Category Archives: Humour

Pratchett, Terry: Witches of Discworld

witches-cover-lge

Witches (usually women) are a force to be reckoned with on the Discworld. Nowhere near as flashy as the wizards (usually men), these women often rule their villages with an iron fist and a whole lot of headology. Pratchett describes headology as:

a witch’s way of magically setting fire to a log of wood consists of staring at the log until it burns up from pure embarrassment. As a result it is less energy intensive, which means that a witch can do more than a technically equally powerful wizard. (Discworld Wiki)

Now, imagine headology turned on people. That might frighten a few into behaving who might not otherwise behave.

Granny Weatherwax by paul kidby
Granny Weatherwax
by Paul Kidby

The strongest headologist of the “good” witches is Granny (Esmeralda) Weatherwax. Her sister, Lilith (below), happens to be one of the “bad” ones. In a world supposedly without a hierarchy, Granny is the unspoken ruler of the witches. In the village of Lancre there is absolutely no doubt she is the boss. That is until an attempted rebellion be some wannabe witches (below). Granny is a dream of a witch. In the trio of Lancre her role is the role of the Crone (although noone would actually call her a “Crone” to her face – no one with their senses intact). Granny’s special ability is to see reality clearer than the rest. Pratchett explains that this is a manner of seeing the world that does not lie to itself including an ability to question not only the world but oneself again and again and again. Young Tiffany Aching seems to be following in Granny’s “footsteps” in this regard (below). What one needs to realize about Granny Weatherwax is that she is always there for you when you need her. Her one weak spot is her cat: “gerrofoutofityoubugger!” (generally called “You”). Considering who the owner of “You” is, I find it easy to believe that she is the only creature who has gotten the better of Greebo. While younger and much smaller than Greebo “You” terrifies him – inasmuch as he is able to be terrified of anything/anyone.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Nanny Ogg and Greebo
by Visente

Greebo belongs to Nanny Ogg. Nanny is probably the only person alive who thinks of Greebo as a big softy.

To Nanny Ogg he was merely a larger version of the fluffy kitten he had once been. To everyone else he was a scarred ball of inventive malignancy.

Nanny is the Mother of the threesome in Lancre. Now there is a lady I wouldn’t mind meeting. Her sense of humour is broadminded, raunchy and hilarious. At the same time she rules her brood and their spouses with something akin to terror with a dash of love mixed in. They adore her yet fear her – at least her daughters in law. Nanny Ogg saves Granny from herself when that is needed and functions as Granny’s grounding rod. Not only that but Nanny lightens the mood when Granny feels overwhelmed or as if the people around her are too stupid for their own good. While Granny is the one who scares people Nanny is the one who woos them – until it is time to stop wooing. Nanny’s final job in the trio of witches is to prod Magrat in the direction Nanny feels Magrat ought to go without being as truthful about it as Granny tends to be.

Meek_Mild_Magrat_by_mjOboe
Meek, Mild Magrat
by MJ Oboe

Magrat Garlick is an interesting character. She happens to be the “Maiden” of the Lancre coven. At first glance Magrat is a young ditz with a heart of gold and a great belief in crystals and folk wisdom.

Witches aren’t like that. We live in harmony with the great cycles of Nature, and do no harm to anyone, and it’s wicked of them to say we don’t. We ought to fill their bones with hot lead.

But as you see, Magrat has another side as well – like we all do. In Lords and Ladies that side shows up in all its glory.

Unlike Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, Magrat is not very good at headology. Her forte lies in research and development of herbs and cures (and her crystals of course). She struggles with her self-confidence, but Granny and Nanny make up for that by having an abundance of confidence in themselves. It can’t be easy being the youngest witch when the two older ones in your coven have such strong personalities.

tiffany_aching_by_alda_rana-d64wi2t
Tiffany Aching and the MacNeegles
by Alda Rana

Young Tiffany Aching down down on the Chalk (mountain) is a whole different type of character. She has to take over the responsibility for her mountains when her grandmother (the local witch) dies. The only possible candidate is Tiffany Aching. At 9 her ability to ask uncomfortable questions and her quest for knowledge points to her potential as a great witch down the line. But Tiffany isn’t really worried about the whole witch thing nor is she caught up in the need to be one. Instead she happens to have the gift of making cheese. I know, strange gift for a witch one might say. But witches are practical people who prize such abilities over other more wizard-like gifts. In fact, Tiffany excels so much that one of her cheeses has come alive and become and excellent mouser. Its name is Horace. She is friends with the Nac Mac Feegles, a feat not managed by many.

