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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.
- The Colour of Magic (1983)
- The Light Fantastic (1986)
- Equal Rites (1987)
- Mort (1987)
- Sourcery (1988)
- Wyrd Sisters (1989)
- Pyramids (1989)
- Guards! Guards! (1989)
- Moving Pictures (1990)
- Reaper Man (1991)
- Witches Abroad (1991)
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)
- So much of animal life is the recognition of pattern, the shapes of hunter and hunted. To the casual eye the forest is, well, just forest; to the eye of the dove it is so much unimportant fuzzy green background to the hawk which you did not notice on the branch of a tree. To the tiny dot of the hunting buzzard in the heights, the whole panorama of the world is just a fog compared to the scurrying prey in the grass. (p. 62)
- 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.
- "Like what?"
- "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?"
- Brutha laughed.
- "You know," he said, "I don't think I believe in anything any more."
- "Except me!"
- "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)
- "But you have thousands," said the Newt God. "You fight for thousands."
- Om rubbed his forehead. I spend too long down there, he thought. I can't stop thinking at ground level.
- "I think," he said, "I think, if you want thousands, you have to fight for one." (p. 346)
- "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)
- The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness. (p. 33-34)
- 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.
- Everything did.
- 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.
- They say:
- 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!
- Yrs sincerely
- 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)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in July 2000 by Harper Torch ISBN 0-06-105764-9
- People healed, books didn't. (p. 5)
- 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. (p. 6)
- Hmm. Going thin on top. Definitely a receding scalp there. Less hair to comb but, on the other hand, more face to wash... (p. 8)
- Vimes was good at making the kind of rich enemies who could afford to employ assassins. The assassins had to be lucky only once, but Vimes had to be lucky all the time. (p. 19)
- "All right," he said. "So sometimes it's an easy answer. But sometimes it isn't. Sometimes we don't even know if it was the right question." (p. 22)
- "We're just one big family and, when you've been to a few domestic disputes, Littlebottom, I can assure you that you'll see the resemblance." (p. 22)
- 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 into it sideways. (p. 45)
- People kept on talking about the true king of Ankh-Morpork, but history taught a cruel lesson. It said—often in words of blood—that the true king was the one who got crowned. (p. 50)
- Who was she kidding? It was easy to be a vegetarian by day. It was preventing yourself becoming a humanitarian at night that took the real effort. (p. 59)
- 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. (pp. 66-67)
- Lord Vetinari represented stability. It was a cold and clinical kind of stability, but part of his genius was the discovery that stability was what people wanted more than anything else.
- He'd said to Vimes once, in this very room, standing at this very window: "They think they want good government and justice for all, Vimes, yet what is it they really crave, deep in their hearts? Only that things go on as normal and tomorrow is pretty much like today." (p. 75; see also p. 191)
- Royalty was like dandelions. No matter how many heads you chopped off, the roots were still there underground, waiting to spring up again. (p. 77)
- 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. (pp. 77-78)
- It didn't matter what a bunch of deranged romantics thought. Facts were facts. (p. 81)
- Vimes reached behind the desk and picked up a faded copy of Twurp's Peerage or, as he personally thought of it, the guide to the criminal classes. You wouldn't find slum-dwellers in these pages, but you would find their landlords.
- 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. (p. 83)
- "How is his lordship?"
- "Stable," said Littlebottom.
- "Dead is stable," said Vimes. (p. 86)
- Normal people don't become policemen. (p. 93)
- In a way, it didn't matter who they were. In fact, their anonymity was part of the whole business. They thought themselves part of the march of history, the tide of progress and the wave of the future. They were men who felt that The Time Had Come. Regimes can survive barbarian hordes, crazed terrorists, and hooded secret societies, but they're in real trouble when prosperous and anonymous men sit around a big table and think thoughts like that. (p. 119)
- "Well, well, well. What a nasty suspicious mind you have, Vimes."
- "Thank you, sir." (p. 120)
- The Watch was back and out there on the streets, and if they weren't actually as good as Detritus at kicking arse they were definitely prodding buttock. (p. 127)
- People would probably say they had lived blameless lives.
- But Vimes was a policeman. No one lived a completely blameless life. It might be just possible, by lying very still in a cellar somewhere, to get through a day without committing a crime. But only just. And, even then, you were probably guilty of loitering. (p. 127)
- Anyway, Angua seemed to have taken this case personally. She always had a soft spot for the underdog.
- So did Vimes. You had to. Not because they were pure or noble, because they weren't. You had to be on the side of underdogs because they weren't overdogs. (p. 127)
- The soup of the afternoon. Yes. In which may well be found the croutons of teatime. (p. 131)
- Colon in particular had great difficulty with the idea that you went on investigating after someone had confessed. It outraged his training and experience. You got a confession and there it ended. You didn't go around disbelieving people. You disbelieved people only when they said they were innocent. Only guilty people were trustworthy. Anything else struck at the whole basis of policing. (p. 139)
- "Everyone's got ancestors," said the barman calmly. "Otherwise they wouldn't be here." (p. 150)
- "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. (p. 162)
- When it came to doing absolutely nothing at all he was among the finest. But it was keeping completely motionless in one place that was his forte. If there were a roll-call for the world's champion non-movers, he wouldn't even turn up. (p. 164)
- The Patrician was still breathing, but his face was waxy and he looked as though death might be an improvement. (p. 176)
- "They've given us the answers," he said. "Perhaps we can find out what the questions should have been." (p. 184)
- "Vetinari isn't mad."
- "Depends how you look at it. No one can be as sane as he is without being mad." (p. 189)
- 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? (p. 198)
- There were no public health laws in Ankh-Morpork. It would be like installing smoke detectors in Hell. (p. 202)
- He hated the way his mind worked. A proper human being would have shown respect and quietly walked away. But, as he'd stood among the chilly stones, a horrible apprehension had stolen over him that almost all the answers were in place now, if only he could work out the questions. (p. 205)
- "The big trouble," he added, "is that everyone wants someone else to read their minds for them and then make the world work properly. (p. 227)
- "Carrot, I think you've got something wrong with your head," said Angua.
- "I think you may have got it stuck up your bum." (p. 229)
- He'd got nowhere, and he'd traveled a long way to get there. (p. 232)
- The butcher shrugged. When people were offering you money it was no time to debate their sanity. (p. 253)
- Vimes took the view that life was so full of things happening erratically in all directions that the chances of any of them making some kind of relevant sense were remote in the extreme. (p. 258)
- 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. (p. 266)
- This is where we've filled ourselves up with so many questions that they're starting to overflow and become answers. (p. 270)
- "Just because someone's a member of an ethnic minority doesn't mean they're not a nasty small-minded little jerk..." (p. 273)
- Looking forward to kicking ar—to prodding buttock, sir. (p. 273)
- Not Thou Shalt Not. Say I Will Not. (p. 276)
- It was such a relief to be right, even though you knew you'd only got there by trying every possible way to be wrong. (p. 281)
- On the whole, Colon reflected, it was just possible that the worst moment of his life hadn't happened yet. (p. 299)
- "No, 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." (p. 301)
- You never ever volunteered. Not even if a sergeant 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. (p. 303)
- Today is a good day for someone else to die! (p. 312; Dwarfish battle-cry)
- WORDS IN THE HEART CANNOT BE TAKEN. (p. 322)
- "You really intend to proffer charges?"
- "I'd prefer violence," said Vimes loudly. "Charges is what I'm going to have to settle for." (p. 329)
- "You are in favor of the common people?" said Dragon mildly.
- "The common people?" said Vimes. "They're nothing special. They're no different from the rich and powerful except they've got no money or power. But the law should be there to balance things up a bit. So I suppose I've got to be on their side." (pp. 331-332)
- He reached down and picked up the vampire in one hand. "I Could Kill You," he said. "This Is An Option Available To Me As A Free-Thinking Individual But I Will Not Do So Because I Own Myself And Have Made A Moral Choice."
- "Oh, gods," muttered Vimes under his breath.
- "That's blasphemy," said the vampire.
- He gasped as Vimes shot him a glance like sunlight. "That's what people say when the voiceless speak." (p. 336)
- That's how politics works in this city. It's a game of chess. Who cares if a few pawns die? (p. 337)
- 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. (p. 337)
- Only crimes could take place in darkness. Punishment had to be done in the light. (p. 338)
- The volumes were piled up against the walls. The candlelight picked up gold lettering and the dull gleam of leather. There they were, the lineages, the books of heraldic minutiae, the Who's Whom of the centuries, the stockbooks of the city. People stood on them to look down. (p. 338)
- "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." (p. 340)
- 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." (p. 340)
- "Did you really punch the president of the Assassins' Guild?"
- "Yes, sir."
- "Didn't have a dagger, sir." (p. 341)
- In all, I've had seventeen demands for your badge. Some want parts of your body attached. Why did you have to upset everybody? (p. 341; Lord Vetinari reproves Vimes)
- "I've had no less than nine missives from leading religious figures declaring that he is an abomination."
- "Yes, sir. I've given that viewpoint a lot of thought, sir, and reached the following conclusion: arseholes to the lot of 'em, sir." (p. 344)
- "Atheism Is Also A Religious Position," Dorfl rumbled.
- "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." (pp. 345-346)
- 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—" (p. 346)
- "What are your duties?" said Vimes.
- "To Serve The Public Trust, Protect The Innocent, And Seriously Prod Buttock, Sir," said Dorfl. (p. 347)
- "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." (p. 349)
- "But the gods plainly do exist," said a priest.
- "It Is Not Evident."
- A bolt of lightning lanced through the clouds and hit Dorfl's helmet. There was a sheet of flame and then a trickling noise. Dorfl's molten armor formed puddles around his white-hot feet.
- "I Don't Call That Much Of An Argument," said Dorfl calmly, from somewhere in the clouds of smoke.
- "It's tended to carry the audience," said Vimes. "Up until now."
- The Chief Priest of Blind Io turned to the other priests. "All right, you fellows, there's no need for any of that—"
- "But Offler is a vengeful god," said a priest at the back of the crowd.
- "Trigger-happy is what he is," said Ridcully. (p. 352)
- Either All Days Are Holy, Or None Are. I Have Not Decided Yet.
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in March 2008 by Harper ISBN 978-0-06-105905-6
- Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree. (p. 1; opening words)
- "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 civilization. At least, those bits of it that are now under the sea, fenced off or still smoking. (pp. 2-3)
- She shook her head. However far you ran away, you always caught yourself up. (p. 5)
- "I think we need to know something about you."
- We are the people with three million dollars.
- Downey took the point, although he didn't like it. Three million dollars could buy a lot of no questions. (p. 10)
- Education had been easy.
- Learning things had been harder.
- 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. (p. 24)
- 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. (p. 24)
- "Look at it this way, then," she said, and took a deep mental breath. "Wherever people are obtuse and absurd...and wherever they have, by even the most generous standards, the attention span of a small chicken in a hurricane and the investigative ability of a one-legged cockroach...and wherever people are inanely credulous, pathetically attached to the certainties of the nursery and, in general, have as much grasp of the realities of the physical universe as an oyster has of mountaineering...yes, Twyla: there is a Hogfather. (pp. 25-26)
- Parodying Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus
- It wasn't even a bar. It was just a room where people drank while they waited for other people with whom they had business. The business usually involved the transfer of ownership of something from one person to another, but then, what business doesn't? (p. 26)
- "This one's mental."
- "What's the difference?"
- "A bag of cash." (p. 26)
- Some things are fairly obvious when it's a seven-foot skeleton with a scythe telling you them. (p. 47)
- "I thought you said people see what they expect to see."
- Children don't. Too often they see what's there. (p. 59)
- She says she is five years old.
- "In years, yes. In cynicism, she's about thirty-five." (p. 81)
- Rage overtook Susan's curiosity. It had to travel quite fast. (p. 81)
- And Susan was bright enough to know that the phrase "Someone ought to do something" was not, by itself, a helpful one. People who used it never added the rider "and that someone is me." But someone ought to do something, and right now the whole pool of someones consisted of her, and no one else. (p. 85)
- There was a cat-flap in the door.
- She stared at it.
- After a second or two a ginger cat came through the flap, gave her an I'm-not-hungry-and-you're-not-interesting look and padded off into the gardens. (p. 89)
- The old woman was a regular in Biers for the company and was quite gaga, and one of the symptoms of those going completely yo-yo was that they broke out in chronic cats. (p. 89)
- Susan had never been able to see the attraction in cats. They were owned by the kind of people who liked puddings. There were actual people in the world whose idea of heaven would be a chocolate cat. (p. 89)
- The house even imitated human houses. Death had created a bedroom for himself, despite the fact that he never slept. If he really picked things up from humans, had he tried insanity? It was very popular, after all. (p. 91)
- 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," it said.
- 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. (p. 106)
- "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.
- It's educational.
- "What if she cuts herself?
- That will be an important lesson. (pp. 107-108)
- Many people are aware of the Weak and Strong Anthropic principles. 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. (p. 109)
- "It's all done by magic, Archchancellor," he said, giving up.
- "Ah. Right," said Ridcully. He sounded a little disappointed. "None of that complicated business with springs and cogwheels and tubes and stuff, then."
- "That's right, sir," said Ponder. "Just magic. Sufficiently advanced magic." (p. 112)
- Parodying Clarke's Third Law
- Anyway, then later on it sinks to the level of religion and then they start this business where some poor bugger finds a special bean in his tucker, oho, everyone say, you're king, mate, and he thinks "This is a bit of all right" only they don't say it wouldn't be a good idea to start any long books, 'cos next thing he's legging it over the snow with a dozen other buggers chasing him with holy sickles so's the earth'll come to life again and all this snow'll go away. Very, you know...ethnic. Then some bright spark thought, hey, looks like that damn sun comes up anyway, so how come we're giving those druids all this free grub? Next thing you know, there's a job vacancy. That's the thing about gods. They'll always find a way to, you know...hang on."
- "The damn sun comes up anyway," Susan repeated. "How do you know that?"
- "Oh, observation. It happens every morning. I seen it." (p. 119)
- Alluding to a famous statement of Galileo.
- Was the Hogfather a god? Why not? thought Susan. There were sacrifices, after all. All that sherry and pork pie. And he made commandments and rewarded the good and he knew what you were doing. If you believed, nice things happened to you. Sometimes you found him in a grotto, and sometimes he was up there in the sky... (pp. 125-126)
- "Who are you?"
- "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?" (p. 131)
- "So mistletoe, in fact, symbolizes 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." (p. 140)
- 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. (p. 142)
- "Willow bark," said the Bursar.
- "That's a good idea," said the lecturer in recent runes. "It's an analgesic."
- "Really? Well, possibly, though it's probably better to give it to him by mouth." (p. 143)
- 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. (p. 144)
- "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 color when the last ingredient goes in. And never, ever, do this—'"
- He dipped his finger into the beaker. (p. 149)
- Right now, the light at the end of his mental tunnel showed only more tunnel. (p. 152)
- The path to wisdom does, in fact, begin with a single step.
- Where people go wrong is in ignoring all the thousands of other steps that come after it. (p. 160)
- While evidence says that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, they're probably all on first steps. (p. 160)
- There's no better present than a future. (p. 168)
- "That's ridiculous, boy!" said the Dean. "Idiocy is not a communicable disease."
- Ridcully puffed his pipe.
- "I used to think that, too," he said. "Now I'm not so sure." (p. 172)
- Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (p. 172)
- +++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++ (p. 175)
- "—what's this Anthropomorphic Personification, then?"
- +++ Humans Have Always Ascribed Random, Seasonal, Natural Or Inexplicable Actions To Human-shaped Entities. Such Examples Are Jack Frost, The Hogfather, The Tooth Fairy And Death +++
- "Oh, them. Yes, but they exist," said Ridcully. "Met a couple of 'em myself."
- +++ Humans Are Not Always Wrong +++ (pp. 176-177)
- It was a sore point. Like most people with no grasp whatsoever of real economics, Mustrum Ridcully equated "proper financial control" with the counting of paper clips. Even senior wizards had to produce a pencil stub to him before they were allowed a new one out of the locked cupboard below his desk. (p. 181)
- There are those who believe knowledge is something that is acquired—a precious ore hacked, as it were, from the gray strata of ignorance.
- 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. (p. 188)
- It was amazing how many people spent their whole lives in places where they never intended to stay. (p. 199)
- It was so easy to slip into immortality, to ride the horse, to know everything. And every time you did, it brought closer the day when you could never get off and never forget.
- Death was hereditary.
- You got it from your ancestors. (p. 203)
- If anyone was thinking about making a mistake, you know, like maybe sending the guards down here tomorrow, tipping the old man out of his hovel, chuckin' him in prison, anything like that...werrlll...that's the kind of mistake he ought to treasure on account of it being the last mistake he'll ever make. A word to the wise men, right? (p. 207)
- Charity ain't giving people what you wants to give, it's giving people what they need to get. (p. 207)
- A sense of familiarity was creeping up on Susan, but surreptitiously, dodging behind things whenever she tried to concentrate on it. (p. 215)
- There was color, in a sense, but it was the kind of color you'd get if you could shine a beam of black through a prism. (p. 215)
- Time and space were, from Death's point of view, merely things that he'd heard described. When it came to Death, they ticked the box marked Not Applicable. It might help to think of the universe as a rubber sheet, or perhaps not. (p. 217)
- "What good's a god who gives you everything you want?"
- You have me there.
- "It's the hope that's important. Big part of belief, hope. Give people jam today and they'll just sit and eat it. Jam tomorrow, now—that'll keep them going forever."
- And you mean that because of this the poor get poor things and the rich get rich things?
- "'s right," said Albert. "That's the meaning of Hogswatch." (p. 219)
- Be happy with what you've got, is that the idea?
- "That's about the size of it, master. A good god line, that. Don't give 'em too much and tell 'em to be happy with it. Jam tomorrow, see." (p. 221)
- It is...unfair.
- "That's life, master."
- But I'm not.
- "I meant, this is how it's supposed to go, master."
- No. You mean this is how it goes. (p. 222)
- But it's easy to be nice if you're rich. Is this fair?
- Albert wanted to argue. He wanted to say, Really? In that case, how come so many of the rich buggers is bastards? And being poor don't mean being naughty, neither. We was poor when I were a kid, but we was honest. Well, more stupid than honest, to tell the truth. But basically honest.
- He didn't argue, though. The master wasn't in any mood for it. He always did what needed to be done. (pp. 222-223)
- "I can't help it if my family had money," said the Dean, and that might have defused things a bit had he not added, "and standards." (p. 229)
- "Madam, we're wizards," said the Senior Wrangler. "We don't do cheerful." (p. 234)
- It is better to give than to receive, Albert.
- "No, master, it's just a lot more expensive." (p. 241)
- They were grown men or at least had lived for several decades, which in some societies is considered the same thing. (p. 269)
- Teatime put a comforting arm around his shoulders. "Don't worry," he said. "I'm on your side. A violent death is the last thing that'll happen to you." (p. 282)
- "She wasn't necessary," said Teatime. "Few people are." (p. 283)
- Not auditors of money. Auditors of reality. They think of life as a stain on the universe. A pestilence. Messy. Getting in the way.
- "In the way of what?"
- The efficient running of the universe.
- "I thought it was run for us...Well, for the Professor of Applied Anthropics, actually, but we're allowed to tag along," said Ridcully. He scratched his chin. "And I could certainly run a marvelous university here if only we didn't have to have these damned students underfoot all the time."
- Quite so. (p. 289)
- "Untruthful?" said Ridcully. "Me? I'm as honest as the day is long! Yes, what is it this time?"
- Ponder had tugged at his robe and now he whispered something in his ear. Ridcully cleared his throat.
- "I am reminded that this is in fact the shortest day of the year," he said. "However, this does not undermine the point that I just made, although I thank my colleague for his invaluable support and constant readiness to correct minor if not downright trivial errors. I am a remarkably truthful man, sir. Things said at University council meetings don't count." (p. 289)
- There are...enemies, said Death, as Binky galloped through icy mountains.
- "They're all dead—"
- Other enemies. 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 and 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...and yet...it has enemies that bear on 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. (pp. 323-324)
- What you saw depended on how you looked. (p. 334)
- "Thank you. Now...tell me..."
- What would have happened if you hadn't saved him?
- "Yes! The sun would have risen just the same, yes?"
