Carrot Ironfoundersson is a fictional character in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. He is a Lance Constable in, and later becomes captain of, the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. The Discworld Companion gives this description of the character:
Carrot Ironfoundersson is Captain of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch police force. Bulging with muscles, this two metre (six-foot-six-inch) dwarf (adopted) remains honest, good-natured, and honourable despite the city's best efforts.
His dwarfish name is Kzad-bhat, which, roughly translated, means "Head Banger". This is because he used to work in his adopted father's mine before his career in the City Watch, and as the dwarfs thought five foot a good roofheight in the mines he often banged his head.
Fictional character history[edit | edit source]
Adopted by dwarfs after the deaths of his human parents, Carrot grew up in the mines, gaining his given name because of the stature he developed from all the hard work there—"six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders". He was quite surprised the day he found out that he indeed was human. His adopted father thought that he ought to go off to live with humans, and found him a job with the Ankh-Morpork Night Watch under the misapprehension that they were respected and respectable (he didn't ask their captain, Sam Vimes).
Carrot joined the Night Watch while it was still only a small group of miscreants running from evildoers rather than trying to subdue them (see Guards! Guards!). He initially had some difficulty with this attitude, as his "old-fashioned" view of justice led him to arrest the leader of the entirely legal Thieves' Guild on his first day. He since seems to have learned to understand the city a bit better. The city learned about him as quickly when he single-handedly survived a fight against every miscreant in the Mended Drum tavern—including the then-splatter (like a Bouncer but harder) Detritus the troll.
Captain Carrot has made quite a name for himself, rapidly and seemingly effortlessly coming to know everything and everyone in the city by name and tax papers. (There is an anomalous case of Cockbill Street - in Feet of Clay, when Sam Vimes, reaching his breaking point in his inability to solve the poisoning of the Patrician (Havelock Vetinari), mentioned that Mildred Easy's grandmother and baby brother had died from an apparent poisoning, Carrot appeared to not know who they were. This is either an authorial slip or a subtle way of pointing out just how inoffensive and low-profile they were.) He is big on paperwork and organization and always (often to the dismay of his "lady-friend", Corporal (later Sergeant) Angua von Überwald) takes time to see all sides of a story before getting involved wholeheartedly. In Snuff, he very efficiently handles the paperwork and ably fills in for Vimes while Vimes is away on vacation.
Carrot is often thought of as simple and non-threatening, which is a very dangerous conclusion to come to if you are the unlucky person who disappoints this boy's honest nature. People think of Carrot as being simple, which he is, however, their mistake is in confusing "simple" with "stupid". Truly, Carrot's simplicity is his cunning. One example of this is seen in Soul Music, in which it is noted that Carrot has added some supplementary questions to the quiz machine in the Mended Drum, asking players who was responsible for certain recent crimes and frequently making arrests as a result. He is not quick to jump to conclusions and doesn't like to disappoint those that he cares for.
Carrot is often quick to see the bright side of things. When Angua, a werewolf, tells him that her brother Andrei, stuck permanently in wolf form, is a champion sheepdog, Carrot notes that at least he's a champion. Carrot has also promised Angua that, should she ever follow in her brother Wolfgang's murderous footsteps, he will be the one to stop her.
He owns a sword, one of the proofs of his kingship. It looks like an ordinary, even slightly rusty, weapon, but it is incredibly sharp and durable (exactly how it retains its incredible edge has never been explained, especially as after examination by a witch, possibly Magrat Garlick, the weapon was declared to be quite the most non-magical sword she had ever seen). This is because, as Sergant Colon reasons in Guards! Guards!, one usually became king back then by killing one's enemies, and therefore wanted a sword that was neither shiny nor flashy but instead "bloody efficient at cutting things." It has, on separate occasions, sliced clean through another sword's blade and been thrust clean through a person and the pillar of solid rock behind him, then out the other end (this latter has also been seen as a mark of his kingship—and a play on the King Arthur legends—because, as Sergeant Colon put it, putting a sword into a stone should be considerably more difficult than getting one out of it).
Carrot can be seen as a stereotypical "perfect" policeman. Totally honest, law abiding, and determined to be friends with everyone and intent on enforcing the law. This is his character, which comes from his dwarf heritage, rather than a quality he uses for his job. He has a "Gomer Pyle" attitude of loving everyone. Indeed, his love for everyone has caused distress for Angua, as she worried that his love toward her was equal to that he gives everyone and not special for her.
While she is correct that he would place the welfare of the public above hers (and his own), when she was in danger he was prepared to travel to the ends of the Disc to save her.
When Sam Vimes planned to retire after his marriage to Lady Sybil Ramkin, Carrot was made his successor to the position of Captain of the City Watch. He is not particularly skilled in comma placement and has a bit of trouble with the whole concept of "i before e." In the novels, he is considered "the Disc's most linear thinker". For instance, as part of a murder investigation, he interviews Death.
While it is in fact relatively common knowledge that Carrot is the true heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork, he doesn't acknowledge it, and thus it isn't brought up often. The Patrician, Havelock Vetinari, considers him useful for this reason as well as others, as it means that a revolution under the claim of being true heir is impossible, and that if anyone complains that only a king has the authority to do something he does, he can simply gesture or refer (obliquely) to Carrot. Carrot himself is never seen using his royal powers or publicly acknowledge his royal heritage. After learning of it in Men at Arms, he confides in Vetinari that he wants the people to obey the law because it's the law, not because "Captain Carrot is good at being obeyed", and that he is content with his job of ringing a bell and yelling that all's well "provided of course that all is well". Carrot does, on very rare occasions, hint at his royal powers to make things happen. In Jingo, Lord Vetinari gives Sam Vimes the title of Duke, something only a King can do, while Carrot is present - Vetinari goes so far as to say that he "had been reminded" that Vimes could have that title. And in The Fifth Elephant, when faced with the defection of most members of the Watch, Carrot puts his royal sword on a desk in plain sight and reminds Watch members that they had taken an oath to the King, and that the King had not relieved them of it.
In The Art of Discworld Pratchett says that Carrot has a bright future ahead of him "should Lord Vetinari not survive the next assassination attempt".
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
Carrot's love-life is quite complicated, principally due to dating Angua, the werewolf sergeant in the Watch. Things may improve if he ever goes on an Angua Management Course.