Portal:Discworld

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The Discworld Portal

Discworld is a comic fantasy book series written by the English author Terry Pratchett (1948–2015), set on the Discworld, a flat planet balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. The books frequently parody or take inspiration from J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, as well as mythology, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with cultural, political and scientific issues.

Forty-one Discworld novels have been published. The original British editions of the first 26 novels, up to Thief of Time (2001), had cover art by Josh Kirby. The American editions, published by Harper Collins, used their own cover art. Since Kirby's death in 2001, the covers have been designed by Paul Kidby. Companion publications include eleven short stories (some only loosely related to the Discworld), four popular science books, and a number of supplementary books and reference guides. The series has been adapted for graphic novels, theatre, computer and board games, and television.

Newly released Discworld books regularly topped The Sunday Times best-sellers list, making Pratchett the UK's best-selling author in the 1990s. Discworld novels have also won awards such as the Prometheus Award and the Carnegie Medal. In the BBC's Big Read, four Discworld novels were in the top 100, and a total of fourteen in the top 200. More than 80 million Discworld books have been sold in 37 languages.

Character of the day

Rincewind the Wizzard is failed student at the Unseen University for wizards in Ankh-Morpork, often described by scholars as "the magical equivalent to the number zero", and spends just about all of his time running away from various bands of people who want to kill him for various reasons. The fact that he's still alive and running is explained in that although he was born with a wizard's spirit, he has the body of a long-distance sprinter.

Rincewind is most frequently seen wearing his hat with the word WIZZARD emblazoned across it in sequins (this may be a reference to Roy Wood's rock band Wizzard) and his Luggage, which has hundreds of little legs and follows him everywhere, generally attacking anything it perceives as a threat to Rincewind.

Over the course of his adventures, he has turned his cowardice into a fully fledged philosophy of life. He believes that, when running, "to" is never important, what matters is "from". When it was pointed out that running just lands him in more trouble his response was "Yes, but you can run away from that, too." Many of his companions have noticed, however, that Rincewind manages to survive everything that happens to him, and suspect that there's a deeper purpose behind this, although he himself insists it's just a coincidence. Rincewind apparently believes in karma, however. From his point of view, he has pre-emptive karma--if it even looks as if something good will happen to him in the future, his karma will ensure that something bad happens immediately, and continues happening so that the good things never come around.

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Article of the day

Lancre (pronounced Lanker) is a fictional country from the Discworld series. It is situated in the Ramtop mountains, about 500 miles Hubwards of the city of Ankh-Morpork. It is the best-known of hundreds of tiny countries in the Ramtops, occupying a vertiginous shelf looking over the Sto Plains.

Lancre is based mainly on the North of England (as in Lanc(ashi)re, with strong resemblance to the windswept, hilly, northern regions (the only piece of flat, level ground in Lancre is in a museum). However, it is reminiscent of many rural areas in Britain and elsewhere. It also contains elements of the Swiss Alps and the Appalachian Mountains. Pratchett has described the tiny country as "solid folklore"; it is the place all the legends of our world's countryside really happened. Ankh-Morpork serves a similar function for urban folklore, but not as blatantly.

Part of the reason for this is that the Ramtops are a major earthing point for the Discworld's magical field. Headless horsemen and walking trees are part of the landscape, as are witches. Lancre is famous for witches, especially since the publication of The Joye of Snackes (an erotic cookbook) by "A Lancre Witch" (Nanny Ogg). Lancre is also the gateway into the "parasite universe" of the elves. The other thing Lancre is famous for is young people going off and seeking their fortunes (usually in Ankh-Morpork).

