Questions tagged [discworld]

For questions about Discworld, a series of comic fantasy books by Terry Pratchett.

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129
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4answers
18k views

Why doesn't the Discworld run out of water?

It's mentioned many times in the Discworld novels that the oceans continually flow over the edge of the disc in great waterfalls, turning into mist. But where does the water go after that, and, more ...
67
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5answers
43k views

What order should I be reading the Discworld books in?

I've read some of the Discworld books, and they were referencing each other in an order different than what I've been reading. If I wanted to maintain chronology, and get all of the back references, ...
65
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2answers
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What term is being referred to with “reflected-sound-of-underground-spirits”?

In The Colour of Magic, on page 46 of my copy, Twoflower says this word: “Reflected-sound-of-underground-spirits?” What term is being referred to above? It seems to be like “in-sewer-ants-policy”,...
61
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4answers
12k views

What's the pyramid joke?

In The Light Fantastic, after talking about the dimensions of the Pyramid of Tsort, it says All in all, it was a lot of effort to go through just to sharpen a razor. What's the joke here?
50
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7answers
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Originator of the “Gods Require Belief” Trope

Terry Pratchett (and Neil Gaiman afterwards) seems to have popularized the idea of gods as supernatural beings that require belief in them to exist. But is this idea truly original to him? Or are ...
50
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1answer
6k views

Pratchett Quote about Research and Development

I'm looking for a quote by Terry Pratchett. I'm pretty sure that the patrician was speaking about Leonard of Quirm and giving funds to Research and Development. It was something along the lines of: ...
41
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4answers
6k views

How does The Fools Guild make its money?

In the Discworld series, the city of Ankh-Morpork has numerous professions (including criminal professions) managed and regulated by guilds. For most of these it's pretty easy to work out their income ...
34
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6answers
10k views

Terry Pratchett's Discworld: is there an inconsistency in the treatment of magic?

In The Colour of Magic, we learn that: "Can't tell you. Don't really want to talk about it. But frankly," he sighed , "no spells are much good. It takes three months to commit even a simple one ...
34
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3answers
8k views

Who are these Discworld wizards from this picture?

I haven't read many of the novels about wizards yet and would like to know who they are. [Image by Paul Kidby]
33
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1answer
4k views

Who is the little girl in Raising Steam who blocks the railway meant to be a reference to?

In Raising Steam, about 80% of the way in, a girl named Edith and her brothers intentionally block the railway so as to be able to save the train and be heroes. “I dare say you do, but I don’t ...
31
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10answers
10k views

Which Discworld book to start a newbie on [closed]

If you were going to loan one Terry Pratchett book from the Discworld series to someone, which book would you use?
31
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1answer
6k views

Who said “One person, one vote. I just happened to be the person voting”?

This quote is probably misquoted, but I remember this as a Blake's 7 quote from Servalan. However, I have also read elsewhere a similar quote from Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Is there a quote like ...
31
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1answer
4k views

Looking for a Discworld book a quote is from (and the full quote)

I've been thinking about a quote from one of the Discworld books which went something like (from memory and not in the tone of Terry): The thing about insurmountable mountains is that they are ...
30
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1answer
2k views

How can I find what the line is?

I saw this in an interview (about Good Omens) that Neil Gaiman posted on his tumblr. TP: “In fact, people that have read a lot of the ‘Discworld’ books and a lot of the ‘Sandman’ comics will ...
25
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4answers
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Why does Detritus not become disabled in daylight?

It is established in novels such as The Light Fantastic and Moving Pictures that Discworld trolls turn to stone in daylight, or at least become disabled, and become active at night. This does not seem ...
25
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2answers
2k views

What was Lobsang's gift to Lu-Tze, if anything?

Towards the end of Thief of Time is this passage: Were the cherries referenced earlier in the story; perhaps it was one area of the garden that Lu-Tze had not managed to grow in the way he wanted, ...
24
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1answer
4k views

Discworld quote about an “old couple” who having said everything to each other, can finally go about living their lives

There was a quote about an old couple (I believe it was Death and the character played by David Jason, I forget his name), who having lived together for a long time, and having said everything, are ...
23
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3answers
5k views

What does the city name Ankh-Morpork in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels mean?

