosing death over life.
#5
Old 06-20-2011, 12:46 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Stockton
Posts: 9,965
I'd say that at least nine tenths of him was completely surprised by the sudden drop. Whether the last tenth was not paying attention or was busy keeping the other nine from noticing is left unsaid.


I'm more uncertain about what happened with Moist's second chance at the end.

Last edited by Yllaria; 06-20-2011 at 12:48 AM.
#6
Old 06-20-2011, 01:28 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 819
I assumed he well knew. He committed suicide -- it was the only way to win.
#7
Old 06-20-2011, 01:40 AM
The Turtle Moves!
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 48,466
I disagree. I think he was too stupid to see the way out.
#8
Old 06-20-2011, 02:32 AM
Charter Member
Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 72,681
Even though Reacher wasn't as sharp as Moist, he still was far from oblivious, and it's hard not to notice something like that. Maybe he didn't catch Vetinari's meaning before he opened the door, but he surely did after, and then thought about the offer for a moment before accepting.

And as a minor point, I didn't understand it to be a pit, but rather that the office was in a tower, and that it was simply a door to the outside. Doesn't make much difference, though.
__________________
Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
--As You Like It, III:ii:328
Check out my dice in the Marketplace
#9
Old 06-20-2011, 11:35 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,203
I read it as Gilt deliberately choosing suicide (and his own twisted principles) over subservience. I'm not sure where this idea that Gilt was "stupid" is coming from - throughout the book, he's portrayed as cunning, ruthless, and a gifted liar. The only reason he loses to Moist is that Moist is better at all those things. And even then, just barely. Reacher Gilt was Moist von Lipwig plus 20 years and minus that hidden spark of decency. He was not a fool.
#10
Old 06-20-2011, 01:35 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,148
I go with the insane maniac theory: he knew what he was doing, but didn't care because he'd gotten so into his own con that he'd forgotten it was a con at all and became a True Believer. As a True Believer he felt like if he followed the One True Path it would work out.
#11
Old 06-20-2011, 02:17 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Middle ear
Posts: 5,767
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanbarkie View Post
I'm not sure where this idea that Gilt was "stupid" is coming from - throughout the book, he's portrayed as cunning, ruthless, and a gifted liar.
Wellll- as I said in the OP, three days of being golemhandled isn't a recipe for thinking clearly. I don't think he get time to eat or drink either. (Is it just me, or did anyone else wonder if he got let down to use the bathroom, or had to go on the go? Just me?) I get cranky and fuzzy-minded if I'm an hour or two late for dinner. Heck, I can see Vetinari himself making stupid decisions in those circumstances.
#12
Old 06-20-2011, 02:29 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 15,368
I'll have to read the book again (I've been meaning to anyway since the Sky One adaptation came out), but while Reacher and Moist were of comparable levels of intelligence, the sense I got was that Moist is always thinking outwardly. He's always thinking about other people and thinking about how other people think. He takes an interest, even if it's only to serve his own goals.

Reacher, on the other hand, thinks inwardly. He's a lot more self-absorbed than Moist. It's like Pratchett describes another character in Making Money: he's the type who, while you are talking, is not listening to what you're saying but rather thinking of what to say next. One of the constants in the Discworld books is that people who think outwardly can keep up with Vetinari, but those who think inwardly (like most of the nobles) get played like harps no matter how generally intelligent they are.

I could be wrong, as it's been so very long that I barely remember anything about Reacher other than that last scene, but as I remember it Reacher simply missed the trap in Vetinari's words and strode out the door thinking he was home free, because he was more occupied with himself than Vetinari.

But given the apparent intended allusions to John Galt, it's entirely possible he did kill himself as Manda JO suggests, and Pratchett is playing on how reality can interfere with ideology.

Last edited by Bosstone; 06-20-2011 at 02:31 PM.
#13
Old 06-20-2011, 02:30 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 10,133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleus, Incus, Stapes! View Post
Now, both my brother and I had taken it for granted that Reacher was not aware of said bottomless pit. It was kinda stupid of him to take Vetinari at his word, true, but if he were as clever as he thought he was, he wouldn't have been taken down in the first place.
People rarely are. There's your explanation.