These four witches are my favorite ones. There are many more that make appearances in Pratchett’s Witches’ series, but Granny, Nanny, Magrat and Tiffany get into so many incredibly weird and funny situations that its impossible not to have them as favorites. The Witches’ series consists of Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum, The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight.  As usual Wikipedia gives detailed information about these women, Pratchett’s page is a given source and L-Space has fun details.


SciFi and Fantasy Art Eskarina by Hannah Crosby
Eskarina
by Hannah Crosby

EQUAL RITES (1987)

As I stated at the beginning of this post most witches are women and most wizards are men. There are exceptions. Some of those exceptions start with mistaken identity.

Up in the Ramtops a wizard comes awalking using his staff as a guide to where he is going. Bad Ass, the village, is his lucky destination. A child is being born, the eight son of an eight son.

Drum Billet, our wizard, knows he is about to die. Wizards and witches get to have that knowledge. He gives his staff to the son of the smith and dies. One problem. The eight son of the eight son just happens to be a girl, Eskarina Smith. A wizard girl. Oops.

Good thing for young Eskarina Smith (Esk to her friends) that Granny Weatherwax was the midwife that saw her into the world. When Eskarina is 7 her mother decides to send her along with her brothers to Granny. Strange things seem to be happening around the girl whenever she is upset.

When they get to Granny’s, Granny Weatherwax is lying on her bed looking quite dead. Being a witch she wasn’t, she was only out borrowing. Eskarina feels Granny’s undeadness and goes downstairs waiting for Granny to return (while her brothers run off terrified). When she hears loud noises upstairs, even she becomes terrified, runs off, falls down and is met by the staff (yes! the staff came to her).

Granny knows something has to be done, and right away. She decides to take her to the wizards school in Ankh-Morpork, the Unseen University, and enroll the young Eskarina. But getting the girl into this all-male school is going to prove more difficult than Granny had thought.


Adaptations

BBC4 dramatisation of Equal Rites as serial on Woman’s Hour


The future king with the witches

WYRD SISTERS (1988)

The night was as black as the inside of a cat. It was the kind of night, you could believe, on which gods moved men as though they were pawns on the chessboard of fate. In the middle of this elemental storm a fire gleamed among the dripping furze bushes like the madness in a weazel’s eye. It illuminated three hunched figures. As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: “When shall we three meet again.”

Here we have the Discworld’s version of MacBeth‘s witches. The mother, the crone and the other one. Or as other people know them, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Maigrat.

King Verence of Lancre is making a discovery. He is about to become a ghost, unable to stop the kidnapping of his child. By a freak accident the child ends up in the arms of Granny Weatherwax and she decides to take a hand in playing with the future and sends the baby off with a troupe of actors.

Fifteen years later.

Words have power. In the “good old days” the jester was the only person at a king’s court who could speak his mind without fear of the consequences (supposedly). These days we have the media. But words have power. We might remember an event or something about the people involved, but as the story gets told and re-told our perception of the event changes. Pratchett’s way of pointing a light at our perceptions and prejudices is a wonder.


Adaptations

1997: Wyrd Sisters was produced as a two-part animated television series, produced by Cosgrove Hall.


House of Gogol
by Brer Anansi

WITCHES ABROAD (1991)

This is a story about stories.

Or what it really means to be a fairy godmother.

But it’s also, particularly, about reflections and mirrors.”

On the Ramtops there was only one witch who was not attending the Sabbat. Desiderata Hollow was making her will. Desiderata is a fairy godmother to princess Emberella. The other one was Lilith (who just happens to be Granny’s sister).

In Genua, the magical kingdom, Lady Lilith de Tempscire loved the idea of travelling through mirrors. After speaking to Desiderata she was glad that there would only be her and the voodoo woman left to fight over Emberellas’s future.

At Lancre the fairy godmother wand is delivered into the hands of Magrat. The note from Desiderata reads:

I niver had time to Trane a replaysment so youll have to Do. You must goe to the City of Genua. I would of done thys myself only cannot by reason of bein dead. Ella Saturday muste NOTTE marry the prins. PS This is important. PSPS The those 2 Olde Biddys they are Notte to come with Youe, they will onlie Ruine everythin. PSPSPS It has tendincy to resett to pumpkins but you wil gett the hange of it in noe time.”

