Carcer

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File:Carcer.jpg
Carcer, as drawn by Matt Smith
Name Carcer Dun
Race Human
Age youngish
Occupation Thief, Murderer
Physical appearance
Residence Ankh-Morpork
Death Presumably hanged on the 26th May 1989 UC (after the end of Night Watch)
Parents
Relatives
Children
Marital Status
Appearances
Books Night Watch
Cameos

Biography

An out-and-out down-and-dirty bastard, a thief and a murderer, Carcer Dun found himself catapulted back in time because of an unusual combination of the weather, ambient magic, and his own inability to be civil and allow himself to be arrested. Upon arriving in the past, his first act was to mug a passing watchman, John Keel, who had just arrived. However, he was soon arrested for being out after curfew, and woke up in Treacle Mine Road Watch House in the next cell to Sam Vimes who pursued him at the moment of time travel. He had bribed the right people and was set free, and soon he found his way into the Cable Street Particulars, an evil secret police that supported the then Patrician Lord Winder. He started at the rank of Sergeant.

In the hours that followed, Carcer met up again with Vimes on Morphic Street, leading to a tense showdown between the Night Watch and the Particulars which ended without a resolution.

The next time the two met, though, it was after the short lived revolution on Treacle Mine Road. Carcer had been promoted to captain of the Palace Guard under Lord Snapcase. In the ensuing battle, Vimes got to Carcer, but as they were travelling back to the present, he made his escape thanks to quantum.

Carcer wasted no time in finding Vimes, and after a brawl in Small Gods' Cemetery that didn't go his way, he was dragged away to justice by Vimes.

Carcer is depicted on the book front cover, standing to the left behind Sweeper and holding two bloodstained knives.

Personality

Carcer represents a clinical picture of the psychopath - he makes no distinction between right and wrong, and therefore no conscience or pangs of guilt. His actions are always motivated only by egotistic considerations of personal gain at any given moment. The slightest thing, such as abbreviating his rank to "Sarge" would set him off. He had demons on both shoulders, always egging each other on, constantly in competition. He smiled constantly in a way that suggested he had done nothing wrong, well, not very wrong, just a bit naughty. Staring deep into his eyes, you could see the demons staring back. But that would mean that you had taken your eyes off of his hands, and by then, one of them would be holding a knife--of which Carcer always had a spare.

Annotation

Carcer is a Spanish word for prison, and comes from the same Latin root as the English incarcerate. In ancient Rome, the Carcer (incidentally, pronounced 'Carker') was the "death-row" cell near the Forum in which condemned enemies of the state and captured foreign leaders were held, briefly, and then executed (either by strangulation or neck-breaking). Thus perhaps Pratchett's Carcer is like an executioner, one who kills without conscience or remorse.

The villain of the R.D. Blackmore novel Lorna Doone is the nasty piece of work Carver Doone, which resonates neatly with Carcer Dun, although their personalities differed.

In Charles Dickens' melodrama Dombey and Son, the villain of the piece, a typical Victorian evildoer with no conscience and an "ah-HA, me proud beauty!" attitude to the wrongèd and suffering heroine, is called Carker... admittedly spelled with a "k", whereas the general assumption has been that the name "Carcer" is pronounced with a soft "c". But we've only ever seen it in print and perhaps we've assumed? Carker is certainly an emotionless, deceiving, murderous, scheming, all-round psychopath, who would certainly fit in with the general Victorian-ness of Vimes' Ankh-Morpork...

Also, his constant laughter and carefree attitude may be a nod towards Alex DeLarge, the main character of A Clockwork Orange. For most of the film - and indeed the book - Alex behaves as though he is merely a young prankster, only showing a facade of regret and shame when he believes he will profit from it. He also directs violence upon his own gang for little things, and commits crime not for money. Carcer, similarity does not reserve his violence for only large profitable (gruesome, but understandable) crime.