Discworld(Redirected from Terry Pratchett)
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"A world, and a mirror of worlds."
- – Terry Prachett
"It's no use, Mr. James — it's turtles all the way down."
- – J. R. Ross
One of the most beloved book series' on /tg/, Discworld is a series of fantasy novels written by the late Sir Terry Pratchett (who seems to have been a fan of Warhammer!) set on the titular Discworld: a round, flat world carried on the back of four elephants who in turn stand on the back of a turtle that swims through the cosmos. The Discworld novels do not have a single core protagonist across the entire series: it has a variety of characters starring over the course of the books. Over time certain "series" with the same cast and sometimes setting emerged, creating several parallel (and sometimes overlapping) storylines.
More than just your standard fantasy novel, Discworld plays with the conventions of storytelling and how people and stories shape each other. The writing is one of incredible wordplay, going from clever plays on words that more than once have been plot points to forehead-slappingly dumb puns. The books also include large amounts of footnotes to serve as worldbuilding, a joke or both. Some of these footnotes can take up the majority of a page or have footnotes of their own.
Another notable thing is that over time the Discworld began to escape Medieval Stasis. Towers for semaphore telegraphs are built so that messages can be transmitted at previously unheard of speeds, paper money and postage stamps are invented, the newspaper and journalism take form and even the steam locomotive takes to the field. Meanwhile, magic is present but not commonly used, and over the course of the books the young generation of wizards build Hex, a magical supercomputer who can do in hours what would normally take days or weeks for a human wizard.
Furthermore, the books carry a great mix of gravitas and comedy, making them both poingnant and funny at the same time. All these factors have added up to a great series of fiction that has been, is, and will be held close to the hearts of many a reader and nerd for years to come.
Species on the DiscEdit
Aside from humans, who appear to be in the majority, there are a number of other species living there as well.
Discworld dwarfs (and yes, they use the same plural as Warhammer Fantasy Battle) are of the standard model: short, bearded, work in mines, enjoy booze and if you upset them they'll chop your knees off. There are a few differences though: their culture seems to contain a few influences based on Judaism in the form of the Grags, scholars on the laws of the dwarfs and seen as a kind of secular rabbis. Another quirk about them is that dwarfs seem to be a single-gendered species. Of course there are female dwarfs, but once the kids are off breastfeeding there is no such thing as "women's work" among dwarfs. Sexual dimorphism is incredibly discouraged in dwarf society, which means that dwarf courtship rituals are all about finding out whether that dwarf you fancy actually has bits compatible with yours. However, through the influences of Ankh-Morpork a small but growing number of dwarfs want to "come out" as being female and embrace their gender. While a number of the cityborn dwarfs see no problem with this the older generations and the conservative dwarfs who live in the mountains see this as an abomination upon their culture, decrying the female dwarfs as ha'ak (exact meaning unknown, roughly translated as "not real dwarfs").
Discworld trolls are not creatures of flesh and blood. Instead they consist of metamorphorical rock: rock that takes the form of the stones and minerals around them. Trolls are nocturnal because of their biology: they have silicon brains, that work slower when exposed to warmth. This means that they're more intelligent and faster at night while being dumb and sluggish during the day. Likewise, trolls living up in the mountains become less intelligent when going down to warmer places like Ankh-Morpork. When a troll's brain is sufficiently chilled, the troll can become extremely intelligent, their silicon brains essentially serving as computer chips. Trolls can freeze to death this way, but they'd die long after any creature of living flesh would have perished.
While trolls are more or less immortal, growing their entire lives, as they get older and bigger they become more sluggish and more inclined to sit around and think (which is why trolls call getting old "getting philosophical"). Truly ancient trolls are the size and shape of mountains, eroding in interesting ways and eventually getting so lost in thought that they just never come back.
Because of their silicon-based biochemistry, their alcohol is hideously toxic to humans and will likely devour the glass it is served in as well as the table beneath it. Likewise, the trollish diet consists mostly of rocks. To chew their way through this they have diamond teeth, who are very valued by humans and dwarfs alike.
Trolls hold that once in a while, a troll is born whose body consist of nothing but diamond. This physique helps immensely to cool down the troll's brain, making them extremely intelligent even when standing in the burning sun. These trolls are seen as semi-mythical beings, and when one is born they are destined to be kings amongst trolls. They all carry the same name, though it always refers to one individual at a time: Mr. Shine. Him diamond.
Technically human, the Igors are a clan distinct enough to notice. As their name suggests, they are based on the hunchbacked laboratory assistants from old Universal and Hammer horror movies: they lisp, they limp a bit, look quite ugly, help in their master's unwholsome experiments and so on. They are extremely skilled at appearing behind you as you call them, opening doors just before you knock them, gunking up door hinges so they creak, finding whatever unusual materials their master might need, and sensing thunderstorms days in advance. On top of this, they tend to act like butlers as well: they clean (except for cobwebs, they cultivate those), cook and run errands. The code of an Igor is simple:
- Never question the master
- Never pass judgement
- Never grumble
Igor freelancers are rare because they like to work for people like vampires, mad scientists and the nobility of Überwald (the Disc's version of eastern Europe). They can be quite the traditional sort, insisting on calling their employers "marthter" or "mithtreth" and like to generally indulge in the traditional things you'd expect from an Igor. They serve loyally but up to a point: when the angry mob comes a'knocking they will hightail it out of there with no regards for their master's safety. Vampires are a personal favorite to work for, because of their employer's schedule they have plenty of time to indulge in their calling: surgery.
Igors are immensely skilled with needle and thread, being able to patch up pretty much any wound that did not kill someone (or when it did, make it look like it didn't). This makes them incredibly valued as surgeons, being able to reattach limbs, stitch up anything up to and including decapitation and know how to improve the human body. Regions where Igors are common have something like a public health care system involving them: all injuries an Igor can heal are patched up free of charge. However, upon death (and Igors somehow know exactly when this is) they come knocking, asking to havest any organs they might like in return for whatever procedure was done. This is done with the utmost respect for the dead, and once an Igor is done the body will look none the worse (not worse than dead, at least). Refusal is unheard of, mainly because if this is done the Igor will just shrug and leave, and no Igor will ever help this family again.