With this bit of headology, Desiderata guarantees that Nanny (with Greebo) and Granny decide to accompany Magrat on her journey to Genua. As the threesome moves through the lands on their way to Genua, they manage to upset quite a few people. In typical tourist style they are loud and obnoxious and wonder why these people cannot speak properly. But there is also magic battle and voodoo fun to be had.


Adaptations

1999: Witches Abroad stage adaptation by Aaron Birkes played at Aberystwyth Arts Centre Theatre


Lords and Ladies
by Marc Simonetti

LORDS AND LADIES (1992)

Magrat, Nanny (with Greebo) and Granny are back in Lancre after being absent for eight months. That worried Magrat. Was the kind-of-agreement between her and Verence still up and running.

Upon her return, Magrat was informed by King Verence that they were to be married at midsummer and that all of the arrangements have been made. No proposal, just a statement. He is the King you see, and Magrat a subject.

A stone circle up in the mountains of Lancre keeps the Dancers in. That is if they are not let out. When people forget about the Dancers, it is an easy matter to lure them into the stone circle, leaving them quite dead.

Esme Weatherwax and Nanny Grogg come to the Dancers and discover that someone has been dancing. Diamanda, Perdita and that girl with the red hair decided that they should teach themselves witching in the absence of the older ladies. About six of them have been going up into the mountains every full moon dancing. When Granny goes borrowing she discovers that there is some kind of mind loose in the kingdom – Elf.

Mustrum Ridicully of the Unseen University worrying about baldness and thinking back to the good old days when he went walking with Esme. When he is invited to the wedding of King Verence and Magrat, Ridicully decides it is time to up into the mountains. With him go the Librarian and the Reader in Invisible Writings, Ponder Stibbons.


1995: Lords and Ladies stage adaptation by Irana Brown

2005: Lords and Ladies German feature length fanfilm. I’ve only been able to find the link to the trailer. So if anyone has a link to the full-length movie, please send.


MASKERADE (1995)

In his dedication Pratchett writes:

“My thanks to the people who showed me that opera was stranger than I could imagine.”

What is Pratchett going to make fun of this time you might ask. Well, the answer is The Phantom of the Opera.

Mr. Goatberger, the publisher, has been sent the manuscript to a book. It wasn’t even on proper paper, and he was filled with apprehension. Then he started reading, kept on reading, and called in his assistant, Mr. Cropper. He began dreaming “the dream of all those who publish books, which was to have so much gold in your pockets that you would have to employ two people just to hold your trousers up.”

Agnes Nitt has come to the Opera House to audition for a part. She might not be the greatest looker, but she has a voice to kill for. When the time comes to select the players, Agnes gets stuck singing for the goodlooking Christine.

Gytha Ogg gets a letter addressed to “The Lancre Witch”, bringing Granny’s temper up a bit. Nanny’s book “The Joye of Snacks” has become a hit, and it turns out the publisher has been a bit complacent about paying Nanny her dues. In fact, he owes her about four or five thousand dollars. They decide to take a trip to Ankh-Morpork and stir up the town a little. That, and convince Agnes to come back to Lancre as the maiden witch. They bring Greebo, Nanny’s cat of terror. His part in this story is amazing.

Reading Maskerade with the Phantom of the Opera playing in my head at the same time was great fun. Terry Pratchett has really nailed it this time.


If you want and incredibly detailed and extensive analysis of Maskerade, I recommend Bewitching Writing by Dorte Andersen at Aalborg University. It seems I’m not the only fan of Terry.

1998: Stephen Briggs stage adaptation of Maskerade.

2006: A stage adaptation of Maskerade by Hana Burešová and Štěpán Otčenášek (partly using adaptation by Stephen Briggs) premiered in Divadlo v Dlouhé, Prague. Pratchett attended the closing performance five years later.


The Carpe Jugulum Cast
by Vic Hill

CARPE JUGULUM (1998)

Into the country of Lancre comes an army. An army made up of very small blue men, no higher than six inches tall. Little blue men nobody messes with. Men whose favorite pasttime is fighting anything and anyone.

Not too far from Lancre, four vampires come accross an invitation to the name ceremony of the child of Queen Magrat and King Verence. It is a dangerous thing to invite vampires into your home, whether that be house or kingdom. Sort of gives them free rein. Count Magpyr, his wife and their two children enter Lancre with their servant Igor.

