Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by British author Terry Pratchett 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 stories are arranged in several different story arcs that are further explained in the Wikipedia article on the Discworld reading order. This article also shows quotes of the video game adaptations of the series.
- 1 The Colour of Magic (1983)
- 2 The Light Fantastic (1986)
- 3 Equal Rites (1987)
- 4 Mort (1987)
- 5 Sourcery (1988)
- 6 Wyrd Sisters (1989)
- 7 Pyramids (1989)
- 8 Guards! Guards! (1989)
- 10 Moving Pictures (1990)
- 11 Reaper Man (1991)
- 12 Witches Abroad (1991)
- 13 Small Gods (1992)
- 14 Lords and Ladies (1992)
- 15 Men at Arms (1993)
- 16 Soul Music (1994)
- 17 Interesting Times (1994)
- 18 Maskerade (1995)
- 19 Feet of Clay (1996)
- 20 Hogfather (1996)
- 21 Jingo (1997)
- 22 The Last Continent (1998)
- 23 Carpe Jugulum (1998)
- 24 The Fifth Elephant (1999)
- 25 The Truth (2000)
- 26 Thief of Time (2001)
- 27 The Last Hero (2001)
- 28 The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (2001)
- 29 Night Watch (2002)
- 30 The Wee Free Men (2003)
- 31 Monstrous Regiment (2003)
- 32 A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
- 33 Going Postal (2004)
- 34 Thud! (2005)
- 35 Where's My Cow? (2005)
- 36 Wintersmith (2006)
- 37 Making Money (2007)
- 38 Unseen Academicals (2009)
- 39 I Shall Wear Midnight (2010)
- 40 Snuff (2011)
- 41 Raising Steam (2013)
- 42 Other Discworld works
- 42.1 Theatre of Cruelty (1993)
- 42.2 Death and What Comes Next (1998)
- 42.3 A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices (2005)
- 42.4 The Discworld Companion (1994, 1997, 2003)
- 42.5 Discworld (Reformed) Vampyre's Diary 2003
- 42.6 The Discworld Almanak - The Year of The Prawn (2004)
- 42.7 The Science of Discworld (1999)
- 42.8 The Science of Discworld II: The Globe (2002)
- 42.9 The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch (2005)
- 43 Video Games
- 44 External links
The Colour of Magic (1983)
- If complete and utter chaos was lightning, then he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are bastards'.
- What he didn't like about heroes was that they were usually suicidally gloomy when sober and homicidally insane when drunk.
- The Watch were always careful not to intervene too soon in any brawl where the odds were not heavily stacked in their favour. The job carried a pension, and attracted a cautious, thoughtful kind of man.
- "It could be worse," he said by way of farewell. "It could be me."
- That's what's so stupid about the whole magic thing, you know. You spend twenty years learning the spell that makes nude virgins appear in your bedroom, and then you're so poisoned by quicksilver fumes and half-blind from reading old grimoires that you can't remember what happens next.
- At the back of his mind a bad feeling began to grow. He thought about how it might be to be, say, a fox confronted with an angry sheep. A sheep, moreover, that could afford to employ wolves.
- Picturesque meant - he decided after careful observation of the scenery that inspired Twoflower to use the word - that the landscape was horribly precipitous. Quaint, when used to describe the occasional village through which they passed, meant fever-ridden and tumbledown. Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the Discworld. Tourist, Rincewind had decided, meant 'idiot'.
- It was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universe was ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact of the matter was that the Disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists' houses and smashing their windows.
- 'You know, I never imagined there were he-dryads. Not even in an oak tree.'
One of the giants grinned at him.
Druellae snorted. 'Stupid! Where do you think acorns come from?'
- What heroes like best is themselves.
- 'We've strayed into a zone with a high magical index,' he said. 'Don't ask me how. Once upon a time a really powerful magic field must have been generated here, and we're feeling the after-effects.'
'Precisely,' said a passing bush.
- The only reason for walking into the jaws of Death is so's you can steal his gold teeth.
- 'It is forbidden to fight on the Killing Ground,' he said, and paused while he considered the sense of this. 'You know what I mean, anyway...'
- Ripples of paradox spread out across the sea of causality.
- He wondered what kind of life it would be, having to keep swimming all the time to stay exactly in the same place. Pretty similar to his own, he decided.
- Some pirates achieved immortality by great deeds of cruelty or derring-do. Some achieved immortality by amassing great wealth. But the captain had long ago decided that he would, on the whole, prefer to achieve immortality by not dying.
- It was octarine, the colour of magic. It was alive and glowing and vibrant and it was the undisputed pigment of the imagination, because wherever it appeared it was a sign that mere matter was a servant of the powers of the magical mind. It was enchantment itself.
But Rincewind always thought it looked a sort of greenish-purple.
- I've seen excitement, and I've seen boredom. And boredom was best.
- 'What's this wine — crushed octopus eyeballs?'
'Sea grape,' said the old man.
'Great,' said Rincewind, and swallowed a glassful. 'Not bad. A bit salty, maybe.'
'Sea grape is a kind of small jellyfish,' explained the stranger. '[...] Why has your friend gone that strange colour?'
'Culture shock, I imagine,' said Twoflower.
- 'We don't have gods where I come from,' said Twoflower.
'You do, you know,' said the Lady. 'Everyone has gods. You just don't think they're gods.'
- '[...] on the disc, the Gods are not so much worshipped as blamed.'
- Don’t ask me how I knew—I suppose it was because it was just about the worst possible thing that was likely to happen.
The Light Fantastic (1986)
- A Thaum is the basic unit of magical strength. It has been universally established as the amount of magic needed to create one small white pigeon or three normal-sized billiard balls.
- Pratchett here draws upon the Greek thauma or "marvel" in creating the name of this basic unit.
- The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn't sure it was worth all the effort.
- The pen is mightier than the sword ... if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.
- The disc, being flat, has no real horizon. Any adventurous sailor who got funny ideas from staring at eggs and oranges for too long and set out for the antipodes soon learned that the reason why distant ships sometimes looked as though they were disappearing over the edge of the world was that they were disappearing over the edge of the world.
- “I suppose you wouldn’t happen to know the way out of the forest, possibly, by any chance?”
“No. I don’t get about much,” said the tree.
“Fairly boring life, I imagine,” said Rincewind.
“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been anything else,” said the tree.
Rincewind looked at it closely. It seemed pretty much like every other tree he’d seen.
“Are you magical?” he said.
“No one’s ever said,” said the tree, “I suppose so.”
Rincewind thought: I can’t be talking to a tree. If I was talking to a tree I’d be mad, and I’m not mad, so trees can’t talk.
“Goodbye,” he said firmly.
“Hey, don’t go,” the tree began, and then realized the hopelessness of it all. It watched him stagger off through the bushes, and settled down to feeling the sun on its leaves, the slurp and gurgle of the water in its roots, and the very ebb and flow of its sap in response to the natural tug of the sun and moon. Boring, it thought. What a strange thing to say. Trees can be bored, of course, beetles do it all the time, but I don’t think that was what he was trying to mean. And: can you actually be anything else?
- This seems to have produced a paraphrase of these statements which has been widely quoted on the internet as a direct quote from this book (including here, for some years): "Of course I'm sane, when trees start talking to me, I don't talk back." Conceivably this might be a paraphrase made by Pratchett himself, elsewhere, but any alternate sourcing for this variant apparently derived from this passage is welcome, but it seems to have arisen some time after 2000.
- There had been an unseen observer of all this. It was of course entirely against the rules, but Trymon knew all about rules and had always considered they were for making, not obeying.
- He wanted to say all this, and couldn’t. For a man with an itch to see the whole of infinity, Twoflower never actually moved outside his own head. Telling him the truth would be like kicking a spaniel.
- Weems might have had a room-temperature IQ, but he knew idiocy when he saw it.
- Early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy, wealthy and dead.
- 'Dead?' said Rincewind, In the debating chamber of his mind a dozen emotions got to their feet and started shouting. Relief was in full spate when Shock cut in on a point of order and then Bewilderment, Terror and Loss started a fight which was ended only when Shame slunk in from next door to see what all the row was about.
- Darkness isn't the opposite of light, it is simply its absence.
Pearl of cities!
This is not a completely accurate description, of course — it was not round and shiny — but even its worst enemies would agree that if you had to liken Ankh-Morpork to anything, then it might as well be a piece of rubbish covered with the diseased secretions of a dying mollusc.
- The voice didn’t believe in gods, which in Rincewind’s book was fair enough, but it didn’t believe in people either.
- The death of the warrior or the old man or the little child, this I understand, and I take away the pain and end the suffering. I do not understand this death-of-the-mind.
- "Madmen," he said. "They say I should do no work because the star comes. I tell them stars have never hurt me, I wish I could say the same about people."
- Here is the blackness of space, the myriad stars gleaming like diamond dust or, as some people would say, like great balls of exploding hydrogen a very long way off. But then, some people would say anything.
- - "If you're going to suggest I try dropping twenty feet down a pitch dark tower in the hope of hitting a couple of greasy little steps which might not even still be there, you can forget it," said Rincewind sharply.
- "There is an alternative, then."
- "Out with it, man."
- "You could drop five hundred feet down a pitch black tower and hit stones which certainly are there," said Twoflower.
- Radiating from the book was the light that lies on the far side of darkness, the light fantastic.
It was a rather disappointing purple colour.
Equal Rites (1987)
- This is a story about magic and where it goes and perhaps more importantly where it comes from and why, although it doesn't pretend to answer all or any of these questions.
It may, however, help to explain why Gandalf never got married and why Merlin was a man. Because this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author's control. They might.
- A world like that, which exists only because the gods enjoy a joke, must be a place where magic can survive. And sex too, of course.
- It wasn't a large village, and wouldn't have shown up on a map of the mountains. It barely showed up on a map of the village.
- Time passed, which, basically, is its job.
- "They're both magic. If you can't learn to ride an elephant, you can at least learn to ride a horse."
"What's an elephant?"
"A kind of badger," said Granny. She hadn't maintained forest-credibility for forty years by ever admitting ignorance.
- “Do you think I used magic?”
Esk looked down at the queen bee. She looked up at the witch.
“No,” she said, “I think you just know a lot about bees.”
“Exactly correct. That’s one form of magic, of course.”
“What, just knowing things?”
“Knowing things that other people don’t know,” said Granny.
- “Gods are all right,” said Granny, as they ate their lunch and looked at the view. “You don’t bother gods, and gods don’t come bothering you.”
- I'm surely going to regret this, she told herself, displaying considerable foresight.
- There would be a price. And Granny knew enough about wizardry to be certain that it would be a high one. But if you were worried about the price, then why were you in the shop?
- They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.
- "You mean it's my destiny?" she said at last.
Granny shrugged. "Something like that. Probably. Who knows?"
- Although his body had been around quite a lot, his mind had never gone further than the inside of his own head.
- He had the kind of real deep tan that rich people spend ages trying to achieve with expensive holidays and bits of tinfoil, when really all you need to do to obtain one is work your arse off in the open air every day.
- She liked it because it offered privacy, always appreciated by, as she put it, “my more discerning clients who prefer to make their very special purchases in an atmosphere of calm where discretion is ever the watchword.”
- A hint was to Esk what a mosquito bite was to the average rhino because she was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.
- It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a halfbrick in the path of the bicycle of history.
- One reason for the bustle was that over large parts of the continent other people preferred to make money without working at all, and since the Disc had yet to develop a music recording industry they were forced to fall back on older, more traditional forms of banditry.
- Wizards parted with money slightly less readily than tigers parted with their teeth.
- It had been a very long night, and the morning didn’t seem to be an improvement.
- The Shades, in brief, were an abode of discredited gods and unlicensed thieves, ladies of the night and peddlers in exotic goods, alchemists of the mind and strolling mummers; in short, all the grease on civilization’s axle.
- Granny had counted the temples with a thoughtful look in her eyes; gods were always demanding that their followers acted other than according to their true natures, and the human fallout this caused made plenty of work for witches.
- Granny had nothing against fortune-telling provided it was done badly by people with no talent for it.
- "Can't you read, Esk?"
The astonishment in his voice stung her.
"I expect so," she said defiantly. "I've never tried."
- "Hmm. Granpone the White. He's going to be Granpone the Grey if he doesn't take better care of his laundry. Aye tell you, girl, a white magician is just a black magician with a good housekeeper."
- “Million-to-one chances,” she said, “crop up nine times out of ten.”
- “Who says that?” said Cutangle.
“Generally people who are wrong.” said Granny. “I makes a note in my Almanack, see. I checks. Most things most people believe are wrong.”
- She told me that if magic gives people what they want, then not using magic can give them what they need.
- It was a horrible feeling to find things in your head and not know how they fitted.
- This is the Death whose particular sphere of operations is, well, not a sphere at all, but the Discworld, which is flat and rides on the back of four giant elephants who stand on the shell of the enormous star turtle Great A’Tuin, and which is bounded by a waterfall that cascades endlessly into space.
Scientists have calculated that the chance of anything so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.
- It wasn’t that he was unhelpful, but he had the kind of vague, cheerful helpfulness that serious men soon learn to dread.
- In short, Mort was one of those people who are more dangerous than a bag full of rattlesnakes. He was determined to discover the underlying logic behind the universe... which was going to be hard, because there wasn't one.
- His father regarded him critically.
“Very nice,” he said, “for the money.”
“It itches,” said Mort, “I think there’s things in here with me.”
“There’s thousands of lads in the world’d be very thankful for a nice warm — “ Lezek paused, and gave up — “garment like that, my lad.”
“I could share it with them?” Mort said hopefully.
- What is your name?
’Uh,’ said Mort. ‘Mortimer...sir. They call me Mort.’
What a coincidence, said the skull.
- “Where did you say your business was?” said Lezek. “Is it far?”
No further than the thickness of a shadow, said Death. Where the first primal cell was, there was I also. Where man is, there am I. When the last life crawls under freezing stars, there will I be.
- [Death pays for something from a large bag of assorted copper coinage, most of it turned blue and green with age]
“How do you get all those coins?” asked Mort.
- The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can’t have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles — kingons, or possibly queons — that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.
- There were temples, their doors wide open, filling the streets with the sound of gongs, cymbals and, in the case of some of the more conservative fundamentalist religions, the brief screams of the victims.
- You don’t see people at their best in this job, said Death.
- What do you think, said Death. Am I really here, boy?
“Yes,” said Mort slowly. “I...I’ve watched people. They look at you but they don’t see you, I think. You do something to their minds.”
Death shook his head.
They do it all themselves, he said. There’s no magic. People can’t see me, they simply won’t allow themselves to do it. Until it’s time, of course. Wizards can see me, and cats. But your average human...no, never. He blew a smoke ring at the sky, and added, Strange but true.
- Death was standing behind a lectern, poring over a map. He looked at Mort as if he wasn’t entirely there.
You haven’t heard of the Bay of Mante, have you? he said.
“No, sir,” said Mort.
Famous shipwreck there.
There will be, said Death, if I can find the damn place.
- Albert grunted. “Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?”
Mort thought for a moment.
“No,” he said eventually, “what?”
There was silence.
Then Albert straightened up and said, “Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serve ’em right.”
- “I’ve never seen Death actually at work.”
“Not many have,” said Albert. “Not twice, at any rate.”
- “They can’t see me either!” said Mort. “But I’m real!”
Reality is not always what it seems, said Death. Anyway, if they don’t want to see me, they certainly don’t want to see you. These are aristocrats, boy. They’re good at not seeing things.
- That’s mortals for you, Death continued. They’ve only got a few years in this world and they spend them all in making things complicated for themselves.
- “And he goes around killing people?” said Mort. He shook his head. “There’s no justice.”
Death sighed. No, he said,... there’s just me.
- “My granny says that dying is like going to sleep,” Mort added, a shade hopefully.
I wouldn’t know. I have done neither.
- “Look, I’ll be frank,” he said. “I could point you in the direction of a great brothel.”
“I’ve already had lunch,” said Mort, vaguely.
- “In a figurative sense,” he said.
“What does that mean?
“Well, it means no,” said Cutwell.
- “He doesn’t like wizards and witches much,” Mort volunteered.
“Nobody likes a smartass,” she said with some satisfaction. “We give him trouble, you see. Priests don’t, so he likes priests.”
“He’s never said,” said Mort.
“Ah. They’re always telling folk how much better it’s going to be when they’re dead. We tell them it could be pretty good right here if only they’d put their minds to it.”
- “I’ve — we’ve got a special on Cutwell’s Shield of Passion ointment,” said the face, and winked in a startling fashion. “Provides your wild oats while guaranteeing a crop failure, if you know what I mean.”
Keli bridled. “No,” she lied coldly, “I do not.”
- “You’re dead,” he said.
Keli waited. She couldn’t think of any suitable reply. “I’m not” lacked a certain style, while “Is it serious?” seemed somehow too frivolous.
- (That was a cinematic trick adapted for print. Death wasn’t talking to the princess. He was actually in his study, talking to Mort. But it was quite effective, wasn’t it? It’s probably called a fast dissolve, or a crosscut/zoom. Or something. An industry where the senior technician is called a Best Boy might call it anything.)
- The thing between Death’s triumphant digits was a fly from the dawn of time. It was the fly in the primordial soup. It had bred on mammoth turds. It wasn’t a fly that bangs on window panes, it was a fly that drills through walls.
- The world’s greatest lovers were undoubtedly Mellius and Gretelina, whose pure, passionate and soul-searing affair would have scorched the pages of History if they had not, because of some unexplained quirk of fate, been born two hundred years apart on different continents. However, the gods took pity on them, and turned her into an ironing board, and him into a small brass bollard.
- When you’re a god, you don’t have to have reasons.
- History has a habit of changing the people who think they are changing it. History always has a few tricks up its frayed sleeve. It’s been around a long time.
- “What do people like to drink here, then?” The landlord looked sideways at his customers, a clever trick given that they were directly in front of him.
- “You like it?” he said to Mort, in pretty much the same tone of voice people used when they said to St George, “You killed a what?”
- Go away, Mort thought. His subconscious was worrying him. It appeared to have a direct line to parts of his body that he wanted to ignore at the moment.
- You know, people just don’t see what their mind tells them isn’t there.
- Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.
- “I’m sure it’s not wizardly to be alone in a lady’s boudoir.”
“Hmm? But I’m not alone, am I? You’re here.”
“That,” she said, “is the point, isn’t it?”
- I ushered souls into the next world. I was the grave of all hope. I was the ultimate reality. I was the assassin against whom no lock would hold.
”Yes, point taken, but do you have any particular skills?”
- It struck Mort with sudden, terrible poignancy that Death must be the loneliest creature in the universe.
- “Sodomy non sapiens,” said Albert under his breath.
“What does that mean?”
“Means I’m buggered if I know.”
- Resolution was good for the moral fiber; the only trouble was the fiber didn’t appreciate the sacrifices he was making for it.
- Truly, he thought, the way of enlightenment is like unto half a mile of broken glass.
- “As simple as that? You didn’t use magic?”
“Only common sense. It’s a lot more reliable in the long run.”
- Women’s clothes were not a subject that preoccupied Cutwell much — in fact, usually when he thought about women his mental pictures seldom included any clothes at all — but the vision in front of him really did take his breath away.
- “Pardon me for living, I’m sure.”
No one gets pardoned for living.
- Albert glared at him. “Shut up.”
“Shutting up right away, sir.”
- Only one creature could have duplicated the expressions on their faces, and that would be a pigeon who has heard not only that Lord Nelson has got down off his column but has also been seen buying a 12-bore repeater and a box of cartridges.
- What’s the use of having the power if you don’t wield it? Man doesn’t show you respect, you don’t leave enough of his damn inn to roast chestnuts on, understand?
- He was suddenly aware that he had made some lifelong enemies, and it was no consolation to know that he probably wouldn’t have them for very long.
- Death is whoever does Death’s job.
- There were more than nine hundred known gods on the Disc, and research theologians were discovering more every year.
- “You won’t get away with this,” said Cutwell. He thought for a bit and added, “Well, you will probably get away with it, but you’ll feel bad about it on your deathbed and you’ll wish — “ He stopped talking.
- What are you going to do when we get there?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I was sort of hoping something would suggest itself at the time.”
- “Am I going to be crowned or not?” she said icily. “I’ve got to die a queen! It’d be terrible to be dead and common!”
- Although the scythe isn’t preeminent among the weapons of war, anyone who has been on the wrong end of, say, a peasants’ revolt will know that in skilled hands it is fearsome. Once its owner gets it weaving and spinning no one—including the wielder—is quite certain where the blade is now and where it will be next.
- 'And what would humans be without love?'
Rare, said Death.
- He sighed again. People were always trying this sort of thing. On the other hand, it was quite interesting to watch, and at least this was a bit more original than the usual symbolic chess game, which Death always dreaded because he could never remember how the knight was supposed to move.
- The vermine is a small black and white relative of the lemming, found in the cold Hublandish regions. Its skin is rare and highly valued, especially by the vermine itself; the selfish little bastard will do anything rather than let go of it.
- This was the type of thief that could steal the initiative, the moment and the words right out of your mouth.
- These weren't the normal city watch, cautious and genially corrupt. These were walking slabs of muscle and they were absolutely unbribable, if only because the Patrician could outbid anyone else.
- After that one thing sort of led to another and pretty soon everyone was fighting to get something — either away, out or even.
- Sourcerer, n. (mythical) A proto-wizard, a doorway through which new majik may enter the world, a wizard not limited by the physical capabilities of hys own bodie, not by Destinie, nor by Deathe. It is written that there once were sourcerers in the youth of the world but not may there by now and blessed be, for sourcery would mean the Ende of the World . . . If the Creator hadd meant menne to be bee as goddes, he would have given them wings.
SEE ALSO: thee Apocralypse, the legende of thee Ice Giants, and thee Teatime of the Goddes.
- Definition in Casplock's Compleet Lexicon of Majik with Precepts for the Wise
- The current Patrician ... He did of course sometimes have people horribly tortured to death, but this was considered to be perfectly acceptable behaviour for a civic ruler and generally approved of by the overwhelming majority of citizens. †
- † The overhelming majority of citizens being defined in this case as everyone not currently hanging upside down over a scorpion pit.
- He had the unique opportunity to watch Conina fight. Not many men ever got to see it twice.
Her opponents started off grinning at the temerity of a slight young girl attacking them, and then rapidly passed through various stages of puzzlement, doubt, concern, and abject gibbering terror as they apparently became the center of a flashing, tightening circle of steel.
- To Rincewind's annoyance the Luggage barrelled after her, cushioning its fall by dropping heavily onto a slaver, and adding to the sudden panic of the invaders because, while it was bad enough to be attacked with deadly and ferocious accuracy by a rather pretty girl in a white dress with flowers on it, it was even worse for the male ego to be tripped up and beaten by a travel accessory; it was pretty bad for all the rest of the male, too.
- It wasn't blood in general he couldn't stand the sight of, it was just his blood in particular that was so upsetting.
- Of course, Ankh-Morpork's citizens had always claimed that the river water was incredibly pure in any case. Any water that had passed through so many kidneys, they reasoned, had to be very pure indeed.
- 'My father always said that death is but a sleep,' said Conina.
'Yes, the hat told me that,' said Rincewind, as they turned down a narrow, crowded street between white adobe walls. 'But the way I see it, it's a lot harder to get up in the morning.'
- 'My father always said that it was pointless to undertake a direct attack against an enemy extensively armed with efficient projectile weapons,' she said.
Rincewind, who knew Cohen's normal method of speech, gave her a look of disbelief.
'Well, what he actually said,' she added, 'was never enter an arsekicking contest with a porcupine.'
- The Hashishim, who derived their name from the vast quantities of hashish they consumed, were unique among vicious killers in being both deadly and, at the same time, inclined to giggle, groove to interesting patterns of light and shade on their terrible knife blades and, in extreme cases, fall over.
- A popular spell at the time was Pelepel's Temporal Compressor, which on one occasion resulted in a race of giant reptiles being created, evolving, spreading, flourishing and then being destroyed in the space of about five minutes, leaving only its bones in the earth to mislead forthcoming generations completely.
- The truth isn't easily pinned to a page. In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap, and much more difficult to find...
- 'I don't trust this man,' said Nijel. 'I try not to judge from first impressions, but I definitely think he's up to no good.'
'He had you thrown in a snake pit!'
'Perhaps I should have taken the hint.'
- Wizards didn't kill ordinary people because a) they seldom noticed them and b) it wasn't considered sporting and c) besides, who'd do all the cooking and growing food and things. And killing a brother wizard with magic was nigh-well impossible on account of the layers of protective spells that any cautious wizard maintained about his person at all times.*
- * Of course, wizards often killed each other by ordinary, non-magical means, but this was perfectly allowable and death by assassination was considered natural causes for a wizard.
- Some people think this is paranoia, but it isn't. Paranoids only think everyone is out to get them. Wizards know it.
- 'I'm not going to ride on a magic carpet!' he hissed. 'I'm afraid of grounds!'
'You mean heights,' said Conina. 'And stop being silly.'
'I know what I mean! It's the grounds that kill you!'
- There was a respectful silence, as there always is when large sums of money have just passed away.
- Many people who had got to know Rincewind had come to treat him as a sort of two-legged miner's canary, and tended to assume that if Rincewind was still upright and not actually running then some hope remained.
- 'This is fun,' said Creosote. 'Me, robbing my own treasury. If I catch myself I can have myself flung into the snake pit.'
'But you could throw yourself on your mercy,' said Conina, running a paranoid eye over the dusty stonework.
'Oh, no. I think I would have to teach me a lesson, as an example to myself.'
- 'I can't hear anything,' said Nijel loudly. Nijel was one of those people who, if you say "don't look now", would immediately swivel his head like an owl on a turntable.
- Too much magic could wrap time and space around itself, and that wasn't good news for the kind of person who had grown used to things like effects following things like causes.
- They suffered from the terrible delusion that something could be done. They seemed prepared to make the world the way they wanted or die in the attempt, and the trouble with dying in the attempt was that you died in the attempt.
- 'Poor I don't mind,' said the Seriph. 'It's sobriety that is giving me difficulties.'
- Take it from me, there's nothing more terrible than someone out to do the world a favour.
- Wizards don't like philosophy very much. As far as they are concerned, one hand clapping makes a sound like 'cl'.
- 'Quick, you must come with me,' she said. 'You're in great danger!'
'Because I will kill you if you don't.'
- 'I meant,' said Ipslore, bitterly, 'what is there in this world that makes living worth while?'
Death thought about it.
Cats, he said eventually, Cats are nice.
- The Luggage might be magical. It might be terrible. But in its enigmatic soul it was kin to every other piece of luggage throughout the multiverse, and preferred to spend its winters hibernating on top of a wardrobe.
- Rincewind stared into the frothy remnants of his last beer, and then, with extreme care in case the top of his head fell off, leaned down and poured some into a saucer for the Luggage. It was lurking under the table, which was a relief. It usually embarrassed him in bars by sidling up to drinkers and terrorizing them into feeding it crisps.
- The subject of wizards and sex is a complicated one, but as has already indicated it does, in essence, boil down to this: when it comes to wine, women and song, wizards are allowed to get drunk and croon as much as they like.
- How can the effect be described with delicacy and taste? For most of the wizards, it was like being an elderly man who, suddenly faced by a beautiful young woman, finds to his horror and delight and astonishment that the flesh is suddenly as willing as the spirit.
- And I didn't bother with chapter six, because I promised my mother I'd just stick with the looting and pillaging, until I find the right girl.
- Death isn't cruel – merely terribly, terribly good at his job.
- It's vital to remember who you really are. It's very important. It isn't a good idea to rely on other people or things to do it for you, you see. They always get it wrong.
Wyrd Sisters (1989)
- A tiny sun and moon spin around them, on a complicated orbit to induce seasons, so probably nowhere else in the multiverse is it sometimes necessary for an elephant to cock a leg to allow the sun to go past.
Exactly why this should be may never be known. Possibly the Creator of the universe got bored with all the usual business of axial inclination, albedos and rotational velocities, and decided to have a bit of fun for once.
- No gods anywhere play chess. They haven't got the imagination. Gods prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve Transcendence but Go Straight to Oblivion; A key to the understanding of all religion is that a god's idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs.
- The calendar of the Theocracy of Muntab counts down, not up. No-one knows why, but it might not be a good idea to hang around and find out.
- It was dawning on him that the pleasures of the flesh were pretty sparse without the flesh. Suddenly life wasn't worth living. The fact that he wasn't living it didn't cheer him up at all.
- Granny Weatherwax didn't hold with looking at the future, but now she could feel the future looking at her. She didn't like its expression at all.
- The days followed one another patiently. Right back at the beginning of the multiverse they had tried all passing at the same time, and it hadn't worked.
- Demons were like genies or philosophy professors — if you didn't word things exactly right, they delighted in giving you absolutely accurate and completely misleading answers.
- Destiny was funny stuff, he knew. You couldn't trust it. Often you couldn't even see it. Just when you knew you had it cornered, it turned out to be something else — coincidence, maybe, or providence.
- This was real. This was more real even than reality. This was history. It might not be true, but that had nothing to do with it.
- This is Art holding a Mirror up to Life. That's why everything is exactly the wrong way round.
- Greebo's grin gradually faded, until there was nothing left but the cat. This was nearly as spooky as the other way round.
- "Actors," said Granny, witheringly. "As if the world weren't full of enough history without inventing more."
- The duke had a mind that ticked like a clock and, like a clock, it regularly went cuckoo.
- "There must be a hundred silver dollars in here," moaned Boggis, waving a purse. "I mean, that's not my league. That's not my class. I can't handle that sort of money. You've got to be in the Guild of Lawyers or something to steal that much."
- "I'd like to know if I could compare you to a summer's day. Because — well, June 12th was quite nice, and...Oh. You've gone."
- "'Tis not right, a woman going into such places by herself."
Granny nodded. She thoroughly approved of such sentiments so long as there was, of course, no suggestion that they applied to her.
- The famous Battle of Morpork, he strongly suspected had consisted of about two thousand men lost in a swamp on a cold, wet day, hacking one another into oblivion with rusty swords. What would the last King of Ankh have said to a pack of ragged men who knew they were outnumbered, outflanked and outgeneralled? Something with bite, something with edge, something like a drink of brandy to a dying man; no logic, no explanation, just words that would reach right down through a tired man's brain and pull him to his feet by his testicles.
- It occurred to her that in addition to being a collection of other things, the forest was a thing in itself. Alive, only not alive in the way that, say, a shrew was alive.
And much slower. That would have to be important. How fast did a forest's heart beat? Once a year, maybe. Yes, that sounded about right. Out there the forest was waiting for the brighter sun and the longer days that would pump a million gallons of sap several hundred feet into the sky in one great systolic thump too big and loud to be heard. And it was at this point that Granny bit her lip. She'd just thought the word 'systolic', and it certainly wasn't in her vocabulary.
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in January 2008 by Harper, ISBN# 978-0-06-102065-0
- No one knows the reason for all this, but it is probably quantum. (p. 3)
- 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. (p. 5)
- There was not a lot that could be done to make Morpork a worse place. A direct hit by a meteorite, for example, would count as gentrification. (p. 6)
- The important thing is not how many people you inhume, it’s how many fail to inhume you. (pp. 20-21)
- 'Kiddo? I'll have you know the blood of Pharaohs runs in my veins!'
The other boy looked at him unabashed, with his head on one side and a faint smile on his face.
'Would you like it to stay there?' he said. (p. 22)
- His mother, as far as he could remember, had been a pleasant woman and as self-centred as a gyroscope. (p. 29)
- It was said that life was cheap in Ankh-Morpork. This was, of course, completely wrong. Life was often very expensive; you could get death for free. (p. 35)
- Look into the face of a man who will kill you for a belief and your nostrils will snuff up the scent of abomination. Hear a speech declaring a holy war and, I assure you, your ears should catch the clink of evil’s scales and the dragging of its monstrous tail over the purity of the language. (p. 46)
- The culture of the river kingdom had a lot to say about death and what happened afterward. In fact it had very little to say about life, regarding it as a sort of inconvenient prelude to the main event and something to be hurried through as politely as possible. (p. 56)
- The king looked surprised.
"I understood that Death came as a three-headed giant scarab beetle," he said.
Death shrugged. Well. Now you know. (p. 56)
- When you die, the first thing you lose is your life. The next thing is your illusions. (p. 58)
- “Are you all right, O jeweled master of the sun?” one of them ventured.