Igors are really into body modifications, but not on the level of Franken Fran. They will always look for ways to improve the body, whether through their own handiwork or by ways of transplants. They can remove a damaged kidney and replace it with a fully functioning one with ease and good survival rates for patients, which is surprising given the technology level of the Disc. When an Igor dies they are completely taken apart so that the parts can, in essence, be given a second life. Even brains are removed if possible, so that when someone suffers braindeath their dead brain can be replaced with another and, well, you keep meeting old friends like this.
The Igors are one big clan. When you mention one they immediately know which Igor you are talking about (but can get annoyed when other people don't get this). Female Igors exist as well and are called Igorina. Unlike their male counterparts who are quite hideous to behold Igorinas are beautiful, with only a few stichings in unobtrusive places to show their allegiance. This makes them quite the catch for men, but the same goes for male Igors. Young ladies seem to like them quite a bit despite their looks; it is hinted at that this is because of their huge, ahem, skill sets.
A species created by the dark lord, the primary ingredient being humans. These versions lack the green skin that other species of orcs have but do have all the other gifts to make them an orc. Due to their involvement with the dark lord they have been hunted to near extinction, the rare cases being Mr nut who worked at the unseen university and a small tribe somewhere in Uberwald. The orcs contain something known as the little brother that heals them from any wound even near fatal, it also may contribute to the strength and size change that they go through. this size manipulation can best be described as the more confident and proud the ork the bigger they get and vice versa.
"Quanti Canicula Ille In Fenestra"
- – The motto of the city of Ankh-Morpork
The largest city on the Discworld, the capital of mercantile, a cultural melting pot and a hive where scum and villainy rule by law. Something of a bizarre mix of London, Florence, and Amsterdam, the Big Wahoonie (as it is sometimes called) is located at where the fertile Sto Plains meet the Circle Sea by ways of the River Ankh. This river is one of the vilest, unhealthy, life-bearing (which in case of a river like this is NOT a good thing) and toughest bodies of water in fiction. The sludge is tough enough to draw a chalk line on, you can walk across if you keep the pace up, no ship devised by the hands of man can sail its waters and the bloody thing tends to catch fire in the summer. Still, the people of the city are proud of their very own River of Life.
The founding of Ankh-Morpork is shrouded in legend. Some sources claim it was founded by twin brothers raised by a hippopotamus. The animal is the royal animal of Ankh. Eight stone hippopotamoi decorate the Brass Bridge, and legend states that if the city is ever in danger they will come to life and run away. Another legend states that long ago there was a great flood, and an ark was built to save two of every animal from it. After forty days and forty nights, all the dung from these animals was thrown overboard and people called it "Ankh-Morpork".
Ankh-Morpork used to be a kingdom, but the last king, Lorenzo the Kind, was overthrown and subsequently executed for torture and (implied) pedophilia. His executioner, Stoneface Vimes, wanted to introduce democracy to the city. This was voted against, since the public saw it as "the rulers of the city don't want to do their bloody jobs", and in the end Old Stoneface himself got executed for regicide. Nowadays, Ankh-Morpork is run by an official called the Patrician as part of a non-hereditary oligarchic system, appointed by the various powers in the city. In practice most Patricians were just as bad as their royal predecessors, but they were a lot more tolerable since they were also a lot more replaceable.
The current Patrician, Havelock Vetinari, has decided to do things differently. Inheriting a city that was corrupt and crumbling he began to train it like a dog. Thieves were allowed to found their own guild and work semi-legally (they have to carry ID cards may only steal from people within certain quotas), the Seamstresses (hem hem) organised and even the guild of Assassins was allowed to function in the open. The guilds take violation of the internal rules very seriously and are allowed to punish transgressors that would otherwise be tried by the city. Guilds were made clear that a lower, but continuous source of revenue is better than large chunks of it laced with daggers in the back. This allowed the city to not only grow, but also prosper. Nobody (whether they are in power or not) likes Vetinari, but they prefer him in charge rather than someone under the thumb of a rival guild. Meanwhile, Lord Vetinari acts completely in the interst of the city with next to no ego, has no vices he indulges in, does not act like a despot despite being one and fully understands and acts on the human desire to have tomorrow be just like today.
Unless you're a mime of course, in which case Vetinari will have you hung upside down in the scorpion pit. LEARN THE WORDS.
Under Vetinari's rule the Pax Morporkia turned from "Resist and we'll kill you" that was common under the monarchy to "Resist and we'll call in your mortgage". Ankh-Morpork has no standing army and instead relies on being the primary business partner of the nations around them, allowing the city to financially ruin anyone trying to invade them. If it actually needs to fight, it "Calls up the Regiments" which means that anyone who's a rich noble has the right to equip, recruit and retain a force of fighting men. The city has also started to see a large influx of migrants: humans, dwarfs, troll, gnomes and even the undead flock to the city in droves. While they generate some problems, above all they generate revenue. Vetinari has been very open to this growth, claiming that alloys are stronger.
A small kingdom up in the ramtops (the mountains near the center of the world). For the most part it's the Shire if it had been put up on a mountain Plateau, mostly home to simple set in their ways folk as well as a trio of witches.
The Discworld series consists primarily of two series of books: the main series and the young adult novels. The former is the series of 34 books that people will think of when hearing "Discworld", and contains the most famous stories. The young adult novels are a half-dozen books aimed at younger audiences. Then there are the various spinoffs like a pair of children's books, the illustrated version of two other books and a variety of short stories and supportive material. Most of the books are parodying a specific thing first and foremost with some general asides.
The Color of MagicEdit
Target of Satire: General Fantasy.
Debut of Rincewind. The world's first tourist, Twoflower, shows up in Ankh-Morpork. Rincewind, a failed wizard, is tasked with protecting him. This book is notable for being a parody of various tropes common in the fantasy genre like Vancian magic and parodies things like D&D, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Conan the Barbarian, H.P. Lovecraft's work and more. This book is meant to set up the world of the Disc and, as a result, feels like only half of a greater story, part two of which is...
The Light FantasticEdit
Focus of Satire: General Fantasy.