- "Oh, come on. You can't expect me to believe that. It's an astronomical fact."
- The sun would not have risen.
- She turned on him.
- "It's been a long night, Grandfather. I'm tired and I need a bath! I don't need silliness!"
- The sun would not have risen.
- "Really? Then what would have happened, pray?"
- A mere ball of flaming gas would have illuminated the world. (p. 335)
- "All right," said Susan, "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need...fantasies to make life bearable."
- Really? As if it was some kind of pink pill? No. Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
- "Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"
- Yes. As practice. You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
- "So we can believe the big ones?"
- Yes. Justice. Mercy. Duty. That sort of thing.
- "They're not the same at all!"
- You think so? 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 as if there is some...some 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. (pp. 335-336)
- "Are those real mountains or some kind of shadows?"
- Yes. (p. 337)
- As far as Death was aware, the sole reason for any human association with pigs and lambs was as a prelude to chops and sausages. Quite why they should dress up for children's wallpaper as well was a mystery. Hello, little folk, this is what you're going to eat…He felt that if only he could find the key to it, he'd know a lot more about human beings. (p. 339)
- Dullness. Only humans could have invented it. What imaginations they had. (p. 339)
- He knew that young children could see him because they hadn't yet developed that convenient and selective blindness that comes with the intimation of personal mortality. (p. 339)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in September 2008 by Harper Torch ISBN 978-0-06-105906-3
- To all the fighters for peace. (dedication)
- "Why are our people going out there," said Mr. Boggis of the Thieves' Guild.
- "Because they are showing a brisk pioneering spirit and seeking wealth and…additional wealth in a new land," said Lord Vetinari.
- "What's in it for the Klatchians?" said Lord Downey.
- "Oh, they've gone out there because they are a bunch of unprincipled opportunists always ready to grab something for nothing," said Lord Vetinari.
- "A mastery summation, if I may say so, my lord," said Mr. Burleigh, who felt he had some ground to make up.
- The Patrician looked down again at his notes. "Oh, I do beg your pardon," he said, "I seem to have read those last two sentences in the wrong order…" (pp. 17-18)
- When you hear the bang, there's no time to wonder how long the little fuse has been fizzing. (p. 21)
- Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum amount of moo. (p. 24)
- Gentlemen, no fighting please. This is, after all, a council of war. (p. 26)
- An allusion to Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.
- "And, of course, any citizen has the right to bear arms. Bear that in mind, please."
- "Arms is one thing. Holding weapons in 'em and playing soldiers is another." (pp. 28-29)
- "Have you ever been in a pub where everyone goes armed? Oh, things are a little polite at first, I'll grant you, and then some twerp drinks out of the wrong mug or picks up someone else's change by mistake and five minutes later you're picking noses out of the beer nuts—" (p. 29)
- An allusion to Robert A. Heinlein's quote "an armed society is a polite society."
- It demonstrates the friendly alliance between the University and the civil government which, I may say, seems to consist of their promising to do anything we ask provided we promise not to ask them to do anything. (p. 29)
- Sergeant Colon had had a broad education. He'd been to the School of My Dad Always Said, the College of It Stands to Reason, and was now a postgraduate student at the University of What Some Bloke In the Pub Told Me. (p. 34)
- After all, this was a Traditional Ceremony. If you took the view that you were not going to do things because they were apparently ridiculous, you might as well go home right now. (p. 80)
- Vimes never quite understood how the civic leaders were chosen. They just seemed to turn up, like a tack on the sole of your shoe. (p. 84)
- "Do you need an excuse to have a war? said Nobby. I mean, who for? Can't you just say, ‘You got lots of cash and land but I've got a big sword so divvy up right now, chop chop?' That's what I'd do," said Corporal Nobbs, military strategist. "And I wouldn't even say that until after I'd attacked." (pp. 111-112)
- Death happens to other people. The other person in this case had been him. (p. 126)
- Ankh-Morpork no longer had a fire brigade. The citizens had a rather disturbingly direct way of thinking at times, and it did not take long for people to see the rather obvious flaw in paying a group of people by the number of fires they put out. (p. 140)
- It wasn't far to Money Trap Lane. It was in a ghetto of what Lord Rust would probably call "skilled artisans," the people too low down the social scale to be movers and shakers but slightly too high to be easily moved or shook. (p. 146)
- It is a long-cherished tradition among a certain type of military thinker that huge casualties are the main thing. If they are on the other side then this is a valuable bonus. (p. 155)
- Vimes shook his head. "That always chews me up," he said. "People killing one another just because their gods have squabbled—"
- "Oh, they've got the same god, sir. Apparently it's over a word in their holy book, sir. The Elharibians say it translates as ‘god' and the Smalies say it's ‘man.'"
- "How can you mix them up?"
- "Well, there's only one tiny dot difference in the script, you see. And some people reckon it's only a bit of fly dirt in any case."
- "Centuries of war because a fly crapped in the wrong place?"
- "It could have been worse," said Carrot. "If it had been slightly to the left the word would have been ‘liquorice.'" (pp. 164-165)
- Already old Fred's face was creasing up in the soft expression of someone who has been mugged in Memory Lane. (p. 178)
- Colon looked awkward, as if the bunched underwear of the past was tangling itself in the crotch of recollection. (p. 179)
- He rummaged in a pocket and produced a very small book, which he held up for inspection.
- "This belonged to my great-grandad," he said. "He was in the scrap we had against Pseudopolis and my great-gran gave him this book of prayers for soldiers, 'cos you need all the prayers you can get, believe you me, and he stuck it in the top pocket of his jerkin, 'cos he couldn't afford armor, and next day in battle—whoosh, this arrow came out of nowhere, wham, straight into this book and it went all the way through to the last page before stopping, look. You can see the hole."
- "Pretty miraculous," Carrot agreed.
- "Yeah, it was, I s'pose," said the sergeant. He looked ruefully at the battered volume. "Shame about the other seventeen arrows, really." (pp. 180-181)
- "We-ell, no point in going to war unless you're on the winning side," said Nobby, sticking the white feather in his helmet.
- "Nobby, you was always on the winning side, the reason bein', you used to lurk aroun' the edges to see who was winning and then pull the right uniform off'f some poor dead sod. I used to hear where the generals kept an eye on what you were wearing' so they'd know how the battle was going. (pp. 182-183)
- One of the universal rules of happiness is: always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual. (p. 184)
- He looked at the face in the mirror. Unfortunately, it was his. (p. 185)
- "You, sir, are no gentleman," said Rust.
- "I knew there was something about me that I liked." (p. 203)
- He had the look of a lawnmower just after the grass had organized 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. (p. 204)
- And then he realized why he was thinking like this.
- It was because he wanted there to be conspirators. It was much better to imagine men in some smoky room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over the brandy. You had to cling to this sort of image, because if you didn't then you might have to face the fact that bad things happened because ordinary people, the kind who brushed the dog and told their children bedtime stories, were capable of then going out and doing horrible things to other ordinary people. 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. (pp. 205-206)
- 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. (p. 213)
- History was full of the bones of good men who'd followed bad orders in the hope that they could soften the blow. Oh, yes, there were worse things they could do, but most of them began right where they started following bad orders. (p. 223)
- "You told me I ought to listen to the voice of the people. Odd thing, ain't it...you meet people one at a time, they seem decent, they got brains that work, and then they get together and you hear the voice of the people. And it snarls."
- "That's mob rule!"
- "Oh, no, surely not," said Vimes. "Call it democratic justice."
- "One man, one rock," Detritus volunteered. (p. 227)
- Theft was the only crime, whether the loot was gold, innocence, land or life. (p. 234)
- 71-hour Ahmed was not superstitious. He was substitious, which put him in a minority among humans. He didn't believe in the things everyone believed in but which nevertheless weren't true. He believed instead in the things that were true in which no one else believed. (p. 238)
- All this was logical. It just wasn't very comforting. (p. 241)
- "They do what they're told, they tend to believe the last thing they heard, they're not bright enough to ask questions, and they have that certain unshakeable loyalty available to those unencumbered by too much intelligence."
- "I suppose so, my lord."
- "Such men are valuable, believe me." (p. 241)
- Angua stopped. Of course, to the unpracticed eye all Klatchians looked alike, but then to a werewolf all humans looked alike: they looked appetizing. (p. 255)
- "Fortune favors the brave, sir," said Carrot cheerfully.
- "Good. Good. Pleased to hear it, captain. What is her position vis-à-vis heavily armed, well prepared and excessively manned armies?"
- "Oh, no one's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir."
- "According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves," said Vimes. He opened the battered book. Bits of paper and string indicated his many bookmarks. "In fact, men, the general has this to say about ensuring against defeat when outnumbered, out–weaponed and out-positioned. It is..." he turned the page, "'Don't Have a Battle.'"
- "Sounds like a clever man," said Jenkins. (pp. 264-265)
- "So, Constable Visit, there's a god on our side, is there?"
- "Certainly, sir."
- "But probably also a god on their side as well?"
- "Very likely, sir. There's a god on every side."
- "Let's hope they balance out, then." (p. 265)
- 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. (p. 274)
- Parody of the real world "Give a man a fish..." proverb.
- Vimes prodded at it as politely as he dared, and then took the usual view that, if you can recognize at least half of it, it's probably okay to eat the rest. (pp. 285-286)
- "As they say, ‘If you would seek war, prepare for war.'"
- "I believe, my lord, the saying is ‘If you would seek peace, prepare for war,'" Leonard ventured.
- Vetinari put his head on one side and his lips moved as he repeated the phrase to himself. Finally he said, "No, no. I just don't see that one at all." (p. 290)
- The night is always old. He'd walked too often down dark streets in the secret hours and felt the night stretching away, and known in his blood that while days and kings and empires come and go, the night is always the same age, always aeons deep. Terrors unfolded in the velvet shadows and while the nature of the talons may change, the nature of the beast does not. (p. 294)
- Experience had taught him never to say things like "I don't like it, it's too quiet." There was no such thing as too quiet. (p. 312)
- The man had a point. The man had a whole sword. (p. 362)
- Somewhere out there was the Ankh-Morpork army, what there was of it. And somewhere waiting was the Klatchian army. And thousands of men who might have quite liked one another had they met socially would thunder toward one another and start killing, and after that first rush you had all the excuses you needed to do it again and again… (pp. 362-363)
- I'm not a natural killer! See this? See what it says? I'm supposed to keep the peace, I am! If I kill people to do it, I'm reading the wrong manual! (p. 367)
- For the serious empire-builder there was no such thing as a final frontier. (p. 378)
- "You can't arrest the commander of an army!"
- "Actually, Mr. Vimes, I think we could," said Carrot. "And the army, too. I mean, I don't see why we can't. We could charge them with behavior likely to cause a breach of the peace, sir. I mean, that's what warfare is." (p. 387)
- "You are making a mockery of the whole business, Vimes!" said Lord Rust.
- "So long as I'm doing something right, then." (p. 389)
- The point about burning your boats is that you shouldn't be standing on them when you drop the match. (p. 390)
- Oh, my dear Vimes, history changes all the time. It is constantly being reexamined and reevaluated, otherwise how would we be able to keep historians occupied? We can't possibly allow people with their sort of minds to walk around with time on their hands. (p. 426)
- 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. (p. 427)
- And, of course, very few people do know how Tradition is supposed to go. There's a certain mysterious ridiculousness about it by its very nature—once there was a reason why you had to carry a posy of primroses on Soul Cake Tuesday, but now you did it because...that's what was Done. (p. 436)
- Besides, the intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it. (p. 436)
- And then everyone was just running, because everyone else was running. (p. 436)
The Last Continent (1998)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in October 2000 by Harper Torch (11th printing) ISBN 0-06-105907-2
- All tribal myths are true, for a given value of “true.” (p. 2)
- We might find out why mankind is here, although that is more complicated and begs the question “Where else should we be?” (p. 2)
- You couldn’t stop Tradition. You could only add to it. (p. 3)
- Something as artificial and human as an hour wouldn’t last five minutes here. (p. 11)
- 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. (pp. 11-12)
- Ponder knew he should never have let Ridcully look at the invisible writings. Wasn’t it a basic principle never to let your employer know what it is you actually do all day? (p. 13)
- It was Ponder’s particular genius that he had found a way around this by considering the phrase, “How do you know it’s not possible until you’ve tried?” And experiments with Hex, the University’s thinking engine, had found that, indeed, many things are not impossible until they have been tried.
Like a busy government which only passes expensive laws prohibiting some new and interesting thing when people have actually found a way of doing it, the universe relied a great deal on things not being tried at all.
When something is tried, Ponder found, it often does turn out to be impossible very quickly, but it takes a little while for this to really be the case†—in effect, for the overworked laws of causality to hurry to the scene and pretend it has been impossible all along.
- † In the case of cold fusion, this was longer than usual. (pp. 14-15)
- Unfortunately, like many people who are instinctively bad at something, the Archchancellor prided himself on how good at it he was. Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association.
His mental approach to it could be visualized 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.” (p. 16)
- “When You’re Up to Your Ass in Alligators, Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life.” (p. 16)
- Paleontology and archaeology and other skulduggery were not subjects that interested wizards. Things are buried for a reason, they considered. There’s no point in wondering what it was. Don’t go digging things up in case they won’t let you bury them again. (p. 18)
- In theory, because of the nature of L-space, absolutely everything was available to him, but that only meant that it was more or less impossible to find whatever it was you were looking for, which is the purpose of computers. (p. 19)
- Ponder Stibbons was one of those unfortunate people cursed with the belief that if only he found out enough things about the universe it would all, somehow, make sense. The goal is the Theory of Everything, but Ponder would settle for the Theory of Something and, late at night, when Hex appeared to be sulking, he despaired of even a Theory of Anything. (p. 19)
- Any true wizard, faced with a sign like “Do not open this door. Really. We mean it. We’re not kidding. Opening this door will mean the end of the universe,” would automatically open the door in order to see what all the fuss was about. This made signs rather a waste of time, but at least it meant that when you handed what was left of the wizard to his grieving relatives you could say, as they grasped the jar, “We told him not to.” (p. 21)
- Elsewhere, someone might have said, “It’s just books! Books aren’t dangerous!” But even ordinary books are dangerous, and not only the ones like Make Gelignite the Professional Way. A man sits in some museum somewhere and writes a harmless book about political economy and suddenly thousands of people who haven’t even read it are dying because the ones who did haven’t got the joke. Knowledge is dangerous, which is why governments often clamp down on people who can think thoughts above a certain caliber. (p. 21)
- “But we’re a university! We have to have a library!” said Ridcully. “It adds tone. What sort of people would we be if we didn’t go into the Library?”
”Students,” said Senior Wrangler morosely. (p. 22)
- Unseen University was much bigger on the inside. Thousands of years as the leading establishment of practical magic in a world where dimensions were largely a matter of chance in any case had left it bulging in places where it shouldn’t have places. There were rooms containing rooms which, if you entered them, turned out to contain the room you’d started with, which can be a problem if you are in a conga line. (pp. 32-33)
- Logic is a wonderful thing but doesn’t always beat actual thought. (p. 34)
- “I always thought that old fossils might have a lot to teach us,” said Ponder. “Perhaps I was wrong,” he added darkly.
“Well, I for one have never believed all that business about dead animals turning into stone,” said the Lecturer in Recent Runes. “It’s against all reason. What’s in it for them?”
“So how do you explain fossils, then?” said Ponder.
“Ah, you see, I don’t,” said the Lecturer in Recent Runes, with a triumphant smile. “It saves so much trouble in the long run. How do skinless sausages hold together, Mister Stibbons?”
“What? Eh? How should I know something like that?”
“Really? You don’t know that but you think you’re entirely qualified to know how the whole universe was put together, do you? Anyway, you don’t have to explain fossils. They’re there. Why try to turn everything into a big mystery? If you go around asking questions the whole time you’ll never get anything done.” (p. 37)
- 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 color anyone was. (pp. 43-44)
- Rincewind awoke with a scream, to get it over with. (p. 57)
- “I’ve been lookin’ at him. He’s not even heroic. He’s just in the right place at the right time.”
The old man indicated that this was maybe the definition of a hero. (p. 61)
- Creators aren’t gods. They make places, which is quite hard. It’s men that make gods. This explains a lot. (p. 61)
- “Last one into the water’s a man standing all by himself on the beach” he shouted. (p. 62)
- In fact she moved with more than dignity, which is something that is given away free with kings and bishops; what she had was respectability, which is homemade out of cast iron. (p. 70)
- “I’m trying to remember how you tell the time by looking at the sun.”
”I should leave it for a while,” said the Senior Wrangler, squinting under his hand. “It’s too bright to see the numbers at the moment.” (p. 72)
- “Why me?”
The kangaroo scratched its nose. “’s got to be someone,” it said. (p. 86)
- Rincewind settled back. “I’m glad I’m not religious,” he said. “It must be very complicated.” (p. 97)
- He was not going to be found wanting when duty called. He did not intend to be found at all. (p. 97)
- “And you know what I think about evolution, Mister Stibbons. If it happens, and frankly I’ve always considered it a bit of a fairy story, it has to happen fast. Look at lemmings, for one thing.”
“Right. The little blighters keep chargin’ over cliffs, right? And how many have ever changed into birds on the way down, eh? Eh?”
“Well, none, of cou—”
“There’s my point,” said Ridcully triumphantly. “And it’s no good one of them on the way down thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I should waggle my claws a bit,’ is it? No, what it ought to do is decide really positively about growing some real wings.”
“What, in a couple of seconds? While they’re plunging towards the rocks?”
“But lemmings don’t just turn into birds, sir!”
“Lucky for them if they could, though, eh?” (p. 107)
- It was a road.
At least, it was a long flat piece of desert with wheel ruts in it. Rincewind stared at it.
A road. Roads went somewhere. Sooner or later they went everywhere. And when you got there, you generally found walls, buildings, harbors...boats. And incidentally a shortage of talking kangaroos. That was practically one of the hallmarks of civilization. (p. 110)
- It wasn’t that he was against anyone saving the world, or whatever subset of it apparently wanted saving. He just felt that it didn’t need saving by him. (p. 110)
- 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. (p. 114)
- All bastards are bastards, but some bastards is bastards. (p. 114)
- Above Ponder, he felt, were a lot of dead men’s shoes. And they had living men’s feet in them, and were stamping down hard.
They never bothered to learn anything, they never bothered to remember anything apart from how much better things used to be, they bickered like a lot of children and the only one who ever said anything sensible said it in orangutan. (p. 122)
- Discworld constellations changed frequently as the world moved through the void, which meant that astrology was cutting-edge research rather than, as elsewhere, a clever way of avoiding a proper job. It was amazing how human traits and affairs could so reliably and continuously be guided by a succession of big balls of plasma billions of miles away, most of whom have never even heard of humanity. (p. 127)
- 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. (p. 129)
- “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.”
“Ah-hah!” (p. 130)
- Ponder struggled to find a crack in his Archchancellor’s brain into which could be inserted the crowbar of understanding, and for a few vain seconds thought he had found one. (p. 130)
- Ponder felt the sea of mutual incomprehension rising around him, but he refused to drown. (p. 131)
- 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.” (p. 132)
- The god, almost alone among gods, thought questions were a good thing. He was in fact committed to people questioning assumptions, throwing aside old superstitions, breaking the shackles of irrational prejudice and, in short, exercising the brains their god had given them, except of course they hadn’t been given by any god, lord knows, so what they really ought to do was exercise those brains developed over millennia in response to the external stimuli and the need to control those hands with their opposable thumbs, another damn good idea that he was very proud of. Or would have been, of course, if he existed. (pp. 133-134)
- The god hadn’t programmed this bit. The whole problem with evolution, he’d told himself, was that it wouldn’t obey orders. Sometimes, matter thinks for itself. (p. 135)
- A sign attached to the tower read: “Dijabringabeeralong: Check your Weapons.”