I would assume that someone has asked this question before but I haven't found any discussion about the name of Ankh-Morpork. Ever since I read my first Discworld book, I kept wondering about this ...
22
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3answers
3k views

Is Nugganism supposed to be an allegory for Scientology?

Of all the Discworld religions, Nugganism is one of the stranger ones1 (similar to Scientology2 on Roundworld, in that aspect), with it's many decrees against abominations. Is it supposed to be an ...
20
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2answers
3k views

Why does Moist von Lipwig pull this trick against Reacher Gilt?

At the end of Going Postal, Moist von Lipwig makes a bet that his post office can deliver a message to a town thousands of miles away before the Grand Trunk company can. Immediately before the race ...
19
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7answers
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What are the sources of the imagery for the Discworld resting on the backs of the four elephants and Great A'tuin?

The turtle and elephant bit come from Hindu mythology. But the Vedas mention only one elephant and the world spins at the end of his trunk. I want to know if there are other mythologies Pratchett is ...
18
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2answers
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In what country are the cities of Ankh and Morpork located?

What country is the city of Ankh Morpork located in?
18
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1answer
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What happened to Fred Colon's sugar lumps?

In "The Fifth Elephant" Acting Captain Colon (normally known as Sergeant Fred Colon) is obsessed about missing sugar lumps. During the course of the story more and more sugar lumps go missing. It ...
18
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3answers
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Did Granny Weatherwax lecture at Unseen University

In Equal Rites, then Arch-Chancellor Cutangle asks Granny Weatherwax if she would accept a Chair and give lectures on herbology and headology. Is there evidence that she in fact did so in subsequent ...
17
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3answers
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Why did Pratchett name Maurice Maurice?

In the Czech translation of Pratchett's book The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (which I read) the name of the cat is Mauric. Also, there is a word from the translator at the beginning of ...
17
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2answers
3k views

What is this reference in wyrd sisters?

I am reading "Wyrd Sisters" by Terry Pratchett and came upon this paragraph: “Right!” He pointed a vibrating finger toward the stage and lowered his voice and, at that moment, a dramatic ...
17
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1answer
1k views

How old is Vimes?

At the end of Unseen Academicals (or, if it's easier to place, Thud!), how old is Sam Vimes? Is it possible to even figure out what his age is?
16
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5answers
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What is headology in Discworld?

In Discworld, Granny Weatherwax discusses "headology" fairly often as one of the keys to her power. What exactly does she mean by the term?
16
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Who is depicted on this image showing major Discworld characters?

Source: https://twitter.com/PaulKidby/status/857882705165524992. I only recognize Twoflower the Tourist, Death, the Luggage and the Librarian. However, I'm only a couple of books in the series, so I'...
16
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2answers
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What are the dimensions of Discworld?

How big is the Discworld Universum? Do any dimensions appears in the books? For example, if we extrapolate dimensions of Ankh-Morpork to get Disk radius and based on this calculate size of 4 ...
16
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2answers
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What is the physical size and population details of Ankh-Morpork?

For a project, I am currently working on, I have been trying to find out the size of Ankh-Morpork. How many houses/dwellings are there, what's the population and the physical size of the city? There ...
15
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2answers
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Terry Pratchett book with a lawyer dragon and sheep

I was talking to someone today who mentioned starting a Terry Pratchett book a few years before. They said that it was about a dragon who was a lawyer and involved sheep. They think that it is ...
15
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3answers
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Logical fallacy in “Pyramids” by Terry Pratchett

Teppic meets Ephebian philosophers who are trying to prove that a tortoise can outrun an arrow. I understand this is because the tortoise moves, so when the arrow gets to where the tortoise was, it ...
15
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3answers
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Is the astronomical structure of the Discworld widely known by its inhabitants?