It's a direct sequel to the first book, the first and last time this happens. This one has less of the world-building and single chapter adventures, replacing them instead with a more singular storyline. Makes fun of the fantasy genre as a whole again; Conan the Barbarian, the maiden in distress trope, the occasional dig at Tolkien and much more. Theoretically you COULD skip book one and go straight to this (they sum the major information points up, and this one is, marginally, better) but, regardless, the first book is still a good, fun read, as is this one.
Focus of Satire: Gender Politics.
The debut of Granny Weatherwax, a witch who accompanies the little girl Eskarina to Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork to learn magic.
The debut of Death as a major character. Death feels like he should take on an apprentice and picks the farm boy Mort, which causes trouble when he tasks Mort to gather the soul of a princess. Mort doesn't want her to die so he saves her, causing all sorts of trouble.
Focus of Satire: General Fantasy
The eighth son of an eighth son is a wizard. The eighth son of a wizard however is a Sourcerer, a wizard squared. Being an entity of intense magical power the Sourcerer Coin attempts to take over the world at behest of the spirit of his father, who inhabits the boy's magical staff.
Focus of Satire: Shakespeare (specifically Macbeth).
The debut of the Lancre Witches. King Verence of Lancre is murdered by his cousin Leonal Felmet. Felmet takes the throne and eventually turns on the witches, which is, as he learns, a very bad idea.
Focus of Satire: Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece
A standalone book (or part of an aborted sub series). Prince Teppic of Djelibeybi finishes his education at the Guild of Assassins in Ankh-Morpork and learns that his father has passed on, making him the new king of a heavily Egyptian-inspired kingdom. He travels back home only to find the court dominated by the ancient high priest Dios.
Focus of Satire: Police, monarchy, disposable fantasy mooks, Dragon focused fantasy and the bits of The Hobbit directly relating to Dragons.
Debut of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Carrot Ironfoundersson is a dwarf who isn't. A human orphan, found and raised by dwarfs in the mountains, at the urging of his father Carrot goes to Ankh-Morpork to join the city's Night Watch, an esteemed and honorable institute. Or so he's told: in practice the Dwarves have their info a few generations out of date, and by now there's only three people in the Night Watch: the alcoholic Captain Vimes, the bumbling Sergeant Colon and the petty thief Corporal Nobbs. Possessing an immense sense of duty and a matching heap of krisma, Carrot and the other watchmen get dragged into a plot involving a shadowy group summoning a dragon in an attempt to install a puppet ruler on the throne of the city.
Focus of Satire: Faust.
The shortest of the main line Discworld books, the titular demonologist summon what he thinks to be a demon, only to get Rincewind bound to him. Basically a bunch of loosely linked vignettes.
Focus of Satire: Holywood
Debut of CMOT Dibbler as a major character and lays the foundation for the Wizards, as well as Gaspaud the Wonder Dog. Alchemists in Ankh-Morpork discover how to capture moving images and project them onto a screen. An entire industry dedicated to making these moving pictures pops up in the Holy Wood, located not too far from the city. But the threat to this new industry is not just because of Dibbler's business practices...
Debut of the Auditors of Reality. The agents of the cosmic bureaucracy, the Auditors of Reality, decide that Death has become too human and is sentenced to live amongst mortals. But with Death out of the way nobody dies, which floods the world with life. This turns out to be a Very Bad Thing when Ankh-Morpork is beset by a living shopping mall.
Focus of Satire: Vacations and Fairy Tales.
Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick travel to Genua (not-quite
New Orleans Genoa) in an attempt to, for a change, prevent a servant girl from marrying a prince. While doing so they come into conflict with Lilith, a woman Granny Weatherwax knows all too well.
Focus of Satire: Religion.
A standalone book. The Omnian Empire (which is sort of like if the Spanish Inquisition was run by Friend Computer) holds that the worship of the Great God Om comes above all. The novice Brutha finds a turtle dropped by an eagle, but is surprised to find that the turtle talks. Om has turned into a turtle because the people's faith has slowly been draining from Om into the church itself, meaning that he lost all his power and has been turned into this state. The book is infamous for fucking up the timeline: in Pyramids Omnia is as described in this book, but in later books it is far different, with changes that could not have happened in the mere years between the books.
Lords and LadiesEdit
Focus of Satire: Shakespeare (specifically A Mid Summer Night's Dream)
The Lancre Witches come into conflict with the Fair Folk, who enter the Discworld from their own parasitic universe. This happens right around Magrat's impeding wedding with the king of Lancre, making the conflict all the more difficult.
Men at ArmsEdit
Focus of Satire: Policing in a diverse society, Firearms in Fantasy.
Debut of Angua and Detrius as a major character. Captain Vimes is going to marry and retire from the watch within the week. Before he goes though he has to train three new minority recruits he was forced to take on by Lord Vetinari: Detrius the troll, Cuddy the dwarf and Angua the w-, eh, that should be obvious. Meanwhile, a retired assassin deduces that corporal Carrot might very well be the heir to the throne of the city and hatches a plot to put Carrot there, all the while using an ancient and banned object.
Focus of Satire: Rock and Roll.
Debut of Susan. The elf-ish Llamedosian musician Imp y Celyn chafes at the rigid ways of making music in his native village and decides to make his way to Ankh-Morpork to make a living with his music there. After some initial hurdles and the breaking of his old instrument he buys a guitar from a mysterious shop that disappears and appears all over the place. The instrument seems to have a mind of its own, and while it plays some very powerful music it takes a toll on his psyche. Meanwhile, Death's granddaughter Suzan puts the powers in her blood that were passed down by her grandfather (somehow...) to the test as she tries to save Imp from himself.
Focus of Satire: East Asia.
Rincewind is forced by the wizards to go to the Agatean Empire, located on the Counterweight Continent. Here he encounters old friends and is pulled into a rebellion against the overbearing empire, very much against his will.
Focus of Satire: The Phantom of the Oprah.
Phantom of the Opera redux. Now that Magrat is a queen Granny and Nanny need a third witch to fill out their coven. Their eye falls on Agnes Nitt, a sizable young woman with an amazing singing voice, who has recently moved to Ankh-Morpork to join the opera. The people there are very much impressed with her voice, but finds herself an understudy to the much less talented, intelligent and sizable Christine. While Agnes doesn't want anything to do with witchery, she cannot help but think like a witch when faced with the mysterious and murderous Phantom. Of the opera.
