Feet of Clay - Terry Pratchett

Carrying on from Men at Arms, I feel this is a slightly more successful book. Once again, the Watch continues to expand, and many similar themes come up. The main plot is about The Golems, but there's the subplot of Vetinari's poisoning and positioning to install a monarch. The themes are around the golems, a bit more about monarchy, and another aspect of diversity.

The monarchy angle still feels overplayed to me. I can't decide if Vimes's role as anti-monarchist is inherited is amusing or overdone. The associated poisoning of Vetinari is enjoyably full of red herrings. The diversity sub-plot moves from including other races (trolls and dwarfs) to a dwarf that wants to be visibly female. There's so much of the Discworld that's a commentary on spherical-world happenings that I guess this is LGBTQ-equivalent, but I dunno.

The golem plot is perhaps the most interesting one to map to Earth politics. It's interesting to take a character from Jewish folklore - what are the Discworld equivalent of Jews? Stereotyping them onto a specific fantasy race seems like a really, really bad idea, and Pratchett doesn't do that. Golems are not created by a specific race. Phew. But what do these enslaved machines without free will actually represent? Maybe AI or something like that? By the time the story's done, they've been mapped onto the socialist working class, which I wasn't really expecting. Somewhat more oblique than I was expecting.

I last read Feet of Clay many, many years ago, and it didn't make much impression on me at the time. I'm surprised that, on re-reading it, I'd enjoyed it more than Men at Arms. To be followed by Jingo.

Posted 2021-05-07.