“No, I'm not,” snapped the king, who was having some of his basic assumptions about the universe severely rattled, and that never puts anyone in a good mood. (p. 59)
- That was extremely symbolic as well, although no one could remember what of. (p. 62)
- Whatever his eyes were focused on wasn’t occupying the usual set of dimensions. (p. 65)
- Funny, that. When he was alive it had all seemed so sensible, so obvious. Now he was dead it looked a huge waste of effort. (p. 71)
- Ritual and ceremony in their due times kept the world under the sky and the stars in their courses. It was astonishing what ritual and ceremony could do. (p. 77)
- Those first pyramids had been built by human beings, little bags of thinking water held up briefly by fragile accumulations of calcium, who had cut rocks into pieces and then painfully put them back together again in a better shape. (p. 96)
- A few stars had been let out early. Teppic looked up at them. Perhaps, he thought, there is life somewhere else. On the stars, maybe. If it’s true that there are billions of universes stacked alongside one another, the thickness of a thought apart, then there must be people elsewhere.
But wherever they are, no matter how mightily they try, no matter how magnificent the effort, they surely can’t manage to be as godawfully stupid as us. I mean, we work at it. We were given a spark of it to start with, but over hundreds of thousands of years we’ve really improved on it. (p. 96)
- You scrimped and saved to send them to the best schools, and then they went and paid you back by getting educated. (p. 100)
- "Therefore I will have dinner sent in," said the priest. "It will be roast chicken."
"I hate chicken."
Dios smiled. "No sire. On Wednesdays the King always enjoys chicken, sire." (p. 132)
- Mere animals couldn't possibly manage to act like this. You need to be a human being to be really stupid. (p. 135)
- It’s a fact as immutable as the Third Law of Sod that there is no such thing as a good Grand Vizier. A predilection to cackle and plot is apparently part of the job spec.
High priests tend to get put in the same category. They have to face the implied assumption that no sooner do they get the funny hat than they’re issuing strange orders, e.g., princesses tied to rocks for itinerant sea monsters and throwing little babies in the sea.
This is a gross slander. Throughout the history of the Disc most high priests have been serious, pious and conscientious men who have done their best to interpret the wishes of the gods, sometimes disembowelling or flaying alive hundreds of people in a day in order to make sure they’re getting it absolutely right. (p. 144)
- “Well, yes,” said the IIa, very embarrassed, because interfering with the divine flow of money was alien to his personal religion. (p. 154)
- It's not for nothing that advanced mathematics tends to be invented in hot countries. It's because of the morphic resonance of all the camels, who have that disdainful expression and famous curled lip as a natural result of an ability to do quadratic equations. (p. 171)
- The fact is that camels are far more intelligent than dolphins.*
- * Never trust a species that grins all the time. It's up to something. (p. 171)
- Camels gallop by throwing their feet as far away from them as possible and then running to keep up. (p. 175)
- Belief is a force. It’s a weak force, by comparison with gravity; when it comes to moving mountains, gravity wins every time. (p. 202)
- No one is more worried by the actual physical manifestation of a god than his priests; it’s like having the auditors in unexpectedly. (p. 203)
- Teppic stared into his wine mug. These men are philosophers, he thought. They had told him so. So their brains must be so big that they have room for ideas that no one else would consider for five seconds. On the way to the tavern Xeno had explained to him, for example, why it was logically impossible to fall out of a tree. (p. 213)
- They are great minds, he told himself. These are men who are trying to work out how the world fits together, not by magic, not by religion, but just by inserting their brains in whatever crack they can find and trying to lever it apart. (p. 225)
- The Ephebians made wine out of anything they could put in a bucket, and ate anything that couldn't climb out of one. (p. 226)
- Nature abhors dimensional abnormalities, and seals them neatly away so that they don't upset people. Nature, in fact, abhors a lot of things, including vacuums, ships called the "Marie Celeste", and the chuck keys for electric drills. (p. 230)
- Ptraci didn’t just derail the train of thought, she ripped up the rails, burned the stations and melted the bridges for scrap. (p. 243)
- “You're a criminal?” said Teppic.
“Well, criminal’s a dirty word, know what I mean?” said the little ancestor. “I'd prefer entrepreneur. I was ahead of my time, that’s my trouble.” (p. 246)
- Battle elephants! Teppic groaned. Tsort went in for battle elephants, too. Battle elephants were the fashion lately. They weren’t much good for anything except trampling on their own when they inevitably panicked, so the military minds on both sides had responded by breeding bigger elephants. Elephants were impressive. (p. 256)
- The Sphinx is an unreal creature. It exists solely because it has been imagined. (p. 264)
- The crowds were still outside. Religion had ruled in the Old Kingdom for the best part of seven thousand years. Behind the eyes of every priest present was a graphic image of what would happen if the people ever thought, for one moment, that it ruled no more. (pp. 270-271)
- Dios sat on the steps of the throne and stared gloomily at the floor. The gods didn’t listen. He knew that. He knew that, of all people. But it had never mattered before. It was the ritual that was important, not the gods. The gods were there to do the duties of a megaphone, because who else would people listen to? (p. 271)
- The trouble with gods is that after enough people start believing in them, they begin to exist. And what begins to exist isn’t what was originally intended. (p. 297)
- The noise stopped, filling the air with the dark metallic clang of sudden silence. (p. 301)
- What he wanted, he decided, was a priest. They had to be useful for something, and this seemed the sort of time one might need one. For solace, or possibly, he felt obscurely, to beat their head in with a rock. (p. 303)
- She had a number of stoutly-held views on a variety of subjects, but most of them involved the flaying alive of people she disapproved of. This meant most people under the age of thirty-five, to start with. (p. 310)
- Just because fate throws you together doesn’t mean fate’s got it right. (p. 312)
- He’d wanted changes. It was just that he wanted things to stay the same, as well. (p. 315)
- This is most irregular
We're sorry. It's not our fault.
How many of you are there?
More than 1300, I'm afraid
Very well, then. Please form an orderly queue. (p. 318)
- It’s a mistake trying to cheer up camels. You may as well drop meringues into a black hole. (p. 319)
Quotes needing to be placed:
- Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It's where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more.
- From here he could see past the long, low bulk of the palace and across the river to the Great Pyramid itself. It was almost hidden in dark clouds, but what he could see of it was definitely wrong. He knew it had four sides, and he could see all eight of them.
It seemed to be moving in and out of focus, which he felt instinctively was a dangerous thing for several million tons of rock to do.
- He [Ptaclusp] put his arms around his sons' shoulders.
"Lads", he said proudly. "It's looking really quantum"
- However, it is well known that most people don't listen. They use the time when someone else is speaking to think of what they're going to say next.
Guards! Guards! (1989)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in September 2008 by Harper, ISBN# 978-0-06-102064-3
- They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they want to.
This book is dedicated to those fine men. (Dedication)
- The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read. (p. 3)
- To the axeman, all supplicants are the same height. (p. 5)
- There was a thoughtful pause in the conversation as the assembled Brethren mentally divided the universe into the deserving and the undeserving, and put themselves on the appropriate side. (pp. 13-14)
- It is said that the gods play games with the lives of men. But what games, and why, and the identities of the actual pawns, and what the game is, and what the rules are—who knows?
Best not to speculate.
It rolled a six. (p. 21)
- He is also bearing a sword presented to him in mysterious circumstances. Very mysterious circumstances. Surprisingly, therefore, there is something very unexpected about this sword. It isn’t magical. It hasn’t got a name. When you wield it you don’t get a feeling of power, you just get blisters; you could believe it was a sword that had been used so much that it had ceased to be anything other than a quintessential sword, a long piece of metal with very sharp edges. And it hasn’t got destiny written all over it.
It’s practically unique, in fact. (p. 21)
- Vimes opened his eyes. There was a moment of empty peace before memory hit him like a shovel. (p. 22)
- “In a manner of speaking, yes,” said his father. “In another manner of speaking, which is a rather more precise and accurate manner of speaking, no.” (p. 23)
- All dwarfs have beards and wear up to twelve layers of clothing. Gender is more or less optional. (p. 25)
- “I don’t think they have a king there,” said Varneshi. “Just some man who tells them what to do.”
The king of the dwarfs took this calmly. This seemed to be about ninety-seven percent of the definition of kingship, as far as he was concerned. (p. 28)
- All dwarfs are by nature dutiful, serious, literate, obedient and thoughtful people whose only minor failing is a tendency, after one drink, to rush at enemies screaming “Arrrrrrgh!” and axing their legs off at the knee. (p. 28)
- People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else." (p. 32)
- The guard gave him what could loosely be called an old-fashioned look. It was practically neolithic. (p. 32)
- Thank you for coming to see me. Don’t hesitate to leave. (p. 43)
- The Watch hadn’t liked it, but the plain fact was that the thieves were far better at controlling crime than the Watch had ever been. After all, the Watch had to work twice as hard to cut crime just a little, whereas all the Guild had to do was to work less. (p. 45)
- “You remember?”
Vimes tried to. It wasn’t easy. He was vaguely aware that he drank to forget. What made it rather pointless was that he couldn’t remember what it was he was forgetting anymore. In the end he just drank to forget about drinking. (p. 49)
- His age was indeterminate. But in cynicism and general world weariness, which is a sort of carbon dating of the personality, he was about seven thousand years old. (p. 55)
- He nodded to the troll which was employed by the Drum as a splatter [footnote: Like a bouncer, but trolls use more force]. (pp. 63-64)
- "'E's fighting in there!" he stuttered, grabbing the captain's arm.
"All by himself?" said the captain.
"No, with everyone!" shouted Nobby, hopping from one foot to the other. (pp. 67-68)
- It was possibly the most circumspect advance in the history of military maneuvers, right down at the bottom end of the scale that things like the Charge of the Light Brigade are at the top of. (p. 70)
- "Have another drink, not-Corporal Nobby?" said Sergeant Colon unsteadily.
"I do not mind if I do, not-Sgt. Colon," said Nobby. (p. 99)
- He couldn't help remembering how much he'd wanted a puppy when he was a little boy. Mind you, they'd been starving — anything with meat on it would have done. (p. 106)
- “A book has been taken. A book has been taken? You summoned the Watch,” Carrot drew himself up proudly, “because someone’s taken a book? You think that’s worse than murder?”
The Librarian gave him the kind of look other people would reserve for people who said things like “What’s so bad about genocide?” (p. 108)
- It was amazing, this mystic business. You tell them a lie, and then when you don’t need it any more you tell them another lie and tell them they’re progressing along the road to wisdom. Then instead of laughing they follow you even more, hoping that at the heart of all the lies they’ll find the truth. And bit by bit they accept the unacceptable. Amazing. (p. 116)
- “The females are always the worst,” said another hunter gloomily. “I knew this cross-eyed gorgon once, oh, she was a terror. Kept turning her own nose to stone.” (p. 123)
- “What exactly is it that they do eat?”
The thief shrugged. “I seem to recall stories about virgins chained to huge rocks,” he volunteered.
“It’ll starve around here, then,” said the assassin. “We’re on loam.” (p. 126)
- By and large medical assistance was nonexistent and people had to die inefficiently, without the aid of doctors. (p. 136)
- Disgusting, really, her livin’ in a room like this. She’s got pots of money, sarge says, she’s got no call livin’ in ordinary rooms. What’s the good of not wanting to be poor if the rich are allowed to go around livin’ in ordinary rooms? Should be marble. (p. 139)
- It always amazed Vimes how Nobby got along with practically everyone. It must, he’d decided, have something to do with the common denominator. In the entire world of mathematics there could be no denominator as common as Nobby. (p. 141)
- “Anyway, we found we’ve got a lot in common. It’s an amazing coincidence, but my grandfather once had his grandfather whipped for malicious lingering.”
That must make them practically family, Vimes thought. (p. 142)
- The reason that clichés become clichés is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication. (p. 146)
- Lady Ramkin’s bosom rose and fell like an empire. (p. 147)
- Going Up in the World is a metaphor, which I am learning about, it is like Lying but more decorative. (p. 153)
- It’s a metaphor of human bloody existence, a dragon. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s also a bloody great hot flying thing. (p. 165)
- This seemed absolutely right, to Vimes’s way of thinking. There was no difference at all between the richest man and the poorest beggar, apart from the fact that the former had lots of money, food, power, fine clothes, and good health. But at least he wasn’t any better. Just richer, fatter, more powerful, better dressed and healthier. It had been like that for hundreds of years. (p. 173)
- People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library. (p. 183)
- Noble dragons don’t have friends. The nearest they can get to the idea is an enemy who is still alive. (p. 188)
- “I thought, in Nature, the defeated animal just rolls on its back in submission and that’s an end of it,” said Vimes, as they clattered after the disappearing swamp dragon.
“Wouldn’t work with dragons,” said Lady Ramkin. “Some daft creature rolls on its back, you disembowel it. That’s how they look at it. Almost human, really.” (pp. 194-195)
- “What’re them fat saggy things on that shield?”
“Those are the royal hippos of Ankh,” said the man proudly. “Reminders of our noble heritage.” (p. 195)
- “Disgusting, this sort of thing, really,” mused Sergeant Colon. “People goin’ around in coaches like this when there’s people with no roof to their heads.”
“It’s Lady Ramkin’s coach,” said Nobby. “She’s all right.”
“Well, yes, but what about her ancestors, eh? You don’t get big houses and carriages without grindin’ the faces of the poor a bit.” (p. 198)
- The last rats of Brother Watchtower’s self-confidence fled the sinking ship of courage. (p. 201)
- He looked up at the hooded figure beside him.
"We never intended this," he said weakly. "Honestly. No offense. We just wanted what was due to us."
A skeletal hand patted him on the shoulder, not unkindly.
And Death said,
Congratulations. (p. 202)
- The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the date last shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality. (p. 223)
- If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn’t as cynical as real life. (p. 242)
- He felt the sensation of the dragon rummaging around in his mind, trying to find a clue to understanding. He half-saw, half-sensed the flicker of random images, of dragons, of the mythical age of reptiles and—and here he felt the dragon’s genuine astonishment—of some of the less commendable areas of human history, which were most of it. And after the astonishment came the baffled anger. There was practically nothing the dragon could do to people that they had not, sooner or later, tried on one another, often with enthusiasm.
You have the effrontery to be squeamish, it thought at him. But we were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless, and terrible. But this much I can tell you, you ape – the great face pressed even closer, so that Wonse was staring into the pitiless depths of his eyes - we never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality. (p. 253)
- A number of religions in Ankh-Morpork still practiced human sacrifice, except that they didn’t really need to practice any more because they had got so good at it. (p. 265)
- Possibly in the dark hours of a sleepless night some of them might have remembered the subsequent events and formed a pretty good and gut-churning insight, to whit, that one of the things sometimes forgotten about the human spirit is that while it is, in the right conditions, noble and brave and wonderful, it is also, when you get right down to it, only human. (pp. 267-268)
- “You can't give me my job back,” repeated Vimes. “It was never yours to take away. I was never an officer of this city, or an officer of the king, or an officer of the Patrician. I was an officer of the law. It might have been corrupted and bent, but it was law, of a sort. There isn't any law now except: “You'll get burned alive if you don't watch out”. Where's the place in there for me?”
- It must be something about high office. The altitude sends people mad. (p. 286)
- “When you really need them the most,” he said, “million-to-one chances always crop up. Well-known fact.” (p. 292)
- Now the air was gray with old smoke and mist shreds, but on a clear day it was possible to see Cor Celesti, home of the gods. Site of the home of the gods, anyway. They lived in Dunmanifestin, the stuccoed Valhalla, where the gods faced eternity with the kind of minds that were at a loss to know what to do to pass a wet afternoon. They played games with the fates of men, it was said. Exactly what game they thought they were playing at the moment was anyone’s guess.
But of course there were rules. Everyone knew there were rules. They just had to hope like Hell that the gods knew the rules, too. (p. 292)
- “What’s up, Sarge? Do you want to live forever?”
“Dunno. Ask me again in five hundred years.” (p. 293)
- “What if it’s just a thousand-to-one chance?” said Colon agonizedly.
“Anyone ever heard of a thousand-to-one shot coming up?”
Carrot looked up. “Don’t be daft, Sergeant,” he said. “No one ever saw a thousand-to-one chance come up. The odds against it are—” his lips moved—“millions to one.” (pp. 295-296)
- Right, you bastards, you’re... you’re geography— (p. 302)
- “... a number of offences of murder by means of a blunt instrument, to whit, a dragon, and many further offenses of generalized abetting to be more specifically ascertained later. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to be summarily thrown into a piranha tank. You have the right to trial by ordeal.” (p. 332)
- This was one of those points where the Trousers of Time bifurcated themselves, and if you weren’t careful you’d go down the wrong leg— (p. 335)
- Something was very wrong. “Is that you, Brother Doorkeeper?” he ventured.
The figure reached out.
Metaphorically, it said. (p. 335)
- “I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people,” said the man [Vetinari]. “You’re wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.” (p. 337)
- “Down there,” he said, “are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any iniquity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathesomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass-produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept evil not because they say yes, but because they don’t say no.” (p. 337)
- That was how you got to be a power in the land, he thought. You never cared a toss about whatever anyone else thought and you were never, ever, uncertain about anything. (p. 348)
- Up in the gloom the heads of dead animals haunted the walls. The Ramkins seemed to have endangered more species than an ice age. (p. 349)
- Perhaps the magic would last. Perhaps it wouldn’t. But then, what does? (p. 355; closing words)
To be placed:
- 'No one knows how to do officering, Fred. That's why they're officers. If they'd knew anything, they'd be sergeants.'
- Each man thought: one of the others is bound to say something soon, some protest, and then I’ll murmur agreement, not actually say anything, I’m not as stupid as that, but definitely murmur very firmly, so that the others will be in no doubt that I thoroughly disapprove, because at a time like this it behooves all decent men to nearly stand up and be almost heard… But no one said anything. The cowards, each man thought.
- I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.
Faust Eric (1990)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in February 2002 by Harper, ISBN# 0-380-82121-4
- Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It’s the difference between using a feather and using a chicken. (p. 4)
- The librarian was, ex officio, a member of the college council. No one had been able to find any rule about orang-utans being barred, although they had surreptitiously looked very hard for one. (p. 9)
- You could always tell a wizard’s robe; it was bedecked with sequins, sigils, fur and lace, and there was usually a considerable amount of wizard inside it. (p. 13)
- When he was left alone he wandered over to the lectern and looked at the book. The title, in impressively flickering red letters, was Mallificarum Sumpta Diabolicite Occularis Singularum, the Book of Ultimate Control. He knew about it. There was a copy in the Library somewhere, although wizards never bothered with it.
This might seem odd, because if there is one thing a wizard would trade his grandfather for, it is power. But it wasn’t all that strange, because any wizard bright enough to survive for five minutes was also bright enough to realize that if there was any power in demonology, then it lay with the demons. Using it for your own purposes would be like trying to beat mice to death with a rattlesnake. (p. 30)
- ‘I thought you were stuffed,’ said Rincewind.
[The parrot] ‘Up yours!’ (p. 32)
- ‘They never give him any of the things a sensitive growing wossname really needs, if you was to ask me.’
‘What, you mean love and guidance?’ said Rincewind.
‘I was thinking of a bloody good wossname, thrashing.’ said the parrot. (p. 33)
- Demons have existed on the Discworld for at least as long as the gods, who in many ways they closely resemble. The difference is basically the same as that between terrorists and freedom fighters. (pp. 34-35)
- Interestingly enough, the gods of the Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that’s where they think they deserve to go. Which they won’t do if they don’t know about it. This explains why it is important to shoot missionaries on sight. (p. 35)
- Rincewind gave his fingers a long shocked stare, as one might regard a gun that has been hanging on the wall for decades and has suddenly gone off and perforated the cat. (p. 44)
- The prayers of most religions generally praise and thank the gods involved, either out of general piety or in the hope that he or she will take the hint and start acting responsibly. (p. 76)
- The entire priesthood was sitting around it and watching it carefully, in case it did anything amusing or religious. (p. 80)
- Godless people might get up to anything, they might turn against the fine old traditions of thrift and non-self-sacrifice that had made the kingdom what it was today, they might start wondering why, if they didn’t have a god, they needed all these priests, anything. (p. 83)
- After all, the whole point of the wish business was to see to it that what the client got was exactly what he asked for and exactly what he didn’t really want. (pp. 83-84)
- He’d stopped wondering how he’d come to be here, wherever it was. Malign forces. That was probably it. At least nothing particularly dreadful was happening to him right now. Probably it was only a matter of time. (p. 86)
- He crawled back to Eric.
“There’s a door,” he whispered.
“Where does it go?”
“It stays where it is, I think,” said Rincewind. (p. 86)
- That was the thing about time travel. You were never ready for it. About the only thing he could hope for, Rincewind decided, was finding da Quirm’s Fountain of Youth and managing to stay alive for a few thousand years so he’d be ready to kill his own grandfather, which was the only aspect of time travel that had ever remotely appealed to him. He had always felt that his ancestors had it coming to them. (p. 92)
- “You didn’t have to go and kick me!”
“You’re quite right. It was an entirely voluntary act on my part.” (p. 101)
- They were discussing strategy when Rincewind arrived. The consensus seemed to be that if really large numbers of men were sent to storm the mountain, then enough might survive the rocks to take the citadel. This is essentially the basis of all military thinking. (p. 102)
- He decided to try the truth again. It was a novel approach and worth experimenting with. (p. 105)
- “I want to be a eunuch, sir,” Eric added.
Rincewind’s head turned as though it was being dragged.
“Why?” he said, and then came up with the obvious answer at the same time as Eric: “Because you get to work in a harem all day long,” they chorused slowly. (p. 106)
- “That’s what you call metaphor,” said Rincewind.
“Lying,” the sergeant explained, kindly. (p. 119)
- “The trouble is,” he said, “is that things never get better, they just stay the same, only more so.” (p. 124)
- He also appeared to have changed the course of history, although this is impossible since the only thing you can do to the course of history is facilitate it. (p. 126)
- Forever was over. All the sands had fallen. The great race between entropy and energy had been run, and the favorite had been the winner after all. (p. 133)
- It also appears that creators sometimes favor the Big Bang method of universe construction, and at other times use the more gentle methods of Continuous Creation. This follows studies by cosmotherapists which have revealed that the violence of the Big Bang can give a universe serious psychological problems when it gets older. (p. 134)
- All he had to do was be patient, and he was good at that. Pretty soon there’d be living creatures, developing like mad, running and laughing in the new sunlight. Growing tired. Growing old.
Death sat back. He could wait.
Whenever they needed him, he’d be there. (p. 135)
- “What’re quantum mechanics?”
“I don’t know. People who repair quantums, I suppose.” (p. 145)
- Most of history is pretty appalling, when you look hard at it. Or even not very hard. (p. 147)
- He’d looked death in the face many times, or more precisely Death had looked him in the back of his rapidly retreating head many times, and suddenly the prospect of living forever didn’t appeal. (p. 149)
- “Multiple exclamation marks,” he went on, shaking his head, “are a sure sign of a diseased mind.” (p. 153)
- The fact was that, as droves of demon kings had noticed, there was a limit to what you could do to a soul with, e. g., red-hot tweezers, because even fairly evil and corrupt souls were bright enough to realize that since they didn’t have the concomitant body and nerve endings attached to them there was no real reason, other than force of habit, why they should suffer excruciating agony. So they didn’t. Demons went on doing it anyway, because numb and mindless stupidity is part of what being a demon is all about, but since no one was suffering they didn’t enjoy it much either and the whole thing was pointless. Centuries and centuries of pointlessness. (p. 163)
- You take, for example, a certain type of hotel. It is probably an English version of an American hotel, but operated with that peculiarly English genius for taking something American and subtracting from it its one worthwhile aspect, so that you end up with slow fast food, West Country and Western music and, well, this hotel. (p. 164)
- Astfgl had achieved in Hell a particularly high brand of boredom which is like the boredom you get which a) is costing you money, and b) is taking place while you should be having a nice time. (p. 165)
- Now he realized what made boredom so attractive. It was the knowledge that worse things, dangerously exciting things, were going on just around the corner and that you were well out of them. For boredom to be enjoyable there had to be something to compare it with. (p. 169)
- “This is really horrible,” said Eric, as they walked away. “It gives evil a bad name.” (p. 171)
- “According to Ephebian mythology, there’s a girl who comes down here every winter.”
“To keep warm?”
“I think the story says she actually creates the winter, sort of.”
“I’ve known women like that,” said Rincewind, nodding wisely. (p. 172)
- The speaker was Duke Vassenego, one of the oldest demons. How old, no one knew. But if he didn’t actually invent original sin, at least he made one of the first copies. In terms of sheer enterprise and deviousness of mind he might even have passed for human and, in fact, generally took the form of an old, rather sad lawyer with an eagle somewhere in his ancestry. (pp. 173-174)
- “Wossname!” said the parrot, who was sitting on his shoulder.
“Fancy that,” said Rincewind. “I never knew animals could go to Hell. Although I can quite see why they made an exception in this case.” (p. 178)
- It was the voice of someone who had seen it all and hadn’t liked any of it very much. (p. 180)
- The kings of Hell might have heard of words like “subtlety” and “discretion,” but they had also heard that if you had it you should flaunt it and reasoned that, if you didn’t have it, you should flaunt it even more, and what they didn’t have was good taste. (pp. 186-187)
- Now their long war was over and they could get on with the proper concern of civilized nations, which is to prepare for the next one. (p. 193)
Moving Pictures (1990)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in February 2002 by Harper, ISBN# 0-06-102063-X
- A crude hut of driftwood had been built on the long curve of the beach, although describing it as “built” was a slander on skilled crude hut builders throughout the ages; if the sea had simply been left to pile the wood up it might have done a better job. (p. 2)
- There’s a saying that all roads lead to Ankh-Morpork, greatest of Discworld cities.
At least, there’s a saying that there’s a saying that all roads lead to Ankh-Morpork.
And it’s wrong. All roads lead away from Ankh-Morpork, but sometimes people just walk along them the wrong way. (p. 6)
- The senior wizard in a world of magic had the same prospects of long-term employment as a pogo stick tester in a minefield. (pp. 10-11)
- 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. (p. 11)
- What the Bursar failed to consider was that no more bangs doesn’t mean they’ve stopped doing it, whatever it is. It just means they’re doing it right. (p. 13)
- A month went by quickly. It didn’t want to hang around. (p. 21)
- “Comes of spendin’ too much time sitting indoors. A few twenty-mile runs and the Dean’d be a different man.”
“Well, yes,” said the Bursar. “He’d be dead.”
“He’d be healthy.”
“Yes, but still dead.” (p. 25)
- Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleaning, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact. (p. 27)
- At the gate was a large, heavy-set man, who was eyeing the queue with the smug look of minor power-wielders everywhere. (p. 46)
- No-one with their sleeves rolled up who walks purposefully with a piece of paper held conspicuously in their hand is ever challenged. (pp. 47-48)
- He’d looked at its ramshackle organisation, such as it was, with the eye of a lifelong salesman. There seemed nowhere in it for him, but this wasn’t a problem. There was always room at the top. (p. 53)
- “She hwas dusting,” said Mrs. Whitlow, helpfully. When Mrs. Whitlow was in the grip of acute class consciousness she could create aitches where nature never intended them to be. (p. 77)
- Probably only one person in the world had been interested in whether the old man lived or died, and he’d been the first to know. (p. 91)
- Victor had never worked for anything in his life. In his experience, jobs were things that happened to other people. (p. 93)
- “What did she just say to that troll?” he said, as a deep wave of laughter rolled across the room.
Rock scratched his nose. “Is play on words,” he said. “Very hard to translate. But basically, she say ‘Is that the legendary Sceptre of Magma who was King of the Mountain, Smiter of Thousands, Yea, Even Tens of Thousands, Ruler of the Golden River, Master of the Bridges, Delver in Dark Places, Crusher of Many Enemies,’” he took a deep breath, “’in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?’” (p. 100)
- “They’re pretty high mountains,” said Azhural, his voice now edged with doubt.
“Slope go up, slope go down,” said M’bu gnomically.
“That’s true,” said Azhural. “Like, on average, it’s flat all the way.” (p. 138)
- “You know what the greatest tragedy in the whole world is?” said Ginger, not paying him the least attention. “It’s all the people who never find out what it is they really want to do or what it is they’re really good at. It’s all the sons who become blacksmiths because their fathers were blacksmiths. It’s all the people who could be really fantastic flute players who grow old and die without ever seeing a musical instrument, so they become bad plowmen instead. It’s all the people with talents who never even find out. Maybe they are never even born in a time when it’s even possible to find out.” (pp. 141-142)
- “Pictographic writing doesn’t work like that. It’s all down to context, you see.” He racked his brains to think of some of the books he’d seen. “For example, in the Agatean language the signs for ‘woman’ and ‘slave’ written down together actually mean ‘wife.’” (p. 161)
- “I heard once where there was this city that was so wicked that the gods turned it into a puddle of molten glass,” said Gaspode, apropos of nothing. “And the only person who saw it happen was turned into a pillar of salt by day and a cheese shaker by night.”
“Gosh. What had the people been doing?”
“Dunno. Prob’ly not much. It doesn’t take much to annoy gods.” (p. 164)
- After all, Ankh-Morpork itself was generally considered as wicked a city as you could hope to find in a year of shore leaves, and seemed to have avoided any kind of supernatural vengeance, although it was always possible that it had taken place and no one had noticed. (pp. 174-175)
- His brow furrowed, as if he’d just been listening to his own voice and hadn’t understood it. (p. 176)
- Fate doesn’t like it when people take up more space than they ought to. Everybody knows that. (p. 178)
- Magic wasn’t difficult. That was the big secret that the whole baroque edifice of wizardry had been set up to conceal. Anyone with a bit of intelligence and a bit of perseverance could do magic, which was why the wizards cloaked it with rituals and the whole pointy-hat business. (pp. 178-179)
- The important thing to remember was that Holy Wood wasn’t a real place at all. (p. 179)
- “Come on,” said Gaspode. “It’s not right, you being alone in a lady’s boodwah.”
“I’m not alone,” Victor said. “She’s with me.” (pp. 179-180)
- The universe contains any amount of horrible ways to be woken up, such as the noise of the mob breaking down the front door, the scream of fire engines, or the realization that today is the Monday which on Friday night was a comfortably long way off. (p. 193)
- “Why is it all Mr. Dibbler’s films are set against the background of a world gone mad?” said the dwarf.
Soll’s eyes narrowed. “Because Mr. Dibbler,” he growled, “is a very observant man.” (p. 207)
- It was totally confusing, just like real life. (p. 208)
- According to the history books, the decisive battle that ended the Ankh-Morpork Civil War was fought between two handfuls of bone-weary men in a swamp early one misty morning and, although one side claimed victory, ended with a practical score of Humans 0, ravens 1,000, which is the case with most battles. (p. 216)
- The Bursar locked his study door behind him. You had to do that. The Archchancellor thought that knocking on doors was something that happened to other people. (p. 224)
- The whole of life is just like watching a click, he thought. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it all out yourself from the clues.
And you never, never get a chance to stay in your seat for the second house. (p. 238)
- Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened. (p. 263)
- They were, he (the Patrician) had to admit, a pleasant enough young couple. He just wasn’t sure why he was sitting next to them, and why they were so important.
He was used to important people, or at least to people who thought they were important. Wizards became important through high deeds of magic. Thieves became important for daring robberies and so, in a slightly different way, did merchants. Warriors became important through winning battles and staying alive. Assassins became important through skillful inhumations. There were many roads to prominence, but you could see them, you could work them out. They made some sort of sense.
Whereas these two people had merely moved interestingly in front of this new-fangled moving-picture machinery. The rankest actor in the city’s theater was a multi-skilled master of thespianism by comparison to them, but it wouldn’t occur to anyone to line the streets and shout out his name. (pp. 279-280)
- He had not got where he was today by bothering how things worked. It was how people worked that intrigued him. (p. 282)
- She was a beefy young woman and, whatever piece of music she was playing, it was definitely losing. (p. 283)
- His mind raced. What was it they said about the gods? They wouldn’t exist if there weren’t people to believe in them? And that applied to everything. Reality was what went on inside people’s heads. And in front of him were hundreds of people really believing what they were seeing... (p. 286)
- The machine whirred on, winding reality from the future to the past. (p. 286)
- Supposing there was somewhere reality was a little thinner than usual? And supposing you did something there that weakened reality even more. Books wouldn’t do it. Even ordinary theater wouldn’t do it, because in your heart you knew it was just people in funny clothes on a stage. But Holy Wood went straight from the eye into the brain. In your heart you thought it was real. The clicks would do it. (p. 286)
- She wasn’t certain what the future held, but coffee would be involved if she had any say in the matter. (p. 310)
- “Why us?” he said. “Why is it happening to us?”
