azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 08:34am on 01/11/2008 under ,
Inspired by [ profile] truepenny's reviews of the show, I watched the pilot episode on youtube last night. I liked it enough to think I'll probably watch more, if youtube cooperates, but what I mostly thought was that Benton Fraser is Carrot Ironfoundersson. Not that I object to that, because the character is nicely translated to the new situation, but I couldn't help checking off the points of comparison.

1. Both are innocents coming to a violent and corrupt Big City, where they treat everyone as if they were as honest as the small community they come from (this is the big trope that drives both stories, of course). Fraser doesn't actually go and board at Mrs Palm's, but he does give money to people with dodgy stories about sick children and, as with Carrot, his ridiculously naive faith in human nature results in people living up to his expectations.

2. Neither was raised by their parents. Carrot grew up in a dwarf mine and Fraser with his grandparents, in a community so tiny and rural it appears to have consisted of two log cabins.

3. Carrot is, culturally at least, a dwarf, and adheres to dwarf customs and values that are alien to Ankh-Morpork. Fraser is Canadian and adheres to the alien Canadian cultural practices of politeness and understatement, and to the alien Mountie custom of wearing a silly uniform.

4. Carrot's extreme devotion to dwarfish values embarrasses other dwarves. Fraser's extreme devotion to Mountie values embarrasses other Mounties (as we see in the opening scene, when no-one in the office wants to tell the boss what he's up to this time).

5. Carrot has a faithful wolf companion. Fraser has a faithful half-wolf companion.

6. Carrot causes the City Watch difficulties by sticking too strictly to the spirit of the law and arresting people when he shouldn't. Fraser ditto.

7. Carrot believes that "personal isn't the same as important." Duty comes first. Fraser, standing guard, doesn't move or speak, even when Vecchio brings him information of crucial personal importance. Duty comes first.

8. Carrot is the direct descendant of the last King of Ankh-Morpork and the last of his line. Fraser is explicitly said to be "the last of his breed" of Mounties.

9. Carrot's ability to warp reality, by expecting other people to share his high moral standards, is gradually revealed to be a subtle form of manipulation. Similarly, as [ profile] truepenny points out, Fraser's occupation of the moral high ground compels people to help him against their own best interests. Even in the pilot, there are hints, in the way he's played, that he's not as innocent as he appears, that he knows damn well that people aren't actually as good as he expects, but that he can manipulate them into being so by wrong-footing them.

10. Carrot is taught the ways of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch by the cynical but vastly experienced Captain Vimes, who knows the city from the ground up, and recovers through Carrot some of the idealism he has lost. Fraser is shown the ways of the Chicago police force by the cynical but experienced Ray Vecchio, who knows the city from the ground up, and recovers through Fraser some of the idealism he has lost.

All in all, a pretty promising start, given how much I love the Watch books. I suppose there's no hope of a Lord Vetinari avatar showing up at some point? Then my cup would truly run over.


6 7