“Yep, still got all mine, no worries,” said Mad. (p. 136)
- 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. (p. 142)
- Never sick himself, he tended to the belief that sickness in other people was caused by sloppy thinking. (p. 147)
- “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.” (p. 150)
- To be frank, I find religion rather offensive. (p. 161)
- The wizards drew closer. They were not, of course, afraid of gods, but gods tended to have uncertain tempers and a wise man kept away from them. (p. 162)
- “I really couldn’t see the point of the whole business, to tell you the truth. Shouting, smiting, getting angry all the time...don’t think anyone was getting anything out of it, really. But the worst part...You know the worst part? The worst part was that if you actually stopped the smiting, people wandered off and worshipped someone else. Hard to believe, isn’t it? They’d say things like, ‘Things were a lot better when there was more smiting,’ and ‘If there was more smiting, it’d be a lot safer to walk the streets.’ Especially since all that’d really happened was that some poor shepherd who just happened to be in the wrong place during a thunderstorm had caught a stray bolt. And then the priests would say, ‘Well, we all know about shepherds, don’t we, and now the gods are angry and we could do with a much bigger temple, thank you.”
“Typical priestly behavior,” sniffed the Dean.
“But they often believed it!” the god almost wailed. “It was really so depressing. I think that before we made humanity, we broke the mold. There’d be a bad weather front, a few silly shepherds would happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and next thing you know it was standing room only on the sacrificial stones and you couldn’t see for the smoke.” (pp. 163-164)
- Usually they defined “listening” as a period in which you worked out what you were going to say next. (p. 169)
- Ponder shook his head. There were times when the desire to climb the thaumaturgical ladder was seriously blunted, and one of them was when you saw what was on top. (p. 170)
- Rincewind looked out across the sheep pens. He knew what sheep were, of course, and had come into contact with them on many occasions, although normally in the company of mixed vegetables. (p. 176)
- Daggy stepped forward, but only comparatively; in fact, his mates had all, without discussion, taken one step backwards in the choreography of caution. (p. 181)
- Rincewind wasn’t certain how to deal with this. “No worries,” he said. This covered most things. (p. 181)
- She had a very straightforward view of foreign parts, or at least those more distant than her sister’s house in Quirm where she spent a week’s holiday every year. They were inhabited by people who were more to be pitied than blamed because, really, they were like children.† And they acted like savages.††
- † That is to say, she secretly considered them to be vicious, selfish and untrustworthy.
- †† Again, when people like Mrs. Whitlow use this term they are not, for some inexplicable reason, trying to suggest that the subjects have a rich oral tradition, a complex system of tribal rights and a deep respect for the spirits of their ancestors. They are implying the kind of behavior more generally associated, oddly enough, with people wearing a full suit of clothes, often with the same sort of insignia. (p. 186)
- “I suppose he wouldn’t have done anything stupid, would he?” he said.
“Archchancellor, Ponder Stibbons is a fully trained wizard!” said the Dean.
“Thank you for that very concise and definite answer, Dean” said Ridcully. (p. 187)
- It was, nevertheless, very peaceful.
Rincewind sat bolt upright. He knew what was about to happen when things were peaceful. (p. 189)
- Dear me, the purpose of the whole business, you see, is in fact to be the whole business. (p. 211)
- Here was where he’d always wanted to be, at the cutting edge of the envelope in the fast lane of the state of the art. (pp. 212-213)
- Mrs. Whitlow was walking some way ahead, humming to herself. The wizards took care to remain at a respectful distance. They were aware that in some kind of obscure way she’d won, although they hadn’t a clue what the game was. (pp. 227-228)
- Once a moderately jolly wizard camped by a dried-up waterhole under the shade of a tree that he was completely unable to identify. And he swore as he hacked and hacked at a can of beer, saying, “What kind of idiots put beer in tins?” (p. 232)
- A flash of inspiration struck him with all the force and brilliance that ideas have when they’re traveling through beer. (pp. 233-234)
- Then another insight struck him at the speed of beer. Beer! It was only water, really, with stuff in it. Wasn’t it? And most of what was in it was yeast, which was practically a medicine and definitely a food. In fact, when you thought about it, beer was only a kind of runny bread, in fact, it’d be better to use some of the beer in the soup! Beer soup! A few brain cells registered their doubt, but the rest of them grabbed them by the collar and said hoarsely, people cooked chicken in wine, didn’t they? (p. 234)
- He lay back with his head on a rock. Keep out of trouble and don’t get involved, that was the important thing. Look at those stars up there, with nothing to do all the time but sit there and shine. No one ever told them what to do, the lucky bastards... (p. 235)
- Ridcully’s eyes twinkled behind the smoke and, not for the first time, Ponder suspected that the man was sometimes rather cleverer than he appeared. It would not be hard. (pp. 246-247)
- “Is it true that your life passes before your eyes before you die?”
“Ghastly thought, really.” Rincewind shuddered. “Oh gods, I’ve just had another one. Suppose I am just about to die and this is my whole life passing in front of my eyes?”
I think perhaps you do not understand. People’s whole lives do pass in front of their eyes before they die. The process is called “living.” (p. 260)
- Ponder’s mind raced, and hit some horrible speed bumps in his imagination. (p. 264)
- Historians have pointed out that it is in times of plenty that people feel like going to war. In times of famine they’re simply trying to find enough to eat. When they’ve just enough to go round they tend to be polite. But when a banquet is spread before them, it’s time to argue over the place settings. (p. 267)
- And Unseen University, as even wizards realized at somewhere just below the top level of their minds, existed not to further magic but, in a very creative way, to suppress it. The world had seen what happened when wizards got their hands on enormous amounts of magical power. It had happened a long time ago and there were still some areas where you didn’t go, if you wanted to walk out on the same kind of feet that you’d had when you went in.
Once upon a time the plural of “wizard” was “war”.
But the great, open ingenious purpose of UU was to be the weight on the arm of magic, causing it to swing with grave majesty like a pendulum rather than spin with deadly purpose like a morningstar. Instead of hurling fireballs at one another from fortified towers the wizards learned to snipe at their colleagues over the interpretation of Faculty Council minutes, and long ago were amazed to find that they got just as much vicious fun out of it. They consumed big dinners, and after a really good meal and a fine cigar even the most rabid Dark Lord is inclined to put his feet up and feel amicable towards the world, especially if it’s offering him another brandy. And slowly, and by degrees, they absorbed the most important magical power of all, which is the one that persuades you to stop using all the others. (pp. 267-268)
- Once again Rincewind felt that he hadn’t been given the same script as everyone else. (p. 298)
- Rincewind paused. He had always been the foremost exponent of the from rather than the to of running. (p. 301)
- 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. (p. 301)
- “You don’t look like a country boy, I must say.”
“Me? I get nervous when I see a blade of grass, miss.” (p. 303)
- Ponder wasn’t sure how old he’d been, but he’d definitely thought he could hear a blade being sharpened. It was one thing to know you were on a journey, and quite, quite another to see your destination on the horizon. (p. 320)
- It dawned on the Senior Wrangler that the sky was a different color on his personal planet. (p. 323)
- Of course, more time was spent setting it up than was ever saved by using it, but this is the case in many similar fields and is a sign of Progress. (p. 327)
- “Why did he have to go to prison?”
“We put all our politicians in prison as soon as they’re elected. Don’t you?”
“It saves time.” (p. 334)
- Rincewind had never studied meteorology, although he had been an end-user all his life. (p. 354)
- Can I have another beer? It’s amazing, it doesn’t feem to have any essect on me, no matter how much I dnirk. Helps me think clearerer. (p. 355)
- 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. (p. 360)
- Contrary to the usual procedures it began to grow lighter, although the proliferation of luminous fungi or iridescent crystals in deep caves where the torchlessly improvident hero needs to see is one of the most obvious intrusions of narrative causality into the physical universe. (pp. 362-363)
- As loudly as a thunderstorm under the bed but as softly as two soufflés colliding, past and present ran into one another. (p. 367)
- The ability to ask questions like “Where am I and who is the ‘I’ that is asking?” is one of the things that distinguishes mankind from, say, cuttlefish.†
The wizards from Unseen University, being perhaps the intellectual cream or certainly the cerebral yogurt of their generation, passed through this stage in minutes.
- † Although of course it’s not the most obvious thing and there are, in fact, some beguiling similarities, particularly the tendency to try to hide behind a big cloud of ink in difficult situations. (p. 369)
- “When it’s time to stop living, I will certainly make Death my number one choice!” (p. 373)
- That was the thing about fire. If you saw one, everyone went to put it out. Fire spread like wildfire. (p. 377)
Carpe Jugulum (1998)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in August 2000 by Harper Torch (4th printing) ISBN 0-06-102039-7
- All ellipses (unless noted) and italics as in the book.
- It wasn’t that they didn’t take an interest in the world around them. On the contrary, they had a deep, personal and passionate involvement in it, but instead of asking “why are we here?” they asked “is it going to rain before the harvest?”
A philosopher might have deplored this lack of mental ambition, but only if he was really certain about where his next meal was coming from. (p. 3)
- Only those with their feet on rock can build castles in the air. (p. 3)
- In Ghat they believe in vampire watermelons, although folklore is silent about what they believe about vampire watermelons. Possibly they suck back. (p. 4)
- He also regarded laws as useful things and he obeyed them when it was convenient. (p. 15)
- And she sees everything in black and white. That’s always a trap for the powerful. Oh yes. (p. 17)
- They thought that you could see life through books but you couldn’t, the reason being that the words got in the way. (p. 21)
- I mean, it’s one thing saying you’ve got the best god, but sayin’ it’s the only real one is a bit of a cheek, in my opinion. I know where I can find at least two any day of the week. And they say everyone starts out bad and only gets good by believin’ in Om, which is frankly damn nonsense. (p. 46)
- “It’s all right...as witches we believe in religious toleration...”
“That’s right,” said Nanny Ogg. “But only for the right religions, so you watch your step.” (p. 56)
- The smug mask of virtue triumphant could be almost as horrible as the face of wickedness revealed. (p. 59)
- 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. (p. 60)
- 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. (p. 60)
- “That’s something everyone knows about vampires...”
In fact there are many things everyone knows about vampires, without really taking into account that perhaps the vampires know them by now, too. (p. 71)
- Nanny could find an innuendo in “Good morning.” (p. 102)
- Any fool could be a witch with a runic knife, but it took skill to be one with an apple-corer. (p. 103)
- If her cottage had been any more organic it would have had a pulse. (p. 104)
- Things were not what they seemed. But then, as Granny always said, they never were. (p. 133)
- There are many rhymes about magpies, but none of them is very reliable because they are not the one the magpies know themselves. (p. 151)
- She was not, herself, hugely in favor 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”... (pp. 153-154)
- The result would have been called primitive even by people who were too primitive to have a word yet for “primitive.” (p. 161)
- “I can go where I like,” said Granny.
“Yes, but you ought—” Agnes began. She wished she could bite the word back, but it was too late.
“Oh, ought, is it? Where does it say ought? I don’t remember it saying ought anywhere. Anyone going to tell me where it says ought? There’s lots of things that ought, I dare say. But they ain’t. (p. 173)
- In the moment of silence Agnes fancied she could hear the stalactites grow. (p. 173)
- “Granny was certainly not telling the truth,” said Agnes.
“Of course she wasn’t, she never does,” said Magrat. “She expects you to work it out for yourself.” (p. 175)
- “Why’d she do that?”
“So we develop insights and pull together and learn valuable lessons,” said Magrat.
Nanny paused with her pipe halfway to her lips. “No,” she said, “I don’t reckon Granny’d be thinking like that, because that’s soppy garbage.” (p. 187)
- After four years of theological college he wasn’t at all certain of what he believed, and this was partly because the Church had schismed so often that occasionally the entire curriculum would alter in the space of one afternoon. But also—
They had been warned about it. Don’t expect it, they’d said. It doesn’t happen to anyone except the prophets. Om doesn’t work like that. Om works from inside.
—but he’d hoped that, just once, that Om would make himself known in some obvious and unequivocal way thatcouldn’t be mistaken for wind or a guilty conscience. Just once, he’d like the clouds to part for the space of ten seconds and a voice to cry out, “YES, MIGHTILY-PRAISEWORTHY-ARE-YE-WHO-EXALTETH-OM OATS! IT’S ALL COMPLETELY TRUE! INCIDENTALLY, THAT WAS A VERY THOUGHTFUL PAPER YOU WROTE ON THE CRISIS OF RELIGION IN A PLURALISTIC SOCIETY!”
It wasn’t that he lacked faith. But faith wasn’t enough. He’d wanted knowledge. (pp. 202-203)
- He’d found knowledge, and knowledge hadn’t helped.
Had not Jotto caused the Leviathan of Terror to throw itself onto the land and the seas to turn red with blood? Had not Orda, strong in his faith, caused a sudden famine thoughout the land of Smale?
They certainly had. He believed it utterly. But a part of him also couldn’t forget reading about the tiny little creatures that caused the rare red tides off the coast of Urt and the effect this apparently had on local sea life, and about the odd wind cycle that sometimes kept rainclouds away from Smale for years at a time.
This had been...worrying.
It was because he was so very good at old languages that he’d been allowed to study in the new libraries that were springing up around the Citadel, and this had been fresh ground for worry, because the seeker after truth had found truths instead. The Third Journey of the Prophet Cena, for example, seemed remarkably like a retranslation of the Testament of Sand in the Laotan Book of the Whole. On one shelf alone he found forty-three remarkably similar accounts of a great flood, and in every single one of them a man very much like Bishop Horn had saved the elect of mankind by building a magical boat. Details varied of course. Sometimes the boat was made of wood, sometimes of banana leaves. Sometimes the news of the emerging dry land was brought by a swan, sometimes by an iguana. Of course these stories in the chronicles of other religions were mere folktales and myth, while the voyage detailed in the Book of Cena was holy truth. But nevertheless... (pp. 203-204)
- Provided they didn’t touch his birds, Hodgesaargh didn’t much mind who ran the castle. For hundreds of years the falconers had simply got on with the important things, like falconry, which needed a lot of training, and left the kinging to amateurs. (p. 224)
- This was a test. Everything was a test. Everything was a competition. Life put them in front of you every day. You watched yourself all the time. You had to make choices. You never got told which ones were right. Oh, some of the priests said you got given marks afterward, but what was the point of that? (p. 241)
- Granny tried to line up her thoughts.
Which light and which dark? She hadn’t been prepared for this. This didn’t feel right. This wasn’t the fight she had expected. Whose light? Whose mind was this?
Silly question. She was always her.
Never lose your grip on that...
So...light behind her, darkness in front...
She’d always said witches stood between the light and the dark.
”Am I dyin’?”
- ”Will I die?”
- Granny thought this over.
- ”But from your point of view, everyone is dying, and everyone will die, right?”
- ”So you aren’t actually bein’ a lot of help, strictly speakin’.”
- I'm sorry, I thought you wanted the truth. (p. 242)
- Granny had listened to people who’d nearly died but had come back, possibly because of a deft thump in the right place or the dislodging of some wayward mouthful that’d gone down the wrong way. Sometimes they talked about seeing a light—
That’s where she ought to go, a thought told her. But...was the light the way in, or the way out? (p. 242)
- Choose, he said. You are good at choosing, I believe.
“Is there any advice you could be givin’ me?” said Granny.
Choose right. (p. 243)
- Prayer’s all very well. I can see where it can help you get your mind right. But an ax is an ax no matter what you believes. (p. 255)
- “And us?”
“Oh, we’re always all right. You remember that. We happen to other people. (p. 270)
- Verence was technically an absolute ruler and would continue to be so provided he didn’t make the mistake of repeatedly asking Lancrastrians to do anything they didn’t want to do. (p. 271)
- It’s most unfair. Once people find out you’re a vampire they act as if you’re some kind of monster. (p. 274)
- “Mistress Weatherwax, you are a natural disputant.”
“No I ain’t!”
“You’d certainly enjoy yourself at the Synod, anyway. They’ve been known to argue for days about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”
He could almost feel Granny’s mind working. At last she said, “What size pin?”
“I don’t know that, I’m afraid.”
“Well, if it’s an ordinary household pin, then there’ll be sixteen.”
“I don’t know. Perhaps they like dancing.”
The mule picked its way down a bank. The mist was getting thicker here.
“You’ve counted sixteen?” said Oats eventually.
“No, but it’s as good an answer as any you’ll get.” (p. 277)
- “And that’s what your holy men discuss, is it?”
“Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example.”
“And what do they think? Against it, are they?”
“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 a lot 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…” (pp. 277-278)
- “You strong in your faith, then?” she said, as if she couldn’t leave things alone.
Oats sighed. “I try to be.”
“But you read a lot of books, I’m thinking. Hard to have faith, ain’t it, when you read too many books.” (p. 278)
- “You’re not a believer yourself, then, Mistress Weatherwax?”...
“Oh, I reckon I believes in tea, sunrises, that sort of thing,” said Granny.
“I was referring to religion.”
“I know a few gods in these parts, if that’s what you mean.”
Oats sighed. “Many people find faith a great solace,” he said. He wished he was one of them.
“Really? Somehow I thought you’d argue.”
“It’s not my place to tell ’em what to believe, if they act decent.”
“But it’s not something you feel drawn to, perhaps, in the darker hours?”
“No. I’ve already got a hot water bottle.” (pp. 278-279; ellipsis represents a minor elision of description)
- Suddenly he was angry.
“And that’s what you think religion is, is it?” he said, trying to keep his temper.
“I gen’rally don’t think about it at all,” said the voice behind him. (p. 279)
- Oats knelt in the mud and tried a prayer, but there was no answering voice from the sky. There never had been. He’d been told never to expect one. That wasn’t how Om worked anymore. Alone of all the gods, he’d been taught, Om delivered the answers straight into the depths of the head. Since the prophet Brutha, Om was the silent god. That’s what they said.
If you didn’t have faith, then you weren’t anything. There was just the dark.
He shuddered in the gloom. Was the god silent, or was there no one to speak? (p. 281)
- “Your god, Mister Oats, tries everyone. That’s what gods generally do, and that’s why I don’t truck with ’em. And they lays down rules all the time.”
“There have to be rules, Mistress Weatherwax.”
“And what’s the first one that your Om requires, then?”
“That believers should worship no other god but Om,” said Oats promptly.
“Oh yes? That’s gods for you. Very self-centered, as a rule.” (p. 306)
- People you can believe in, sometimes, but not gods. (p. 309)
- “Now if I’d seen him, really there, really alive, it’d be in me like a fever. If I thought there was some god who really did care two hoots about people, who watched ‘em like a father and cared for ‘em like a mother...well, you wouldn’t catch me sayin’ things like ‘there are two sides to every question’ and ‘we must respect other people’s beliefs.’ You wouldn’t find me just being gen’rally nice in the hope that it’d all turn out right in the end, not if that flame was burning in me like an unforgivin’ sword. And I did say burnin’, Mister Oats, ‘cos that’s what it’d be. You say that you people don’t burn folk and sacrifice people anymore, but that’s what true faith would mean, y’see? Sacrificin’ your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin’ the truth of it, workin’ for it, breathin’ the soul of it. That’s religion. Anything else is just...is just bein’ nice. And a way of keepin’ in touch with the neighbors.” (p. 310)
- Perdita was horrified. It’ll give them nightmares!
No, thought Agnes. It’ll take the nightmares away. Sometimes, everyone has to know the monster is dead, and remember, so that they can tell their grandchildren. (p. 320)
- She clearly wasn’t a vampire. She didn’t even like the idea of rare steak. She’d tried to see if she could fly, when she thought people weren’t looking, but she was as attractive to gravity as ever. (p. 320)
- Traditionally a keepsake is meant to be a lock of their hair, not their entire skull— (p. 322)
- “I’ve never been one to put myself forward,” said the Countess, “but I strongly suggest you find a new plan, dear. One which works, perhaps?” (p. 324)
- “Your magic amulet’s gone, too,” she said. “The one with the turtle and the little man on it.”
“It’s not a magic amulet, Mistress Weatherwax! Please! A magic amulet is a symbol of primitive and mechanistic superstition, whereas the Turtle of Om is...is...is...well, it’s not, do you understand?”
“Oh, right. Thank you for explaining,” said Granny. (p. 331)
- “What’s the magic word?” he snarled.
“Oh, I don’t think a holy man like you should be having with magic words,” said Granny. “But the holy words are: do what I tell you or get smitten. They should do the trick.” (p. 331)
- Vampires are not naturally cooperative creatures. It’s not in their nature. Every other vampire is a rival for the next meal. In fact, the ideal situation for a vampire is a world in which every other vampire has been killed off and no one seriously believes in vampires anymore. They are by nature as cooperative as sharks.