“Everything has to happen to someone,” said Ginger. (p. 314)
- Being trampled almost to death by a preoccupied troll is almost the ideal cure for a person confused about what is real and what isn’t. Reality is something walking heavily up your spine. (p. 319)
- Oh, I suppose if you’re a powerful merchant it’s nice to have a famous wife. It’s like owning jewelry. (p. 330)
Reaper Man (1991)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in August 2002 by Harper, ISBN# 0-06-102062-1
- One said, That is the point. The word is him. Becoming a personality is inefficient. We don't want it to spread. Supposing gravity developed a personality? Supposing it decided to like people?
One said, Got a crush on them, sort of thing? (p. 3)
- In a general sort of way everyone knew they were going to die, even the common people. No one knew where you were before you were born, but when you were born, it wasn’t long before you found you’d arrived with your return ticket already punched. (pp. 11-12)
- Every day took an age to go by, which was odd, because days plural went past like a stampede. (p. 13)
- In the hall of the house of Death is a clock with a pendulum like a blade but with no hands, because in the house of Death there is no time but the present. (There was, of course, a present before the present now, but that was also the present. It was just an older one.) (p. 14)
- Wizards don’t believe in gods in the same way that most people don’t find it necessary to believe in, say, tables. They know they’re there, they know they’re there for a purpose, they’d probably agree that they have a place in a well-organized universe, but they wouldn’t see the point of believing, of going around saying, “O great table, without whom we are as naught.” Anyway, either the gods are there whether you believe or not, or exist only as a function of the belief, so either way you might as well ignore the whole business and, as it were, eat off your knees. (p. 28)
- 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've got a bit of a headache and want a nice lie down for half an hour. (p. 32)
- "It's not old Windle. Old Windle was a lot older!"
"Older? Older than dead?" (p. 34)
- Was that justice? Was that a proper reward for being a firm believer in reincarnation for almost 130 years? You come back as a corpse?
No wonder the undead were traditionally considered to be very angry. (p. 35)
- Intellectually, Ridcully maintained his position for two reasons. One was that he never, ever, changed his mind about anything. The other was that it took him several minutes to understand any new idea put to him, and this is a very valuable trait in a leader, because anything anyone is still trying to explain to you after two minutes is probably important and anything they give up after a mere minute or so is almost certainly something they shouldn’t have been bothering you with in the first place. (p. 38)
- Something wonderful, if you took the long view, was about to happen.
If you took the short or medium view, something horrible was about to happen.
It’s like the difference between seeing a beautiful new star in the winter sky and actually being close to the supernova. It’s the difference between the beauty of morning dew on a cobweb and actually being a fly. (p. 35)
- “Oh. Hallo, Modo.”
“I ‘eard you was took dead, Mr. Poons.”
“Er. Yes. I was.”
“See you got over it, then.” (p. 39)
- “Seems to me...seems to me...look, death must be going on, right? Death has to happen. That’s what bein’ alive is all about. You’re alive, and then you’re dead. It can’t just stop happening.” (p. 43)
- Everything that exists, yearns to live. That’s what the cycle of life is all about. That’s the engine that drives the great biological pumps of evolution. Everything tries to inch its way up the tree, clawing or tentacling or sliming its way up to the next niche until it gets to the very top—which, on the whole, never seems to have been worth all that effort. (p. 81)
- “I suppose there’s not some kind of magic you don’t know about?”
“If there is, we don’t know about it.” (p. 93)
- Then there was a silence. It was the particularly wary silence of something making no noise. (p. 124)
- “Huh! Priests!” said Mr. Shoe. “They’re all the same. Always telling you that you’re going to live again after you’re dead, but you just try it and see the look on their faces!” (p. 131)
- Bill Door made the mistake millions of people had tried before with small children in slightly similar circumstances. He resorted to reason. (p. 159)
- He said that there was death and taxes, and taxes was worse, because at least death didn’t happen to you every year. (p. 182)
- The senior wizards know that the proper purpose of magic is to form a social pyramid with the wizards on top of it, eating big dinners. (p. 189)
- "It can't be intelligent, can it?" said the Bursar.
"All it's doing is moving around slowly and eating things," said the Dean.
"Put a pointy hat on it and it'd be a faculty member," said the Archchancellor. (p. 195)
- William Spigot was the one that sang when he worked, breaking into that long nasal whine which meant that folk song was about to be perpetrated. (p. 203)
- That was the bloody trouble, every time. Whenever someone was trying to do a bit of sensible thinking, there was always some pointless distraction. (p. 212)
- “But how can a city be alive? It’s only made up of dead parts!” said Ludmilla.
“So’re people. Take it from me. I know.” (p. 226)
- Just because something is a metaphor doesn’t mean it can’t be real. (p. 236)
- I am not sure there is such a thing as right. Or wrong. Just places to stand.
“No, right’s right and wrong’s wrong,” said Miss Flitworth. “I was brought up to tell the difference.”
By a contrabandistor.
A mover of contraband.
“There’s nothing wrong with smuggling!”
I merely point out that some people think otherwise.
“They don’t count!” (p. 237)
- The Dean himself didn’t know when he’d been happier. For sixty years he’d been obeying all the self-regulating rules of wizardry, and suddenly he was having the time of his life. He’d never realized that, deep down inside, what he really wanted to do was make things go splat. (p. 242)
- Windle shook his head sadly. Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind. (p. 262)
- It was, as he was wonderfully well placed to know, merely putting off the inevitable. But wasn’t that what living was all about? (p. 277)
- A crown? His voice shook with rage. I never wore a crown!
You never wanted to rule. (p. 281)
- Ridcully was simple-minded. This doesn’t mean stupid. It just means that he could only think properly about things if he cut away all the complicated bits around the edges. (p. 297)
- No naked little men sat on the summit dispensing wisdom, because the first thing the truly wise man works out is that sitting around on mountaintops gives you not only hemorrhoids but frostbitten hemorrhoids. (p. 301)
- What’s the good of having mastery over cosmic balance and knowing the secrets of fate if you can’t blow something up? (p. 305)
- He lay back and smiled. It was never too late to have a good life. (p. 311)
- Mothers like her exist everywhere, and apparently nothing can be done about them. (p. 313)
- In the Ramtop village where they dance the real Morris dance, for example, they believe that no one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away—until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence. (pp. 316-317)
- With any luck, they’d have best of both worlds. Not just feeling...but knowing.
Always best to have both worlds. (p. 317)
- There was never anything to be gained from observing what humans said to one another—language was just there to hide their thoughts. (p. 319)
- Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. (p. 321)
- There is no hope but us. There is no mercy but us. There is no justice. There is just us. (p. 322)
- You are as old as you think you are.
“Huh! Yeah? Really? That’s the kind of stupid thing people always say. They always say, My word, you’re looking well. They say, There’s life in the old dog yet. Many a good tune played on an old fiddle. That kind of stuff. It’s all stupid. As if being old was some kind of thing you should be glad about! As if being philosophical about it will earn you marks! My head knows how to think young, but my knees aren’t that good at it. Or my back. Or my teeth. Try telling my knees they’re as old as they think and see what good it does you. Or them. (p. 336)
- Death said nothing. He helped her up onto the horse.
“When I see what life does to people, you know, you don’t seem so bad,” she said nervously. (p. 342)
- In the village in the Ramtops where they understand what the Morris dance is all about, they dance it just once, at dawn, on the first day of spring. They don’t dance it after that, all through the summer. After all, what would be the point? What use would it be?
But on a certain day when the nights are drawing in, the dancers leave work early and take, from attics and cupboards, the other costume, the black one, and the other bells. And they go by separate ways to a valley among the leafless trees. They don’t speak. There is no music. It’s very hard to imagine what kind there could be....
And in the cold afternoon, as the light drains from the sky, among the frosty leaves and in the damp air, they dance the other Morris. Because of the balance of things.
You’ve got to dance both, they say. Otherwise you can’t dance either. (pp. 344-345)
Witches Abroad (1991)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in August 2002 by Harper Torch, ISBN# 0-06-102061-3
- But then...it used to be so simple, once upon a time.
Because the universe was full of ignorance all around and the scientist panned through it like a prospector crouched over a mountain stream, looking for the gold of knowledge among the gravel of unreason, the sand of uncertainty and the little whiskery eight-legged swimming things of superstition. (p. 1)
- Bad spelling can be lethal. For example, the greedy seraph of Al-Ybi was cursed by a badly-educated deity and for some days everything he touched turned to Glod, which happened to be the name of a small dwarf from a mountain community hundreds of miles away who found himself magically dragged to the kingdom and relentlessly duplicated. Some two thousand Glods later the spell wore off. These days, the people of Al-Ybi are renowned for being unusually short and bad-tempered. (p. 6)
- It’s a big responsibility, fairy godmothering. Knowing when to stop, I mean. People whose wishes get granted often don’t turn out to be very nice people. So should you give them what—or what they need? (p. 10).
- If you wanted to get anywhere in this world—and she’d decided, right at the start, that she wanted to get as far as it was possible to go—you wore names lightly, and you took power anywhere you found it. She had buried three husbands, and at least two of them had already been dead. (p. 14)
- You can be as self-assertive as you like, I said, just so long as you do what you’re told. (p. 20)
- Granny Weatherwax didn’t like maps. She felt instinctively that they sold the landscape short. (p. 27)
- It’s a strange thing about determined seekers-after-wisdom that, no matter where they happen to be, they’ll always seek that wisdom which is a long way off. Wisdom is one of the few things that looks bigger the further away it is. (p. 32)
- “Look,” said Magrat desperately, “why don’t I go by myself?”
“’Cos you ain’t experienced at fairy godmothering,” said Granny Weatherwax.
This was too much even for Magrat’s generous soul.
“Well, nor are you,” she said.
“That’s true,” Granny conceded. “But the point is...the point is...the point is we’ve not been experienced for a lot longer than you.”
“We’ve got a lot of experience of not having any experience,” said Nanny Ogg happily.
“That’s what counts every time,” said Granny. (p. 41)
- Greebo turned upon Granny Weatherwax a yellow-eyed stare of self-satisfied malevolence, such as cats always reserve for people who don’t like them, and purred. Greebo was possibly the only cat who could snigger in purr. (p. 48)
- She heard Nanny say: “Beats me why they’re always putting invisible runes on their doors. I mean, you pays some wizard to put invisible runes on your door, and how do you know you’ve got value for money?”
She heard Granny say: “No problem there. If you can’t see ’em, you know you’ve got proper invisible runes.” (p. 63)
- In the dim light she could see Granny’s face which seemed to be suggesting that if Magrat was at her wit’s end, it was a short stroll. (p. 64)
- “I hate mirrors,” muttered the Duc.
“That’s because they tell you the truth, my lad.”
“It’s cruel magic, then.” (p. 71)
- People are riddled by Doubt. It is the engine that drives them through their lives. It is the elastic band in the little model airplane of their soul, and they spend their time winding it up until it knots. Early morning is the worst time—there’s that little moment of panic in case You have drifted away in the night and something else has moved in. This never happened to Granny Weatherwax. She went straight from fast asleep to instant operation on all six cylinders. She never needed to find herself because she always knew who was doing the looking. (p. 93)
- Nanny’s mouth spread in an evil grin.
“You know what this river’s called?” she said.
"'S called the Vieux River."
"Know what that means?"
"The Old (Masculine) River," said Nanny.
"Words have sex in foreign parts," said Nanny hopefully. (p. 110)
- All witches are very conscious of stories. They can feel stories, in the same way that a bather in a little pool can feel the unexpected trout.
Knowing how stories work is almost all the battle.
For example, when an obvious innocent sits down with three experienced card sharpers and says “How do you play this game, then?”, someone is about to be shaken down until their teeth fall out. (p. 119)
- The Yen Buddhists are the richest religious sect in the universe. They hold that the accumulation of money is a great evil and a burden to the soul. They therefore, regardless of personal hazard, see it as their unpleasant duty to acquire as much as possible in order to reduce the risk to innocent people. (p. 125)
- “Listen, happy endings is fine if they turn out happy,” said Granny, glaring at the sky. “But you can’t make ’em for other people. Like the only way you could make a happy marriage is by cuttin’ their heads off as soon as they say ‘I do’, yes? You can’t make happiness...”
Granny Weatherwax stared at the distant city.
“All you can do,” she said, “is make an ending.” (p. 139)
- 'Tell me,' said Magrat, 'you said your mummy knows about the big bad wolf in the woods, didn't you?'
'But nonetheless she sent you out by yourself to take those goodies to your granny?' (p. 146)
- The only way housework could be done in this place was with a shovel or, for preference, a match. (p. 147)
- “I wondered about that,” said Nanny. “Then I thought maybe I was imagining things.”
“No point in imagining anything,” said Granny. “Things are bad enough as they are.” (p. 150)
- Magrat plunged on with the brave desperation of someone dancing in the light of their burning bridges. (p. 161)
- Asking someone to repeat a phrase you’d not only heard very clearly but were also exceedingly angry about was around Defcon II in the lexicon of squabble. (p. 162)
- “Haven’t you got any romance in your soul?” said Magrat plaintively.
“No,” said Granny. “I ain’t. And stars don’t care what you wish, and magic don’t make things better, and no one doesn’t get burned who sticks their hand in a fire. If you want to amount to anything as a witch, Magrat Garlick, you got to learn three things. What’s real, what’s not real, and what’s the difference—” (p. 163)
- Genua had once controlled the river mouth and taxed its traffic in a way that couldn’t be called piracy because it was done by the city government. (p. 176)
- “Baths is unhygienic,” Granny declared. “You know I’ve never agreed with baths. Sittin’ around in your own dirt like that.” (p. 184)
- Racism was not a problem on the Discworld, because — what with trolls and dwarfs and so on — speciesism was more interesting. Black and white lived in perfect harmony and ganged up on green. (p. 201)
- Nanny Ogg quite liked cooking, provided there were other people around to do things like chop up the vegetables and wash the dishes afterwards. (pp. 203-204)
- “This is Greebo. Between you and me, he’s a fiend from hell.”
“Well, he’s a cat,” said Mrs. Gogol, generously. “It’s only to be expected.” (p. 210)
- Emberella, thought Magrat. I’m fairy godmothering a girl who sounds like something you put up in the rain. (p. 213)
- Magrat was annoyed. She was also frightened, which made her even more annoyed. It was hard for people when Magrat was annoyed. It was like being attacked by damp tissue. (p. 229)
- “I ain’t against adventure, in moderation,” said Granny, “but not when I’m eatin’.” (p. 247)
- “Anyway, it’ll be int’resting to see if it works.”
“Yes, but it’s wrong,” said Granny.
“Not for these parts, it seems,” said Nanny.
“Besides,” said Magrat virtuously, “it can’t be bad if we’re doing it. We’re the good ones.”
“Oh yes, so we is,” said Granny, “and there was me forgetting it for a minute there.” (p. 252)
- The footman, recognizing instantly the boundless bad manners of the well-bred, backed away quickly. (p. 262)
- This one was quite likely looting towns when he should have been learning to read. (p. 267)
- For wolves and pigs and bears, thinking that they’re human is a tragedy. For a cat, it’s an experience. (p. 268).
- Apart from being as well-adapted a parasite as the oak bracket fungus, Lady Volentia D’Arrangement was, by and large, a blameless sort of person. (p. 272)
- Nanny Ogg looked him up and down or, at least, down and further down.
“You’re a dwarf,” she said. (p. 278)
- The wages of sin is death but so is the salary of virtue, and at least the evil get to go home early on Fridays. (p. 282)
- She hated everything that predestined people, that fooled them, that made them slightly less than human. (p. 291)
- He’d never told people they ought to be happy, and imposed a kind of happiness on them. The invisible people knew that happiness is not the natural state of mankind, and is never achieved from the outside in. (p. 293)
- Greebo wasn’t a happy cat. People had made a fuss just because he’d dragged a roast turkey off the table. (p. 294)
- You can’t go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it’s just a cage. (p. 305)
- Don’t you talk to me about progress. Progress just means bad things happen faster. (p. 305)
- Greebo’s technique was unscientific and wouldn’t have stood a chance against any decent swordsmanship, but on his side was the fact that it is almost impossible to develop decent swordsmanship when you seem to have run into a food mixer that is biting your ear off. (p. 312)
- Magic’s far too important to be used for rulin’ people. (p. 316)
- “We’re her godmothers,” said Granny.
“That’s right,” said Nanny Ogg.
“We’ve got a wand, too,” said Magrat.
“But you hate godmothers, Mistress Weatherwax,” said Mrs. Gogol.
“We’re the other kind,” said Granny. “We’re the kind that gives people what they know they really need, not what we think they ought to want.” (p. 317)
- “I don’t want to hurt you, Mistress Weatherwax,” said Mrs. Gogol.
“That’s good,” said Granny. “I don’t want you to hurt me either.” (p. 319)
- The nobles of Genua had enough experience to know what it means when a ruler says something is not compulsory. (p. 325).
- Death put down his drink and stepped forward.
Baron Saturday straightened up.
“I am ready to go with you,” he said.
Death shrugged. Ready or not, he seemed to indicate, was all the same to him. (p. 325)
- Granny stepped forward, her eyes two sapphires of bitterness. “I’m goin’ to give you the hidin’ our Mam never gave you, Lily Weatherwax. Not with magic, not with headology, not with a stick like our Dad had, aye, and he used a fair bit as I recall—but with skin. And not because you was the bad one. Not because you meddled with stories. Everyone has a path they got to tread. But because, and I wants you to understand this prop’ly, after you went I had to be the good one. You had all the fun. An’ there’s no way I can make you pay for that, Lily, but I’m surely goin’ to give it a try...”
“But…I…I… I’m the good one,” Lily murmured, her face pale with shock. “I’m the good one. I can’t lose. I’m the godmother. You’re the wicked witch…”
“Good? Good? Feeding people to stories? Twisting people’s lives? That’s good, is it?” said Granny. “You mean you didn’t even have fun? If I’d been as bad as you, I’d have been a whole lot worse. Better at it than you’ve ever dreamed of.” (pp. 337-338)
- “I could make some new gods and get everyone to believe in ’em real good. How about that?” said Mrs. Gogol. Nanny shook her head.
“I shouldn’t think Esme’d want that. She’s not keen on gods. She thinks they’re a waste of space.” (p. 343)
- “Good and bad is tricky,” she said. “I ain’t too certain about where people stand. P’raps what matters is which way you face.” (pp. 348-349)
Small Gods (1992)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in March 2008 by Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-109217-6
- The tortoise is a ground-living creature. It is impossible to live nearer the ground without being under it. Its horizons are a few inches away. It has about as good a turn of speed as you need to hunt down a lettuce. It has survived while the rest of evolution flowed past it by being, on the whole, no threat to anyone and too much trouble to eat. (p. 1)
- Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off. (p. 2)
- Things just happen, one after another. They don’t care who knows. But history...ah, history is different. History has to be observed. Otherwise it’s not history. It’s just...well, things happening one after another. (p. 2)
- Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you. (p. 3)
- And it came to pass that in that time the Great God Om spake unto Brutha, the Chosen One:
"Psst!" (p. 5)
- And, as is generally the case around the time a prophet is expected, the Church redoubled its efforts to be holy. This was very much like the bustle you get in any large concern when the auditors are expected, but tended towards taking people suspected of being less holy and putting them to death in a hundred ingenious ways. This is considered a reliable barometer of the state of one’s piety in most of the really popular religions. There’s a tendency to declare that there is more backsliding around than in the national toboggan championships, that heresy must be torn out root and branch, and even arm and leg and eye and tongue, and that it’s time to wipe the slate clean. Blood is generally considered very efficient for this purpose. (p. 5)
- Because what gods need is belief, and what humans want is gods. (p. 7)
- There was something creepy about that boy, Nhumrod thought. It was the way he looked at you when you were talking, as if he was listening. (p. 7)
- No matter what your skills, there was a place for you in the Citadel.
And if your skills lay in asking the wrong kinds of questions or losing the righteous kind of wars, the place might just be the furnaces of purity, or the Quisition's pits of justice.
A place for everyone, and everyone in their place. (pp. 10-11)
- The trouble with being a god is that you've got no one to pray to. (p. 11)
- You do not ask people like that what they are thinking about in case they turn around very slowly and say “You.” (p. 12)
- And it all meant this: that there are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal, kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do. (p. 15)
- Brother Preptil, the master of the music, had described Brutha’s voice as putting him in mind of a disappointed vulture arriving too late at the dead donkey. (p. 17)
- Brutha hesitated. It dawned on him, very slowly, that demons and succubi didn't turn up looking like small old tortoises. There wouldn't be much point. Even Brother Nhumrod would have to agree that when it came to rampant eroticism, you could do a lot better than a one-eyed tortoise. (p. 18)
- You can't trample infidels when you’re a tortoise. I mean, all you could do is give them a meaningful look. (p. 20)
- “How many talking tortoises have you met?” it said sarcastically.
“I don't know,” said Brutha.
“What d’you mean, you don’t know?”
“Well, they might all talk,” said Brutha conscientiously, demonstrating the very personal kind of logic that got him Extra Melons. “They just might not say anything when I'm there.” (p. 20)
- Many feel they are called to the priesthood, but what they really hear is an inner voice saying, “It’s indoor work with no heavy lifting, do you want to be a plowman like your father?” (p. 21)
- The Omnians were a God-fearing people.
They had a great deal to fear. (p. 22)
- The people who really run organizations are usually found several levels down, where it is still possible to get things done. (p. 23)
- He knew from experience that true and obvious ideas, such as the ineffable wisdom and judgment of the Great God Om, seemed so obscure to many people that you actually had to kill them before they saw the error of their ways. (pp. 26-27)
- Fear is a strange soil. Mainly it grows obedience like corn, which grows in rows and makes weeding easy. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground. (p. 30)
- An upturned tortoise is the ninth most pathetic thing in the entire multiverse.
An upturned tortoise who knows what’s going to happen to it next is, well, at least up there at number four. (p. 36)
- It takes forty men with their feet on the ground to keep one man with his head in the air. (p. 36)
- I swear to me that I am the Great God Om, greatest of gods! (p. 38)
- It wouldn’t make a lot of difference, evidence never did once you were in the deep levels where accusation had the status of proof, but at least it might leave one or two inquisitors feeling that they might just have been wrong. (pp. 41-42)
- “No. None could doubt it,” said Fri’it, who had walked across many a battlefield the day after a glorious victory, when you had ample opportunity to see what winning meant. (p. 42)
- “Did not the Great God declare, through the Prophet Abbys, that there is no greater and more honorable sacrifice than one’s own life for the God?”
“Indeed he did,” said Fri’it. He couldn't help recalling that Abbys had been a bishop in the Citadel for fifty years before the Great God has Chosen him. Screaming enemies had never come at him with a sword. He’d never looked into the eyes of someone who wished him dead—no, of course he had, all the time, because of course the Church had its politics—but at least they hadn’t been holding the means to that end in their hands at the time. (pp. 42-43)
- In the rain-forests of Brutha’s subconscious the butterfly of doubt emerged and flapped an experimental wing, all unaware of what chaos theory has to say about this sort of thing... (p. 45)
- “So,” it said, “before unbelievers get burned alive...do you sing to them first?”
“Ah. A merciful death.” (p. 49)
- Guilt was the grease in which the wheels of the authority turned. (p. 50)
- Most gods find it hard to walk and think at the same time. (p. 60)
- In the same way, the Quisition could act without possibility of flaw. Suspicion was proof. How could it be anything else? The Great God would not have seen fit to put the suspicion in the minds of His exquisitors unless it was right that it should be there. Life could be very simple, if you believed in the Great God Om. And sometimes quite short, too. (p. 60)
- People have reality-dampers.
It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. Not even the most stupid Creator would go to the trouble of making the human head carry around several pounds of unnecessary gray goo if its only real purpose was, for example, to serve as a delicacy for certain remote tribesmen in unexplored valleys. It is used. And one of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary and turn the unusual into the usual.
Because if this was not the case, then human beings, faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing big stupid grins, similar to those worn by certain remote tribesmen who occasionally get raided by the authorities and have the contents of their plastic greenhouses very seriously inspected. They’d say “Wow!” a lot. And no one would do much work. (pp. 75-76)
- Gods don’t like people not doing much work. People who aren’t busy all the time might start to think. (p. 76)
- Pets are always a great help in times of stress. And in times of starvation too, o’course. (p. 79)
- When the least they could do to you was everything, then the most they could do to you suddenly held no terror. (p. 84)
- The memory stole over him: a desert is what you think it is. And now, you can think clearly...
There were no lies here. All fancies fled away. That’s what happened in all deserts. It was just you, and what you believed.
What have I always believed?
That on the whole, and by and large, if a man lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out all right.
You couldn’t get that on a banner. But the desert looked better already.
Fri’it set out. (p. 92)
- When the Church traveled, the travelers were very senior people indeed, so when the Church traveled it generally traveled in style. (p. 95)
- The sea, Brutha. It washes unholy shores, and gives rise to dangerous ideas. Men should not travel, Brutha. At the center there is truth. As you travel, so error creeps in. (p. 95; spoken by Vorbis, leader of the Inquisition)
- “Yes, but humans are more important than animals,” said Brutha.
“This is a point of view often expressed by humans,” said Om. (p. 103)
- “I still know that you can’t truly be Om. The God would not talk like that about His chosen ones.”
“I never chose anyone,” said Om. “They chose themselves.” (p. 104)
- Or, to put it another way, the existence of a badly put-together watch proved the existence of a blind watchmaker. (p. 108)
- So, reasoned Koomi, it was not a good idea to address any prayers to a Supreme Being. It would only attract his attention and might cause trouble. (p. 108)
- When the Omnian church found out about Koomi, they displayed him in every town within the Church’s empire to demonstrate the essential flaws in his argument.
There were a lot of towns, so they had to cut him up quite small. (p. 109)
- Words are the litmus paper of the mind. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word “commence” in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say “Enter,” don’t stop to pack. (p. 114)
- They were sheep, possibly the most stupid animal in the universe with the possible exception of the duck. But even their uncomplicated minds couldn’t hear the voice, because sheep don’t listen. (p. 116)
- For sheep are stupid, and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led. (p. 117)
- Winners never talk about glorious victories. That’s because they’re the ones who see what the battlefield looks like afterward. It’s only the losers who have glorious victories. (p. 125)
- Don’t you know anything? Bodies aren’t just handy things for storing your mind in. Your shape affects how you think. It’s all this morphology that’s all over the place. (pp. 125-126)
- “There is no other god but you. You told Ossory that.”
“Well. You know. I exaggerated a bit.” (p. 127)
- The Ephebians had gods in the same way that other cities had rats. (p. 127)
- Something about him generally made people think of the word ”spry,” but, at the moment, they would be much more likely to think of the words ”mother naked” and possibly also ”dripping wet” and would be one hundred percent accurate, too. (pp. 128-129)
- “What’s a philosopher?” said Brutha.
“Someone who’s bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting,” said a voice in his head. (p. 130)
- “That’s why it’s always worth having a few philosophers around the place. One minute it’s all Is Truth Beauty and Is Beauty Truth, and Does A Falling Tree in the Forest Make A Sound if There’s No one There to Hear It, and then just when you think they’re going to start dribbling one of ’em says, Incidentally, putting a thirty-foot parabolic reflector on a high place to shoot the rays of the sun at an enemy’s ships would be a very interesting demonstration of optical principles.” (p. 131)
- People think that professional soldiers think a lot about fighting, but serious professional soldiers think a lot more about food and a warm place to sleep, because these are two things that are generally hard to get, whereas fighting tends to turn up all the time. (pp. 135-136)
- “That’s right,” he said. “We’re philosophers. We think, therefore we am.” (p. 141)
- “Oh, a very useful philosophical animal, your average tortoise. Outrunning metaphorical arrows, beating hares in races... very handy.” (p. 145)
- “We get that in here some nights, when someone’s had a few. Cosmic speculation about whether the gods really exist. Next thing, there’s a bolt of lightning through the door with a note wrapped round it saying, ‘Yes, we do’ and a pair of sandals with smoke coming out.”
- Humans! They lived in a world where the grass continued to be green and the sun rose every day and flowers regularly turned into fruit, and what impressed them? Weeping statues. And wine made out of water! A mere quantum-mechanistic tunnel effect, that’d happen anyway if you were prepared to wait zillions of years. As if the turning of sunlight into wine, by means of vines and grapes and time and enzymes, wasn’t a thousand times more impressive and happened all the time. (p. 149)
- The Ephebians believed that every man should have the vote†. Every five years someone was elected to be Tyrant, provided he could prove that he was honest, intelligent, sensible, and trustworthy. Immediately after he was elected, of course, it was obvious to everyone that he was a criminal madman and totally out of touch with the view of the ordinary philosopher in the streets looking for a towel. And then five years later they elected another one just like him, and really it was amazing how intelligent people kept on making the same mistakes.
- †Provided that he wasn't poor, foreign, nor disqualified by reason of being mad, frivolous, or a woman. (p. 151)
- Peace negotiations were not going well.
“You attacked us!” said Vorbis.
“I would call it preemptive defense,” said the Tyrant. (p. 153)
- “Chain letters,” said the Tyrant. “The Chain Letter to the Ephebians. Forget Your Gods. Be Subjugated. Learn to Fear. Do not break the chain—the last people who did woke up one morning to find fifty thousand armed men on their lawn.” (pp. 153-154)
- His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools—the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans—and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, “You can’t trust any bugger any further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink. Mine’s a double, if you’re buying. Thank you. And a packet of nuts. Her left bosom is nearly uncovered, eh? Two more packets, then!” (pp. 154-155)
- “Slave is an Ephebian word. In Om we have no word for slave,” said Vorbis.
“So I understand,” said the Tyrant. “I imagine that fish have no word for water.” (p. 160)
- Brutha wished he was a better scholar so he could ask his God why this was.
Then he found himself wishing his God was a more intelligent God so it could answer. (p. 163)
- Books shouldn’t be kept too close together, otherwise they interact in strange and unforseeable ways. (p. 169)
- “But is all this true?” said Brutha.
Didactylos shrugged. “Could be. Could be. We are here and it is now. The way I see it is, after that, everything tends towards guesswork.”
“You mean you don’t know it’s true?” said Brutha.
“I think it might be,” said Didactylos. “I could be wrong. Not being certain is what being a philosopher is all about.” (p. 172)
- “I know about sureness,” said Didactylos. Now the light irascible tone had drained out of his voice. “I remember, before I was blind, I went to Omnia once. This was before the borders were closed, when you still let people travel. And in your Citadel I saw a crowd stoning a man to death in a pit. Ever seen that?”
“It has to be done,” Brutha mumbled. “So the soul can be shriven and—”
“Don’t know about the soul. Never been that kind of a philosopher,” said Didactylos. “All I know is, it was a horrible sight.”
“The state of the body is not—”
“Oh, I’m not talking about the poor bugger in the pit,” said the philosopher. “I’m talking about the people throwing the stones. They were sure all right. They were sure it wasn’t them in the pit. You could see it in their faces. So glad that it wasn’t them that they were throwing just as hard as they could.” (pp. 173-174)
- He says gods like to see an atheist around. Gives them something to aim at. (p. 174)
- Around the Godde there forms a Shelle of prayers and Ceremonies and Buildings and Priestes and Authority, until at Laste the Godde Dies. Ande this maye notte be noticed. (p. 177)
- “You’re not one of us.”
“I don’t think I’m one of them, either,” said Brutha. “I’m one of mine.” (p. 195)
- “I know that type,” said Didactylos. “All holy piety in public, and all peeled grapes and self-indulgence in private.” (p. 204)
- Thoughts always moved slowly through Brutha’s mind, like icebergs. They arrived slowly and left slowly and when they were there they occupied a lot of space, much of it below the surface. (p. 209)
- He thought: the worst thing about Vorbis isn’t that he’s evil, but that he makes good people do evil. He turns people into things like himself. (p. 209)
- Gods are not very introspective. It has never been a survival trait. The ability to cajole, threaten, and terrify has always worked well enough. When you can flatten entire cities at a whim, a tendency towards quiet reflection and seeing-things-from-the-other-fellow’s-point-of-view is seldom necessary. (p. 221)
- Gods never need to be very bright when there are humans around to be it for them. (p. 221)
- “Is there any water to drink?”
