This question relates to Vorbis in the 13th Discworld novel, Small Gods. Reading beyond this point will spoil the ending.

Brutha carries Vorbis for a few days in the desert, during this time Vorbis is absent of mind. When the trio is sufficiently close to the citadel, and the believers in the institution of Om, Vorbis suddenly regains full consciousness.

The God Om seemed to have regained his consciousness in a similar way when he was in proximity to his follower.

Does this mean that Vorbis was the God of the institution of Om, if not, what was the reason for his sudden recovery?


Definitely not.

Setting aside that Vorbis being any kind of anything other than Vorbis guts the themes of the book... Vorbis never lost any kind of conciousness or functionality when he left the Citadel and crossed the sea to threaten the Tyrant. It was only after he was sunk and left for dead - except by Brutha - that he seemed to take a shock and go mute. If he was dependent on worship, he should have shown signs of starting to fail while he was still in Ephebe. (Om also doesn't show signs of regressing into turtle-hood too much when Brutha makes it out of the desert and back to the Citadel before he does, but since all he could focus on was getting back to Brutha, and the distance wasn't vast, I think we can accept that as a light exception.)

Also, gods don't usally die in the messy mortal fashion, they just lose whatever body they inhabit and dwindle into nothingness afterwards without worshippers (@Valorum has pointed out in comment they do die, just not like humans). That's really what happened to all the nameless small gods in the desert. Given that Vorbis took a turtle to the face at terminal velocity (all puns intended) and definitely died and immediately passed on to the afterlife (Death being an expert on when this should happen), we can take this to mean he is definitely not any kind of god.

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    Death does point out that all Gods die... – Valorum May 7 '17 at 1:32
  • @Valorum Does he? Then why do they all hang out in a real desert starving for worship, instead of moving on to the after-desert? – Radhil May 7 '17 at 1:36
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    Because they might (somehow) get back into the Show. Even Om started out with a single follower... – Valorum May 7 '17 at 1:37
  • @Radhil, in Ephebe, Vorbis had guards and an army near by that believed in him, he lost consciousness when he was though to be dead. If he was had achieved some sort of semi-god status, I think that might had been in line with the theme of the book. – Morgoth May 20 '17 at 13:37
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    @Morgoth - The primary point of Vorbis was that he deluded himself into thinking he heard Om, when all he really heard was himself. Making him any kind of divine undermines that. That said, I can come at this and say the same thing from the other direction - Om was only vulnerable to distance because Brutha was his only believer. With so many "believers" in the shell of Om - his church, that you link to Vorbis - Vorbis should never have gone catatonic at all, and could have done anything he wanted, much like Om wanted to, but couldn't. – Radhil May 20 '17 at 15:18

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