-Joe
#14
Old 06-20-2011, 02:55 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 27,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
And as a minor point, I didn't understand it to be a pit, but rather that the office was in a tower, and that it was simply a door to the outside. Doesn't make much difference, though.
I think more like an elevator shaft. Had it been to the outside, Moist himself would have seen daylight when he opened the door, and been able to judge the drop visually, rather than by wasting his spoon.

It never occurred to me to suppose that Gilt did anything other than bolt out the door immediately upon being offered the opportunity.
#15
Old 06-20-2011, 03:35 PM
Charter Member
Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 72,681
The other person to analyze here is Vetinari. It seems to me that Vetinari would not intend for the door to be a trick: He wants his visitor to stand there, look at the drop, and think about the choices that he really has. Likewise, Vetinari is honest enough, in his own way, that he wouldn't say he admired the man's adherence to his principles if he didn't genuinely believe that it was a conscious decision motivated by principles.
#16
Old 06-20-2011, 04:21 PM
ftg ftg is offline
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 15,757
Another vote for he knew it was certain death. There was of course, a third option. Do neither. Then he would have had a date with Daniel “One Drop” Trooper. Gilt would have seen it as more suitable of a man of his class to off himself than do the hemp dance.

This is one distinction between Spangler/Moist. Somewhere inside Moist there was a little subconscious thought that said he might actually make a go of the Patrician's offer. Gilt would be 100% rotten to the core and knew he would do Something Bad running the mint (or running from the mint) and end up signing one of Mr. Trooper's ropes.
#17
Old 06-20-2011, 05:44 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 22,349
I can't imagine a narcissist like Gilt ever deciding to kill himself.
#18
Old 06-20-2011, 06:30 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southwest illinois
Posts: 55
One more vote for killing himself. I think that Moist was counting on Vetinari being an honorable tyrant and was giving Moist the choice between being useful or dying immediately. Reacher on the other hand, considered the Patrician to be as dishonest as he was and never considered the possibility that Vetinari would keep him alive. He saw it as a choice between dying now or dying when he was no longer useful. Moist saw is as dying now or being useful enough to live long enough to escape.
#19
Old 06-21-2011, 02:51 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
And as a minor point, I didn't understand it to be a pit, but rather that the office was in a tower, and that it was simply a door to the outside. Doesn't make much difference, though.
I'd say it's more than likely a bit of the destruction left over from when the dragon took over Ankh-Morpork, and hollowed out the Patrician's palace to use as its lair (Guards! Guards!).
#20
Old 06-21-2011, 03:29 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 15,368
Just re-read the passage in question. It's definitely ambiguous. It appears that whether Gilt committed suicide intentionally or not is dependent on whether he understood Vetinari's speech about angels, but the only sentence we get on that is "Reacher Gilt [...] listened in mounting puzzlement to the angelic theories of Lord Vetinari."

There's no clue whether he's puzzled only because he doesn't know where Vetinari is going with the angels thing (in which case, once he understood that Vetinari was offering him a job, he chose death over the angel), or because he doesn't comprehend what Vetinari's talking about at all, and the only thing he does understand is that Vetinari is offering him a job, which he doesn't trust, as well as offering him the option to walk through the door and never hear from Vetinari again, which he immediately takes, not understanding that the choices Vetinari was offering were cake or death.

Given the (albeit parsimonious) descriptions of Gilt's reactions to Vetinari's speech, I tend to believe it was the latter option. The former is possible, but I think requires reading a lot deeper between the lines than is expected. I wouldn't necessarily put it past Pratchett, though.
#21
Old 06-21-2011, 04:52 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Deepest South London
Posts: 20,009
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
I think more like an elevator shaft. Had it been to the outside, Moist himself would have seen daylight when he opened the door, and been able to judge the drop visually, rather than by wasting his spoon.

It never occurred to me to suppose that Gilt did anything other than bolt out the door immediately upon being offered the opportunity.
I agree with both of these points.