“Shouldn’t think so,” said Om.
“Ossory V, verse 3, says that you made living water flow from the dry desert,” said Brutha.
“That was by way of being artistic license,” said Om.
“You can’t even do that?”
“No.” (p. 227)
- You gave a god its shape, like a jelly fills a mold.
Gods often become your father, said Abraxas the Agnostic. Gods become a big beard in the sky, because when you were three years old that was your father. (p. 231)
- “Yeah. Pretty good, eh? Started off with nothing but a shepherd hearing voices in his head, ended up with two million people.”
“But you never did anything with them,” said Brutha.
“Well...tell them not to kill one another, that sort of thing...”
“Never really given it much thought. Why should I tell them that?”
Brutha sought for something that would appeal to god psychology.
“Well, if people didn’t kill one another, there’d be more people to believe in you?” he suggested.
“It’s a point,” Om conceded. “Interesting point. Sneaky.” (p. 237)
- “What, lolling around all day while slaves do the real work? Take it from me, whenever you see a bunch of buggers puttering around talking about truth and beauty and the best way of attacking Ethics, you can bet your sandals it’s because dozens of other poor buggers are doing all the real work around the place while those fellows are living like—”
“—gods?” said Brutha.
There was a terrible silence. (p. 237)
- “Why do people need gods?” Brutha persisted.
“Oh, you’ve got to have gods,” said Om, in a hearty, no-nonsense voice.
“But it’s gods that need people,” said Brutha. “To do the believing. You said.”
Om hesitated. “Well, okay,” he said. “But people have got to believe in something. Yes? I mean, why else does it thunder.” (p. 238)
- He heard Om, slightly peevish, say: “People’ve got to believe in something. Might as well be gods. What else is there?”
“You know,” he said, “I don’t think I believe in anything any more.”
“Oh, I know you exist,” said Brutha. He felt Om relax a little. “There’s something about tortoises. Tortoises I can believe in. They seem to have a lot of existence in one place. It’s gods in general I’m having trouble with.” (pp. 239-240)
- Do unto others before they do unto you. (p. 243)
- “I saw you standing close to Vorbis,” said Urn. “I thought you were protecting him.”
“Oh, I was, I was,” said Simony. “I don’t want anyone to kill him before I do.” (p. 244)
- But how much worse to have been a god, and to now be no more than a smoky bundle of memories, blown back and forth across the sand made from the crumbled stones of your temples... (p. 247)
- “There’s bones everywhere!”
“Well? What did you expect? This is a desert! People die here! It’s a very popular occupation in this vicinity!” (p. 250)
- A Great God. Mighty were his dominions and magnificent was his word. Armies went forth in his name and conquered and slew. That kind of thing. And now no one, not you, not me, no one, even knows who this god was or his name or what he looked like. (p. 257)
- “It’s not my fault if people misuse the—”
“It is! It has to be! If you muck up people’s minds just because you want them to believe in you, what they do is all your fault!” (p. 259)
- The figures looked more or less human. And they were engaged in religion. You could tell by the knives (it’s not murder if you do it for a god). (p. 260)
- The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish. (p. 261)
- And this will go on happening, whether you believe it is true or not. It is real. (p. 262)
- “Listen, Urn. The Church is run by people like Vorbis. That’s how it all works. Millions of people have died for—for nothing but lies. We can stop all that—” (p. 263)
- “He’s muffed it,” said Simony. “he could have done anything with them. And he just told them a lot of facts. You can’t inspire people with facts. They need a cause. They need a symbol.” (p. 263)
- I taught myself. I’m entirely self-taught. You can’t find a hermit to teach you herming, because of course that rather spoils the whole thing. (p. 271)
- Om, bumping along in Brutha’s pack, began to feel the acute depression that steals over every realist in the presence of an optimist. (p. 274)
- Dhblah sidled closer. This was not hard. Dhblah sidled everywhere. Crabs thought he walked sideways. (p. 287)
- Mind like a steel ball, Om had said. Nothing got in or out. So all Vorbis could hear were the distant echoes of his own soul. And out of the distant echoes he would forge a Book of Vorbis, and Brutha suspected he knew what the commandments would be. There would be talk of holy wars and blood and crusades and blood and piety and blood. (p. 288)
- “Yes, sergeant?”
“The doors is reinforced with Klatchian steel. Because of all the fighting in the time of the False Prophet Zog. And they opens outward only. Like lock gates on a canal, you understand? If you push on ’em, they only locks more firmly together.”
“How are they opened, then?” said Urn.
“The Cenobiarch raises his hand and the breath of God blows them open,” said the Sergeant.
“In a logical sense, I meant.”
“Oh. Well, one of the deacons goes behinds a curtain and pulls a lever. But...when I was on guard down in the crypts, sometimes, there was a room...there was gratings and things...well, you could hear water gushing...”
“Hydraulics,” said Urn. “Thought it would be hydraulics.” (p. 290).
- Although it was against the thread, Deacon Cusp had his head screwed on. (p. 300)
- Last night there seemed to be a chance. Anything was possible last night. That was the trouble with last nights. They were always followed by this mornings. (p. 303)
- “Brutha?” said Urn. “You’re alive?”
Brutha moved his eyes from his captor to Urn in a way which he hoped would indicate that it was too soon to make any commitment on this point. (p. 304)
- “But he’s on our side. Aren’t you, Brutha?”
Brutha tried to nod, and thought: I’m on everyone’s side. It’d be nice if, just for once, someone was on mine. (p. 304)
- Bishops move diagonally. That’s why they often turn up where the kings don’t expect them to be. (p. 305)
- Probably the last man who knew how it worked had been tortured to death years before. Or as soon as it was installed. Killing the creator was a traditional method of patent-protection. (p. 307)
- Give anyone a lever long enough and they can change the world. It’s unreliable levers that are the problem. (p. 311)
- No tortoise had ever done this before. No tortoise in the whole universe. But no tortoise had ever been a god, and knew the unwritten motto of the Quisition: Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum.
When you have their full attention in your grip, their hearts and minds will follow. (p. 318)
- Don’t put your faith in gods. But you can believe in turtles. (p. 323)
- I think...you should do things because they’re right. Not because gods say so. They might say something different another time. (p. 325)
- No. No smiting. No commandments unless you obey them too. (p. 325)
- “We died for lies, for centuries we died for lies.” He waved a hand towards the god. “Now we’ve got a truth to die for!”
“No. Men should die for lies. But the truth is too precious to die for.” (p. 327)
- You can die for your country or your people or your family, but for a god you should live fully and busily, every day of a long life. (p. 328)
- You have perhaps heard the phrase, he said, that hell is other people?
“Yes. Yes, of course.”
Death nodded. In time, he said, You will learn that it is wrong. (p. 332)
- “You’ve come to wage war on Omnia. This would not be a good idea.”
“From Omnia’s point of view, yes.”
“From everyone’s. You will probably defeat us. But not all of us. And then what will you do? Leave a garrison? Forever? And eventually a new generation will retaliate. Why you did this won’t mean anything to them. You’ll be the oppressors. They’ll fight. They might even win. And there’ll be another war. And one day people will say: why didn’t they sort it all out, back then? On the beach. Before it all started. Before all those people died. Now we have that chance. Aren’t we lucky? (p. 335)
- You know, I used to think I was stupid, and then I met philosophers. (p. 340)
- But You Are The Chosen One.
“Choose someone else.” (p. 341)
- There the gods of the Discworld live.
At the least, any god who is anybody. And it is strange that, although it takes years of effort and work and scheming for a god to get there, once there they never seem to do a lot apart from drink too much and indulge in a little mild corruption. Many systems of government follow the same broad lines. (p. 342)
- If you want thousands, you have to fight for one.
- “Gods? Huh!”
“This is no time for impiety,” said Rham-ap-Efan.
There was a shower of grapes outside.
“Can’t think of a better one,” said Simony. (p. 347)
- Borvorius produced a flask from somewhere.
“Will you go to hell if you have a drop of spirit?” he said.
“So it seems,” said Simony, absently. Then he noticed the flask. “Oh, you mean alcohol? Probably. But who cares? I won’t be able to get near the fire for priests. Thanks.” (p. 347)
- And no one, as they hauled on timbers in the teeth of the gale, as Urn applied everything he knew about levers, as they used their helmets as shovels to dig under the wreckage, asked who it was they were digging for, or what kind of uniform they’d been wearing. (p. 348)
- You can think up a better way of ruling the country. Priests shouldn’t do it. They can’t think about it properly. Nor can soldiers. (p. 350)
- “I like the idea of democracy. You have to have someone everyone distrusts,” said Brutha. “That way, everyone’s happy.” (p. 350)
- Even priests were coming to spend some time in it (i.e., the library), because of the collection of religious books. There were one thousand, two hundred and eighty-three religious book in the collection now, each one—according to itself—the only book any man need ever read. It was sort of nice to see them all together. As Didactylos used to say, you had to laugh. (p. 354)
- “Hah. I wasn’t expecting you,” he said.
Death stopped leaning against the wall.
How fortunate you were.
“But there’s still such a lot to be done...”
Yes. There always is. (p. 355)
Lords and Ladies (1992)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in October 2008 by Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-105692-5
- Much human ingenuity has gone into finding the ultimate Before.
The current state of knowledge can be summarized thus:
In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.
Other theories about the ultimate start involve gods creating the universe out of the ribs, entrails and testicles of their father.† There are quite a lot of these. They are interesting, not for what they tell you about cosmology, but for what they say about people. Hey, kids, which part do you think they made your town out of?
- † Gods like a joke as much as anyone else. (p. 1)
- There’s a certain glint in her eye generally possessed by those people who have found that they are more intelligent than most people around them but who haven’t yet learned that one of the most intelligent things they can do is prevent said people ever finding this out. (p. 3)
- He had formed the unusual opinion that the job of a king is to make the kingdom a better place for everyone to live in. (p. 21)
- There are no delusions for the dead. Dying is like waking up after a really good party, when you have one or two seconds of innocent freedom before you recollect all the things you did last night which seemed so logical and hilarious at the time, and then you remember the really amazing thing you did with a lampshade and two balloons, which had them in stitches, and now you realize you’re going to have to look a lot of people in the eye today and you’re sober now and so are they but you can both remember. (p. 33)
- Witches generally act as layers-out of the dead as well as midwives; there were plenty of people in Lancre for whom Nanny Ogg’s face had been the first and last thing they’d ever seen, which had probably made the bit in the middle seem quite uneventful by comparison. (p. 41)
- Mustrum Ridcully did a lot for rare species. For one thing, he kept them rare. (p. 44)
- Stibbons gave up. Using a metaphor in front of a man as unimaginative as Ridcully was like a red rag to a bu—was like putting something very annoying in front of someone who was annoyed by it. (p. 48)
- People were always telling him to make something of his life, and that’s what he wanted to do. He wanted to make a bed of it. (p. 49)
- It was all very pretty, the cards were colored like little pasteboard jewels, and they had interesting names. But that little traitor voice whispered: how the hell can they know what the future holds? Cardboard isn’t very bright. (p. 74)
- “But all them things exist,” said Nanny Ogg.
“That’s no call to go around believing in them. It only encourages ’em.” (p. 80)
- “I never said nothing,” said Nanny Ogg mildly.
“I know you never! I could hear you not saying anything! You’ve got the loudest silences I ever did hear from anyone who wasn’t dead!” (p. 82)
- Nanny Ogg had a pragmatic attitude to the truth; she told it if it was convenient and she couldn’t be bothered to make up something more interesting. (p. 97)
- Shoot the dictator and prevent the war? But the dictator is merely the tip of the whole festering boil of social pus from which dictators emerge; shoot one, and there’ll be another one along in a minute. Shoot him too? Why not shoot everyone and invade Poland? In fifty years’, thirty years’, ten years’ time the world will be very nearly back on its old course. History always has a great weight of inertia. (p. 111)
- There was something about the eyes. It wasn’t the shape or the color. The was no evil glint. But there was...
...a look. It was such a look that a microbe might encounter if it could see up from the bottom end of the microscope. It said: You are nothing. It said: You are flawed, you have no value. It said: You are animal. It said: Perhaps you may be a pet, or perhaps you may be a quarry. It said: And the choice is not yours. (p. 136)
- It was a cottage of questioning witches, research witches. Eye of what newt? What species of ravined salt-sea shark? It’s all very well a potion calling for Love-in-idleness, but which of the thirty-seven common plants called by that name in various parts of the continent was actually meant?
The reason that Granny Weatherwax was a better witch than Magrat was that she knew that in witchcraft it didn’t matter a damn which one it was, or even if it was a piece of grass.
The reason Magrat was a better doctor than Granny was that she thought it did. (pp. 151-152)
- “The thing about elves is they’ve got no...begins with m,” Granny snapped her fingers irritably.
“Hah! Right, but no.”
“Muscle? Mucus? Mystery?”
“No. No. No. Means like...seein’ the other person’s point of view.”
Verence tried to see the world from a Granny Weatherwax perspective, and suspicion dawned.
“Right! None at all.” (p. 157)
- Beauty. Grace. That’s what matters. If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That’s what people remember. (p. 158)
- Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvelous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad. (p. 163)
- Royalty, when they marry, either get very small things, like exquisitely constructed clockwork eggs, or large bulky items, like duchesses. (p. 180)
- If you really want to upset a witch, do her a favor which she has no means of repaying. The unfulfilled obligation will nag at her like a hangnail. (p. 199)
- The bustle of the pre-nuptial activities rose up from the town. There’d be folkdancing, of course—there seemed to be no way of preventing it—and probably folksinging would be perpetrated. (p. 203)
- Personal’s not the same as important. People just think it is. (p. 220)
- And Nanny Ogg was an attractive lady, which is not the same as being beautiful. She fascinated Casanunda. She was an incredibly comfortable person to be around, partly because she had a mind so broad it could accommodate three football fields and a bowling alley. (p. 229)
- As a rule, royalty doesn’t read much. (p. 231)
- She seemed to have spent her whole life trying to make herself small, trying to be polite, apologizing when people walked over her, trying to be good-mannered. And what had happened? People had treated her as if she was small and polite and good-mannered. (p. 247)
- She was shaking. But she was still alive, and that felt good. That’s the thing about being alive. You’re alive to enjoy it. (p. 254)
- People remember badly. But societies remember well, the swarm remembers, encoding the information to slip it past the censors of the mind, passing it on from grandmother to grandchild in little bits of nonsense they won’t bother to forget. Sometimes the truth keeps itself alive in devious ways despite the best efforts of the official keepers of information. (p. 280)
- The shortest unit of time in the multiverse is the New York Second, defined as the period of time between the traffic lights turning green and the cab behind you honking. (p. 282)
- Carter, tears of terror mingling with makeup and the rain, squeezed the accordion. There was the long-drawn-out chord that by law must precede all folk music to give bystanders time to get away. (pp. 286-287)
- Dwarfs are generally scared of heights, since they don’t often have the opportunity to get used to them. (p. 290)
- Magrat says a broomstick is one of them sexual metaphor things.†
- † Although this is a phallusy. (p. 291)
- The graveyards are full of people who rushed in bravely but unwisely. (p. 317)
- “It’s certain death anyway,” said Ridcully. “That’s the thing about Death, certainty.” (p. 319)
- The Monks of Cool, whose tiny and exclusive monastery is hidden in a really cool and laid-back valley in the lower Ramtops, have a passing-out test for a novice. He is taken into a room full of all types of clothing and asked: Yo†, my son, which of these is the most stylish thing to wear? And the correct answer is: Hey, whatever I select.
- † Cool, but not necessarily up to date. (p. 324)
- You’re no kind of goddess. I ain’t against gods and goddesses, in their place. But they’ve got to be the ones we make ourselves. Then we can take ’em to bits for the parts when we don’t need ’em anymore, see? (p. 335)
- So I had to learn. All my life. The hard way. And the hard way’s pretty hard, but not so hard as the easy way. I learned. (p. 336)
- “You never know until you look,” said Nanny Ogg, expounding her own Uncertainty Principle. (p. 350)
- A wizard’s only a priest without a god and a damp handshake. (p. 353)
- It’s an animal. Animals can’t murder. Only us superior races can murder. That’s one of the things that sets us apart from animals. (p. 368)
- “Act your age, Gytha.”
“Act? Don’t have to act, can do it automatic,” said Nanny. “Acting half my age...now that’s the difficult trick.” (pp. 371-372)
- The king’s all for it. He says other kings have always had fools, so he’ll try having a wise man around, just in case that works better. (p. 372)
- There is such a thing as subtlety. You don't have to go around shouting "I've got a great big tonker!"
Men at Arms (1993)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in July 2000 by Harper ISBN 0-06-109219-3
- He could think in italics. Such people need watching.
Preferably from a safe distance. (p. 7)
- Dwarfs are very attached to gold. Any highwayman demanding “Your money or your life” had better bring a folding chair and packed lunch and a book to read while the debate goes on. (p. 7)
- That’s just a legend. That’s not real. Anyway, I’ve always been a bit puzzled about that story. What’s so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone? The real work’s already been done. You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place, eh? (p. 15)
- The problem with Destiny, of course, is that she is often not careful where she puts her finger. (p. 16)
- The Ramkins were more highly bred than a hilltop bakery, whereas Corporal Nobbs had been disqualified from the human race for shoving. (p. 33)
- Fingers-Mazda, the first thief in the world, stole fire from the gods. But he was unable to fence it. It was too hot.†
†He got really burned on that deal. (p. 39)
- “Dwarfs and trolls get along like a house on fire,” said Nobby. “Ever been in a burning house, miss?” (p. 40)
- It was a state of permanent inter-species vendetta and, like all good vendettas, didn’t really need a reason any more. It was enough that it had always existed. Dwarfs hated trolls because trolls hated dwarfs, and vice versa. (p. 41)
- He was said to have the body of a twenty-five year old, although no one knew where he kept it. (p. 48)
- A couple of black-clad Assassins barred his way, in a polite manner which nevertheless indicated that impoliteness was a future option. (p. 51)
- Vimes would be the first to admit that he wasn’t a good copper, but he’d probably be spared the chore because lots of other people would happily admit it for him. There was a certain core of stubborn bloody-mindedness there which upset important people, and anyone who upsets important people is automatically not a good copper. (p. 55)
- A man can be defined by the things he hates. There were quite a lot of things that Captain Vimes hated. Assassins were near the top of the list, just after kings and the undead. (p. 56)
- Royalty pollutes people’s minds, boy. Honest men start bowing and bobbing just because someone’s granddad was a bigger murdering bastard than theirs was. (p. 65)
- It was true than normal people couldn’t hear Gaspode speak, because dogs don’t speak. It’s a well-known fact. It’s well known at the organic level, like a lot of other well-known facts which overrule the observations of the senses. This is because if people went around noticing everything that was going on all the time, no one would ever get anything done.† Besides, almost all dogs don’t talk. Ones that do are merely a statistical error, and can therefore be ignored.
† This is another survival trait. (p. 68)
- That was the thing about death. When it happened to you, you were among the first to know. (p. 76)
- When you hit your thumb with an eight-pound hammer it’s nice to be able to blaspheme. It takes a very special and strong-minded kind of atheist to jump up and down with their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout, “Oh, random-fluctuations-in-the-space-time-continuum!” or “Aaargh, primitive-and-outmoded-concept on a crutch!” (p. 77)
- He’d faced trolls and dwarfs and dragons, but now he was having to meet an entirely new species.
The rich. (pp. 101-102)
- If you had enough money, you could hardly commit crimes at all. You just perpetrated amusing little peccadilloes. (p. 111)
- There was much pushing and shoving and honking of noses and falling of prats. It was a scene to make a happy man slit his wrists on a fine spring morning. (pp. 138-139)
- And they were also slightly less intelligent than he was. This is a quality you should always pray for in your would-be murderer. (p. 150)
- “Didn’t he have a crossbow?” he said. “Bit odd, going after interesting rare butterflies with a crossbow.”...
“Dunno,” he said, “I suppose it stops them creating all these damn thunderstorms.” (p. 151)
- Someone was running, and they were chasing. They were chasing because he was running, and he was running because they were chasing. (p. 170)
- The axiom “Honest men have nothing to fear from the police” is currently under review by the Axioms Appeal Board. (p. 174)
- “He only drinks when he gets depressed,” said Carrot.
“Why does he get depressed?”
“Sometimes it’s because he hasn’t had a drink.” (p. 206)
- If there was crime, there should be punishment. If the specific criminal should be involved in the punishment process then this was a happy accident, but if not, then any criminal would do, and since everyone was undoubtedly guilty of something, the net result was that, in general terms, justice was done. (p. 218)
- Quirke wasn’t actually a bad man. He didn’t have the imagination. He dealt more in that sort of generalized low-grade unpleasantness which slightly tarnishes the soul of all who come into contact with it.†
† Rather like British Rail (p. 220)
- “We are armed with the truth. What can harm us if we are armed with the truth?”
“Well, a crossbow bolt can, e.g., go right through your eye and out the back of your head,” said Sergeant Colon. (p. 244)
- Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness. (p. 253)
- The problem is, people only think for themselves if you tell them to. (p. 305)
- If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you’re going to die. So they’ll talk. They’ll gloat.
They’ll watch you squirm. They’ll put off the murder like another man will put off a good cigar.
So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word. (p. 346)
- Silence slammed in like a thunderclap. (p. 354)
- Personal isn’t the same as important. (p. 354)
- ...and the fact that he’d been operating on pure adrenalin, which soon presents its bill and does not give credit. (pp. 357-358)
- There was another of those long, long pauses, wherein may be seen the possibilities of several different futures. (p. 367)
Soul Music (1994)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in May 2000 by HarperTorch ISBN 0-06-105489-5
- But if it is true that the act of observing changes the thing which is observed,‡ it’s even more true that it changes the observer.
‡Because of Quantum (p. 2)
- Certain things have to happen before other things. Gods play games with the fates of men. But first they have to get all the pieces on the board, and look all over the place for the dice. (p. 7)
- It is said that whomsoever the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. In fact, whomsoever the gods wish to destroy, they first hand the equivalent of a stick with a fizzing fuse and Acme Dynamite Company written on its side. It’s more interesting, and doesn’t take so long. (p. 8)
- But said, nevertheless. And, if they’re said with the right passion and the gods are feeling bored, sometimes the universe will re-form itself around words like that. Words have always had the power to change the world.
Be careful what you wish for. You never know who will be listening. (p. 9)
- The question seldom addressed is where Medusa had snakes. Underarm hair is an even more embarrassing problem when it keeps biting the top of the deodorant bottle. (p. 14)
- Susan hated Literature. She’d much prefer to read a good book. (p. 15)
- She got on with her education. In her opinion, school kept on trying to interfere with it. (p. 15)
- The horse watched him warily. It was considerably more intelligent than most horses, although this was not a difficult achievement. (p. 20)
- The man gave a shrug that indicated that, although the world did indeed have many problems, this was one of them that was not his. (p. 27)
- It was a strange laugh, totally mirthless and vaguely birdlike. It was very much like its owner, who was what you would get if you extracted fossilized genetic material from something in amber and then gave it a suit. (p. 27)
- He was not, by the standard definitions, a bad man; in the same way a plague-bearing rat is not, from a dispassionate point of view, a bad animal. (p. 27)
- Musicians were often short of money; it was one definition of a musician. (p. 34)
- Imp hesitated, as people do when, after having used a language all their lives, they’ve been told to ‘say something’. (p. 35)
- Although dwarfs did not, as a rule, play stringed instruments, Glod knew a guitar when he saw one. They were supposed to be shaped like a woman, but this was only the case if you thought a woman had no legs, a long neck, and too many ears. (p. 35)
- “We’ll practice as we go along,” said Glod. “Welcome to the world of professional musicianship.” (p. 39)
- The class was learning about some revolt in which some peasants had wanted to stop being peasants and, since the nobles had won, had stopped being peasants really quickly. (p. 39)
- The memory was creeping over her from somewhere that this one was not only real but on her side. It was an unfamiliar concept. Her side had normally consisted of her. (p. 40)
- The window was open, because the school encouraged fresh air. It was available in large amounts for free. (p. 43)
- “Yes,” said the skull. “Quit while you’re a head, that’s what I say.” (p. 49)
- The hippo of recollection stirred in the muddy waters of the mind. (pp. 53-54)
- “Ah,” said the raven. “Changing our tone, yes? Not so much of the emphatic declarative, yes? A bit less of the ‘There’s no such thing’ and a bit more of the ‘I didn’t know,’ yes?” (p. 63)
- Then the skull said: “Kids today, eh?”
“I blame education,” said the raven.
“A lot of knowledge is a dangerous thing,” said the skull. “A lot more dangerous than just a little. I always used to say that, when I was alive.” (p. 63)
- The important thing, she decided, was to stay calm. There was always a logical explanation for everything, even if you had to make it up. (p. 82)
- “I mean I can’t help it! That’s not my fault! It’s not fair!”
“Really? Oh, why didn’t you say?” said Albert sourly. “That cuts a lot of thin ice, that does. I should just go out now, if I was you, and tell the universe that it’s not fair. I bet it’ll say, oh, all right then, sorry you’ve been troubled, you’re let off.” (pp. 84-85)
- Now she came to think about that, she wasn’t sure what her mother had told her. Parents were quite clever at not telling people things, even when they used a lot of words. (p. 86)
- It was a slightly pretentious residence with more gables and mullions than it should rightly have, and this was a clue to its origins: it was the kind of house built for himself by a rich merchant when he goes respectable and needs to do something with the loot. (p. 91)
- After all, it was only wood. It’d rot in a few hundred years. By the measure of infinity, it hardly existed at all. On average, considered over the lifetime of the multiverse, most things didn’t. (p. 92)
- The point was that people were dying and acts of incredibly stupid heroism were being performed. (p. 95)
- Mounted on a horse almost as fine as Binky, was a woman. Very definitely. A lot of woman. She was as much woman as you could get in one place without getting two women. (p. 97)
- The Death of Rats contrived to indicate, quite effectively, that in that case they could apply to the universe and point out that they didn’t deserve to die. In which case it was up to the universe to say, oh, didn’t you? oh, well, that’s all right then, you can go on living. It was a remarkably succinct gesture. (p. 100)
- This was music that had not only escaped but had robbed a bank on the way out. It was music with its sleeves rolled up and its top button undone, raising its hat and grinning and stealing the silver. (pp. 106-107)
- It made you want to kick down walls and ascend the sky on steps of fire. It made you want to pull all the switches and throw all the levers and stick your fingers in the electric socket of the Universe to see what happened next. It made you want to paint your bedroom wall black and cover it with posters. (pp. 107-108)
- “You’re a musician, ain’t you?” said Glod. “What do you think you do?”
“I hits ‘em with the hammers,” said Lias, one of Nature’s drummers. (p. 110)
- “I’m not having this,” he muttered. “Not in my damn university. It’s worse than students.” (p. 116)
- But this didn’t feel like magic. It felt a lot older than that. It felt like music. (p. 121)
- The Quirm College for Young Ladies encouraged self-reliance and logical thought. Her parents had sent her there for that very reason.
They’d assumed that insulating her from the fluffy edges of the world was the safest thing to do. In the circumstances, this was like not telling people about self-defense so that no one would ever attack them. (p. 123)
- The Library didn’t only contain magical books, the ones which are chained to their shelves and are very dangerous. It also contained perfectly ordinary books, printed on commonplace paper in mundane ink. It would be a mistake to think that they weren’t also dangerous, just because reading them didn’t make fireworks go off in the sky. Reading them sometimes did the more dangerous trick of making fireworks go off in the privacy of the reader’s brain. (pp. 125-126)
- In his experience, anything really important never got written down, because by then people were too busy shouting. (p. 127)
- “You’ve never been musical, Dean,” said Ridcully. “It’s one of your good points.” (p. 128)
- Susan stared at herself critically.
Susan...it wasn’t a good name, was it? It wasn’t a truly bad name, it wasn’t like poor Iodine in the fourth form, or Nigella, a name which meant “oops, we wanted a boy.” But it was dull. Susan. Sue. Good old Sue. It was a name that made sandwiches, kept its head in difficult circumstances, and could reliably look after other people’s children.
It was a name used by no queens or goddesses anywhere. (p. 135)
- BUT MOST PEOPLE ARE RATHER STUPID AND WASTE THEIR LIVES. HAVE YOU NOT SEEN THAT? HAVE YOU NOT LOOKED DOWN FROM THE HORSE AT A CITY AND THOUGHT HOW MUCH IT RESEMBLED AN ANT HEAP, FULL OF BLIND CREATURES WHO THINK THEIR MUNDANE LITTLE WORLD IS REAL? YOU SEE THE LIGHTED WINDOWS AND WHAT YOU WANT TO THINK IS THAT THERE MUST BE MANY INTERESTING STORIES BEHIND THEM, BUT WHAT YOU KNOW IS THAT REALLY THERE ARE JUST DULL, DULL SOULS, MERE CONSUMERS OF FOOD, WHO THINK THEIR INSTINCTS ARE EMOTIONS AND THEIR TINY LIVES OF MORE ACCOUNT THAN A WHISPER OF WIND.
The blue glow was bottomless. It seemed to be sucking her own thoughts out of her mind.
“No,” whispered Susan. “No, I’ve never thought like that.”
Death stood up abruptly and turned away. YOU MAY FIND THAT IT HELPS, he said. (p. 148)
- Famous I don’t know about,” said Glod. “It’s hard to be famous and alive. I just want to play music every day and hear someone say, ‘Thanks, that was great, here is some money, same time tomorrow, okay?’” (pp. 150-151)
- She’d save lives. The good could be spared, and the bad could die young. It would all balance up, too. She’d show him. As for responsibility, well...humans always made changes. That was what being human was all about. (p. 179)
- I’m mean and turf and I’m mean and turf and I’m mean and turf and I’m mean and turf,
And me an’ my friends can walk towards you with our hats on backwards in a menacing way,
Yo! (p. 192)
- There is something very sad about an empty dressing room. It’s like a discarded pair of underpants, which it resembles in a number of respects. It’s seen a lot of activity. It may even have witnessed excitement and a whole gamut of human passions. And now there’s nothing much left but a faint smell. (p. 209)
- “The money’s not important? You keep on saying that! What kind of musician are you? (p. 212)
- Mr. Stibbons, I know you to be a man who seeks to understand the universe. Here’s an important rule: never give a monkey the key to the banana plantation. (p. 218)
- “Oh, my god,” she said.
“Which one would that be?” said Ridcully politely. (p. 249)
- It was eight in the morning, a time when drinkers are trying either to forget who they are or remember where they live. (p. 252)
- C. M. O. T. Dibbler liked to be up at first light, in case there was an opportunity to sell a worm to the early bird. (p. 256)
- It occurred to him, not for the first time, that far too many people put their trust in iron and steel when gold made some of the best possible weapons. (p. 261)
- “We need to get it together if we’re going to wow them at the Festival,” said Crash.
“What, you mean...like...learn to play?” said Jimbo.
“No! Music With Rocks In just happens. If you go around learning, you’ll never get anywhere,” said Crash. (p. 276)
- Then he remembered that the blasted Dibbler man was involved. Expecting Dibbler not to think about anything concerning money was like expecting rocks not to think about gravity. (p. 285)
- Presumably Death had a bedroom, although proverbially Death never slept. Perhaps he just lay in bed reading. (p. 285)
- Now he wondered if she existed. If it came to that, he was only half-certain that he existed, except for the times when he was onstage. (p. 294)
- What was strange to Susan was that she felt nothing. She could think sad thoughts, because in the circumstances they had to be sad. She knew who was in the coach. But it had already happened. There was nothing she could do to stop it, because if she’d stopped it, it wouldn’t have happened. And she was here watching it happen. So she hadn’t. So it had. She felt the logic of the situation dropping into place like a series of huge leaden slabs. (p. 301)
- He was making money. Thousands of dollars in a day! And a hundred music traps were lined up in front of the stage, ready to capture Buddy’s voice. If it went on at this rate, in several billion years he’d be rich beyond his wildest dreams! (p. 310)
- “How long were you asleep?”
