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How is Downey "several years older" (regardless of the greengrocer?) --Old Dickens 13:59, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Some years later there's still no support for the idea, so I shall remove it. --Old Dickens 03:41, 13 November 2011 (CET)

What is the difference between a cameo and an appearance?

Seems like they're the same thing to me. Yes, I can understand that in Making Money he only had a few lines, but in Feet of Clay he didn't appear much more often in my memory. Should we just conglomerate 'cameo's with appearances?

The difference is the same as the movies: size and significance of the part. I might say Night Watch was a real appearance, though. --Old Dickens 19:13, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Dubious Entries

Assassins specifically do not go around poisoning people for free, the Master of their guild and spokesman for their profession even less likely. Lord Downey is known to offer Humbugs on occasion, but there is no report of anyone dying from them. (There's no report of anyone actually eating them, either.) Also, is there a reference for the claim that "Downey also attempted to frame Sam Vimes using a planted packet of arsenic"? --Old Dickens 02:54, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

At (or near) the climax of Feet of Clay- Downey barges into Vimes' office with Mr Boggis and Mrs Palm as witnesses, expecting to find Vimes drunk on the bottle of whiskey and in possession of the arsenic, both of which Downey or a confederate had planted in Sam's desk. Sam of course had twigged to it, and makes a fool of Downey.
I agree as to Downey's holiday confectionery- Terry tells us that nobody will eat them, but that's likely out of paranoia Solicitr 12:40, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Downey, Boggis and Palm were sent to find the evidence: I never got the impression that Downey had planted it. What was the motive? The guilds weren't in the king-making ring. --Old Dickens 14:05, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Downey knew exactly where to look, barging into the office in the full expectation that Vimes would be in a drunken stupor, and was fully taken in by Vimes' sugar stunt. (Palm and Boggis were not aware it was a setup, they were along as neutral witnesses). He knew precisely what he would find (or what Vimes allowed him to think he was finding). If Downey himself didn't plant the arsenic and the whiskey, then he still certainly knew about them. Why? We don't know whether he was part of the Dragon KOA plot- we don't know who all the conspirators were. Perhaps Downey had not, in fact, got over his grudge against Vetinari. Terry never explains it, but there's no question that for whatever reason, Downey was participating in a deliberate charade to implicate the Watch Commander. Solicitr 23:57, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

How, then, did he survive the episode? Vetinari would not be charitable about an attack from the Assassins' Guild and less the blowhard Downey whom he knows of old. I still see Downey as a useful idiot. --Old Dickens 01:39, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

I can't explain Downey's motives, since Terry doesn't and, you're right, they don't appear to make any sense. But Downey definitely was knowingly participating in a frame-up.--Solicitr 03:34, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

"both of which Downey or a confederate had planted in Sam's desk" - the text notes that Sam becomes very aware the window to his (upper-floor) office has been left wide open and that this alerts his policeman's senses. Don't forget the gargoyle constables are on Vetinari-watching duty and might only be on the outer wall of the Yard if off-duty or report-writing or pigeon-claiming (think about it). So this avenue of approach to Vimes would be wide-open - especially with an Assassins' Guild contract out.

This is where Sam is prompted by his inner suspicious bastard to ask why somebody should visit at night via the window and indeed who would be capable. What's the motive?

This is where he narrows it down to a bottle of Old Macabre and a bag of arsenic - placed there by the Dragon King (a vampire - capable of flight) with the complicity of Downey, who can then bust a corrupt policeman who has poisoned his boss and has got drunk about it afterwards. With results we all know! --AgProv 08:14, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Apparently Dragon King is a much more experienced vampire than Count Notferutoe, who can't carry anything in bat form, certainly not a full bottle of booze! Yes, you're quite right, apparently it was DKOA who planted the "evidence"- but Downey was certainly in the know. Does this mean that Downey was part of the Kingmaking plot? Not necessarily. DKOA could simply have given him a 'friendly tipoff.' Nonetheless Downey knew it was a setup.
Does he have a grudge against Vimes? Well, there was the Cruces thing and, more generally, Vimes' intrusion upon the Guild in Men at Arms- and Vimes is the Guild's landlord! It also is likely that his Lordship and the aristocratic Assassins share the nobility's general resentment of this jumped-up thief-taker from Cockbill Lane, who always seems to insert himself in Places Where Not Wanted and Things Not His Business. By contrast Vimes seems to have a much better relationship with Rosie Palm, Mr Boggis, and the other heads of the 'working-class' Guilds.Solicitr 14:18, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Just a thought, re: offering poison Humbugs around - would it actually count as assassination? Since it's self-administered and coming from a known (important) assassin surely if anyone accepted it would be considered they're own fault and therefore suicide? It would be similar to the 'Sending up for good' award involving the glass of sherry and almond slice and name being featured in the school magazine - and possibly the obituary section if the almond slice is accepted (as the Discworld's Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 says, the guild likes to 'test, test and test again').

I guess one of the key things suggesting the humbugs are actually poisoned is the recipe in Nanny Ogg's Cookbook.

As for the idea of assassins going around poisoning people for free, well I can't help but think the assassins are applying similar rules to others as they apply to themselves - i.e. They're not actually killing, just creating the opportunity for people to kill themselves (perhaps the Watch needs to consider the difference between 'Suicide' and 'Assisted Suicide' except it would probably be a nightmare to police and generate a lot of paperwork). It might also be some form of entertainment or a test for the assassin involved (to see how many trusting/gullible people take a sweet and how far the assassin can be a confidence trickster).

