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Reginald Shoe is the first zombie member of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Originally a dead rights activist (founder of the Fresh Start Club), Reg Shoe has been organizing meetings, trying to rouse the dead from their graves, and complaining about the Watch treating undead citizens unfairly. In Jingo, when he complained to Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson, Reg Shoe was offered a position in the Watch so that he might give insights on how matters can be better handled. He quickly became the main conduit for complaints made to the Watch by undead citizens.

As we know from contemplating Windle Poons in Reaper Man, a zombie, almost by definition, has to pay conscious attention to all the little things, like systolic - diastolic, and ensuring they all fit together in the correct order and sequence. This makes Reg an excellent detective and a good officer to have at the scene of a crime. Reg is considered by Commander Vimes to be a good Watchman.

For him, there is no worry of death and little of injury; he can always sew himself back together, providing the pieces can be located. In one instance, when confronted by Visit to consider the state of his immortal soul, he replies: "It's the state of my immortal body that's worrying me."

For a while, before an Igor was recruited into the Watch, Reg may have served as the Watch emergency surgeon. This probably reduced the amount of (reported) injuries, since the sight of a zombie licking the thread before starting to sew you up would be quite unnerving...

Reg Shoe died during the events of Night Watch. As much of an idealist and wannabe revolutionary in life as he is in death, he was repeatedly struck by crossbow bolts while defending his home streets around Whalebone Lane against Carcer and his men during Ankh-Morpork's Glorious Revolution. This was only a temporary setback, however, as his revolutionary zeal caused him to ignore his injuries and continue fighting. Shortly after succumbing to his wounds, he returned as a "natural" zombie (compare the voodoo-based kind featured in Witches Abroad). He maintains his own grave in the Small Gods' Cemetery, where he spends one day every year in solidarity with the other Heroes of the Revolution who fell alongside him.


It is likely that Pratchett was drawing on a number of different sources in choosing the name Reg Shoe for a revolutionary leader. One of the great leaders of the Mexican revolution was called Zapata by his followers. Zapato is Spanish for "Shoe". In addtion, the English word sabotage comes from French civil disturbances and revolutions. The wooden clog worn by workers was called un sabot. Such a sturdy piece of wood could be used to terminally clog up and block industrial machinery if jammed firmly into the gears. Hence sabotage - or vandalism with footwear harnessed to a revolutionary cause. Throwing a shoe is still seen as a rebellious act, especially in Middle Eastern countries where the feet are seen to be unclean and it is very bad manners to point a foot at someone else.

Reg, played by John Cleese, was of course the self-proclaimed leader of the People's Front of Judea, the haplessly inept revolutionary group in Monty Python's Life of Brian, who was far better at spouting jargon and quoting the revolutionary constitution than he was at taking any sort of action, much like the the all talk and no action of the far-left groups on campus in the 1980s such as the Socialist Workers' Party and the Workers' Revolutionary Party, who could echo Reg and the PFJ right down to the letter.) Later in the film, Cleese portrays another character named Arthur, who attempts to name the titular Brian as a Messiah based upon worshipping his every move - including the brief founding of "The Order of the Shoe" based on Brian's accidental loss of one of his own sandals.

Two other shoe-related revolutionary facts: Joseph Stalin's father and grandfather were both cobblers/shoemakers. So Stalin's patronymic might well have been Josef, son of the shoemaker. And finally, Nikita Khrushchev's was famous for pounding his shoe on his desk in protest over a speech by the Philipinnes delegate at the UN General Assembly in 1960.


Reaper Man

Feet of Clay


The Fifth Elephant

Night Watch