Granny Weatherwax gets called away to a birthing that is in trouble. When she gets there, she has to decide who to save, mother or child. Very few people could make such a choice without trying to share the responsibitility with someone. Flying back towards the castle she notices mist is on its way from Uberwald.

The dwarf Casuanunda is having to resort to highway robbery. But robbing that black coach is not very tempting when he sees how another highway robber is treated. Instead he goes on to Lancre where he has a few aquaintances.

In this novel Pratchett plays with the idea of split personality, references vampire movies of the day, pyramid schemes and good and evil through the Phoenix vs. vampire myths. Pratchett managed to give this novel a slightly creepy feel.


Adaptation

1999: Stephen Briggs’ adaptation of Carpe Jugulum


The Wee Free Men
by Kathrin

THE WEE FREE MEN (2003) (Skrellingene – 2004) – Locus YA winner 2004

We now leave Lancre behind (for the most part) and enter the world of the Chalk and Tiffany Aching. She is nine years old when we meet her for the first time in The Wee Free Men.

My first meeting with Tiffany (or Petronella in Norwegian) was in Norwegian. I thought I would introduce my youngest to Pratchett and this new book on the market seemed like the thing to read. Was it ever.

When we meet her she is lying by the river tickling the trout on their backs. She liked hearing them laugh. With her on this expedition was her brother Wentworth (Steingrim in Norwegian). Like all little kids he was messy and sticky but easy to be around.

I’m sure you remember the little blue men in Carpe Jugulum. Here they come again, trying to fish. For some reason Tiffany was able to see them. Only witches should be able to see the blue terrors.

Grandma Aching has just died and Tiffany thinks that she might have been a witch. The little blue men turn out to be the Nac mac Feegle. Since Grandma died they are on the lookout for a new “hag”. Since Tiffany sees them and is able to control them (somewhat) the Nac mac Feegle tell Tiffany that she is their hag.

They need help for their Kelda (mom). She is ill. Tiffany comes with them to their hole in the ground and checks out things for the boys. Sadly, the Kelda is dying (of old age) and Tiffany needs to be there for the boys until a new Kelda can be found.

When Tiffany’s baby brother disappears, she now has allies in her search for him. The search brings Tiffany and the mac Feegles into a strange world where Tiffany’s hag-hood is proven.

My youngest son laughed his head off and was really spooked at times. An excellent children’s book in my opinion. They won’t get all the references, but who cares, I probably don’t either. What’s really great about the Tiffany Aching series, is that we get a look at Tiffany’s growth from the beginning. Terry has created a wonderful character in our young Tiffany.


There is a possible film adaptation of The Wee Free Men by Rhianna Pratchett (Terry’s daughter) in the inning.


A Hat Full of Sky
by Fredrik Ämting

A HAT FULL OF SKY (2004) (En hatt full av himmel – 2005) – Locus YA winner 2005

More laughter came for my son in “A Hat Full of Sky“. Those Nac mac Feegle names are genius. I read them in Norwegian (in one of our dialects of course) and I couldn’t help myself. I giggled along. Pratchett has so many of those giggle moments and then all of a sudden a belly-laugh comes along. All part of his godhood status for me I guess.

Tiffany is now an apprentice to Miss Level. On their way there, Tiffany and Miss Tick are attacked by a hiver (powerful, dangerous creature).  At the cottage of Miss Level, Tiffany discovers that Miss Level is in fact two-bodied and that there is a ghost cleaning her house. During her stay Tiffany has to fight the Hiver, but fortunately she does not have to battle alone all of the time. Help is to be found in many places.

We get a great look at the life of an eleven year old torn out of her old life, having to go to boarding school (so to speak). Everything is new. Not everyone is nice. On top of that she has the macNeegle and the Hiver. Growing up must come quickly then. Pratchett does an excellent job at looking at the development of Tiffany’s identity. She emerges as someone who has integrity and the willingness to question herself. She’s actually a pretty good role-model for young people.


Wintersmith
by Bruna Brito

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p>WINTERSMITH (2006)Locus YA winner 2007

By now I think we’ve seen that Tiffany is not the kind of girl who is ruffled by just anything. It takes a bit more than normal to get her uncomfortable. Being wooed by the Wintersmith is one of those things. In “Wintersmith” Tiffany does a foolish thing. At the dark morris dance welcoming winter, Tiffany finds herself drawn into the dance. Ooops. Wrong person.

