Portal:Discworld

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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

Gytha Ogg (usually called Nanny Ogg) is a witch and member of the Lancre coven. The character of Nanny Ogg is based on the Mother stereotype of the Triple Goddess myth, and probably influenced by the character Nannie Slag in the Gormenghast series. She's had 5 husbands and been married to three of them and has fifteen children who survived their early childhood (one was born some ten years after the death of her last husband). She has as well innumerable grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but that's incidental; what makes her the Mother is her mentality. People go to Granny Weatherwax for help when they have no choice, but they go to Nanny for advice all the time. Granny is respected, but Nanny is actually liked.

Nanny Ogg has a talent for getting along with people and fitting in. As described in Maskerade, people, after knowing her for fifteen minutes, feel like they have known her all of their lives. Granny Weatherwax knows about this ability, and recognizes its use, and wonders sometimes if it would have been worth acquiring it. Nanny is a lot wiser than Esme (Weatherwax) in some ways, and certainly wise enough not to show it. Gytha Ogg is seen as "one of the people" in a way that Esme isn't. While Granny thinks there's no point in competing if you aren't going to win, Nanny reckons the sympathy you get for being a good runner-up is much better. Granny comes across as judgemental, whereas Nanny has a mind so broad she could tie it under her chin. She appears to be kinder than Granny, but is equally prepared to make tough decisions if necessary.

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Article of the day

Thud board.svg
Thud game's initial positions. "d" represents the dwarves, "T" represents the trolls, and "X" represents the Thudstone

Thud is a board game devised by Trevor Truran and first published in 2002, inspired by the Discworld novels. It bears a slight resemblance to the ancient Norse games of Hnefatafl and Tablut (and, in Dwarfish, is supposedly called "Hnaflbaflwhiflsnifltafl") but has been radically redefined to be less one sided. The two sides are dwarfs and trolls, the game representing the famous Battle of Koom Valley.

In the game, the objective is to eliminate the opposition's pieces. As mentioned before, the two antagonists are the trolls and the dwarfs, the trolls being few in number (but individually very powerful), while there are a large number of dwarves, but each individual dwarf is very weak and requires support from nearby dwarfs to be of use against the trolls. As in fox games (a variant on tafl games), the two sides have different pieces with different movement and attacking styles. Thud uses an unconventional, octagonal board divided into smaller squares, with only one piece allowed to occupy each square.

The fictional version of the game was first directly referenced in Going Postal, being played by Vetinari, and became a central concept in the immediate sequel Thud!. The release of Thud! led to a special Koom Valley edition of the game. Terry Pratchett has devised a fictional history of how Thud was invented, which bears some similarity to the Shahnama theory of the origins of chess.

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Quotes

Did you know...
  • Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.
    -- Jingo
  • 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

                             

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Book of the day

Moving Pictures is the tenth Discworld novel, and takes place in Ankh-Morpork and a town called "Holy Wood". The book uses the name as a thin veil to parody the Hollywood world and its problems.

The alchemists of the Discworld have invented moving pictures. Many hopefuls are drawn by the siren call of Holy Wood, home of the fledgling "clicks" industry -- among them Victor Tugelbend ("Can't sing. Can't dance. Can handle a sword a little."), a dropout from Ankh-Morpork's Unseen University and Theda Withel, a girl "from a little town you never ever heard of", who become stars. Also drawn in is the Discworld's most infamous salesman, Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, who introduces commerce to the equation and becomes a successful producer. Meanwhile, it gradually becomes clear that the production of movies is having a deleterious effect on the structure of reality.

Preceded by
Pyramids
2nd Individual Story
Published in 1990
Succeeded by
Troll Bridge
Discworld reading order Full article

Deity of the minute

Steikhegel: God of Isolated Cow Byres

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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 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...

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 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

Games:

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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