This time the Chinese cover wins hands down. All of the Chinese covers are amazing. You can find them on amazon.cn if you want a look.
Another book era has passed. This time Artemis Fowl is the person we get to say goodbye to. All three of us fantasy-buffs in this family followed along through Time Paradox. My oldest and I kept at it until the end. And what an ending it was. What responses to the ending there have been. I wonder what it is like being Eoin Colfer and seeing the engagement of his readers.
In the case of my oldest son and I, we enjoyed the ending. Artemis Fowl had evolved as a character throughout the series and ended up in the place where he was destined to end. His frustration, helplessness and decisiveness during the story led him to the spot he came to (with a little help from his friends). Holly, Butler and Foaly are there for him as always. Even Foaly has come to rely on Artemis finding a solution when no solution appears possible.
Two of the characters I truly loved in Last Guardian were the twins. The scene with Juliet, Myles and Beckett by the tower was hilarious. An absolute gem. I pity Juliet beeing the bodyguard to this pair. Beckett really shines as a berserker. The images this four-year old brought forth in my mind – well funny doesn’t even cover it.
Another favorite in many of the books has been Mulch Diggums. His appearance here was no less gooey or fraught with lack of self-confidence than the others stories. There is something very grosse yet fascinating about glowing spit and smelly indestructibility.
Opal Koboi has always been a bit insane. In The Last Guardian she jumps off the edge of sanity and loses any grip on the world most of the rest of the cast sees. Opal has finally found the world of Opal Koboi and she intends to stay there and bring the rest of the world into it.
When Jane Lindskold got Julie Bell to do the covers for the Firekeeper saga she made the best choice possible. Julie Bell’s wolves and people are incredible (see link above). If you have the chance, you should check out her artwork.
Once again my son and I read about Firekeeper together and once again we were richer for it. I believe this is the only advantage to having a child with a serious case of dyslexia. In spite of his age we get to sit side by side enjoying a story that takes us a to place out of time and away from our world. Both of us have Firekeeper and Blind Seer as our favorite characters. Part of that is due to the kind of fatalism on their part that comes from having to fight for survival since childhood. I believe it also comes from the love that Firekeeper and Blind Seer have for each other.
Another thing that makes the pair my favorite is that they follow their hearts no matter where that might take them. If they feel something is the right thing to do, then they will do it. As they become acquainted with the Meddler they find themselves struggling to discern between what is the influence of the Meddler and what they truly feel is right.
I guess I kind of understand the Meddler’s motives. He is a self-righteous git who takes no responsibility for the consequences of his actions but is convinced that his intentions were all that mattered. The Meddler himself considers Firekeeper a natural born meddler, but the main difference between him and Firekeeper is Firekeeper’s willingness to bear the responsibility for the consequences of whatever actions she might have taken (without putting on a self-righteous mien).
Poor Derian. He is back in Liglim as an ambassador’s assistant and still heart-sore from his short but intense relationship with Rahniseeta in Wolf Captured. My heart warms at the strength of his character. He has had Firekeeper’s back many times during the past five years and will need to rise to the occasion once again. Derian, Firekeeper and Blind Seer are naturals for the quest that is inspired by the Meddler. Along come Truth, the jaguar, and Harjeedian.
Harjeedian is the guy that kidnapped Derian, Firekeeper and Blind Seer in Wolf Captured. He is the human diplomat for the Liglim on the journey. Truth is a divining jaguar who has gone in an out of insanity. In spite of having a shaky hold on reality Truth needs to come along. So does Plik, Bitter, Lovable and Eshinarvash (the wise horse). A strange troupe for sure, but one that represents most of the groups that the gang know of.
In the above portrait by FortunesFavor Bitter and Lovable are heartwarmingly portrayed. Lovable is as her name states Lovable and in love with shiny things. At first she might come across as your regular ditzy “blonde”, and she is that too. But she is most of all bright and loving. We get to see just how close she and Bitter are in Wolf Hunting when the couple meets up with an incredibly dangerous hunter. Firekeeper and Blindseer love the couple’s wit and courage and deviousness. The two end up being essential to saving Truth and also essential to the well-being of the group that ends up chasing after one of Meddler’s meddlings.
This portrayal of Plik, the maimalodalum that ends up going with the gang to find the twins, shows a version that I agree with. He looks so innocent, but like all innocent-looking raccoons, Plik has another more violent side. As he is maimalodalum that means that there is quite a bit of human in him and we get to see this fairly well. Derian’s first reaction upon seeing Plik is – well I’m sure you can guess. But as time passes Derian sees Plik more and more as the individual that he is rather than the oddity that maimalodali are.
Eshinarvash, the wise horse, first appeared in Wolf Captured. He has chosen to come along as a horse herder and also as a companion to the others. Derian and he develop a close relationship that will come in handy as the story follows the path of Lindskold’s imagination.
These are the main characters of Wolf Hunting. As you see some of them are more unusual than others. But that is the nature of Wise Beasts/Royal Beasts and nutty spirits. I hope you find as much enjoyment with this tale as my son and I did.
Deviant Art has tons of fan-art for Kristen Britain. I found this gem depicting Alton’s struggle.
I just finished reading First Rider’s Call out loud to my son. Like Green Rider, First Rider’s Call is audio-friendly. Kristen Britain writes in a manner that makes it a delight to read aloud.
First Rider’s Call begins with the Journal of Hadriax el Fex. My son felt it would be more appropriate for him to save that story until its natural place in the book. It worked out well for him.
Leaving Hadriax el Fex’s journal for later had us starting the tale at chapter two. Karigan gets her call to return to the Green Riders, a call she has been resisting for a year. The manner in which she responds is well-thought out by Ms. Britain. From there on Karigan is thrown into one life-threatening situation after the other. I am so glad I am not Karigan. Along the way she is helped by Lil Ambriodhe – the First Rider. In Green Rider we saw Karigan interacting with ghosts and matters have not changed much in First Rider’s Call.
Blackveil wakes and sends its tendrils of magic into Sacoridia through the breach waking creatures better left sleeping. With this awakening we find the abilities of the Green Riders becoming unreliable. In Captain Mapstone’s case that causes trouble for the whole of the Green Riders. What will they do????
Like Green Rider, First Rider’s Call deals with a lot of loss and grief, but also with hope and friendship. Having to face their fears makes a difference in who various characters become. Realizing how far loved ones will go and deciding how to deal with them leads to difficult choices.
Life is like that. Yet, like many of the characters in First Rider’s Call, all we have to do is dare see ourselves for who we are. We might not be pleased with the result, but it does open up doors to new worlds.
I believe I have said a thing or two about British humour and here I go again – YEAH! I LOVE British humour. It beats every other country’s, including my own.
From 1990-1993 I had the great pleasure of watching Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie play the delightful characters of Jeeves and Wooster. Jeeves and Wooster are characters that were devised in the brilliant mind of P.G. Wodehouse and thankfully the television series retains the goofyness of Wooster and the dry, sarcastic and brilliant ways of his valet Jeeves.
It was love at first sight and set me wondering if this Wodehouse was worth checking out. YES. The insanity of the characters of the British upper-class is carried through all of Wodehouse’s stories about this eccentric duo.
For once, I will recommend that you both watch the series and read the books (audio or otherwise).
P.G. Wodehouse was an English humourist who wrote plays, novels, short stories, poems, song lyrics and journalistic articles. His Jeeves and Blandings Castle short stories and novels began in 1915 (Extricating Young Gussie). Wodehouse continued writing about the quirky characters in this world until 1974 (Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen), the premier character being Jeeves.
Jeeves, wonderful Jeeves. Jeeves is the valet of Bertram Wilberforce Wooster (“Bertie” to friends). This means that Jeeves is the personal servant of Wooster. However, Wooster does at times lend him out to friends as a butler. Which is why there are more stories with Jeeves than there are with Wooster.
Basically, the plot of each story is that either Bertie, or one of his friends, gets into trouble. After they have thoroughly enmeshed themselves, Jeeves rescues them from themselves. They come to Jeeves (or ask Bertie to ask him) for advice on some problem or other.
I hope you will enjoy this zany duo as much as I have. Get the television series, get the novels and get the audio-books. They are all hilarious. I haven’t seen the films listed below, so you will have to get a review of them elsewhere.
As with Sherlock and Christie’s characters, Wodehouse’s have been depicted a great many times (see below).
Novels and short stories
The Man with Two Left Feet (1917) – a collection of short stories of which one of them is about Bertie and Jeeves.
My Man Jeeves (1919): A collection of short stories by Wodehouse. Four of these stories were about Jeeves and Wooster. One of the others – Helping Freddie – was rewritten for the US market in a collection of short stories called Carry On, Jeeves. Its name was changed to Fixing it for Freddie and Jeeves and Wooster made an appearance.
Leave It to Jeeves, was reprinted in Carry on, Jeeves as The Artistic Career of Corky: “Bertie’s friend Corky fancies himself a portrait painter but until a commission materializes he is totally dependent on his rich uncle for support. Now Corky wants to marry and there is the delicate matter of how to introduce the girl to his uncle without getting cut off. Bertie turns to Jeeves to come up with a plan. He comes up with a good one and it works but not quite in the way expected.”
Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest: “Lady Malvern, a friend of Wooster’s dreaded Aunt Agatha, drops in one morning and manages to deposit her twenty something son Motty to his care while she tours the country and its prisons to gather material for a book. Jeeves is distant at the moment because Wooster has taken to an unsuitable hat and tie. It turns out that Motty intends to live in a most riotous manner while mum is away creating all manner of complications. Eventually Jeeves comes to the rescue.” (Listening Books)
Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg: “An adventure involving Jeeves, Wooster and ‘Bicky’, whose uncle, the Duke of Chiswick, has the potential to be a wealthy benefactor to his nephew. Unfortunately, the Duke is what’s known in the right circles as a ‘hard-boiled egg’ – ie ‘notoriously the most prudent spender in England’. When Bicky contacts Bertie, our jaunt begins.” (Listening Books)
The Aunt and the Sluggard: “Rocky Todd is the laziest American on Long Island. His aunt desires to experience the glamor of New York. Now, when Rocky is pushed into the night life on pain of disinheritance, it threatens to destroy him, (or at least, inconvenience him irreparably). Can Jeeves find a way to serve the aunt and save the sluggard?” (Listening Books)
The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)—A semi-novel consisting of eighteen chapters, originally published as eleven short stories (some of which were split for the book):
Jeeves in the Springtime: “Bingo Little is in love with Mabel and wants to marry her. He needs his uncle’s approval so that the latter will not only not cut off his allowance, but will, in fact, increase it.”
Aunt Agatha Takes the Count (Pearls Mean Tears): “Aunt Agatha intends to engage Bertie to “a nice quiet girl” named Aline Hemmingway. Bertie is forced to spend some time with Aline and her brother, Rev. Sidney Hemmingway, but finds them dreary. After Sidney loses money at the races, he borrows £100 from Bertie with Aline’s pearl necklace on deposit. Coincidentally, Aunt Agatha’s pearl necklace goes missing.” (Wikipedia)
Scoring Off Jeeves (Bertie Gets Even): Aunt Agatha’s goal for Bertie is that he marry. She feels he is a wastrel. The chosen girl is Honoria Glossop. Honoria Glossop is the daughter of the renowned nerve specialist Sir Roderick Glossop and his wife Lady Glossop.
Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch: Aunt Agatha is still trying to marry off Bertie to Honoria. In fact Bertie seems to have become engaged to her. But when Sir Roderick comes to check out his daughter’s fiancee he finds himself wondering if Bertie is completely loony.
Jeeves and the Chump Cyril: “Aunt Agatha breaks her icy silence, and asks Bertie to look after a fellow Englishman, Cyril, who is visiting in New York. She only has one stipulation: keep Cyril off the American stage. But by the time Bertie gets the imperiling word, Cyril lands a part in a musical comedy. And with Jeeves turning a bit of a cold shoulder after a bust up over some purple socks, what’s a Wooster to do?” (Classic Tales)
Comrade Bingo: “Richard “Bingo” Little falls in love with the daughter of a left-wing (probably communist or socialist) leader called Charlotte Corday Rowbotham. In an attempt to get close to her, Little joins the group, called the Heralds of the Red Dawn, whose aims are to “massacre the bourgeoisie, sack Park Lane and disembowel the hereditary aristocracy”. This is more than a little at odds with our chums Jeeves and Wooster.” (Listening Books)
The Great Sermon Handicap: Bertie’s cousin Eustace offers to let Bertie in on a money-making scheme that he and Claude have come up with. Bingo is already at Twing. Bertie and Jeeves decide to og down to Twing and find out what this money-making scheme is all about.
The Purity of the Turf: “Bertie’s Uncle George wishes to marry a young waitress. Aunt Agatha is dismayed and, through Bertie, offers the girl ₤100 to break off the engagement; instead, however, Bertie meets Maud Wilberforce, who has a connection with his uncle.” (Wikipedia)
The Metropolitan Touch: Bingo has once again fallen in love, but she does not seem the least bit interested in him. He asks that Bertie and Jeeves come help him win the heart of the love of his life.
