I have tried to find other sources to back up my theory but none of their arguments seemed to be very well constructed

There seem to be a lot of parallels between the two, namely some members of the society are veiled, and they have their own law that some try to enforce alongside morporkian law.

There are probably more similarities if you comes over the text.

Is anything explicitly stated by Pratchett or another authoritive source about a connection?

  • 10
    They're definitely a parody of religious fanatics, but I don't see why they'd be Muslims in particular. There are as many parallels with extreme Muslims as there are with orthodox Jews, for example. Also, dwarf women are in no way subservient, their society doesn't like gender being flaunted but there's nothing against female dwarves reaching the highest echelons of society and power.
    – terdon
    Jun 11, 2015 at 17:43
  • @terdon I had a very good reason. Let me think.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jun 11, 2015 at 17:51
  • 18
    Little in Pratchett is all one thing all the time. The Discworld setting and characters get used in different ways at different times. There are episodes when the analogy is apt and others when it would be a painful stretch. Nor should you neglect the extent to which the Klatchian are explicitly given Arab and Muslim cultural analogues in Jingo. Pratchett moves his metaphors around almost too fast to follow. Jun 11, 2015 at 21:11
  • 2
    @dmckee I think that's the best answer to this question that's been given.
    – user867
    Jun 12, 2015 at 0:47
  • Have you ever tried forbidding dwarves to drink beer? Aug 28, 2018 at 12:55

2 Answers 2


No, they aren't. They are an allegory for any immigrant group that's characterized by strong religious beliefs and customs. The things that make them resemble Muslims are (off the top of my head):

  1. The grags giving out the law;
  2. The grags wearing veils;
  3. Ummm?

1 is also true of Jews, Christians and fanatics of most religions. They turn to priests for figuring out what's "true". Granted, I can't think of a parallel to Sharia law quite as harsh as the Islamist one, but the idea of separate secular and divine law is in no way exclusive to Muslims.

2 is very common. Note that Muslim priests do not wear veils, that is something done only by women. However, various religions use veils, not just Muslims:

  • Christian (Catholic; not quite a veil, of course, but similar to Muslim headscarves) (source)

    catholic nun

  • Jewish (source; a small and obviously atypical Jewish sect)

    Jewish woman wearing veil

  • Hindu (source)

    Hindu woman wearing veil

More importantly, there are significant differences. Female dwarves are in no way subservient to the males. They simply don't wear their gender openly. That is in stark contrast to the type of Muslim you are thinking about. Even under Sharia law, women are very, very clearly recognizable as such. The religions always seemed to me to be secondary to "Dwarvishness". It's not so much a question of belief as it is a question of following "the old ways".

You could just as well posit that the Dwarves are parody of American extreme nationalism. Dwarves are trying to define how "Dwarvish" one is and whether or not they are a "true Dwarf". That's a direct parallel to the silly concept of being "unamerican".

More to the point, I think that Pratchett is using the dwarves to send up religious fanaticism, extreme nationalism and conservatism in general. I doubt he's pointing at any one group in particular. Fools of this sort are, sadly, easily found in all nations and all religions.


Short answer: No.

In the early books they were more parodies of the Welsh. With names like Blodwen Footcracker and Berwyn. The English often caricature the Welsh as short, coal mining, singing chapel goers. (I hasten to add that, like most caricatures, it is not an accurate description of the people)
Indeed Rhys Rhysson (The Fifth Elephant) is described as a coal miner from Llamedos, a name which itself has Welsh overtones. Berwyn is the name of a mountain in Snowdonia.

These are not at all Muslim in nature.

Over time the dwarves have taken on more Nordic characteristics with more scandanavian names like Gloria Thogsdaughter and Lars Skulldrinker. They have also drifted more in character towards Tolkienesque dwarves.

The only dwarf you might accuse of being muslim is, I suppose, Al-Khali, who is a character in the Discworld Noir computer game and allegedly based upon the character Joel Cairo from the film Casablanca.

  • 10
    Llamedos doesn't just have Welsh overtones, but overtones of a Welsh place that an inhabitant doesn't think highly of (consider its first appearance in Soul Music as the place Buddy runs away from). Its name repeats the mirror-writing joke of Dylan Thomas' Llareggub whereas a more direct rifting on Welsh names would more likely have started with Llan-
    – Jon Hanna
    Jun 12, 2015 at 9:57

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