Moist was a long-time con artist who knew he was a con artist and knew that "too good to be true" offers always are. Vetinari's offer of freedom was ludicrous and had to have a catch involved.

Reacher Gilt was a taker who felt entitled to other people's stuff and was not used to a life of petty deceit; he didn't think about whether Vetinari's offer was suspicious because he saw a chance to get what he wanted (freedom) and took it, not realizing the implications (going splat).
#22
Old 06-21-2011, 05:45 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Northumbria
Posts: 2,627
I think there are two important points to consider in understanding Gilt's decision.

The first is that, whatever he may have claimed, the only ideology he actually believed was that he was always The Smartest Man In The Room, and that he could literally get away with murder. The fact that it never occurred to him to doubt this, even when the room also contained Vetinari, is evidence for the second point.

The second point is that he was quite insane.

Our first clue to this is that he has an Igor. Not definitive, certainly, but a pretty strong suggestion. Moreover, when Gilt explicitly asks Igor whether he thinks he (Gilt) is insane, Igor prevaricates, but clearly thinks he is (and given the Igors' experience in these matters, I'd say that was a reliable diagnosis). Finally, Igor is shown to be making plans for alternative future employment: which we've seen in other books to be a sure indicator that the wheels are about to come off – generally forcibly detached by torch-bearing townsfolk.

So I think that by the time of that final interview with the Patrician, Gilt was at least semi-detached from reality, and when he stepped through that door, it was in the sure and certain belief that he was master of the situation and utterly untouchable.

His first clue that this might not be the case was probably finding himself standing on black sand.
#23
Old 06-21-2011, 06:08 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 1,536
In the book, I would say that he took took Vetenari at face value and didn't listen

In the recent TV adaption I would say he unambiguosly chose to commit suicide.
#24
Old 06-21-2011, 08:53 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,736
I haven't read this for a while, but I always assumed Gilt fell victim to his arrogance rather than his beliefs.
#25
Old 06-21-2011, 09:49 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,474
It's been a while, but I remember thinking he clearly chose to die over the alternative.

It wasn't a "trap" at all. It was a choice. It was intentionally obvious that there was nothing outside the door, including a floor.

The whole scene was also a direct parallel to Moist's choice. The natural interpretation is that things went pretty much the same until he made a different choice.

Assuming that he must have closed his eyes, opened the door, and stepped out to his doom without opening his eyes, when we are never told anything that supports this at all, is quite odd.
#26
Old 06-21-2011, 10:18 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 15,368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmady View Post
Assuming that he must have closed his eyes, opened the door, and stepped out to his doom without opening his eyes, when we are never told anything that supports this at all, is quite odd.
Nobody has assumed that. Why would you assume that's anyone's claim?

It is absolutely within the realm of plausibility that he simply assumed there would be floor beyond the door, because 99.9999999% of the time there usually is, and that he wouldn't be watching where he was going, because he was foolish enough to believe that Vetinari was honestly letting him leave and so wasn't looking for traps. Have you never been surprised by an unexpected step or the lack of a step where you expected one?
#27
Old 06-21-2011, 10:57 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,474
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
Nobody has assumed that. Why would you assume that's anyone's claim?

It is absolutely within the realm of plausibility that he simply assumed there would be floor beyond the door, because 99.9999999% of the time there usually is, and that he wouldn't be watching where he was going, because he was foolish enough to believe that Vetinari was honestly letting him leave and so wasn't looking for traps. Have you never been surprised by an unexpected step or the lack of a step where you expected one?


I just re-read the scene, and my memory was not very accurate.

It is much more ambiguous than I thought, and going just by that scene I think I would now lean slightly towards it being an accident after all.
#28
Old 06-21-2011, 11:06 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,736
It's interesting that there is a roughly 50-50 split on this, I'll have a look at my copy when I get home.
#29
Old 06-21-2011, 12:05 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Southern US
Posts: 609
I've always thought that he commuted suicide rather than work for Vetinari. For me the key thing is this exchange with Drumknott:

[Dumknott] "But Mr. Gilt, I notice, is not here..." Vetinari sighed. "You have admire a man who really believes in freedom of choice," he said, looking at the open doorway. "Sadly, he did not believe in angels."