“Same as I am awake,” said Cliff. (p. 312)
- The Archchancellor polished his staff as he walked along. It was a particularly good one, six feet long and quite magical. Not that he used magic very much. In his experience, anything that couldn’t be disposed of with a couple of whacks from six feet of oak was probably immune to magic as well. (p. 313)
- Of course, just because we’ve heard a spine-chilling bloodcurdling scream of the sort to make your very marrow freeze in your bones doesn’t automatically mean there’s anything wrong. (p. 339)
- Death was used to traveling fast. In theory he was already everywhere, waiting for almost anything else. The fastest way to travel is to be there already. (p. 351)
- “There’s no pockets in a shroud, Glod.”
“You got the wrong tailor, then.” (p. 351)
- The thought was flooding into his mind, and not for the first time, that Mr. Clete was not playing with a full orchestra, that he was one of those people who built their own hot madness out of sane and chilly parts. (p. 354)
- Satchelmouth had been made aware that he had a soul and, though it had a few holes in it and was a little ragged around the edges, he cherished the hope that some day the god Reg would find him a place in a celestial combo. You didn’t get the best gigs if you were a murderer. You probably had to play the viola. (p. 354)
- And the universe came into being.
It was wrong to call it a big bang. That would just noise, and all that noise could create is more noise and a cosmos full of random particles.
Matter exploded into being, apparently as chaos, but in fact as a chord. The ultimate power chord. Everything, all together, streaming out in one huge rush that contained within itself, like reverse fossils, everything that it was going to be.
And, zigzagging through the expanding cloud, alive, that first wild live music.
This had shape. It had spin. It had rhythm. It had a beat, and you could dance to it.
A voice right inside Susan’s head said: And I will never die.
She said, aloud: “There’s a bit of you in everything that lives.”
Yes. I am the heartbeat. The back beat. (p. 356)
- There are millions of chords. There are millions of numbers. And everyone forgets the one that is a zero. But without the zero, numbers are just arithmetic. Without the empty chord, music is just noise. (p. 359)
- “But my parents still died.”
I COULDN’T HAVE GIVEN THEM MORE LIFE. I COULD HAVE ONLY HAVE GIVEN THEM IMMORTALITY. THEY DIDN’T THINK IT WAS WORTH THE PRICE. (p. 365)
- There was no word for it. Even eternity was a human idea. Giving it a name gave it a length; admittedly, a very long one. But this darkness was what was left when eternity had given up. It was where Death lived. Alone. (p. 367)
- Far above the world, Death nodded. You could choose immortality, or you could choose humanity. (p. 369)
- Somewhere, in some other world far away from the Discworld, someone tentatively picked up a musical instrument that echoed to the rhythm in their soul.
It will never die.
It’s here to stay. (p. 373; closing words)
Interesting Times (1994)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in June 2000 by HarperTorch ISBN 0-06-105690-1
There is a curse.
May you live in interesting times.
- This is where the gods play games with the lives of men, on a board which is at one and the same time a simple playing area and the whole world.
And Fate always wins.
Fate always wins. Most of the gods throw dice but Fate plays chess, and you don’t find out until too late that he’s been using two queens all along. (p. 1; opening words)
- Gods can take any form, but the one aspect of themselves they cannot change is their eyes, which show their nature. The eyes of Fate are hardly eyes at all—just dark holes into an infinity speckled with what may be stars or, there again, may be other things. (p. 1)
- Fate wins. At least, so it is claimed. Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been Fate.‡
- ‡When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that’s a miracle. But of course, if someone is killed by a freak chain of events—the oil spill just there, the safety fence broken just there—that must also be a miracle. Just because it’s not nice doesn’t mean it’s not miraculous. (p. 1)
- There was always an argument about whether the newcomer was a goddess at all. Certainly no one ever got anywhere by worshipping her, and she tended to turn up only where she was least expected, such as now. And people who trusted in her seldom survived. Any temples built to her would surely be struck by lightning. Better to juggle axes on a tightrope than say her name. Just call her the waitress in the Last Chance saloon.
She was generally referred to as the Lady, and her eyes were green... (p. 2)
- He had little involvement with individual humans. He generally looked after lightning and thunder, so from his point of view the only purpose of humanity was to get wet or, in occasional cases, charred. (p. 3)
- “Them? I didn’t know they were noble,” said Io.
“They’re all very rich and have had millions of people butchered or tortured to death merely for reasons of expediency and pride,” said the Lady.
The watching gods nodded solemnly. That was certainly noble behavior. That was exactly what they would have done. (p. 3)
- Fate always wins...
At least when people stick to the rules. (p. 4)
- According to the philosopher Ly Tin Wheedle, chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It always defeats order, because it is better organized. (p. 4)
- Many things went on at Unseen University and, regrettably, one of them had to be teaching. The faculty had long ago confronted this fact and had perfected various devices for avoiding it. But this was perfectly all right because, to be fair, so had the students. (p. 14)
- And therefore education at the University mostly worked by the age-old method of putting a lot of young people in the vicinity of a lot of books and hoping that something would pass from one to the other, while the actual young people put themselves in the vicinity of inns and taverns for exactly the same reason. (p. 14)
- “Round everyone up. My study. Ten minutes,” said Ridcully. He was a great believer in this approach. A less direct Archchancellor would have wandered around looking for everyone. His policy was to find one person and make their life difficult until everything happened the way he wanted it to.‡
- ‡A policy adopted by almost all managers and several notable gods. (p. 15)
- “The Empire?” squeaked the Dean. “Me? But they hate foreigners!”
“So do you. You should get on famously.” (p. 17)
- “Oh, no,” said the Lecturer in Recent Runes, pushing his chair back. “Not that. That’s meddling with things you don’t understand.”
“Well, we are wizards,” said Ridcully. “We’re supposed to meddle with things we don’t understand. If we hung around waitin’ till we understood things we’d never get anything done.” (p. 18)
- The Bursar was not technically insane. He had passed through the rapids of insanity some time previously, and was now sculling around in some peaceful pool on the other side. He was often quite coherent, although not by normal human standards. (p. 19)
- Adventure! People talked about the idea as if it was something worthwhile, rather than a mess of bad food, no sleep, and strange people inexplicably trying to stick pointed objects in bits of you. (p. 45)
- The root problem, Rincewind had come to believe, was that he suffered from pre-emptive karma. If it even looked as though something nice was going to happen to him in the near future, something bad would happen right now. And it went on happening to him right through the part where the good stuff should be happening, so that he never actually experienced it. If was as if he always got the indigestion before the meal and felt so dreadful that he never actually managed to eat anything. (p. 45)
- Ridcully assumed that anything people had time to write down couldn’t be important. (p. 48)
- But...if you put aside for the moment the certainty that something would definitely go horribly wrong, it looked foolproof. The trouble was that wizards were such ingenious fools. (p. 52)
- “I heard the Empire has a tyrannical and repressive government!”
“What form of government is that?” said Ponder Stibbons.
“A tautology,” said the Dean. (p. 54)
- He believed in coincidence a lot more than he did in magic. (p. 71)
- “You know, you sound a very educated man for a barbarian,” said Rincewind.
“Oh, dear me, I didn’t start out a barbarian. I used to be a school teacher. That’s why they call me Teach.”
“What did you teach?”
“Geography. And I was very interested in Auriental‡ studies. But I decided to give it up and make a living by the sword.”
“After being a teacher all your life?”
“It did mean a change of perspective, yes.”
“But...well...surely...the privation, the terrible hazards, the daily risk of death...”
Mr. Saveloy brightened up. “Oh, you’ve been a teacher, have you?”
- ‡The Ankh-Morpork name for the Counterweight Continent and its nearby islands. It means “place where the gold comes from.” (pp. 88-89)
- A foot on the neck is nine points of the law. (p. 97)
- The guards were pretty much like guards as Rincewind had experienced them everywhere. They had exactly the amount of intellect required to hit people and drag them off to the scorpion pit. (p. 97)
- “There are torturers in Hunghung who can keep a man alive for years.”
“I suppose you’re not talking about healthy early morning runs and a high-fiber diet?” (pp. 99-100)
- “Luck is my middle name,” said Rincewind, indistinctly. “Mind you, my first name is Bad.” (p. 100)
- When many expect a mighty stallion they will find hooves on an ant. (p. 118)
- He might, if he had time, have reflected that the purpose of civilization is to make violence the final resort, while to a barbarian it is the first, preferred, only and above all most enjoyable option. (p. 133)
- Rincewind listened. There was, he thought, probably something in the idea that there were only a few people in the world. There were lots of bodies, but only a few people. That’s why you kept running into the same ones. There was probably some mold somewhere. (p. 136)
- They never worried about what other people thought. Mr. Saveloy, who’d spent his whole life worrying about what other people thought and had been passed over for promotion and generally treated as a piece of furniture as a result, found this strangely attractive. And they never agonized about anything, or wondered if they were doing the right thing. And they enjoyed themselves immensely. They had a kind of honor. He liked the Horde. They weren’t his kind of people. (p. 149)
- Once you were in the hands of a Grand Vizier, you were dead. Grand Viziers were always scheming megalomaniacs. It was probably in the job description: “Are you a devious, plotting, unreliable madman? Ah, good, then you can be my most trusted minister.” (p. 178)
- The Emperor wasn’t simply at Death’s door but well inside the hallway, admiring the carpet and commenting on the hatstand. (p. 184)
- Probably the last sound heard before the Universe folded up like a paper hat would be someone saying, “What happens if I do this?” (p. 186)
- “Nevertheless, no useful purpose will be served by killing this hardworking tax gatherer.”
“He’d be dead. I call that useful.” (p. 191)
- “But there are causes worth dying for,” said Butterfly.
“No, there aren’t! Because you've only got one life but you can pick up another five causes on any street corner!”
“Good grief, how can you live with a philosophy like that?”
Rincewind took a deep breath.
“Continuously!” (p. 202)
- Never a good idea to give a monkey the key to the banana plantation. (pp. 212-213)
- The best thing you can do with the peasants is leave them alone. Let them get on with it. When people who can read and write start fighting on behalf of people who can’t, you just end up with another kind of stupidity. If you want to help them, build a big library or something somewhere and leave the door open. (pp. 214-215)
- The Empire’s got something worse than whips, all right. It’s got obedience. Whips in the soul. They obey anyone who tells them what to do. Freedom just means being told what to do by someone different. (p. 215)
- Well, anyway gentlemen...you might not yet be civilized but at least you’re nice and clean, and many people think this is identical. (p. 221)
- From; that was the most important factor in any mindless escape. You were always running from. To could look after itself. (p. 227)
- There was another passage. He ran down it, on the basis that absence of pursuit is no reason to stop running. (p. 235)
- Lord Hong had a mind like a knife, although possibly a knife with a curved blade. (p. 235)
- Although it was against his general principles, it was perhaps time to stop and think. (p. 239)
- With him here, even uncertainty is uncertain. And I'm not sure even about that. (p. 274)
- “Oh...and Bacon Surprise.”
Really? What is so surprising about bacon?
“I don't know. I suppose it comes as something of a shock to the pig.” (p. 274)
- He grinned to himself. The whole of his life, so far, had been complicated. There had been timetables and lists and a whole basket of things he must do and things he shouldn’t do, and the life of Mr. Saveloy had been this little wriggly thing trying to survive in the middle of it all. But now it has suddenly all become very simple. You held one end and poked the other into people. A man could live his whole life by a maxim like that. And afterwards, get a very interesting afterlife— (pp. 286-287)
- It was an amazingly symbolic, dramatic and above all stupid gesture, in the finest traditions of barbarian heroing. (p. 294)
- “What do we do now?” said Mr. Saveloy. “Do we do a battle chant or something?”
“We just wait,” said Cohen.
“There’s a lot of waiting in warfare,” said Boy Willie.
“Ah, yes,” said Mr. Saveloy. “I’ve heard people say that. They say there’s long periods of boredom followed by short periods of excitement.”
“Not really,” said Cohen. “It’s more like short periods of waiting followed by long periods of being dead.” (p. 297)
- Of course, it was only a temporary measure, but Rincewind had always considered that life was no more than a series of temporary measures strung together. (p. 307)
- “Not some kind of sign?” said Cohen. “There must have been some temple I didn’t rob.”
“The trouble with signs and portents,” said Boy Willie, “is you never know who they’re for.” (p. 313)
- He thought: meddle first, understand later. You had to meddle a bit before you had anything to try to understand. And the thing was never, ever, to go back and hide in the Lavatory of Unreason. You have to try and get your mind around the Universe before you can give it a twist. (p. 323)
- Besides, he’d never believed in legends up to now—not even the one about the peasant who every year filed a scrupulously accurate tax return. (p. 340)
- The rain was coming down so fast that the drops were having to queue. (p. 343)
- They’d drag him off and it’d be the start of another Adventure, i. e., a period of horror and unpleasantness. Life was full of tricks like that. (p. 368)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in September 2008 by Harper ISBN 978-0-06-105691-8
- She’d become so good at magic that there wasn’t room in her head for anything else. (p. 2)
- Nanny Ogg found herself embarrassed to even think about this, and this was unusual because embarrassment normally came as naturally to Nanny as altruism comes to a cat (p. 4)
- People who didn’t need people needed people around to know that they were the kind of people who didn’t need people. (pp. 5-6)
- He had a unique stride: it looked as though his body was being dragged forward and his legs had to flail around underneath it, landing wherever they could find room. It wasn’t so much a walk as a collapse, indefinitely postponed. (p. 10)
- She’d even given herself a middle initial—X—which stood for “someone who has a cool and exciting middle initial.” (p. 11)
- You needed at least three witches for a coven. Two witches was just an argument. (p. 13)
- Granny was impressed. It was an outrageously ingenious bit of folk hokum worth remembering for another occasion. (pp. 18-19)
- “Do give us your forthright views,” said Salzella. Definitely that kind of owner, he thought. Self-made man proud of his handiwork. Confuses bluffness and honesty with merely being rude. I wouldn’t mind betting a dollar that he thinks he can tell a man’s character by testing the firmness of his handshake and looking deeply into his eyes. (p. 22)
- The girl who had spoken to her was slightly built, even by ordinary standards, and had gone to some pains to make herself look even thinner. She had long blond hair and the happy smile of someone who is aware that she is thin and has long blond hair. (p. 24)
- Nanny also recalled her as being rather thoughtful and shy, as if trying to reduce the amount of world she took up. (p. 27)
- Music and magic had a lot in common. They were only two letters apart, for one thing. And you couldn’t do both. (p. 28)
- “...and my father is the Emperor of Klatch and my mother is a small tray of raspberry puddings.” (Agnes tells Christine after realizing she isn’t listening) (p. 30)
- No one had asked her, before she was born, whether she wanted a lovely personality or whether she’d prefer, say, a miserable personality but a body that could take size nine in dresses. Instead, people would take pains to tell her that beauty was only skin-deep, as if a man ever fell for an attractive pair of kidneys. (p. 31)
- Hah! Why dint you put your own name on it, eh? Books’ve got to have a name on ’em so’s everyone knows who’s guilty. (p. 39)
- Granny Weatherwax was grudgingly literate but keenly numerate. She assumed that anything written down was probably a lie, and that applied to numbers, too. Numbers were used only by people who wanted to put one over on you. (p. 40)
- “You’ve never been very good at numbers, have you? said Granny. Now she drew a circle around the final figure.
“Oh, you know me, Esme,” said Nanny cheerfully. “I couldn’t subtract a fart from a plate of beans.” (p. 41)
- A day ago the future had looked aching and desolate, and now it looked full of surprises and terror and bad things happening to people...
If she had anything to do with it anyway. (Granny Weatherwax commits optimism) (p. 45)
- A couple of ballet dancers fainted, but carefully, so as not to get their clothes dirty. (p. 53)
- “Weeelll, they starts out as Maids of Honor,” said Nanny, fidgeting with her feet, “but they ends up Tarts.” (p. 54)
- Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, “Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.” (p. 54)
- Salzella smiled at her. “You mean you just see things that are really there?” he said. “I can see you haven’t been with the opera for long, dear.” (p. 56)
- Mr. Bucket was sitting in his office trying to make sense of the Opera House’s books.
They didn’t make any kind of sense. He reckoned he was as good as the next man at reading a balance sheet, but these were to bookkeeping what grit was to clockwork. (p. 59)
- “There have been...accidents.”
“What kind of accidents?”
“The kind of accidents you prefer to call...accidents.” (p. 65)
- Ahahahahaha! Ahahahaha! Aahahaha!
The Opera Ghost
- “What sort of person,” said Salzella patiently, “sits down and writes a maniacal laugh? And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head. Opera can do that to a man.” (p. 67)
- A catastrophe curve, Mr. Bucket, is what opera runs along. Opera happens because a large number of things amazingly fail to go wrong, Mr. Bucket. It works because of hatred and love and nerves. All the time. This isn’t cheese. This is opera. If you wanted a quiet retirement, Mr. Bucket, you shouldn’t have bought the Opera House. You should have done something peaceful, like alligator dentistry. (pp. 68-69)
- “The singers all loathe the sight of one another, the chorus despises the singers, they both hate the orchestra, and everyone fears the conductor; the staff on one prompt side won’t talk to the staff on the opposite prompt side, the dancers are all crazed from hunger in any case, and that’s only the start of it.” (pp. 73-74)
- He sighed, and leaned over the desk. “You see,” he said, “cheese does make money. And opera doesn’t. Opera’s what you spend money on.
“But...what do you get out of it?”
“You get opera. You put money in, you see, and opera comes out,” said Salzella wearily.
“There’s no profit?”
“Profit...profit,” murmured the director of music, scratching his forehead. “No, I don’t believe I’ve come across the word.” (pp. 76-77)
- Greebo also had a cat’s approach to possessions, which was simply that nothing edible had a right to belong to other people. (p. 77)
- But magic is never as simple as people think. It has to obey certain universal laws. And one is that, no matter how hard a thing is to do, once it has been done it’ll become a whole lot easier and will therefore be done a lot. (p. 86)
- Most people in Lancre, as the saying goes, went to bed with the chickens and got up with the cows.‡
- ‡Er. That is to say, they went to bed at the same time as the chickens went to bed, and got up at the same time as the cows got up. Loosely worded sayings can really cause misunderstandings. (p. 91)
- They said love always found a way and, of course, so did a number of associated activities. (p. 95)
- She felt the same feeling she’d felt back home. Sometimes life reaches that desperate point where the wrong thing to do has to be the right thing to do.
It doesn’t matter what direction you go. Sometimes you just have to go. (p. 95)
- “But I don’t believe in reincarnation!” he protested.
And this, Mr. Pounder understood with absolute rodent clarity, meant: Reincarnation believes in you. (p. 109)
- “But why is he doing it?” wailed Bucket.
“That is only a relevant question if he is sane,” said Salzella calmly. “He may be doing it because the little yellow pixies tell him to.” (p. 111)
- It was done far more often than the audiences ever realized—when singers had a sore throat, or had completely dried, or had turned up so drunk they could barely stand, or, in one notorious instance many years previously, had died in the interval and subsequently sung their famous aria by means of a broom handle stuck up their back and their jaw operated with a piece of string. (p. 116)
- The person on the other side was a young woman. Very obviously a young woman. There was no possible way that she could have been mistaken for a young man in any language, especially Braille. (p. 119)
- “It’s a house of ill repute, is what it is!”
“On the contrary,” said Granny. “I believe people speak very highly of it.” (p. 120)
- This isn’t real life, this is opera. (p. 123)
- After you’d known Christine for any length of time, you found yourself fighting a desire to look into her ear to see if you could spot daylight coming the other way. (p. 125)
- They simply worked around the problem, and engraved everything. This took a long time and meant that Ankh-Morpork was, for example, denied the benefit of newspapers, leaving the population to fool themselves as best they could. (p. 132)
- “Honestly, Salzella...what is the difference between opera and madness?”
“Is this a trick question?”
“Then I’d say: better scenery.” (p. 135)
- Nanny had an unexpected gift for languages; she could be comprehensibly incompetent in a new one within an hour or two. What she spoke was one step away from gibberish but it was authentically foreign gibberish. (p. 139)
- “Well, basically there are two sorts of opera,” said Nanny, who also had the true witch’s ability to be confidently expert on the basis of no experience whatsoever. “There’s your heavy opera, where basically people sing foreign and it goes like ‘Oh, oh, oh, I am dyin’, oh, I am dyin’, oh, oh, oh, that’s what I’m doin’,” and there’s your light opera, where they sing in foreign and it basically goes ‘Beer! Beer! Beer! Beer! I like to drink lots of beer!’, although sometimes they drink champagne instead. That’s basically all of opera, reely.” (p. 140)
- A lot of attention had been paid to appearances. The people were here to look, not to see. (p. 146)
- This was when you started being a witch. It wasn’t when you did headology on daft old men, or mixed up medicines, or stuck up for yourself, or knew one herb from another.
It was when you opened your mind to the world and carefully examined everything it picked up. (pp. 146-147)
- Nanny’s philosophy of life was to do what seemed like a good idea at the time, and do it as hard as possible. It had never let her down. (p. 156)
- Nanny rather liked the theatrical world. It was its own kind of magic. That was why Esme disliked it, she reckoned. It was the magic of illusions and misdirection and foolery, and that was fine by Nanny Ogg, because you couldn’t be married three times without a little fooling. But it was just close enough to Granny’s own kind of magic to make Granny uneasy. (p. 161)
- Good and Evil were quite superfluous when you’d grown up with a highly developed sense of Right and Wrong. (p. 165)
- She was also enough of a snob to confuse rudeness with good breeding. In the same way that the really rich can never be mad (they’re eccentric), so they can also never be rude (they’re outspoken and forthright). (p. 197)
- “Money don’t buy happiness, Gytha.”
“I only wanted to rent it for a few weeks.” (p. 198)
- No male had ever touched Agnes before, except perhaps to push her over and steal her sweets. (p. 203)
- “It’s still a lie. Like the lie about masks.”
“What lie about masks?”
“The way people say they hide faces.”
“They do hide faces,” said Nanny Ogg.
“Only the one on the outside.” (p. 207)
- Mr. Bucket’s mental compass once again swung around to point due Money. (p. 211)
- The pre-luncheon drinks were going quite well, Mr Bucket thought. Everyone was making polite conversation and absolutely no one had been killed up to the present moment. (p. 217)
- He was finding it a little difficult to converse with her. As a conversational gambit, “Hello, I understand you have a lot of money, can I have some please?” lacked, he felt, a certain subtlety. (p. 218)
- She’d have to shout for help.
Of course, someone might hear, but that was always a risk when you shouted for help. (p. 230)
- Nanny could get a statue to cry on her shoulder and say what it really thought about pigeons. (p. 242)
- His progress through life was hampered by his tremendous sense of his own ignorance, a disability which affects all too few people. (p. 251)
- Granny glared at her escort. Even in a bow tie, even with his fine mustaches waxed, he was still a cat. You couldn’t trust them to do anything except turn up for meals. (p. 264)
- Agnes gave up. It was a horrible thing to learn, but there are times when evidence gets trampled and the hunt is on. (p. 278)
- “This is just an old staircase, isn’t it?” said Nanny, prodding at the darkness with her torch.
“Yes! It goes all the way down! Except at the bottom where it goes all the way up!” (p. 283)
- The kicking and punching stopped only when it became apparent that all the mob was attacking was itself. And, since the IQ of a mob is the IQ of its most stupid member divided by the number of mobsters, it was never very clear to anyone what had happened. (p. 287)
- “Well, I think,” said Nobby, “that when you have ruled out the impossible, what is left, however improbable, ain’t worth hanging around on a cold night wonderin’ about when you could be getting on the outside of a big drink.” (pp. 288-289)
- “Ah,” said Granny. “Believed the evidence of your own eyes, did you? In a place like this?” (p. 294)
- “Oh, well,” said Granny, “you’ll never get anywhere if you believe what you hear. What do you know?” (p. 294)
- Erratic though his thinking might have been, it was no match for Nanny Ogg’s meretricious duplicity. He was up against a mind that regarded truth as a reference point but certainly not as a shackle. Nanny Ogg could think her way through a corkscrew in a tornado without touching the sides. (pp. 298-299)
- She was as unnoticeable as the very best of butlers. (p. 304)
- “Seein’ is believin’,” said Granny, calmly. “Of course, the trouble is that believin’ is also seein’, and there’s been too much of that round here lately.” (p. 304)
- “I...hang around in dark places looking for trouble,” he said.
“Really? There’s a nasty name for people like that,” snapped Granny.
“Yes,” said André. “It’s ‘policeman.’” (p. 304)
- Granny Weatherwax had never heard of psychiatry and would have had no truck with it even if she had. There are some arts too black even for a witch. She practiced headology—practiced, in fact, until she was very good at it. And though there may be some superficial similarities between a psychiatrist and a headologist, there is a huge practical difference. A psychiatrist, dealing with a man who fears he is being followed by a large and terrible monster, will endeavor to convince him that monsters don’t exist. Granny Weatherwax would simply give him a chair to stand on and a very heavy stick. (p. 324)
- It’s tangled, but it ain’t twisted. (p. 326)
- Granny slapped her hands together like the crack of doom.
“Right! Let’s do some good!” she said, to the universe at large. (p. 327)
- Oh, yes! A ghost of a Ghost! Totally unbelievable and an offense against common sense, in the best operatic tradition! (p. 330)
- There’s a kind of magic in masks. Masks conceal one face, but they reveal another. The one that only comes out in darkness. (p. 332)
- But you can’t go round messin’ with cause and effect. That’s what sent her mad, come the finish. She thought she could put herself outside of things like cause and effect. Well, you can’t. You grab a sharp sword by the blade, you get hurt. World’d be a terrible place if people forgot that. (p. 352)
- “Oh? Are you offering to teach me something?”
“Teach? No,” said Granny. “Ain’t got the patience for teaching. But I might let you learn.” (p. 358)
Feet of Clay (1996)
- And, while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions.
- It is traditionally the belief of policemen that they can tell what a substance is by sniffing it and then gingerly tasting it, but this practice had ceased in the Watch ever since Constable Flint had dipped his finger into a blackmarket consignment of ammonium chloride cut with radium, said "Yes, this is definitely slab wurble wurble sclup," and had to spend three days tied to his bed until the spiders went away.
- It was as if even the most intelligent person had this little blank spot in their heads where someone had written: “Kings. What a good idea.” Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw. It was its tendency to bend at the knees.
- 'You listen to me,' hissed Vimes. 'I mix with crooks and thieves and thugs all day and that doesn't worry me at all but after two minutes with you I need a bath. And if I find that damn golem I'll shake its damn hand, you hear me?'
- Today is a good day for someone else to die!
- Dwarfish warcry
- 'I Suggest You Take Me And Smash Me And Grind The Bits Into Fragments And Pound The Fragments Into Powder And Mill Them Again To The Finest Dust There Can Be, And I Believe You Will Not Find A Single Atom Of Life-'
'True! Let's do it!'
'However, In Order To Test This Fully, One Of You Must Volunteer To Undergo The Same Process.'
There was silence.
'That's not fair,' said a priest, after a while. 'All anyone has to do is bake up your dust again and you'll be alive...'
There was more silence.
- The Community Co-ordinator of Equal Heights for Dwarfs was demanding that dwarfs in the Watch be allowed to carry an axe rather than the traditional sword, and should be sent to investigate only those crimes committed by tall people.
- 'There's not a lot you can say about mining. "I mine in my mine and what's mine is mine,"' said Cheery in a singsong voice.
- 'He screamed a lot, Vimes. In a heart-rending fashion, I am told. And I gather he uttered a number of threats against you, for some reason.'
'I shall try to fit him into my busy schedule, sir.'
- This is where we've filled ourselves up with so many questions that they're starting to overflow and become answers.
- 'No it's not! said Constable Visit. 'Atheism is a denial of a god.'
'Therefore It Is A Religious Position,' said Dorfl. 'Indeed, A True Atheist Thinks Of The Gods Constantly, Albeit In Terms of Denial. Therefore, Atheism Is A Form Of Belief. If The Atheist Truly Did Not Believe, He Or She Would Not Bother To Deny.'
- 'What are your duties?' said Vimes.
'To Serve The Public Trust, Protect The Innocent, And Seriously Prod Buttock, Sir,' said Dorfl.
- 'You Say To People "Throw Off Your Chains" And They Make New Chains For Themselves?'
'Seems to be a major human activity, yes.'
Dorfl rumbled as he thought about this. 'Yes,' he said eventually. 'I Can See Why. Freedom Is Like Having The Top Of Your Head Opened Up.'
'I'll have to take your word for that, Constable.'
- He hated the very idea of the world being divided into the shaved and the shavers. Or those who wore the shiny boots and those who cleaned the mud off them. Every time he saw Willikins the butler fold his, Vimes's, clothes, he suppressed a terrible urge to kick the butler's shiny backside as an affront to the dignity of man.
- It was hard enough to kill a vampire. You could stake them down and turn them into dust and ten years later someone drops a drop of blood in the wrong place and guess who's back? They returned more times than raw broccoli.
- Rumor is information distilled so finely that it can filter through anything. It does not need doors and windows — sometimes it does not need people. It can exist free and wild, running from ear to ear without ever touching lips
- Slab: Jus' say "AarrghaarrghpleeassennononoUGH"- [Detritus' war on drugs]
- There were no public health laws in Ankh-Morpork. It would be like installing smoke detectors in Hell.
- "Just because someone's a member of an ethnic minority doesn't mean they're not a nasty small-minded little jerk ..."
- You never ever volunteered. Not even if a sergant stood there and said, "We need someone to drink alcohol, bottles of, and make love, passionate, to women, for the use of." There was always a snag. If a choir of angels asked for volunteers for Paradise to step forward, Nobby knew enough to take one smart pace to the rear.
- In all, I've had seventeen demands for your badge. Some want parts of your body attached. Why did you have to upset everybody?- Lord Vetinari reproves Vimes.
- It was Carrot who'd suggested to the Patrician that hardened criminals should be given the chance to "serve the community" by redecorating the homes of the elderly, lending a new terror to old age and, given Ankh-Morpork's crime rate, leading to at least one old lady having her front room wallpapered so many times in six months that now she could only get in sideways.
- What a mess the world was in, reflected Vimes. Constable Visit had told him that the meek would inherit it, and what had the poor devils done to deserve that?
- WORDS IN THE HEART CANNOT BE TAKEN -Dorfl
- Someone very clever—certainly someone much cleverer than whoever had trained that imp—must have made the clock for the Partrician’s waiting room. It went tick-tock like any other clock. But somehow, and against all usual horological practice, the tick and the tock were irregular. Tick tock tick…and then the merest fraction of a second longer before…tock tick tock…and then a tick a fraction of a second earlier than the mind’s ear was now prepared for. The effect was enough, after ten minutes, to reduce the thinking processes of even the best-prepared to a sort of porridge.
- Only crimes could take place in darkness. Punishment had to be done in the light.
- When it came to doing absolutely nothing at all he [Nobby Nobbs] was among the finest. But it was keeping completely motionless in one place that was his forte. If there were a rollcall for the world’s champion non-movers, he wouldn’t even turn up.
- Nobby was clean-shaven—at least, the last time he’d shaved he’d been clean-shaven—but his face had so many minor topological features it looked like a very bad example of slash-and-burn.
- Lord Vetinari fell silent for a moment. His fingers drummed softly on his desk.
“Many fine old manuscripts in that place, I believe. Without price, I’m told.”
“Yes, sir. Certainly worthless, sir.”
“Is it possible you misunderstood what I just said, Commander?”
“Could be, sir.”
- Dorfl held up a hand the size of a shovel. “I, Dorfl, Pending The Discovery Of A Deity Whose Existence Withstands Rational Debate, Swear By The Temporary Precepts Of A Self-Derived Moral System—”
- 'And there's the sign, Ridcully,' said the Dean. You have read it, I assume. You know? The sign which says "Do not, under any circumstances, open this door"?'
'Of course I've read it,' said Ridcully. 'Why d'yer think I want it opened?'
'Er...why?' said the Lecturer in Recent Runes.
'To see why they wanted it shut, of course.'†
- † This exchange contains almost all you need to know about human civilisation. At least, those bits of it that are now under the sea, fenced off or still smoking.
- Downey stood up with some relief and walked over to his large drinks cabinet. His hand hovered over the Guild's ancient and valuable tantalus, with its labelled decanters of Mur, Nig, Trop and Yksihw.†
- † It's a sad and terrible thing that high-born folk really have thought that the servants would be fooled if spirits were put into decanters that were cunningly labelled backwards. And also throughout history the more politically conscious butler has taken it on trust, and with rather more justification, that his employers will not notice if the whisky is topped up with eniru.
- Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.