This means the Wintersmith (who brings winter) meets Tiffany rather than the Summer Lady and is enchanted by her. Double oooops.

All of a sudden green stuff sprouts underneath Tiffany’s feet and the Cornucopia appears. Tiffany seems to have taken on at least one of the Summer Lady’s abilities. Her friends Roland, macFeegles and Granny Weatherwax have to help Tiffany get out of her new bind.

While her new teacher, miss Treason, is kind of creepy Tiffany manages to learn a lot from her, not least all which color of cheese she does not like.

I’ve seen from commentaries that some people think Wintersmith too childish. Sometimes I wonder if I’m reading the same books as other people or if I’m expecting different things from the books. I find all of the characters delightful, even crazy old Treason. Terry’s writing is up to its usual standard and as a brainwashed cultmember of the Pratchettian cult I’m sold.


i-shall-wear-midnight-discworld-novel-38

I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT (2010)Andre Norton award 2011

OK. Now we come to the last book in the Witches and Tiffany series: I Shall Wear Midnight. For some reason I found it poignant. You know how sometimes you get a feeling of being thankful that you’ve read a book? Well, Midnight and Snuff are both Pratchett books that gave me that quiet feeling. I was moved.

Tiffany is now grown up (15) and is working the Chalk as its only witch in a climate of growing suspicion and hate.

When the Baron of the county dies, she is accused of killing him. Tiffany travels to Ankh-Morpork to inform Roland of his father’s death. As usual the macFeegles follow Tiffany into town.

Tiffany’s fight this time is against the Cunning Man. Once again we get a battle between the almost good against the practically evil.

My love for this book could also be due to its darker tone. This darker tone fits the books well.

Pratchett, Terry: Rincewind

Rincewind is one of the funnest and funniest characters of the Discworld. In spite of the

  • Rincewind is a self-acknowledged coward whose running abilities fit with his cowardice.
  • He was not the brightest student at the Unseen University. In fact the other wizards claimed that Rincewind is “the magical equivalent to the number zero”. He does have one magical formula in his head – one of the Eight Great Spells. Unfortunately, the formula  must never be used.
  • Rincewind is both the luckiest and unluckiest of characters. Lady Luck is kind of on his side, and Rincewind’s ability to frustrate all of Death’s plans are next to none. In fact, Rincewind’s hourglass of life is the only one that is not hourglass shaped.
  • Rincewind’s constant companion is the Luggage, a pearwood chest that walks and acts as Rincewind’s bodyguard. During his many unexpected trips to fairly unusual places, Rincewind has great need of this protection.

THE COLOUR OF MAGIC (1983)

French cover by Marc Simonetti Kemar

The first of the Discworld books is The Colour of Magic. In it Terry Pratchett set out to make fun of the many cliches in fantasy and science fiction. When I first started reading The Colour of Magic, I hadn’t gotten that part of it. But when I went back to it with this necessary knowledge, I laughed (well, giggled)  a whole lot.

“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 …”

Right off the tone is set. I must have been terribly dense not to have seen the humour my first time through, but there you are – once an airhead always an airhead.

And so we get our first look at A’Tuin, upon whom the Discworld rests. Now that Pratchett has shown us the glory of his world, it is time for him to give us the story of Rincewind – one of many.

Rincewind meets Twoflower in the Broken Drum. Twoflower is a tourist from the Counterweight Continent. Noticing the stranger’s language problem, Rincewind helps the man and is hired as Twoflower’s guide. Recognizing potential trouble, Rincewind tries to flee the city, but is caught by the Patrician who orders him to protect Twoflower.

Through a series of mishaps, Rincewind and Twoflower end up having to flee Ankh-Morpork. From there their journey takes them into and out of the embrace of Death time and again. They are hunted by trolls, bears, demons, dragons and believers.


http://925rebellion.com/pratchett-films/
http://925rebellion.com/pratchett-films/

A graphic novel, illustrated by Steven Ross and adapted by Scott Rockwell, was published by Corgi in 1992.

The Mob Film Company and Sky One have produced a two-part adaptation, combining both The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic broadcast over Easter 2008.

In 1986 Piranha Games published The Colour of Magic as a text adventure game developed by Delta 4.

A video game titled Discworld: The Colour of Magic was released on mobile phones in 2006.

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC (1986)

Book cover – graphic novel

The Light Fantastic begins where The Colour of Magic left off. Rincewind and Twoflower are once again trying to survive one of their stunts.