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Quotes

Did you know...
  • Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association.
    -- The Last Continent
  • In Ghat they believe in vampire watermelons, although folklore is silent about what they believe about vampire watermelons. Possibly they suck back.
    -- Carpe Jugulum
  • He sagged to his knees. He ached all over. It wasn't just that his brain was writing cheques that his body couldn't cash. It had gone beyond that. Now his feet were borrowing money that his legs hadn't got, and his back muscles were looking for loose change under the sofa cushions.
    -- The Fifth Elephant
  • William barely had time to undress and lie down before it was time to get up again.
    -- The Truth
  • A chocolate you did not want to eat does not count as chocolate. This discovery is from the same branch of culinary physics that determined that food eaten while walking along contains no calories.
    -- Thief of Time

                             

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Book of the day

Mort is fourth Discworld novel, and also the name of its main character. Published in 1987, it is the first to focus on the Death of the Discworld, who only appeared as a side character in the previous novels. As a teenager, Mort's personality and temperament made him rather unsuited to the family farming business, resulting in his father taking him to a local hiring fair. Mort is hired by Death as an aprentice. The pressure of the job (and a crush on a princess who is due to die) forces Mort to make a few mistakes, but like all good heroes, he grows some spine, gains some self control, challenges Death to a duel and waltzes away with the girl in the end, but not the correct girl by normal fantasy standards.

Preceded by
None
1st Death Story
Published in 1987
Succeeded by
Reaper Man


Deity of the minute

Steikhegel: God of Isolated Cow Byres

Did you know...

From the Discworld's craziest paragraphs:

Death

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People:

Terry PratchettStephen BriggsPaul KidbyJosh KirbyIan Stewart and Jack Cohen

Characters:

Tiffany AchingAlbert (Discworld)|AlbertAngua • The Auditors of RealityThe BursarCarrot IronfounderssonCohen the BarbarianFred ColonDeathDetritusCut-Me-Own-Throat DibblerGaspodeGranny WeatherwaxGreeboHexIgorBloody Stupid JohnsonLeonard of QuirmThe LibrarianLu-TzeThe Luggage • Magpyr family • Mort and YsabellNanny OggC.W. St J. NobbsMoist von LipwigMr PinMr TulipMustrum RidcullyThe Great God OmRincewindSusan Sto HelitPonder StibbonsGeneral TacticusTwoflowerVerence II of LancreHavelock VetinariSam VimesLady Sybil VimesThe WitchesDiscworld godsmore...

Locations:

Discworld (world)Ankh-MorporkAgatean EmpireDeath's DomainDjelibeybiDungeon DimensionsEphebeGenuaKlatchLancrePseudopolisQuirmSto LatÜberwaldUnseen Universitymore...

Concepts:

City WatchThieves' GuildAssassins' GuildBeggars' GuildFools' GuildClacksGuildsMagicPost OfficeStealth Chess

Novels:

The Colour of MagicThe Light Fantastic Equal Rites Mort Sourcery Wyrd Sisters Pyramids Guards! Guards! Eric Moving Pictures Reaper Man Witches Abroad Small Gods Lords and Ladies Men at Arms Soul Music Interesting Times Maskerade Feet of Clay Hogfather Jingo The Last Continent Carpe Jugulum The Fifth Elephant The Truth Thief of Time The Last Hero The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents Night Watch The Wee Free Men Monstrous Regiment A Hat Full of Sky Going Postal Thud! Wintersmith Making Money Unseen Academicals I Shall Wear Midnight Raising Taxes

Short Stories:

Troll Bridge Theatre of Cruelty The Sea and Little Fishes Death and What Comes Next

Other books:

The Discworld Companion The Science of Discworld The Science of Discworld II: The Globe The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch The Pratchett Portfolio The Art of Discworld The Unseen University Challenge The Wyrdest Link The Streets of Ankh-Morpork The Discworld Mapp A Tourist Guide to Lancre Death's Domain Nanny Ogg's Cookbook The Discworld Almanak Where's My Cow? The Unseen University Cut Out Book The Discworld Diaries Once More* With Footnotes A Blink of the Screen

Games:

The Colour of Magic Cripple Mr Onion Discworld Discworld 2 Discworld MUD Discworld Noir GURPS Discworld Stealth Chess Thud

Films and TV series:

Welcome to the Discworld Soul Music Wyrd Sisters Hogfather The Colour of Magic Going Postal Troll Bridge

Categories: DiscworldNovelsCharactersGamesLocationsPeoplesShort storiesFilms and TV series

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