Every once in a while I come across an author that catches my imagination and my love on a great many levels. Terry Pratchett is one such author. He imbues his stories with his love for his craft along with the great talent that he has shared with others ever since he was a young boy.
I hope that some of my love for Pratchett will shine through my posts about his Discworld series (along with his other books that I have reviewed on my blog).
An author like Terry could find this Discworld image funny and quite ironic. My little ponies instead of elephants. I have to grin each time I see this. It’s just so silly. A great deal of fan-art and official art has been made relating to the Discworld. Some of it will be included in my posts with links to the artist (if I get it wrong I would really appreciate someone letting me know).
“In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, in an astral plane that was never meant to fly, the curling star-mists waver and part …
and what we see is Great A’Tuin, the turtle that flows through space with four elephants on her back. On top of these four elephants we find the Discworld, a flat earth where you can most certainly find and fall over the end of the world. Hubward and Rimward are the Discworld’s equivalent of N/S/E/W.
The Discworld comprises the largest part of Pratchett’s authorship. How to read the Discworld, what order to read the books in and what topic Terry Pratchett is illustrating in each of his stories is sometimes up for discussion. On his official discussion boards people agree and disagree on the how’s, why’s and whereof’s of this crazy world with its loveable characters. And boy, am I fond of them.
These are my very favorite characters of the Discworld:
On the Sto Plains we find Ankh-Morpork, Quirm, Sto Lat, Sto Helit, Chirm and Pseudolopolis. Of these the one you see featured most in the Discworld series is Ankh-Morpork. But the others also make an appearance. According to Pratchett (who you may choose to believe or not) nothing on the Discworld should be thought of as a Tellus counterpart (cough, cough). You might struggle a bit doing that, so feel free to compare the Discworld countries with any country on this side of the parallel universe division.
The city/kingdom on Discworld that we as readers visit the most is Ankh-Morpork. Ankh comprises the richer part of the city while Morpork contains the docks, taverns and the poorer side of the city. Vetinari is the city’s tyrant. Under him thieves, assassins and beggars have had to gather into guilds so they can police and train their own members and pay taxes.
Part of but not part of Ankh-Morpork is The Unseen University (UU). The UU is a scary place for the uninitiated. Buildings and grounds are so saturated with magic that nothing seems to remain “normal” (for a given Discworldian value of normal). Which is why the wizards at the UU held so much power until Lord Vetinary arrived. While the wizards consider themselves above the law and taxes, Lord Vetinari is of another opinion. Somehow both parties end up satisfied with their “agreement”.
One of the reasons for the UU being so saturated with magic has to do with their library. In it we find incredibly dangerous books. If you are not careful, some of them will eat you. The Librarian’s job is to make certain that as many people as possible make it out of the Library alive. If a person is stupid enough to damage one of the books, then it might just be the librarian that ends up killing them.
Another great thing about Ankh-Morpork is its diversity. Lord Vetinary decided that their night watch ought to reflect that variety. We find several of its police officers from the land of Uberwald. Carrot and his beloved Angua (werewolf), several of the dwarves, a vampire and trolls seems to prefer the city to their origins. Perhaps that has to do with the nature of Uberwald.
Uberwald is a place where humans are in the minority – prey to two of the other races living there (vampires and werewolves). Dwarves, on the other hand, wish to have as little as possible to do with humans and manage that quite well by staying underground in their amazing cities. Uberwald is not a place to go on vacation, although Vimes actually tries to honeymoon there.
Another large portion of the inhabitants of Ankh-Morpork come from the land of Klatch. Strangely enough, Klatch happens to be a traditional enemy of Ankh-Morpork. One would think that they’d be able to conquer Ankh-Morpork, but alas. Ankh-Morpork is like that scrappy little terrier that never lets go, and once you’re in their city you become one of them. Klatch consists of a lot of sand, highly intelligent philosphers and inventors and are seemingly more advanced than Ankh-Morpork. On the above map you will see the exact size of Klatch in relation to Ankh-Morpork.
Visitors to Ankh-Morpork sometimes come from the small mountain country of Lancre. Some of the Discworld’s coolest characters live there. Practicing witches, witches to be, a king and citizens who enjoy living under the protection and terror of the witches live in Lancre. Granny Weatherwax happens to be the unofficial head of all of the witches on the Discworld and she also happens to live in Lancre.
The Agatean Empire
The Agatean Empire is where the Luggage is from. It features in one of the stories about Rincewind. Pratchetts two first stories in the Discworld series has one of its citizens as main character (Two Flower), which is how the Luggage got to the other side of the ocean. The general populace of the Agatean Empire believe that one must not travel outside the great wall the surrounds i due to the vampiric nature of the people living there. Being such a secluded country leaves the rest of the world knowing nothing about them, which is very much against the grain of Lord Vetinary.
Four Ecks also lies across the ocean and is a land where death lies in wait everywhere. Please try to remember that there are no similarities between Discworld and Tellus.
FourEcks, or NOT-Australia, is an extremely dry land for the most part. It’s animals, birds and insects are deadly to such an extent that it is advisable for newcomers to an area to expect the worst. In the Discworld series there is only one story dealing with this strange and deadly continent (Interesting Times – Rincewind series).
My Discworld system:
- Industrial revolution / Ankh-Morpork series
- The Watch / Vimes
- Discworld cultures and gods
- Witches of Discworld
- BBC Radio: Discworld stories
- British Council Literature: Terry Pratchett
- Discworld countries
- Existence and demiurgy in Terry Pratchett’s works
- Jan Kantůrek’s Notes in the Translation of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series
- The Chronological Discworld Project
- The Discworld Compendium
- The official Terry Pratchett message boards
- Terry Pratchett appreciation
- Terry Pratchett celebrated by new Royal mail stamps (2010)
- Terry Pratchett reading order
- Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Might be the Highest Form of Literature on the Planet
- Terry Pratchett and the Maggi Soup Adverts
- The genius of Terry Pratchett
- The Pratchett Podcasts
- The Wizzard