Back at the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork something really strange is happening. One of the extremely dangerous magic books is beginning to leak and the wizards are terrified of the consequences. When the leakage causes the UU to be flooded they realise something has to be done.

The book with the Eight Great Spells decides to take matters into its own pages, and rescues Rincewind and Twoflower from their predicament. That does not mean that Rincewind, Twoflower and the Luggage are out of trouble. Indeed, druids, mercenaries, Cohen the Barbarian, Death, the Four Horsemen, trolls, crazed villagers, a magical shop, Things all have to be encountered before they can go home.

If you’ve read a bit of English litterature from the pre-1986 era, you’ll probably recognize the references made in The Light Fantastic. But even without that knowledge, it’s easy to see that Pratchett makes fun of religion, philosophy, insurance and myths.

A graphic novel illustrated by Steven Ross and Joe Bennet, was published by Corgi in 1993.

The books are full of references. If you go to L-Space you’ll find annotations, quotations, essays and all sorts of goodies on all of the Discworld books.

SOURCERY (1988)

French book cover by Marc Simonetti Kemar

A sourcerer is the eight son of an eight son of an eight son. A wizard squared. A source of magic.

Isplore (father of the sourceror) refuses to go with Death when it comes. Instead he decides to steer his son’s destiny by imbuing his wizard’s staff with his spirit. Poor little Coin. His future has already been decided for him by his father.

Back at the Unseen University a new Archchancellor is to be “elected”. Rincewind and the Librarian are working with the books in the library. The books and shelves are restless. As he leaves the library, he notices a couple of other disturbing event. Ravens are cawing and all the vermin is leaving the Unseen University. Rincewind tries to warn the bursar, who unsurprisingly does not believe him.

When he is unable to get the administration to believe that something is afoot, Rincewind does his usual desperate disappearing act. He and the librarian withdraw to the Mended Drum (used to be the Broken Drum).

Parents! What can you do about parents? No matter how much you fight them, somehow they find a way to impose their will. In Sourcery, you’ll see quite a bit of Ipsilore trying to do just that to Coin. Holding all that power is quite a challenge for a boy trying to find his way in the world. His choices will make or break the Discworld.

FAUST ERIC (1990)Eric

French cover by Marc Simonetti Kemar

“Death fancied that he heard, very briefly, the sound of running feet and a voice saying, no a voice thinking oshitoshitoshit, I’m gonna die I’m gonna die I’m gonna DIE!” When he focuses his gaze, all he says is: “OH, … IT’S HIM”. Yes, you’ve guessed it. Death’s favorite non-dier – in fact the only one – Rincewind.

In Ankh-Morpork, something invisible is running through the town, yelling at the top of its voice. The wizards try the Rite of AshkEnte (calling on Death) to find an answer. He tells them that Rincewind is caught in the Dungeon Dimensions, trying to get back home. The likelihood of that happening is a million to one. Hello! This is Rincewind we’re talking about.

What happens then. Well, Rincewind wakes up in a regular human sort of room caught in a magic circle. In fact, he is caught by a pimply teen-aged boy with a fake beard. This kid wants to have mastery of the kingdoms of the world, meet the most beautiful woman who has ever lived and wants to live forever.

He is about to get all wishes fulfilled, but not in the way he expected and both Eric and Rincewind may end up regretting that the conjurations was performed. What Eric Thursley will end up knowing all too much about is deception, bureaucracy and stupidity.

INTERESTING TIMES (1994)

By Ryan Dowling Soka

As the gods are playing games, with Fate winning as usual, the Lady turns up. She wants to play Mighty Empires with Fate, letting the dice roll deciding whether fate of luck will rule this time.

Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor of UU is called to see the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork. A Pointless Albatross has turned up with a message from the mysterious Agatean Empire, requesting the “Great Wizzard”. Vetinari wants Ridicully to send the Great Wizzard to the Counterweight Continent by tea-time, leaving the Archchancellor six hours to figure out who this wizzard is and get him on his way. Oh dear.

We all know who this “Great Wizzard” is, and Rincewind ends up in the Agatean Empire. Unfortunately Rincewind’s wizardly talents seem to have grown in the telling and he seems sadly wanting for the role Agatean people want him to fill. He is supposed to step in as a leader of the revolution. Well, the Agatean people are in for a surprise and so is Rincewind. Of all the people Rincewind should meet on the Counterweight Continent, Cohen the Barbarian and his compatriots turn up.