Vampyres are just the same, the only real difference being that they can’t spell properly. (pp. 336-337)
- There’s no point in having underlings if you don’t let them be the first to go through suspicious doors. (p. 337)
- “Be resolute, my dear,” said the Count. Remember—that which does not kill us can only make us stronger.”
“And that which does kill us leaves us dead!” (p. 338)
- People have to kill their own vampires. (p. 341)
- “We are vampires. We cannot help what we are.”
“Only animals can’t help what they are,” said Granny. (p. 356)
- The old Count nodded gracefully. “Your servant, madam,” he said.
“I doubt it,” said Granny. (p. 356)
- Don’t trust the cannibal just ‘cos he’s usin’ a knife and fork. (p. 360)
- “It’s a thing that is,” said Granny sharply. “Don’t go spilling allegory all down your shirt.”
“Well, I feel...blessed to have seen it.”
“Really? I gen’rally feel the same about the sunrise,” said Granny. “You would too, at my time of life.” (p. 364)
The Fifth Elephant (1999)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in June 2008 by Harper (21st printing) ISBN 0-06-102040-0
- All spelling, ellipses (unless noted), and italics as in the book.
- The crowd watched silently. If it were funny, clowns wouldn’t be doing it. (p. 8)
- “Let me see if I’ve got this right,” said Vimes. “Überwald is like this big suet pudding that everybody’s suddenly noticed, and now with this coronation as an excuse we’ve all got to rush there with knife, fork and spoon to shovel as much on our plates as possible?”
“Your grasp of political reality is masterful, Vimes. You lack only the appropriate vocabulary.” (p. 16)
- The young woman stood on a corner of the Shades. Her general stance indicated that she was, in the specialized patois of the area, a lady in waiting. To be more precise, a lady in waiting for Mr. Right, or at least Mr. Right Amount. (pp. 19-20)
- Vimes nodded, dourly. That made sense, too. 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? (p. 25)
- 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.” (pp. 29-30)
- 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. (p. 42)
- 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. (p. 42)
- “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.” (p. 67)
- “Really,” said Gaspode. “Nothing good starts with ‘I need your help.’” (p. 75)
- As a lifelong uniformed man, a three-striped peg that had found a three-striped hole very early in its career, he subscribed automatically and unthinkingly to the belief that officers as a class could not put their own trousers on without a map. He conscientiously excluded Vimes and Carrot from the list, automatically elevating them to the rank of honorary sergeant. (p. 78)
- The little flickering part of his brain that was still sparking coherent thought through the fog of mind-numbing terror that filled Colon’s head was telling him that he was so far out of his depth that the fish had lights on their noses. (p. 95)
- Yes, he did have a clean desk. But that was because he was throwing all the paperwork away. (p. 95)
- He was, in fact, functionally literate. That is, he thought of reading and writing like he thought about boots—you needed them, but they weren’t supposed to be fun, and you got suspicious about people who got a kick out of them. (p. 95)
- Vimes hated and despised the privileges of rank, but they had this to be said for them: At least they meant that you could hate and despise them in comfort. (p. 111)
- “And now it appears that we have reached what Sergeant Colon persists in referring to as an imp arse.” (p. 130)
- You can find your average, amateur killers on every street. They’re mostly deranged or drunk or some poor woman who’s had a hard day and the husband has raised his hand once too often and suddenly twenty years of frustration takes over. Killing a stranger without malice or satisfaction, other than the craftsman’s pride in a job well done, is such a rare talent that armies spend months trying to instill it into their young soldiers. Most people will shy away from killing people they haven’t been introduced to. (p. 134)
- “When I pointed out that you were an aristocrat, he—”
“I am not an—well, I’m not really a—”
“Yes, Your Grace. But if you’ll be advised by me, a lot of diplomacy lies in appearing to be a lot more stupid than you are. You’ve made a good start, Your Grace.” (p. 144)
- The document was handed back, hurriedly. Vimes could read the body language, even written smaller than usual—there was probably an expensive problem here, so the guards were inclined to leave it to someone who earned more money than they did. (p. 173)
- “Is there some problem?” said Vimes, catching up with the fast-moving Dee.
“We have no problems.”
Ah, he’s already lied to me, thought Vimes. We’re being diplomatic. (p. 175)
- “When people say ‘we must move with the times’ they really mean ‘you must do it my way.’” (p. 181)
- 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. (p. 188)
- “I believe you vere an alcoholic, Sir Samuel.”
“No,” said Vimes, completely taken aback, “I was a drunk. You have to be richer than I was to be an alcoholic.” (p. 189)
- Lord Vetinari, I know, believes that information is currency. But everyone knows that currency has alvays been information. Money doesn’t need to talk, it merely has to listen. (p. 192)
- I haven’t been sent to a coronation. I’ve been sent to a war that hasn’t started yet. (p. 193)
- Well, he thought, so this is diplomacy. It’s lying, only for a better class of people. (p. 196)
- And this was diplomacy, too, he thought, when you let your mouth chatter away while you watched people’s eyes. It’s just like being a copper. (p. 198)
- “We were expecting one of the more...experienced...diplomats...”
“Oh, I can hand around the thin cucumber sandwiches like anyone,” said Vimes. “And if you want little golden balls of chocolate piled up in a heap, I’m your man.” (p. 199)
- “We’ve always been against a police force in Bonk,” said the baroness. “We feel it interferes with the liberty of the individual.”
“Well, I have certainly heard that argument advanced,” said Vimes. “Of course, it depends on whether the individual you are thinking of is yourself or the one climbing out of the bathroom,” he noted the grimace, “window with the family silver in a sack.” (p. 199)
- I don’t fink this is one of dem accidents dat happens by accident. (p. 203)
- Yet another word for diplomat, Vimes mused, was “spy.” The only difference was that the host government knew who you were. The game was to outwit them, presumably. (p. 205)
- “Good grief! You don’t think—”
“No, I don’t think, sir, I’m a civil servant. I advise other people, mmm, mmm. Then they think. (p. 209)
- “We are at war with the trolls!”
“Well, that’s what diplomacy is all about, isn’t it?” said Vimes. “A way to stop being at war? Anyway, I understand it’s been going on for five hundred years, so obviously no one is trying very hard.” (p. 221)
- Better any king than chaos. (p. 228)
- “The innocent have nothing to fear.”
The news that they have nothing to fear is guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of innocents everywhere. (p. 243)
- 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. (p. 276)
- Practically from the moment she’d been able to talk she’d been taught how to listen. (p. 298)
- “No crime has been committed!”
“I’m a policeman,” said Vimes. “I can always find a crime.” (p. 308)
- Now this he understood. It wasn’t damn politics, where good and bad were just, apparently, two ways of looking at the same thing or, at least, were described like that by the people who were on the side Vimes thought of as “bad.”
It was all too complicated and, where it was complicated, it meant that someone was trying to fool you. (pp. 340-341)
- I’m sorry, but we all have to learn that lesson. Integrity makes very poor armor. (p. 342)
- 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 know that what he had just done was murder. (pp. 344-345)
- “Didn’t you worry about the future?”
“Why the hell not?”
“It hasn’t happened yet.” (p. 353)
- All he knew was that you couldn’t hope to try for the big stuff, like world peace and happiness, but you might just about be able to achieve some tiny deed that’d make the world, in a small way, a better place.
Like shooting someone. (pp. 359-360)
The Truth (2000)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in September 2001 by Harper Torch (2nd printing) ISBN 0-380-81819-1
- All dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- 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. (p. 5)
- 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. (p. 6)
- “Ah, Mr. Worde. Times is hard in the hot sausage trade,” said Dibbler.
“Can’t make both ends meat, eh?” said William. (p. 8)
- He felt a bit sorry that he’d pointed out the mistake. Probably no one would have noticed in any case. Ankh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn’t matter where you put it, so long as it was there. (p. 15)
- They were small, brightly colored, and happy little creatures who secreted some of the nastiest toxins in the world, which is why the job of looking after the large vivarium where they happily passed their days was given to first-year students, on the basis that if they got things wrong there wouldn’t be too much education wasted. (p. 19)
- 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. (p. 19)
- “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.” (p. 21)
- 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! Who’s been pinching my beer?
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 carelessly knocked over (usually by one of the people calling for a larger glass), or who had no glass at all, because he was at the back of the crowd and had failed to catch the barman’s eye. (p. 21)
- But too much reading had taken its toll. William found that he now thought of prayer as a sophisticated way of pleading with thunderstorms. (p. 23)
- Going into land management was just about acceptable, but it seemed to William that land managed itself pretty well, on the whole. He was all in favor of the countryside, provided that it was on the other side of a window. (p. 23)
- A military career somewhere was unlikely. William had a rooted objection to killing people he didn’t know. (p. 23)
- “And these are your reasons, my lord?”
“Do you think I have others?” said Lord Vetinari. “My motives, as ever, are entirely transparent.”
Hughnon reflected that “entirely transparent” meant either that you could see right through them or that you couldn’t see them at all. (p. 31)
- 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. (p. 32)
- I was merely endeavoring to indicate that if we do not grab events by the collar they will have us by the throat. (p. 33)
- These dull gray blocks looked threatening. He could understand why they worried people. Put us together in the right way, they seemed to say, and we can be anything you want. We could even be something you don’t want. We can spell anything. We can certainly spell trouble.
The ban on movable type wasn’t exactly a law. But he knew the engravers didn’t like it, because they had the world operating just as they wanted it, thank you very much. And Lord Vetinari was said not to like it, because too many words only upset people. And the wizards and the priests didn’t like it because words were important.
An engraved page was an engraved page, complete and unique. But if you took the leaden letters that had previously been used to set the words of a god, and then used them to set a cookery book, what did that do to the holy wisdom? For that matter, what would it do to the pie? As for printing a book of spells, and then using the same type for a book of navigation—well, the voyage might go anywhere. (pp. 37-38)
- “From what I hear he mostly doesn’t do a —ing thing!” he complained.
“Yeah,” said Mr. Pin smoothly. “One on the hardest things to do properly, in politics.” (p. 43)
- He’d found a hard truth less hard than an easy lie. (p. 45)
- Insofar as he’d formed any opinion of her, it was that she suffered from misplaced gentility and the mistaken belief that etiquette meant good breeding. She mistook mannerisms for manners. (p. 62)
- 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. (p. 66)
- “Ah,” said Mr. Pin. “Right. I remember. You are concerned citizens.” He knew about concerned citizens. Wherever they were, they all spoke the same private language, where “traditional values” meant “hang someone.” He did not have a problem with this, broadly speaking, but it never hurt to understand your employer. (p. 68)
- Be careful. People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things…well, new things aren’t what they expect. They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that a man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that. In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds. I can see you’ve got the hang of it already. (p. 79)
- His father was right about one thing, at least, when he’d said that lies could run around the world before the truth could get its boots on. And it was amazing how people wanted to believe them. (p. 106)
- He’s a policeman. The truth usually confuses them. They don’t often hear it. (p. 110)
- It was a proper policeman’s stare. It gave nothing away. It said: I can see you, now I’m waiting to see what you’re going to do that’s wrong. (p. 110)
- And William was good with words. Truth was what he told. Honesty was sometimes not the same thing. (p. 117)
- He was appalled at the ease with which the truth so easily turned into something that was almost a lie, just by being positioned correctly. (p. 117)
- Of course, that was a lie, but since it was such an obvious lie, he considered that it didn’t count. It was like saying the sky was green. (p. 120)
- “Hold on, hold on, there must be a law against killing lawyers.”
“Are you sure?”
“There’s still some around, aren’t there?” (p. 128)
- When people say “clearly” something, that means there’s a huge crack in their argument and they know things aren’t clear at all. (p. 129)
- If stress were food, he’d succeeded in turning his life into porridge. (p. 132)
- The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret. (p. 139)
- He’s going to have to learn the hard way. And the trouble with the hard way is, you only get one lesson. (p. 148)
- “How we gonna do that?”
“Intelligently,” said Mr. Pin.
“I hate that —ing way.” (p. 159)
- Character assassination. What a wonderful idea. Ordinary assassination only works once, but this one works every day. (p. 187)
- The young man is also an idealist. He has yet to find out that what’s in the public interest is not what the public is interested in. (p. 188)
- Fire was always the terror in those parts of the city where wood and thatch predominated. That was why everyone had been so dead set against any form of fire brigade, reasoning—with impeccable Ankh-Morpork logic—that any bunch of men who were paid to put out fires would naturally see to it that there was a plentiful supply of fires to be put out. (pp. 208-209)
- Sacharissa looked a little disappointed. She’d been a respectable young woman for some time. In certain people, that means there’s a lot of dammed-up disreputability just waiting to burst out. (p. 251)
- So, Mr. Dibbler...when did you start pissing in the fountain of Truth? (p. 253)
- You can tell as many lies as you like if it’s advertising. (p. 255)
- Sometimes glass glitters more than diamonds because it has more to prove. (p. 259)
- “What do you think happens to people when they die, Tulip?”
Mr. Tulip was taken aback.
“What kind of —ing question is that? You know what happens!”
“Certainly. Remember when we had to leave that guy in that —ing barn and it was a week before we got to bury him properly? Remember how his—”
“I don’t mean bodies!”
“Ah. Religion stuff, then?”
“I never worry about that —ing stuff.”
“Never —ing give it a thought. I’ve got my potato.”
Then Mr. Tulip found that he’d walked a few feet alone, because Mr. Pin had stopped dead.
“Oh, yeah. Keep it on a string round my neck.” Mr. Tulip tapped his huge chest.
“And that’s religious?”
“Well, yeah. When you die, if you’ve got your potato, everything will be okay.”
“What religion is that?”
“Dunno. Never ran across it outside our village. I was only a kid. I mean, it’s like gods, right? When you’re a kid, they say ‘that’s God, that is.’ Then you grow up and you find there’s —ing millions of ’em. Same with religion.”
“And it’s all okay if you have a potato when you die?”
“Yep. You’re allowed to come back and have another life.”
“Even if...” Mr. Pin swallowed, for he was in territory that had never before existed on his internal atlas, “... even if you’ve done things that people might think were bad?”
“Like chopping up people and —ing shovin’ ’em off cliffs?”
“Yeah, that kind of thing...”
Mr. Tulip sniffed, causing his nose to flash. “We-ell, it’s okay so long as you’re really —ing sorry about it.”
Mr. Pin was amazed, and a little suspicious. But he could feel things...catching up. There were faces in the darkness and voices on the cusp of hearing. He dared not turn his head now, in case he saw anything behind him.
You could buy a sack of potatoes for a dollar.
“It works?” he said.
“Sure. Back home people’d been doing it for hundreds of —ing years. They wouldn’t do it if it didn’t —ing work, would they?” (pp. 271-272)
- But they did care fiercely about things. Without things, people were just bright animals. (p. 283)
- “Are you sure of all this, William?” she said.
“I mean, some bits—are you sure it’s all true?”
“I’m sure it’s all journalism,” said William.
“And what is that supposed to mean?”
“It means it’s true enough for now.” (p. 308)
- “No, just very, very arrogant,” said William. “We’ve always been privileged, you see. Privilege just means ‘private law.’ That’s exactly what it means. He just doesn’t believe the ordinary laws apply to him. He really believes they can’t touch him, and that if they do he can just shout until they go away. That’s the de Worde tradition, and we’re good at it. Shout at people, get your way, ignore the rules. It’s the de Worde way. Up until me, obviously.” (p. 310)
- Thank you, said Death. And now, I really must be going. But I will pass through here sometimes. My door, he added, is always open. (p. 313)
- “I mean, everyone says that sort of thing, don’t they? ‘I did it for the best,’ ‘the end justifies the means’...the same words, every time.”
“Don’t you agree, then, that it’s time for a ruler who listens to the people?”
“Maybe. Which people did you have in mind?” (pp. 316-317)
- The words came easier now. He’d leapt from the building and found that he could fly. (p. 317)
- “Come on Mr. de Worde. We’re on the same side here!”
“No. We’re just on two different sides that happen to be side by side.” (p. 323)
- “It was for your own good,” Vimes growled.
“I didn’t know it was your job to decide what was good for me.” (p. 324)
- I can read your mind, even the small print. (p. 337)
- No enemy was too strong, no wound was too dire, and no sword was too heavy for a de Worde. No grave was too deep, either. (p. 338)
- I have nothing to offer you except thanks, which of course are notorious for their evaporative tendencies. (p. 339)
- “I’m sure we can pull together, sir.”
Lord Vetinari raised his eyebrows. “Oh, I do hope not, I really do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” He smiled. “It’s the only way to make progress. That, and, of course, moving with the times.” (p. 340)
- “Look at it like this,” said Sacharissa, starting a fresh page. “Some people are heroes. And some people jot down notes.”
“Yes, but that’s not very—”
Sacharissa glanced up and flashed him a smile. “Sometimes they’re the same person,” she said. (pp. 347-348)
- Nothing has to be true forever. Just for long enough, to tell you the truth. (p. 348; closing words)
Thief of Time (2001)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in May 2002 by Harper Torch (1st printing) ISBN 0-06-103132-1
- All dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- I know that time was made for men, not the other way around. (p. 2)
- Nine-tenths of the universe, in fact, is the paperwork. (p. 3)
- They were not life-forms. They were...nonlife-forms. They were the observers of the operation of the universe, its clerks, its auditors. They saw to it that things spun and rocks fell.
And they believed that for a thing to exist it had to have a position in time and space. Humanity had arrived as a nasty shock. Humanity practically was things that didn’t have a position in time and space, such as imagination, pity, hope, history, and belief. Take those away and all you had was an ape that fell out of trees a lot. (p. 7)
- An immortal has a great deal to remember. Sometimes it’s better to put things where they will be safe. (p. 12)
- Genius is always allowed some leeway, once the hammer has been pried from its hands and the blood has been cleaned up. (p. 17)
- “Strict,” in fact, was a word that seemed to cover everything about Miss Susan and, in the classroom, she insisted on the Miss in the same way that a king insists upon Your Majesty, and for pretty much the same reason. (p. 21)
- Contrary to the headmistress’s instructions, Miss Susan did not let the children do what they liked. She let them do what she liked. It had turned out to be a lot more interesting for everyone. (p. 21)
- “Questions don’t have to make sense, Vincent,” said Miss Susan. “But answers do.” (p. 25)
- They were not bad men. They had worked hard on behalf of the valley for hundreds of years. But it is possible, after a while, to develop certain dangerous habits of thought. One is that, while all important enterprises need careful organization, it is the organization that needs organizing, rather than the enterprise. And another is that tranquillity is always a good thing. (p. 32)
- “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?” (p. 61)
- When you look into the abyss, it’s not supposed to wave back. (p. 64)
- “There have been complaints?” said Miss Susan.
“Er, no...er...although Miss Smith has told me that the children coming up from your class are, er, restless. Their reading ability is, she says, rather unfortunately advanced...”
“Miss Smith thinks a good book is about a boy and his dog chasing a big red ball,” said Miss Susan. “My children have learned to expect a plot. No wonder they get impatient. We’re reading Grim Fairy Tales at the moment.”
“That is rather rude of you, Susan.”
“No, madam. That is rather polite of me. It would have been rude of me to say that there is a circle of Hell reserved for teachers like Miss Smith.” (pp. 65-66)
- He was definitely a boy with special needs. In the view of the staff, they began with an exorcism. (p. 68)
- 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. (p. 70)
- Most people have some means of filling up the gap between perception and reality, and, after all, in those circumstances there are far worse things than gin. (p. 72)
- Some distance away from Madam Frout’s Academy, in Esoteric Street, 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. (pp. 78-79)
- It was a mystery to her why Death had started using the place. Of course, he did have many of the qualities of a gentleman; he had a place in the country—a far, dark country—was unfailingly punctual, was courteous to all those he met—and sooner or later he met everyone—was well if soberly dressed, at home in any company, and, proverbially, a good horseman.
The fact that he was the Grim Reaper was the only bit that didn’t quite fit. (pp. 79-80)
- And as far as Susan was concerned...
Well, she was partly immortal, and that was all there was to it. She could see things that were really there,† she could put time on and take it off like an overcoat. Rules that applied to everyone else, like gravity, applied to her only when she let them.