Until recently, I'd assumed that the astronomy of the Discworld - its flat shape and the fact that it rested on four elephants riding on the back of Great A'Tuin - was common knowledge within the ...
15
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1answer
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The Muntab Question - Is Lord Vetinari asexual or incredibly discreet?

Considering that sexual indiscretion of politicians in Roundworld is not unknown and often a matter of interest (ala Bill Clinton), the sexual antics of the Discworld's Lord Vetinari seem to be non-...
14
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1answer
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Was it ever stated why Susan quit being a governess between Hogfather and Thief of Time?

During the events of Hogfather Susan Sto Helit was the governess of Twyla and Gawain Gaiter. But in the next book she appears in, Thief of Time, there was no mention of the children nor her previous ...
13
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2answers
2k views

In Reaper Man why doesn't Bill Door use his original scythe?

There's a plot hole in Reaper Man that I've never been able to understand. Ned Simnel failed to destroy the scythe so Bill Door was unable to use it against the New Death. However Miss Flitcroft then ...
13
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4answers
910 views

When and how does Samuel Vimes learn about his ancestor “Old Stoneface” Vimes

In Guards! Guards! Sam Vimes is surprised that Ankh-Morpork used to have a king: Vimes shook his head. The world was definitely going mad around him. "You've lost me there," he said. "Air," ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Discworld quote about students getting in the way

There's a famous quote by one of the staff of Unseen University, where they say something along the lines of the university being a great place if it wasn't for all the bloody students. Does anyone ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Why did Death help set Ankh-Morpork on fire?

At the way to work, I've been thinking about Death (the Discworld character, not the actual thing) and the rules it follows. I remembered a scene which makes him look like an obvious antagonist. In ...
12
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4answers
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Death's motivation in part of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather

There is a scene in which Death enters the toy store (shopkeeper played by Terry Pratchett himself) and buys a wooden horse, outbidding whoever ordered it. That boy outside in the frost with his nose ...
12
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1answer
874 views

Is murder a crime in Ankh-Morpork?

On one hand, the Night Watch pursues much smaller offences. On the other hand, members of the Assassins' publicly acknowledge their murders without facing any punishment.
12
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1answer
936 views

Continuation of the Annotated Pratchett File

For less recent discworld books, I found the Annotated Pratchett File a very good source of references to popular culture. However, the site appears to have stopped being maintained around the time "...
11
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1answer
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In Soul Music, where do the corn fields behind Death garden come from?

In Soul Music, Susan explores multiple times the area surrounding Death's cottage. Everything is how we are used to know it, with the predominance of black and the constant feeling that things are odd ...
11
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1answer
663 views

What happens to the baby worldturtles?

In the end of The Light Fantastic the Great A'Tuin finally reaches the red star, and baby turtles hatch, each complete with four baby elephants and a tiny discworld. I'm seriously doubting there is ...
11
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2answers
630 views

Why doesn't anyone remember the Eight Great Spells?

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 ...
11
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2answers
749 views

Who sent a would-be killer in Night Watch?

In one chapter of the Discworld novel Night Watch, a man tries to kill Vimes from a nearby roof using a crossbow while the latter is enjoying a cocoa outside the Watch House (it makes sense in context)...
10
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1answer
2k views

What is a “shilicashe?”

On page 138 of my edition of The Light Fantastic, Cohen the Barbarian tells Twoflower and Rincewind about trolls, and tries to say a word that I cannot at all identify (emphasis added): "Trollsh ...
10
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2answers
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Did the characters in Moving Pictures not know about cameras like Twoflower's?

In Moving Pictures, video-cameras are invented... But they're essentially the same thing as Twoflower's camera which only took one picture at a time but Twoflower probably could've asked it to paint ...
10
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2answers
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What is Dios doing on the island?

I recently re-read the Discworld novel Pyramids and I noticed something I missed last time. The high priest Dios mentions an island a few times and how he has to do something there because his body ...