The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace: “Aunt Agatha wants to pack her wayward nephews Claude and Eustace Wooster off to Africa but both have fallen in love with a singer at a nightclub Bertie took them to the night before, and sneak back from the docks to Bertie’s place to pursue her.” (Wikipedia)
Bingo and the Little Woman (Bridegroom Wanted): “Bingo Little wants to marry a waitress so needs his uncle’s blessing. Bertie is pushed into helping him by pretending to be author Rosie M. Banks again.” (Wikipedia)
Jeeves Takes Charge: Uncle Willoughby guest-stars in this story. The one constant in Bertie’s life is Aunt Agatha’s attempt to marry him off to a suitable young woman. Once again she is at it and Jeeves has to step in and save Bertie.
The Artistic Career of Corky (Leave It To Jeeves): “The first fully recognizable Jeeves and Bertie story. Bertie’s cousin arrives in New York lured by the bright lights of Broadway, forcing his dreaded Aunt Agatha to make an unscheduled visit to America. A struggling artist needs help in a romantic intrigue.” (Listening Books)
Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest: “Bertie receives a surprise visit from the writer Lady Malvern and her son Wilmot. A friend of Bertie’s Aunt Agatha, Lady Malvern requests that Wilmot stay with Bertie for a couple of weeks whilst she is away in America. Bertie agrees, to find that the seemingly mild-mannered Wilmot may have a wilder side, especially when it comes to alcohol!” (Listening Books)
Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg: “An adventure involving Jeeves, Wooster and ‘Bicky’, whose uncle, the Duke of Chiswick, has the potential to be a wealthy benefactor to his nephew. Unfortunately, the Duke is what’s known in the right circles as a ‘hard-boiled egg’ – ie ‘notoriously the most prudent spender in England’. When Bicky contacts Bertie, our jaunt begins.” (Listening Books)
The Aunt and the Sluggard: “Rocky Todd is the laziest American on Long Island. His aunt desires to experience the glamor of New York. Now, when Rocky is pushed into the night life on pain of disinheritance, it threatens to destroy him, (or at least, inconvenience him irreparably). Can Jeeves find a way to serve the aunt and save the sluggard?” (Listening Books)
The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy: Jeeves has a niece whose name is Mabel. She “falls in love with Charles Edward “Biffy” Biffen during an ocean voyage. An old friend of Bertie’s, Biffy is so absent-minded that he subsequently forgets everything but her first name and that he successfully proposed to her. Feeling she has been toyed with, Mabel breaks off the engagement.” (Wikipedia)
Without the Option: Bertie comes into trouble with the law due to a misadventures involving a policeman’s helmet. He then has the great misfortune to meet a girl with intentions toward him. Jeeves will have to come to the rescue once again.
Fixing It for Freddie: In its original version Fixing It for Freddie was called Helping Freddie. Helping Freddie did not contain Bertie and Jeeves, but in Fixing It for Freddie they appear. Bertie attempts to reunite his friend Freddie With ex-fiancee Elizabeth. Inevitably things go wrong.
Clustering Round Young Bingo: “Bingo Little, friend of butler Jeeves’ master Bertie Wooster and a member of the Drones Club, is also a hopeless romantic. Our heroes Jeeves and Wooster often try to help him into or out of romantic entanglements but to little avail, or at least they often make matters worse!” (Listening Books)
Bertie Changes His Mind: Bertie Changes His Mind is the only story that is narrated by Jeeves. In it Bertie decides he wants children and in order to do so he has to marry. Jeeves is very much against such an arrangement and we get so see just how much control Jeeves has over Bertie.
Jeeves and the Impending Doom: “Bertie Wooster finds himself on a losing streak and lands himself at the mercy of his aunts, Dahlia and Agatha, and only Jeeves is capable of extricating him from disaster.” (Amazon)
The Inferiority Complex of Old Sippy: As usual one of Bertie’s friends need the help of Bertie (well really Jeeves). Sipperly is in love with the poetess Gwendolen Moon. Add to that, his ex-headmaster, Waterbury, insistings that Sipperley insert his writings into the magazine. But Sipperly’s inferiority complex keeps him from both tasks. Jeeves and Wooster are as usual at odds about Bertie’s acquisitions.
Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit: Bertie Wooster receives an invitation to spend Christmas at Skeldings Hall, home of Bobbie Wickham and Lady Wickham. Aunt Agatha telephones Bertie to inform him that Sir Roderick Glossop will also be at Skeldings, and she wishes Bertie to make a good impression on Sir Roderick. (Bertie had previously been engaged to Sir Roderick’s daughter Honoria Glossop.) (Wikipedia)
Jeeves and the Song of Songs: Tuppy greatest desire is to become betrothed to Cora Bellinger. Sadly, he has abandoned Aunt Dahlia’s daughter Angela and Aunt Dahlia is not pleased. Jeeves is called in to help.
Episode of the Dog McIntosh (Jeeves and the Dog McIntosh): Aunt Agatha has an Aberdeen called McIntosh. For some reason she has left Bertie in charge of him. Bertie discovers that one of his guests, Roberta Wickham, has given McIntosh to the stage producer Blumenfield’s son and is desperate to get McIntosh back. Once again Jeeves comes to the rescue.
The Spot of Art (Jeeves and the Spot of Art): While in the US, Bertie and Jeeves meet Tuppy Glossop who is again up to his shenanigans. Meanwhile, Bertie is currently engaged to Gwladys Pendlebury, who like all his girlfriends, brings trouble into Bertie’s life. Add in Bertie’s troublesome cousins shipped to him by Aunt Agatha and Jeeves has his hands full.
Jeeves and the Kid Clementina: Bobby Wickham gets Bertie take her and her kid cousin, Clementina, to dinner, and also to get him to drive Clementina back to school, where he is caught by a policeman while sitting in a tree on the school property.
The Love That Purifies (Jeeves and the Love That Purifies): Aunt Dahlia’s chef Anatole is the envy of her friends and aquaintances. She has entered into a wager that places her in danger of losing the lovely Anatole for a while.Obviously she does not want this to happen and asks Bertie (or more specifically Jeeves) for help.
Jeeves and the Old School Chum: Bingo Little has finally settled into married bliss in an inherited estate by Norwich. Mrs. Bingo’s friend, Laura Pyke, visits the newlyweds and it appears as if she and Bingo do not become fast friends. Bertie brings Jeeves along to visit the couple.
The Indian Summer of an Uncle: Aunt Agatha is a very class-conscious woman and when Uncle George falls in love with a mere waitress she sends Bertie and Jeeves to solve this case of what she considers a grasping woman.
The Ordeal of Young Tuppy (Tuppy Changes His Mind): Tuppy Glossop seems to fall in love all the time and Bertie and Jeeves have to come ablazing to save him from himself. This time he has chosen a dog enthousiast.
As you might have guessed by now, Jeeves pretty much runs Bertie’s life. Every once in a while Bertie rebels and this time it takes the form of playing the banjolele. Jeeves is, to put it mildly, displeased with his boss and leaves his service for that of one of Bertie’s friends.
Jeeves’ replacement Brinkley is not at all up to Jeeves’ high standards and he and Bertie come to heads several times throughout the story. When Bertie comes into contact with Jeeves again through his friend Chummy things are off and running.
We are back at Brinkley Court the home of Aunt Dahlia (Bertie’s favorite aunt). Once again we are entangled in confusing relationships and expectations from relatives. Bertie decides that he is much better qualified to give advice to his friends and forbids Jeeves to interfere. But we all know that Bertie is probably the least qualified person on this planed to give advice on relationships and he begs Jeeves to swoop in and save the day once more.
As with all of Wodehouse’s novels about Jeeves and Wooster The Code of the Woosters is a satiric look at pre-WWII upper-classes and their shenanigans. This time Aunt Dahlia desperately wants a cow-creamer. Until writing this article I did not know what a cow creamer was. Now I do:
It seems this cow-creamer should have belonged to Uncle Tom, but, instead, was purchased by Sir Watkyn Bassett. “Aunt Dahlia insists that Bertie steal it back, but Sir Watkyn and his companion Rodrick Spode are on to him. To make matters worse, Stephanie Byng also has an ingenious plot to endear her fiance to her uncle (none other than Sir Watkyn) that entails Bertie stealing the cow-creamer. And she’s willing to use blackmail. Damned if he does the deed and damned if he doesn’t (or rather beaten to a pulp by Spode) Bertie needs Jeeves’s assistance more desperately than ever.” (Wodehouse Russia)
“Bertie is persuaded to brave the home of his fearsome Aunt Agatha and her husband Lord Worplesdon, knowing that his former fiancée, the beautiful and formidably intellectual Lady Florence Craye will also be in attendance. What ensues will come to be remembered as The Steeple Bumpleigh Horror, with Bertie under constant threat of engagement to Craye, violence from her oafish suitor Stilton Cheesewright, the unfortunate interventions of her young brother Edwin and unnamed peril from the acid tongue of Aunt Agatha. Only the masterful Jeeves can save the day.” (Wikipedia)
“Having dispatched Aunt Agatha’s young son Thos to his seaside Borstal, Bertie Wooster intends to pay a visit to Deverill Hall, Hampshire, to lend a hand with the village entertainment. Before he sets off, his old pal Catsmeat has a favour to beg: will he ensure that his beloved Gertude is never alone with the eligible Esmond Haddock? Bertie agrees. He must also ensure that the Deverill aunts, of which there are many, think highly of Gussie Fink-Nottle so that the engagement between Gussie and the dreadful Madeline Bassett remains intact. So Bertie, fearless to the end, poses as Gussie for the duration. So far, so complicated. The plot thickens even further, however, when ‘Gussie’ awakes the next morning only to be told that there is a new guest at Deverill: someone called Bertie Wooster…” (Russian Wodehouse Society)
Ring for Jeeves (1953)—Only novel without Bertie (US title: The Return of Jeeves), based on the play Come On, Jeeves: what is the opening chapter of the UK edition becomes chapter 5 in the US edition, with other chapters being re-arranged accordingly (Wikipedia)
“The story opens with Jeeves’s employer, Bertie Wooster, having enrolled in a school that teaches the idle rich how to fend for themselves. In his absence he has allowed Jeeves to offer his services to William “Bill” Rowcester, the impoverished 9th Earl of Rowcester, whose stately home, Rowcester Abbey, is an encumbrance for which the Earl is seeking a buyer. Jeeves becomes embroiled in a complicated affair involving ‘fake’ bookies, stolen gems, a wealthy American widow and a big game hunter, but, as in all Jeeves novels, the imperturbable valet succeeds in resolving matters to the satisfaction of all parties.” (Wikipedia)
“Bertie gets himself into an utter pickle when he and Jeeves share Aunt Dahlia’s hospitality with the loathesome G. D’Arcy Cheesewright (aka Stilton) and his on/off fiancee Florence. Add to this combination a fake plot to rob Aunt Dahlia of her pearls and the scene is set for calamity…” (Russian Wodehouse Society)
A Few Quick Ones (1959) — One short story in a book of ten
The plot of Doing Clarence a Bit of Good (1958) became the basis for Jeeves Makes an Omelette. (A Brief Guide to Jeeves and Wooster)
Aunt Dahlia sends Bertie off on a mission again. In order to get Cornelia Forthergill to write a piece for Dahlia’s magazine Mylady’s Budoir he is going to have to get rid of Cornelia’s father-in-law’s painting Venus. What could possibly go wrong?
Previously Bertie and Sir Roderick Glossop have not seen eye to eye but Jeeves in the Offing sees a change in their relationship. The two of them have met when Bertie seeks solace at his Aunt Dahlia’s due to Jeeves going on holiday. Plenty of trouble lands at Brinkley Court at the same time as Bertie and Bertie is going to have a struggle to fit all the pieces together.
Once again matrimonial bliss is threatened while Bertie stays at Totleigh Towers. He is not at fault. Instead Medeline Fink-Nottle puts Gussie on a vegetarian diet. Various other plots need to be solved by Jeeves, such as winning a fiance, artwork and culinary attractions.
Jeeves and the Greasy Bird: As usual one of Bertie’s friends is having a problem with his love-life. Honoria has to get married before Sir Roderick’s fiance will marry him. Aunt Dahlia and the duo get involved in getting Honoria and Blair Eggleston (young Author who writes for aunt Dahlia’s magasine) together.
“Political dynamite threatens to explode in Market Snodbury. At Junior Ganymede, the top club for gentlemen’s gentlemen, each member is instructed to write into a famous book the ghastly habits and foibles of their employers, as a warning, and possibly a deterrent, to those entering their employ. Unsurprisingly, the celebrated work contains numerous pages about the eccentricities of one Bertram Wooster. Imagine the horror if the book fell into the wrong hands…” (Russian Wodehouse Society)
“The two editions have slightly different endings. Wodehouse’s American editor gave the US edition its title and rewrote the last page, adding Jeeves’ disclosure about the eighteen pages from the Junior Ganymede Club Book, and his expressed desire to remain permanently in Wooster’s employment.” (Wikipedia)
Bertie has discovered a mysterious rash and is advised by his doctor to retire to the country to recover. Once in Maiden Eggesford with Jeeves and his aunt Dahlia chaos and confusion ensues, this time involving horses and cats.