- † Which is much harder than seeing things that aren’t there. Everyone does that. (pp. 80-81)
- It was hard to deal with people when a tiny part of you saw them as a temporary collection of atoms that would not be around in another few decades. (p. 81)
- “No one would be that stu—”
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. (p. 82)
- Susan did not waste breath saying things like, “That’s impossible” at a time like this. Only people who believed that they lived in the real world said things like that. (p. 83)
- Susan did an unusual thing and listened. That’s not an easy task for a teacher. (p. 86)
- He wasn’t sure he liked everything that was happening, but a lot of it was “cultural,” apparently, and you couldn’t object to that, so he didn’t. “Cultural” sort of solved problems by explaining that they weren’t really there. (p. 90)
- “What precisely was it you wanted, madam?” she said. It’s just that I’ve left the class doing algebra, and they get restless when they’ve finished.”
“Algebra?” said Madam Frout, perforce staring at her own bosom, which no one else had ever done. “But that’s far too difficult for seven-year-olds!”
“Yes, but I didn’t tell them that and so far they haven’t found out,” said Susan. (p. 95)
- 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. (p. 97)
- The wise man does not seek enlightenment, he waits for it. So while I was waiting, it occurred to me that seeking perplexity might be more fun. (p. 102)
- History needs shepherds, not butchers. (p. 104)
- Look, boy, violence is the resort of the violent. (p. 105)
- Everything that happens, stays happened.
”What kind of philosophy is that?”
The only one that works. (p. 123)
- “I’ve got a question. Can you give me a straight answer?”
“I’ll try, of course.”
“What the hell is going on?”
Lu-Tze brushed the snow off a rock.
“Oh,” he said. “One of the difficult questions.” (p. 143)
- Igor had to admit it. When it came to getting weird things done, sane beat mad hands down. (p. 143)
- “Lemme see...okay...think of the smallest amount of time that you can. Really small. So tiny that a second would be like a billion years. Got that? Well, the cosmic quantum tick...that’s what the abbot calls it...the cosmic quantum tick is much smaller than that. It’s the time it takes to go from now to then. The time it takes an atom to think of wobbling. It’s—”
“It’s the time it takes for the smallest thing that’s possible to happen to happen?” said Lobsang.
“Exactly. Well done,” said Lu-Tze. (p. 152)
- It is essential for humans to use the personal pronoun. It divides the universe into two parts. The darkness behind the eyes, where the little voice is, and everything else. (pp. 159-160)
- Sometimes thinking is like talking to another person, but that person is also you. (p. 160)
- The Auditors avoided death by never going so far as to get a life. They strove to be as indistinguishable as hydrogen atoms, and with none of the latter’s joie de vivre. (p. 161)
- They built a woman. It was a logical choice. After all, while men wielded more obvious power than women, they often did so at the expense of personal danger, and no Auditor liked the prospect of personal danger. Beautiful women often achieved great things, on the other hand, merely by smiling at powerful men. (p. 161)
- They were learning fast, or at least collecting data, which they considered to be the same as learning. (p. 161)
- “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.” (p. 170)
- 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. (p. 170)
- Different generations went round through the whole stupid disaster again and again, shouting “Remember Koon Valley!” as they did so.†
- †Every society needs a cry like that, but only in a very few do they come out with the complete, unvarnished version, which is “Remember-The-Atrocity-Committed-Against-Us-Last-Time-That-Will-Excuse-The-Atrocity-That-We’re-About-To-Commit-Today! And So On! Hurrah!” (p. 174)
- You had to hand it to human beings. They had one of the strangest powers in the universe. Even her grandfather had remarked upon it. No other species anywhere in the world had invented boredom. Perhaps it was boredom, not intelligence, that had propelled them up to the evolutionary ladder. Trolls and dwarfs had it, too, that strange ability to look at the universe and think “oh, the same as yesterday, how dull. I wonder what happens if I bang this rock on that head?” (pp. 174-175)
- Around her, historians climbed library ladders, fumbled books onto their lecterns, and generally rebuilt the image of the past to suit the eyesight of today. (p. 176)
- “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. (p. 182)
- Look, that’s why there’s rules, understand? So that you think before you break ‘em. (p. 205)
- The Auditors had tried to understand religion, because so much that made no sense whatsoever was done in its name. But it could also excuse practically any kind of eccentricity. Genocide, for example. (pp. 221-222)
- Death was nonplussed. It was like asking a brick wall what it thought of dentistry. As a question, it made no sense. (p. 226)
- Emergent behavior again. Complications always crept in. Everything changed. (p. 227)
- “What did you say?”
”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 toward 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 that you were the hammer. Uncertain death, see?” (p. 239)
- Lu-Tze was eight hundred years old, and that was why he was having a rest. A hero would have leaped up and rushed out into the silent city and then—
And there you had it. Then a hero would have had to wonder what to do next. Eight hundred years had taught Lu-Tze that what happens, stays happened. It might stay happened in a different set of dimensions, if you wanted to get technical, but you couldn’t make it unhappen. (p. 253)
- Lu-Tze had long considered that everything happens for a reason, except possibly football. (p. 253)
- “You, er, you appreciate art?” Lobsang ventured.
“I know what I like,” said Susan, still staring at the busy gray figures. “And right now I’d like quite a lot of weaponry.” (p. 264)
- “I was one of them,” said Lady LeJean. “Now I rather think I’m one of me.” (p. 271)
- “We don’t use people as furniture,” said Susan.
“But surely they will not be aware of it,” said her ladyship.
“We will,” said Lobsang. “That’s the point, really.” (p. 273)
- It was a lie. But he wasn’t ready for the truth. By the look of his face, he wasn’t even ready for the lie. (p. 273)
- Seeing things a human shouldn’t have to see makes us human. (p. 274)
- “Let’s all keep our parts to ourselves,” and suddenly she gave Susan a wink, “as the High Priest said to the actress.” (p. 274)
- “You’re giving me a stern look, miss.”
“Well, yes. It was rather a chilly decision, wasn’t it?”
“Someone has to make ’em,” said Mrs. Ogg sharply. “Besides, I’ve been around for some time and I’ve noticed that them as has it in them to shine will shine through six layers of muck, whereas those who ain’t shiny won’t shine however much you buff ’em. You may think otherwise, but it was me standing there.” (p. 279)
- Susan was sensible. It was, she knew, a major character flaw. It did not make you popular, or cheerful, and—this seemed to her to be the most unfair bit—it didn’t even make you right. But it did make you definite, and she was definite that what was happening around her was not, in any accepted sense, real. (p. 281)
- “One of life’s little certainties,” said Susan, standing on the edge of the museum’s parapet, “is that there is generally a last chocolate hidden in all those empty wrappers.” (p. 284)
- He reached into his pack for the battered copy of the Way, and opened it at random.
Koan ninety-seven: “Do unto otters as you would have them do unto you.” Hmm. No real help there. Besides, he’d occasionally been unsure that he’d written that one down properly, although it certain had worked. He’d always left aquatic mammals well alone, and they had done the same to him.
He tried again.
Koan one hundred and twenty-four: “It’s amazing what you see if you keep your eyes open.” (p. 287)
- “What chocolate do we have left?”
“We’re down to the nougat now,” said Unity. “And I believe nougat is a terrible thing to cover with chocolate, where it can ambush the unsuspecting.” (p. 310)
- Fear, anger, envy...emotions bring you to life, which is a brief period just before you die. (p. 312)
- “It makes you wonder if there is anything to astrology after all.”
“Oh, there is,” said Susan. “Delusion, wishful thinking, and gullibility.” (p. 321)
- “So he’s saving the world and destroying it, all at once?”
“Family trait,” said Wen. “It is what Time does at every instant.” (p. 323)
- “What will you do?” said Susan.
“Lie,” said Lu-Tze happily. “It’s amazing how often that works.” (p. 335)
- There is no doubt that being human is incredibly difficult and cannot be mastered in one lifetime. (p. 337)
- Everyone has a conditional clause in their life, some little unspoken addition to the rules like, “Except when I really need to,” or “Unless no one is looking,” or, indeed, “Unless the first one was nougat.” (p. 339)
- If you told humans what the future held, it wouldn’t. (p. 355)
- Susan was very strict about eating in class and took the view that, if there were rules, then they applied to everyone, even her. Otherwise they were merely tyranny. But rules were there to make you think before you broke them. (p. 355)
The Last Hero (2001)
- All page numbers from the hardcover first edition published by Harper Collins (1st printing) ISBN 0-06-104096-7
- All dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- 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. (p. 25)
- “Amazin’, what songs do for the ladies,” said Caleb. “About...flowers and that. Romance.”
“Well, when I was a lad,” said Truckle, “if you wanted to get a girl’s int’rest, you had to cut off your worst enemy’s wossname and present it to her.”
“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.” (p. 26)
- I have no use for people who have learned the limits of the possible. (p. 31)
- 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. (p. 37)
- 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. (p. 38)
- Intelligent robbers would have started to count up the incongruities here.
These, however, were the other kind, the kind for whom evolution was invented. (p. 41)
- “I don’t think I’ve become old,” said Boy Willie. “Not your actual old. Just more aware of where the next lavatory is.” (p. 46)
- The wizards were good at wind, weather being a matter not of force but of lepidoptery. As Archchancellor Ridcully said, you just had to know where the damn butterflies were. (p. 50)
- “This is all very well, but the form of things is important!” snapped a priest. “We can’t all pray at once! You know the gods don’t like ecumenicalism! And what form of words will we use, pray?”
“I would have felt that a short non-controversial—” Hughnon Ridcully paused. In front of him were priests forbidden by holy edict from eating broccoli, priests who required unmarried girls to cover their ears lest they inflame the passions of other men, and priests who worshipped a small shortbread-and-raisin biscuit. Nothing was non-controversial. (p. 63)
- They were...sort of gods, he supposed. They had names like Olk-Kalath the Soul Sucker, but, frankly, the overlap between demons and gods was a bit uncertain at the best of times. (p. 68)
- “Oh, Mighty One,” he began, always a safe beginning and the religious equivalent of “To Whom It May Concern.” (p. 68)
- 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. (p. 69)
- It occurred to him that when you’d had everything, all that was left was nothing. (p. 70)
- “Is it just me,” said the minstrel, “or are we missing something here?”
“Like what?” demanded Cohen.
“Well, these scrolls all tell you how to get to the mountain, a perilous trek that no one has ever survived?”
“So...um...who wrote the scrolls?” (p. 80)
- “Oh,” said Rincewind.
“You understand?” said Ponder.
“No. I was just hoping that if I didn’t say anything you’d stop trying to explain things to me.” (p. 90)
- “Mission motto, sir,” said Carrot cheerfully. “Morituri Nolumus Mori. Rincewind suggested it.”
“I imagine he did,” said Lord Vetinari, observing the wizard coldly. “And would you care to give us a colloquial translation, Mr. Rincewind?”
“Er...” Rincewind hesitated, but there really was no escape. “Er...roughly speaking, it means, ‘We who are about to die don’t want to’, sir.” (p. 91)
- “Some people say you achieve immortality through your children,” said the minstrel.
“Yeah?” said Cohen. “Name one of your great-granddads, then.” (p. 110)
- On the veldt of Howondaland live the N’tuitif people, the only tribe in the world to have no imagination whatsoever.
For example, their story about the thunder runs something like this: “Thunder is a loud noise in the sky, resulting from the disturbance of the air masses by the passage of lightning.” And their legend “How the Giraffe Got His Long Neck” runs: “In the old days the ancestors of Old Man Giraffe had slightly longer necks than other grassland creatures, and the access to the high leaves was so advantageous that it was mostly long-necked giraffes that survived, passing on the long neck in their blood just as a man might inherit his grandfather’s spear. Some say, however, that it is all a lot more complicated and this explanation only applies to the shorter neck of the okapi. And so it is.”
The N’tuitif are a peaceful people, and have been hunted almost to extinction by neighbouring tribes, who have lots of imagination, and therefore plenty of gods, superstitions and ideas about how much better life would be if they had a bigger hunting ground.
Of the events on the moon that day, the N’tuitif said: “The moon was brightly lit and from it rose another light which then split into three lights and faded. We do not know why this happened. It was just a thing.”
They were then wiped out by a nearby tribe who knew that the lights had been a signal from the god Ukli to expand the hunting ground a bit more. However, they were soon defeated entirely by a tribe who knew that the lights were their ancestors, who lived in the moon, and who were urging them to kill all non-believers in the goddess Glipzo. Three years later they in turn were killed by a rock falling from the sky, as a result of a star exploding a billion years ago.
What goes around, comes around. If not examined too closely, it passes for justice. (pp. 129-130)
- “Are you, er, are you much of a religious man yourself?” said Rincewind as clouds whipped by the window.
“I believe all religions do reflect some aspect of an eternal truth, yes,” said Carrot.
“Good wheeze,” said Rincewind. “You might just get away with it.”
“And you?” said Carrot.
“We-ll...you know that religion that thinks that whirling round in circles is a form of prayer?”
“Oh, yes. The Hurtling Whirlers of Klatch.”
“Mine is like that, only we go more in...straight lines. Yes. That’s it. Speed is a sacrament.”
“You believe it gives you some sort of eternal life?”
“Not eternal, as such. More...well, just more, really. More life. That is,” Rincewind added, “more life than you would have if you did not go very fast in a straight line. Although curving lines are acceptable in broken country.”
Carrot sighed. “You’re just a coward really, aren’t you?”
“Yes, but I’ve never understood what’s wrong with the idea. It takes guts to run away, you know. Lots of people would be as cowardly as me if they were brave enough.” (p. 136)
- That’s what prayers are...it’s frightened people trying to make friends with the bully! (p. 140)
- “Anyway,” Cohen went on, “it dunt matter if someone kills the gods. It does matter that someone tried. Next time, someone’ll try harder.” (p. 141)
- The Horde could calculate the peculiar mathematics of heroism quite quickly.
There was, there always was, at the start and finish...the Code. They lived by the Code. You followed the Code, and you became part of the Code for those who followed you. The Code was it. Without the Code, you weren’t a hero. You were just a thug in a loincloth. (p. 143)
- “It’d take a miracle!”
“There’s always hope.”
“So? There’s always taxes, too. It doesn’t make any difference.” (p. 145)
- “You gave me wings when you showed me birds,” said Leonard of Quirm. “I just made what I saw.”
The rest of the gods said nothing. Like many professionally religious people—and they were pretty professional, being gods—they tended towards unease in the presence of the unashamedly spiritual. (p. 146)
- “Tell me,” said Blind Io. “Is there a god of policemen?”
“No, sir,” said Carrot. “Coppers would be far too suspicious of anyone calling themselves a god of policemen to believe in one.”
“But you are a gods-fearing man?”
“What I’ve seen of them certainly frightens the life out of me. sir. And my commander always says, when we go about our business in the city, that when you look at the state of mankind you are forced to accept the reality of the gods.”
The gods smiled their approval of this, which was indeed an accurate quotation. Gods have little use for irony. (p. 147)
- No one remembers the singer. The song remains. (p. 160)
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (2001)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in 2003 by Harper Trophy ISBN 0-06-001235-8
- All dashes, ellipses, bold and italics as in the book.
They fought the dogs and killed the cats, and—
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.
- Chapter 1 (p. 1; opening words)
- “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.”
- Chapter 1 (p. 4)
- If you knew what it was that people really, really wanted, you very nearly controlled them.
- Chapter 1 (p. 19)
- But cats are good at steering people. A miaow here, a purr there, a little gentle pressure with a claw…and Maurice had never had to think about it before. Cats didn’t have to think. They just had to know what they wanted. Humans had to do the thinking. That’s what they were for.
- Chapter 1 (p. 19)
- The trouble with thinking was that, once you started, you went on doing it.
- Chapter 1 (p. 21)
- A wrong question for Maurice was one that he didn’t want anyone to ask.
- Chapter 1 (p. 24)
- What was the point of education, he thought, if people went out afterward and used it?
- Chapter 1 (p. 24)
- Something’s going on, and when something’s going on, that means someone is getting rich, and when someone’s getting rich, I don’t see why that shouldn’t be m— us.
- Chapter 2 (p. 38)
- “It’s odd,” said Peaches, “but we didn’t know the shadows were there until we had the light.”
- Chapter 3 (p. 46)
- “Keith is not a promising name start,” said Malicia. “It doesn’t hint of mystery. It just hints of Keith. Are you sure it’s your real name?”
- Chapter 4 (p. 72)
- “You lied?”
“I just told a story,” said Malicia calmly. “It was a good one, too. It was much more true than the truth would sound.”
- Chapter 5 (p. 98)
- “And our lady friend, she thinks life works like a fairy tale.”
“Well, that’s harmless, isn’t it?” asked Keith.
“Yeah, but in fairy tales, when someone dies...it’s just a word.”
- Chapter 5 (p. 101)
- Life’s bad enough as it is without having to worry about invisible things you can’t see!
- Chapter 5 (p. 105)
- She thought animals were just people who hadn’t been paying enough attention.
- Chapter 6 (p. 112)
- “Does there have to be a clue?” said Keith.
“Of course!” said Malicia, looking under a chair. “Look, cat, there’s two types of people in the world. There are those who have got the plot, and those who haven’t.
“The world hasn’t got a plot,” said Maurice. “Things just...happen, one after another.”
“Only if you think of it like that,” said Malicia, far too smugly in Maurice’s opinion. “There’s always a plot. You just have to know where to look.”
- Chapter 6 (p. 124)
- “If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.”
”And what if your story doesn’t work?”
”You keep changing it until you find one that does.”
- Chapter 8 (p. 179)
- Maurice says governments are very dangerous criminals and steal money from people.
- Chapter 8 (p. 182)
- Maurice watched them argue again. Humans, eh? Think they’re lords of creation. Not like us cats. We know we are. Ever see a cat feed a human? Case proven.
- Chapter 9 (p. 198)
- His conscience fell silent. Probably amazed at the cleverness of the plan, Maurice told himself.
- Chapter 10 (pp. 230-231)
- He wasn’t exactly lost, because cats never get lost. He merely didn’t know where everything else was.
- Chapter 10 (p. 231)
- Malicia frowned the frown of someone faced with an inconvenient fact.
- Chapter 10 (p. 245)
- You will have worked out that there is a race in this world that steals and kills and spreads disease and despoils what it cannot use, said the voice of Spider.
“Yes,” said Dangerous Beans. “That’s easy. It’s called humanity.”
- Chapter 10 (p. 256)
- “Can I ask a question, sir?” said Maurice, as Death turned to go.
You May Not Get An Answer.
”I suppose there isn’t a Big Cat in the Sky, is there?”
I’m Surprised At You, Maurice. Of Course There Are No Cat Gods. That Would Be Too Much Like...Work.
Maurice nodded. One good thing about being a cat, apart from the extra lives, was that the theology was a lot simpler.
- Chapter 11 (p. 277)
- “You don’t know about people, do you?” Maurice sighed again.
“What? I’m a person!” said Malicia.
“So? Cats know about people. We have to. No one else can open cupboards.”
- Chapter 11 (p. 279)
- A good plan isn’t one where someone wins, it’s where nobody thinks they’ve lost. Understand?
- Chapter 11 (p. 279)
- “Malicia hasn’t been home all night,” said the mayor.
“You think something might have happened to her, sir?”
“No, I think she might have happened to someone, man!”
- Chapter 11 (p. 289)
- “You know nothing about your background at all?”
“Aha!” said Malicia. “That proves it! We all know what happens when a mysterious orphan turns up and challenges someone big and powerful, don’t we? It’s like being the third and youngest son of a king. He can’t help but win!”
She looked triumphantly at the crowd. But the crowd looked doubtful. They hadn’t read as many stories as Malicia, and were rather more attached to the experience of real life, which is that when someone small and righteous takes on someone big and nasty, he is grilled bread product, very quickly.
- Chapter 11 (pp. 295-296)
- There was a general murmuring, no real words, nothing that would get anyone into trouble if the piper turned nasty, but a muttering indicating, in a general sense, without wishing to cause umbrage, and seeing everyone’s point of view, and taking one thing with another, and all things being equal, that people would like to see the boy given a chance, if it’s all right with you, no offense meant.
- Chapter 11 (p. 296)
- I’ve seen people playing the trombone, and it doesn’t look too difficult. It’s only an overgrown trumpet, really.
- Chapter 11 (p. 299)
- “You’re all talking?” he said at last.
“Yes, sir,” said Nourishing.
“So...who’s doing the listening?” he asked.
- Chapter 12 (p. 326)
- To be a leader you have to learn to shout! But after you’ve learned to shout, you have to learn not to!