To me this says that Glit did not believe Vetinari and refused to be subservient so took the choice to be free even if that freedom meant death.

Last edited by Caveat lector; 06-21-2011 at 12:06 PM.
#30
Old 06-21-2011, 12:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,736
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caveat lector View Post
[Dumknott]Vetinari sighed. "You have admire a man who really believes in freedom of choice," he said, looking at the open doorway. "Sadly, he did not believe in angels."
However, that could be taken to mean that Gilt (rather foolishly) believed he had an actual choice when he went through the door. I'm having trouble reconciling the Gilt character with suicide. If he realised the door was a one way ticket to splatsville, I think he'd have accepted Vetinari's offer, confident he could weasel out of whatever situation he found himself in.
#31
Old 06-21-2011, 12:54 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 15,368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caveat lector View Post
To me this says that Glit did not believe Vetinari and refused to be subservient so took the choice to be free even if that freedom meant death.
I've been thinking about this scenario way too much.

It's still ambiguous. There's two different decisions being presented by Vetinari: the surface level "Accept the job or walk out the door" (job or walk) and the underlying "Accept the job or die" (cake or death).

Most of us consider death to not be an option. If someone tells you "Do X or I'll kill you," even though you are literally and objectively being given a choice most people would agree it's not a real choice at all.

So there's two ways it could have played out in Gilt's head: either he believed Vetinari was offering him job or walk, in which case Vetinari was musing on the fact that Gilt falsely believed the tyrant of Ankh-Morpork was actually giving him a choice, which nobody believes cake or death to be, or Gilt did see the cake or death choice but believed so strongly in freedom of choice that he considered death a viable option even though so many people wouldn't.

I'd say the evidence for both interpretations is really pretty solid, and it's possible Pratchett intended that. Personally I think this may be one instance where his circumlocutions are creating unintentional confusion.

Last edited by Bosstone; 06-21-2011 at 12:55 PM.
#32
Old 06-21-2011, 01:23 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Southern US
Posts: 609
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
Most of us consider death to not be an option. If someone tells you "Do X or I'll kill you," even though you are literally and objectively being given a choice most people would agree it's not a real choice at all.
Maybe part of the reason that I interpret it the way that I do is that do consider death an option if faced with being forced to do something morally or personally reprehensible. Now I'll admit that someone who say "Do this or die" is not really intending to give you an option, but I can comprehend the mindset of someone who could say "I'd rather die" and mean it.

I could see Glit being that sort of man. I could see him thinking that life in servitude wasn't really life at all and so he might as well go out on his own terms.

Last edited by Caveat lector; 06-21-2011 at 01:24 PM.
#33
Old 06-21-2011, 01:33 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 15,368
Sure, but that doesn't necessarily mean Gilt is that kind of man. I don't want to go down that road myself, though, as the rest of the book beyond the last scene is mostly a blur.
#34
Old 06-21-2011, 01:40 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Southern US
Posts: 609
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alka Seltzer View Post
However, that could be taken to mean that Gilt (rather foolishly) believed he had an actual choice when he went through the door. I'm having trouble reconciling the Gilt character with suicide. If he realised the door was a one way ticket to splatsville, I think he'd have accepted Vetinari's offer, confident he could weasel out of whatever situation he found himself in.
If its just a trick why have the door at all? It seems odd. Its not like Vetinari needed to trick people in order to kill them and he doesn't seem like the kind of person that would get a kick out of tricking someone to their death. Now I could seem him tricking someone to their death, but only if it was the best and most necessary way and it doesn't seem like that applies with either Moist or Gilt.

However, I do see how someone could have an alternate interpretation from me.
#35
Old 06-21-2011, 01:58 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Northumbria
Posts: 2,627
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
So there's two ways it could have played out in Gilt's head: either he believed Vetinari was offering him job or walk, in which case Vetinari was musing on the fact that Gilt falsely believed the tyrant of Ankh-Morpork was actually giving him a choice, which nobody believes cake or death to be, or Gilt did see the cake or death choice but believed so strongly in freedom of choice that he considered death a viable option even though so many people wouldn't.
I think perhaps you're thinking it through in too rational a way; as I said earlier, Gilt is, in fact, insane.