Feet of ClayEdit
Focus of Satire: Police Procedurals and Whodunits.
Debut of Cheery Littlebottom. The City Watch is larger and more effective than ever. Their first major case is a pair of murders that may or may not involve golems, the clay automatons working in the city. At the same time the Watch has to deal with the poisoning of Lord Vetinari, which puts the city in a delicate position.
Focus of Satire: Christmas.
Susan has taken up a job as a governess, trying to live a normal live despite all the supernatural things happening around her. Meanwhile, the Auditors hatch a plot to have the Hogfather, the Discworld equivalent of Santa, assassinated. The plan works, sort of, and now Death has to take his place. Regardless of what she wants Suzan is roped into the investigation of what happened to the Hogfather and ends up emproiled in a plot involving all kinds of supernatural being and a not supernatural but not any less monstrous assassin.
Focus of Satire: Nationalism, Racism, Militarism and the Middle East.
The island of Leshp rises out of the sea, smack dab between Ankh-Morpork and the not-Arabic Klatch. When diplomatic efforts go awry it is up to Commander Vimes of the City Watch to keep the peace and find the would-be assassin of the Klatchian ambassador.
The Last ContinentEdit
Focus of Satire: Bladdy 'Strayla mate!
Rincewind is not dead, and in fact ended up on the continent of XXXX, where he does his usual running away from people who try to murder him. Meanwhile, the wizards try to find a cure for the Librarian's condition that interferes with his morphic field, causing him to switch into random animals and objects every time he sneezes. They discover that the only one who can help them with this would be Rincewind, and they set out on a quest to return him safely.
Focus of Satire: Vampire Fiction
Aside from their usual weaknesses, vampires seem to have a psychological need to set up things for would-be heroes to easily slay them: curtains that can be pulled aside easily, objects that can be used as improvised holy icons, chairs with sharp legs that can be used as stakes and so on. A new generation of vampires, the de Magpyr family from Überwald decides to adapt to this and set up shop in Lancre. This pits them against the witches and a soft-spoken Omnian reverend, the former of which know all too well how stories work.
The Fifth ElephantEdit
Focus of Satire: Eastern Europe, Nazism, Spy Stuff
Commander Vimes is sent to Überwald on a diplomatic mission to attend the coronation of the Low King. With the theft of the Scone of Stone however this is made difficult, for without the Scone there can be no coronation. Meanwhile, Angua's past catches up to her and she needs to decide whether to return to her old life or stay with Carrot and the Watch.
Focus of Satire: Journalism.
A standalone book. Scribe William de Worde teams up with a bunch of dwarfs to invent the printing press and essentially create the first newspaper. Meanwhile, the people who made an attempt to dethrone the Patrician return with a plot to replace him with a body double and hire Mr Pin and Mr Tulip (pretty much the Discworld version of Jules and Vincent from Pulp Fiction) to help them to this end.
Thief of TimeEdit
Focus of Satire: Martial Arts, Spy Stuff, Time Travel and In Universe Continuity.
The Auditors of Realty make an attempt to stop time. They employ clockmaker Jeremy Clockson to build a clock that, when turned on last time, stopped time and shattered history. The History Monks, a monastic tradition dedicated to the protection of time, apprentice the know-itall student Lobsang Ludd to the sweeper Lu-Tze, who is far, FAR more than he lets on. Lobsang discovers that he has a knack for working with the Procrastinators, machines that can manipulate time. The two of them are sent to Ankh-Morpork by the abbot of the History Monks to discover what made the Procrastinators go haywire. All the while, Death attempts to recruit Suzan and his fellow Horsemen to ride out to not end the world, but save it instead.
Focus of Satire: Political Revolution and Les Miserables.
After an event in Thief of Time Commander Vimes is cast thirty years back in time, alongside the murderer that he was chasing. Vimes ends up taking the place of his old mentor John Keel and begins to take a pivotal role in the civil war against the mad Patrician Lord Winder. It's like Les Mis meets time travel, except Valjean is a psychopath and Javert is actually kind of likeable.
Focus of Satire: British Military, Sharpe, Women dressing up as men to serve in the military.
Oliver Perks wants to join the army so that he can find out what happened to his brother. He has a rough time there not just because of the hardships his country is going through, but because he's actually a girl named Polly. She finds herself amongst a motley group of fellow soldiers lead by the naive but dutiful Lieutenant Blouse and the hard around the edges but very protective Sergeant Jackrum.
Focus of Satire: The Post Office, Communications
Debut of Moist von Lipwig. Albert Spangler is caught for theft, tried, convicted, hanged, buried and receives an orbituary. Moist von Lipwig, what he is actually called, wakes up in the Patrician's office instead. Vetinari makes him an offer: take a second round on the rope or become the new Postmaster of the defunct Ankh-Morpork Post Office. He is assigned a parole officer (a golem) and reluctantly sets out to do his new job. Moist is a man who not only takes refuge in audacity but builds up its defenses, raises an army of shooting targets, and makes war on logic. The new AMPO turns out to be a success, but this pits him against the powerful Grand Trunk, the company running the semaphores. The Grand Trunk does not like competition ruining their bottom line, which consists of ruthlessly exploiting the workers and ruining the company's working culture.
Focus of Satire: Race Relations, generations old grudges and policing around said issues in a multicultural society.
Right before the anniversary of the Battle of Koom Valley a dwarfish grag gets his head smashed in. On the scene a troll club is found, driving up the tensions between trolls and dwarfs. Worse, the Watch is forced to employ a new recruit: Salacia von Humpeding, who is a vampire. While investigating the murder Vimes hurts his hand, and is starts to itch strangely. With the threat of an all-out war looming over them Vimes and the Watch have to solve one of their most important cases yet.
Focus of Satire: Money (duh) and Economics, Banking
After his success at the AMPO Vetinari assigns Moist von Lipwig to the Royal Mint. He gets to meet the majority shareholder, a clever old lady who immediately makes Moist out for the crook that he is. She dies not soon afterwards, leaving her shares to her dog Mr Fusspot, leaves the dog to Moist... as well as a significant contract on his head if something were to happen to the dog. Of course, the woman's family is not happy with this and try their very best to get Moist out of business or life, whichever comes first. Unfortunately for them, Moist too tries his very best to avoid this fate.