- Chapter 12 (p. 332)
- It’s not perfect, but it works. The thing about stories is you have to pick the ones that last.
- Chapter 12 (p. 339)
Night Watch (2002)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in October 2003 by Harper Torch (16th printing) ISBN 0-06-001312-5
- All dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- It wasn’t that he liked being shot at by hooded figures in the temporary employ of his many and varied enemies, but he’d always looked at it as some kind of vote of confidence. It showed that he was annoying the rich and arrogant people who ought to be annoyed. (p. 3)
- 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?” (p. 12)
- After the door had shut one of the watchmen looked up from the desk where he’d been wrestling with a report and the effort of writing down, as policeman do, what ought to have happened. (p. 14)
- Leggie he lived down there in the crypts. As he said, he was the only one who did, and he liked the company. (p. 19)
- “You shoot first—“
“—and ask questions later?” said Vetinari.
Vimes paused at the door and said: “There’s nothing I want to ask him.” (p. 26)
- Yes, thought Vimes. That’s the way it was. Privilege, which just means “private law.” Two types of people laugh at the law; those that break it and those that make it. (p. 55)
- “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?” (pp. 56-57)
- Tell your man to lower that sword, will you? The way he’s waving it around he could hurt someone. (p. 59)
- The cluttered desk of Vimes’s memory finally unearthed the inadvertent saucer of recollection from under the teacup of forgetfulness. (p. 63)
- Vimes had mixed memories of Captain Tilden. He had been a military man before being given this job as a kind of pension, and that was a bad thing in a senior copper. It meant he looked to Authority for orders and obeyed them, whereas Vimes found it better to look to Authority for orders and then filter those orders through a fine mesh of common sense, adding a generous scoop of creative misunderstanding and maybe even incipient deafness if circumstances demanded, because Authority rarely descended to street level. Tilden set too great a store by shiny breastplates and smartness on parade. You had to have some of that stuff, that was true enough. You couldn’t let people slob around. But although he’d never voice the view in public, Vimes liked to see a bit of battered armor around the place. It showed that someone had been battering it. Besides, when you were lurking in the shadows you didn’t want to gleam… (p. 65)
- Is that Narrative Causality or Historical Imperative or Just Plain Weird? Are we back to the old theory of the self-correcting history? Is there no such thing as an accident, as the Abbott says? Is every accident just a higher-order design? I’d love to find out! (p. 86)
- And he saw plots and spies everywhere throughout his waking hours, and had men root them out, and the thing about rooting out plots and spies everywhere is that, even if there are no real plots to begin with, there are plots and spies galore very soon. (p. 95)
- They were honest, in that special policeman sense of the word. That is, they didn’t steal things too heavy to carry. (p. 103)
- Knock’s face showed a man contemplating an immediate future that contained fewer opportunities for personal gain and a greatly raised risk of being shouted at. (p. 110)
- What was it Vetinari had said once? “Taxation is just a sophisticated way of demanding money with menaces”? Well, the tax farmers were very unsophisticated in the way they went about recouping their investment. (p. 113)
- There was a future. There had to be. He remembered it. But it only existed as that memory, and that was as fragile as the reflection on a soap bubble and, maybe, just as easily popped. (p. 119)
- Aloud, he said: “Yes, sir.” It was a good phrase. It could mean any of a dozen things, or nothing at all. It was just punctuation until the man said something else. (p. 121)
- 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? (p. 124)
- “Have you really got the eye of a mass-murderer?”
“In the pocket of my other suit, yes.” (p. 125)
- 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. (p. 125)
- “When I die,“ said Lawn, inspecting the patient, “I’m going to instruct them to put a bell on my tombstone, just so’s I can have the pleasure of not getting up when people ring.” (p. 130)
- Lawn looked down at his patient. “In the words of the philosopher Sceptum, the founder of my profession: Am I going to get paid for this?” (p. 131)
- Vines wasn’t against intellect. Anybody with enough savvy to let go of a doorknob could be a street monster in the old days, but to make it above sergeant you needed a grab bag of guile, cunning, and street wisdom that could pass for “intelligence" in a poor light. (pp. 134-135)
- Swing, though, started in the wrong place. He didn’t look around, and watch, and learn, and then say, “This is how people are, how do we deal with it?” No, he sat and thought: “This is how people ought to be, how do we change them?” (p. 135)
- It wasn’t that the city was lawless. It had plenty of laws. It just didn’t offer many opportunities not to break them. Swing didn’t seem to have grasped the idea that the system was supposed to take criminals and, in some rough-and-ready fashion, force them into becoming honest man. Instead, he’d taken honest men and turned them into criminals. And the Watch, by and large, into just another gang. (p. 136)
- Then, just when the whole wretched stew was thickening, he’d invented craniometrics.
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 congenitally criminal. After you spent the next twenty minutes in the company of his staff and their less sophisticated tools of inquiry, he would, amazingly, be proven right. (p. 136)
- 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. (p. 137)
- Swordfish? Every password was “swordfish"! Whenever anyone tried to think of a word that no one would ever guess, they always chose “swordfish.“ It was just one of those strange quirks of the human mind. (p. 141)
- Tilden was nearly seventy. At a time like that, a man learned to treat his memory as only a rough guide to events. (p. 154)
- It was a Guild of Assassins, after all. Black was what you wore. The night was black and so were you. And black had such style, and an Assassin without style, everyone agreed, was just a highly paid arrogant thug. (pp. 158-159)
- Most of them had already learned that the world was an oyster that could be opened with gold if a blade did not suffice. (p. 159)
- That was always the dream, wasn’t it? “I wish I knew then what I know now”? But when you got older, you found out that you now wasn’t you then. You then was a twerp. You then was what you had to be to start out on the rocky road of becoming you now, and one of the rocky patches on that road was being a twerp. (p. 163)
- The Assassin moved quietly from roof to roof until he was well away from the excitement around the Watch House.
His movements could be called catlike, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things. (p. 195)
- Ninety per cent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact. (p. 195)
- “May I ask how you found that out, Madam?”
“Oh, one hears things,“ Madam said lightly. “One just has to hold money up to one’s ear.“ (p. 196)
- He is a complication. You may think it best if he…ceased to complicate. (p. 198)
- She was wearing a red, off-the-shoulder evening dress, an impressively large wig, and quite a lot of jewelry. “Yes, it costs a lot of money to look as cheap as this, Sergeant,“ she said, catching his expression. (p. 208)
- It was just waiting for some idiot to do the wrong thing, and Nature is bountiful where idiots are concerned. (p. 233)
- But here's some advice, boy. Don’t put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That’s why they’re called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes. (p. 234)
- “I mean, doesn’t it change history even if you just tread on an ant?”
“For the ant, certainly,” said Qu. (p. 240)
- And it was indeed the Hon. Ronald Rust, the gods’ gift to the enemy, any enemy, and a walking encouragement to desertion.
The Rust family had produced great soldiers, by the undemanding standards of “Deduct Your Own Casualties From Those Of The Enemy, And If The Answer Is A Positive Sum, It Was A Glorious Victory" school of applied warfare. But Rust’s lack of any kind of military grasp was matched only by his high opinion of the talent he, in fact, possessed only in negative amounts. (p. 243)
- Rust was a fool. But at the moment he was a young fool, which is more easily excused. Maybe it was just possible, if caught early enough, that he could be upgraded to idiot. (p. 246)
- Rust was always a man to interrupt an answer with a demand for the answer he was in fact interrupting. (p. 247)
- Well, trouble is always easy to find when you have enough people looking for it. (p. 247)
- One of the hardest lessons in 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. (p. 247)
- 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. (p. 249)
- 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. (p. 250)
- As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn’t measure up. (p. 250)
- Rust didn’t notice. He had a gift for not seeing things he did not want to see and not hearing things he did not want to hear. (p. 252)
- Reg Shoe’s slightly worrying eyes remain fixed on Vimes’s face for a moment, and then his brain rejected the information as contrary to whatever total fantasy was going on inside. (p. 269)
- 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 exist. You’ve got the shirt and the haircut and the sash and you know all the songs, but you’re no urban guerrilla. 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. But you believe. (p. 269)
- 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.” (pp. 291-292)
- Reg had a hunted look. He made a dive for safety. “Well, at least we can agree on Truth, Freedom, and Justice, yes?”
There was a chorus. Everyone wanted those. They didn’t cost anything. (p. 293)
- “You'd like Freedom, Truth, and Justice, wouldn't you, Comrade Sergeant?” said Reg encouragingly.
“I’d like a hard-boiled egg,” said Vimes, shaking the match out.
There was some nervous laughter, but Reg looked offended.
“In the circumstances, Sergeant, I think we should set our sights a little higher—”
“Well, yes, we could,” said Vimes, coming down the steps. He glanced at the sheets of papers in front of Reg. The man cared. He really did. And he was serious. He really was. “But...well, Reg, tomorrow the sun will come up again, and I'm pretty sure that whatever happens we won’t have found Freedom, and there won’t be a whole lot of Justice, and I’m damn sure we won't have found Truth. But it’s just possible that I might get a hard-boiled egg.” (p. 294)
- “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?” (p. 294)
- When he was a boy, he’d read books about great military campaigns, and visited the museums and had looked with patriotic pride at the paintings of famous cavalry charges, last stands, and glorious victories. It had come as rather a shock, when he later began to participate in some of these, to find that the painters had unaccountably left out the intestines. Perhaps they just weren’t very good at them. (pp. 295-296)
- And it actually kind of logic, if you didn’t factor in considerations like “real life" and “common sense.” (p. 305)
- Changing history is like damming a river. It’ll find its way around. (p. 306)
- “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. (p. 311)
- “Is it going to come down to fighting, Sarge?
“Yes,“ said Vimes without an opening his eyes.
“Like, really fighting?”
“But won’t there be some talking first?”
“Nope,“ said Vimes, trying to make himself comfortable. “Maybe some talking afterward.“
“Seems the wrong way round!”
“Yes, lad, but it’s a tried and tested method.” (pp. 315-316)
- Trooper Gabitass had seen too many battlefields up close to use the word “glory” without wincing. (p. 318)
- “And what do they talk about beyond the barricade, my little lad?”
“Um…well, Justice an’ Truth an’ Freedom and stuff,” said Nobby.
“Aha. Rebel talk!” said Carcer, straightening up.
“Is it?” said the major.
“Take it from me, Major,“ said Carcer. “When you get a bunch of people using words like that, they’re up to no good.“ (pp. 320-321)
- No one had tried very hard to establish the facts in any case. People said things like “Quite possibly we shall never know the truth" which meant, in Vimes’s personal lexicon, “I know, or think I know what the truth is, and hope like hell it doesn’t come out, because things are all smoothed over now.“ (p. 329)
- He wanted to go home. He wanted it so much that he trembled at the thought. But if the price of that was selling good men to the night, if the price was filling those graves, if the price was not fighting with every trick he knew…then it was too high.
It wasn’t a decision he was making, he knew that. It happened far below the levels of the brain where decisions were made. It was something built in. There was no universe, anywhere, where a Sam Vimes would give in on this, because if he did then he wouldn’t be Sam Vimes anymore. (p. 330)
- There was not a thing that he could do. He hadn’t bought a ticket and he hadn’t wanted to come, but now he was on the ride and couldn’t get off until the end. (p. 330)
- People are content to wait a long time for salvation, but expect dinner to turn up within the hour. (p. 331)
- “But I’ll tell you what,“ said Vimes. “If this goes on, the city will make sure 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. (pp. 332-333)
- 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 that 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. (p. 334)
- For a moment, Vimes wondered, looking out through a gap in the furniture, if there wasn’t something in Fred’s idea about moving the barricades on and on, like a sort of sieve, street by street. You could let through the decent people, and push the bastards, the rich bullies, the wheelers and dealers in people’s fates, the leeches, the hangers-on, the brownnosers, and courtiers, and smarmy plump devils in expensive clothes, all those people who didn’t know or care about the machine but stole its grease, push them into a smaller and smaller compass and then leave them in there. Maybe you could toss some food in every couple of days, or maybe you could leave ’em to do what they’d always done, which was live off other people… (p. 335)
- “Do you want to know what happened next, sir?”
“Next? There was a next?”
“Um…yes, sir. Quite a lot of next, actually, sir.” (p. 336)
- Sorry, sir. But the city doesn’t stop, you see. It’s not like a battlefield. The best place for urban fighting is right out in the countryside, sir, where there’s nothing else in the way. (p. 337)
- No. There is no more time, even for cake. For you, the cake is over. You have reached the end of cake. (p. 352)
- But those who filled in the grates and dusted the furniture and swept the floors stayed on, as they had stayed on before, because they seldom paid any attention to, or possibly didn’t even know, who their Lord was, and, in any case, were too useful and knew where the brooms were kept. Men come and go, but dust accumulates.
And it was the morning of a new day, which looked, seen from below, quite like the old ones. (p. 355)
- “Time has stopped for everyone but you,” said Sweeper patiently. “Actually, that sentence is wrong in every particular, but it’s quite a useful lie.” (p. 382)
- Vimes was hazy on religion. He attended Watch funerals and went to such religious events as the proper fulfilling of the office of commander entailed, but has for the rest… well, you saw things sometimes that made it impossible to believe not only in gods, but also in common humanity and your own eyes. From what he could remember, Keel had felt the same way. You got on with things. If there was any gods, you expected them to get on with things, too, and didn’t interrupt them while they were working. (p. 384)
The Wee Free Men (2003)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in 2006 by Harper Tempest (9th printing) ISBN 0-06-001238-2
- All spelling, dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- Ordinary fortune-tellers tell you what you want to happen; witches tell you what’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. Strangely enough, witches tend to be more accurate but less popular.
- Chapter 1, “A Clang Well Done” (p. 3)
- Tiffany sometimes feels she is nothing more than a way of moving boots around.
- Chapter 1, “A Clang Well Done” (p. 7)
- They didn’t have to be funny—they were father jokes.
- Chapter 1, “A Clang Well Done” (p. 12)
- Miss Tick did not look like a witch. Most witches don’t, at least the ones who wander from place to place. Looking like a witch can be dangerous when you walk among the uneducated. And for that reason she didn’t wear any occult jewelry, or have a glowing magical knife or a silver goblet with a pattern of skulls all around it, or carry a broomstick with sparks coming out of it, all of which are tiny hints that there may be a witch around. Her pockets never carried anything more magical than a few twigs, maybe a piece of string, a coin or two, and, of course, a lucky charm.
Everyone in the country carried Lucky charms, and Miss Tick had worked out that if you didn’t have one, people would suspect you were a witch. You had to be a bit cunning to be a witch.
Miss Tick did have a pointy hat, but it was a stealth hat and pointed only when she wanted it to.
- Chapter 1, “A Clang Well Done” (p. 18)
- What they did was sell invisible things. And after they’d sold what they had, they still had it. They sold what everyone needed but often didn’t want. They sold the key to the universe to people who didn’t even know it was locked.
- Chapter 1, “A Clang Well Done” (p. 19)
- 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 had 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.
- Chapter 1, “A Clang Well Done” (p. 21)
- “I’m a toad, actually,” said the creature, which had been peering at Tiffany from between the paper flowers.
“You’re very yellow for a toad.”
“I’ve been a bit ill,” said the toad.
“And you talk,” said Tiffany.
“You only have my word for it,” said the toad disappearing into the paper flowers. “You can’t prove anything.”
- Chapter 2, “Miss Tick” (p. 29)
- Her mother had read them to her when she was little, and then she’d read them to herself. And all the stories had, somewhere, the witch. The wicked old witch.
And Tiffany had thought, Where’s the evidence?
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 him 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 didn’t want you to think, they just wanted you to believe what you were told…
- Chapter 2, “Miss Tick” (p. 34)
- That was how it worked. No magic at all. But that time it had been magic. And it didn’t stop being magic just because you found out how it was done.
- Chapter 2, “Miss Tick” (p. 40; repeated on p. 111)
- “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.
- Chapter 2, “Miss Tick” (p. 48)
- “Well, I must go. I hope we shall meet again. I will give you some free advice, though.”
“Will it cost me anything?”
“What? I just said it was free!” said Miss Tick.
“Yes, but my father said that free advice often turns out to be expensive,” said Tiffany.
Miss Tick sniffed. “You could say this advice is priceless,” she said. “Are you listening?”
“Yes,” said Tiffany.
“Good. Now…if you trust in yourself…”
“…and believe in your dreams…”
“…and follow your star…” Miss Tick went on.
“…you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Good-bye.”
- Chapter 2, “Miss Tick” (p. 51)
- Tiffany was on the whole quite a truthful person, but it seemed to her that there were times when things didn’t divide easily into “true” and “false,” but instead could be things that people needed to know at the moment and things that they didn’t need to know at the moment.
- Chapter 3, “Hunt the Hag” (p. 72)
- There were unlimited supplies of no answer at all.
- Chapter 3, “Hunt the Hag” (p. 78)
- Nothing’s louder than the end of a song that’s always been there.
- Chapter 3, “Hunt the Hag” (p. 79)
- “You’d better tell me what you know, toad,” said Tiffany. “Miss Tick isn’t here. I am.”
“Another world is colliding with this one,” said the toad. “There. Happy now? That’s what Miss Tick thinks. But it’s happening faster than she expected. All the monsters are coming back.”
“There’s no one to stop them.”
There was silence for a moment.
“There’s me,” said Tiffany.
- Chapter 3, “Hunt the Hag” (p. 86)
- She tried to pretend she hadn’t thought that, but she was treacherously good at spotting when she was lying. That’s the trouble with a brain—it thinks more than you sometimes want it to.
- Chapter 4, “The Wee Free Men” (p. 92)
- “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.
“Tell the wee hag who we are, lads,” said the helmet twiddler.
There was the scrape of many small swords being drawn and thrust into the air.
“Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna be fooled again!”
- Chapter 4, “The Wee Free Men” (pp. 99-100)
- “They think written words are even more powerful,” whispered the toad. “They think all writing is magic. Words worry them. See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers.”
- Chapter 4, “The Wee Free Men” (pp. 103-104)
- Somehow I don’t think the Baron would have a clue how to deal with this. I don’t, either, but I think I can be clueless in more sensible ways.
- Chapter 4, “The Wee Free Men” (p. 111)
- “Ye hae a besom?”
“Broomstick,” murmured the toad.
“Er, no,” said Tiffany. “The important thing about magic,” she added haughtily, “is to know when not to use it.”
- Chapter 4, “The Wee Free Men” (p. 115)
- It’s amazing what a child who is quiet and observant can learn, and this includes things people don’t think she is old enough to know.
- Chapter 7, “First Sight and Second Thoughts” (p. 187)
- “Aye. Ye did well, lassie.”
Tiffany shook her head. “No, I didn’t,” she said. “I didn’t do any real magic. I don’t know how. I just looked at things and worked them out. It was cheating, really.”
The pictsies looked at one another.
“Ah, weel,” said Rob Anybody. “What’s magic, eh? Just waving’ a stick an’ sayin’ a few wee magical words. An’ what’s so clever aboot that, eh? But lookin’ at things, really lookin’ at ’em, and then workin’ ’em oout, now, that’s a real skill.”
“Aye, it is,” said William the gonnagle, to Tiffany’s surprise. “Ye used yer eyes and used yer heid. That’s what a real hag does. The magicking is just there for advertisin’.”
- Chapter 7, “First Sight and Second Thoughts” (p. 203)
- Rob Anybody made a noise in his throat. It sounded like a voice that was trying to say aye but was being argued with by a brain that knew the answer was no.
- Chapter 8, “Land of Winter” (p. 215)
- Live in dreams for too long and ye go mad—ye can never wake up prop’ly, ye can never get the hang o’ reality again.
- Chapter 8, “Land of Winter” (pp. 215-216)
- Them as can do has to do for them as can’t. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.
- Chapter 8, “Land of Winter” (p. 227)
- Her Second Thoughts added: I wonder how many have got in already and we don’t know?
And I am in Fairyland, where dreams can hurt. Somewhere all stories are real, all songs are true. I thought that was a strange thing for the kelda to say.…
Tiffany’s Second Thoughts said: Hang on, was that a First Thought?
And Tiffany thought: No, that was a Third Thought. I’m thinking about how I think about what I’m thinking. At least, I think so.
Her Second Thoughts said: Let’s all calm down, please, because this is quite a small head.
