Quotes from Night Watch

Terry Pratchett ·  480 pages

Rating: (82.7K votes)


“No! Please! I'll tell you whatever you want to know!" the man yelled.
"Really?" said Vimes. "What's the orbital velocity of the moon?"
"What?"
"Oh, you'd like something simpler?”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“But here's some advice, boy. Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That's why they're called revolutions.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“I get it,' said the prisoner. 'Good Cop, Bad Cop, eh?'
If you like.' said Vimes. 'But we're a bit short staffed here, so if I give you a cigarette would you mind kicking yourself in the teeth?”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“What did I tell you about Mister Safety Catch?' said Vimes weakly.
When Mister Safety Catch Is Not On, Mister Crossbow Is Not Your Friend,' recited Detritus, saluting.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“I comma square bracket recruit's name square bracket comma do solemnly swear by square bracket recruit's deity of choice square bracket to uphold the Laws and Ordinances of the City of Ankh-Morpork comma serve the public truƒt comma and defend the ƒubjects of his ƒtroke her bracket delete whichever is inappropriate bracket Majeƒty bracket name of reigning monarch bracket without fear comma favour comma or thought of perƒonal ƒafety semi-colon to purƒue evildoers and protect the innocent comma comma laying down my life if neceƒsary in the cauƒe of said duty comma so help me bracket aforeƒaid deity bracket full stop Gods Save the King stroke Queen bracket delete whichever is inappropriate bracket full stop.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch



“An Assassin, a real Assassin, had to look like one - black clothes, hood, boots, and all. If they could wear any clothes, any disguise, then what could anyone do but spend all day in a small room with a loaded crossbow pointed at the door?”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“That was always the dream, wasn't it? 'I wish I'd known then what I know now'? But when you got older you found out that you NOW wasn't YOU then. You then was a twerp. You then was what you had to be to start out on the rocky road of becoming you now, and one of the rocky patches on that road was being a twerp.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“Ninety percent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“There were plotters, there was no doubt about it. Some had been ordinary people who'd had enough. Some were young people with no money who objected to the fact that the world was run by old people who were rich. Some were in it to get girls. And some had been idiots as mad as Swing, with a view of the world just as rigid and unreal, who were on the side of what they called 'the people'. Vimes had spent his life on the streets, and had met decent men and fools and people who'd steal a penny from a blind beggar and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he'd never met The People.

People on the side of The People always ended up disappointed, in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up. What would run through the streets soon enough wouldn't be a revolution or a riot. It'd be people who were frightened and panicking. It was what happened when the machinery of city life faltered, the wheels stopped turning and all the little rules broke down. And when that happened, humans were worse than sheep. Sheep just ran; they didn't try to bite the sheep next to them.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“In the words of the philosopher Sceptum, the founder of my profession: am I going to get paid for this?”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch



“Two types of people laugh at the law: those that break it and those that make it.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“You just put that sword away, sir, please," said the voice of Lance-Constable Vimes.
"You will not shoot me, you young idiot. That would be murder," said the captain calmly.
"Not where I'm aiming, sir.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“His movements could be called cat-like, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“One of the hardest lessons in young Sam's life had been finding out that the people in charge weren't in charge. It had been finding out that governments were not, on the whole, staffed by people who had a grip, and that plans were what people made instead of thinking.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch



“Truth! Freedom! Justice! And a hard-boiled egg!”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“You'd like Freedom, Truth, and Justice, wouldn't you, Comrade Sergeant?' said Reg encouragingly.
'I'd like a hard-boiled egg,' said Vimes, shaking the match out.
There was some nervous laughter, but Reg looked offended.
'In the circumstances, Sergeant, I think we should set our sights a little higher--'
'Well, yes, we could,' said Vimes, coming down the steps. He glanced at the sheets of papers in front of Reg. The man cared. He really did. And he was serious. He really was. 'But...well, Reg, tomorrow the sun will come up again, and I'm pretty sure that whatever happens we won't have found Freedom, and there won't be a whole lot of Justice, and I'm damn sure we won't have found Truth. But it's just possible that I might get a hard-boiled egg.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“But the helmet had gold decoration, and the bespoke armorers had made a new gleaming breastplate with useless gold ornamentation on it. Sam Vimes felt like a class traitor every time he wore it. He hated being thought of as one of those people that wore stupid ornamental armor. It was gilt by association.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“Who knew what evil lurked in the hearts of men? A copper, that's who. (...)You saw how close men lived to the beast. You realized that people like Carcer were not mad. They were incredibily sane. They were simply men without a shield. They'd looked at the world and realized that all the rules didn't have to apply to them, not if they didn't want them to. They weren't fooled by all the little stories. They shook hands with the beast.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“Raising the flag and singing the anthem are, while somewhat suspicious, not in themselves acts of treason.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch



“Hat = wizard, wizard = hat. Everything else is frippery.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“Winder's mind felt even fuzzier than it had done over the past few years, but he was certain about cake. He'd been eating cake, and now there wasn't any. Through the mists he saw it, apparently close but, when he tried to reach it, a long way away.

A certain realization dawned on him.

"Oh," he said.

YES, said Death.

"Not even time to finish my cake?"

NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“Yeah, all right, but everyone knows they torture people," mumbled Sam.
"Do they?" said Vimes. "Then why doesn't anyone do anything about it?"
"'cos they torture people.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“Vimes felt his hand begin to move of its own accord--
And stopped. Red rage froze.
There was The Beast, all around him. And that's all it was. A beast. Useful, but still a beast. You could hold it on a chain, and make it dance, and juggle balls. It didn't think. It was dumb. What you were, what you were, was not The Beast.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“The key to winning, as always, was looking as if you had every right, nay, duty to be where you were. It helped if you could also suggest in every line of your body that no one else had any rights to be doing anything, anywhere, whatsoever.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch



“When Mister Safety Catch Is Not On, Mister Crossbow Is Not Your Friend.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“Taxation is just a sophisticated way of demanding money with menaces.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


“There was no universe, anywhere, where a Sam Vimes would give in on this, because if he did then he wouldn't be Sam Vimes anymore.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Night Watch


About the author

Terry Pratchett
Born place: in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England, The United Kingdom
Born date April 28, 1948
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