- She'd become a governess. It was one of the few jobs a known lady could do. And she'd taken to it well. She'd sworn that if she did indeed ever find herself dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she'd beat herself to death with her own umbrella.
- 'You can't give her that!' she screamed. 'It's not safe!'
It's a sword. said the Hogfather. They're not meant to be safe.
'She's a child!' shouted Crumley.
'What if she cuts herself?'
That will be an important lesson.
- 'I...think my name is Bilious. I'm the...I'm the oh God of Hangovers.'
'There's a God of Hangovers?'
'An oh god,' he corrected. 'When people witness me, you see, they clutch their head and say "Oh God..." How many of you are standing here?'
- 'So mistletoe, in fact, symbolises mistletoe?'
'Exactly, Archchancellor,' said the Senior Wrangler, who was now just hanging on.
'Funny thing, that,' said Ridcully, in the same thoughtful tone of voice. 'That statement is either so deep it would take a lifetime to fully comprehend every particle of its meaning, or it is a load of absolute tosh. Which is it, I wonder?'
'It could be both,' said the Senior Wrangler desperately.
'And that comment,' said Ridcully, 'is either very perceptive, or very trite.'
'It might be bo — '
'Don't push it, Senior Wrangler.'
- It's the expression on their little faces I like, said the Hogfather.
'You mean the sort of fear and awe and not knowing whether to laugh or cry or wet their pants?'
Yes. Now that is what I call belief.
- Then the Dean repeated the mantra that has had such a marked effect on the progress of knowledge through the ages.
'Why don't we just mix up absolutely everything and see what happens?' he said.
And Ridcully responded with the traditional response.
'It's got to be worth a try,' he said.
- 'I remember my father tellin' me some valuable advice about drinks,' said Ridcully. 'He said, "Son, never drink any drink with a paper umbrella in it, never drink any drink with a humorous name, and never drink any drink that changes colour when the last ingredient goes in. And never, ever, do this — "'
He dipped his finger into the beaker.
- While evidence says that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, they're probably all on first steps.
- Many people are aware of the weak and strong anthropic principle. The weak one says, basically, that is was jolly amazing of the universe to be constructed in such a way that humans could evolve to a point where they make a living in, for example, universities, while the strong one says that, on the contrary, the whole point of the universe was that humans should not only work in universities but also write for huge sums books with words like 'Cosmic' and 'Chaos' in the titles.†
- † And they are correct. The universe clearly operates for the benefit of humanity. This can be readily seen from the way the sun comes up in the morning, when people are ready to start the day.
- Why are your hands on bits of string, child?
The child looked down the length of its arms to the dangling mittens affixed to its sleeves. It held them up for inspection.
"Glubs," said the bobble hat.
I see. Very practical.
"Are you weal?" said the bobble hat.
What do you think?
The bobble hat sniggered. "I saw your piggie do a wee!" it said, and implicit in the tone was the suggestion that this was unlikely to be dethroned as the most enthralling thing the bobble hat had ever seen.
Oh. Er ... good.
"It had a gwate big — "
What do you want for Hogswatch? said the Hogfather hurriedly.
- You may as well know this. Down in the deepest kingdom of the sea, where there is no light, there lives a type of creature with no brain, no eyes and no mouth. It does nothing but live and put forth petals of perfect crimson where none are there to see. It is nothing except a tiny yes in the night. And yet... it has enemies that bear it a vicious, unbending malice, who wish not only for its tiny life to be over but also that it had never existed. Are you with me so far?
"Well, yes, but — "
Good, now, imagine what they think of humanity.
- "All right," said Susan, "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need ... fantasies to make life bearable."
No. Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meet the rising ape.
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers?"
Yes. As practice. You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
"So we can believe the big ones?"
Yes. Justice. Duty. Mercy. That sort of thing.
"They're not the same at all!"
Really? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet you act, like there was some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged:
"Yes. But people have got to believe that or what's the point?"
My point exactly.
- "Are those real mountains or some kind of shadows?"
- There are those who believe that knowledge can only be recalled, that there was some Golden Age in the distant past when everything was known and the stones fitted together so you could hardly put a knife between them, you know, and it's obvious they had flying machines, right, because of the way the earthworks can only be seen from above, yeah? and there's this museum I read about where they found a pocket calculator under the altar of this ancient temple, you know what I'm saying? but the government hushed it up ...†
- † It's amazing how good governments are, given their track record in almost every other field, at hushing up things like alien encounters. One reason may be that the aliens themselves are too embarrassed to talk about it. It's not known why most of the space-going races of the universe want to undertake rummaging in Earthling underwear as a prelude to formal contact. But representatives of several hundred races have taken to hanging out, unsuspected by one another, in rural corners of the planet and, as a result of this, keep on abducting other would-be abductees. Some have been in fact abducted while waiting to carry out an abduction on a couple of other aliens trying to abduct the aliens who were, as a result of misunderstood instructions, trying to form cattle into circles and mutilate crops. The planet Earth is now banned to an alien races until they can compare notes and find out how many, if any, real humans they have actually got. It is gloomily suspected that there is only one who is big, hairy and has very large feet. The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.
- 'So Hex here has caught daftness off the Bursar,' said Ridcully. 'Simple. Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.'
- 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.
- Solid Jackson, a parody of the real world "Give a man a fish..." proverb.
- Gentlemen, no fighting please. This is, after all, a council of war.
- An allusion to Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.
- I know no-one ever locked their houses down our street. ... It was 'cos the bastards even used to steal the locks.
- For the serious empire-builder there was no such thing as a final frontier.
- Putting up a statue to someone who tried to stop a war is not very, um, statuesque. Of course, if you had butchered five hundred of your own men out of arrogant carelessness, we'd be melting the bronze already.
- The intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it.
- After all, when you seek advice from someone it's certainly not because you want them to give it. You just want them to be there while you talk to yourself.
- Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum amount of moo.
- And then Corporal Littlebottom had pointed out that Ankh-Morpork's pigeons were, because of many centuries of depredation by the city's gargoyle population, considerably more intelligent than most pigeons, although Vimes considered that this was not difficult because there were things growing on old damp bread that were more intelligent than most pigeons.
- I do like negotiating with people after the Unseen University have entertained them to lunch. The tend not to move around as much and they'll agree to practically anything if they think there's a chance of a stomach powder and a small glass of water.
- There may be a lot of things I'm not good at, thought Vimes, but at least I don't treat the punctuation of a sentence like a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey...
- "Captain Carrot is an honest young man, Vimes."
"And did you know that he winces when he hears you tell a direct lie?"
"Really, sir?" damn.
- "One of the advantages of horses that people sometimes point out," said Vetinari, after some thought, "is that they very seldom explode. Almost never, in my experience, apart from that unfortunate occurence in the hot summer a few years ago."
- "Captain, I expect that if you'd done it in a cellar at midnight his lordship would have said 'wasn't it rather dark down there?' next morning."
- It was still a mystery, but he'd solve it, he knew he would. He'd assemble the facts, analyze them, look at them from every angle with an open mind, and find out exactly how Lord Rust had organized it.
- D'reg wasn't their name for themselves, although they tended to adopt it now out of pride. The word meant enemy. Everyone's.
- Sargeant: "They're... D'regs, sir!"
Officer: "No. D'regs would be charging, sergeant."
Carrot: "Oh, sorry. Shall I tell them to charge? Is that what you prefer?"
- He was in the immediate company of a man even the Assassin's Guild was frightened of, another man who would stay up all night in order to invent an alarm clock to wake him up in the morning, and a man who had never knowingly changed his underwear.
- Ye gods, no! My mother is a D'reg! She'd be terribly offended if I trusted her. She'd say she hadn't brought me up right.
- It is always useful to have an enemy who is prepared to die for his country, this means that both you and he have exactly the same aim in mind.
- 'Chapter Fifteen, Elementary Necromancy', she read out loud. 'Lesson One: Correct Use of Shovel…
- It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
- One of the universal rules of happiness is: always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.
- ...Vimes's grin was as funny as the one that moves very fast towards drowning men. And has a fin on top.
- She sighed again. She was familiar with the syndrome. They said they wanted a soulmate and helpmeet but sooner or later the list would include a skin like silk and a chest fit for a herd of cows.
- "*Veni, vici*...Vetinari."
- And there was nothing finer than a wizard dressed up formally, until someone could find a way of inflating a Bird of Paradise, possibly by using an elastic band and some kind of gas.
- "One o'clock pee em! Hello, Insert Name Here!"- The Dis-organizer
- He had the look of a lawn mower just after the grass had organised a workers' collective. There was a definite suggestion that, deep inside, he knew this was not really happening. It could not be happening because this sort of thing did not happen. Any contradictory evidence could be safely ignored.
The Last Continent (1998)
- All bastards are bastards, but some bastards is bastards.
- All tribal myths are true, for a given value of 'true'.
- We might find out why mankind is here, although that is more complicated and begs the question "Where else should we be?"
- You couldn't stop Tradition. You could only add to it.
- Something as artificial and human as an hour wouldn't last five minutes here.
- Logic is a wonderful thing but doesn't always beat actual thought.
- Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association.
- Rincewind awoke with a scream, to get it over with.
- Creators aren't gods. They make places, which is quite hard. It's men that make gods. This explains a lot.
- He hated weapons, and not just because they'd so often been aimed at him. You got into more trouble if you had a weapon. People shot you instantly if they thought you were going to shoot them. But if you were unarmed, they often stopped to talk. Admittedly, they tended to say things like, 'You'll never guess what we're going to do to you, pal,' but that took time. And Rincewind could do a lot with a few seconds. He could use them to live longer in.
- It had been going so well. They almost seemed up to speed. This may have been what caused Ponder to act like the man who, having so far fallen a hundred feet without any harm, believes that the last few inches to the ground will be a mere formality.
- There's a certain kind of manager who is known by his call of 'My door is always open' and it is probably a good idea to beat yourself to death with your own CV rather than work for him. In Ridcully's case, however, he meant, 'My door is always open because then, when I'm bored, I can fire my crossbow right across the hall and into the target just above the Bursar's desk.'
- And he was pretty sure that there was no way you could get a cross between a human and a sheep. If there was, people would definitely have found out by now, especially in the more isolated rural districts.
- 'Haven't you noticed that by running away you end up in more trouble?'
'Yes, but you see, you can run away from that, too,' said Rincewind. 'That's the beauty of the system. Dead is only for once, but running away is for ever.'
'Ah, but it is said that a coward dies a thousand deaths, while a hero dies only one.'
'Yes, but it's the important one.'
- Rincewind paused. He had always been the foremost exponent of the from rather than the to of running.
- One of the most basic rules for survival on any planet is never to upset someone wearing black leather.†
- † This is why protesters against the wearing of animal skins by humans unaccountably fail to throw their paint over Hell's Angels.
- That was the thing about fire. If you saw one, everyone went to put it out. Fire spread like wildfire.
- Rincewind had always been happy to think of himself as a racist. The One Hundred Meters, the Mile, the Marathon — he'd run them all. Later, when he learned with some surprise what the word actually meant, he'd been equally certain he wasn't one. He was a person who divided the world quite simply into people who were trying to kill him and people who weren't. That didn't leave much room for fine details like what colour anyone was.
- The Bursar, who had been properly brought up said, 'Hooray, there's a rosebush?'.
- People's whole lives do pass in front of their eyes before they die. The process is called 'living'
- "When it's time to stop living, I will certainly make Death my number one choice!"
- "I think there may be one or two steps in your logic that I have failed to grasp, Mister Stibbons," said the Archchancellor coldly. "I suppose you're not intending to shoot your own grandfather, by any chance?"
"Of course not!" snapped Ponder, "I don't even know what he looked like. He died before I was born."
- In the fetid fleapit of Rincewind's brain the projectionist of memory put on reel two. Recollection began to flicker.
- Daggy stepped forward, but only comparatively; in fact, his mates had all, without discussion, taken one step backwards in the choreography of caution.
- They say the heat and the flies here can drive a man insane. But you don't have to believe that, and nor does that bright mauve elephant that just cycled past.
- Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association. His mental approach to it could be visualised as a sort of business flowchart with, at the top, a circle entitled "Me, who does the telling" and, connected below it by a line, a large circle entitled "Everyone else".
- "When You're Up to Your Ass in Alligators, Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life."
- Rincewind stared into the depths of the cave. The light from the staffs only made them worse. It cast shadows. Darkness was just darkness, but anything could be hiding in shadows.
Carpe Jugulum (1998)
- In Ghat they believe in vampire watermelons, although folklore is silent about what they believe about vampire watermelons. Possibly they suck back.
- They thought that you could see life through books but you couldn't, the reason being that the words got in the way.
- Mirrors had lead to one of the Church's innumerable schisms, one side saying that since they encouraged vanity they were bad, and the other side saying that since they reflected the goodness of Om they were holy.
- Lancre operated on the feudal system, which was to say, everyone feuded all the time and handed on the fight to their descendants. The chips on some shoulders had been passed down for generations.
- The smug mask of virtue triumphant could be almost as horrible as the face of wickedness revealed.
- What had she ever earned? The reward for toil had been more toil. If you dug the best ditches they gave you a bigger shovel.
- She'd never, ever asked for anything in return. And the trouble with not asking for anything in return was that sometimes you didn't get it.
- There was something... sort of damp about him, the kind of helpless hopelessness that made people angry rather than charitable, the total certainty that if the whole world was a party he'd still find the kitchen.
- 'Will it be enough to know that the world is your oyster?'
Her forehead wrinkled in perplexity. 'Why should I want it to be some nasty little sea creature?' she said.
'Because they get eaten alive,' said the Count.
- She was not, herself, hugely in favour of motherhood in general. Obviously it was necessary, but it wasn't exactly difficult. Even cats managed it. But women acted as if they'd been given a medal that entitled them to boss people around. It was as if, just because they'd got the label which said 'mother', everyone else got a tiny part of the label that said 'child'...
- The result would have been called primitive even by people who were too primitive to have a word yet for 'primitive'.
- Oh, we're always all right. You remember that. We happen to other people.
- The role of the lower intestine in the efforts to build a better nation is one that is often neglected by historians.
- Drinking's what they like best"
"drinking an' fighting!"
"Drinking and fighting is what they like best"
"An' snaffling coobeasties!"
"And stealing cows"
- "It's not as simple as that. It's not a black-and-white issue. There are so many shades of gray."
"There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."
"It's a lot more complicated than that-"
"No. It ain't. When people say things are more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried that they won't like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."
"Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes-"
"But they starts with thinking about people as things…"
- "Am I dying?"
"YES." "Will I die?" "YES." Granny thought this over. "But from your point of view, everyone is dying, and everyone will die, right?" "YES." "So you aren't actually bein' a lot of help, strictly speakin'." "I'M SORRY, I THOUGHT YOU WANTED THE TRUTH."
The Fifth Elephant (1999)
- The one positive thing you could say about the bread products around him was that they were probably as edible now as they were on the day they were baked. Forged was a better term. Dwarf bread was made as a meal of last resort and also as a weapon and a currency. Dwarfs were not, as far as Vimes knew, religious in any way, but the way they thought about bread came close.
- You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was "but we've always done it this way." A million dead people can't have been wrong, can they?
- Sam Vimes could parallel-process. Most husbands can. They learn to follow their own line of thought while at the same time listening to what their wives say. And the listening is important, because at any time they could be challenged and must be ready to quote the last sentence in full. A vital additional skill is being able to scan the dialogue for telltale phrases, such as 'and they can deliver it tomorrow' or 'so I've invited them for dinner' or 'they can do it in blue, really quite cheaply'.
- There was no such thing as a dwarfish female pronoun or, once the children were on solids, any such thing as women's work.
- He wasn't strictly aware of it, but he treated even geography as if he was investigating a crime (did you see who carved out the valley? Would you recognize that glacier if you saw it again?)
- He was aware that a wise man should always respect the folkways of others, to use Carrot's happy phrase, but Vimes often had difficulty with this idea. For one thing, there were people in the world whose folkways consisted of gutting other people like clams and this was not a procedure that commanded, in Vimes, any kind of respect at all.
- It was funny how people were people everywhere you went, even if the people concerned weren't the people the people who made up the phrase 'people are people everywhere' had traditionally thought of as people. And even if you weren't virtuous, as you had been brought up to understand the term, you did like to see virtue in other people, provided it didn't cost you anything.
- He was a large, red-faced man, insofar as a face could be seen under the beard, hair, moustache and eyebrows, which were engaged in a bitter four-way war over the remaining areas of bare skin.
- 'Can you think of any reason why someone would kill him?'
The troll scratched his head. 'Well, 'cos dey wanted him dead, I reckon. Dat's a good reason.'
- 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.
- Practically from the moment she'd been able to talk she'd been taught how to listen.
- There is no exception to the rule that everyone thinks that they're an exception to the rule.
- 'And I thought, "I wonder if someone'd tried to make a mould of the replica Scone", sir,' said Reg.
'Now that is clever,' said Fred Colon, 'You'd get the real one back then, wouldn't you?'
- A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.
- He smacked the club down again. He roared. There were no words there. It was a sound from before words. If there was any meaning in it at all it was a lament that he couldn't cause enough pain.
- As castles went, this one looked as though it could be taken by a small squad of not very efficient soldiers. For defence, putting a blanket over your head might be marginally safer.
- She moved like someone who had grown used to her body and, in general, looked like what Vimes had heard described as "a woman of a certain age." He'd never been quite certain what age that was.
- Vimes: "And now it appears that we have reached what Sergeant Colon persists in referring to as an imp arse"
- There were a lot of things he could say. 'Son of a bitch!' would have been a good one. Or he could say, 'Welcome to civilization!' He could have said, 'Laugh this one off!' He might have said, 'Fetch!' But he didn't, because if he had said any of those things then he'd have known that what he had just done was murder.
- The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret.
- Misprinted motto of the Ankh-Morpork Times.
- Spit or swallow, he thought, the eternal conundrum.
- The world is made up of four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. This is a fact well known even to Corporal Nobbs. It's also wrong. There's a fifth element, and generally it's called Surprise.
For example, the dwarfs found out how to turn lead into gold by doing it the hard way. The difference between that and the easy way is that the hard way works.
- In fact he was incurably insane and hallucinated more or less constantly, but by a remarkable stroke of lateral thinking his fellow wizards had reasoned that, in that case, the whole business could be sorted out if only they could find a formula that caused him to hallucinate that he was completely sane.†
- † This is a very common hallucination, shared by most people.
- 'You know I've always wanted a paperless office — '
'Yes, Archchancellor, that's why you hide it all in cupboards and throw it out of the window at night.'
- There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty.
The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: 'What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! And at the other end of the bar the world is full of the other type of person, who has a broken glass, or a glass that has been carefully knocked over (usually by one of the people calling for a larger glass), or who had no glass at all, because they were at the back of the crowd and had failed to catch the barman's eye.
- Your Brain On Drugs is a terrible sight, but Mr. Tulip was living proof of the fact that so was Your Brain on a cocktail of horse liniment, sherbet and powdered water-retention pills.
- Kings and lords come and go and leave nothing but statues in a desert, while a couple of young men tinkering in a workshop change the way the world works.
- If his body was a temple, it was one of those strange ones where people did odd things to animals in the basement, and if he watched what he ate it was only to see it wriggle.
- William barely had time to undress and lie down before it was time to get up again.
- No enemy was too strong, no wound was too deep, and no sword was too heavy for a de Worde. No grave was too deep either.
- Do not put all your trust in root vegetables. What things seem may not be what things are, said Death.
- Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.
- “Character assassination. What a wonderful idea. Ordinary assassination only works once, but this one works every day.”
Thief of Time (2001)
- Then you have The Story of the Emperor Who Had No Clothes.
But if you knew a bit more, it would be The Story of the Boy Who Got a Well-Deserved Thrashing from His Dad for Being Rude to Royalty, and Was Locked Up.
- Genius is always allowed some leeway, once the hammer has been pried from its hands and the blood has been cleaned up.
- Igor had to admit it. When it came to getting weird things done, sane beat mad hands down.
- "I will teach you to deal with time as you would deal with a coat, to be worn when necessary and discarded when not."
"Will I have to wash it?" said Clodpool.
Wen gave him a long, slow look. "That was either a very complex piece of thinking on your part, Clodpool, or you were just trying to overextend a metaphor in a rather stupid way. Which do you think it was?"
- When you look into the abyss, it's not supposed to wave back.
- "Sometimes I really think people ought to have to pass a proper exam before they're allowed to be parents. Not just the practical, I mean."
- Susan stopped. Of course someone would be that stupid. Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying "End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH", the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.
- In the Second Scroll of Wen the Eternally Surprised a story is written concerning one day when the apprentice Clodpool, in a rebellious mood, approached Wen and spake thusly:
"Master, what is the difference between a humanistic, monastic system of belief in which wisdom is sought by means of an apparently nonsensical system of questions and answers, and a lot of mystic gibberish made up on the spur of the moment?"
Wen considered this for some time, and at last said: "A fish!"
And Clodpool went away, satisfied.
- "Well, I just...I thought...well, I just thought you'd be teaching me more, that's all."
"I'm teaching you things all the time," said Lu-Tze. "You might not be learning them, of course."
- 'Questions don't have to make sense, Vincent,' said Miss Susan. 'But answers do.'
- ¨A loophole," said Susan.
"Well, why can't you find one too?"
I am the grim reaper. I do not think people wish me to get... creative.
- "I said it's uncertain death."
"Is that worse than certain death?"
"Much. Watch." Susan picked up a hammer that was lying on the floor and poked it gently towards the clock. It vibrated in her hand when she brought it closer, and she swore under her breath as it was dragged from her fingers and vanished. Just before it did there was a brief, contracting ring around the clock that might have been something like a hammer would be if you rolled it very flat and bent it into a circle.
"Have you any idea why that happened?" she said.
"Nor have I. Now imagine you were that hammer. Uncertain death, see?"
- 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.
- Some distance away [...] were a number of gentlemen's clubs. It would be far too cynical to say that here the term "gentlemen" was simply defined as "someone who can afford five hundred dollars a year"; they also had to be approved of by a great many other gentlemen who could afford the same fee. And they didn't much like the company of ladies. This was not to say that they were that kind of gentlemen, who had their own, rather better-decorated clubs in another part of town, where there was generally a lot more going on. These gentlemen were gentlemen of a class who were, on the whole, bullied by ladies from an early age. Their lives were steered by nurses, governesses, matrons, mothers and wives, and after four or five decades of that the average mild-mannered gentleman gave up and escaped as politely as possible to one of these clubs, where he could snooze the afternoon away in a leather armchair with the top button of his trousers undone.
- Rule One: Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man!
- "You may think otherwise, but it was me standing there."
- In order to have a change of fortune at the last minute you have to take your fortune to the last minute
The Last Hero (2001)
- Their eyes said that wherever it was, they had been there. Whatever it was, they had done it, sometimes more than once. But they would never, ever, buy the T-shirt. And they did know the meaning of the word 'fear'. It was something that happened to other people.
- I have no use for people who have learned the limits of the possible.
- 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.
- More of the ambassadors from other countries had arrived at the university, and more heads of the Guilds were pouring in, and every single one of them wanted to be involved in the decision-making process without necessarily going through the intelligence-using process first.
- 'I don't think I've become old.' said Boy Willie. 'Not your actual old. Just more aware of where the next lavatory is.'
- Rincewind stared at the badge. He'd never had one before. Well, that was technically a lie ... he'd had one that said 'Hello, I Am 5 Today!', which was just about the worst possible present to get when you are six.
- It occurred to him that when you'd had everything, all that was left was nothing.
- 'I SAID YOU HAD TO CUT OFF YOUR WORST ENEMY'S WOSSNAME AND PRESENT IT TO HER!'
'Aye, romance is a wonderful thing,' said Mad Hamish.
'What'd you do if you didn't have a worst enemy?' said Boy Willie.
'You try and cut off anyone's wossname,' said Truckle, 'and you've soon got a worst enemy.'
- '"Morituri Nolumus Mori" - "We who are about to die dont want to"
- 'No one remembers the singer. The song remains'
- One day, when he was naughty, Mr Bunnsy looked over the hedge into Farmer Fred's field and it was full of green lettuces. Mr Bunnsy, however, was not full of lettuces. This did not seem fair.
They chased the dogs and bit the cats, they —
But there was more to it than that. As the amazing Maurice said, it was just a story about people and rats. And the difficult part of it was deciding who the people were, and who were the rats.
But Malicia Grim said it was a story about stories.
- This begins with lines from Robert Browning's "The Pied Piper of Hamelin".
- '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.'
- He'd realized there was something educated about the rats when he jumped on one and it'd said, 'Can we talk about this?', and part of his amazing new brain had told him you couldn't eat someone who could talk. At least, not until you'd heard what they'd got to say.
- Everyone's thinking these days. I think there's a good deal too much of this thinking, that's what I think. We never thought about thinking when I was a lad. We'd never get anything done if we thought first.
- People listened to Hamnpork because he was the leader, but they listened to Darktan because he was often telling you things that you really, really needed to know if you wanted to go on living.
- It was much more true than the truth would sound.
- 'What is a rat?' and Hamnpork had replied, 'Teeth. Claws. Tail. Run. Hide. Eat. That's what a rat is.'
Dangerous Beans had said, 'But now we can also say "what is a rat?"' he said.
'And that means we're more than that.'
'We're rats,' Hamnpork had argued. 'We run around and squeak and steal and make more rats. That's what we're made for!'
'Who by?' Dangerous Beans had said, and that had led to another argument about the Big Rat Deep Under The Ground theory.
- He lived life as if it was a performance. Other rats just ran around squeaking and messing up things, and that was quite good enough to convince humans there was a plague. But, oh, no, Sardines always had to go further. Sardines and his yowoorll song and dance act!
- It was a good routine, even Maurice had to admit. Some towns had advertised for a rat piper the very first time he'd done it. People could tolerate rats in the cream, and rats in the roof, and rats in the teapot, but they drew the line at tapdancing.
If you saw tap-dancing rats, you were in big trouble. Maurice had reckoned that if only the rats could play an accordion as well they could do two towns a day.
Night Watch (2002)
- Vimes pulled out his truncheon. "At 'em, lads," he yelled. "Truncheons! Nothing fancy! Bop 'em on the fingers and let gravity do the work! They're goin' down."
- There was some more laughter. We who think we are about to die will laugh at anything.
What a bunch. I know you well, gentlemen. You're in it for the quiet life and the pension, you don't hurry too much in case the danger is still around when you get there, and the most you ever expected to face was an obstreperous drunk or a particularly difficult cow. Most of you aren't even coppers, not in your head. In the sea of adventure, you're bottomfeeders.
And now, it's war... and you're in the middle. Not on either side. You're the stupid little band of brownjobs. You're beneath contempt. But believe me, boys — you'll rise.
- His movements could be called cat-like, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things.
- "Time has stopped for everyone but you. Actually that sentence is wrong in every particular, but it’s quite a useful lie.
- Ninety per cent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact.
- Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That's why they're called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes.
- One of the hardest lessons of young Sam's life had been finding out that the people in charge weren't in charge. It had been finding out that governments were not, on the whole, staffed by people who had a grip, and that plans were what people made instead of thinking.
- There were plotters, there was no doubt about it. Some had been ordinary people who'd had enough. Some were young people with no money who objected to the fact that the world was run by old people who were rich. Some were in it to get girls. And some had been idiots as mad as Swing, with a view of the world just as rigid and unreal, who were on the side of what they called 'the people'. Vimes had spent his life on the streets, and had met decent men and fools and people who'd steal a penny from a blind beggar and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he'd never met The People.
People on the side of The People always ended up disappointed, in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up....
- 'Then he went on sweeping.'
"Oh, it's the kind of holy thing they do. So they don't tread on ants, I think. Or they sweep sins away. Or maybe they just like the place clean. Who cares what monks do?"
- "He wanted to add: you're a cell of one, Reg. The real revolutionaries are silent men with poker-player faces and probably don't know or care if you live or die. You've got the shirt and the haircut and the sash and you know all the songs, but you're no urban guerrila. You're an urban dreamer. You turn over rubbish bins and scrawl on walls in the name of The People, who'd clip you round the ear if they found you doing it."
- As Vimes stepped out into the evening, a plaintive voice said, 'You cannot fight for "reasonably priced love".'
'You can if you want me and the rest of the girls on board,' said Rosie. '"Free" is not a word we wish to see used in these circumstances.'
- "You'd like Freedom, Truth and Justice, wouldn't you, comrade sergeant?" said Reg encouragingly.
"I'd like a hardboiled egg," said Vimes, shaking the match out.
What's this all about, Reg?'
"The People's Republic of Treacle Mine Road!" said Reg proudly. "We are forming a government!"
"Oh, good," said Vimes. "Another one. Just what we need. Now, does any one of you know where my damn barricades have gone?"
- "That was my egg, you bastard!" he screamed, punching the nose. "With soldiers!"
- "see the little angels rise up high..." Others were picking up the tune.
"do they rise up, rise up, rise up, how do they rise up, rise up high?"
"It could have been good, sergeant," said Reg, looking up. "It really could. A city where a man can breathe free."
"they rise ARSE up, arse up, arse up, see the little angels rise up high..."
"Wheeze free, Reg," said Vimes, sitting down next to him. This is Ankh-Morpork." And they all hit that line together, thought the part of him that was listening with the other ear. Strange that they should do that, or maybe not.
"Yeah, make a joke of it. Everyone thinks it's funny," said Reg, looking at his feet.
"I don't know if this'll help, Reg, but I didn't even get my hardboiled egg," said Vimes.
- 'That's a nice song,' said young Sam, and Vimes remembered that he was hearing it for the first time.
'It's an old soldiers' song,' he said.
'Really, sarge? But it's about angels.'
Yes, thought Vimes, and it's amazing what bits those angels cause to rise up as the song progresses. It's a real soldiers' song: sentimental, with dirty bits.
'As I recall, they used to sing it after battles,' he said. I've seen old men cry when they sing it,' he added.
'Why? It sounds cheerful.'
They were remembering who they were not singing it with, thought Vimes. You'll learn. I know you will.
- 'But I'll tell you what,' said Vimes. 'If this goes on, the city will see to it the deliveries come in by other gates. We'll be hungry then. That's when we'll need your organizational skills.'
'You mean we'll be in a famine situation?' said Reg, the light of hope in his eyes.
'If we aren't, Reg, I'm sure you could organize one,' said Vimes, and realized he'd gone just a bit too far.
- Some had even fled Reg Shoe, who was sitting on the barricade, staring at the sheer weight of arrows in him. As he watched, his brain seemingly decided that he must be dead on this evidence, and he fell backwards. But in a few hours, his brain would be in for a surprise.
No one knew why some people became natural zombies, substituting sheer stubborn will power for blind life force. But attitude played a part. For Reg Shoe, life was only just beginning...
- It wasn't a city, it was a process, a weight on the world that distorted the land for hundreds of miles around. People who'd never see it in their whole life nevertheless spent their life working for it. Thousands and thousands of green acres were part of it, forests were part of it. It drew in and consumed... and gave back the dung from its pens and the soot from its chimneys, and steel, and saucepans, and all the tools by which its food was made. And also clothes, and fashions and ideas and interesting vices, songs and knowledge and something which, if looked at in the right light, was called civilization. That's what civilization meant. It meant the city.
- 'Make sure Reg Shoe gets a decent burial!'
'Not too deep, he'll be wanting to come out again in a few hours!'
- The Particulars, they were officially, but as far as Vimes could remember they'd revelled in their nickname of the Unmentionables. They were the ones that listened in every shadow and watched at every window. That was how it seemed, anyway. They certainly were the ones who knocked on doors in the middle of the night.
- 'And when you told that man to prove he was Henry the Hamster, I thought I'd widdchoke! You knew they weren't going to sign, right, sarge? 'cos if there's a bit of paper saying they've got someone, then if anyone wants to find out-'
'Just drive, lanceconstable.' But the boy was right. For some reason, the Unmentionables both loved and feared paperwork.
- Sorry for the inconvenience, ladies and gentlemen, but it appears the Unmentionables are not doing business tonight. Looks like we'll have to do the interrogation ourselves. We're not very experienced at this, so I hope we don't get it wrong. Now, listen carefully. Are any of you serious conspirators bent on the overthrow of the government?
- 'Come on, come on,' said Vimes. 'I haven't got all night. Does anyone want to overthrow Lord Winder by force?'
'Well... no?' said the voice of Miss Palm.
'Or by crochet?'
'I heard that!' said another female voice sharply.
