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In Interesting Times, Arch-Chancellor Ridcully says that Rincewind is not technically a wizard because he failed at the University and has never performed any "great services to magic". Rincewind responds that he has saved the world a few times, to which Ridcully responds, "were there any witnesses?" Rincewind was apparently stumped at that point. The problem is that in The Light Fantastic, Rincewind reads the Eight Spells from the Octavo and saves the Disc, with the roof of the Tower of Art, which was crowded with witnesses at the time. Why doesn't anyone remember this?

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    Because it happened a considerable time ago. Note that Rincewind seems to be living 50-100 or more years later than his earliest appearance. Most of the wizards who were there would be long dead – Valorum Aug 22 '18 at 13:38
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    Also, did he really save the disc? All he did was read the spells. Apparently any first level wizard could have done it. – Valorum Aug 22 '18 at 13:42
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    I don't think it's just a question of time; at the beginning of The Last Continent there's discussion about nobody knowing the Librarian's name and IIRC they talk about a period of "droit de mortis". I think we can conclude that all the wizards present when the Eight Spells were read (who would presumably have been the most senior ones) have since been killed - either during the events of Sourcery or by their underlings. – Harry Johnston Aug 22 '18 at 17:39
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    Ridcully is the fellow who, on finding a hidden, boarded up door with warning signs, ordered it pried open, because naturally, he wanted to see why it was shut. I wouldn't take his judgement as superior in any case. – Radhil Aug 22 '18 at 17:46
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    Also, from the wizard's point of view, Rincewind's help wouldn't have been needed if he hadn't stolen one of the Eight in the first place. ObEGS. – Harry Johnston Aug 22 '18 at 17:50
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The witnesses present at the time of the reading of the 8 spells are the townsfolk of Ankh-Morpork who were in the process of lynching all the wizards, the librarian, the luggage. None of whom are particularly viable witnesses, 'ook' has many meanings but it's not that useful for complex concepts.

Or if we consider the Bel-Shamharoth (The Sender of Eight), the witnesses were Twoflower, the luggage, and Hrun the Barbarian. At least two of whom were too wrapped up in their own business to notice.

Then we have the incident with the sourcerer (Coin). After which any surviving wizards made a point of claiming not to have been present at the time. Which means that even though many of the senior wizards do know that Rincewind saved them all, they're never going to admit it, because it would mean admitting siding with the sourcerer and hence being on the wrong side.

Hence, no witnesses to Rincewind saving the world.

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Because wizards have incredibly selective memory, and the librarian is one of the only people still alive after competition and Coin ravaged a few decades ago when Rincewind was busy running away in Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic.

  • "coin ravaged"? – Organic Marble Dec 4 '18 at 2:22
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    @Organic Marble Coin is the name of a character in the Discworld books; the "Sourcerer" from the book of the same name. His brief reign of terror over the Unseen University resulted in the deaths of a number of the faculty. – Kyle Doyle Dec 4 '18 at 4:19
  • Ah, thanks, it's been a long time since I read the books, and the lack of capitalization misled me. – Organic Marble Dec 4 '18 at 4:56

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