Romeo and Juliet... WITH FOOTBALL! The Patrician tries to civilize the old game of Foot-the-Ball, complete with the traditional Foot-The-Ball hooliganry. The wizards end up getting involved, but they require a coach. The UU servant Mr. Nutt helps them out with this, but he turns out to be far more than meets the eye.
Commander Vimes is dragged off on a holiday to the countryside. Being all to aware of what happenes the last time he went on one (see The Fifth Elephant), he is none too surprise to find that there was a murder. But nobody in the area seems to care on account of the victim being a goblin. Vimes however disagrees: a crime is a crime and criminals must be punished. He finds no allies in the area, with the local police actually working against him. But this does not stop Vimes, putting him in what is one of the more heavy-handed stories in the series. And Nobby gets a girlfriend.
Moist von Lipwig is once again given a new job: help develop the train line from Bonk all the way via Zemphis, Sto Lat and Ankh-Morpork to Quirm. This to the ire of Dwarfish fundamentalists who try to saboutage the rail line in every possible way in an attempt to dethrone the Low King, who is currently in Quirm for an intenational summit. Moist is charged with bringing the Low King home safely, but few things go as planned.
The Shepherd's CrownEdit
The last book Terry Pratchett wrote before he dies. mayherestinpeace. Anyway, The book begin with the death of Granny Weatherwax. maysherestinpeace. Her death not only felt by everyone in Lancre, but also weakened the barrier of the world that allows the lovecraftian Elves to invade the world. Tiffany the young witch will had to stop the elves invasion.
The Discworld books have a vast amount of characters spread all over them, and the books frequently switch between points of view of the various characters. It's not as bad as A Song of Ice and Fire, but there's still a massive cast spread throughout the books, many of whom are recurring characters. The characters below are sorted by sub-series.
Ankh-Morpork City WatchEdit
"Fabricati Diem, Punc." -AMCW motto.
- Samuel Vimes is a cop through and through. He became captain during the decline of the Night Watch, which drove him to drink. During the events involving a dragon making a grab for power Vimes met Lady Sybil Ramkin, one of the foremost nobles in the city. They fell in love and eventually got married, launching him to the top of the social ladder. This did little for his cynicism (but did cure his tendencies as a drunkard) as he now finds that he is the establishment that he opposes. It's all quite zen. Over the course of the books Vimes develops a reputation as an incorruptible badass who arrested Vetinari and lived, arrested two armies for attempted murder, fought werewolves with his bare hands and (while not a lot of people know this) bested an ancient demon of vengeance in a battle of wills. He is a living example of the notion that being Lawful Good does not mean that you have to be nice.
- Sybil Ramkin is the only remaining scion of the Ramkin family, one of the foremost real estate owners of the city. This means that her wealth is well into the millions, making her one of the richest, if not THE richest, people in the city. A fair deal of money goes to her hobby and calling: the breeding of swamp dragons. She is an authority on the subject and gladly carries the burden of caring for the little things, namely having all your hair burned off. She is an extremly nice and pleasant woman who can get along with people almost as well as Carrot does. She eventually falls in love with and marries Vimes, who loves her dearly but chafes at the trappings of the rich nobility. She takes an old-fashioned approach to the wedded life. She insists on cooking for her husband (she's rich enough to employ the best chefs in the world) who, despite her lacking skills, loves her cooking and mends his socks without complaint (they're rich enough to buy new socks for every day for the rest of his life), something she's less than good at but Vimes doesn't want to bring this up. Despite growing up in the comfort of nobility she's a massive woman who towers over her husband, a result of being the descendant of old-school barbarian warlords.
- Willikins is the butler of the Ramkins family, having been with them since he was a boy. He appears to be the standard snarky-but-polite butler, but in his early days he was in a gang and can kill you with whatever he's got on him. He is almost as dangerous in a fight as Vimes, with much less holding him back from straight-up murdering you if you threaten the Vimes family.
- Carrot Ironfoundersson is a dwarf... all 6'6" of him. A young man found and raised by dwarfs, he eventually came to Ankh-Morpork to have it make a man of him. He joined the Night Watch and was instrumental in making the Watch what it is today. Carrot possesses MASSIVE amounts of charisma and naivete, which serve as his main weapons of choice: he treats everyone like jolly good chaps, and they don't have the heart to prove him wrong. Despite this, he's also massively strong, possessing a punch capable of flooring a troll. Readers have noted that while some scenes describe him from another character's point of view and other scenes describe him, but not his point of view, there has never been a scene that describes things from his point of view. This has lead people (both in-universe and real life) to suspect that Carrot is a lot smarter than he lets on and might be playing everyone for some reason. He is pretty much guaranteed to be the heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork, but he denies knowledge of this (without lying) and all evidence of this fact he gets his hands on tends to... disappear. About as Lawful Good as you can get: he sticks to the rules and makes them work for him.
- Sergeant Frederick Colon has been with the Watch longer than anyone, even Vimes. He appears to be a fat bumbling old fool but underneath that he's a... well, fat bumbling old fool that occasionally does something extremely useful. He is a very nice man even if not sharp on the uptake, and knows a lot of retired cops, old friends and former criminals with whom he'll gladly make small talk, which makes him the Watch's unofficial one-man intelligence division. However, putting him in command is ill-advised, as he will crack under the pressure.
- Corporal Cecil Wormsborough St. John "Nobby" Nobbs is human. No, seriously, he has an official-looking piece of paper proving it. Extremely ugly, has lots of bad habits, is a petty criminal in his own right and has an odor best left undescribed, Nobby still somehow manages to be liked by people by virtue of his "charisn'tma" and the fact that you could trust your life to him, but you'd be daft to trust him with tuppence. He gets along great with Sergeant Colon (often being on patrol with him), frequently popping up in books to comment on the crazy happenings de jour. Is skilled at peacekeeping (that is, being on patrol in areas with lots of peace to keep), crime prevention (stay away from certain areas so that he doesn't steal anything there) and guarding city landmarks against theft.