I wonder if it's an established activity for assassins, dishing out poisoned sweets, which may have led to the advice 'Don't except sweets from strangers'.

--Verity (talk) 22:50, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I thought it was a joke. Assassins don't go around poisoning people for free (probably less so the Master of their guild): it's a rule. The Almond Slice? Possibly student humor in the guild school or something more practical... --Old Dickens (talk) 01:27, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
Hmm. Could be. Hadn't thought of it like that. Could be either way. If it is a joke it's a very consistent one. I guess you can never tell with Ankh-Morpork. As for the aspect of it being a rule... it may be in the rule book (virtual or real), but if Downey means what he says about rules (which, judging from his general sense of humor, is possibly a joke, though the statement itself seems quite likely to be accurate) they're probably more like very important, standard guidelines --Verity (talk) 03:06, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

But what did his mother call him?

I'm sure that somewhere in several million words of Terry Pratchett is at least one reference to Downey's first name being "Donald". But I just can't nail it down. Any ideas? --AgProv 18:18, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

My gut says there's no mention of it in the canon, but please prove me wrong -- 18:37, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Just a thought, completely plucked out of thin air without even a hint from the books: what if his first name was Robert and he had a son who, in that traditional fashion, shared his name? Could become a bit of a roundworld parody like with Jeremy Clockson. I expect any such son would follow his fathers footsteps into the guild as the roundworld equivalent did, possibly from an early age.

--Verity (talk) 09:20, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Mrs Downey?

I've just picked up the reference, in the character-laconic box, which states Downey is married. I've never considered this before and always assumed he was a commited bachelor. After all, there's a scene where he appears in the Guild in his pyjamas and dressing gown in the middle of the night during an emergency, implicitly suggesting he lives in. Could anyone cite the canonical text on this? AgProv (talk) 13:38, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

I never heard of her either. The Companions are no help, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence for a wife. I'm taking it out until someone can provide a reference. --Old Dickens (talk) 16:28, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
While I don't recall a reference, for some reason I've ended up with the perception he would be married - quite possibly from here. As for why he'd be at the guild at night if he was married it could be that as Guild Master and head of the School he'd be needed on-site as much as possible, especially since much of the Guilds business may be conducted after daylight hours and he'd be needed for emergencies like that referred to above. It may also be the Guild offers rooms for members, a bit like the (traditional) Gentlemen's Clubs, which as Wikipedia says:
"The clubs were, in effect, "second homes" in the centre of London where men could relax, mix with their friends, play parlour games, get a meal, and in some clubs stay overnight. ... They were a convenient retreat for men who wished to get away from female relations. Many men spent much of their lives in their club, and it was common for young newly graduated men who had moved to London for the first time to live at their club for two or three years before they could afford to rent a house or flat... In the 19th and 20th centuries, clubs were regarded as a central part of elite men's lives. They provided everything a regular home would have. Clubs were created and designed for a man's domestic needs. They were places to relieve stress and worries. They provided emotional and practical needs. They provided spaces such as dining halls, library, entertainment and game rooms, rooms for sleep, bathrooms and washrooms, and a study. In many ways they resembled a regular home."
"Clubs were created in a time where family was considered one of the most important aspects of a man's life in the 19th century. A man's home was his property and should have been a place to satisfy most of his needs but for elite men this was not always the case; it was not always a place that provided privacy and comfort. An explanation for this might be because the home of elite families often entertained guests for dinners, formal teas, entertainment, and parties. Their lives were on display and often their lives would be reported in local papers. A gentleman's club offered an escape from this family world. Another explanation would be that men as boys were brought up in all male environments in places like schools and sports pastimes and they became uncomfortable when they now had to share their lives with women in a family environment. A gentleman's club offered an escape."
"The clubs were designed for communication and the sharing of information with each other... It was often used as a tool to climb the social ladder... Gossip was also a tool that led to more practical results in the outside world..."
I can see the guilds fulfilling this sort of role, taking the place of such clubs which were often related to ones occupation, lifestyle or political/philosophical views (like the Holmesian Diogenese Club or Jeeves' Junior Ganymede Club ). The Assassins Guild location and building in particular looks just the sort to house such a club, and the fact that even after graduation Assassins would need to maintain contact with the Guild for licensing and probably contracts means they'd spend a lot of time there. The building contains possibly the second-best library in the city and as a school is already set up to provide food and accommodation. It would also be a key point where people of certain levels of wealth and class would naturally mix, and it would be easier to maintain contact with the "Old Boys" through the guild/"club". It would also be useful in sharing information which might be related to contracts, social climbing and influencing politics (in the past, at least) - I am put in mind of the Book kept by the Ganymede Club in which secrets about the valet's employers are kept as secrets within the club for either leverage in difficult situations or as an entertaining read on long dull nights.
As for why Downey might stay there if it were fulfilling the role of a club? It might be an old habit - he studied there, grew up there, works there, why not sleep there as well? It'd save the commuting. It could be he prefers the environment. Or it could be an escape from home life and the very wife we're questioning the existence of.
--Verity (talk) 13:06, 20 March 2016 (UTC)