Haroun and the Sea of Stories

What do we expect the Gup Army to be like and how does it defy our expectations?

You'll find this answer when Haroun and his buddies have gone onto the Dark Ship with Khattum-Shud's shadow aboard.

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Well, if we expected a real army we'd be disappointed when the library appeared (the Gup Army is made up of books). Their favored mode of protection is story and speech. The stories however are rewritten over time to reflect the beliefs of their ruler.