- Delphine Angua von Überwald came to the city to escape her deranged family and shameful past. She turned out to be quite the formidable Watch member, a skilled cop in her own right and with a nose for sensitive cases. She has the tendency to be, in her own words, quite the bitch, but still gets along fine with the rest of the watch, including her boyfriend Carrot. While often cynical towards him and his innocence she cannot help but walk after him like a puppy. Dogged by the feelings that come up in her every month or so she tries her best to keep herself in check and do her job. The head of the City Watch's dog brigade, she can sniff out clues that no other member possibly could. She frequently finds herself being taken hostage, only to turn the tables on her hostage takers and turning them into whimpering wrecks. She also frequently works with special police informant Gaspode; the two of them like each other more than they let on.
- Sergeant Detrius is a troll on the rise. Starting out as a splatter (like a bouncer, but trolls use more force) for the Mended Drum, he joined the City Watch. He quickly turned out into a natural sergeant, shouting at people until they got in line. Tends to be quite literal and too dumb to fool but is a good cop and a good troll nonetheless. His weapon of choice is the Piecemaker, a siege crossbow originally designed to shoot metal bars through city gates. He likes to load it with bundles of arrows, turning the thing into a massive shotgun capable of leveling anything and everything that is not directly behind him, including trees, birds flying several hundred feet overhead, and the occasional house. Is very staunchly anti-drugs, which makes sense given how overdose-related deaths by troll drugs are both incredibly common and incredibly messy.
- Cheery "Cheri" Littlebottom is the Watch's forensics expert. A former alchemist hired to fight crime WITH SCIENCE. A bit shy and hates to yell at people, which is why her promotion took a while despite her great competence. Became a leader in the dwarfish women movement when she started to wear makeup, earrings and wear skirts, kickstarting it with the encouragement of her close friend Angua.
- Salacia Deloresista Amanita Trigestatra Zeldana Malifee [...] von Humpeding, aka Sally. The first vampire in the Watch, much to Vimes' dismay. Despite her looks she's in her early 50s, easily putting her in the top of oldest Watch members. A fine cop in her own right, she eventually leaves the Watch to join the Watch in Bonk, with her position as a Sammy (a cop who worked in Sam Vimes' Watch) carrying much prestige.
- Visit-The-Infidels-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets is an Omnian and the most religious member of the Watch. On his off days he and his fellow Omnian "Smite-The-Unbeliever-With-Cunning-Arguments" spread the good word of Om, much to the dismay of everyone else.
- Dorfl is a golem, hired by Vimes to piss off the establishment. The first golem who with the ability to talk, in and of itself an act of blasphemy, he is an unstoppable juggernaut capable of walking through doors and walls alike and can manhandle trolls the same way trolls take on humans. As a free golem he saves up his wages to purchase other golems, whom he then frees and asks to help free other golems in the same way. Despite being incredibly intimidating, he is also an incredibly moral being, having forged his own personal code of conduct after Carrot gave him full responsibility for his own actions.
- Reginald "Reg" Shoe is a zombie and a natural activist. He died during the events of Night Watch and was allowed to join the Watch because Vimes wanted to stick it to the establishment. A good cop who keeps his stuff together despite he himself falling apart frequently.
Death and CompanyEdit
- Death is the anthropomorphic personification of death, which manifests as a traditional "Grim Reaper" figure (a scythe-carrying skeleton in a black robe). Initially portrayed as an actively malevolent figure in the first two books, he was subsequently retconned as being a very devoted professional who has become increasingly fond of sapient life over his long service. Being a personification, he has absolutely no proper understanding of human life, but his fascination leads him to keep trying, which tends to go quite wrong.
- Susan is Death's grand-daughter, by virtue of her mom having been Death's adoptive daughter and her dad having been Death's temporary apprentice. Unfortunately, her parents were so ashamed of their connections to Death that they brought Susan up with a strictly logical mindset and a belief in rationalism... which, given she lives in the Discworld, which can't make contact with either without the aid of a long stick and a lot of shouting, tends to leave her perpetually frustrated. She has white hair with a black streak in it, and when she blushes she develops three long red marks on her otherwise pale cheeks - when her father quit Death's service, the angry skeleton pimp-slapped him before letting him go, and that scar has carried down in a typical display of Discworld inheritance. This also gives her many of Death's inherent powers, like a mind-controlling voice and the ability to go ethereal when she wants.
- The Death of Rats is a rat, or at least the skeleton of a rat, who presides over the demise of rats, hamsters and other tiny rodents. Only speaks in capital SQUEAKS. Sometimes goes around mounted on a raven named Quoth (get it? Quoth the Raven?). Irks Susan on a regular basis by getting dragging her into events that involve her grandfather and/or the fate of the Disc.
- Albert is Death's manservant and the first Archchancellor of the Unseen University. He figured that he could become immortal by reversing the rite of Ashe-Kente, used to summon and interrogate Death. It... sort of worked? Essentially, it teleported him to Death's realm, where time stands still, and he's stayed there ever since as he finds it a comfortable enough existence. Most of the time he does the cleaning (which isn't a lot), receive guests (grumble at them), cook (he deep fries EVERYTHING) and help out the workers to make Death's mansion more like a human mansion by installing plumbing and a kitchen. A proudly self-professed evil-tempered old bugger, Albert acts humble to his master, but is still a wizard of the Old School, which means he's got a lot of boom hidden up his sleeves if he ever deigns to use it.
- Esmeralda "Granny" Weatherwax is the most infamous witch in the Ramtops Mountains and alongside Samuel Vimes is Pratchett's iconic "Good Don't Mean Nice" character. By her own admission born to be "the bad witch", that karmic role was screwed up when her psychotic sister Lily instead became a truly evil witch whilst still thinking of herself as the good one, leaving a destiny void that Granny felt compelled to fill. She is short-tempered, abrasive, doesn't suffer fools, and imperious, but firmly believes in making the hard choices and doing what's right. It's well-acknowledged that she is "The Crone" of her personal coven, but everyone in the Ramtops discretely refers to that archetype as "The Other One", especially if it appears she's not within earshot. A formidably powerful magic user, she is nonetheless a great advocate of not using magic and instead relying on "headology" - a mixture of down-to-earth common sense, folk remedies, observational skill and her own hefty reputation - to look more mystical and mysterious, because most of the time that’s all you really need.
