cabbagehead wrote: This is not the first time Vetinari openly mentions being a tyrant. He did it in Making Money too. I don't think he is ever subtle with Moist, come to think of it. The chatty Vetinari has been around since at least Unseen Academicals.
Years ago, fans were complaining that Vetinari never showed himself actually being a tyrant and they doubted his reputation. Possibly that had something to do with his being more open about it.
During the tour for Unseen Academicals, I had a chance to ask Sir Terry a question and I asked about what I perceived as a change in Vetinari in Making Money, and he said that Vetinari has to be very harsh with Moist in order to make him change. Subtlety wouldn't work.
cabbagehead wrote:As for at which point Charlie became involved - somewhere around page 200, after Moist leaves the Oblong Office, Vetinari asks Drumknott how Charlie's clowning business was doing. I think that was when Vetinari first raised the possibility of employing Charlie as his 'replacement'.
I was under the impression that the idea was mentioned at the end of The Truth. Maybe that particular scene is when Charlie is brought into action in this book.
cabbagehead wrote: Between that moment and the beginning of the train ride, there are three scenes in which Vetinari appears, and in at least one of them Drumknott isn't present, so that limits the possibilities for scenes where we haven't seen the real Vetinari. I do think Vetinari must have taken a few forays as Stoker Blake before the big train ride to Uberwald because he already had the reputation, so Charlie may have had a few visits to the Oblong Office during the weeks leading to the train ride, though I doubt we saw more than one of them.
I can't see Charlie being sufficiently competent to get Stoker Blake's reputation, so despite how fast a learner Vetinari is, I think he must have been there most of the time. That could explain rather a lot of Vetinari's unusual behavior in the office as Charlie's overacting.