THE LAST CONTINENT (1998)

Dijabringabeeralong Pub by Rhianna

It’s winter and cold season in Ankh-Morpork. At the Unseen University the Librarian has caught a bug. Each time he sneezes, he changes shape – into anything. The wizards are at a loss, and the only one who has been able to communicate effectively with the Librarian is, you guessed it, Rincewind.

Rincewind, however, is somewhere else. At the moment he is digging a hole – more or less looking for opals. The other opal miners know him as Strewth. When Strewth uncovers something that looks like a giant opal, the other opal-miners cheer. Then the opal cracks open and lots of little feet appear.

Back at the Unseen University the wizards are their usual bumbling selves looking for Rincewind. Searching has uncovered a window to somewhere delightful. A beach with clear blue water and lies behind a window in the room of the Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography. Since they are wizards they climb through. When Mrs. Whitlow arrives with sandwiches, she closes the window and they are all stuck. Now they have to find their way back, somehow, back to the future.

Rincewind/Strewth and the luggage are off on their adventures. One of the funniest ones is a shearing episode with our talented Rincewind. There is also a delightful one that reminds me an incredibly of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

THE LAST HERO (2001)

The Last Hero by Paul Kidby

The last installment in the Rincewind series is The Last Hero. My copy has been illustrated by Paul Kidby and is beautiful in a Discworldian manner. Vetinari receives a message from the Agatean Empire.

Cohen the Barbarian has set out on a quest with the Silver Horde. “Fingers” Mazda stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, and was chained to a rock to be torn open daily by a giant eagle as punishment. As the last heroes remaining on the Disc, the Silver Horde seek to return fire to the gods with interest, in the form of a large sled packed with explosive Agatean Thunder Clay. They plan to blow up the gods at their mountain home, Cori Celesti.

Vetinari organises an effort to stop the Horde and Leonard of Quirm (Vetinari’s tame inventor) to design the Discworld’s second known spacecraft to slingshot under the Discworld and back around the top, landing on Cori Celesti. Rincewind, Carrot and the Librarian are slung off to save the world.


1995: Discworld video game, Discworld II: Missing Presumed…!?,

2007: Snowgum Film Run Rincewind Run!

2008: Boardgame: Die Siedler von Catan: Rincewind und der Tourist / Die Gilden von Ankh-Morpork

2013: BBC Radio: Eric

Discworld Monthly: Who’s Who: Rincewind

Fanfiction

TP Official Message Board: Rincewind

Wikipedia: Rincewind

Wiki Lspace: Rincewind

Pratchett, Terry: The Discworld

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).

My Little Discworld
by Annie Msson

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 …

See …”,

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:

From left back row: Death, Susan, Moist, Granny, Vetinari, Ridicully, Rincewind, Carrot and Angua; From front left: Tiffany, Nanny Ogg, Pratchett, Twoflower, Nobby, Vimes sitting on the Luggage; In front: Librarian

 
 

Sto Plains

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.

Ankh-Morpork

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.

Uberwald

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.

Klatch

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.

Lancre

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.

EcksEcksEcksEcks

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:

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Tenn, William: Of Men and Monsters (1968)

Of Men and Monsters

Of Men and Monsters is another novel that belongs in the classic category. It’s not very difficult to see that William Tenn likes to turn things upside down. He is considered one of the foremost satirists of his generation and he is very good at making me think about mankind in a different way. Like all good satires, the ending is bizarre but at the same time believable, given the circumstances described. I’ve seen that others have found the book hilarious, but I can’t say that I did. To me, Of Men and Monsters was more thoughtfully funny.

I couldn’t help thinking of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read) when I read the title. Of Men and Monsters is Tenn’s only full-length novel. I read it one reading, not wanting to put it down. These old-timers were excellent writers.

In Of Men and Monsters the earth has been conquered by gigantic aliens (monsters). Humans have become vermin, living in the walls of the houses of these monsters living like mice, rats and cockroaches off the spoils of the monsters. One of the tribes of men calls itself Mankind. In Mankind lives a boy (soon to be man) called Eric the Only (single child). As part of his initiation as a man, Eric needs to go out into the Monster territory. As his journey progresses he finds betrayal, adventure and love.

People are treated pretty much as we treat our own lab animals. Experiment on them or kill them. Tenn also makes fun of the way people behave when their beliefs self-images are challenged. We pretty much see people behaving as people would, and there really is nothing funnier than that.