Most of these stories are available for free on the net.
Thank You, Jeeves! (1936) — Arthur Treacher as Jeeves, and David Niven as Bertie, meet a girl and help her brother stop two spies trying to get his secret plans. The film has almost nothing to do with the book of that title. Although Treacher looks the part, the script calls on him to play the character as unhelpful and rather unpleasant, with none of the trademark brilliance of the literary Jeeves.
Step Lively, Jeeves! (1937) — two swindlers con Arthur Treacher as Jeeves, claiming he has a fortune waiting for him in America, where Jeeves meets some gangsters. Bertie does not appear, Jeeves is portrayed as a naive bumbler, and the film has nothing to do with any Wodehouse story.
By Jeeves (2001) — A recorded performance of the musical, released as a video (with UK Martin Jarvis as Jeeves and US John Scherer as Bertie). It also aired on television.
Come On, Jeeves (opened 1954, still presented from time to time as of 2008 under its name or as Ring for Jeeves)—A 1952 play by Guy Bolton and Wodehouse (adapted into the 1953 novel Ring for Jeeves), opened 1954 in Worthing, England (cast unknown), published in 1956.
(Come On, Jeeves—1952 play with Guy Bolton, adapted 1953 into Ring for Jeeves, produced 1954, published 1956)
The World of Wooster (30 May 1965 to 17 November 1967, 20 episodes of 30 minutes)—A half-hour comedy series for BBC1 (with Dennis Price as Jeeves, and Ian Carmichael as Bertie, plus Derek Nimmo playing Bingo Little).
Jeeves and Wooster (22 April 1990 to 20 June 1993, 23 episodes of 55 minutes)—A hit ITV series starring double-act Fry and Laurie (with Stephen Fry as Jeeves, and Hugh Laurie as Bertie).
Jeeves (22 April 1975 to 24 May 1975, 38 performances)—An unsuccessful musical loosely based on Wodehouse, opened in London (with Michael Aldridge as Jeeves, and David Hemmings as Bertie). Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics & Book by Alan Ayckbourn and based on the Wodehouse book: “Code of The Woosters.”
By Jeeves (1 May 1996 to 12 February 1997; 28 October 2001 to 30 December 2001, 73 performances)—A more successful complete rewrite of the earlier version, opened in London (with Malcolm Sinclair as Jeeves, and Steven Pacey as Bertie), and premiered in the U.S. in November 1996 (with Richard Kline as Jeeves, and John Scherer as Bertie). It was produced again in 2001 on Broadway (with Martin Jarvis as Jeeves, and Scherer as Bertie), with one recorded performance released as a video film and aired on TV.
What Ho, Jeeves! (1972 to 1981)—A popular BBC Radio 4 series adapting various Jeeves stories (with Michael Hordern as Jeeves, and Richard Briers as Bertie).
The Code of the Woosters (2006)—A BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of The Code of the Woosters (with Andrew Sachs as Jeeves, and Marcus Brigstocke as Bertie).
In Alan Moore’s comic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, Jeeves and Bertie appear in the segment “What Ho, Gods of the Abyss?” in which elements of Wodehouse are mixed with H.P. Lovecraft. Bertie recounts the story of the arrival of Mi-Go to Brinkley court and the possession of Aunt Dahlia by Cthulhu. Jeeves once again saves the day and drives off the Lovecraftian menaces.
Today was a first for me. I had to check my blog to see if I had written about Jim Butcher’s books. Maybe I should read less.
Most people probably connect the name Jim Butcher with the urban fantasy series Dresden Files. This was my introduction to Jim Butcher. I’m not certain where I found out about The Codex Alera, but I remember that one of the comments I read was that this was the better series. So why not give it a try.
The Codex Alera is very different from Dresden Files. The Dresden files are each around 300 pages long while the Codex Alera carries approximately 600 pages of text. That gives the story time to flesh itself out. It could have ended up with fiasco, but Butcher does an excellent job.
What I think has happened is that Butcher has happened upon something that gives him a chance to shine. And shine he does.
We meet Tavi, a furyless human in a world where most humans have at least some ability to use the furies of the world. The furies are something along the lines of elemental spirits that can be used by humans. With them they gain various abilities to very different degrees. The furies are called water-furies, air-furies, earth-furies, metal-furies and fire-furies. The humans who control these elemental spirits are called crafters.
While Tavi is the main character of the series, he does have a lot of people helping him on his journey. One of them is his uncle Bernard. Bernard is a retired legionare who has become Steadholter in the Valley of Calderon. He is responsible for the welfare of those who live within the boundaries of his steadholt. Bernard is known for being a fair leader. To Tavi, Bernard is his hero, someone he would like to emulate. When Bernard becomes hurt due to Tavi’s carelessness, Tavi has to look beyond himself and try to make matters better.
Isana is Tavi’s aunt. Her goal in life is to take care of Tavi and to ensure his reaching adulthood in a safe manner. But she will not get her way in The Furies of Calderon. Tavi has seen something he should not have and becomes hunted.
Amara and Kitai are people whose importance will become more apparent as the series progresses. In The Furies of Calderon they play supporting roles. Amaray is a cursor (spy/messenger) for the First Lord Gaius. Kitai is a Marat – a race of non-humans that Tavi and his family come into contact with in various ways.
The Furies of Calderon is an incredibly fun action/adventure/magic-filled high/epic fantasy novel that shows Jim Butcher at his best.
Before starting on the Peter Grant series – mystery books – Ben Aaronovitch was busy in the writing business. He has been involved in screenwriting, audiodramas, television-series, short stories and spin-off novels. While being mainly an author, Aaronovitch has also had the great pleasure (as so many other writers) of supporting his writing habit with non-writing jobs.
On his blog he states that the Peter Grant series was in part influenced by these sources:
When Peter Grant gets out of being assigned to the Case Progression Unit by being sent to Chief Inspector Nightingale, he “left in a hurry before he could change his mind, but I want to make it clear that at no point did I break into a skip.” Brits. Gotta love them.
What Peter discovers when he gets to DCI Nightingale is that magic does exist and so does everything else paranormal literature delves into. His and DCI Nightingdale’s job (being the only representatives of that side of life) is to regulate the super-natural community, making sure they uphold the laws.
Rivers of London is at heart a mystery. A serial-killer is on the loose making use of magic in her/his/its killings. It is vital that Nightingdale and the rest of the Met find the serial-killer before more people are found without their faces. Peter has his chance at being a detective at the same time that he has to negotiate peace between the lower and upper sides of the Thames (mother and father Thames). His baptism into the super-natural community is at times frightening for him and delightful for us.
While a mystery with death and mayhem, Rivers of London is a light-hearted novel. There is plenty of humor and an irreverent look at society that I enjoy.
Thus far, Rivers of London is the only book in the series that I have read. I do believe I am going to read the next one as well. Aaronovitch manages to balance humor and action in true British style. I like Peter Grant’s distracted manner, something that gives us insight into his character but also into the city of London.
When young Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859, I doubt anyone could foresee that he would become famous with time. Even less foreseeable, would be the fact that his fame came from something as silly as detective stories. He was still in medical school when he published his first story in 1879. In spite of publishing non-Sherlockian work, fate struck him when Sherlock was born 1886 in The Tangled Skein/A Study in Scarlet. (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate)
Portrait of Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget held at Portsmouth City Museum as part of the Lancelyn Green Bequest. It was published for the first time, in black and white, in the 2008 winter issue of The Sherlock Holmes Journal | Source: artintheblood.com
Walter Stanley Paget | Source: The Russian ACD fansite acdoyle.ru
Sydney Edward Paget became the first illustrator of the Sherlock Holmes’ stories. According to the article by J.D. Milner in The Dictionary of National Biographies, 1912, any similarity between Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Paget’s brother Walter is coincidental. Mr. Doyle was supposed to have wanted Walter as the illustrator of Sherlock Holmes. But life sometimes throws accidents our way and Sydney’s happy accident was the mistake the publisher of the Strand made when he sent his letter of acceptance to “Mr. Paget the illustrator”. (Arion Press)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based Sherlock Holmes on his old medical teacher in Scotland, Dr. Joseph Bell. Like Bell, Holmes believed firmly in the need to apply science to crime detection. Dr. Henry Duncan Littlejohn asked Bell to attend an autopsy Littlejohn was performing. Like Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Joseph Bell has an understanding of causes of death like very few. As a result of his deductive capacity in the crime of the stabbing of young Ann Lindsey, Bell was consulted regularly on difficult cases. Very much like Sherlock indeed.
For those poor souls out there who haven’t had the privilege of entering the enchanting world of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, fear not, go to your local library and begin reading. What a yarn-teller Dr. Doyle is.
My first experience with Holmes and Watson must have been in my late teens. I would borrow anything Sherlock that I could find at whichever library was closest. Back then, we weren’t able to use the net to get hold of books that weren’t in our bookstores. But, once I had access to the world wide web, I started looking for beloved authors. In 2007, Wordsworth Editions printed a complete stories with illustrations edition. This is what I have in my home. The Sherlock Holmes bible.
This is quite a large book – 1408 pages long/short (depends on how you look at it). Some of the stories have many illustrations. Others do not. Even though I know that it is an environmentally unsound practice, I am at heart a paper reader, and books like the above are dear to me.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, published his first Sherlock Holmes tale in 1887. There are four novels and fifty-six short stories featuring our Sherlock. They span the period 1887-1926.
“At the time they were written, the stories were immensely popular; Conan Doyle famously became tired of his other work being overshadowed by his detective stories and finally killed Holmes off in “The Final Problem” (1893), provoking an intense public outcry. Many people wore black mourning bands, newspapers around the world reported on Holmes’ death or ran obituaries, and over 20,000 people cancelled their subscriptions to Strand Magazine, in which the stories had previously been published. A decade later the author finally gave in and resurrected the detective for another three volumes’ worth of adventures.” (fanlore)
THE STORIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
All of the Sherlock Holmes stories are written in third person by his assistant, John H. Watson MD. As the story goes, Watson met with Holmes after Watson returned from Second Afghan War. Sherlock Holmes was looking for a flat-mate. They agreed to share the apartment at 221b Baker Street.
At first, Dr. Watson had trouble understanding what it was that Sherlock Holmes did. Our first clue was the article Watson read that elicited his response: “What ineffable twaddle!” Watson soon discovers that Holmes has incredible powers of deduction, but that he also suffers from mood-swings. Holmes is a serious drug user and it seems this was not unusual in Victorian times. Breaking the law was not something Holmes hesitated to do. Watson is the epitome of patience and endures what Holmes has to dish out, although he does manage to chastise Sherlock from time to time. Sherlock Holmes begins taking Watson along on his investigations for the Scotland Yard. Together they solve crimes that the Yard struggle with, using Sherlock’s acute powers of observation to aid them.
Proof-reading was not a high priority with Conan Doyle. Inconsistencies appear in his stories about the great detective. These inconsistencies have been the source of several fan-groups on the net. In fact, there is this whole world out on the internet that revolves around Sherlock Holmes’ life, of which I am now part.
Chronological list of Sherlock Holmes stories (Sherlockian.net).
1887 – A Study in Scarlet: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are introduced to the audience. In A Study in Scarlet Dr. Watson meets Sherlock and they decide to take lodgings together at 221B Baker Street. Holmes dazzles Watson with his observational abilities. When the police consult with Sherlock, Watson is brought along. In A Study in Scarlet a corpse is discovered in an abandoned building. For some reason there is a mysterious sentence drawn in blood on the wall.
A Study in Scarlet was first published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual but did not become as popular as quickly as the later stories.
1890 – The Sign of the Four (Lippincott’s Magazine): At the time Mr. Sherlock Holmes was born , Victorian England was beginning to school more than the middle- and upper classes. This, of course, led to an increased demand in reading material. The working class were looking for distraction and wanted to read stories. Stories about crime and possibly happy endings. By the time The Sign of the Four came on the scene, Victorian England and the US were ready for it.
Several years after the mysterious disappearance of her father, Mary Morstan discovers an advertisement in a local paper requesting her own address. Her employer advises her to reveal it, and when she does she receives a valuable pearl by post. Presented with these facts and little else, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson must unravel a mystery involving stolen treasure, political rebellion, India, and a pact made by four convicts, in Arthur Conan Doyle s second Sherlock Holmes novel. (Amazon.com)
1891-1892 – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: From June 1891 to June 1892 the Strand Magazine published the below short-stories. Watson continues to write about the great detective in his journals. In a sense it might be said that Watson humanizes Holmes. Holmes is, as the previous two stories have made apparent, an isolated character. It would seem that Watson is his only friend.
A Scandal in Bohemia: The king of Bohemia has had an affair with the singer Irene Adler. Apparently she is blackmailing him under the threat of sending a picture of the two of them to his fiancée. The king asks that Sherlock saves him.
