Talk:Lord Vetinari

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Aren't there 41 Discworld novels? (talk) 15:21, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

The vampire Lady Margolotta[edit]

It was my understanding that she taught *him* much of what he knows. She appears as his tutor in Night Watch.

Also - should Leonard deQuirm get a mention here? Lostsocks 23:33, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Um, no, it's his aunt Lady Roberta Meserole who's in Night Watch, not Margolotta. Also, in Fifth Elephant, Margolotta laughs out loud at Vimes' suggestion that she taught him. As for Leonard ... well, no reason why he shouldn't get some mention here, perhaps linking to his own article ... --Yar Kramer 17:05, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Yar Kramer is correct. Just reverted an edit by an anon IP which had incorrectly changed it. Maybe we should include a reference? GrimRevenant 06:21, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Vetinari's dislike for mimes linked with Folls' Guild spying?[edit]

removed from #Appearance, habits and miscellaneous:

It has been suggested that this is due to the mimes being part of a vast spy network organised by the Fool's Guild.

Where was this suggested? I don't remember anything like this in any of the books. —No-One Jones (m) 02:23, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Searching both the web and USENET archives, I've seen lots of speculation, but nothing like the removed sentence. So far as I can tell, nothing in either the books, nor in any of Terry's interviews, explain this quirk of the Partician. -- Khym Chanur 04:21, Nov 30, 2004 (UTC)
From The Art of Discworld, under "The House of Mirth":

"...Many trained clowns go on to be Fools in the houses of the mighty, thus giving the Guild Council a spy at every court. No wonder the Guild is rich. But it didn't get there by laughing. Lord Vetinari, an easy-going man by the standards of tyranny, has mime artists hunted down and locked up. There's a man who knows something."

Also from The New Discworld Companion, under "Fools' Guild", an excerpt originally from the Guild's Diary:

"We must make it CLEAR that the Guild's vast wealth accrues from PROWESS WITH THE CUSTARD PIE, CAREFUL CONTROL OVER EXPENDITURE and other Foolish activities. Dr Whiteface is no more than a hard-working administrator, and certainly NOT the cruel and devious international manipulator that UNSUBSTANTIATED RUMOUR makes him to be. Anyone suggesting otherwise can expect a visit from the Jolly Good Pals (The Bloody Fools) in VERY SHORT ORDER."

While these seem to comfirm the truth of the removed sentence, they don't explain why Vetinari is against mime artists only and not Fools in general. I am not sure whether the removed sentence should be restored, but the above quotes seem to be in its favour. Sinistro 21:56, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Having read some stuff about Scientology recently, this extract strikes me as a pretty good parody of some of the more bizarre leaked memos that L. Ron Hubbard sent to his cronies (the "Sea Org"). -- 23:36, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Vetinari has little to fear from spies. In fact, he'd be the kind to love having spies in his home, so he can lead them to deliver whatever information he likes. The Fools' Guild sure has a wide spy network, as several other quotes imply, but that excerpt from Art of Discworld is to my knowledge the only instance where this is linked with Vetinari's dislike for mimes. That dislike has been referred to as a quirk several times ("an excusable peccadillo or possibly an amusing character trait."), so I think the mime's being part of a large spy network is true, but has little impact on Vetinari's behavior here. Jules LT 20:26, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Does Vetinari need a reason to dislike mime artists? Watch "Mr Bean" and you will find yourself sympathising. Scorpion pits; too good for them!-- (talk) 07:36, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Vetinari's popularity[edit]

"While he is quite as unpopular as his predecessors..." Is this really true? many of his predecessors suffered from insanity and one caused a revolution to break out. Vetinari on the other hand seems to have a mixture of respect and fear from his citizens. Sam 20:21, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

My interpretation of the books, especially The Truth, would be that Vetinari is highly unpopular (see the opinions of Lord Eorle, etc., in Men at Arms), but his rule survives because of its stabilising effect, and because of the lack of consensus on what should replace him. Put simply, all the powerful players in the city (the Guilds, aristocracy, etc) hate him, but they hate and mistrust each other even more. Another way of looking at it would be Vimes' view in Men at Arms: He doesn't sit on a throne or tell you it's right that he should rule...I hate the b*stard. But he's honest. Fundamentally, Vimes alternately fears and despises Vetinari, but simultaneously prefers his rule to that of men like Lord Rust, who are anathema to everything Vimes believes in. I suppose what I am trying to say is that Vetinari is unpopular, but his gift comes in not being quite as unpopular as most of his potential competitors. A Machiavellian instinct for power also helps (compared to the mindless sadism of Lord Winder and Lord Snapcase, as depicted vividly in Night Watch). Walton monarchist89 11:34, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Changes and additions- Please comment[edit]

I was thinking of some changes and wanted to check with the community.

