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In Pratchett's novel Small Gods, there is this character, Angus. Because he saves St. Ungulant from the lion attack it is clear that he is not only fictional (as opposed to what we could think when Brutha doesn't see him).

The lion leapt…

And things would have looked very bad for St. Ungulant if Angus hadn't caught it right behind the ear with a rock.

According to Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki, Angus is one of the small gods, but I doubt that. From what we know about small gods, he would:

  1. Want to gain more believers and therefore persuade St. Ungulant to go get some instead of living in the desert.
  2. Not play the game with St. Ungulant about the feasts being real, it would not be favourable for Angus, he could lose his only believer because of them.

There was jelly and ice-cream today, too.

"All the more for us, eh, Angus?"

Yes, said Angus.

So the question is simple: Is Angus from Small gods really a god? If not, what is he?

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  • 3
    Not all gods are desperate for additional worshippers
    – Valorum
    Apr 19, 2018 at 15:03
  • 1
    I really couldn't imagine Ungulant surviving anywhere else for long either.
    – Radhil
    Apr 19, 2018 at 15:31
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    He's S.T. Ungulant not St. Ungulant Apr 19, 2018 at 15:58
  • 3
    @TheMathemagician It is St. Ungulant in the book.
    – TGar
    Apr 19, 2018 at 20:22
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    @TGar - Because those that get swept out to the 'thin places' don't seem to have much desire to get back into the fray. It's only the ambitious gods like Om that seem to feel the need to grow their supporter-base, at the expense of their rivals.
    – Valorum
    Apr 19, 2018 at 20:34

2 Answers 2

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It's the only likely explanation

S.T./St. Ungulant is described as "the friend of small gods". That's basically his definition in the book, so any magically active phenomenon in his vicinity is logically a Small God.

To address your two concerns:

  1. There are multiple gods in the world that are happy just to be where they are at. Not every one of them has the innate goal to be ambitious. The main point of the book is that Gods "aren't special compared to humans". It expands the Discworld by showing that not only the gods in Dunmanifestin have humanlike properties, but all gods everywhere have these. As such there are ambitious ones and less ambitious ones, just like humans.

  2. It should be noted that Ungulant is the ideal person to play this trick on. He's both well aware that he's probably mad and gives in to his cravings for actual food (cacti and lizards and the like) in order to have some variety in his dietary palette. As such he won't die from the illusions, since he'll still be eating actual food.

That all being said: I couldn't find conclusive proof of this, Pratchett either hasn't commented on it, or my Google-Fu isn't strong enough. I also couldn't find any mention of Angus in any of the Science of the Discworld books.

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  • Angus could well be a bogeyman. He can hide in plain sight but protect his friend.
    – Valorum
    Apr 20, 2018 at 6:32
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    @Valorum Yes, and he could well be something entirely different, there are plenty of one-of's in the Discworld and there's (as far as I could find) no proof as to what Angus is at all. I think this is the best answer the question is going to get, considering the main authority to clear this up is permanently unavailable.
    – DonFusili
    Apr 20, 2018 at 6:39
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    There's a quote or two somewhere in that book suggesting that a god's nature is strongly influenced by their worshipers, especially their early worshipers. As such, it is hardly surprising that Angus is unusually laid-back for a Small God. Apr 20, 2018 at 7:36
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    @HarryJohnston Ah yes, something like "If Om's first follower had been a goat herder instead of a sheep herder, things would have turned out differently". I'll look up the exact quote tonight and edit it in.
    – DonFusili
    Apr 20, 2018 at 7:38
  • @DonFusili, it's linked to the line that sheep are driven but goats need to be led.
    – Separatrix
    Apr 20, 2018 at 7:53
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Angus is described in the Ultimate Discworld Companion as being S.T. Ungulant's "imaginary friend". Note that he's distinguished from the small gods that also spend their time in his company.

S. T. Ungulant is a very thin man with long hair and beard, and skin almost blackened by the desert sun. He wears a loincloth, and he has an imaginary friend called Angus. He is in fact almost completely and utterly mad, due to the sun and a continuous diet of the strange desert mushrooms. But the tiny core of reason left within him is aware that being completely insane is the only way to survive the desert existence. Besides, it means that he can enjoy the nebulous sumptuous meals and insubstantial carnal delights put before him by the small gods that swarm in the desert. His belief in all of them is possibly the only thing that keeps him alive.

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  • Yes, I never got the feeling Angus was a small god. For some reason I always got the idea (like with the rock throwing at the lion) that Pratchett was telling us "it's really Ungulant doing it, wink wink". But I guess it could be argued either way.
    – Andres F.
    Nov 20, 2022 at 0:21
  • @Valorum I am addressing the possibility of him being imaginary in my original post. How could Angus save Ungulant from the lion if he is imaginary?
    – TGar
    Nov 20, 2022 at 13:50
  • @TGar - Well, that's the joke isn't it
    – Valorum
    Nov 20, 2022 at 14:09

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