- Chapter 9, “Lost Boys” (p. 235)
- “He came back?” said Tiffany, astonished.
“He said it was better to belong where you don’t belong than not to belong where you used to belong, remembering when you used to belong there,” said Roland. “At least, I think that’s what he said.”
- Chapter 10, “Master Stroke” (p. 267)
- “Nae kiddin’? Then it’s a picture on the outside, and it’s real on the inside.” Rob nodded. “Ye ken, we’ve been robbin’ and running aroound on all kinds o’ worlds for a lang time, and I’ll tell ye this: The universe is a lot more comp-li-cated than it looks from the ooutside.”
- Chapter 12, “Jolly Sailor” (p. 303)
- The anger rose up, joyfully. “Yes! I’m me! I am careful and logical and I look up things I don’t understand! When I hear people use the wrong words, I get edgy! I am good with cheese. I read books fast! I think! And I always have a piece of string! That’s the kind of person I am!”
- Chapter 12, “Jolly Sailor” (p. 309)
- The sea was calm.
It was peaceful.
It was exactly the moment anyone sensible should distrust.
But nothing happened. It was followed by nothing else happening.
- Chapter 12, “Jolly Sailor” (pp. 312-313)
- “And you won’t get lost or—or drunk or anything?”
Rob anybody looked offended. “We ne’er get lost!” he said. “We always ken where we are! It’s just sometimes mebbe we aren’t sure where everything else is, but it’s no’ our fault if everything else gets lost! The Nac Mac Feegle are never lost!”
- Chapter 12, “Jolly Sailor” (pp. 313-314)
- An’ things ha’ come to a pretty pass, ye ken, if people are going to leave stuff like that around where innocent people could accidentally smashed the door doon and lever the bars aside and take the big chain off ‘f the cupboard and pick the lock and drink it!
- Chapter 12, “Jolly Sailor” (p. 315)
- Overhead the storm still raged.
But she felt warm. In fact, she felt hot, red-hot with anger…anger at the bruised turf, anger at her own stupidity, anger at this beautiful creature whose only talent was control.
This…creature was trying to take her world.
All witches are selfish, the Queen had said. But Tiffany’s Third Thoughts said: Then turn selfishness into a weapon! Make all things yours! Make other lives and dreams and hopes yours! Protect them! Save them! Bring them into the sheepfold! Walk the gale for them! Keep away the wolf! My dreams! My brother! My family! My land! My world! How dare you try to take these things, because they are mine!
I have a duty!
- Chapter 13, “Land Under Wave” (p. 331)
- “Hey, they’re sweatin’,” said Rob Anybody. “You mean we could have lawyers on oour side as well?”
“Yes, of course,” said the toad. “You can have defense lawyers.”
“Defense?” said Rob Anybody. “Are you tellin’ me we could get awa’ wi’ it ’cause of a tishoo o’ lies?”
“Certainly,” said the toad. “And with all the treasure you’ve stolen, you can pay enough to be very innocent indeed.”
- Chapter 13, “Land Under Wave” (p. 339)
- 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 aware than she’d ever been. She had to concentrate even to think against the storm of sensations pouring into her mind.
- Chapter 13, “Land Under Wave” (pp. 342-343)
- “It’s all right. I worked it out. 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 how you are...you, I suppose.”
“Nicely said,” said Mistress Weatherwax. “You’re sharp. But there’s magic, too. You’ll pick that up. It don’t take much intelligence, otherwise wizards wouldn’t be able to do it.”
- Chapter 14, “Small, Like Oak Trees” (pp. 356-357)
- “And what do you really do?” said Tiffany.
The thin witch hesitated for a moment, and then:
“We look to...the edges,” said Mistress Weatherwax. “There’s a lot of edges, more than people know. Between life and death, this world and the next, night and day, right and wrong...an’ they need watchin’. We watch ’em, we guard the sum of things. And we never ask for any reward. That’s important.”
- Chapter 14, “Small, Like Oak Trees” (pp. 357-358)
- “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 that respect.”
- Chapter 14, “Small, Like Oak Trees” (p. 361)
Monstrous Regiment (2003)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in September 2004 by Harper Torch (1st printing) ISBN 0-06-001316-8
- All dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- The old ladies who spent their days glowering from their windows might spy and peeve and mumble, but they had been doing that for too long. No one listened anymore. (p. 3)
- The cart would have to stop there for the night, but the place was one of those nowhere villages that existed only in order to avoid the embarrassment of having large empty spaces on the map. (p. 4)
- It was said to be a wonder of the world, except that very few people around here wondered ever wondered much about anything and were barely aware of the world. (p. 5)
- There was always a war. Usually they were border disputes, the national equivalent of complaining that the neighbor was letting their hedge grow too long. Sometimes they were bigger. Borogravia was a peace-loving country in the midst of treacherous, devious, warlike enemies. They had to be treacherous, devious, and warlike, otherwise we wouldn’t be fighting them, eh? There was always a war. (p. 6)
- The word “fat” could not honestly be applied to him, not when the word “gross” was lumbering forward to catch your attention. He was one of those people who didn’t have a waist. He had an equator. He had gravity. (p. 7)
- I read your report. Do you think it’s possible for an entire nation to be insane? (p. 12)
- Look, you know what I mean. You take a bunch of people who don’t seem any different from you and me, but when you add them all together you get this sort of huge raving maniac with national borders and an anthem. (p. 12)
- He’s dead. However, credit where it’s due, he hasn’t let that stop him. (p. 14)
- “The color blue?”
“What’s abominable about the color blue? It’s just a color! 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.
“Tetchy,” said Vimes? “A tetchy god? What, he complains about the noise their kids make? Objects to loud music after nine P.M.?” (p. 16)
- “You mean Nuggan objects to dwarfs, cats and the color blue and there’re more insane commandments?”
Chinny coughed politely.
“All right, then,” growled Vimes. “More extreme commandments?”
“Oysters, sir. He doesn’t like them. But that’s not a problem because no one there has ever seen an oyster. Oh, and babies. He Abominated them, too.”
“I take it people still make them here?”
“Oh, yes, Your Gr— I’m sorry. Yes, sir. But they feel guilty about it. Barking dogs, that was another one. Shirts with six buttons, too. And cheese. Er…people just sort of, er, avoid the trickier ones. Even the priests seem to have given up trying to explain them.”
“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.” (p. 17)
- “Oh, well, the interests of Ankh-Morpork are the interests of all money-lov—oops, sorry, all freedom-loving people everywhere,” said Vimes. (p. 19)
- Most of the vampire families were highly nobby. You never knew who was connected to who...not just to who, in fact, but to whom. “Whoms” were likely to be far more trouble than your common, everyday “who.” (p. 22)
- 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. (p. 31)
- 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. (pp. 31-32)
- The four lesser apocalyptical horsemen of Panic, Bewilderment, Ignorance, and Shouting took control of the room. (p. 36)
- “Ankh-Morpork is a godless city—”
“I thought it had more than three hundred places of worship?” said Maladict.
Strappi stared at him in a rage that was incoherent until he managed to touch bottom again.
“Ankh-Morpork is a godawful city,” he said. (p. 49)
- They buy you, they will you stop interrupting! What’s the good of me trying to teach you stuff if you’re going to keep on asking questions? (p. 49)
- “Good, right, yes, I think I’ve got it, thank you,” said Maladict. “And what you’ve got there, my friend, is patriotism. My country, right or wrong.”
“You should love your country,” said Shufti.
“Okay, what part?” the voice of Tonker demanded, from the far corner of the tent. “The morning sunlight on the mountains? The horrible food? The damn mad Abominations? All of my country except whatever bit Strappi is standing on?”
“But we are at war!”
“Yes, that’s where they’ve got you,” sighed Polly.
“Well, I’m not buying into it. It’s all trickery. They keep you down and when they piss off some other country, you have to fight for them! It’s only your country when they want you to get killed!” said Tonker. (pp. 51-52)
- It was a terrible thing. Her mother had been a kind woman, or as kind as a devout woman could be while trying to keep up with the whims of Nuggan, and she’d died slowly and painfully, amid pictures of the Duchess and among the echoes of unanswered prayers, but that was the memory that crawled treacherously into Polly’s mind every time: the fury and the scolding. (p. 54)
- “Are you saying I’m dishonest?” said the corporal hotly.
“Let’s say I’m open to the idea that you might not be,” said the vampire. (p. 72)
- “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.” (p. 74)
- “What’s a political?”
“Like a spy, only on your own side,” said Maladict. (p. 75)
- She entered. Lieutenant Blouse was standing in the middle of the floor in his breeches and shirtsleeves, holding a saber. Polly was no expert in these matters, but she thought she recognized the stylish, flamboyant pose as the one beginners tend to use just before they’re stabbed through the heart by a more experienced fighter. (p. 76)
- “Er…what's that glass for, sir?”
“It’s a monocle,” said the captain. “It helps me see you, for which I am eternally grateful. I always say that if I had two I’d make a spectacle of myself.” (p. 94)
- “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.” (p. 96)
- Half an hour had passed.
Polly was still bewildered. The trouble was not that she didn’t understand what was going on. The trouble was that before she could understand that, she had to understand a lot of other things. (p. 108)
- She was embarrassed, of course. But not for the obvious reason. It was for the other one, the little lesson that life sometimes rams home with a stick: you are not the only one watching the world, other people are also people, while you watch them they watch you, and they think about you while you think about them. The world isn’t just about you. (p. 112)
- You were right when you said they were going mad. These…commandments are dumb, and any farmer can see that. I imagine people go along with them as best they can, but sooner or later you either have to break them and feel guilty, or keep them and suffer. For no reason, sir. I’ve had a look around. They are very religious here, but their god’s let them down. No wonder they mostly pray to the royal family. (p. 120)
- That was another thing you learned in the milit’ry: look busy. Look busy and no one worried too much about what you were busy at. (p. 127)
- “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.” (p. 131)
- A woman always has half an onion left over, no matter what the size of the onion, the dish, or the woman. (p. 133)
- The purpose of this lectchoor is to let you know where we are. We are in the deep cack. It couldn’t be worse if it was raining arseholes. Any questions? (p. 134)
- His rabbitty features looked unusually determined, as if a hamster had spotted a gap in its treadmill. (p. 136)
- She knew about difficult horses; this one had all the hallmarks of a right bastard, one of those not cowed at all by the obvious superiority of the human race. (p. 139)
- Well, that was true. It just wasn’t honest. (p. 154)
- And the trouble with Polly was that she had a mind that asked questions even when she really, really didn’t want to know the answers. (p. 154)
- There was this about vampires; they could never look scruffy. Instead, they were...what was the word...dishabille. It meant untidy, but with bags and bags of style. (p. 155)
- “He used to come to dinner when my mother— he used to come to dinner. A bit pompous, but he seemed okay.”
“Yes,” said Tonker. “He was good at seeming.” (p. 168)
- “You know what most of milit’ry training is, Perks?” he went on. “All that yelling from little spitballs like Strappi? It’s to turn you into a man who will, on the word of command, stick his blade into some poor sod just like him who happens to be wearing the wrong uniform. He’s like you, you’re like him. He doesn’t really want to kill you, you don’t really want to kill him. But if you don’t kill him first, he’ll kill you. That’s the start and finish of it. It don’t come easy without trainin’.” (p. 170)
- You know, lad, you’re going to make a damn good sergeant one day. Any fool can use his eyes and ears, but you uses that brain to connect ’em up. (p. 171)
- I live in a city. I know sparrows from starlings. After that, everything’s a duck, as far as I’m concerned. (p. 180)
- Sir, I don’t know if he’s worth talking to, sir, but he may be worth listening to. Even if you think he’ll only tell us lies. Because sometimes, sir, the way people tell you lies, if they tell you enough lies, well, they sort of…show you what shape the truth is, sir. (p. 181)
- I see you’re learnin’ how to steer an officer, though. You gotta make sure they gives you the right orders, see? You’ll make a good sergeant, Perks. (p. 183)
- It’s all there, sir. I didn’t make it up. It’s the truth. It will remain true whether you believe it or not. (p. 188)
- People build something that works. Then circumstances change, and they have to tinker with it to make it continue to work, and they are so busy tinkering that they cannot see that a much better idea would be to build a whole new system to deal with the new circumstances. But to an outsider, the idea is obvious. (p. 195)
- “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.” (pp. 195-196)
- He thinks he’s a soldier. Never walked on a battlefield in his life. All that rubbish he gave your man was death-or-glory stuff. And I’ll tell you, Perks, I’ve seen Death more often than I care to remember, but I’ve never clapped eyes on Glory. I’m all for sending the fools to look for us where we ain’t, though. (p. 199)
- It’s hard to be an ornithologist and walk through a wood when all around you the world is shouting: “Bugger off, this is my bush! Aargh, the nest thief! Have sex with me, I can make my chest big and red!” (p. 205)
- “I suppose men are the same the world over,” said Polly.
“On the inside, certainly.” (p. 206)
- She’d been a kitchen maid and now she was subjecting the Book to critical analysis and talking to a religious icon. That sort of thing led to friction. The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it. (pp. 211-212)
- “You did lie, Sarge.”
“I did not, Perks. It’s not lying when you do it to officers! It’s presentin’ them with the world the way they think it ought to be! You can’t let ’em start checkin’ up for themselves! They get the wrong ideas!” (p. 220)
- “I have, myself, prayed many times on the field of battle. Many time have I said The Soldier’s Prayer, sir, and I don’t mind admitting it.”
“Er…I don’t think I know that one,” said Blouse.
“Oh, I reckon the words’ll come to you soon enough, sir, once you’re up against the foe. Gen’rally, though, they’re on the lines of ‘oh god, let me kill this bastard before he kills me.’” Jackrum grinned at Blouse’s expression. “That’s what I call the Authorized Version, sir.” (p. 229)
- If we need a woman, I’m your man. (p. 239)
- I would like to eat chocolates in a great big room where the world is a different place. (p. 242)
- Stranger things have happened, although I can’t remember when. (p. 250)
- He went to a school for young gentlemen, so prison will be just like old times. (p. 256)
- Pers’nally, I’ve found religion in battle is as much use as a chocolate helmet. (p. 257)
- It hadn’t seen that an army on campaign is a sort of large, portable city. It has only one employer, and it manufactures dead people, but, like all cities, it attracts…citizens. (p. 258)
- “Then it is about sex,” said Polly flatly. “It’s a folk song, it starts with ‘’twas,’ it takes place in May, QED, it’s about sex. Is a milkmaid involved? I bet she is.” (p. 273).
- “There is no god here now.”
“So where do they come from?”
“From your fear…They come from the part that hates the Other, that will not change. They come from the sum of all your pettiness, and stupidity and dullness. You fear tomorrow, and you’ve made your fear your god.” (p. 283)
- It was women’s work, and therefore monotonous, backbreaking, and social. (p. 285)
- It is an established fact that, despite everything society can do, girls of seven are magnetically attracted to the color pink. (p. 287)
- She paused. It had been good flanneling, she knew. It was almost worthy of Jackrum. 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. (p. 290)
- It seemed to Polly that the lieutenant was having a lot of difficulty with all this; he kept asking the same basic question in different ways, in the hope of getting something other than the answers he didn’t want to hear. (p. 306)
- It is always upsetting to find that the enemy is as bright as you. (p. 313)
- “We can hand ourselves before they do.”
“I’m told it’s a very painful way to die,” said Polly.
“Who by?” said Tonker. (p. 323)
- The question hung in the air like a corpse from a beam. (p. 327)
- That’s the trouble about the good guys and the bad guys! They’re all guys! (p. 327)
- And now I demand that you do what the ignorant might feel is the easier thing. You must refrain from dying in battle. Revenge is not redress. Revenge is a wheel, and it turns backwards. The dead are not your masters. (p. 350)
- Stopping a battle is much harder than starting it. Starting it only requires you to shout “Attack!,” but when you want to stop it, everyone is busy. (p. 352)
- Armies don’t do much for agriculture except marginally raise the fertility of the battlefield. (p. 360)
- “You know your god’s dead?” said the man. “Nothing left but a voice, according to some of our priests. The last three Abominations were against rocks, ears, and accordion players. Okay, I might be with him on the last one, but…rocks? (p. 360)
- “What is your name, please?”
“Sam Vimes. Special envoy, which is kind of like an ambassador but without the little gold chocolates. (p. 360)
- You don’t appear to be as insane as your country’s foreign policy. (p. 361)
- We have our pride. And that’s what we’re proud of. We’re proud of being proud… (p. 361)
- He wants to be like Ankh-Morpork, you see. But what he means is he wants power and influence. He doesn’t want to earn them, he doesn’t want to grow into them or learn the hard way how to use them. He just wants them. (pp. 362-363)
- If the landslide is big enough, even square pebbles will roll. (p. 367)
- 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... (pp. 368-369)
- This was not a fairy-tale castle and there was no such thing as a fairy-tale ending, but sometimes you could threaten to kick the handsome prince in the ham-and-eggs. (p. 371)
- Good or bad, do it as you. Too many lies and there’s no truth to go back to. (p. 379)
- Anyway, it was the stuff of legends, where accuracy is not requires as a major ingredient. (p. 380)
- William De Worde
Editor, Ankh-Morpork Times
“The Truth Shall Make Ye Frep”
Gleam Street, Ankh-Morpork c-mail: WDW@Times.AM
Someone had crossed out the “p” in “frep” and penciled in an “e” above it. (p. 385)
- The enemy wasn’t men, or women, or the old, or even the dead. It was just bleedin’ stupid people, who came in all varieties. And no one had the right to be stupid. (p. 389)
- And the new day was a great big fish. (p. 389)
A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in 2005 by Corgi Books (2nd printing) ISBN 0-552-55264-X
- All spelling, dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- Over the last year or so Tiffany’s mother had been quite surprised, and a little worried, at Tiffany’s sudden thirst for education, which people in the village thought was a good thing in moderation but if taken unwisely could lead to restlessness.
- Chapter 1, “Leaving” (p. 24)
- Tiffany accidentally heard them discussing it after she had gone to bed that night. It’s quite easy to accidentally overhear people talking downstairs if you hold an upturned glass to the floorboards and accidentally put your ear to it.
- Chapter 1, “Leaving” (pp. 24-25)
- 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.
- Chapter 1, “Leaving” (p. 29)
- Feegles from the other clans had all turned up for the celebration, because if there’s one thing a Feegle likes more than a party, it’s a bigger party, and if there’s anything better than a bigger party, it’s a bigger party with someone else paying for the drink.
- Chapter 1, “Leaving” (p. 29)
- 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.
- Chapter 1, “Leaving” (p. 34)
- He hadn’t been a husband for very long, but upon marriage men get a whole lot of extra senses bolted into their brain, and one is there to tell a man that he’s suddenly neck deep in real trouble.
- Chapter 1, “Leaving” (p. 46)
- Always face what you fear. Have just enough money, never too much, and some string. Even if it’s not your fault, it’s your responsibility. Witches deal with things. Never stand between two mirrors. Never cackle. Do what you must do. Never lie, but you don’t always have to be honest. Never wish. Especially don’t wish upon a star, which is astronomically stupid. Open your eyes, and then open your eyes again.
- Chapter 2, “Twoshirts and Two Noses” (p. 57)
- 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.
- Chapter 3, “A Single-Minded Lady” (p. 74)
- Black Meg, the senior nanny, who patiently allowed Tiffany to milk her and then, carefully and deliberately, put a hoof in the milk bucket. That’s a goat’s idea of getting to know you. A goat is a worrying thing if you’re used to sheep, because a goat is a sheep with brains.
- Chapter 3, “A Single-Minded Lady” (p. 88)
- “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?”
- Chapter 3, “A Single-Minded Lady” (p. 98)
- “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.”
- Chapter 4, “The PLN” (p. 114)
- Knowing things is magical, if other people don’t know them.
- Chapter 4, “The PLN” (p. 114)
- “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.”
- Chapter 4, “The PLN” (p. 115)
- Petulia spent a lot of time trying to find out what other people thought so that she could think the same way. It would be impossible to have an argument with her. Tiffany had to stop herself from saying ‘The sky is green’ just to see how long it would take for Petulia to agree. But she liked her. You couldn’t not like her. She was restful company.
- Chapter 5, “The Circle” (p. 133)
- To be looked at by Annagramma was to know that you’d already taken up too much of her valuable time.