- They didn't like the Unmentionables. Like petty criminals everywhere, the watchmen prided themselves that there were some depths to which they would not sink. There had to be some things below you, even if it was only mudworms. (Older Vimes's thoughts)
- Bad coppers had always had their ways of finding out if someone was guilty. Back in the old days — hah, now — these included thumbscrews, hammers, small pointed bits of wood and, of course, the common desk drawer, always a boon to the copper in a hurry. Swing didn't need any of this. He could tell if you were guilty by looking at your eyebrows.
He measured people. He used calipers and a steel ruler. And he quietly wrote down the measurements, and did some sums, such as dividing the length of the nose by the circumference of the head and multiplying it by the width of the space between the eyes. And on such figures he could, infallibly, tell that you were devious, untrustworthy and congenially criminal. After you had spent the next twenty minutes in the company of his staff and their less sophisticated tools of inquiry he would, amazingly, be proved right.
- Everyone was guilty of something. Vimes knew that. Every copper knew it. That was how you maintained your authority. Everyone, talking to a copper, was secretly afraid you could see their guilty secret written on their forehead. You couldn't, of course. But neither were you supposed to drag someone off the street and smash their fingers with a hammer until they told you what it was.
- 'I repeat, I order you to dismantle this barricade.' He took a breath, and went on: 'And rebuild it on the other side on the corner with Cable Street! And put up another one at the top of Sheer Street! Properly built! Good grief, you don't just pile stuff up, for gods' sake! A barricade is something you construct!
- 'Yeah? On whose authority?'
Vimes swung his crossbow up. 'Mr Burleigh and Mr Stronginthearm,' he said, and grinned.
The two guards exchanged glances. 'Who the hell are they?' said one.
There was a moment of silence followed by Vimes saying, out of the corner of his mouth: :'Lance-Constable Vimes?'
'What make are these crossbows?'
'Er... Hines Brothers, sir. They're Mark Threes.'
'Not Burleigh and Stronginthearm?'
'Never heard of them, sir.'
Damn. Five years too early, thought Vimes. And it was such a good line, too.
'Let me put it another way,' he said to the guards. 'Give me any trouble and I will shoot you in the head.' That wasn't a good line, but it did have a certain urgency, and the bonus that it was simple enough even for an Unmentionable to understand.
- It was a beguiling theory that might have arisen in the minds of Wiglet and Waddy and, yes, even in the not overly exercised mind of Fred Colon, and as far as Vimes could understand it, it went like this:
1. Supposing the area behind the barricades was bigger than the area in front of the barricades, right?
2. Like, sort of, it had more people in it and more of the city, if you follow me.
3. Then, correct me if I'm wrong, sarge, but that'd mean in a manner of speaking we are now in front of the barricades, am I right?
4. Then, as it were, it's not like we're rebellin', is it? 'cos there's more of us, so the majority can't rebel, it stands to reason.
5. So that makes us the good guys. Obviously we've been the good guys all along, but now it'd be kind of official, right? Like, mathematical?
6. So we thought we'd push on to Short Street and then we could nip down into Dimwell and up the other side of the river...
7. Are we going to get into trouble for this, sarge?
8. You're looking at me in a funny way, sarge.
9. Sorry, sarge.
- Bleedwell had worn black. Assassins always did. Black was cool and, besides, it was the rules. But only in a dark cellar at midnight was black a sensible colour. Elsewhere, Vetinari preferred dark green, or shades of dark grey. With the right colouring, and the right stance, you vanished. People's eyes would help you vanish. They erased you from their vision, they fitted you into the background.
- Vetinari had done him a private honour, though. He had hunted down and melted the engraver's plates of Some Observations on the Art of Invisibility.
He tracked down the other four extant copies, too, but had felt unable to burn them. Instead he'd had the slim volumes bound together inside the cover of Anecdotes of the Great Accountants, Vol. 3. He felt that Lord Winstanleigh Greville-Pipe would rather appreciate that.
- There is no more time, even for cake. For you, the cake is over. You have reached the end of cake. - Death
- The sound of running feet indicated that Sergeant Detritus was bringing some of the latest trainees back from their morning run. He could hear the jody Detritus had taught them. Somehow, you could tell it was made up by a troll:
'Now we sing dis stupid song!'
'Sing it as we run along!'
'Why we sing dis we don't know!'
'We can't make der words rhyme prop'ly!'
'Er ... What?'
- It's ginger beer time!
- 'Yeah, all right, but everyone knows they torture people,' mumbled Sam.
'Do they?' said Vimes. 'Then why doesn't anyone do anything about it?'
''cos they torture people.'
- History finds a way. The nature of events had changed, but the nature of the dead had not. It had been a mean, shameful little fight that ended them, a flyspecked little footnote of history, but they hadn't been mean or shameful men. They hadn't run, and they could have run with honor. They'd stayed, and he wondered if the path had seemed as clear to them then as it did to him now. They'd stayed not because they wanted to be heroes, but because they choose to think of it as their job, and it was in front of them —
- Vetinari: "'You know, it has often crossed my mind that those men deserve a proper memorial of some sort."
Vimes: "Oh yes? In one of the main squares, perhaps?"
Vetinari: "Yes, that would be a good idea."
Vimes: "Perhaps a tableau in bronze? All seven of them raising the flag, perhaps?"
Vetinari: "Bronze, yes."
Vimes: "Really? And some sort of inspiring slogan?"
Vetinari: "Yes, indeed. Something like, perhaps, 'They Did The Job They Had To Do'?"
Vimes: "No. How dare you? How dare you! At this time! In this place! They did the job they didn't have to do, and they died doing it, and you can't give them anything. Do you understand? They fought for those who'd been abandoned, they fought for one another, and they were betrayed. Men like them always are. What good would a statue be? It'd just inspire new fools to believe they're going to be heroes. They wouldn't want that. Just let them be. For ever."
The Wee Free Men (2003)
- Sometimes Tiffany thought she was just a method of moving boots around.
- There was a gust of Jolly Sailor tobacco, and sheep, and turpentine.
Sparkling in the dark, light glittering off the white shepherdess dress and every blue ribbon and silver buckle of it, was Granny Aching, smiling hugely, radiant with pride. In one hand she held the huge ornamental crook, hung with blue bows.
She pirouetted slowly, and Tiffany saw that while she was a brilliant, sparkling shepherdess from hat to hem, she still had her huge old boots on.
- Tiffany had seen a picture of Klatch in the Almanack. It showed a camel standing in a desert. She'd only found out what both those names were because her mother told her. And that was Klatch, a camel in a desert. She'd wondered if there wasn't a bit more to it, but it seemed that "Klatch = camel, desert" was all anyone knew.
- "Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna be fooled again!"
- "You take the high road an' I'll take your wallet!"
- "We are a famously stealin' folk. Aren't we, lads? Whut's it we're famous for?"
"Stealin'!" shouted the blue men.
"And what else, lads?"
"And what else?"
"And what else?"
There was a certain amount of thought about this, but they all reached the same conclusion.
"Drinkin' and fightin'!"
"And there was summat else," muttered the twiddler. "Ach, yes. Tell the hag, lads!"
"Stealin' an' drinkin' an' fightin'!" shouted the blue men cheerfully.
- She opened her eyes and then, somewhere inside, opened her eyes again.
She heard the grass growing, and the sound of worms below the turf. She could feel the thousands of little lives around her, smell all the scents on the breeze, and see all the shades of the night.
The wheel of stars and years, of space and time, locked into place. She knew exactly where she was, and who she was, and what she was.
She swung a hand. The Queen tried to stop her, but she might as well have tried to stop a wheel of years. Tiffany's hand caught her face and knocked her off her feet.
“Now I know why I never cried for Granny,” she said. “She has never left me.”
She leaned down, and centuries bent with her.
“The secret is not to dream,” she whispered. “The secret is to wake up. Waking up is harder. I have woken up and I am real. I know where I come from and I know where I'm going. You cannot fool me anymore. Or touch me. Or anything that is mine.”
I'll never be like this again, she thought, as she saw the terror in the Queen's face. I'll never again feel as tall as the sky and as old as the hills and as strong as the sea. I've been given something for a while, and the price of it is that I have to give it back.
And the reward is giving it back, too. No human could live like this. You could spend a day looking at a flower to see how wonderful it is, and that wouldn't get the milking done. No wonder we dream our way through our lives. To be awake, and see it all as it really is … no one could stand that for long.
She took a deep breath and picked the Queen up. She was aware of things happening, of dreams roaring around her, but they didn't affect her. She was real and she was awake, more awake than she's ever been. She had to concentrate even to think against the storm of sensations pouring into her mind.
- This time it had been been magic. And it didn't stop being magic just because you found out how it was done.
- They didn't have to be funny — they were father jokes.
- The stories never said why she was wicked. It was enough to be an old woman, enough to be all alone, enough to look strange because you have no teeth. It was enough to be called a witch. If it came to that, the book never gave you the evidence of anything. It talked about "a handsome prince"... was he really, or was it just because he was a prince that people called handsome? As for "a girl who was as beautiful as the day was long"... well, which day? In midwinter it hardly ever got light! The stories don't want you to think, they just wanted you to believe what you were told...
- "Tell me why you still want to be a witch bearing in mind what happened to Mrs. Snapperly."
"So that sort of thing doesn't happen again." said Tiffany
- "If you trust in yourself ... and believe in your dreams...and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy."
- "Yes, but my father said that free advice often turns out to be expensive." Said Tiffany.
- Granny had smiled at the horizon, puffed at her pipe for a while, and replied: "A man who takes arms against his lord, that man is hanged. A starving man who steals his lord's sheep, that man is hanged. A dog that kills sheep, that dog is put to death. Those laws are of these hills and these hills are in my bones. What is a baron, that the law be brake for him?"
- Granny smoked her pipe and stared at the new lambs and said: "Ye speaks for your master, your master speaks for his dog. Who speaks for the hills? Where is the Baron, that the law be brake for him?"
- "Good. A law is brake by silver or gilt is no worthwhile law..."
- "This is the school, isn't it. The magic place? The world. Here. And you don't realize it until you look. Do you know the pictsies think this world is heaven? We just don't look. You can't give lessons on witchcraft. Not properly. It's all about who you are... you, I suppose."
- "The thing about witchcraft," said Mistress Weatherwax, "is that it's not like school at all. First you get the test, and then afterward you spend years findin' out how you passed it. It's a bit like life in the respect."
Monstrous Regiment (2003)
- Paul had wanted medals, because they were shiny. That'd been almost a year ago, when any recruiting party that came past went away with the best part of a battalion, and there had been people waving them off with flags and music. Sometimes, now, smaller parties of men came back. The lucky ones were missing only one arm or one leg. There were no flags.
- She unfolded the other piece of paper. It was a pamphlet. It was headed "From the Mothers of Borogravia!!" The mothers of Borogravia were very definite about wanting to send their sons off to war Against the Zlobenian Aggressor!! and used a great many exclamation points to say so. And this was odd, because the mothers in the town had not seemed keen on the idea of their sons going off to war, and positively tried to drag them back. Several copies of the pamphlet seemed to have reached every home, even so. It was very patriotic. That is, it talked about killing foreigners.
- He's dead. However, credit where it's due, he hasn't let that stop him.
- The interests of Ankh-Morpork are the interests of all money-lov — oops, sorry, all freedom-loving people everywhere.
- Most of the vampire families were highly nobby. You never knew who was connected to who... not just connected to who, in fact, but to whom. Whoms were likely to be far more trouble than your common everyday who.
- 'The great General Tacticus says that in dangerous times the commander must be like the eagle and see the whole, and yet still be like the hawk and see every detail.'
'Yessir,' said Jackrum, gliding the razor down a cheek. 'And if he acts like a common tit, sir, he can hang upside down all day and eat fat bacon.'
'Er...well said, sergeant.'
- '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.'
- Lieutenant Blouse was standing in the middle of the floor in his breeches and shirtsleeves, holding a sabre. Polly was no expert in these matters, but she thought she recognised the stylish, flamboyant pose as the one beginners tend to use just before they're stabbed through the heart by a more experienced fighter.
- 'Good evening, gentlemen!' said the vampire. 'Please pay attention. I am a reformed vampire, which is to say, I am a bundle of suppressed instincts held together with spit and coffee. It would be wrong to say that violent, tearing carnage does not come easily to me. It's not tearing your throats out that doesn't come easily to me. Please don't make it any harder.'
- 'What's abominable about the colour blue? It's just a colour! The sky is blue!'
'Yes, sir. Devout Nugganites try not to look at it these days. Um ...' Chinny had been trained as a diplomat. Some things he didn't like to say directly. 'Nuggan, sir ... um ... is rather ... tetchy,' he managed.
- You mean Nuggan objects to dwarfs, cats and the colour blue and there're more insane commandments?
- Yes, I think I can see why. So what we have here is a country that tries to run itself on the commandments of a god who, the people feel, may be wearing his underpants on his head. Has he Abominated underpants?
No, sir, Chinny sighed. But it's probably only a matter of time.
- All right, all right,' the sergeant said. Upon my oath, I am not a man to disobey orders. — And the eyes twinkled.
- Polly heard Tonker gasp. Strappi turned, eyes glinting with sinister anticipation. Oh, someone doesn't like being called a lady, eh?' he said. Dear me, Private Halter, you've got a lot to learn, haven't you? You're a sissy little lady until we make a man of you, right? And I dread to think how long that's going to take. Move!'
I know, thought Polly, as they set off. It takes about ten seconds, and a pair of socks. One sock, and you could make Strappi.
- When they were standing a little apart from the rest of the squad, Blouse lowered his voice and said: 'I don't wish to discourage initiative, Perks, but what are you doing?'
'Er . . . anticipating your orders, sir.'
'Ah. Right. This is still small-picture stuff, is it?'
- She'd larded it with as many 'sirs' as she dared. And she was very proud of 'anticipating your order'.
She hadn't heard Jackrum use it, but with a certain amount of care it was an excuse to do almost anything. 'General thrust' was pretty good, too.
- I want to eat chocolates in a great big room where the world is a different place.
William De WordeSomeone had crossed out the 't' in 'fret' and pencilled in an 'e' above it.
EDITOR, THE TIMES OF ANKH-MORPORK
'The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret'
Gleam Street, Ankh-Morpork c-mail: WDW@Times.AM
- 'Mr de Worde, you have I am sure heard the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword?'
De Worde preened a little. 'Of course, and I — '
'Do you want to test it? Take your picture, sir, and then my men will escort you back to your road.'
- The pencil was hovering. Around it, the world turned. It wrote things down, and then they got everywhere. The pen might not be mightier than the sword, but maybe the printing press was heavier than the siege weapon. Just a few words can change everything...
- And the new day was a great big fish.
- A woman always has half an onion left over, no matter what the size of the onion, the dish or the woman.
A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
- Wishes needed thought. She was never likely to say, out loud, 'I wish that I could marry a handsome prince,' but knowing that if you did you'd probably open the door to find a stunned prince, a tied-up priest and a Nac Mac Feegle grinning cheerfully and ready to act as Best Man definitely made you watch what you said.
- Admittedly — and it took some admitting — he was a lot less of a twit than he had been. On the other hand, there had been such a lot of twit to begin with.
- The beef stew tasted, indeed, just like beef stew and not, just to take an example completely and totally at random, stew made out of the last poor girl who'd worked here.
- 'Mistress Weatherwax is the head witch, then, is she?'
'Oh no!' said Miss Level, looking shocked. 'Witches are all equal. We don't have head witches. That's quite against the spirit of witchcraft.'
'Oh, I see,' said Tiffany.
'Besides,' Miss Level added, 'Mistress Weatherwax would never allow that sort of thing.'
- To be looked at by Annagramma was to know that you'd already taken up too much of her valuable time.
- 'I had a lot of voles last night,' said Mistress Weatherwax over her shoulder.
'Yes, but you didn't actually eat them, did you?' said Tiffany. 'It was the owl that actually ate them.'
'Technic'ly, yes,' Mistress Weatherwax admitted. 'But if you think you've been eating voles all night you'd be amazed how much you don't want to eat anything next morning. Or ever again.'
- "Ye've got tae let me go sooner or later, you big 'natomy!" yelled Rob Anybody. "And then ye're gonna get sich a kickin'!"
- "Young Toby? He's been dead for fifteen years. And Mary was the old man's daughter, she died quite young. Mr. Weavall is very shortsighted, but he sees better in the past."
Tiffany didn't know what to reply except: "It shouldn't be like this."
"There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do."
- "Why would you need my help?" asked Annagramma sulkily.
— We need allies, the hiver thought with Tiffany's mind. They can help protect us. If necessary, we can sacrifice them. Other creatures will always want to be friends with the powerful, and this one loves power —
- People didn't respect Miss Level. They liked her, in an unthinking sort of way, and that was it. Mistress Weatherwax was right, and Tiffany wished she wasn't.
"Why did you and Miss Tick send me to her, then?" she said.
"Because she likes people," said the witch, striding ahead. "She cares about 'em. Even the stupid, mean drooling ones, the mothers with the runny babies and no sense, the feckless and silly fools who treat her like some kind of a servant. Now that's what I call magic — seein' all that, dealin' with all that, and still goin' on."
- Do you know what it feels like to be aware of every star, every blade of grass? Yes. You do. You call it "opening your eyes again." But you do it for a moment. We have done it for eternity. No sleep, no rest, just endless... endless experience, endless awareness. Of everything. All the time. How we envy you, envy you! Lucky humans, who can close your minds to the endless deeps of space! You have this thing you call... boredom? That is the rarest talent in the universe! We heard a song — it went "Twinkle twinkle little star...." What power! What wondrous power! You can take a billion trillion tons of flaming matter, a furnace of unimaginable strength, and turn it into a little song for children! You build little worlds, little stories, little shells around your minds, and that keeps infinity at bay and allows you to wake up in the morning without screaming!
- "Is somethin' wrong?" said Daft Wullie.
"Aye!" snapped the kelda. "Rob willnae tak' a drink o' Special Sheep Liniment!"
Wullie's little face screwed up in instant grief.
"Ach, the Big Man's deid!" he sobbed. "Oh waily waily waily - "
"Will ye hush yer gob, ye big mudlin!" shouted Rob Anybody, standing up. "I am no' deid! I'm trying to have a moment o' existential dreed here, right? Crivens, it's a puir lookout if a man cannae feel the chilly winds o' Fate lashing aroound his nethers wi'out folks telling him he's deid, eh?"
Going Postal (2004)
- I believe in freedom, Mr. Lipwig. Not many people do, although they will, of course, protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.
- I told him, sir, that fruit baskets is like life — until you've got the pineapple off of the top you never know what's underneath.
- The Ankh-Morpork Central Post Office had a gaunt frontage. It was a building designed for a purpose. It was, therefore, more or less, a big box to employ people in, with two wings at the rear, which enclosed the big stable yard. Some cheap pillars had been sliced in half and stuck on the outside, some niches had been carved for some miscellaneous stone nymphs, some stone urns had been ranged along the parapet, and thus Architecture had been created.
- Always move fast, Mr Spools. You never know who's catching up!
- 'Yes, sir, we asked him about that, sir, but he said no, it wasn't. He said it provided' — his forehead wrinkled — 'occ-you-pay-shun-all ther-rap-py, healthy exercise, prevented moping and offered that greatest of all treasures which is Hope, sir.'
- After all, what could a master criminal buy? There was a shortage of seaside properties with real lava flows near a reliable source of piranhas...
- 'Oh, all right. Of course I accept as a natural born criminal, habitual liar, fraudster and totally untrustworthy perverted genius'. 'Capital! Welcome to government service!' said Lord Vetinari, 'I pride myself on being able to pick the right man.'
- They say that the prospect of being hanged in the morning concentrates a man's mind wonderfully; unfortunately what the mind inevitably concentrates on is that it is in a body, that, in the morning, is going to be hanged.
- 'Come on, Mr Spangler, you don't want me to get into trouble, do you?' said the hangman, patting him on the shoulder. 'Just a few words and then we can all get on with our lives. Present company excepted, obviously.'
- I commend my soul to any god that can find it.
- 'Work for wages, I realise the concept may not be familiar.' Only as a form of hell, Moist thought.
- Weapons raised the ante far too high. It was much better to rely on a gift for talking his way out of things, confusing the issue and, if that failed, some well-soled shoes and a cry of 'Look, what's over there!'
- What sort of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.
- Moist knew something about golems. They used to be baked out of clay, thousands of years ago, and brought to life by some kind of scroll put inside their heads, and they never wore out and they worked, all the time. You saw them pushing brooms, or doing heavy work in timber yards and foundries. Most of them you never saw at all. They made the hidden wheels go round, down in the dark. And that was more or less the limit of his interest in them. They were, almost by definition, honest.
But now the golems were freeing themselves. It was the quietest, most socially responsible revolution in history. They were property, and so they saved up and bought themselves.
- Mr Groat took a measured spoonful of tincture of rhubarb and cayenne pepper, to keep the tubes open, and checked that he still had the dead mole round his neck, to ward off any sudden attack of doctors. Everyone knew doctors made you ill, it stood to reason. Nature's remedies were the trick every time, not some hellish potion made of gods knew what.
- Speak softly and employ a huge man with a crowbar.
- 'Er..Mr Pump?'
'Yes, Mr Lipvig?' said the golem.
'Are you allowed to assist me in any way, or do you just wait around till it's time to hit me on the head?'
'There Is No Need For Hurtful Remarks, Sir. I Am Allowed To Render Appropriate Assistance.'
- The freedom to succeed goes hand in hand with the freedom to fail.
- Lord Vetinari
- Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?
- There was a party of well-dressed people with Gilt, and as they progressed across the room the whole place began to revolve around the big man, gold being very dense and having a gravity all of its own.
- Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show.
- There was a pregnant pause. It gave birth to a lot of little pauses, each one more deeply embarrassing than its parent.
- You had to admire the way perfectly innocent words were mugged, ravished, stripped of all true meaning and decency, and then sent to walk the gutter for Reacher Gilt, although "synergistically" had probably been a whore from the start
- You know how to pray, don´t you? Just put your hands together and hope.
- Vimes stared at [Detritus]. When I first met you, you were chained to a wall like a watchdog and didn't speak much beyond a grunt, he thought. Truly, the leopard can change his shorts.
- In one way or another, are we not all looking for our cow?
- 'Where is my Cow' advertisement on the back of the Thud! hardback cover.
- It goes baa, that is a sheep! That is not my cow!
- Vimes had never got on with any game much more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks round, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves.
- Good Morning, Insert Name Here! I am the Dis-Organizer Mark Five, "The Gooseberry"TM. How may I — ' it began, speaking fast in order to get as much said as possible before the inevitable interruption.
'I swear I switched you off,' said Vimes.
'You threatened me with a hammer,' said the imp accusingly, and rattled the tiny bars. 'He threatens state-of-the-Craft technomancy with a hammer, everybody!' it shouted. 'He doesn't even fill in the registration card! That's why I have to call him Insert Nam — '
- 'Then would you like to engage the handy-to-use BluenoseTM Integrated Messenger Service?'
'What does that do?' said Vimes with deep suspicion. The succession of Dis-Organizers he had owned had proved quite successful at very nearly sorting out all the problems that stemmed from owning them in the first place.
'Er, basically, it means me running with a message to the nearest clacks tower really fast,' said the imp hopefully.
'And do you come back?' said Vimes, hope also rising.
'Thank you, no,' said Vimes.
'How about a game of Splong!TM, specially devised for the Mark Five?' pleaded the imp. 'I have the bats right here. No? Perhaps you would prefer the ever-popular Guess My Weight in Pigs? Or I could whistle one of your favourite tunes? My iHumTM function enables me to remember up to one thousand five hundred of your all-time — '
- Good old Cheery. She knew what a Vimes BLT was all about. It was about having to lift up quite a lot of crispy bacon before you found the miserable skulking vegetables. You might never notice them at all.
- "You can't ask questions, it's magic. It doesn't explain anything, it's magic. You don't know where it comes from, it's magic! That's what I don't like about magic, it does everything by magic!" — Commander Vimes
- 'Yes, your grace. Nevetheless, I must represent the public interest here. I shall try not to be obtrusive. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? your grace.'
'I know that one,' said Vimes. 'Who watches the watchman? Me, Mr. Pessimal.'
'Ah, but who watches you, your grace?' said the inspector, with a brief smile.
'I do that, too. All the time,' said Vimes. 'Believe me.'
- All the city's departments got inspected from time to time, Vetinari had said. There was no reason why the Watch should be passed over, was there? It was, after all, a major drain on the city coffers.
Vimes had pointed out that a drain was where things went to waste.
Nevertheless, Vetinari had said. Just nevertheless. You couldn't argue with 'nevertheless'.
- 'Shoes, men, coffins... never accept the first one you see.'
- 'Where's my daddy? Is that my daddy? He goes "Buggrit! Millennium hand and shrimp!" That's Foul 'Ole Ron! That's not my daddy!' - Vimes' "street version" of Where's My Cow?
- [Sargent Colon] 'D'you know much about art, Nobby?'
`If necessary, sarge.'
`Oh, come on, Nobby!'
`What? Tawneee says what she does is Art, sarge. And she wears more clothes than a lot of the women on the walls around here, so why be sniffy about it?'
`Yeah, but. ..' Fred Colon hesitated here. He knew in his heart that spinning upside down around a pole wearing a costume you could floss with definitely was not Art, and being painted lying on a bed wearing nothing but a smile and a small bunch of grapes was good solid Art, but putting your finger on why this was the case was a bit tricky. `No urns,' he said at last.
`What urns?' said Nobby.
`Nude women are only Art if there's an urn in it,' said Fred Colon. This sounded a bit weak even to him, so he added, `or a plinth. Both is best, o'course. It's a secret sign, see, that they put in to say that it's Art and okay to look at.'
`What about a potted plant?'
`That's okay if it's in an urn.'
`What about if it's not got an urn or a plinth or a potted plant?' said Nobby.
`Have you one in mind, Nobby?' said Colon suspiciously.
`Yes, The Goddess Anoia  Arising from the Cutlery,' said Nobby. `They've got it here. It was painted by a bloke with three i's in his name, which sounds pretty artistic to me.'
`The number of i's is important, Nobby,' said Sergeant Colon gravely, `but in these situations you have to ask yourself: where's the cherub? If there's a little fat pink kid holding a mirror or a fan or similar, then it's still okay. Even if he's grinning. Obviously you can't get urns everywhere.'
 Anoia is the Ankh-Morpork Goddess of Things That Get Stuck in Drawers.
Where's My Cow? (2005)
- "Where's my daddy? Is that my daddy? It goes: 'I arrest you in the name of the Law!' That's my daddy!"
"Law," yawned Young Sam, falling asleep.
"That's my boy," said Sam Vimes, as he tucked him in.
- 'Ach, she's writ here: Oh, the dear Feegles ha' turned up again' he said. This was met with general applause.
'Ach, what a kind girl tae write that', said Billy BigChin. 'Can I see?'
He read: Oh dear, the Feegles have turned up again.
- There be a lot o' men who became heroes cuz they wuz too scared tae run!
- 'Er ... I dinnae wanta be a knee aboot this, but why is ye all here freezin' tae death?'
'Our oxen wandered off and, alas, the snow's too deep to walk through' said Mr Swinsley.
'Aye. But youse got a stove and all them dry ol' books,' said the dark figure.
'Yes, we know,' said the librarian looking puzzled.
There was the kind of wretched pause you get when two people aren't going to understand each other's point of view at all.
- 'This I choose to do,' she croaked her breath leaving little clouds in the air. She cleared her throat and started again. 'This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. If it is my death, I choose to die. Where this takes me, I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do.' It wasn't a spell, except in her head. But, as Granny Weatherwax said, if you can't make a spell work in your own head, what good is it?
- Witches usually wear black, but as far as she could tell the only reason that witches wore black was because they'd always worn black. This did not seem a good enough reason, so she tended to wear blue or green.
- 'When a bull coo meets a lady coo he disna have tae say, "My hert goes bang-bang-bang when I see your wee face," 'cuz it's kinda built intae their heads. People have it more difficult. Romancin' is verra important ye ken. Basically it's a way the boy can get close to the girl wi'oot her attackin' him and scratchin' his eyes oot.'
Making Money (2007)
- If I had "Drop you in it" as you say, you would know every meaning of the world "drop" and you would have an unenviable understanding of the word "it"
- Students, eh? Love 'em or hate 'em, you're not allowed to hit 'em with a shovel.
- 'There's no need to get hysterical,' said Adora Belle.
'Yes, there is! What there isn't a need for is staying calm!'
- 'The box exists in ten or possibly eleven dimensions. Practically anything may be possible.'
'Why only eleven dimensions?'
'We don't know,' said Ponder. 'It might be simply that more would be silly.'
- "If you are smoking, thank you for being beaten about the head"
- "I wonder ... Am I really a bastard or am I just really good at thinking like one?"
- Moist didn't like the sound of that, whatever it was. It didn't help that Adora Belle was smiling.
- "(...) true style comes from innate cunning and mendacity. You can't buy it."
- "Whole new theories of money were growing here like mushrooms, in the dark and based on bullshit."
- "Building a temple didn't mean you believed in gods, it just meant you believed in architecture."
- "I hate it when there are two four o'clocks in the same day."
- "He is as straight as a corkscrew."
"Yeah, he acts kind of curly, but he very well gets the cork out."
- "I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I said so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"It's the only one [Vetinari] needs.[...]"
- There's a woman downstairs waiting to see you Mr. Lipwig. We've thanked her for not smoking three times and she's still doing it!
Unseen Academicals (2009)
- The Patrician took a sip of his beer. "I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect I never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald, I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I'm sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged onto a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature's wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that's when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior."
- Technically, the city of Ankh-Morpork is a Tyranny, which is not always the same thing as a monarchy, and in fact even the post of Tyrant has been somewhat redefined by the incumbent, Lord Vetinari, as the only form of democracy that works. Everyone is entitled to vote, unless disqualified by reason of age or not being Lord Vetinari.
And yet it does work. This has annoyed a number of people who feel, somehow, that it should not, and who want a monarch instead, thus replacing a man who has achieved his position by cunning, a deep understanding of the realities of the human psyche, breathtaking diplomacy, a certain prowess with the stiletto dagger, and, all agree, a mind like a perfectly balanced circular saw, with a man who has got there by being born…
A third proposition, that the city be governed by a choice of respectable members of the community who would promise not to give themselves airs or betray the public trust at every turn, was instantly the subject of music-hall jokes all over the city.
- "I was remarking that tonight's Megapode was undoubtedly the finest on record, Archchancellor. It was Rincewind. The official Megapode headdress suited him very well, all things considered. I think he's gone for a lie down."
- It was amazing, he thought, how people would argue against figures on no better basis than "they must be wrong".
- "That is so", said Ponder, "but I'm afraid that is because [the Bursar] regards the decimal point as a nuisance."
- "My fare, lady?"
- There are those who say that sherry should not be drunk early in the morning. They are wrong.
- "[...] But if I was to suggest so much as an egg and spoon race these days [the Wizards]'d use the spoon to eat the egg."
- The other intru— customer was not much more than a boy and therefore likely to commit a crime any moment.
- "But I did not return until half past four this morning and I distinctly remember stubbing my toe on the stairs. I am as drunk as a skunk, Drumknott, which of course means skunks are just as drunk as I. I must say the term is unfamiliar to me, and I had not thought hitherto of skunks in this context, but Mustrum Ridcully was kind enough to enlighten me."
- Contrary to popular belief and hope, people don't usually come running when they hear a scream. That's not how humans work. Humans look at other humans and say, 'Did you hear a scream?' because the first scream might have been you screaming inside your head, or a horse backfiring.
- "I know none of us can help how we're made, but how come you've been made to look like a chicken?"
- "[The Smith]'s not speedin' nuffink on account of him just laminating his hand to the anvil."
- The singing of the National Anthem was always a ragged affair, the good people of Ankh-Morkpork feeling that it was unpatriotic to sing songs about how patriotic you were, taking the view that someone singing a song about how patriotic they were was either up to something or a Head of State¹.
¹ i.e. up to something.
- Ponder looked around until he saw Rincewind. "Professor Rincewind. You were, I mean you are, [the Librarian's] friend, can't you stick your fingers down his throat or something?"
"Well, no," said Rincewind. "I am very attached to my fingers and I like to think of them as attached to me."
- "Peace?" said Vetinari. "Ah, yes, defined as period of time to allow for preparation for the next war."
