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The Discworld Portal

Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by the British author Sir Terry Pratchett (1948 — 2015) set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which are in turn standing on the back of a giant turtle, the Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody or at least borrow ideas from J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and William Shakespeare, as well as myth, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with current cultural, technological and scientific issues.

Since the first novel, The Colour of Magic (1983), the series has expanded, spawning several related books and maps, five short stories, cartoon and theatre adaptations and even music inspired by the series. The first live action screen adaptation for television (Hogfather) was broadcast over Christmas 2006. Another one for the cinema (The Wee Free Men) is currently in development.

Newly released Discworld books regularly top The Sunday Times bestsellers list, making Pratchett the UK's best-selling author in the 1990s. He has since been overtaken by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, but still holds the record for the most shoplifted books. Discworld novels have also won awards such as the Prometheus Award and the Carnegie Medal. In the BBC's Big Read, four Discworld books were in the top 100, and a total of fourteen in the top 200.

Character of the day

The Librarian of Unseen University is one of the most popular characters in the Discworld series to the extent where pin badges bearing the legend Librarians rule Ook are now available. The character appears or is mentioned in most books in the series.

The Librarian first appeared in the second novel of the series, The Light Fantastic, in which he was transformed into an orangutan as a side effect of a powerful magic spell. Discovering that being an orangutan has certain advantages for a librarian, he refused to be transformed back into a human, and has remained an orangutan ever since. Most of the grimoires are highly dangerous to people, and sometimes the books even consume them, but the Librarian is no person, and he no longer requires a ladder to reach those tricky high-up shelves. He retained his position as librarian despite his condition because "he's the only one who knows where all the books are" and the fact that he could screw a man's head off with his feet. The other wizards have gradually become used to the situation, to the extent that "if someone ever reported that there was an orangutan in the Library, the wizards would probably go and ask the Librarian if he'd seen it." (Night Watch).


Article of the day

Unseen University coat-of-arms

The Unseen University (UU) is a school of wizardry in the Discworld city of Ankh-Morpork, staffed by a faculty composed of mostly indolent and inept old wizards. The official motto of UU is "Nunc Id Vides, Nunc Ne Vides", loosely translated as "Now you see it, now you don't". The unofficial motto is "η β π," or "Eta Beta Pi." (Eat A Better Pie). The university's name is a pun on the real-world Invisible College.

The coat of arms is a livre des sortilèges, attaché en cuivre, sur un chapeau pointu, on a field, azure. (That is: a book of magic spells, with copper clasps, over a pointed hat, on a blue background.) As usually rendered, the coat bears a strong resemblance to the coat of arms of the University of Oxford.

The University is centred around the 800-foot Tower of Art, out of which it grew; any further attempt at grasping its geography is close to pointless. Due to the high levels of background magic in the vicinity, a typical map of UU vaguely resembles an exploding chrysanthemum and is usually only valid for a day or so. This is also the cause of the various physical and biological anomalies that plague it. In some rooms the direction of gravity moves around as a day passes, and some rooms contain other rooms which contain the room you started with (especially problematic for a conga line). The University's gargoyles have taken on a life of their own (not that this is anything unusual for Discworld gargoyles in general), and both a colony of ants in the main university buildings and a flock of ravens roosting in the Tower of Art show unnatural intelligence and, for the ravens, an ability to speak. The fabric of the University is said to absorb knowledge, since all students enter university knowing absolutely everything, and leave admitting they know very little.



Did you know...
  • All assassins had a full-length mirror in their rooms, because it would be a terrible insult to anyone to kill them when you were badly dressed.
    -- Pyramids
  • The reason that clichés become clichés is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication.
    -- Guards! Guards!
  • The Archchancellor's most important job, as the Bursar saw it, was to sign things, preferably, from the Bursar's point of view, without reading them first.
    -- Moving Pictures
  • The Archchancellor was the first one to recover.
    'Windle!' he said. 'We thought you were dead!'
    He had to admit that it wasn't a very good line. You didn't put people on a slab with candles and lilies all round them because you think they have a bit of a headache and want a nice lie down for half an hour.
    -- Reaper Man
  • 'Tell me,' said Magrat, 'you said your mummy knows about the big bad wolf in the woods, didn't you?'
    'That's right.'
    'But nonetheless she sent you out by yourself to take those goodies to your granny?'
    -- Witches Abroad


Showing 5 items out of 36 More Discworld quotes Wikiquote

Book of the day

Maskerade is the eighteenth Discworld novel, published in 1995. The story begins when Agnes Nitt leaves Lancre to begin her career at the Opera House. The Witches leave to obtain the money owed to Nanny Ogg by the publisher of her books, as well as to meddle and bring Agnes Nitt home to become the third member of the Lancre Coven, replacing Magrat Garlick who had left the coven to become Queen of Lancre.

Agnes Nitt is being used as a backup voice, giving Christine the spotlight. However, during this time the Opera House is being haunted by a ghost. With the money rightfully coerced out of the publisher Granny Weatherwax pretends to be a rich patron to catch the Opera Ghost.

Preceded by
Lords and Ladies
5th Witches Story
Published in 1995
Succeeded by
Carpe Jugulum
Discworld reading order Full article

Deity of the minute

Jimi: The God of Beggars

Did you know...

From the Discworld's craziest paragraphs:


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Terry PratchettStephen BriggsPaul KidbyJosh KirbyIan Stewart and Jack Cohen


Tiffany AchingAlbert (Discworld)|AlbertAngua • The Auditors of RealityThe BursarCarrot IronfounderssonCohen the BarbarianFred ColonDeathDetritusCut-Me-Own-Throat DibblerGaspodeGranny WeatherwaxGreeboHexIgorBloody Stupid JohnsonLeonard of QuirmThe LibrarianLu-TzeThe LuggageMagpyr familyMort 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...


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


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


The Colour of MagicThe Light FantasticEqual 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 BridgeTheatre of Cruelty The Sea and Little Fishes Death and What Comes Next

Other books:

The Discworld CompanionThe 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


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

Films and TV series:

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

Categories: DiscworldNovelsCharactersGamesLocationsPeoplesShort storiesFilms and TV series

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