Sally von Humpeding
|Sally von Humpeding|
|Name||Salacia Delorisista Amanita Trigestrata Zeldana Malifee...von Humpeding|
|Occupation||formerly Lance-Constable, now Watch Captain, apparently Ankh-Morpork City Watch|
|Books||Thud!, The Science of Discworld IV: Judgment Day, Raising Steam|
Salacia Delorisista Amanita Trigestrata Zeldana Malifee...von Humpeding (her full name being several pages long, better known as Sally) is a Vampire from Überwald, aged 51 as of her first appearance in Thud!. The first and, to date, only Vampire member of the Watch, she joined over the objections of Sir Samuel Vimes. She is a Black Ribboner, member of the Überwald League of Temperance and a cellist.
Despite her age, she has the appearance of a sixteen-year-old girl. She is described as having her hair cut short so that she looks 'if not like a boy, then like a girl who wouldn't mind being mistaken for one. Joining the Watch as a lance- constable, she is initially teamed with Sgt. Angua. This does not go well. Werewolves hate Vampires, and worse, Angua suspects Sally of 'making eyes' at Carrot. Angua's suspicions are somewhat allayed when Sally tells her that Carrot's heart beats faster whenever he sees her (Angua). Her relationship with Angua is also improved slightly after an unintended joint investigation of the Anhk-Morpork dwarf mine leads to their crawling up through the many tiers of Ankh-Morpork's sub-basements and ending up in the beer cellar of the Pink PussyCat Club.
She is originally from Bonk where she joined its new Watch and was sent by the Low King to track down Hamcrusher. During Vimes's trip to Koom Valley in pursuit of the remaining deep- downers from Hamcrushers party she accompanies him and reports back to the Low King on at least one occasion, giving the latter enough time to have Mr Shine brought in at very short notice. Despite her dual status earning her, in Vimes's book, the role of being a spy in his Watch, he nevertheless allows her to stay, acknowledging her competence as a copper and her use as a direct route to the Low King, making Sally possibly the first Vampire Vimes ever had a good word for.
While many Black Ribboners switch their blood craving to a different focus, what Sally has switched to, if indeed she has, has not been mentioned to date. however given her enthusiasm for joining the Ankh-Morpork Watch and her service in Bonk before that, she may well have an heartfelt desire to be a good copper.
In The Science of Discworld IV: Judgment Day, she has apparently leapt all the way up to Watch Captain without seemingly going through any intermediate rank such as Corporal or Sergeant.
Sally appears near the end of Raising Steam, she meets Commander Vimes and Moist von Lipwig in Bonk along with the Bonk Watch, having been sent ahead to support them in preparation for the arrival of the Low King.
Other people with musical inclinations of a similar name... the original Engelbert Humperdinck was an nineteenth century German composer of organ music, generally solemn masses and religious pieces. Considering that an essential feature of every vampire castle is a mighty organ (and if it's by B.S. Johnson, it's a bonus) then this link surely must be noted here. He is best-known, however, for his 1893 "children's opera" Hänsel und Gretel, which is echoed in Überwald in the death of Black Aliss.
Then there was, and maybe still is, a sub-Tom Jones lounge singer who rose to prominence in the 1960's... at roughly the same time the final incarnation of the Yardbirds chose to take on a noble German name to give it one last shot at fame before packing it in (they chose to become Led Zeppelin, much to the disgust of the von Zeppelin family, who took out injunctions), a then unknown crooner, Alan George Dorsey,  working the Northern club circuit, stumbled over the name Engelbert Humperdinck, liked it, and assumed it for the stage. There must be something about German names: neither Led Zep nor Humperdinck looked back from that moment on... although the immediate aftermath of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest must have been painful for him.
I kick myself for missing a blindingly obvious association. The character's first name is Sally. She is trying to put a suffocating social system that offers little scope for amusement (Vampire society) behind her. She enjoys a drink and a laugh. There is a hint of a cheerful sexual promiscuity, possibly even bisexuality. She is described as boyishly-built with short bobbed black hair, and perhaps wouldn't mind being mistaken for a boy...
Is there more than passing reference here to the character and personality of Berlin club singer and performer Sally Bowles, made immortal by Liza Minelli in the film of Isherwood's Berlin memoir, Cabaret?
The photo is of Liza Minelli playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Or it could well be Sally von Humpeding posing for an iconograph during the Girls' Night Out, complete with the mandatory ludicrous pink boa...