The Red-headed League: Holmes and Watson are consulted by a red-headed pawnbroker (oh-oh). A few weeks previously he had responded to an ad for red-headed men. For some bizarre reason he had been hired to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica. One day he arrived at the Place he was doing the copying and a sign hung on the door “The Red-headed League is Dissolved”. Wilson wants Sherlock’s help with discovering what was going on.
A Case of Identity: The fiance of Miss Mary Sutherland has disappeared after abandoning her at the altar. She asks Holmes to discover what has happened to her “Angel”.
The Boscombe Valley Mystery: In Herefordshire a local landowner has been murdered outdoors. Inspector Lestrade asks for Sherlock’s help in solving the crime.
The Five Orange Pips: John Openshaw asks Holmes and Watson for their help in solving the mystery of his uncle Elias Openshaw. After returning to the UK from the US Elias had begun acting strangely until he was finally discovered dead in his garden pool. After refusing to part with some of Elias’ papers, John’s father was found dead.
The Man with the Twisted Lip: Mr. Neville St. Clair has disappeared. Sherlock is trying to discover his whereabouts and if he is even still alive. On the road to discovery Sherlock goes undercover in an opium den. His findings surprise even the deductive genius.
The Blue Carbuncle: In this instance carbuncle refers to a gemstone. The carbuncle was found in the stomach of a Christmas goose. It turns out that gem was stolen from the Countess of Morcar. Holmes and Watson set out to discover how the gem got from the Countess to the stomach of the goose.
The Speckled Band: The Adventure of the Speckled Band is a “locked room” mystery. Helen Stoner’s sister Julia dies under mysterious circumstances. She fears her step-father might have had something to do with the death. When he asks her to move into Julia’s strange room, Helen worries what might happen to her.
The Engineer’s Thumb: Watson brings the case of one of his patients to Sherlock. Mr. Victor Hatherly, a hydraulic engineer, has had his thumb cut off. Hatherly had been taken to a house to check on a hydraulic press. Mr. Hatherly discovers something is off about the place. Aided by a woman at the house he manages to escape, getting his thumb cut off in the process. Mr. Holmes interest is caught.
The Noble Bachelor: The new bride of Lord Robert St. Simon goes missing on the day of their wedding. St. Simon comes to Holmes for help in finding his new bride.
The Beryl Coronet: A well-to-do banker comes to Holmes for help. It seems his son has tried to damage a coronet that was left in the banker’s care as security for a loan. Failure to solve the case will result in public scandal.
The Copper Beeches: Violet Hunter ends up as governess at The Copper Beeches with a strange family. When her situation becomes too bizarre she asks for Holmes’ assistance in figuring out what is going on.
1892-1893: “The first London edition of the Memoirs in 1894 did not include “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”, although all twelve stories had appeared in the Strand Magazine.” (Wikipedia) It was later brought in from the cold in the British version The Memoris of Sherlock Holmes.
Silver Blaze: This time the famous race horse “Silver Blaze” has disappeared. Where has it gone? Will Sherlock be able to discover who killed its trainer? Well! What do you think?
The Cardboard Box was added in a later edition. Miss Susan Cushing receives a package containing two human ears. I wonder how I would have reacted to that? Lestrade thinks it is a prank while Sherlock thinks a serious crime has been committed. Any guesses as to which theory is the correct one?
The Yellow Face: Mr. Grant Munro has been deceived by his wife, Effie. Effie has been married before she met Grant and had not told him. Her husband and children had died from yellow fever. It is not the omission in and of itself that bothers Mr. Munro, but the fact that she seems to have gone behind his back recently. He fears that her husband might still be alive and asks that Holmes investigate the matter.
The Stock-broker’s Clerk: What do you do when you suspect that your prospective employer might not be legit? You consult Sherlock. Pycroft begins working with the company but feels the offices are rather unprofessional and sparse.
The ‘Gloria Scott’: Sometimes the past comes to bite your behind. Being a Justice of the Peace does not prevent the past from biting Mr. Trevor. Sherlock is unsuspectingly a witness to this bite while visiting the son of Mr. Trevor. He is then brought into the case when Victor Trevor is becoming increasingly worried about his father.
The Musgrave Ritual: A butler is fired by Reginald Musgrave after reading a family document (the Musgrave Ritual). The reason Sherlock is brought into the case is because he is Reginald’s friend and because the butler seems to have disappeared, leaving all of his belongings behind. Another servant has disappeared along with the butler.
The Reigate Squires: After a bout of illness Sherlock goes to stay with Colonel Hayter. While staying there two of Hayter’s neighbors experience crime. One of the neighbors is burgled while the other neighbor is killed. Sherlock takes an interest.
The Crooked Man: Colonel James Barclay is dead. His wife is the main suspect. Sherlock is not certain that is the case. Things might not be as they first appear.
The Resident Patient: The funder of Dr. Percy Trevelyan’s medical practice has become rather odd of late. He seems to be more and more paranoid by the day. Sherlock tries to ask some questions but is rebuffed. Later he is brought back into Travelayan’s situation.
The Greek Interpreter: Watson finally gets to meet Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft. Sherlock claims that Mycroft’s deductive abilities are even more impressive than his own. For once Mycroft needs Sherlock’s help. It seems one of Mycroft’s neighbors, a greek translator, was brought to a mysterious job.
The Naval Treaty: An important naval treaty disappears from the Foreign Office. Of course, the Foreign Office are unable to figure out how it happened and they have to turn to Sherlock. The only suspect seemed to be the commissionaire’s wife who was seen hurrying out of the building at the time of the disappearance.
The Final Problem: Professor Moriarty is introduced in The Final Problem – Sherlock Holmes Arch-nemesis. Sherlock has a love/hate relationship with Moriarty. On one hand Sherlock admires the brain able to confuse him, but on the other he hates Moriarty for the same thing. Moriarty tries to kill Sherlock Holmes several times at the beginning of the story. The competition for the brainiest person award is intense between the two of them.
1902 – The Hound of the Baskervilles: After Sherlock Holmes had died it took Doyle almost ten years to give in to the pressure of writing another story about the great detective. The Hound of the Baskervilles is set before The Final Problem, solving the problem of its publication after the death of Holmes.
“Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the grounds of his country house, Baskerville Hall. The cause is ascribed to a heart attack. Fearing for the safety of Sir Charles’s nephew and only known heir, Sir Henry Baskerville, coming from Toronto,Canada to claim his inheritance, Dr James Mortimer travels to London and asks Sherlock Holmes for help.” (Wikipedia)
I think this is my favorite story simply because it was the one that was the spookiest the first time I read it. This little tidbit to go with the blurb: “Gary Larson parodied The Hound of the Baskervilles in a Far Side cartoon, where a parakeet imagined himself as The Parakeet of the Baskervilles.” (Wikipedia) It doesn’t get any funnier than that.
1903-1904 – The Return of Sherlock Holmes: After the publication of The Hound of The Baskervilles, people went wild. Part of that may have been caused by Holmes first appearance on stage in The Play of Sherlock Holmes by William Gillette (below). There was no way out now. Holmes had to be resurrected.
The Empty House: The Empty House brings about the resurrection of Sherlock Holmes. Turns out he was not dead after all. He reveals himself to Watson and asks for Watson’s and Mycroft’s help in dealing with one of Moriarty’s compatriots.
The Norwood Builder: A young lawyer is suspected of killing one of his clients. This client, a builder, had come to John Hector McFarlane’s office to draw up a new will. McFarlane was supposed to the new sole beneficiary. Talk about conflict of interest.
The Dancing Men: Mr. Hilton Cubitt visits Holmes asking him to figure out what a piece of paper with some dancing men on it means. Scribbles of dancing men have been appearing on his property and they seem to be driving his wife nuts. Could it be her past catching up with her?
The Solitary Cyclist: Miss Violet Smith has been offered a well-paid job after her father died and left Violet and her mother in poverty. Her situation there is strange, but the strangest thing has to be the man that seems to be following her around on a bicycle. She has no idea who he is or why he would want to follow her around.
The Priory School: At the Priory School in Northern England a pupil has been kidnapped. The head-master, Dr. Thorneycroft Huxtable, asks Holmes to return with him and look into the matter. Along with the 10-year-old boy the German master is also missing. Sherlock goes with Dr. Huxtable to the Priory.
Black Peter: A man is nailed to the wall by a harpoon. The local police officer is a fan of Sherlock and asks for his help in solving what appears to him as a strange murder. It seemed he had a visitor on the night of his death.
Charles Augustus Milverton: Sherlock is hired to retrieve some compromising letters from a despicable blackmailer. Holmes dislikes Milverton so much that he decides that the letters will be recovered come what may.
The Six Napoleons: A man is running around shattering plaster busts of Napoleon. Then a murder occurs in relationship to one of the shatterings. Lestrade admits to something more than a crazy shatterer going around being a possibility.
The Three Students: A lecturer at St Luke’s College comes to Holmes in connection with a suspected cheater. He had returned to his office one afternoon to find that the proofs to the exam had been left out of place. Sherlock’s job will be to find the sinner.
The Golden Pince-Nez: (Pince-Nez are a type of glasses) Sherlock is brought into a murder that is seemingly motiveless. Willoughby Smith was apparently without an enemy in the world. The murder weapon appears to belong to Smith’s employer.
The Missing Three-Quarter: A key rugby player goes missing. Sherlock’s job is (of course) to find him in spite of the baffling circumstances around the disappearance.
The Abbey Grange: Holmes and Watson rush to a murder scene at the Abbey Grange. Burglars have apparently killed Sir Eustace Brackenstall.
The Second Stain: The Prime Minister asks for Sherlock Holmes’ help in recovering a document. Said document went missing while in the home of the Secretary of State for European Affairs. It would be most unfortunate if the contents became known to the public.
1915 – The Valley of Fear: Sherlock Holmes has an informant within Professor Moriarty’s organization. He does not know the real identity of his informant and has not tried to find out. One day he and Watson receive a letter from this informant. they discover that it has been written in code. Upon deciphering the code they discover that it predicts the murder of a John Douglas. When the police comes to Sherlock’s home, they discover that he already knows about the crime they need his help with. This makes Sherlock’s informant a prime suspect in the minds of the police. As Holmes does not know the identity of his informant he is unable to reveal (nor had he intended to). The murder seems to be a locked-house murder so the suspects would obviously be the people present in the house at the time of the killing.
Wisteria Lodge: Mr. John Scott Eccles turn up at Sherlock’s flat at about the same time as the police. It seems Eccles was present at Wisteria Lodge when his host was beaten to death. Eccles had thought that Garcia had disappeared with the staff as they were all gone in the morning. He remembers seeing his host at around 1 AM.
The Red Circle: A lodger has started worrying his landlady. She comes to Sherlock to ask his help in understanding why her lodger is behaving peculiarly. He keeps strange hours and has made strange requests. Although he pays double her usual rent, Mrs. Warren is becoming worried.
The Bruce-Partington Plans: Mycroft comes to see Sherlock about some missing pages belonging to the plans for the Bruce-Partington submarine. Obviously the government does not want anyone else to have these secret plans. Mycroft does not like to run around and comes to Sherlock so the investigation can be more actively pursued.
The Dying Detective: Sherlock seems to have contracted a rare Asian disease and when Watson is called to attend to him Sherlock has gone without food or drink for three days. One of the very strange demand Holmes makes of Watson is that Watson contact no one but the person Sherlock will name that evening.
The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax: In the “good ol’ days” women were not allowed to inherit (like some places even today). Lady Frances Carfax was one such lady. That did not mean she was poor. She owned valuable jewels that she brought with her on her travels and she probably had some kind of income that enabled this travelling. On one such trip Lady Frances goes missing and it turns out her maid had left her employ. In addition a bearded man had been following her around.
The Devil’s Foot: “The Devil did it” or “the Devil made me do it” are sometimes explanations that a used to explain inexplicable actions. It seems Holmes and Watson are up against a particularly crazy murder. They had thought themselves on a holiday, but it turns out to be work when they discover that two brothers appear to have gone insane. While playing whist with their sister they seem to have killed her and kept on playing afterwards.
His Last Bow: A German agent, Von Bork, has gathered a vast amount of intelligence on the British. He is getting ready to leave England for his home-land. All he needs now is the final piece of information from one of his sources.
1921-1927 – The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes:
The Mazarin Stone: The Mazarin Stone was adapted from the stage play The Crown Diamond. Holmes has been searching for a Crown Diamond. Sherlock suspects a Count Negretto Sylvius of the deed and has even warned Watson that the Count might attempt to murder Holmes.
The Problem of Thor Bridge: This is a triangle crime – a crime of passion. Neil Gibson’s wife is murdered and the governess is suspected of the deed. Not a strange assumption as Mr. Gibson is very much in love with the governess. In spite of the damning evidence, Sherlock finds some things about the case that makes it interesting for him to take it on.
The Creeping Man: Mr. Trevor Bennett and his fiancee Miss Edith Presbury are worried about Edith’s father changing disposition. Professor Presbury has gone from being a nice enough fellow to seeming sly and secretive after returning from a trip to Prague. Even the professor’s dog has noticed the change in behavior.