I thought it would be a good addtion to change the following:

Strangely enough, Vetinari has no lust for power. The sole reason for his ruling the city is that he is fiercely loyal to it. He also has no exploitable vices, barring his intense dislike of mime to the extent of outlawing all practice of it within the city walls, as well as, in some of the earliest novels, a strange fondness for candied jellyfish.


Vetinari has no apparent exploitable vices, barring a a strange fondness for candied jellyfish present in some of the earliest novels. He has no lust for power. The sole reason for his ruling the city is that he is fiercely loyal to it. This is, to some extent, evidenced through his actions in Night Watch.
He has an intense dislike of mime to the extent of outlawing all practice of it within the city walls. Those caught practicing mime are encouraged to change carriers through an opportunity to study a sign stating LEARN THE WORDS, which is hung upside down in a scorpion pit.

I also thought that it would be good to add something about how Anhk-Morpork is "One Man. One Vote." Vetinari being the man and having the vote, but I don't know where this should go.Slavlin 06:56, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

There should be some mention of often used lines like 'Do not let me detain you' and other Double entendre. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:01, 18 May 2010 (UTC)


Perhaps some mention should be made of Ventinari's career as an assassin? He assassinated Lord Winder (well, he was present as an assassin and Winder died...) studied languages in lieu of weapons and fighting, and apparently got very high scores. I also recall a line in some book about it being rumored that he never killed anyone, but I can't find it ATM.

He kills people in Night Watch - most significantly an Unmentionable sniper who was planning on shooting Vimes during the night of the riot at the Dolly Sisters Watch House. --Junior612 00:30, 15 November 2006 (UTC)


Does anyone know if we could perhaps get a scan of one of Paul Kidby's pics of Vetinari? I am not up on "Fair Use" but as Terry seems to approve of the pictures, surely they are accurate enough. Wookmuff who is too lazy to log in

Hear Hear, i totally agree with this guy! WookMuff 00:26, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Jokes from the books?[edit]

I've noticed that a few jokes from the Discworld books have made their way into this article. I don't think any of them are really necessary, and they probably detract slightly from the books themselves. Let me cite one example: "Vetinari banned all mime performances from Ankh-Morpork shortly after taking power. Mimes who violate the ban generally find themselves trying to climb invisible ladders out of Vetinari's scorpion pit whilst reading a sign saying 'learn the words.'" -Larabar 01:07, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

I see your point ... I felt a similar sensation reading direct-quotes in the Discworld Companion. —Yar Kramer 01:16, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. I think that this is an important character trait in Vetinari, similar to previous Patricians' paranoia and being barking mad.WookMuff 01:32, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Ah — I mistook his earlier comment, and I was referring to direct quotes (i.e. "[the Auditors] weren't life forms. They were ... non-life forms" from the Companion). Could you give us other examples, Larabar? —Yar Kramer 03:14, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not referring to direct-quotes. Apologies for the confusion. It's merely that the last bit of my aforementioned quote is pretty obviously taken from the book. Perhaps not a direct-quote, but content from the quote that made it amusing in its original context. This is what I feel detracts from the books themselves. While the fact that Vetinari hates mimes and sentences them to death is an important trait in his character, referring to the sign and the invisible ladders is unnecessary to make the point. -Larabar 03:50, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Again, I disagree. I think it shows the mindset of Vetinari. For someone able to think in knots, he can also be incredibly straight forward. WookMuff 04:13, 12 August 2006 (UTC)