- "But here I am. You asked why I am strong? When I lived in the dark of the forge, I used to lift weights. The tongs at first, and then the little hammer and then the biggest hammer, and then one day I could lift the anvil. That was a good day. It was a little freedom."
"Why was it so important to lift the anvil?"
"I was chained to the anvil."
They walked on in silence again until Trev, picking each word with care, said, "I guess things must be sort of tough in the high country?"
"It is not so bad now, I think."
- "I don't think he's been poisoned."
"Why's that, Archchancellor?" said Ponder.
"Because if anyone has poisoned our Librarian, then, although I am not, by nature, a vindictive man, I will see to it that this university hunts down the poisoner by every thaumic, mystic and occult means available and makes the rest of their life not only as horrible as they can imagine it, but as horrible as I can imagine it. And you can depend on it, gentlemen, that I have already started work on it."
I Shall Wear Midnight (2010)
- And so here, where all you generally heard was the occasional scream of a buzzard, you heard the permanent scream of, well, everyone. It was called having fun.
- And today the sheep on the downs were left by themselves to do whatever it was that they did when they were by themselves, which would presumably be pretty much the same as they did if you were watching them.
- Everyone wants magic to exist, Tiffany thought to herself, and what can you say? No, there isn’t? Or: Yes, there is, but it’s not what you think? Everyone wants to believe that we can change the world by snapping our fingers.
- First Sight means that you can see what really is there, and Second Thoughts mean thinking about what you are thinking. And in Tiffany's case, there were sometimes Third Thoughts and Fourth Thoughts, although these were quite difficult to manage and sometimes led her to walk into doors.
- If you do not yet know who the Nac Mac Feegles are: 1) be grateful for your uneventful life; and 2) be prepared to beat a retreat if you hear anyone as high as your ankles shout "Crivens!" They are, strictly speaking, one of the faerie folk, but it is probably not a good idea to tell them this if you are looking forward to a future in which you still have your teeth.
- It was almost impossible to make a Feegle look sheepish, but Rob Anybody looked as if he was about to say 'Bah'.
- "Ah weel," said Rob Anybody, "ye are still our big wee hag."
"That may or may not be the case," said Tiffany haughtily, "but I am a lot more big and considerably less wee than I used to be."
"And a lot more hag," said a jolly voice. Tiffany did not have to look to know who was talking. Only Daft Wullie could put his foot in it as far up as his neck.
- Your power is only rumour and lies, she thought. You bore your way into people when they are uncertain and weak and worried and frightened, and they think their enemy is other people when their enemy is, and always will be, you - the master of lies. Outside, you are fearsome; inside, you are nothing but weakness.
- It is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse.
- Sybil leafed through a small pile of pastel envelopes that had been inserted into her breakfast tray. "Well, the news has got around," she said. "The Duchess of Keepsake has invited us to a ball, Sir Henry and Lady Withering have invited us to a ball, and Lord and Lady Hangfinger have invited us to, yes, a ball!"
"Well," said Vimes, "that's a lot of—"
"Don't you dare, Sam!" his wife warned and Vimes finished lamely, "...invitations? [...]"
- "Oh Hermione, she may be difficult as she has rather scandalized the family, at least in their opinion."
"She's a lumberjack."
Vimes thought for a moment and said, "Well, dear, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a man with a lot of wood must be in want of a wife who can handle a great big—"
- It was a far cry from the Vimes childhood, and playing poo sticks with real poo.
- "My grandfather always told me that if I saw a big pile of muck in a field I should kick it around a bit so as to spread it evenly, because that way all the grass will grow properly." Sybil smiled at Vimes's expression and said, "Well, it's true, dear. A lot of farming is about manure."
- That just goes to show that you never know, although what it is we never know I suspect we'll never know.
- Vimes said, "Do you serve anything that isn't alcoholic?"
[..] "Well, you see, sir, this is what we call a pub. People gets stuffy about it if I leaves out the alcohol."
- "I don't care to drink with them as grinds the faces of the poor!"
Vimes held his gaze, and said, "Sorry, I didn't bring my grinder with me today."
- "Of course, we went on trying, because that's the military way!"
"You mean, pile dreadful failure on top of failure?" said Vimes.
- "You know my position, Drumknott. I have no particular objection to people taking substances that make them feel better or more contented, or, for that matter, see little dancing purple fairies – or even their god if it comes to that. It’s their brain, after all, and society can have no claim on it, providing they’re not operating heavy machinery at the time."
- The City Watch appeared to contain at least one member of every known bipedal sapient species plus one Nobby Nobbs.
- some of the most terrible things in the world are done by people who think, genuinely think, that they’re doing it for the best, especially if there is some god involved.
- Whatever it was going to be it was going to be an occasion, and you would have been there and people would have seen you there and it was important and, therefore, so were you.
Raising Steam (2013)
- “The aristocrats, if such they could be called, generally hated the whole concept of the train on the basis that it would encourage the lower classes to move about and not always be available.”
- “It was like ... like wizardry, but without the wizards and the mess.”
- “Everything is magic when you don’t know what it is. Your sliding rule is a magic wand to most people.”
- “When the humours were handed out, Ankh-Morpork got the one for joking and Quirm had to do make do with their expertise in fine dining and love-making.”
- “Ankh-Morpork, the melting pot of the world, which occasionally runs foul of lumps that don't melt.”
- “I have to ask, sir...Why does it have to be done like this?"
Vetinari smiled. "Can you keep a secret, Mister Lipwig?"
"Oh, yes, sir. I've kept lots."
"Capital. And the point is, so can I. You do not need to know.”
- “It appears, Mister Lipwig, that you do not understand the nature of our relationship. I ask, very politely, for you to achieve something, bearing in mind that there are other ways I could ask, and it is your job to get things done.”
Other Discworld works
Theatre of Cruelty (1993)
- "I call it highly suspicious, being dead like that. He's been drinking, too. We could do him for being dead and disorderly."
- 'Now I know you saw something, sir,' [Corporal Carrot] said. 'You were there.'
Well, yes, said Death. I have to be, you know. But this is very irregular.
Death and What Comes Next (1998)
- The concept you put before me proves the existence of two hitherto mythical places. Somewhere, there is a world where everyone made the right choice, the moral choice, the choice that maximised the happiness of their fellow creatures, of course, that also means that somewhere else is the smoking remnant of the world where they did not...
- Let me put forward another suggestion: That you are nothing more than a lucky species of ape that is trying to understand the complexities of creation via a language that evolved in order to tell one another where the ripe fruit was?
- I see you...
- "Explain to him that we don't do things, Stibbons," said the Lecturer in Recent Runes. "We are academics."
- "Ridiculous!" said the Dean. "Forty per cent duffers?"
"Exactly!" said the Archchancellor. "That means we'd have to find enough clever people to make up over half the student intake! We'd never manage it. If they were clever already, they wouldn't need to go to university! No, we'll stick to an intake of 100 per cent young fools, thank you. Bring 'em in stupid, send them away clever, that's the UU way!"
- "Yes, but we soon disabuse them of that," said the Dean happily. "What is a university for if it isn't to tell you that everything you think you know is wrong?"
"Well put, that man!" said Ridcully. "Ignorance is the key! That's how the Dean got where he is today!"
- "Really? Good idea," said Ridcully, a gleam in his eye. "And are we to take it that for his part he intends to make a point of hirin' clerks who aren't very good at sums and file everythin' under 'S' for 'stuff'?"
- "Put it on the agenda for this time next year, Mr Stibbons, will you? No, perhaps the year after next. Yes, that might be better. You can't hurry urgency, I've always said so."
The Discworld Companion (1994, 1997, 2003)
- There are no inconsistencies in the Discworld books, merely alternative pasts.
Discworld (Reformed) Vampyre's Diary 2003
- Thought for the week
Remember, ve are not bloodsuckers.
What is missing from *AMPY*ISM? V R! - 1–5 Offle
The Discworld Almanak - The Year of The Prawn (2004)
- If the Swan be nesting high, then floods are expected; if only the head of the Swan may be seen, they have arrived abruptly. -
- 1. All fungi are edible.
2. Some fungi are not edible more than once.
The Science of Discworld (1999)
- With magic, you can turn a frog into a prince. With science, you can turn a frog into a Ph.D and you still have the frog you started with.
- Magicians and scientists are, on the face of it, poles apart. Certainly, a group of people who often dress strangely, live in a world of their own, speak a specialized language and frequently make statements that appear to be in flagrant breach of common sense have nothing in common with a group of people who often dress strangely, speak a specialized language, live in ... er ...
- On Roundworld, things happen because the things want to happen.†
- † In a manner of speaking. They happen because things obey the rules of the universe. A rock has no detectable opinion about gravity.
- Sometimes, the best answer is a more interesting question.
- This was turning out to be the longest winter in living memory, so long, in fact, that living memory itself was being shortened as some of the older citizens succumbed.
- 'Where did you get the idea for this, Mister Stibbons?' said Ridcully.
'Well, er, a lot of it is from my own research, but I got quite a few leads from careful reading of the Scrolls of Loko in the Library, sir.'
[...]'Loko...Loko...Loko,' mused Ridcully. 'That's up in Uberwald, isn't it?'
'That's right, sir.'
'Tryin' to bring it to mind,' Ridcully went on, rubbing his beard. 'Isn't that where there's that big deep valley with the ring of mountains round it? Very deep valley indeed, as I recall.'
'That's right, sir. According to the library catalogue the scrolls were found in a cave by the Crustley Expedition-'
'Lots of centaurs and fauns and other curiously shaped magical whatnots are there, I remember reading.'
'Is there, sir?'
'Wasn't Stanmer Crustley the one who died of planets?'
'I'm not familiar with-'
'Extremely rare magical disease, I believe.'
'Indeed sir, but-'
'Now I come to think about it, everyone on that expedition contracted something seriously magical within a few months of getting back,' Ridcully went on.
'Er, yes, sir. The suggestion was that there was some kind of curse on the place. Ridiculous notion, of course.'
- "I somehow feel I need to ask, Mister Stibbons...what chance is there of this just blowin' up and destroyin' the entire university?'
Ponder's heart sank. He mentally scanned the sentence, and took refuge in the truth. 'None, sir.'
'Now try honesty, Mister Stibbons.'
[...] 'Well...in the unlikely event of it going seriously wrong, it...wouldn't just blow up the university, sir.'
'What would it blow up, pray?'
'Everything there is, you mean?'
'Within a radius of about fifty thousand miles out into space, sir, yes. According to Hex, it'd happen instantanously. We wouldn't even know about it.'
'And the odds of this are...?'
'About fifty to one, sir.'
The wizards relaxed.
'That's pretty safe. I wouldn't bet on a horse at those odds,' said the Senior Wrangler.
- As yet unmeasured, but believed to be faster than light owing to its ability to move so quickly out of light's way.
- On the speed of Dark
- As humans, we have invented lots of useful kinds of lie. As well as lies-to-children ('as much as they can understand') there are lies-to-bosses ('as much as they need to know') lies-to-patients ('they won't worry about what they don't know') and, for all sorts of reasons, lies-to-ourselves. Lies-to-children is simply a prevalent and neccesary kind of lie. Universities are very familiar with bright, qualified school-leavers who arrive and then go into shock on finding that biology or physics isn't quite what they've been taught so far. 'Yes, but you needed to understand that,' they are told, 'so that now we can tell you why it isn't exactly true.' Discworld teachers know this, and use it to demonstrate why universities are truly storehouses of knowledge: students arrive from school confident that they know very nearly everything, and they leave years later certain that they know practically nothing. Where did the knowledge go in the meantime? Into the university, of course, where it is carefully dried and stored.
- 'We've got about ten seconds to the next discharge, sir,' said Ponder. 'Only...now that the balls have gone it will simply earth itself...'
'Ah. Oh. Really? Well, then...' Ridcully looked around at his fellow wizards as the walls began to shake again. 'It's been nice knowing you. Some of you. One or two of you, anyway...'
The whine of increasing magic rose in pitch.
The Dean cleared his throat.
'I'd just like to say, Mustrum,' he began.
'Yes, old friend?'
'I'd just like to say...I think I'd have made a much better Archchancellor than you.'
- 'And the Dean stirred it up,' the Senior Wrangler went on.
'That's right!' said the Dean. 'That means I'm sort of a god.'
'Waggling your fingers around and saying "oo, it prickles" is not godliness,' said Ridcully severely.
- 'My hypothesis, for what it's worth,' said the Lecturer in Recent Runes, 'is that since it was all started off by the Dean, a certain Dean-like tendency may have imparted itself to the ensuing...er...developments.'
'What? You mean we've got a huge windy universe with a tendency to sulk?'
'Thank you, Archchancellor,' said the Dean.
'I was referring to the predilection of matter to...er...accrete into...er...spherical shapes.'
'Like the Dean, you mean.' said Archchancellor.
'I can see I'm among friends here,' said the Dean.
- 'I would just like to point out, Dean, that it was not a very funny joke to begin with. It was a pathetic attempt, Dean, at dragging a sad laugh out of a simple figure of speech. Only four-year-olds and people with a serious humour deficiency keep on and on about it. I just wanted to bring this out in the open, Dean, calmly and in the spirit of reconciliation, for your own good, in the hope that you may be made well. We are all here for you, although I can't imagine what you are here for.'
- 'I think it looks more like a Hogswatchnight ornament,' said the Senior Wrangler later, as the wizards took a pre-dinner drink and stared into the omniscope at the glittering white world. 'Quite pretty, really.'
'Bang go the blobs,' said Ponder Stibbons.
'Phut,' said the Dean cheerfully. 'More sherry, Archchancellor?'
'Perhaps some instability in the sun...' Ponder mused.
'Made by unskilled labour,' said Archchancellor Ridcully. 'Bound to happen sooner or later. And then it's nothing but frozen death, the tea-time of the gods and an eternity of cold.'
'Sniffleheim,' said the Dean, who'd got to the sherry ahead of everyone else.
- Ponder was working the Rules again. Now they read:
1 Things fall apart, but centres hold
2 Everything moves in curves
3 You get balls
4 Big balls tell space to bend
5 There are no turtles anywhere
(after this one he'd added Except ordinary ones)
6 Life turns up everywhere it can
7 Life turns up everywhere it can't
8 There is something like narrativium
9 There may be something called bloodimindium (see rule 7)
- 'Well, what is it achieving? I mean, really? Y'know, I thought, all you had to do is get a world working, and before you could say "creation" there'd be some creature who'd stand up, getting a grip on its surroundings, gaze with a certain amount of intelligence and awe at the infinite sky and say - '
' - that thing's getting bigger, I wonder if it's going to hit us,' said Rincewind.
'Rincewind, that remark was extremely cynical and accurate.'
- 'Did you see the weather report for this world?' said Rincewind, waving his hands in the air. 'Two miles of ice, followed by a light shower of rocks, with outbreaks of choking fog for the next thousand years? There will be widespread vulcanism as half a continent's worth of magma lets go, followed by a period of mountain building? And that's normal.'
'Yes, well -'
'Oh yes, there are some nice quiet periods, everything settles down, and then - whammo!'
'There's no need to get so excited -"
'I've been here!' said Rincewind. 'This is how this place works! And now, please, you tell me how, I mean how, can anything living on this world possibly mess it up? I mean, compared to what happens anyway?' He paused, and gulped air. 'I mean, don't get me wrong, if you pick the right time, yes, sure, it's a great world for a holiday, ten thousand years, even a few million if you're lucky with the weather but, good grief, it's just not a serious proposition for anything long term. It's a great place to grow up on, but you wouldn't want to live here. If anything's got off, the best of luck to them.'
- Eden and Camelot, the wonderous garden-worlds of myth and legend, are here now. This is about as good as it ever gets. Mostly, it's a lot worse. And it won't stay like this for very long.
- Rincewind: 'This world is an anvil. Everything here is between a rock and a hard place. Every single thing on it is the descendant of creatures that have survived everything the world could throw at them. I just hope they never get angry.... '
- If you gave a man a fat woman, he'd just have a fat woman for a day, but if you helped a man become very important because he knew the secret of buffaloes and fish, he could get himself as many fat women as he wanted.
- Chapter 23
- Elf Queen: You have forgotten that there is no narrativium in this world. It does not know how stories should go. Here the third son of a king is probably just a useless weak prince. Here, there are no heroes, only degrees of villainy. An old lady gathering wood in the forest is just an old lady and not, as in your world, almost certainly a witch. Oh, there's a belief in witches. But a witch here is merely a method of ridding society of burdensome old ladies and an inexpensive way of keeping the fire going all night. Here, gentlemen, good does not ultimately triumph at the expense of a few bruises and a non-threatening shoulder wound. Here, evil is generally defeated by a more organized kind of evil. My world, gentlemen. Not yours. Good day to you.
- Discworld is real. It's the way worlds should work. Admittedly, it is flat and goes through space on the back of four elephants which stand on the shell of a giant turtle, but consider the alternatives.
Consider, for example, a globular world, a mere crust upon an inferno of molten rock and iron. An accidental world, made of the wreckage of old stars, the home of life which, nevertheless, in a most unhomely fashion, is regularly scythed from its surface by ice, gas, inundation or falling rocks travelling at 20,000 miles an hour.
- The thing about best laid plans is that they don't often go wrong. They sometimes go wrong, but not often, because of having been, as aforesaid, the best laid. The kind of plans made by wizards, who barge in, shout a lot, try to sort it all out by lunchtime and hope for the best, on the other hand...well, they go wrong almost instantly.
- There is a kind of narrativium on Roundworld, if you really look.
On Discworld, the narrativium of a fish tells it that it is a fish, was a fish, and will continue to be a fish. On Roundworld, something inside a fish tells it that it is a fish, was a fish...and might eventually be something else...
- It is always useful for a university to have a Very Big Thing. It occupies the younger members, to the relief of their elders (especially if the VBT is based at some distance from the seat of learning itself) and it uses up a lot of money which would otherwise only lie around causing trouble or be spent by the sociology department or, probably, both. It also helps to push back boundaries, and it doesn't much matter what boundaries these are, since as any researcher will tell you it's the pushing that matters, not the boundary.
It's a good idea, too, if it's a bigger VBT than anyone else's and, in particular, since this was Unseen University, the greatest magical university in the world, if it's a bigger one than the one those bastards are building at Braseneck College.
'In fact,' said Ponder Stibbons, Head of Inadvisably Applied Magic, 'theirs is really only a QBT, or Quite Big Thing. Actually, they've had so many problems with it, it's probably only a BT!'
The senior wizards nodded happily.
- [...]In that world as we left it, the first humans walked on the Moon is less than seventy years after they flew at all.'
Ponder looked at their blank faces.
'Which was quite an achievement,' he said.
'Why? We've done that,' said the Dean.
Ponder sighed. 'Things are different on a globe, sir. There are no broomsticks, no magic carpets, and going to the Moon is not just a case of pushing off over the edge and trying to avoid the Turtle on the way down.'
'How did they do it, then?' said the Dean.
'Using rockets, sir.'
'The things that go up and explode with lots of coloured lights?'
'Initially sir, but fortunately they found out how to stop them doing that.'
- +++ I am sorry. It is hard to convey five-dimensional ideas in a language evolved to scream defiance at the monkeys in the next tree. +++
- 'Collecting was enormous popular among the English of this century. Bones, shells, butterflies, birds, other people's countries...'
- There are quite a lot of reasons why that course of action might not, with ease, be rescued in any coherent way from the category of the insanely unwise, Dean.
- Ponder Stibbons, in Ch. 11
- 'That would be unethical, Dean,' said Ridcully.
'Why? We're the Good Guys, aren't we?'
'Yes, but that rather hinges on doing certain things and not doing others, sir', said Ponder. 'Playing around with other people's heads against their will would almost certainly be one of the nots.'
- Ch. 11
- This mission had created a difficult decision for Rincewind, when he'd been presented with the task of preventing Charles Darwin being stung to death by wasps. Right from the start it was obvious that Darwin would see him, and if Rincewind was invisible the wasps wouldn't see him. He'd therefore undertaken the mission carrying two buckets of warm jam and wearing a pink tutu, an acid-green wig, and a red nose, reasoning that (a) Darwin wouldn't believe that he had seen him and in any case (b) wouldn't dare tell anyone...
- Rincewind reappeared above the lawn, and rolled expertly when he hit the ground. Other wizards, nothing like so experienced at dealing with the vicissitudes of the world, lay about groaning or staggered around uncertainly.
'It wears off,' he said, as he stepped over them. 'You might throw up a bit at first. Other symptoms of rapid cross-dimensional travel are short-term memory loss, ringing in the ears, constipation, diarrhoea, hot flushes, confusion, bewliderment, a morbid dread of feet, disorientation, nose bleeds, ear twinges, grumbling of the spleen, widgeons, and short-term memory loss.'
- Most of Mount Impossible was hollow. You need a lot of space when you are trying to devise a dirigible whale.
'It really should work,' said the God of Evolution, over tea. 'Without that heavy blubber and with an inflatable skeleton of which, I must say I am rather proud, it should do well on the routes of migratory birds. Larger maw, of course. Note the cloud-like camouflage, obviously required. Lifting is produced via bacteria in the gut which produce elevating gases. The dorsail sail and the flattened tail give a reasonable degree of steerability. All in all, a good piece of work. My main problem is devising a predator. The sea-air ballistic shark has proved quite unsatisfactory. I don't know if you might have any suggestions, Mr. Darwin?'
Ponder looked at Darwin. The poor man, his face grey, was staring up at the two whales who were crusing gently near the roof of the cave.
The Darwin family motto:
cave et aude.
Watch, and listen
Discworld (Trouble With Dragons)
When the player clicks on Rincewind
"Hands off my pixels!"
"Who do you think you're poking? I'm a great wizard, I am! I'll turn you into a mindless ugly toad (second passes) gosh! it worked!"
"I'm not a cartoon! I'm just dimensionally impaired."
"Please, don't stare, I'm rather shy."
"Of course it's me! Who were you expecting? Death?
"That's it! Poke a man in the ribs! let's see what you can do without it! (cursor disappears for a few seconds) oh, all right! you can have it back if you promise to use it wisely.
"If only I had another dimension, I'd teach you a thing or two."
When examining the Luggage
"Where'd you put all that stuff?"
"Luggage! *whistles* here! Luggage!"
"Oy! heel! heel! down! I'm sorry, he normally never does this"
"Why can't I just have an Inventory Window like everybody else?"
When examining certain items
(when examining the pond) "actually it's been a while since I had a bath."
(when examining the sleeping luggage) a snoring chest? that's novel! well, I'll soon fix that.
(when examining the Unseen University gate) "now where's the doorknob then? how can you have a door this big without a knob?
(when examining the Apprentice) good grief! and I thought the apprentices were all kept tied to stakes.
(when examining the Unseen University from outside) ah ha! good old Unseen U! I wonder if the walls are this high to keep what's outside from getting in, and what's inside from getting out?
(when examining a doorway) Ah. Portallus Exitus. Or, the common doorway. You see? I'm not a wizard for nothing!
(when examining the 'shape' out his window) yes, a mysterious shape, a sinister shape, a shape fraught with, with, shapeness. it must be a plot element, otherwise there would be a better label
(when examining the Archchancellor) as far as leaders go, the only reason I'd follow him into battle is out of curiousity.
(when examining the frozen book) hmm.. 'sex magic' no wonder it's on ice.
(when examining the floating book acting like a guard dog) ahh, let's not press this curiousity thing too far then shall we?
(when examining the Librarian) Actually, on close examination, this would seem to be some sub-tropical boborial ape.
(when examining a staue) Actually, this one is not a statue, it used to be a frog outside in the pond. Oh, well, he should never have asked to be turned into a hansome plinth.
(When examining the lamp) Illumination? how marvellous! we have all the comforts of home!
(When examining the shelves) It's hard to keep staff in this place, hard to keep them human anyway.
(when Examining the bananas) Actually, I've always pictured bananas as being a healthier kind of yellow.
Rincewind: hi! you don't mind if I monkey about in the Library for while? (gets hit in the head by the Librarian) did you get the number off that donkey cart?
Rincewind: may I take a book from the Library please?
Librarian: ook! ook!
Rincewind: excuse me?
Librarian: ook! ook ee!
Rincewind: I see, um, I need something in order to take out a book.
Librarian: ook ook
Rincewind: toothpaste? fingers? gloves? something in your hand?
Librarian: ook ook
Rincewind: A dentest? Hypitosis? you want some mouthwash, that's it, you want some mouthwash, I'm sorry, but I'm already spoken for.
Rincewind: oh! a library card! well why didn't you say so in the first place? well why didn't you say so in the first place? what happens if just barge in without giving you a Library card? yes, well look, unfortunately, I don't have one, ape.
Rincewind: ape, on ya, upon my person, yes, upon my person, whew! I didn't say monkey! (gets hit in the head by the Librarian) did you get the number off that donkey cart?
Rincewind (Referring to the bag of prunes): Can I have one before I go?
Apprentice: Having one before you go is the whole point of prunes! And no, you can't.
Fat Palace Guard: Clear off, you! Every time you come around, you start trouble.
Rincewind: Who, me?
Discworld II (Missing presumed...?!)aka Mortality Bites!
When the player clicks on Rincewind
"Rincewind: Homo-Sapien Sorcerus Iritablus. In reality I'm a full foot taller, bronzed and rippling with muscles but it's been a hard night for the artist."
"Honestly, some people. You give someone a tool and they spend the next 10 years of their life just playing with it. Doesn't anyone around here have a sense of purpose? A sensible grip on life?!"
"It's me! It was me five minutes ago. And it'll still be me the next time you look, too."
When examining certain items or people
(when examining Granny Weatherwax)
"Granny Weatherwax: A tough lady this one. Best to let her get the beauty sleep she so obviously needs."
(when examining the Imp's steel-toed boots)
"Hmm. Those boots have steel caps on the end. Very...large, metal toecaps. Look, what do you want me to do? Shout out the word "hint"?!"
(when examining a Bunsen Burner)
"What's a "Bunsen" anyway? And why would you want to burn one?"
(when examining a mouse)
"I shall love him and squeeze him and name him George! Or something like that."
(when examining a pint of beer)
"A beer, with some amoeba's on a stick. Ooh, look! Some of them are waving!"
(when examining a Pot of ancient glue)
"Hey, this stuff's guaranteed to last 1000 years, so if it fails then you can take it back and complain."
(when examining a pillar)
"It's a pillar not a pillow!"
(when examining the man selling camels)
"*Sigh* It's the heat you know, it really does thing to a man's uh...a man's.....*Squeak*?"
When leaving a conversation
"Sorry, but I think it's about time for me to take my medicine."
(Acting in his own Moving Picture) "Now is the winter of our discontent, made all the more dreary for the lack of death. Oooh! To be, or not to be, that is the question. Whether to be extremely cool, reach the height of fashion and snuff it or to keep drawing breath and lose all fashion sense forever more."
(Acting in his own Moving Picture after being hit on the head a few times) "Now is the winter of the tents, er, the discontent, made all the more dreary for the lack of, of, uh, death. Oooh! To be, or not to be, that's the question! Whether to be extremely cold, reach the heights of fashion and, and sniffing or to keep drawing breath and lose all fashion sense forever more."
It's not true that thaumic radiation damages the *Bark* brain! I've been exposed for months and every day and in every way, I am getting better and better and better! They laughed at me and said I was mad you know. Have a nice day! Have a nice day! Have real, real, real nice night, no day *woof* haha!
Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead, bring out yer living dead!
Dibbler: Banged grains, lovingly swept off the warehouse floor.
St. Ungalant (Who appears to be talking to an invisible person called "Angus")
Angus! Don't put those in there, you know they breed like flies!
Oh, they are flies! Well, bring the popcorn and we'll watch them!
Death: I'm about to have a chunder in a minute.
Rincewind: A chunder? What's a chunder?
Death: I don't know, but it sounds interesting.
Rincewind: HEX, please can you tell me the answer to the question "why"?
HEX rattles for a bit and then goes silent.
Skazz: It make take some time for HEX to come up with the answer.
Rincewind: How long will this take?
(Skazz pulls out a small stone circle and uses it like a calculator)
Skazz: Lets see...I think it'll take a few aeons.
Skazz: Nope. Aeons or age of the world, probably about 2 million years. would you like a cup of something while you wait?
Skazz: Ah, I don't think we have any of that in stock.
Skazz: (reading out the answer to the question "why") It says "because" and then it says: blip blip blip Out Of Cheese Error blip blip blip Unrecoverable Application Error blip blip blip Cannot Find Drive Z blip blip blip Please Reboot Universe blip blip blip Redo From Start blip blip blip.
Rincewind: Oh blip!
Mrs.Cake: Is it? ooh, I havn't been outside.
Rincewind: Hello there, nice day! Eh?
Mrs.Cake: What? How dare you!
Rincewind: I believe you're fouling up this whole conversation!
Mrs.Cake: What do you mean "how do I do it"?
Rincewind: You really are messing up this whole conversation. How are you managing to do it?
Mrs.Cake: Why, yes I am actually. Why, does it show?
Rincewind: She's telling me the answers before I even know what I'm gonna say! Is she a clairvoyant?
Mrs.Cake: Well, I'm glad we can put that whole messy business behind us. I'm sorry, sometimes I forget I've left it on you see.
Rincewind: Hello there, nice day! Oh, dammit! We're back here again!
Mrs.Cake: What? Hang on, I'll just turn my precognition off. (Turns it off) That's much better.
Mrs.Cake: Quite well, thank you. Well go on, ask it. I get a migraine if people don't ask the right questions once the answers have come.
Rincewind: Hello Mrs.Cake, how are you?
Mrs.Cake: That's better.
(Rincewind climbs out of the ship's cargo bay, where all the corpes are held)
Rincewind(To Pirate): Um, Hello there, I say!
Pirate: Aaaahhhh!!! It be the dreaded pirate orange beard, back from Davie Jones's bathroom!
(Jumps off the ship and into the sea)
Rincewind: Why is it that everyone I meet seems to be either mad or want to kill me? Anyway, it seems I'm in control now.
Everyone on the Disc knows the legend of Elenor of Tsort. Or at least everyone knows a legend of Elenor of Tsort. Or Crinix. Or Elharib.
Ask most people and they'll tell you she was the cause of the Tsortean Wars. Of course, ask most people and they'll tell you the Patrician is a kind and benevolent man. Never trust what most people tell you.
The real cause of the Tsortean Wars was a little known goddess called Errata. It was at the wedding of Pyloria and Theta (or Pyramus and Phrisby. Or Orphrey and Euripus. It depends who you talk to, really).
Suffice it to say that being the goddess of Misunderstanding she wasn't especially popular and it didn't take much to prevent her from being invited to weddings, which didn't please Errata at all, and so she devised a cunning plan to take vengeance.
She got Neoldian, Blacksmith of the gods, to make a golden falchion and told him to engrave on the blade of the sword, "For the strongest."
The resulting fight between almost eighty War gods would have ruined the wedding had Neoldian not inadvertently engraved,
LAGUNCULAE LEYDIANAE NON ACCEDUNT (which roughly translates to "Batteries not included")
Fortunately for Errata, an argument broke out between Patina, goddess of Wisdom (who claimed the sword was a subtly observed metaphor for the hopelessness of existence), and Cephut, god of Cutlery (who claimed it was a big knife). The argument went on for so long that a passing dog managed to borrow the falchion and go on a short quest, returning as the god of Canines and Unlikely Subplots in Legends before anyone noticed.
In the end, it became so heated that Astoria, goddess of love, bribed Rhome of Tsort (or Ephebe. Or no fixed abode) to steal the falchion and hide it just to shut her sister up. In return Astoria gave Elenor to Rhome (even though she wasn't hers to give, which was typical of the gods) and the resulting extra-marital confusion blew up into the Tsortean Wars.
In the carnage that followed, the Tsortean Falchion was lost, perhaps forever...
Lewton: I've had some bad days since I started work as a private investigater. But I've never woken up dead before.
Lewton: [upon using Crowbar on characters] Tempting as it was, I decided not to go round hitting people with a crowbar.
Lewton: The river Ankh - probably the only river in the universe on which it is possible to chalk the outline of a corpse.
Mr Scoplett: Well, Im afraid my memory isnt very good... I need... Something to jog it...
Lewton: ...Would a crowbar work?
Lewton: I tried to forget you. I tried to forget the day you left. I tried to forget the good times. I tried to drown your memory in cheap whiskey.
Ilsa: And did you forget?
Lewton: I don't remember.