Aside from how that would affect the two scenarios you've suggested, we have to consider the possibility that he might simply have refused to accept the reality that Vetinari had any power over him at all, or that any choice he himself made could turn out wrong.

As he'd said to Igor earlier, he'd conned people while dressed up with long hair, a beard, an eye-patch and a parrot. He'd said to them, "I'm a pirate, give me your money," and they'd lined up to give it to him, and thought they were being clever. He could do whatever he felt like, and have it succeed.

Maybe he was convinced that if Reacher Gilt chose to walk through that door, there couldn't fail to be a viable route to freedom on the other side.
#36
Old 06-21-2011, 02:24 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 15,368
Quote:
Originally Posted by WotNot View Post
Maybe he was convinced that if Reacher Gilt chose to walk through that door, there couldn't fail to be a viable route to freedom on the other side.
There seems to be little distinctive difference between that and Gilt believing Vetinari would just let him walk away. Either way he thought he actually could just walk, when in fact the choice Vetinari was offering him was mere illusion.

Last edited by Bosstone; 06-21-2011 at 02:24 PM.
#37
Old 06-21-2011, 02:32 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,203
Quote:
Originally Posted by WotNot View Post
I think perhaps you're thinking it through in too rational a way; as I said earlier, Gilt is, in fact, insane.

Aside from how that would affect the two scenarios you've suggested, we have to consider the possibility that he might simply have refused to accept the reality that Vetinari had any power over him at all, or that any choice he himself made could turn out wrong.

As he'd said to Igor earlier, he'd conned people while dressed up with long hair, a beard, an eye-patch and a parrot. He'd said to them, "I'm a pirate, give me your money," and they'd lined up to give it to him, and thought they were being clever. He could do whatever he felt like, and have it succeed.

Maybe he was convinced that if Reacher Gilt chose to walk through that door, there couldn't fail to be a viable route to freedom on the other side.
I think that's oversimplifying it, though. Reacher Gilt clearly didn't think "he could do whatever he felt like, and have it succeed" - otherwise, why even bother with the bearded, eye-patched, parrot-on-the-shoulder getup at all? If he can do whatever he feels like, and succeed, then he should be able to proclaim his piratical nature while wearing a ballroom gown.

No, I think Gilt is very aware that a good con requires that he understand his mark's expectations. That requires a level of forethought and, well, empathy's the wrong word, but an understanding of what another person is thinking - and a willingness to spend the time/energy to figure out what that is. That's how you beat them.

Gilt isn't insane so much as sociopathic. He doesn't believe the rules apply to him, but he does know what the rules are - how else could he devise his schemes to get around them?
#38
Old 06-21-2011, 02:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,736
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caveat lector View Post
If its just a trick why have the door at all? It seems odd. Its not like Vetinari needed to trick people in order to kill them and he doesn't seem like the kind of person that would get a kick out of tricking someone to their death. Now I could seem him tricking someone to their death, but only if it was the best and most necessary way and it doesn't seem like that applies with either Moist or Gilt.
I'm not convinced my interpretation is the right one, or the authors intent, but I do see it a bit differently from that. Vetinari is not above a bit of theatre to make his points, and would hardly feel he could be blamed if Gilt did not consider his options throughly before making his choice. He does not object when Moist opens the door and drops the spoon. I can imagine Gilt walking through the door understanding his decision would have consequences, but not that they would be so immediate and terminal.

A couple posters have talked about Gilt's principles being the reason he chose suicide. My impression was that he didn't have any, they were just a convenience for him. However, it's been a while since I read it, and it's quite possible I missed some clues in the text. Interesting discussion anyway, I'll bear this in mind when I get around to re-reading Going Postal. My discworld books are due another read in the next year or two.
#39
Old 06-21-2011, 02:50 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Southern US
Posts: 609
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alka Seltzer View Post
A couple posters have talked about Gilt's principles being the reason he chose suicide. My impression was that he didn't have any, they were just a convenience for him. However, it's been a while since I read it, and it's quite possible I missed some clues in the text.
I wouldn't call them principles so much, as that seems to carry the connotation of right and wrong, but I'd say that I think Gilt was an arrogant and prideful man and that I could see him preferring not to live at all rather than living defeated and subservient.