The Sussex Vampire: Blood and gore, blood and gore. Not really. Sherlock is visited by Mr. Robert Ferguson who thinks he saw his wife sucking the blood of their baby.
The Three Garridebs: Two men with the surname Garrideb contact Sherlock Holmes. They are both interested in a supposed inheritance from another Garrideb in the US.
The Illustrious Client: Miss Violet de Merville has become enganged with the dangerous Baron Adelbert Gruner. Sherlock worries about her fate if she goes through with the marriage and tries to prevent it.
The Three Gables: A dimwitted ruffian warns Sherlock Holmes away from Harrow. The man, Steve Dixie, ends up helping Holmes figure out what happened at Three Gables.
The Blanched Soldier: James M. Dodd is looking for his soldier friend from the Second Boer War, Godfrey Emsworth. Godfrey seems to be missing.
The Lion’s Mane: Sherlock Holmes has retired. That does not stop him from investigating cases for friends. In this case Holmes ends up investigating the mysterious death of the science teacher at his friends’s School, a death that Sherlock and Harold Stackhurst witnessed.
The Retired Colourman: Josiah Amberley’s wife seems to have disappeared with a Dr. Ray Ernest. Mr. Amberley wants them found.
The Veiled Lodger: Sherlock Holmes becomes involved in the case of a mutilated woman after her landlady mentions Abbas Parva to him.
Shoscombe Old Place: Strange things have been happening at the racing stable, Shoscombe Old Place. Sherlock is asked by the head trainer to investigate what they mean.
I suggest you try YouTube on the off-chance someone has managed to upload a copy of these films. There are quite a few of the old ones there. Good luck.
1900: Sherlock Holmes Baffled. “The plot of Sherlock Holmes Baffled is unrelated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s canonical Sherlock Holmes stories; it is likely that the character’s name was used purely for its familiarity with the Public.” (Wikipedia)
1905: Adventures of Sherlock Holmes/Held for Ranson starring Maurice Costello as Sherlock Holmes and H. Kyrle Bellew as Dr. Watson. This film is “usually regarded as the first attempt to film a “serious” Holmes adaptation.” (Wikipedia)
1916:Sherlock Holmesstarring William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes and Edward Fielding as Dr. Watson. This film is supposed to be the only preserved record of Gillette playing Holmes. Gillette had portrayed Holmes 1400 times in three different mediums (stage/radio/film). (IMDb) As inspiration Gillette used A Scandal in Bohemia, The Final Problem, The Copper Beeches and A Study in Scarlet to create his stageplay. The stageplay was later used in the creation of this film.
1916: The Valley of Fear starring H.A. Saintsbury as Sherlock Holmes and Arthur M. Cullin as Watson.
1921: The Beryl Coronet starring Eille Norwood as Sherlock and Hubert Willis as Watson.
2007: Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars (BBC Children’s Drama). “A gang of sharp witted street kids save Sherlock Holmes from an accusation of murder and help to foil an audacious robbery while rescuing members of their own gang.” (IMDb) It may well be that the Baker Street Irregulars were inspired by Dr. Doyle’s leadership of his local Catholic gang (Documentary)
2009: Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock and Jude Law as Watson. I have seen this. Both Sherlock and Watson were fairly good-looking and the movie itself was a silly look at the Sherlock character. There was plenty of action and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
2010: Sherlock Holmes Baffled: “Sherlock Holmes is baffled when he encounters a burglar who can disappear and gets prank-ed by him with the use of an exploding cigar.” (IMDb) A 3-min-movie.
2011: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (review)starring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock and Jude Law as Watson. A Game of Shadows is the sequel to the previous Downey jr./Law Sherlock Holmes. I know the critics gave this a luke-warm reception, but I liked it. The interplay between Sherlock and Watson is hilarious and both actors do a good job in portraying the type they set forth in the previous movie.
1951: Sherlock Holmes (BBC) starring Alan Wheatley as Holmes and Raymond Francis as Watson.
1954-1955: Sherlock Holmes (US) starring Ronald Howard as Sherlock and Howard Marion-Crawford as Watson.
1964-1968: Sherlock Holmes (BBC) starring Douglas Wilmer/Peter Cushing as Holmes and Nigel Stock as Watson.
2008-2011: Holmes appears in the episode “Trials of the Demon!” Batman is sent back to Holmes time featuring in a murder mystery.
2010-2012: Sherlock(in a modern day setting but fairly true to the stories). This is a pretty good series. One of my sons and my husband got caught up in it. I watched some of the episodes and thought it was well-played in a strange way (considering the modern setting). Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson.
2012: Elementaryplaces a modern Sherlock in New York as a recovering addict. Dr. Watson is played by Lucy Liu who is supposed to be his “buddy” making certain Sherlock does not revert to his bad habits from London. I liked it.
NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING FILMS/TV-SERIES
1908: Sherlock Holmes I Livsfar starring Viggo Larsen as Holmes
1909: Den graa dame (The Grey Dame) starring Viggo Larsen as Sherlock Holmes and Holger-Madsen as Dr. Watson.
1912: Flamme d’argent (Silver Blaze) starring Georges Tréville as Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Moyse as Dr. Watson.
1912: Le mystère de Val Boscombe (The Mystery of Boscombe Valley) starring Georges Tréville as Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Moyse as Dr. Watson.
1912: Le ruban moucheté (The Speckled Band) starring Georges Tréville as Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Moyse as Dr. Watson.
1914: Der Hund von Baskerville (German) (strongly comedic) starring Alwin Neuß as Sherlock Holmes. Dr. Watson is absent. This is the first feature length film adaptation of the Sherlock stories. (IMDb)
1900: Shinwell Johnson becomes a valuable assistant to Sherlock Holmes in London.
1902: One of the earliest known pieces of Sherlockian scholarship appears in the January 23 Cambridge Review, in which Frank Sidgwick questions Watson’s dates in Hound.
1904: Parker Brothers comes out with “Sherlock Holmes” card game.
1906- : Sherlock Holmes in the theatres
1899: William Gillette’s play Sherlock Holmes, or The Strange Case of Miss Faulkner is based on the four stories: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Final Problem, The Copper Beeches and A Study in Scarlet. Gillette travelled around the world with his popular show. Gillette portrayed Sherlock Holmes approximately 1400 times.
1906: Ferdinand Bonn’s play “Sherlock Holmes” opens in Berlin.
1909: Paul Sarauw’s theatrical adaptation of A Study in Scarlet opens in Copenhagen..
1910: Watson’s literary agent, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, sees his play based on “The Speckled Band” produced in London.
1911: Father Ronald Knox reads his paper, “Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes,” at Oxford.
1915:La Tragedia de Baskerville opens in Bilbao theater.
1951: At the St. Marylebone Council meeting on 31 October, the decision was made that their “contribution to the 1951 Festival Britain would be an exhibition on Sherlock Holmes” at the Abbey House on Baker Street. After its stint at the Festival of Britain, the exhibition was sent on a tour of the US. “On its return to London, after items loaned by various individuals had been returned most of the remaining artefacts, including the reproduction of the sitting-room, were installed in the Sherlock Holmes Public House in Northumberland Street, a mere stone’s throw from the Turkish Baths frequented by Holmes and Watson. The pub was formally opened on 12th December 1957. The books, magazines and relating to the exhibition returned to Marylebone Library, where they formed the nucleus of the Sherlock Holmes Collection, housed in the then Local History room.” (Westminster Online)
1954: Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr publish The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Seven Clocks/The Adventure of the Gold Hunter/The Adventure of the Wax Gamblers/The Adventure of the Highgate Miracle/The Adventure of the Black Baronet/The Adventure of the Sealed Room/The Adventure of Foulkes Rath/The Adventure of the Abbas Ruby/The Adventure of the Dark Angels/The Adventure of the Two Women/The Adventure of the Deptford Horror/The Adventure of the Red Widow
1957: “The 221B sitting room was reconstructed in 1957 at the famous Sherlock Holmes pub in Northumberland Street, Charing Cross, where it remains. My wife and I have looked after it for more than 20 years. The museum at 239 Baker Street (the claim that the address was renumbered as 221B is simply not true) was set up in the late 1980s.” (Roger Johnson)
1958-1982: Eve Titus writes about Basil, the mouse. Basil lives at 221B Baker street and is the detective of the mouse world: Basil of Baker Street/Basil and the Lost Colony/Basil and the Pygmy Cats/Basil in Mexico/Basil in the Wild West
1966-1990: Robert L. Fish creates a parody on Sherlock Holmes in the form of Schlock Homes: The Incredible Schlock Homes/The Memoirs of Schlock Homes/Schlock Homes: The Complete Bagel Street Saga
1989-2004: The complete Sherlock Holmes stories were played on BBC Radio 4 starring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson. When Williams died in 2001 he was replaced by Andrew Sachs.
1990-2004:Carole Nelson Douglas writes the story of Irene Adler as detective: Goodnight, Mr. Holmes/The Adventuress (formerly Good Morning, Irene)/A Soul of Steel (formerly Irene at Large)/Another Scandal in Bohemia (formerly Irene’s Last Waltz)/Chapel Noir/Castle Rouge/Femme Fatale/Spider Dance
1994-2012: Supposedly a Mary Russel met Sherlock Holmes in 1915 became his apprentice and later his wife. Laurie King writes these stories about Mary Russell and Sherlock. They are: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice/A Monstrous Regiment of Women/A Letter of Mary/The Moor/O Jerusalem/Justice Hall/The Game/Locked Rooms/The Language of Bees/The God of the Hive/Pirat King/Garment of Shadows
1996-2003:Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon/Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders/Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery/Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Alliance/The Disappearance of Sherlock Holmes (features Sherlock and Watson in Minnesota) (Larry Millet)
1998: According to HM Government House Companies House The Sherlock Holmes Museum Ltd. was founded in 1998. But according to WikipediaThe Sherlock Holmes Museum was opened in 1990 and “is situated in Baker Street, bearing the number 221B by permission of the City of Westminster, although it lies between numbers 237 and 241, near the north end of Baker Street in central London close to Regent’s Park.“
1953: Plaque. Erected in Piccadilly on the north wall of the Criterion building, January 3, 1953. “This plaque commemorates the historic meeting at the original Long Bar at this hotel on January 1st, 1881, of Dr. Stamford and Dr. John H. Watson which led to the introduction of Dr. Watson to Mr. Sherlock Holmes.”
1989: Rubber dog toy edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles by “A. Collie Dog”
First off, I have to say that there is so much incredible artwork out there dealing with Pratchett and Gaiman. I wish I could include all of it. For most other authors I end up with the cover art, but with these two guys I’m in heaven. I recommend that you google “Good Omens”, go to images and sit back and enjoy yourselves. Below are three examples of what you’ll find.
Good Omens starts off with a prologue placed in the Garden of Eden. You see, there was this serpent, Crawly, who was sent there to do his best to make trouble. He did. In the meantime the angel with the flaming sword, Aziraphale, gave his sword to the humans as protection because he felt sorry for them.
6000 years later Crowley meets up with fellow demons and gets handed a basket with a baby in it. This is the baby presaging the End Of The World. He is told to deliver it at a certain hospital making certain that it gets exchanged with the chosen baby. Something goes wrong, and the baby ends up with the wrong family – unbeknownst to the minions of Hell.
In Lower Tadfield, young Adam and his gang run around being the kind of nuisance only a gang of 11 year olds can manage to be. They are happy in their lack of knowledge about the future and the imminence of the end of the world.
Crowley and Aziraphale discover that something is wrong with the child they thought was the son of the Devil when a promised delivery from Hell does not arrive at its appointed place. Ooops.
The four horsemen are gathering to fulfill their destiny, but no one knows quite where to go. Where is the promised son of the Devil?
You just know that when you pick up a book by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman that you are not going to get anything even remotely resembling normality. Good Omens is filled with interesting characters and a strange sense of logic. Whenever I read their books, I get into this weird thought-mode where I go – yeah, that could happen. I did it this time as well. Maybe that’s what I like best about both of them, their ability to fool me into believing them. Kind of cool, that ability.
My favorite characters were Crowley and Aziraphale, both rebels in their own right. After 6000 years neither is wholly good or wholly evil. They are still stuck in the mold they were created for, but little bits of them are able to crack that mold just a little.
Tom S. Church writes books based on the online game RuneScape. I have never played it, but my son is a great fan. He bought the books and I read them.
BETRAYAL AT FALADOR (2008)
I started reading Betrayal at Falador expecting it to be a quest-like book. It is. While not exclusively for RuneScape fans, Betrayal at Falador will probably suit fans more than it suited me.
Betrayal at Falador begins with the discovery of a young woman by Squire Theodore. Squire Theodore belongs to the order of the White Knights in Falador. The young woman is close to death but the order’s leader, Sir Amik Varze is able to save her. In her possession is a strange sword, a shattered ring and a mysterious flower.
While the Knights are trying to discover the young woman’s origins, a creature is killing and devouring people in the country side. When Theodore is sent to Taverley to the druids to discover where the flower is from. While at Taverley Theodore meets up with his friend Castimir (apprentice wizard), the alchemist Ebenezer and his young companion Gar’rth. All three will become vital to the story in Betrayal at Falador. As the story continues, we meet up with the dwarf Doric. He ends up back at Falador and becomes one of the companions around whom this series revolves.
