Tag Archives: Unseen University

Pratchett, Terry: Rincewind

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

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

THE COLOUR OF MAGIC (1983)

French cover by Marc Simonetti Kemar

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

“In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, in an astral plane that was never meant to fly, the curling star-mists waver and part …”

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC (1986)

Book cover – graphic novel

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCERY (1988)

French book cover by Marc Simonetti Kemar

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

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

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

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

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

FAUST ERIC (1990)Eric

French cover by Marc Simonetti Kemar

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

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

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

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

INTERESTING TIMES (1994)

By Ryan Dowling Soka

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

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

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

THE LAST CONTINENT (1998)

Dijabringabeeralong Pub by Rhianna

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

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

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

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

THE LAST HERO (2001)

The Last Hero by Paul Kidby

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

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

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


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

2007: Snowgum Film Run Rincewind Run!

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

2013: BBC Radio: Eric

Discworld Monthly: Who’s Who: Rincewind

Fanfiction

TP Official Message Board: Rincewind

Wikipedia: Rincewind

Wiki Lspace: Rincewind

Pratchett, Terry: The Discworld

Every once in a while I come across an author that catches my imagination and my love on a great many levels. Terry Pratchett is one such author. He imbues his stories with his love for his craft along with the great talent that he has shared with others ever since he was a young boy.

I hope that some of my love for Pratchett will shine through my posts about his Discworld series (along with his other books that I have reviewed on my blog).

My Little Discworld
by Annie Msson

An author like Terry could find this Discworld image funny and quite ironic. My little ponies instead of elephants. I have to grin each time I see this. It’s just so silly. A great deal of fan-art and official art has been made relating to the Discworld. Some of it will be included in my posts with links to the artist (if I get it wrong I would really appreciate someone letting me know).

“In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, in an astral plane that was never meant to fly, the curling star-mists waver and part …

See …”,

and what we see is Great A’Tuin, the turtle that flows through space with four elephants on her back. On top of these four elephants we find the Discworld, a flat earth where you can most certainly find and fall over the end of the world. Hubward and Rimward are the Discworld’s equivalent of N/S/E/W.

The Discworld comprises the largest part of Pratchett’s authorship. How to read the Discworld, what order to read the books in and what topic Terry Pratchett is illustrating in each of his stories is sometimes up for discussion. On his official discussion boards people agree and disagree on the how’s, why’s and whereof’s of this crazy world with its loveable characters. And boy, am I fond of them.

These are my very favorite characters of the Discworld:

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

 
 

Sto Plains

On the Sto Plains we find Ankh-Morpork, Quirm, Sto Lat, Sto Helit, Chirm and Pseudolopolis. Of these the one you see featured most in the Discworld series is Ankh-Morpork. But the others also make an appearance. According to Pratchett (who you may choose to believe or not) nothing on the Discworld should be thought of as a Tellus counterpart (cough, cough). You might struggle a bit doing that, so feel free to compare the Discworld countries with any country on this side of the parallel universe division.

Ankh-Morpork

The city/kingdom on Discworld that we as readers visit the most is Ankh-Morpork. Ankh comprises the richer part of the city while Morpork contains the docks, taverns and the poorer side of the city. Vetinari is the city’s tyrant. Under him thieves, assassins and beggars have had to gather into guilds so they can police and train their own members and pay taxes.

Part of but not part of Ankh-Morpork is The Unseen University (UU). The UU is a scary place for the uninitiated. Buildings and grounds are so saturated with magic that nothing seems to remain “normal” (for a given Discworldian value of normal). Which is why the wizards at the UU held so much power until Lord Vetinary arrived. While the wizards consider themselves above the law and taxes, Lord Vetinari is of another opinion. Somehow both parties end up satisfied with their “agreement”.

One of the reasons for the UU being so saturated with magic has to do with their library. In it we find incredibly dangerous books. If you are not careful, some of them will eat you. The Librarian’s job is to make certain that as many people as possible make it out of the Library alive. If a person is stupid enough to damage one of the books, then it might just be the librarian that ends up killing them.

Uberwald

Another great thing about Ankh-Morpork is its diversity. Lord Vetinary decided that their night watch ought to reflect that variety. We find several of its police officers from the land of Uberwald. Carrot and his beloved Angua (werewolf), several of the dwarves, a vampire and trolls seems to prefer the city to their origins. Perhaps that has to do with the nature of Uberwald.

Uberwald is a place where humans are in the minority – prey to two of the other races living there (vampires and werewolves). Dwarves, on the other hand, wish to have as little as possible to do with humans and manage that quite well by staying underground in their amazing cities. Uberwald is not a place to go on vacation, although Vimes actually tries to honeymoon there.

Klatch

Another large portion of the inhabitants of Ankh-Morpork come from the land of Klatch. Strangely enough, Klatch happens to be a traditional enemy of Ankh-Morpork. One would think that they’d be able to conquer Ankh-Morpork, but alas. Ankh-Morpork is like that scrappy little terrier that never lets go, and once you’re in their city you become one of them. Klatch consists of a lot of sand, highly intelligent philosphers and inventors and are seemingly more advanced than Ankh-Morpork. On the above map you will see the exact size of Klatch in relation to Ankh-Morpork.

Lancre

Visitors to Ankh-Morpork sometimes come from the small mountain country of Lancre. Some of the Discworld’s coolest characters live there. Practicing witches, witches to be, a king and citizens who enjoy living under the protection and terror of the witches live in Lancre. Granny Weatherwax happens to be the unofficial head of all of the witches on the Discworld and she also happens to live in Lancre.

The Agatean Empire

The Agatean Empire is where the Luggage is from. It features in one of the stories about Rincewind. Pratchetts two first stories in the Discworld series has one of its citizens as main character (Two Flower), which is how the Luggage got to the other side of the ocean. The general populace of the Agatean Empire believe that one must not travel outside the great wall the surrounds i due to the vampiric nature of the people living there. Being such a secluded country leaves the rest of the world knowing nothing about them, which is very much against the grain of Lord Vetinary.

EcksEcksEcksEcks

Four Ecks also lies across the ocean and is a land where death lies in wait everywhere. Please try to remember that there are no similarities between Discworld and Tellus.

FourEcks, or NOT-Australia, is an extremely dry land for the most part. It’s animals, birds and insects are deadly to such an extent that it is advisable for newcomers to an area to expect the worst. In the Discworld series there is only one story dealing with this strange and deadly continent (Interesting Times – Rincewind series).


My Discworld system:

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