Detritus

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Detritus
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Name Detritus
Race Troll
Age
Occupation Watchman
Physical appearance
Residence Ankh-Morpork
Death
Parents
Relatives "Granny", nephew
Children Brick (adopted)
Marital Status Married to Ruby
Appearances
Books Guards! Guards!
Moving Pictures
Men at Arms
Feet of Clay
Jingo
The Fifth Elephant
Thud!
Cameos Soul Music
Maskerade
Night Watch
The Truth
Making Money
Snuff
Discworld Noir

Detritus was the first troll member of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, hired under Lord Vetinari's "special hiring procedures," at the same time as Cuddy (a dwarf) and Angua (a werewolf). Before getting this job, Detritus had been a splatter (like a bouncer, but with more force) and hired muscle for various establishments in Ankh-Morpork. However, he came unstuck one night when instructed to splat six-foot Dwarf Carrot Ironfoundersson, who, no doubt, had been brought up by Dwarfs to have an appropriately robust and non-nonsense attitude to any troll who tried it on. The fact Carrot laid him cold must have helped simplify things later in their Watch relationship, as regarding rank and seniority.

Detritus also had a brief career in Holy Wood, where he met and fell in love with the troll Ruby (see Moving Pictures). In fact, the initial reason why Detritus joined the Watch was to get a respectable job in order to appease Ruby. In Thud! we are told that their marriage is happy, but childless, which may be partial motivation for Detritus taking the drug-addled young troll Brick under his wing.

City trolls are generally not very smart because of the high temperature, and Detritus is dumb enough that even city trolls consider him stupid (for an example see the incident with Greebo in Maskerade). Regardless, Detritus is another natural sergeant in a way very different from Fred Colon; Detritus has a big voice and can shout until the suspect confesses without knowing what it is that he is supposed to confess to. Detritus is also the main drill sergeant training new recruits, as the Ankh-Morpork City Watch grows. In the events of Thud!, Detritus is described as being as over-protective as a mother hen.

One of the reasons behind Detritus's emerging cleverness is the special helmet he is wearing which has a fan that cools his head. (Since trolls' brains are made from impure silicon, they work better when cooled.) The helmet has been constructed by his friend and first partner on the job, acting-constable Cuddy, (deceased). In colder climates, (such as Bonk winters or the chill desert nights of Klatch), Detritus displays intelligent wit and humour, and if left exposed to the icy coldness of the Pork Futures Warehouse long enough, reaches extraordinary levels of intelligence; however this is also a near-fatal temperature for even trolls.

Detritus's weapon of choice is a crossbow called the Piecemaker which he modified himself. It was originally a 2000-lb-draw siege crossbow firing a large iron rod. It is now a crossbow that fires a large bundle of ordinary wooden arrows at a significant fraction of local light speed. Generally anything it is fired at is disintegrated, along with anything else behind it, and finds good use in opening up an entrance to a building, as well as an exit, with the same shot. Detritus is not very good at aiming with that weapon, but given its destructiveness it does not really matter. In any case, even when he aims, the arrows are capable of shooting outwards in all directions around him. The people around him get a bit nervous, because Detritus has never managed to understand the concept of the safety catch.

In Thud we get an explicit measure of how far Detritus has grown when Commander Vimes calls him "one of [his] best officers."

One Successful Troll

Detritus may very well be the single most successful character in the entire Discworld canon, moving from a semi-sentient, brutalized bouncer chained to a wall to a highly-regarded (at least by Vimes) senior sergeant in the Watch who makes very important and significant contributions to plot development in many of the major events in Ankh-Morpork. Detritus is also instrumental, (albeit not entirely responsible,) in helping heal the enormous rift between dwarfs and trolls by accepting all City Watch dwarfs as non-dwarf but Watchmen, by shaking the hand of Rhys Rhysson the Low King of the Dwarfs (see The Fifth Elephant) and being present during the events of Thud!, where the parley between the Low King and Mr. Shine the Diamond King of the trolls is brokered. Detritus's career in the Diplomatic Service has also seen him take the role of a Cultural Attaché.

(His position could be shared with Vimes, who went from Cockbill Street, quite possibly the poorest street in Ankh-Morpork, to being a knight, a duke, commander of the watch, not to mention the wealthiest man in the city. However, this could largely be because Vetinari enjoys winding him up.)

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