The article states that Vetinari is currently in his fifties, yet in Night Watch, which takes place 30 years before the other novels, he is picked on by the Assassin's Guild prefects, which would suggest that he is younger than they (18), or at most the same age. He would, then, be no more than 48 years old in the "present" Discworld. Varlet16 06:49, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, Pratchett has been known to rewrite continuity, but I suppose the most recent books should be considered the most canon (I'm having flashbacks to debating Star Wars). Unless someone can point something out in Thud or one of the Tiffany Aching books, it should probably be changed to simply his "forties." -- Raveled 12:25, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
It is always a bit difficult to state a "current" age in ongoing fiction. He has to be, and was mentioned to be, in his fifties during most of the latter novels. The Glorious Revolution of the 25th of May is never *exactly* pin-pointed, but Colon mentions that it was "more than thirty years ago" during Thud. That could mean anything between 30 and 35 years. Vimes and Lu-Tze discuss (during Night Watch) that Vimes had only recently become a watchman when it occured (only a week before, in fact), which would suggest an age between 16 and 18 at the time. The prefects are mentioned to be adults, although that could mean anything between 18 and 21 and while Vetinari is likely slightly younger, with some margin, that seems to fit. In the end, though, this is fiction and there are many mistakes, miscalculations, etc. with Vetinari being, if at all, a rather mild case. The succession of archchancellors is much more troublesome. Jwiechers (talk) 16:16, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

"benevolent dictator?"[edit]

I'm uncomfortable with this term. I don't believe there is such a thing. It seems to me that "benevolent" isn't really a good term for Vetinari anyway; "rational" might be closer to the mark. He treats lust for power in the same way that Victor Tugelbend treats laziness or that Epicurus treated pleasure: control it in the present to satisfy it over the long term. Serendipodous 12:53, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

I disagree wholeheartedly. He is a patriot, to a certain degree, and displays no lust for power at all. Why do you disagree with the concept of a benevolent dictator? If gross human nature cannot be overcome in fiction, where CAN it be overcome? WookMuff 13:05, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

well hes a better one than the previous ones have been, so in contrast he would be a benevolent dictator, though he is more of the rational type, but its more of a deception, and that is what hes best at. Kael-Thas

Is it just me or why do I always - when reading about Vetinaris skill in politics - see V. Putin befor my inner eye. (If this is an inappropriate place to post this question, sorry). mewhoistoolazytocreateanaccountforonly1commentadecade 19 Feb. 2007

He's very like Frederick the Great, who founded Prussia as a modern nation, and perhaps therefore also modern Germany, and behaved in a very similar way.-- (talk) 07:42, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

The Early Years[edit]

(suggested as the result of his use of camouflage rather than the Assassin's highly traditional and innefective black clothing)

Dosent it state that he follows all the rules? Including wearing black and the resson nobody sees him is the old it's imposibul so it dosen't register... or indeed that it's mearly that the petricion is suronuded by "wite dots" and therefor is mearly a case of; "What me guvener. Naa I ain't seen nuhing"

Night Watch specifically includes a scene or two with Vetinari changing out of a more useful dark grey outfit into Guild mandated black clothing. It's made clear in the novel that Vetinari breaks the rules when he feels that doing so will save his life. But he's very careful not to get caught. --Junior612 00:32, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
The second bit you're talking about -- you mean the assassination of Winder? Ventinari specifically dressed as the stereotypical assassin for maximum effect. His aunt had already arranged matters so no one would actually react to his presence except the guards, and he disabled them early. -- Raveled 03:17, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I've seen various references to Vetinari having been raised by his aunt, but I don't know where that comes from in the books. They certainly know each other well in Night Watch, and she treats him in a stereotypically mom-type way in wiping his face, and she mentions that his father is dead, but I haven't found a reference to her having raised him. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:18, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

First appearance[edit]

In the infobox, Vetinari's first appearance is presently given as The Colour of Magic. I haven't read it for years, but I do remember noticing when I did that the (unnamed) Patrician is described as fat during his meeting with Rincewind. As Vetinari has seemingly never been fat, doesn't this mean that the Patrician at the time of TCoM is one of Vetinari's predecessors? 16:14, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, in the original novel it clearly wasn't Vetinari as he was fat and gorged himself on jellied starfish during a meeting - but it's since been ret-conned by explicitly featuring Vetinari in the graphic novel and the telemovie. Personally, I'd say Mort should be his first appearance. (talk) 07:59, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I would like to point out that T.P. himself clearly stated that the Patrician in "The Colour of Magic" was indeed Havelock Vetinari, but written by a more stupid writer... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:57, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

From my POV, all recently previous patricians apparently being gluttonous and (so far as we can tell) heavily sponsored by those that think they can control them, I would go so far as to conjecture that Vetinari attained his position by looking like the archetypal Patrician so that the necessary self-interested sponsorship came his way. Whether via a fat-suit and/or actual pysical bulking up (either way, possibly engineered on/shortly after The Grand Sneer), Vetinari may indeed have looked as he is originally portrayed, before gradually shedding the pounds (real or faked) once the ruse was no longer necessary. But of course there's no explicit canon support for this, beyond his capability to be so devious and self-controlling, so nothing about this is likely sayable on the main page proper. -- (talk) 05:19, 4 February 2013 (UTC)