The young woman turns out to be Kara-Meir, the daughter of a woods-man. She is pursued by the Kinsha knights led by Sulla. He and his men killed her parents and the people of the village she lived in. Now her only aim in life is to gain revenge.
I’ve read the three books written thus far in the series. This first novel was fairly average. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that it is TS Church’s first novel. His language was fairly simple and the text did not flow well.
Return to Canifis sees an improvement in the writing of TS Church. The text flows easier. There aren’t as many rocks in the way this time.
The time is some months after the end of Betrayal at Falador. The companions have gone on separate quests, but have agreed to meet at the capitol, Varrock.
At Varrock people have been disappearing mysteriously. A monster is on the loose killing people. Others are being spirited away to Morytania, the land where vampires rule and people are cattle. People are afraid and the king ends up sending the companions off to Morytania, leaving Ebenezer behind. Their quest is to prevent a new King ruling Varrock, namely a vampire King.
As I said, the writing has improved in Return to Canifis. TS Church has tightened the plot, filled out his characters and added tension between the companions.
Legacy of Blood is clearly the better of these three novels. TS Church has tightened his plot further and his characters, especially Gar’rth have had quite a development.
Now Kara-Meir and Gar’rt are seemingly on opposite sides in this struggle. Gar’rth is with his father in Morytania while Kara-Meir is back in Varrock with the rest of the companions.
All of them will face difficult choices. Not all of them will survive, but in the end the greatest question is whether Gar’rth will prevail or if he will have to be killed by his friends as he succumbs to the blood-lust.
The one constant in Alex Craft’s life is Death. Ever since she was 5, she has been able to interact with him. Her mess of a family is another certainty in Alex’ life. Her ability to raise shades and do magic is shameful in a family where the father campaigns against just that.
Thankfully, Alex has more than Death as a friend. She has her dog PC, her landlord Caleb, Holly, Tamara and John, her detective friend. When John asks her to investigate a high stakes murder, Alex finds trouble.
Grave Witch is an old-fashioned mystery with ghosts, fae and magic thrown in. As is so common in a lot of urban fantasy there is romantic tension. In Grave Witch we find that in homicide detective Falin Andrews. For some reason he has decided that Alex is a quack and resents having to work with her.
Having been introduced to two men who are hotties (Death and Falin), we know right away that there is going to be a love triangle. It’s just the way these books go. Once you’ve accepted that, then you’ve got an action-packed, soul-sucking urban fantasy that is a pretty good read.
We continue our journey in the city of Nekros. Alex Craft is still estranged from her family and is first and foremost a grave witch. But her power developed a great deal in the previous book, and she is now discovering more about her fae side.
Because of the fame incurred in Grave Witch, Tongues of the Dead is doing well. This time Alex is called in to investigate the unusual discovery of left feet.
Her investigations make it necessary for Alex to take a trip into the land of faery. She is guided by Falin, but does not know if he can be trusted. As his allegiance has been given to the Winter Queen, it would be a safe bet to assume that she cannot. Death is still a large part of her life. We still have a love-triangle. I find them silly, but it seems they are the THING in these types of urban fantasy novels.
In spite of the love triangle Alex is helped greatly by all of her friends: Death, Falin, Roy, Caleb, Holly, Tamara, and PC. She will need all the help she can get in dealing with the dangers thrown her way.
I liked the development of Alex Craft. She gained more depth and the people around here weren’t quite as two-dimensional. It’s still not quite there, but Kalayna is certainly heading the right way in her Alex Craft series.
Kalayna Price has really nailed the writing in Grave Memory. The previous installments were pretty average, but Grave Memory has taken Price up a notch in my regard. I like that in a writer. It’s not really the story that makes the difference, but rather the way Kalayna ties her words together into beautiful music. Just remember that this is an urban fantasy and is supposed to be a light read.
Falin is still in the clutches of the Winter Queen and that makes him less than reliable. Alex is kind of naive about him in Grave Memory, but then we tend to be like that when we care about a person. She and Death take their relationship to the next level and it seems as if they might possibly become exclusive. But as all good series do, preparation for the next book comes towards the end. Twisty twist, but not wholly unexpected.
This time the pressure is on Alex to choose whether she will be an independent fae or attached to one of the courts. She still knows very little about the fae world, although Rianna and Caleb are trying to educate her. Along with the usual fae pressure, Alex gets into to trouble with the police because she goes on and on about apparent suicides. She will not accept that verdict and begins investigating the whole thing. That lands her into trouble with Death’s colleagues. Some of that trouble is deserved, because Alex messes up on this/these cases.
p style=”text-align:left;” align=”center”>I’ll buy the next installment of the Alex Craft series when it comes along. My fascination with the series has grown. I like the world Price has created in Nekros and its fae version. If her writing improves as it has to date, then I’m in for a treat.
While the earliest technological items we’ve seen on the Discworld were the iconograph, Moving Pictures takes the technology a step further and uses an imp- and salamander movie camera and projector. However, certain problems occur as a result of the experimentation with new technology, as always happens when people play around with new discoveries.
Consider the case of Thomas Midgley (1889-1944). In 1921 he discovered that lead reduced the engine-knocking in a car-engine significantly and lead was introduced into gasoline. We all know what happened as a result of that. Today we are still struggling with the effects of that discovery. Later on he managed to come up with freon which has had a severe effect on the ozone layer. Why should the Discworld be any different?
Obviously, the place to find inventors on the Discworld has to be at the Unseen University or the Alchemist’s Guild (of whom Leonard of Quirm is a member). Where else could a bunch of people willing to try anything in the name of science be found. The motto of the alchemist’s guild is: All that glitters is gold. Most of their experiments tend to end in loud explosions, causing their building to be in a state of constant repair. Unfortunately for Ankh-Morpork, they have now managed to come up with Octo-cellulose, one of the major factors of the events in Moving Pictures.
Another major event leading to the opportunities had at Holy Wood was the death of the door keeper. You’d think that a place needing a guard for their door, ensuring that it’s kept closed, would be a hint to stay away. But it never is, because curiosity is something that people struggle with. Some of us will always push the big red button just to see what will happen (no matter what the sign says). Once Holy Wood becomes accessible, people are drawn there like flies to honey.
Gaspode, the talking dog shows his face again. He gets to have an important part in the book, along with other dogs with suspicious names. Dibbler plays his usual scheming self and Death makes appearances as well in the book. Befuddled, eternal student, Vincent, is our main character. Poor guy. He gets completely sucked into the whole Holy Wood scene. Poor Ridicully and his wizardly gang have to join in the chaos and save the day.
You all know that Pratchett is making fun of Hollywood and the whole film industry (not just there). The glamour, hype, fame and craziness are all seen in one part or another of Moving Pictures.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Our main character William deWorde, estranged from his family, starts out by writing a newsletter for foreign dignitaries. Once the dwarves bring in a press to Ankh-Morpork William ends up with a very popular newsletter called The Times. All of a sudden William is employing a journalist, Sacharissa Cripslock, and a photographer, Otto Chriek, to get enough news.
Poor Otto. Such dedication. Being a vampire with an obsession for photography cannot be easy on one’s health. Good thing he has his vial of blood with him om every assignment. The Times are lucky to have him on their staff in their search for truth.
Competition is bound to arrive on the scene. The Guild of Engravers and Printers are producing a newsletter called the Ankh-Morpork inquirer. In it you’ll find articles on just about anything, whether it be true or not.
In the meantime, a plot against Vetinari is once again going on. The Firm (in the form of Mr. Tulip and Mr. Pin) are doing their best to get him accused of murder. Part of that plot is kidnapping Vetinari, but Vetinari’s dog Mr. Wuffles, gets away. Pin and Tulip need to find Wuffles, but The Times is also on the hunt and De Worde has offered a $ 25 reward for Mr. Wuffles. As usual chaos and mayhem ensue.
Journalism is obviously the theme in The Truth. Media’s function in society should be questioned at every opportunity. There is plenty of power in deciding what the truth is and who should hear it. The intentions of the owners and journalists matter a great deal. The potential for doing great harm or great good hangs as a temptation for the best of them.
The term “Going postal” was coined by Karl Vick in his article “Violence at work tied to loss of esteem”. “Going postal” refers to an employee who becomes so disgruntled with her/his workplace that she/he ends up being violent towards co-workers.
Moist von Lipwig is a conman who has conned one too many, leading to his capture. In our lovely Ankh-Morpork prison he is on death row. Waking up after his so-called hanging, Moist discovers that he has been given a choice: Become postmaster or walk out THAT door. Looking out the door, Moist discovers that the drop is a bit too deep for his preference. Postmaster it is.
The postmaster function in Ankh-Morpork has not been filled in decades. The Post Office is overflowing with undelivered mail. There are two employees left, living in the Post Office. They are Junior Postman Tolliver Groat and his assistant Stanley Howler. Moist certainly has his work cut out for him.
Delivering the undelivered mail is only one part of Moist’s problems. Another part is getting people to use the Post Office again, seeing it as a viable option to the Clacks. The Clacks could with a certain portion of good-will be compared to the telegraph. The Grand Trunk Company owns and operated the clacks, and they do not like the fact that the Post Office is coming to life again. In addition to these problems, von Lipwig discovers that the Post Office seems to have come into a sort of life of its own. It has definite opinions and is not afraid to share them – causing some near-death experiences.
During his duties Moist meets the golem activist Adora Dearheart. She fights for the freedom of Golem from slave-contracts. Instead they buy themselves free one at a time, through getting proper work-contracts.
Golem activism or the battle against slavery and abuse of workers has been a recurring theme in Pratchett’s books. Is it possible for people to change or do we just need to change their focus. After all it was von Lipwig’s phenomenal abilities as a con-man that made it possible for him to be the kind of Postmaster that Ankh-Morpork needed. Once again Terry takes a look at the function of technology in the world. Is it a thing for the betterment of mankind?
2005: Going Postal adapted for stage by Stephen Briggs
2010: Going Postal adapted for television by Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle
This time Vetinari tries to volunteer Moist for the banking business. After all, now that the postal business is up and running, we can’t have Moist with any time on his hands. You never know what he’ll do then. Moist won’t have any of it.
Sadly, life doesn’t always happen the way we would like it to. During his stint at the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork the owner’s dog, Mr. Fusspot, found von Lipwig quite likeable. When Topsy Lavish dies, she leaves 50% of the shares to her dog (who already owns 1%), making him Chairdog. Mr. Fusspot is left to Lipwig. Mrs. Lavish is a smart woman and has made sure that Moist knows the Assassin’s Guild have a contract on him if anything should happen to her dear Mr. Fusspot.
Moist van Lipwig is now in the banking business, and banking will never be the same in Ankh-Morpork. Neither will Moist.
Lovely Adela is still trying to help the golem population. She has travelled to the ancient civilization of Um to uncover 4 golden golems who have been buried a very long time. When she returns with them everyone gets a surprise, not least of all Moist’s enemies.
In Making Money Pratchett takes a look at our definition of money and people’s acceptance of monetary value. Banking gets its day in the sun and a well-needed sunning that is.
Mr. Scattering was at work as a night-guard at the Royal Art Museum when he experienced an explosion.
He did not want people to know about the gloriously glittering lady holding a large ball over her head before she vanished.
Smeems, the Candle Knave, makes his rounds every night lighting and refilling the candlesticks. His apprentice, Nutt, is stepping in for Trevor Likely, who seems to have taken ill. Nutts is a keen, gray-skinned fellow who tries to fit in at the UU.
Archchancellor Ridicully is a loud wizard, in a place where wizards generally take up a lot of space. Wizards are, usually, celibate. They find their celibate thoughts challenged when the housekeeper employs lovely and empty-headed Juliet. Glenda, the other housemaid, is frustrated with Juliet’s looks and empty-headedness. Getting her to focus on one task is difficult.
Ponder Stibbons, a jr. wizard, makes it his life’s mission to protect the universe from Arch-chancellor Ridicully. Sometimes that means unpleasant duties. One of those duties is telling Ridicully that the Archancellor Preserved Bigger’s Bequest is about to engage the UU in traditional sports, the Poor Boys’ Fun. As we all know, the wizards (with the exception of Ridicully) abhor physical exercise. There will be no getting out of if if they want to keep the bequest.
A team will have to be organized and getting to learn the rules of the game will be essential for them. Unfortunately, this football-like game seems to have very few rules. With Vetinari the wizards attempt to set out some rules for the game. After all, they do want to survive. They get their own coach in the form of Mr. Nutt. The wizards even end up with their own cheerleaders.
Pratchett is fond of bringing Shakespeare into the Discworld. Unseen Academicals is no exception. This time Romeo and Juliet, in the form of Trev and Julie, gets Terry’s touch. Poor lovers. They belong to teams who absolutely hate each other.