- Gytha "Nanny" Ogg is the beloved matriarch of the sprawling Ogg clan of the Ramtops Mountains, an affable and rotund old lady who has lost none of the endearing sleaze that she developed over a youth as a lusty, highly sexual woman. She is "The Mother" of her coven, combining both lecherously good-humored attitude and a warm, maternal nature; people may fear and respect Granny, but they genuinely like Nanny, something that Granny Weatherwax sometimes shows signs of envying. It's been implied that she's actually more magically powerful than Granny, but it's just that A: she's too lazy to really use it, B: she gets a lot more sympathy for coming in second and C: she doesn't want to upset Granny by letting her find out.
- Magrat Garlick is the much-put-upon youngest member of the original coven. If Granny Weatherwax is the fairytale wicked witch turned good and Nanny Ogg is the wise earth mother, then Magrat is the good-hearted but soft-headed neo-pagan, who finds herself in over her head when her blissfully dreamy ideals are confronted with the cold, hard realism of her superiors. Despite everything, Magrat does have a heart of gold and dearly wants to help - even if most just ignore her "clearly dotty" ideas and suggestions - and she's got a core of steel deep, deep down inside.
- Agnes "Perdia X Dream" Nitt is the chubby "replacement Maiden" for the coven after Magrat leaves it by marrying the King (ex-Fool) of Lancre. A generally mild, inoffensive and shy girl, she's not unattractive but is the result of Lancre selecting for a Brawn Hilda style of beauty and hates herself for it. "Perdita X Dream" is Agnes' idealised fantasy self, a sharp-tongued, aggressive, take-charge version of Agnes who would take no crap from anybody... unfortunately, being a witch caused this fantasy self to become its own split personality and she now lives in Agnes' head, snarkily commenting on Agnes' actions and looking for a chance to steal control of Agnes' body.
- Jason Ogg is the eldest son of Nanny Ogg. Said to be the greatest blacksmith and farrier in the world: as long as he's got the horseshoes for it he can put them on it. One of his frequent customers is Death, who occasionally drops by to get Binky shoed. A giant, soft-spoken man who can pick up a pair of adult men by the scruff of their necks.
- Shawn Ogg is the jack-of-all-trades at Lancre Castle. If it doesn't require special training he does it with enthusiasm and skill: he delivers mail and messages, serves food, patrols the castle and performs any other odd jobs that need doing. He is a one-man army, as in that he is the entire complement of Lancre's standing army (except when he is lying down).
- Rincewind is a cowardly and cynical wizard who has absolutely no talent whatsoever at magic but does have the attention of The Lady (the Disc's unnamed Goddess of Luck, both good and bad), which ensures his life is a neverending stream of dangerous and terrifying misadventures. Talented at running, jogging, sprinting, hoofing it, and surviving things that no man should. His only other skill is his knack for languages, allowing him to beg for mercy in nineteen spoken tongues, and even wider variety of gestures.
- Mustrum Ridcully is the Unseen University's Archchancellor for most of the series, and effectively combines traits of the traditional wizard with that of the stereotype of the gruff, outgoing huntin'-and-sportin' British gentleman.
- The Librarian is a wizard and the Unseen University's librarian (obviously) who was polymorphed into an orangutan by a surge of wild magic in the second novel and chose to stay in that form afterwards, as it allowed him to much more effectively work in the library.
- Ponder Stibbons: The youngest and most scientifically minded of UU's faculty who's basically running the discworld's version of the Manhattan project in the High Energy Magic building. Also technically holds the most power in UU, as he holds enough positions to give him the controlling vote on what little the faculty actually bother to decide on pursuing.
- The Bursar of Unseen University was originally a very mild-mannered chap whose only failing was not quitting his thankless job as UU’s accountant. Sadly, the constant abuse seems to have gotten to him over the years, as he is now quite insane. However, his skill with sums is completely unaffected by the madness, so all he needs to function in polite society is a hefty dose of drugs.
- The Chair of Indefinite Studies
- The Dean is a big fat jerk.
- The Lecturer in Recent Runes
- The Senior Wrangler
- Professor John Hix is the head of the Necrom-*ahem* Post-Mortem Communications department at UU. Required to be evil by University law, but actually quite mild-mannered, he is also a keen member of the local amateur dramatics society.
Citizens of Ankh-MorporkEdit
- Havelock Vetinari, the Patrician is the official Tyrant of Ankh-Morpork, a trained assassin who showcased his intelligence even as a youth by realizing how much the Guild's focus on style impeded its actual effectiveness. Though he could, as he repeatedly points out, rule as a brutal despot, he favors instead using a network of spies and agents to manipulate the city into working the way he wants it (and because he's an extremely clever man, it actually works). A magnificent scheming bastard, he's often seen as invincible and prepared for absolutely everything, but he has been caught off-guard a few times due to truly ludicrous levels of wat.
- Rufus Drumknott is Vetinari's loyal and almost deliberately dull assistant.
- Moist von Lipwig is a former con artist with an addiction to adrenaline and a serious aversion to violence. Officially, he was executed under the name Albert Spangler for various cons, swindles, and flim-flams. Unofficially, however, he’s alive and well, having been recruited by Vetinari to clean up Ankh-Morpork’s antiquated civil services. Has such a ridiculously average face that it's nearly impossible to pick him out of a crowd unless he's wearing his trademark gold suit.
- Adora Belle Dearheart is the sharp-tempered, abrasive, cutting-tongued, chain-smoking head of the Golem Trust, who gets on better with golems than she does with people. Eventually becomes Moist's girlfriend and subsequently wife.
- Lord Downy' is the head of the Assassin's Guild. A cheerful, honorable gentleman who's pleasant demeanor mostly covers the fact that he's in charge of some of the deadliest killers for hire on the Disc.
- William de Worde is an idealistic nobleman who becomes the leader of Ankh-Morpork's first newspaper.
- Gaspode the Wonder Dog is an ugly, disease-riddled mongrel of a dog who became sapient and capable of speech after eating out of the rubbish dumps of Unseen University. Cynical and sarcastic, he mostly makes a living begging for food, taking advantage of the fact that most people refuse to believe a dog is talking and so his words have an effect like a Charm Person spell.
- Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, also known as CMOT Dibbler or simply Throat is a surprisingly effective street vendor who specializes in selling goods of extremely dubious quality, most commonly his infamous series of mystery meat: meat pies, kebabs, and of course the inimitable, incomparable, and truly indigestible Sausage-Inna-Bun. Has a variety of lookalikes in every culture on the Disc, because wherever people are prepared to buy horrifically overpriced street food there will inevitably be somebody to sell it.
- Leonard of Quirm is the incredibly intelligent and multi-talented but super-naive and gentle mad inventor of Ankh-Morpork. Lord Vetinari keeps him secretly locked away in the Palace in order to protect Leonard from the world and the world from him. Invented the airplane, the handgun, the submarine, and the world's first unbreakable cipher.
- Chrysophrase is the head of the Breccia, a sort of Trollish Mafia operating out of the meatpacking district. Wears diamond cufflinks explicitly made out of the molars of his enemies, as Trolls' teeth are made of crystallised carbon.
- Hughnon Ridcully is the High Priest of Io and unofficial representative of all the priests and clerics in Ankh-Morpork. Mustrum Ridcully's brother and implicitly built along the same lines.
- Mr Slant is the city's most infamous lawyer, a zombie created from a man who came back from the dead to get his murderer acquitted and refused to die again when his family refused to pay for his legal counsel. Highly traditional, he continually gets involved in various schemes to disrupt Vetinari's reign, but always gets out unscathed even when they fail. Has an encyclopedic knowledge of civil and criminal precedent, thanks to being the person who wrote most of it.
- Twoflower is an accountant from the fantasy-China region of Agatea, who manages to leave the traditionally highly reclusive nation for a tourist visit to Ankh-Morpork. This ultimately leads to a revolution in Agatea when he publishes a book about what he did on his holidays, inadvertently revealing that life does not have to be the highly rigid, formalized tyranny under which the country exists.
- The Luggage is TwoFlower's luggage chest... and is sentient.. and walks on dozens of little human feet... and has massive white teeth... and you could swear it licked its 'lips' just after swallowing the unsuspecting seagull. Luggage is made out Sapient Pearwood, an extraoridinarily rare, magical, and (duh) sapient wood; the last bits of SP in Ankh-Morpork are wizards' staves, and those guys would be very interested in obtaining some more from you through negotiation. Being a magical object means that Luggage has unlimited carrying capacity and a mind of its own - and The Luggage is like a nasty bulldog, suspiciously cuddly, loyal only to his master, and you can never be sure when he will bite anything else, just for the kicks of it. After TwoFlower's adventures with Rincewind, Luggage decides to change its master to the wizzzard, showing across later Rincewind's mishaps all of his abilities, which also include interdimensional travel.
- The Auditors of Reality are anthropomorphic personifications of The Rules; as their title suggests, they basically see to the smooth, clockwork-like management of all the underlying mechanics that keep the universe running smoothly. Unfortunately, they absolutely hate the very concept of life, finding it unbearably chaotic. Such is their sheer disgust that they undertake several schemes during the course of the series to destroy life, making them the closest thing the setting has to Bad Guys, and they have a bitter enmity for Death, who rather likes the complicated little buggers. They appear as almost harmless; shroud-like gray robes with nothing inside of them, hovering silently in mid-air and communicating through telepathy. They always show up in groups of three or more and always try to avoid personal pronouns; because they believe that to have a sense of I means to have an identity, and to have an identity means to live, and to live means to die, any Auditor who does use a pronoun immediately disintegrates (indeed, they do it so quickly that not one of them has worked out the inherent flaw in their logic) and is seamlessly replaced by a new one. Also, don't tell them that their hatred of life and their dislike of all the extra work that living beings make them do means that they already have an identity independent of their functions.
- Cohen the Barbarian is essentially what you get if you ask "What if Conan the Barbarian lived to be an old codger but never stopped doing the Barbarian Hero schtick?" A cranky and bitter old bastard who is deeply offended at having outlived the era of the Barbarian Hero, sneering at how the world has gotten so soft and straitlaced since his youth. Ultimately, his dissatisfaction with the state of the world and its lack of respect for the Barbarian Heroes who ultimately carved out the foundations for civilization leads him to try and firebomb the gods themselves. Ultimately, Cohen sacrifices himself to save the world (from himself, of course), refuses to believe he’s dead, mugs the Valkyries sent to bring him to warrior heaven, and sets off to find adventure in worlds beyond.
- Rhys Rhysson is the current Low King of the Dwarves after the events of Thud!
- Mr. Shine is the current Diamond King of Trolls, a Diamond Troll whose unparalleled strength and intelligence makes him the traditional ruler of his race.
- Lady Margolotta is a female vampire and an intimate acquaintance of Vetinari.
- TV Movies
- The Hogfather
- The Colour of Magic/The Light Fantastic
- Going Postal
- Tabletop Games
- Discworld Role-Playing Game
Originally released in 1998, with a second edition coming out in 2016. Currently using a set of customised rules based on GURPS 4th edition. Expect all the snark and playing with tropes you can find in original books. http://www.sjgames.com/discworld/
The Inevitable EndEdit
Everything comes to an end, and this fact became apparent for even the Discworld series in 2007 when Terry Pratchett announced that he'd been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.
Like the massive badass that he was, Pratchett took this fact in his stride becoming the forerunner of Alzheimer's advocacy and assisted suicide AND still managed to release books on a regular, consistent basis whilst suffering from a disease that causes most sufferers to spend the rest of their days babbling in a retirement home.
But, unfortunately, despite much protestations from fans and signs to prove he was doing very well despite this affliction, Pratchett died in 2015.
What makes this whole damn thing so sad is that, given his relationship both literary and philosophical with death, we know almost for a fact that he was probably completely fine with it. To add a bittersweet bow to the top of the sadness cake, he instructed his assistant to post the following to announce his passing:
- "AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.
Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.
After his death the hard drive containing all of his unfinished work was, as per his explicit wishes, destroyed by a steamroller. The wish was granted on August 25th by Lord Jericho, a vintage John Fowler & Co steamroller at the Great Dorset Steam Fair and overseen by Rob Wilkins, manager of the Pratchett estate. The wry sense of humor behind this act was appreciated by many fans.
TL;DR RIP Terry Pratchett. You will forever live on in the heart of fa/tg/uys and fa/tg/irls the world round.