Also, I could see him thinking that any offer of Vetinari's was a trick and that he would eventually be done away with anyway and that he'd prefer going out on as much of his own terms as possible.

Last edited by Caveat lector; 06-21-2011 at 02:50 PM.
#40
Old 06-21-2011, 03:19 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 12,193
I'll have to go reread this, but I didn't get the impression he was intentionally choosing death. I got the impression he was too busy thinking about what he wanted to listen to what Vetinari was saying. Thus the lines about how he got lost listening to Vetinari drone on about angels. That's the speech where Vetinari talks about angels giving you second chances, so you have to choose well. Where Vetinari is implying that he is an angel, giving you a second chance, so you'd better choose well. But Reacher wasn't paying close attention, he was too confident in himself, and so chose to leave, confident that freedom was the better choice. And then so wrapped up in himself he didn't notice there was no floor.

I also thought the hallway outside the door was rather dark, not well-lit, so it would be easy not to notice the floor was missing. It took Moist a deliberate, conscious pause to see there wasn't a floor. That's not something where it's obvious, that's something hidden.

And I wouldn't put it past Vetinari to trick people to their deaths rather than just having them executed. Being executed is easy, but being stubborn and blind is a talent, and Vetinari much more appreciated fools being hoist by their own petard rather than just killing them outright. I mean, he's a benevolent tyrant. Much easier to be benevolent when you aren't executing people willy-nilly. They die because of their own poor choices, well, sucks to be them. Should have listened better.

Last edited by Irishman; 06-21-2011 at 03:20 PM. Reason: typo
#41
Old 06-21-2011, 03:33 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,736
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caveat lector View Post
Also, I could see him thinking that any offer of Vetinari's was a trick and that he would eventually be done away with anyway and that he'd prefer going out on as much of his own terms as possible.
Yes, I can see that as a possibility, if Gilt thinks Vetinari isn't really offering him a job. That could be what "doesn't believe in angels" means. However, that isn't really suicide, as in Gilt's mind he is just choosing one death over another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caveat lector View Post
I wouldn't call them principles so much, as that seems to carry the connotation of right and wrong, but I'd say that I think Gilt was an arrogant and prideful man and that I could see him preferring not to live at all rather than living defeated and subservient.
The problem I have with this interpretation is that it requires Gilt to understand he can't get the better of Vetinari, which I think is inconsistent with his character. Moist is a little bit smarter and more self-aware than Gilt, but he still thinks he can escape, until Mr Pump shows up. If Gilt thinks the choice is between death and subservience, why doesn't he play along and try and escape later?
#42
Old 06-21-2011, 03:52 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Northumbria
Posts: 2,627
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanbarkie View Post
I think that's oversimplifying it, though. Reacher Gilt clearly didn't think "he could do whatever he felt like, and have it succeed" - otherwise, why even bother with the bearded, eye-patched, parrot-on-the-shoulder getup at all? If he can do whatever he feels like, and succeed, then he should be able to proclaim his piratical nature while wearing a ballroom gown.
I think you missed my point. Instead of doing what a con-man would usually have to do in order to get his hands on someone else's money (ie appear plausible and trustworthy), Gilt's deliberately gone completely the other way. He's blatantly dressed himself as the most untrustworthy person around – he's said, "Look at me! I'm a pirate! A villain! I'm going to steal your money!" He's rubbed their noses in it — dared them to catch on — and it all still worked just the way he wanted.
#43
Old 06-21-2011, 04:02 PM
Charter Member
Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 72,681
I don't think Gilt was able to tolerate anyone else even appearing to be above him. Moist at the beginning of the book is willing to go through the motions of taking a crap job, so long as it leads to better things for him later. But Gilt always has to be seen to be on the top.
#44
Old 06-21-2011, 04:02 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Northumbria
Posts: 2,627
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
There seems to be little distinctive difference between that and Gilt believing Vetinari would just let him walk away. Either way he thought he actually could just walk, when in fact the choice Vetinari was offering him was mere illusion.
I'm seeing it as the difference between believing Vetinari would let him go and not believing Vetinari could stop him going.
#45
Old 06-22-2011, 06:10 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 2,556
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Moist at the beginning of the book is willing to go through the motions of taking a crap job, so long as it leads to better things for him later.
Better things such as a fast horse and an open road?
(Albeit that doesn't work out and he ends up having to actually do the job).
#46
Old 06-22-2011, 06:43 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 78,508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alka Seltzer View Post
I'm having trouble reconciling the Gilt character with suicide.
Not me. Not if the alternative is civil service. Gilt has his principles, such as they are.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 06-22-2011 at 06:43 PM.
#47
Old 06-22-2011, 08:11 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,362
I'm with the camp that believes Gilt did not intend to die, but, in his arrogance and, perhaps, confusion after losing everything and changing status so completely, did not listen to or understand Vetinari's speech, and walked out the door and fell, unaware. Vetinari's speech to Drumknott was entirely ironic.