Samuel Vimes is a beautiful character. He grew up in Cockbill Street, the poorest area of Ankh-Morpork. They were so poor that while they had practically nothing to eat, at least their floors were clean enough to eat off. Getting into the Night Watch was quite a change for Sam. Now he had money for food. Being a guard runs in Vimes’ family. In fact one of his ancestors, old Stoneface, beheaded the last king of the city. Vimes’ worldview is that everyone is guilty of some kind of crime.
Our first proper meeting with Captain Samuel Vimes occurs with him falling over drunk into one of Ankh-Morpork’s streets. It had been a hard day for the Watch. Poor old Herbert Gaskin had broken one of the fundamental rules of being a guard. He forgot to run away from trouble. Now the most despised group of men in the entire city consisted of only three men: himself, Sergeant Colon and Nobby.
In the meantime a young man is heading for the city with “all the openness, sincerity and innocence of purpose of an iceberg drifting into a major shipping lane.” Carrot is the name of this young man, due to the color of his hair but also due to the shape of his body. One day at sixteen his dad sat him down and told him he was not the six-foot dwarf he had always thought he was. Human was his race. His dwarven parents had in fact found him in the woods next to a burned out carriage. Now it is time for him to depart and seek his fortune as a watch-man in Ankh-Morpork. With him his father sends a sword, a dwarven woolen shirt, a golden cod-piece and The Laws And Ordinances of The Cities of Ankh and Morpork.
The Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night have a plan to overthrow the Patrician. They are going to summon a dragon. Against all odds they actually succeed in calling one forth. It turns out that this is a double-edged sword. Now that they have called the dragon forth, the dragon figures out a way to get back on its own.
One of the themes that we will encounter again and again in the Watch series is the power play between Vimes and Vetinari (patrician). Vetinari plays Vimes like the strings on a guitar. Carrot is the person who manages quite well to live between a rock and a hard place. His literal interpretation of the laws of Ankh-Morpork and his ability to own any situation makes it possible for him to soften Vimes’ explosiveness after meetings with Vetinari.
1992: BBC4 produced a 6-episode serial dramatisation by Michael Butt of Guards! Guards!
Edward d’Eath’s father has just died, leaving him the thirty-seventh Lord d’Eath and an assassin to boot. Unfortunately his father had not left Edward any money. Quite a single-minded person whose belief in a King as ruler of Ankh-Morpork was quite fervent. Coincidentally, he stumbles upon Corporal Carrot, who just happens to look like one of the old Kings. Edward sets about trying to get Carrot and kinghood into fashion.
Captain Vimes is retiring from the police to marry Sybil Ramkin, Countess and the richest woman in Akh-Morpork. He is about to become one of the posh, a gentleman of leisure. But Vimes is finding it difficult to let go of policing.
Thankfully, an important artifact disappears from the Assassin’s Guild. The mystery must be solved. But the Assassin’s Guild aren’t interested in help from the Watch. Vimes loves the chase and the opportunity to get out onto the streets again. The chase after the weapon/artifact turns out to be both challenging and bloody.
Gaspode the wonder dog makes his appearance in Men-at-Arms. Gaspode the talking dog (too much time at the UU can change someone). He is rather keen on Angua (the werewolf).
In Men-at-Arms Pratchett plays with our biases. Here we get to see racism in all its “glory”. Even though the cops in the Watch are only supposed to be cops, they still have to overcome biases towards each other. Like so many others of the Discworld books, Men-at-Arms looks at the power of belief. We get a look at what that belief makes it possible for people to do.
2000: Stage adaptation of Men At Arms by Stephen Briggs
Feet of Clay (1996)
1996: Winner of SFX award for best SF/Fantasy Original Novel
1997: Nominated for 1997 Locus Awards – best Fantasy novel
Commander Sir Samuel Vimes is shaving, thinking on the horrors he has to face as a gentleman. People doing things for him, formal dinners and not being able to sit with the servants any longer playing cards and drinking beer. And then: “There was a flicker in the glass. He moved sideways and ducked. The mirror smashed. There was the sound of feet somewhere beyond the broken window, and then a crash and a scream.” The Assassin’s Guild are at it again. Some of the other gentle-people of the city do not want Vimes alive, and the Assassin’s Guild keeps on trying to do their job.
Captain Carrot has made it through his first two years in Ankh-Morpork. The love of his life is Corporal Angua, a werewolf, whose bad-hair days he takes in his stride. She is quite handy to have around when people want scaring. So when some incredibly thick thieves rob Ironcrust’s Dwarf Bakery she does just that – earning the “respect of the community.”
The body of Father Tubelcek is discovered. The watch have just hired their new alchemist, a dwarf by the name of Cheery Littlebottom. She is sent along to investigate the clues she discovers, of which one of them is a strange light in the dead eyes of Father Tubelcek.
Weirdly enough, it turns out Nobby is posh. He has his own coat of arms and has now become a peer. Poor guy, how is he going to deal with this? With increasing desperation it seems.
2007: Stage adapatation of Feet of Clay by Stephen Briggs.
An Ankh-Morporkian and a Klatchian fisher are both at the scene when a strange island rises above the sea. Both immediately lay claim to the island and this leads to a dispute between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch. The Klatchian crown prince is sent to Ankh-Morpork and diplomacy ensues (kind of). One of the funniest scenes Terry has ever written comes when Vimes has to lead a parade. The whole thing came alive in my head and I almost fell over laughing.
An assassination attempt is made on the prince and the Klatchian embassy declare war against Ankh-Morpork. Vetinari resigns and Lord Rust takes over. He is slightly eager for war and his decision leads to Vimes and the gang ending up in the Klatchian desert.
At the same time Vetinari, Colon, Nobby and Leonard of Quirm take a u-boat ride to the island and then to Klatch. Nobby ends up having the time of his life with “nubile” women. This is also an extremely funny scene. Poor Nobby. But while there is plenty of humor in the foursome’s trip, there is also a serious reason for their trip (obviously since Vetinari is involved).
Uberwald – the land of vampires, werewolves, trolls and dwarves, is becoming restless. Something very important is happening in a few weeks time. A new Low King is being crowned, and that is causing fighting in Ankh-Morpork. With 50000 dwarves living in the city, people are bound to notice that something is going on.
The old grievances between trolls and dwarves have not yet been resolved and large areas are controlled as fiefdoms by vampire or werewolf clans. Into this “suet pudding” Vetinari plans to send an ambassador for Ankh-Morpork, and he wants to send the Duke of Ankh. Cunning man that he is, Vetinari had already spoken to Lady Sybil about it. Vimes knew when he was beaten.
The replica of the Scone (dwarf throne) is stolen from The Dwarf Bread Museum. Vimes finds an aboundance of clues, to many in his opinion. To him it is a stupid crime that does not feel stupid.
Vimes goes off to Uberwald, leaving Carrot in charge of the city. Thankfully, Sybil is along. She will take care of the negotiations, while Vimes will represent Ankh-Morpork in his unique style.
Angua discovers that her xenophobic brother Wolfgang has decided to take over Uberwald. She leaves Ankh-Morpork and Carrot to stop Wolfgang. Carrot makes a difficult choice. He chooses love over duty and goes after Angua. This time Colon is left in charge of the Watch – a recipe for disaster.
The Fifth Elephant follows these three journeys – Vimes and Sybil/Carrot and Angua/Colon as head of Watch.
In a sense, The Fifth Elephant is a love story. Sometimes the choice is between the people we love, duty and tradition. Can we have it all?
The Night Watch for the most part happens in the past. Through a freak accident, Vimes is thrown back to the time when he was a younger man and new to the Watch. Along for the ride is Carcer, a cold-blooded murderer. Carcer’s goal in the past is to kill Sybil, thereby wounding Sam beyond repair. Sam’s goal on the other hand is to make the city safer from people like Carcer. To do that he has to establish a new identity as his old self cannot know who he is. Luckily/unluckily Vimes assumes the identity of John Keel, his old sergeant. John Keel has been killed by Carcer. Vimes knows that changing the past will also affect his future. There might not be a wife and child-to-be when he gets home to modern Ankh-Morpork. But Vimes is who he is and cannot leave the Watch or his old self in their old shape.
Unfortunately, Carcer joins the Unmentionables. They are the secret police, carrying out the whims of Lord Winder (patrician of the time). This often includes people going missing, torture and terror. Vimes sets out to make life difficult for both Carcer and the Unmentionables.
Would we try to change the past if we could? Many of us probably would. In trying to influence his younger self to be a better copper, Vimes changed himself. But the big lines of the city. Hmmm – read and see. Corruption and incompetence are dangerous qualities in rulers, but also in the ones set to carrying out the rules. So, what happens when Vimes sets out to change his old world, trying to make it a better place?
2008: BBC Radio 4 2008 radio adaptation dramatised by Robin Brooks
2004: Night Watch stage adaptation by Stephen Briggs
Dribble the dragon, Samuel Vimes, Sam Jr. by Kiriban
Vimes really, really does not like Vampires. Until now he has refused to have any of them on the Watch. That choice is taken away from him by his “beloved” Vetinari. Sally is employed to assist in the investigation around the death of the dwarven demagogue, Grag Hamcrusher. Apparently a troll is the culprit. Sergeant Angua and Captain Carrot are the other Watch member assigned to the case.
Corporal Nobbs and Sergeant Colon get the job of investigating the disappearance of a 50-foot painting titled The Battle of Koom Valley. The discovery of the disappearance leads to several things happening. Trolls vs. dwarves, assassination attempts, a Kube and the Summoning Dark all lead to Vimes, Sybil, Young Sam, Wilikins, and several members of the Watch going to the Koom Valley where Vimes discovers the secret of the valley.
Young Sam has become the mainstay of Vimes’ life. This will prove essential in keeping Vimes alive and sane. Family is all to him. Vimes’ dedication to peace is strong throughout the book, as can be seen clearly in his fight with the Summoning Dark. Racism is prevalent in the book through the animosity between dwarves and trolls. Once again we are confronted by our own biases. One might even replace racism with religious conflict: Protestant/Catholic (Ireland) or political conflict: Palestine/Israel.
Samuel Vimes and one of his weapons (dragon) by Jan Pospisil(Perfect)
Snuff’s focus is for the main part on Vimes and his family. Lady Sybil makes him take a family vacation to her mansion Crundells. Of course Wilikins comes along. Here all is peaceful and Sam is enjoying being able to concentrate on being with his wife and son. But that is not the way things stay. The house-staff seems to hate Sam and Vimes nose is itching with the smell of wrong-doings.
Samuel discovers a grotto of goblins living nearby. For some inexplicable reason the local gentry seems to hate/despise/revile the goblins and treat them as disposables. When the murder of a local blacksmith occurs, all of a sudden the whole country side is involved. On his side, Vimes has Sybil, Wilikins, a young police officer called Upshot and the goblins. Against him are Lord Rust (who has interests in the area) and most of the local gentry and quite a few of the peasants.
It’s time to call in the cavalry. While he has no jurisdiction at Crundell, Vimes is able to ask his people to investigate certain aspects of his discoveries. The Watch does not play a large part in Snuff, but they are present.
I was touched by Snuff. In a sense I felt as though I was saying goodbye to Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh-Morpork and Commander of the Watch. Pratchett writing has gotten darker as the years have passed for the Discworld. The topics are no longer solely focused on making fun (in his gentle way) of current sci-fi and fantasy fashions, but very much on personal development and the conflicts people meet in life. The slavery of the goblins in Snuff very much reminded me of the slavery that has gone on and is going on in the world. Somehow people find it in themselves to treat others as nothing. Rising up to fight this slavery, both on a large and a small-scale is incredibly difficult. Thankfully Pratchett always leaves us with a sense of hope that things might get better.
The Grim Reaper in the form of a skeletal body in a black robe, with a scythe and speaking in CAPITAL LETTERS appears for the first time in The Colour of Magic. His job is to collect human souls. Death is the servant of Azrael, the “Death of Universes”. Opposing him are the Auditors, who want nothing more than the end of all life (it’s soooo messy).
At home Death has a servant, Albert and a daughter, Ysabelle. Kittens and swans are his favorite animals and his horse Binky is with him on each collection.
Because of his fascination with humans, Death sometimes leaves his post to seek understanding. This tends to cause problems because humans don’t like to see what they do not understand and the universe likes the souls of dead people collected. The only ones who can see Death for who he is are witches, wizards, cats and children.
In The Art of Discworld Terry tells us that he has received a number of letters from terminally ill fans in which they hope that Death will resemble the Discworld incarnation (he also says that those particular letters usually cause him to spend some time staring at the wall).
While Death appears in the previous books, Mort is the first book in which he becomes a main character.
Mort’s family specialized in distilling wine from reannual grapes. (“Reannual are plants that grow backwards in time. You sow the seed this year and they grow last year.”) These growers tended to be big, serious men, much given to introspection and close examination of the calendar. Mort (the youngest son) on the other hand, was tall, red-haired and freckled, with the sort of body that seems to be only marginally under its owner’s control; apparently built out of knees.
Hopeless as he is, Mort’s father decides to take his son to the hiring fair at Sheepridge. At this hiring fair men looking for work would stand in ragged lines in the centre of the square waiting for a tradesman to hire them as apprentices. Noone seems to want Mort, but just before the clock has struck its final strike at midnight, a prospective tradesman enters the square. It is Death and Mort can see him as he really looks. Mort is hired as an apprentice and Death and Mort ride off on Binky.
