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Top Three Things I love about Sam Vimes!

1. His sense of social justice and his loyalty to his working class background: No matter how (grudgingly) high he rises in society, Vimes never forgets where he comes from and how he grew up. His loyalties and sympathies towards people from a lower class or poorer background are often touched upon, and the fact that he now lives amongst the more elite society of Ankh Morpork is something that never fails to make him feel uncomfortable, despite his love for his wife and family. Vimes's working class roots are what make him the copper he is: for example, he refuses to wear new, expensive boots, instead opting for the cheapest ones available so as to be able to 'feel' the streets of the city under his feet for directions. It's these little touches to the character that make him so real and sympathetic, particularly to a British sensibility.  One of Vimes's most famous inner monologues is his 'Boots theory of socioeconomic unfairness':

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”




Vimes also possesses an extremely strong sense of social justice - one that doesn't stem from years of high education but one that is innate to his own true nature. Although he himself would probably never admit it, he is usually the first to step forward and protest when any sort of discrimination goes on around him. He allows Angue to remain working for the Watch even after he finds out she is a werewolf. All sorts of creatures, races and supernaturals are allowed to be part of the force - part of Pratchett's allegory for diversity in the workplace. He stands up for golems and goblins when other people are terrified of them.

2. His love for his wife and family: Vimes's love and fierce protectiveness over Sybil and Young Sam is what juxtaposes his outwardly gruff and harsh exterior so brilliantly. It's always hinted how deeply he cares about Sybil and how much he worries about his son's safety, especially with regards to his job. His mad rush to get home and read to Young Sam before bedtime in Night Watch is one of my favourite Vimes bits ever.

3. His humour: Vimes is probably Pratchett's most hilarious and cuttingly sarcastic character, perhaps followed by Susan Sto Helit and Lord Vetinari. His anger outburts are also hilariously profane and almost Malcolm Tucker like in fury; here are some of my favourites:

“There’s some magical creature called, ‘overtime,’ only no one’s even seen its footprints.”

"Funny how I never feel really alive until someone tries to kill me."

"Nine in the morning? What sort of time is that to get up? I don't normally get up until the afternoon's got the shine worn off!"

"Oh dear. Why did I wait until I was married to become strangely attractive to powerful women? Why didn't it happen to me when I was sixteen? I could have done with it then."

"Dark sarcasm ought to be taught in schools."

"I don't gallivant! I've never gallivanted. I don't know how to vant! I don't even have a galli!"

"And trust no-- Trust practically no-one. All right? Except trustworthy people."

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
toujours_nigel
Oct. 21st, 2013 07:31 am (UTC)
This is brilliant. *g*.

er, though didn't he always know Angua was a werewolf? 's what Colon says near the end of the book.

Colon braced himself. Outside, the bells were dying away.
'Did you know she was a werewolf?'
'Um . . . Captain Vimes kind of hinted, sir . . .'
'How did he hint?'
Colon took a step back.
'He sort of said, "Fred, she's a damn werewolf. I don't like it any more than you do, but Vetinari says we've got to take one of them as well, and a werewolf's better than a vampire or a zombie, and that's all there is to it." That's what he hinted.'


Small quibble, sorry.
spankmypirate
Oct. 21st, 2013 01:04 pm (UTC)
Damn, you're right! I typed this up in such a hurry and I should have checked that out. Oops.
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