I was under the impression that the Assassin's Guild were very much in favor of camoflauge; it's just that (compared to the more clever, such as Vetinari) they aren't very good at it. Lots42 03:12, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

I think it's more that the conduct of members of the Assassin's Guild has become so formalised over the years that following rule and tradition is actually considered more important than success. Assassins wear black because they've always worn black, and because people expect them to wear black. They could achieve greater success by behaving like ninjas, but it wouldn't be gentlemanly.Denorios 14:06, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Post Office[edit]

Didn't Vetinari indicate that it was a very good thing the post-office address deciphers had the job they did? That figuring out the citizen's gibberish kept the employees out of trouble? Lots42 (talk) 19:57, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

I guess it's more likely that he meant that it keeps them from rivaling him. Btw, I think you should take a look at WP:DISCWORLD: It's not active but maybe you want to help re-activating it. :-) SoWhy 20:33, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

The watch origins[edit]

I have noticed a mistake in which it is said the watch was two people led by a Drunk when Vetinari ascended. What about Herbert "Leggy" Gaskin who died approx 2 days before the start of Guards Guards?

Mike B 1:43 pm AEDT

This is simply incorrect. It says that the watch is a bunch of incompetents, run by a drunk and that it has taken Vetinari years to achieve this state. Jwiechers (talk) 16:05, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Correct forms of address[edit]

I am not certain that "Lord Havelock Vetinari" is a form of address that would be considered correct, or that ever appears in the books. He presumably has been granted a title which confers the address "Lord" (perhaps inherited from the uncle whose widow is Lady Roberta Meserole?), or perhaps the "Lord" is an honorific associated with the patricianship. Either way, it would attach to the surname. He is "Havelock", "Havelock Vetinari", "Lord Vetinari", and "Patrician of Ankh-Morpork", so I have listed these forms of address at the start of the article. Cf Alfred, Lord Tennyson. mooncow 23:59, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

A few changes[edit]

I changed a few things to better reflect what is actually in the books.

It is not noted anywhere that Margalotta is "surprised", Vimes simply mentions that he never thought about the Patrician's age and that he presumes Vetinari to be about his own age.

The sentence considering the fate of Reacher Gilt was changed to better reflect that Gilt choose death because he did not believe in angels, as Vetinari put it. I have also added a reference to Leonard of Quirm (who wasn't a criminal but has also been "taken in" by Vetinari) and Owlswick Jenkins the forger.

Drumknott is also never mentioned to be directly connected to the Dark Clerks. He is Vetinari's personal secretary who, according to Snuff, has an important role in the organization of intelligence collection but would decidedly not wish to contemplate all the avenues through which Vetinari gathers it. Vetinari does have a staff of expert aides who were trained at the Assasin's Guild, as evidenced by Indigo Skimmer. Several asides with Drumknott during Snuff suggest that Arachne the former librarian of Lady Margalotta who has an understanding with Drumknott and is currently employed at the Ankh Morpork Embassy in FourEcks also suggest that she has become one, but I left that out because I felt it would go into too much detail. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jwiechers (talkcontribs) 16:03, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

With regard to his Klatchian...[edit]

Quote: 'It is also mentioned that he studied languages; in Jingo he translates Klatchian for Sergeant Colon, although he flatly denies being able to speak it.'

When I read the section relating to this quote in Jingo, I took it to mean that he hadn't spoken a word of Klatchian, rather than that he was unable to speak Klatchian. I can't help but think this especially since, when Sergeant Colon queries this, Vetinari replies that he 'did not' rather than could not speak Klatchian. It also may seem a bit surprising if, despite his education and occupation, he were only able to understand and unable to speak such a language. Just my thoughts. Gallifreyan Witch (talk) 15:13, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Requested move 29 September 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. Jenks24 (talk) 08:16, 19 October 2015 (UTC)

Havelock VetinariLord VetinariWP:COMMONNAME. Vetinari's given name is not commonly used. "Lord Vetinari" is noticeably more common in search results than "Havelock Vetinari". If he were a real person, the current name would be better, but WP:NCP explicitly does not apply to fictional characters. --BDD (talk) 14:55, 29 September 2015 (UTC) --Relisted. George Ho (talk) 07:21, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Weak support per nom. "Havelock" comes up fairly rarely to my recollection. SnowFire (talk) 01:35, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.