MacAlister, Katie: Queen of chick-lit

I think I’m finally getting a handle on what chick-lit is. The female protagonist is supposed to be ditsy but gung-ho. Studly, dudly, well-hung male is the job-description for the male protagonist. They fall passionately in love fighting it and each other all the way. Add to this cauldron of passion action and humor and you have chick-lit??????

While I’m not the biggest fan of the genre, I have read some. In my opinion most of it is so, so. Some of it is actually kind of fun while being really frustrating at the same time. The female/male leads are so ….

Katie MacAlister seems to be a big name on the chick-lit arena. It seems well-deserved. I’ve read her “Aisling Grey” series and a book called “The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires”.

The “Aisling Grey” books have great cover art. You can tell the books aren’t too serious, and they live up to that prediction. The cover art on “Vampires” is dorky, but typical of the genre. I’ll take “Aisling” covers any day compared to the alternative.

You Slay Me

Fire Me Up

Light My Fire

Holy Smokes

We meet Aisling Grey in “You Slay Me“. She comes off as somewhat of an air-head right off the bat. As her first assignment for her uncle Aisling travels to Paris to deliver a medieval object. Upon reaching the delivery address, she finds the recipient murdered and meets her male protagonist, Drake. Implicated in the circumstances of two murders, Aisling, the demon she summons for help (and subsequently can’t get rid of) named Jim, and Drake find themselves caught up in a web of lies and confusion that could well result in the demon lords of hell ruling the mortal world.

Aisling and Drake are pretty much what the books are about, with quite a bit of confusion added in. In “Fire Me Up” Aisling ends up in Hungary, having to receive her punishment from the Green dragon sept, find a guardian mentor and save the world from destruction. As we go on to “Light My Fire“, we see that Drake and Aisling still haven’t resolved their relationship. Aisling is still struggling to figure out her powers and has to save the world from imps and demon lords. When we come to “Holy Smokes” Drake and Aisling are getting ready for marriage. But life is never as simple as it might seem, at least not in the super-natural world and Aisling’s new status as demon lord has to be resolved. Being a guardian, wyvern’s mate and demon lord are just not compatible occupations.

I liked these books. They were light, fun and at times quite erotic.

The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires” was along the same lines. Along comes a ditsy, non-believing female onto the super-natural scene and meets the incredibly hot man of her dreams, Theo. Theo loses his nephilim status and gets turned into a soulless vampire who needs blood, blood, blood. Portia’s job is to save his soul and herself from whatever the super-natural world has to throw at them.

Where the Aisling books were a fun read, Vampires was more work. The humor was off and the characters weren’t of the quality of the Aisling series. My advice would be to go with the Aisling books. There the author delivers what the genre promises.

Byng, Georgia: Molly Moon

Molly Moon is a delightful character. I started reading her adventures to my son, and he fell in love with the series. Molly Moon is for children, but as an adult reading to my child I had fun.

We read them in Norwegian, but Byng is an English writing author. Molly Moon is a young orphan who discovers her incredible ability with hypnosis. With this gift, she improves the living conditions at her orphanage, controls her bullies and makes her life a little better. As she moves along in the series, Molly discovers that she has an enemy who is out to best her. She gets to travel in time, both backwards and forwards. During these travels she has the assistance of her two faithful (for the most part) friends: the dog Petula and the boy Rocky.

Our translation was a good one. The various translators have done a good job in making the Molly Moon adventures exiting and funny. We laughed a lot and I was forced to finish the scary parts before I could put the book down. My son did not have to work hard to convince me.

Cook, Glen: Sweet Silver Blues (1987)

Sweet Silver Blues is the first book in a series about P.I. A. Garrett. It’s a humorous story about a world filled with gnomes, blood-suckers and various other elven creatures. The tone is ironic and the action plenty.

Garrett has to track down the woman his dead pal Denny left a fortune in silver to. On the way he is attacked by various “people” who are after this treasure. Fortunately he has the aid of Morley and his grolls. Otherwise, this would truly be a mission impossible.

Humor is tough. We all laugh at such different things. Some like this type of humor, while I’m more into the dry wit of Terry Pratchett. Without googling him, I would have guessed that Cook is from the US (he is). While the British humor sneaks up on you from behind and taps you on the shoulder, some US humor is more direct.

Which is why commenting on humorous books is practically impossible. Having said ALL that, Silver is well written.