Vetinari is entirely capable of tricking a man into walking into his own death. However, the man can avoid death if he can put aside his (truly fatal) flaws.

Also, kudos to the person who said that Moist pays attention to the outer world, to people, and Gilt pays attention to himself. Very true, and explains the core of decency that Moist has, and the cold narcissism of Gilt.
#48
Old 06-23-2011, 01:40 PM
Charter Member
Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 72,681
Quote:
Better things such as a fast horse and an open road?
Yes, exactly. Like I said, he was willing to go through the motions, not to actually do it (that changes over the course of the book, of course). Under Moist's plan, there was the illusion, however short-lived, that his persona would be working loyally under Vetinari. That illusion would itself be intolerable to Gilt.
#49
Old 06-23-2011, 01:44 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 15,368
As I'm rereading and reacquainting myself with Reacher, I'm starting to lean toward the notion that, while Reacher would rather have died than work for Vetinari, he wasn't prepared for it to happen quite that suddenly. I really don't think he noticed the pit; he simply reacted in horror at Vetinari's offer and fled when 'given' the chance.

Last edited by Bosstone; 06-23-2011 at 01:45 PM.
#50
Old 06-27-2011, 12:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 12,193
Right. The line of Vetinari's about Reacher being so dedicated was something of a dry wit. It wasn't dedication to commit suicide, it was dedication to reject the offer and stick by his rejection and blindly march out the door.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:17 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: sweet hard liquor knob gobbling akai 4000db washing ball mad scientist coat ebay hdmi cable upwards arrow cats in bags humana vs medicare floy floy rudest celebrities male tampons sadel ring mead vs ale scp 1351 reddit bald rounders definition nazi blimps stupid looking nude beach cancun glucosamine for cats apple tree bonsai load out stay vcr fast forward pitch hitter dick chafing hawkgirl without helmet franciscan greetings acetylene headlamp cola syrup uses jebus simpsons pre concert music boring factory jobs nigger hoes how to peel a grape stripped screw hole metal should caucasian be capitalized snips and snails and puppy dog tails meaning what is bonus cash when buying a car when to capitalize president of the united states do organs have nerves how to clean a projection tv screen terminal velocity of a rock there a place in france where the ladies dance lyrics burning coal in fireplace what does pato mean how do mexican restaurants make their ground beef so fine my triglycerides are over 600 can the president write a bill frank sinatra type of music my pimp hand is strong square feet in 1 4 acre gunter gleiben glauchen globen underground water shut off valve how to clean a cheese grater how much is a private lap dance mice in heating vents dmv eye chart cheat sheet pain after catheter removed ge refrigerator door seal problems historically accurate movies middle ages can dolphins live in freshwater why doesn't feta cheese melt shore fishing lake superior cooked ground beef in fridge for a week how long can cooked hotdogs be unrefrigerated where to buy shrimp stock