And so, Mort is off on the adventure of his life learning all sorts of useful things – like how many shades of black there are and how to walk through walls. Obviously death is a theme of all of the books in the Death series. Terry treats this subject with warmth and a light heart. Death comes to us all, after all. Poor old Death is going through a mid-life crisis, and Pratchett’s gentle mocking of the phenomenon is heartwarming.
1994: The graphic novel, Mort: The Big Comic is illustrated by Graham Higgins.
2004: BBC4 broadcast Mort in 4 parts. Adapted for radio by Robin Brooks. It is re-sent regularly.
The terrible Auditors of Reality have been at it again. To them the fact that Death seems to be developing a personality is the sin beyond sins. So, they decide to retire Death and Death is resigned to that decision. What happens when there is no longer a collector of spirits?
Back at the Unseen University Windle Poons – the oldest wizard – is waiting for his collection by Death. He knows to the minute when this is supposed to happen. But does it? Windle Poons certainly dies, but no one shows up for his spirit, so he decides to go back into his body. This tendency seems to be spreading to other people.
Now that Death has his own hourglass with sand running down, he has decided to make the most of the life left to him. High up in the Ramtops a figure on a horseback turns up. He knocks at the door of Miss Flitworth asking for help. The stranger goes by name Bill Door. The main qualification needed is the ability to use a scythe, and one might say that Bill is excellent at the job.
Back at Ankh-Morpork Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler has discovered something that he thinks will make his fortune (again). This time he has found some strange globes. When they are shaken a cloud of little white snowflakes swirl up in the liquid inside and settle on a tiny model of a famous Ankh-Morpork landmark.
And finally, magic is behaving strangely at the UU. It seems all of the Life drifting accross the Discworld is acting like water building up behind a dam when the sluice gates are shut. Needing a place to go, it manifests itself in all sorts of phenomena. The wizards decide they have to meddle with all of the strangeness.
Terry addresses fate, life, death, consumerism and relationships in Reaper Man. I’ve seen reviews that praise Reaper Man to the sky and others that despair of Pratchett’s writing this books. For my own part, I rather liked the book. It juggles the serious and the silly quite well in the jump between Flitworth and the wizards.
1996: 8-minute animated television adaptation produced by Cosgrove Hall Animation Studios of Reaper Man.
2012: Australian stage adaptation of Reaper Man by Pamela Munt
Mort and Ysabell married and had a baby – a little girl they named Sarah. At age six, Sarah, makes her teachers at Quirm College for Young Ladies extremely nervous. Strangeness tends to happen around the girl and she says the most bizarre things. But Susan didn’t really worry about what other people thought about her. And that continues through the years at school.
Sometimes the gods listen to the words people say. Imp Y Celyn (Buddy) said to his dad: “You don’t know anything! You’re just a stupid old man. But I’m giving my life to music! One day soon everyone will say I was the greatest musician in the world.” In retrospect, perhaps not the wisest words, but they do make for a good story. When he chances upon a pawn shop guitar and becomes possessed by it, rock and roll enters the Discworld. This means some serious hip-rolling and swooning fans. Imp’s band “Music With Rocks In” acquires a manager in Cut-Me-Own-Throat-Dibbler. He tries to do what any good manager would, cash in on the band while keeping them in the dark.
Death has decided to go on another of his walkabouts. Unfortunately, for Susan Sto Helit (Death’s granddaughter) that means leaving boarding school to carry on the family business. Having Death for a grandfather does not make for an easy life and Susan struggles to stay on top of the job. Chaos and mayhem ensue.
Part of the theme of this book is music groups and their managers in all their glory. The generation gap is also something that is experienced at the Unseen University. Ridicully’s thoughts on the younger wizards’ fascination with the new fad is typical. Idealism vs. rationality is a struggle Susan has to face. To let or not to let people die.
1996: An animated mini-series adaptation of Soul Music was produced by Cosgrove Hall Films for Channel 4.
“”Something” began when the Guild of Assassins enrolled Mister Teatime, who saw things differently from other people, and one of the ways that he saw things differently from other people was in seeing other people as things (later, Lord Downey of the Guild said, “We took pity on him because he’d lost both parents at an early age. I think that, on reflection, we should have wondered a bit more about that”).”
At the Unseen University the wizards are standing before a nailed shut door, wondering if they should open it – despite the sign that read “Do not, under any circumstances, open this door”. But curiosity is one of the prevailing “talents” of wizards. Ridicully is one of the more curious ones. The door is opened, and what do they find? Bloody Stupid Johnson has been at it again. A wise person would have closed the door again at this moment, but alas. There are not many wise wizards in Ankh-Morpork.
Susan Sto-Helit is enjoying a quit evening at the home she is governessing at. As usual she has put the fear of something into her employer while the children adore her. All of a sudden images formed in her mind. “A red ball … The sharp smell of snow … And then they were gone, and instead there were …
She knows right then that trouble is afoot, and its name is most likely DEATH. As you can see from the picture, DEATH does make a lovely Hogfather – travelling to all the children calling HO, HO, HO in his own unique style.
Absurdity, chaos and laughter are only some words to describe Hogfather. When the assassin Teatime is sent to kill the Hogfather, you just know you have to buckle up for a crazy ride. Christmas and all of its stranger sides (consumerism and altruism) are all examined. This is the ultimate Christmas story, one that might make you want to believe in Santa Claus again.
2006: Hogfather adapted by Vadim Jean as a two part TV-serial for SKY
Nanny Ogg is called to a birthing – a very unusual one. Some years later Jeremy Clockson was enjoying dismantling and putting a clock back together again. He’d grown up as a child-prodigy at the Guild of Clockmakers since he was a few days old. Then Lady Myria LeJean with her two troll body-guards steps into his shop. Something about her bothers Jeremy. She wants him to build the most accurate clock in the world.
Miss Susan is a very strict and popular teacher with her pupils. Her main concern is to get her pupils to see things for what they are. But her popularity stems mainly for the class-trips she takes her students on – quite unusual ones that should not be possible. Her view on parents was that there ought to be an exam before they were allowed children. When the Death of Rats comes by to tell her that Death needs her help dealing with the Auditors, she sets off to do her duty.
The Order of Wen or the History Monks have a duty to see that tomorrow happens. One of the novices, Ludd, is causing problems. As a baby, he’d been raised by the Guild of Thieves. Then the monk Soto had stumbled upon Ludd and send him to the temple. There all sorts of unusual things happened our young Ludd. To solve the Master of Novices’ problems, Ludd is placed with another troublemaker – the sweeper Lu Tze. Both Ludd and Lu Tze are surprised by the other.
Going along for a ride with Pratchett is bound to be an insane experience and Thief of Time is no exception to the rule. His way of dealing with events of the day – and usually themes that are relevant no matter when or where one lives (like education, family, duty, propaganda, differences and prejudice) is admirable. It’s the warmth in his work that makes Pratchett so worthwhile to me.
As you can see from the above map, the Discworld consists of many countries and continents. Each country has its own culture and religion. From my reading there are three books in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series that are specifically about religion and culture. These three stories are about the countries of Djelibeybi (Pyramids) – try saying it, Omnia (Small Gods) and Zlobenia vs. Borogravia (Monstrous Regiment).
Pyramids consists of four books: The Book of Going forth, The Book of the Dead, The Book of the New Sun and The Book of 101 Things a Boy Can Do.
As a young boy Pteppic was sent to Ankh-Morpork by his father, King Teppicymon XXVII. The Assassin’s Guild had accepted him as their student. The reason they had chosen the assassins’ school was because it offered the best all-round education in the world.
At home all Teppic had was a kingdom two miles wide and onedred and fifty miles long. Its stronger neighbors only tolerated their existence because anything else would lead to war between the two countries.
Djelibeybi’s days of glory were over. Now all they had to attract visitors was pyramids – enough pyramids to bankrupt the country.
Teppic’s stay was Ankh-Morpork is a success. He survived his finals (assassin’s school finals can be quite deadly) through knowledge and a great deal of luck. The test was to arrive alive and well at a site and then kill someone. He passed by accident.
Then Teppic’s father dies and Teppic becomes King Teppicymon XXVIII and has to go back to Djelybeybi. When he gets there he discovers that the High Priest Dios pretty much runs the country. Any change that Teppic wants to bring in to Djelibeybi, like plumping, is fought. All Teppic is supposed to do is get a consort and bring an heir into the world. Most importantly, a new pyramid has to be raised and his father’s pyramid has to be capped.
Pratchett plays with time and space in Pyramids. The pyramid of Teppic’s father has become so large that upon capping, Djelibeybi comes out of alignment with the rest of the disc. Chaos ensues in Djelibeybi as the dead come alive and the kingdom’s various gods want a part in ruling the kingdom. The power of belief is strong on the Discworld. There gods gain power through their believers. If the people believe the pharaoh is a god, then the pharaoh has godlike powers. Egyptian mythology along with Christianity get their fair share of Pratchett’s attention.
1989: Winner of BSFA
SMALL GODS (1992)
On the Discworld there are gods for everything. On Wikipedia you’ll find a list over the gods and their function. They come in all shapes and sizes. Lack of belief decreases power while belief increases the power of the gods. If they have no believers, the gods are small gods crying out for belief.
History has to be observed. Otherwise it’s not history. It’s just … well, things happening one after another.
This is why history has its own caretakers making sure things happen as they should. These caretakers live in a hidden valley in the Ramtops. The 493rd Abbot sends his most experienced monk, Lu-Tze, to Omnia to make certain that nothing messes up the course of history.
In Omnia the time of the 8th prophet was imminent. The Church of the Great God Om has “very punctual prophets. You could set your calendar by them, if you had one big enough.” Brutha, the novice monk hears a voice. This voice is trying to get his attention. Due to a lack of belief Om finds itself stripped of power and has therefore become one of the Small Gods. When Brutha discovers that the voice he has been hearing in his head belongs to a small tortoise, Brutha is astounded. No less astounded does he become when the tortoise wants to see the High Priest. A mere novice will never be allowed into such august company.
Vorbis, the Deacon, is the head of the Quisition. Their job is to do all those things that need to be done that other people would rather not do. Their methods of garnering information were like the Spanish Inquisition’s, rather unpleasant. Along with General Iam Fri’it of the Divine Legion and Bishop Drunah of the Congress of Iams Vorbis is planning on forcing the word of Om on the Ephebians. Once Ephebe has been converted, the way onward to Djel and Tsort lies open.
Religion and its inquisitions, philosophy, and the battle between reason and belief end up on the playground of Pratchett’s satiric hand. Terry gives us a look at how some people seek power to the extent that they will do anything to gain it.
Some gods are crazier than others. In Borogravia Nuggan passes decrees that are increasingly bizarre. Borogravians are ruled by the Abominations – a list of taboos: no garlic, no cats, ginger hair is out and so are six-buttoned shirts, chocolate and the color blue. You can see that being a Borogravian can be a challenge for the most devout. Due to these Abominations Borogravia is constantly at war with their neighbors.
Even though women aren’t allowed pants, Polly dons them, cuts her hair short and sets off after her brother Paul, who has gone missing in the Borogravian army. She needs him back at the family pub so the pub won’t be passed on to their terrible cousin if their dad dies. All she has to do is join the Borogravian army.
The recruiting sergeant and his corporal assistant Strappi give Polly (or Oliver Perks as she calls herself) a shilling to kiss and a picture of the queen. Along with Polly, several other recruits join up: a vampire, one troll, an Igor and humans. Strangely enough all the of the recruits have very light voices. The tiny regiment makes their way toward the keep where the enemy is based. Guess who we get to meet there.
Commander Samuel Vimes has been sent to Zlobenia to figure out how to deal with Borogravia. To Vimes Borogravia is just another criminal that has to be dealt with as such, and he is going to treat Zlobenia and Borogravia as he would two scrappers back in Ankh-Morpork.
As you can probably imagine the main themes of Monstrous Regiment are the battle between the sexes and repressive religions. Deprivations caused by a war-happy country are only all too apparent in this story. Along with young males, food and clothing are scarce. We don’t have to look too far back into our own histories to see how all of these themes are sadly relevant for us.
The characters in Monstrous Regiment are delightful. The lengths these women go to in order to hide their gender is funny (socks in pants etc.). Their reactions to discovering the true identities of their compatriots and the difficulties that come with hiding their gender create weird scenes (especially in relation to Lieutenant Blouse – an incredibly inept soldier).
2004: Monstrous Regiment adapted for stage by Stephen Briggs
2011: Monstrous Regiment trailer fanfilm by Michelle
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
1997: Wyrd Sisters was produced as a two-part animated television series, produced by Cosgrove Hall.
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.
1999: Witches Abroad stage adaptation by Aaron Birkes played at Aberystwyth Arts Centre Theatre
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.
In his dedication Pratchett writes:
“My thanks to the people who showed me that opera was stranger than I could imagine.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Snuffare 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.