Readers of h2g2 may have come across Terry Pratchett and his Discworld® series of novels, a sword and sorcery pastiche that has 'growed like topsy' and become phenomenally successful. Angua is one of the many interesting characters in the series, appearing in several books featuring the Ankh-Mopork City Watch (AMCW), a collection of individuals who might loosely be described as the law-enforcement service of the largest city on the Discworld.
Name: Delphine Angua von Überwald (Angua)
Residence: Mrs Cake's house, Elm Street, Ankh-Morpork
Occupation: Sergeant in AMCW
1st Appearance: Men At Arms1
Known Associates: Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson of the AMCW, Sir Samuel Vimes (Commander of the AMCW and Duke of Ankh), Corporal Cheery Littlebottom (AMCW), the rest of the Watch, Mrs Evadne Cake (Landlady), Gaspode (the wonder dog), Gavin (a wolf)
- Father/Sire- Baron Guye von Überwald (Silvertail)
- Mother/Dam- Mme Serafine Soxe Bloonberg of Genua (Yellowfang)
- Brothers- Wolfgang, Andrei (always a dog)
- Sister- Elsa (always human) deceased
Angua is, on first appearance, a well-developed young lady with a mass of ash-blonde hair, and an annoying habit of looking at one's neck. She is also very good at her job - even if being a watchman is an unusual occupation for a lady.
When it is full moon, she appears to be a pedigree ramtop wolfhound with an ash-blonde mane round her shoulders.
Angua has been described2 as anthropomorphically gifted3. In plain English, she's a werewolf. This means that she can tear out a man's jugular, suffer from a week of abysmal hairdays every month, and very usefully, she can smell colours when in her lupine form. This means that she has been very useful for tracking offenders.
Several criminals have had reason to curse her presence in the Watch. However, the criminal classes of Ankh-Morpork have got wise to her talents, and now (since The Truth) no self-respecting criminal goes out without a scent bomb. Dropped in a busy place, there are so many powerfully scented trails that she has to go home with a splitting headache.
Angua has formed a relationship of sorts with Captain Carrot (technically, a two metre tall dwarf4). They are attached to each other - but don't hold your breath waiting for a wedding invite! Whether the birth of Vimes' son will change things remains to be seen.
Angua left the Ramtops because she didn't get on with her family. For example, she tries very hard to be vegetarian and if she does end up eating a chicken she will return the next morning and pay for it at the going market rate. Her family, especially her brother Wolfgang, take a different view of the food chain. She is the only person known to have held Wolfgang in a fight, as she proved during the events of Fifth Elephant. Once you've met her relations, you can understand why she left the mountains.
Angua and Wolfgang were the only two classic bi-morphs in the litter. Elsa and Andrei were Yennorks, werewolves who can't change shape. Wolfgang killed Elsa, and Andrei decided to escape and become a champion sheepdog in Borogravia. His insistance on 'pure' blood is one major reason why she hated Wolfgang so much.
She decided to join the Watch because the only other career path available in Ankh-Morpork was as a 'seamstress'5. She was taken on by the Watch when it started its ethnic minority recruitment programme and is still the only 'undead' member of the Watch who lacks a valid death certificate - as Vimes refuses to employ vampires.
Angua is a good example of Pratchett's ability to write strong female characters; let's hope we do see more of her and her 'sisters'.