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

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

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...
  • This man was so absent-mindedly clever that he could paint pictures that didn't just follow you around the room but went home with you and did the washing-up.
    -- The Last Hero
  • 'Listen, Peaches, trickery is what humans are all about,' said the voice of Maurice. 'They're so keen on tricking one another all the time that they elect governments to do it for them.'
    -- 'The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
  • His movements could be called cat-like, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things.
    -- Night Watch
  • '"You take the high road an' I'll take your wallet!"'
    -- Wee Free Men
  • 'I've starved a few times. There's no future in it. Ate a man's leg when we were snowed up in the Ibblestarn campaign but, fair's fair, he ate mine.' He looked at their faces. 'Well, it's not on, is it, eating your own leg? You'd probably go blind.'
    -- Monstrous Regiment

                             

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Book of the day

Thud! is the 34th Discworld novel, released in the United States of America on September 13, 2005, and the United Kingdom on October 1, 2005.

"Koom Valley? That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was far away. It was a long time ago. But if he doesn't solve the murder of just one dwarf, Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going to see it fought again, right outside his office. With his beloved Watch crumbling around him and war-drums sounding, he must unravel every clue, outwit every assassin and brave any darkness to find the solution. And darkness is following him. Oh...and at six o'clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, he must go home to read 'Where's My Cow?', with all the right farmyard noises, to his little boy. There are some things you have to do."

Preceded by
Night Watch
8th City Watch Story
Published in 2005
Succeeded by
None
Discworld reading order Full article

Deity of the minute

Libertina: The Goddess of the Sea, Apple Pie, Certain Types of Ice Cream and Short Lengths of String

Did you know...

From the Discworld's craziest paragraphs:

Death

Things you can do

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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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