- Chapter 5, “The Circle” (p. 135)
- When a dog attacks a sheep, the other sheep run away to a safe distance and then turn and watch. They don’t gang up on the dog. They’re just happy it’s not them.
- Chapter 5, “The Circle” (p. 138)
- There was an air about her that she was taking notes about the world in order to draw up a list of suggestions for improvements.
- Chapter 7, “The Matter of Brian” (p. 181)
- “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—
- Chapter 7, “The Matter of Brian” (p. 182)
- It was hard to look at the assembled ranks of the Nac Mac Feegle and remember that they were, technically, fairies. It was like watching penguins swimming underwater and having to remember that they were birds.
- Chapter 7, “The Matter of Brian” (p. 198)
- “You looked at her diary?” said Miss Level, horrified. “Why?”
Really, she thought later, she should have expected the answer.
“Cuz it wuz locked,” said Daft Wullie.
- Chapter 7, “The Matter of Brian” (p. 198)
- “Ach, ye’ll learn as we go,” said Wullie. “Flying cannae be that difficult. Even ducks can do it, and they have nae brains at a’.”
- Chapter 8, “The Secret Land” (p. 222)
- 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 dribbling ones, the mothers with the runny babies and no sense, the feckless and the silly and the 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.”
- Chapter 9, “Soul and Centre” (pp. 249-250)
- If you’re full of anger, there’s no room left for fear.
- Chapter 9, “Soul and Centre” (p. 255)
- Tomorrow, your job is to change the world into a better place. Today, my job is to see that everyone gets there.
- Chapter 10, “The Late Bloomer” (pp. 258-259)
- You couldn’t say: It’s not my fault. You couldn’t say: It’s not my responsibility.
You could say: I will deal with this.
You didn’t have to want to. But you had to do it.
- Chapter 10, “The Late Bloomer” (p. 260)
- It’s an unfair world, child. Be glad you have friends.
- Chapter 10, “The Late Bloomer” (p. 266)
- If Tiffany hadn’t been a witch, she would have whined about everyone being so unfair!
In fact they were being fair. She knew they were being fair. They were not thinking just of her, but of other people, and Tiffany hated herself—well, slightly—because she hadn’t. But it was sneaky of them to choose this moment to be fair. That was unfair.
- Chapter 10, “The Late Bloomer” (p. 268)
- “Here you are. Would you like some pickles?”
“Pickles gives me the wind something awful.”
“In that case—”
“Oh, I wasn’t saying no,” said Mistress Weatherwax, taking two large pickled cucumbers.
Oh, good, Tiffany thought.
- Chapter 10, “The Late Bloomer” (p. 272)
- “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.”
- Chapter 11, “Arthur” (p. 283)
- If this was a story, she thought bitterly, I’d trust in my heart and follow my star and all that other stuff and it would all turn out all right, right now, by tinkly Magikkkk. But you’re never in a story when you need to be.
- Chapter 11, “Arthur” (p. 292)
- “In stories, where the genie or the magic frog or the fairy godmother gives you three wishes…what’s the third wish?”
“Ah, stories,” said Granny. “That’s easy. In any story worth the tellin’, that knows about the way of the world, the third wish is the one that undoes the harm the first two wishes caused.”
- Chapter 11, “Arthur” (p. 294)
- 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!
- Chapter 11, “Arthur” (p. 300)
- You humans are so good at ignoring things. You are almost blind and almost deaf. You look at a tree and see…just a tree, a stiff weed. You don’t see its history, feel the pumping of the sap, hear every insect in the bark, sense the chemistry of the leaves, notice the hundred shades of green, the tiny movements to follow the sun, the subtle growth of wood…
- Chapter 11, “Arthur” (p. 301)
- Tiffany took a deep breath. This was about words, and she knew about words. “Here is a story to believe,” she said. “Once we were blobs in the sea, and then fishes, and then lizards and rats and then monkeys, and hundreds of things in between. This hand was once a fin, this hand once had claws! In my human mouth I have the pointy teeth of a wolf and the chisel teeth of a rabbit and the grinding teeth of a cow! Our blood is as salty as the sea we used to live in! When we’re frightened, the hair on our skin stands up, just like it did when we had fur. We are history! Everything we’ve ever been on the way to becoming us, we still are. Would you like the rest of the story?”
Tell us, said the hiver.
“I’m made up of the memories of my parents and my grandparents, all my ancestors. They’re in the way I look, in the colour of my hair. And I’m made up of everyone I’ve ever met who’s changed the way I think. So who is ‘me’?”
- Chapter 11, “Arthur” (p. 304)
- “The old bit of our brains that wants to be head monkey, and attacks when it’s surprised,” said Tiffany. “It reacts. It doesn’t think. Being human is knowing when not to be the monkey or the lizard or any of the other old echoes.”
- Chapter 11, “Arthur” (p. 305)
- If you don’t know when to be a human being, you don’t know when to be a witch. And if you’re too afraid of goin’ astray, you won’t go anywhere.
- Chapter 14, “Queen of the Bees” (p. 341)
- It’s always surprising to be reminded that while you’re watching and thinking about people, all knowing and superior, they’re watching and thinking about you, right back at you.
- Chapter 15, “A Hat Full of Sky” (pp. 348-349)
- The only hat worth wearing was the one you made for yourself, not one you bought, not one you were given. Your own hat, for your own head. Your own future, not someone else’s.
- Chapter 15, “A Hat Full of Sky” (p. 350)
Going Postal (2004)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in by Harper (14th printing) ISBN 978-0-06-050293-5
- All dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- Nominated for the 2006 Nebula Award
- 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.
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 5)
- 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.
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 7)
- Steal five dollars and you were a petty thief. Steal thousands of dollars and you were either a government or a hero.
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 10)
- “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.”
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 12)
- I commend my soul to any god that can find it.
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 12)
- “Work, for wages. I realize the concept may be unfamiliar.”
Only as a form of hell, Moist thought.
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 14)
- “It was a joke!” Moist burst out.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I hadn’t realized,” said Lord Vetinari, turning back to Moist. “Do tell me if you feel obliged to make another one, will you?”
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 14)
- You see, 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 completely without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (pp. 15-16)
- Moist shrugged. “Oh, all right. Of course I accept as natural-born criminal, habitual liar, fraudster, and totally untrustworthy perverted genius.”
“Capital! Welcome to government service!” said Lord Vetinari, extending his hand. “I pride myself on being able to pick the right man.”
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 16)
- Always move fast. You never know what’s catching you up.
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 17; catchphrase often repeated)
- There is a saying, “you can’t fool an honest man,” which is much quoted by people who make a profitable living by fooling honest men. Moist never tried it, knowingly anyway. If you did fool an honest man, he tended to complain to the local Watch, and these days they were harder to buy off. Fooling dishonest men was a lot safer and, somehow, more sporting. And, of course, there were so many more of them. You hardly had to aim.
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 18)
- 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 that over there!”
- Chapter 1, “The Angel” (p. 21)
- 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.
- Chapter 2, “The Post Office” (p. 27)
- So, Moist thought, as he put the pot back with extreme care, inside the post office normality clearly does not have a one-to-one relationship with the outside world. I might miss the cues.
- Chapter 2, “The Post Office” (pp. 35-36)
- What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.
- Chapter 2, “The Post Office” (p. 47)
- 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.
- Chapter 2, “The Post Office” (pp. 47-48)
- 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.
- Chapter 2, “The Post Office” (p. 48)
- 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.
- Chapter 2, “The Post Office” (p. 48)
- “Oh, Pump 19,” said the woman. “He said it was government service.”
“We call him Mister Pump,” said Moist primly.
“Really? And do you get a wonderful, warm, charitable feeling when you do?”
- Chapter 3, “Our Own Hand, Or None” (p. 64)
- “A man can learn all of an opponent’s weaknesses on that board,” said Gilt.
“Really?” said Vetinari, raising his eyebrows. “Should not he be trying to learn his own?”
- Chapter 3, “Our Own Hand, Or None” (p. 79)
- Freedom may be mankind’s natural state, but so is sitting in a tree eating your dinner while it is still wriggling.
- Chapter 3, “Our Own Hand, Or None” (p. 81)
- Speak softly and employ a huge man with a crowbar.
- Chapter 4, “A Sign” (p. 92)
- He could make money!
He was part of the government, wasn’t he? Governments took money off people. That’s what they were for.
- Chapter 4, “A Sign” (p. 93)
- “Haven’t you ever heard the saying ‘Man’s not dead while his name is still spoken’?”
- Chapter 4, “A Sign” (p. 105)
- Everything everyone did affected everyone, sooner or later.
- Chapter 5, “Lost in the Post” (p. 117)
- He pitched the voice right. It was the key to a thousand frauds. You had to sound right, sound like you knew what you were doing, sound like you were in charge. And, while he spoke in gibberish, it was authentic gibberish.
- Chapter 5, “Lost in the Post” (p. 134)
- “But this, sir, is all about pie.”
“Like in food?” said Moist, drawing back from the sinister glow.
“No, no, sir. Pie like in jommetry.”
“Oh, you mean pi, the number you get when—” Moist paused. He was erratically good at math, which is to say he could calculate odds and currency very, very fast. There had been a geometry section in his book at school, but he’d never seen the point. He tried, anyway.
“It’s all to do with…it’s the number you get when the radius of a circle…no, the length of the rim of the wheel is three and a bit times the…er…”
“Something like that, sir, probably, something like that,” said Grote. “Three and a bit, that’s the ticket. Only Bloody Stupid Johnson said that was untidy, so he designed a wheel where the pie was exactly three. And that’s it, in there.”
“But that’s impossible!” said Moist. “You can’t do that! Pi is like…built-in! You can’t change it. You’d have to change the universe!”
“Yes, sir. They tell me that’s what happened,” said Groat calmly.
- Chapter 6, “Little Pictures” (p. 152)
- Time travel was only a kind of magic, after all. That’s why it always went wrong.
- Chapter 6, “Little Pictures” (p. 153)
- That’s why there were postmen, with real feet. That’s why the clacks was a string of expensive towers. Come to that, it was why farmers grew crops and fisherman trawled nets. Oh, you could do it all by magic, you certainly could. You could wave a wand and get twinkly stars and a fresh-baked loaf. You could make fish jump out of the sea already cooked. And then, somewhere, somehow, magic would present its bill, which was always more than you could afford.
- Chapter 6, “Little Pictures” (pp. 153-154)
- Not doing any magic at all was the chief task of wizards—not “not doing magic” because they couldn’t do magic, but not doing magic when they could do and didn’t. Any ignorant fool can fail to turn someone else into a frog. You have to be clever to refrain from doing it when you knew how easy it was. There were places in the world commemorating those times when wizards hadn’t been quite as clever as that, and on many of them the grass would never grow again.
- Chapter 6, “Little Pictures” (p. 154)
- In the machinery of the universe, the wheels of inevitability clicked into position…
- Chapter 6, “Little Pictures” (p. 157)
- His mouth said: “Would you like to have dinner tonight?” For just the skin of a second, Miss Dearheart was surprised, but not half as surprised as Moist. Then her natural cynicism reinflated.
“I like to have dinner every night. With you? No. I have things to do. Thank you for asking.”
“No problem,” said Moist, slightly relieved.
- Chapter 6, “Little Pictures” (p. 171)
- He stopped. Miss Cripslock was scribbling like mad, and it’s always worrying to see a journalist take a sudden interest in what you’re saying, especially when you half suspect it was a load of pigeon guano. And it gets worse when they’re smiling.
- Chapter 7, “Tomb of Words” (p. 174)
- “All right, all right, I really didn’t want to go into this, but it’s against my religion!” said Moist, who’d had time to think. “We’re forbidden to have any image made of us. It removes part of the soul, you know.”
“And you believe that?” said Sacharissa. “Really?”
“Er, no. No. Of course not. Not as such. But…but you can’t treat religion as a sort of buffet, can you? I mean, you can’t say ‘Yes please, I’ll have some of the Celestial Paradise and a helping of the Divine Plan but go easy on the kneeling and none of the Prohibition of Images, they give me wind.’ It’s table d’hôte or nothing, otherwise…well, it could get silly.”
- Chapter 7, “Tomb of Words” (pp. 180-181)
- “You have made quite a splash,” said Vetinari, smiling, “as the fish said to the man with the lead weight tied to his feet.”
- Chapter 7, “Tomb of Words” (p. 194)
- That was an important rule of any game: always make it easy for people to give you money.
- Chapter 7, “Tomb of Words” (p. 198)
- But what he was intending wouldn’t be stealing. It might not even be breaking the law. Fooling a maître d’ was practically a public service.
- Chapter 7A, “Post Haste” (p. 220)
- Presumably he was insane, by the usual human standards, but it was hard to tell; the phrase “differently normal” might do instead.
- Chapter 7A, “Post Haste” (p. 223)
- When Reacher Gilt talks about freedom he means his, not anyone else’s.
- Chapter 9, “Bonfire” (p. 244)
- 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.
- Chapter 9, “Bonfire” (p. 250)
- And the nice thing about a stake through the heart was that it also worked on non-vampires.
- Chapter 10, “The Burning of Words” (pp. 260-261)
- The key point was never to tell the truth. Coppers never believed what people told them in any case, so there was no point in giving them extra work.
- Chapter 10, “The Burning of Words” (p. 269)
- 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.
- Chapter 11, “Mission Statement” (p. 287)
- It couldn’t happen. It shouldn’t happen. But, you never knew…this time it might.
Moist recognized that hope. It was how he’d made his living. You knew that the man running the Find the Lady game was going to win, you knew that people in distress didn’t sell diamond rings for a fraction of their value, you knew that life generally handed you the sticky end of the stick, and you knew that the gods didn’t pick some everyday undeserving tit out of the population and hand them a fortune.
Except that, this time, you might be wrong, right? It might just happen, yes?
And this was known as the greatest of treasures, which is Hope. It was a good way of getting poorer really very quickly, and staying poor. It could be you. But it wouldn’t be.
- Chapter 11, “Mission Statement” (p. 288)
- “He’s a great believer in natural medicine, you see. He doesn’t trust doctors.”
“Really?” said Dr. Lawn. “He retains some vestige of sanity, then.”
- Chapter 11, “Mission Statement” (p. 292)
- Incidentally, it’s best not to argue with the nursing staff. I find the best course of action is to throw some chocolates in one direction and hurry off in the other while their attention is distracted.
- Chapter 11, “Mission Statement” (p. 292)
- He didn’t say this aloud, because although an elderly man probably has a lot less future than a man of twenty, he is far more careful about it…
- Chapter 11, “Mission Statement” (p. 296)
- “You speak to the gods and the gods listen,” said Miss Dearheart, grinning. “They told you where the treasure was. Now, that’s what I call religion. Incidentally, how did you know the money was there?”
“You don’t believe in any gods?”
“No, of course not. Not while people like Reacher Gilt walk under the sky. All there is, is us.”
- Chapter 11, “Mission Statement” (p. 305)
- It was garbage, but it had been cooked by an expert. Oh, yes. 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.
- Chapter 11, “Mission Statement” (p. 307)
- Meaningless, stupid words, from people without wisdom or intelligence or any skill beyond the ability to water the currency of expression. Oh, the Grand Trunk stood for everything, from life and liberty to Mom’s homemade Distressed Pudding. It stood for everything, except anything.
- Chapter 11, “Mission Statement” (p. 308)
- “But he is a man of…ingenious resource.”
That seemed to Moist to be a very careful way of saying “murderous bastard.”
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 314)
- Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show.
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 315)
- How could people be so stupid? They seemed to cling to ignorance because it smelled familiar.
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 319)
- “But the gods are on his side, Reacher,” said Nutmeg.
“Let’s talk about that, shall we?” said Gilt. “Does that claim strike anyone else as odd? The gods are not generally known for no-frills gifts, are they? Especially not ones that you can bite. No, these days they restrict themselves to things like grace, patience, fortitude, and inner strength. Things you can’t see. Things that have no value. Gods tend to be more interested in prophets, not profits, a-ha.”
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 320)
- People enjoy the experience of being fooled, if it promises a certain amount of entertainment.
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 321)
- Sending no messages would send quite the wrong message.
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 321)
- Pony sighed. They never took an interest. It was just money. They didn’t know how anything worked. And then suddenly they needed to know, and you had to use baby talk.
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 323)
- The only way to get something to turn up when you need it is to need it to turn up.
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 324)
- You know how to pray, don’t you? You just put your hands together—and hope.
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 326)
- There was a pregnant pause. It gave birth to a lot of little pauses, each one more deeply embarrassing than its parent.
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (p. 327)
- What was magic, after all, but something that happened at the snap of a finger? Where was the magic in that? It was mumbled words and weird drawings in old books, and in the wrong hands it was dangerous as hell, but not half as dangerous as it could be in the right hands. The universe was full of the stuff; it made the stars stay up and the feet stay down.
But what was happening now…this was magical. Ordinary men had dreamed it up and put it together, building towers on rafts in swamps and across the frozen spines of mountains. They cursed and, worse, used logarithms. They’d waded through rivers and dabbled in trigonometry. They hadn’t dreamed, in the way people usually used the word, but they’d imagined a different world, and bent metal around it. And out of all the sweat and swearing and mathematics this…thing, dropping words across the world as softly as starlight.
- Chapter 12, “The Woodpecker” (pp. 329-330)
- Every organization needs at least one person who knows what’s going on, and why it’s happening, and who’s doing it.
- Chapter 13, “The Edge of the Envelope” (p. 341)
- You did what you were told or you didn’t get paid, and if things went wrong it wasn’t your problem. It was the fault of whatever idiot has accepted this message for sending in the first place. No one cared about you, and everyone at headquarters was an idiot. It wasn’t your fault, no one listened to you. Headquarters had even started an Employee of the Month scheme to show how much they cared. That was how much they didn’t care.
- Chapter 13, “The Edge of the Envelope” (p. 344)
- It was like looking for piranhas in a river choked with weeds. There were a lot of bones on the bottom. But, although sometimes you thought you’d glimpsed a flash of silver, you could never be sure you’d seen a fish. The only way to be sure was to jump in.
- Chapter 13, “The Edge of the Envelope” (p. 350)
- It was the heart of any scam or fiddle. Keep the punter uncertain, or, if he is certain, make him certain of the wrong thing.
- Chapter 13, “The Edge of the Envelope” (p. 358)
- If there’s one thing a wizard hates, it’s having to wait while the person in front of them is of two minds about coleslaw. It’s a salad bar, they say, it’s got the kind of stuff salad bars have, if it was surprising it wouldn’t be a salad bar, you’re not here to look at it. What do you expect to find? Rhino chunks? Pickled coelacanth?
- Chapter 14, “Deliverance” (p. 371)
- “You can’t do that!” Greenyham protested weakly, but the fire had drained out of him. Mr. Stowley had collapsed on the floor, with his head in his hands.
“Can I not?” said Vetinari. “I am a tyrant. It’s what we do.”
- Chapter 14, “Deliverance” (p. 375)
- He ought to be ashamed.
It was one thing to put words in the mouths of the gods; priests did it all the time. But this, this was a step too far. You had to be some kind of bastard to think of something like this.
- Chapter 14, “Deliverance” (p. 376)
- Maybe it was like the Post Office, maybe the profit turned up spread around the whole of society.
- Chapter 14, “Deliverance” (p. 384)
- I can fake sincerity so well that even I can’t tell.
- Chapter 14, “Deliverance” (p. 387)
- Sometimes the truth is arrived at by adding all the little lies together and deducting them from the totality of what is known.
- Chapter 14, “Deliverance” (p. 389)
- Peel away the lies, and the truth would emerge, naked and ashamed and with nowhere else to hide.
- Chapter 14, “Deliverance” (p. 390)
- They’d saved the city with gold more easily, at that point, than any hero could have managed with steel. But, in truth, it had not exactly been gold, or even the promise of gold, but more like the fantasy of gold, the fairy dream that the gold is there, at the end of the rainbow, and will continue to be there forever—provided, naturally, that you don’t go and look.
This is known as Finance.
- Chapter 14, “Deliverance” (p. 391)
- The people who guard the rainbow don’t like those who get in the way of the sun.
- Chapter 14, “Deliverance” (p. 391)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in September 2006 by Harper Torch (4th printing) ISBN 0-06-081531-0
- All spelling, dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- 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.
- “I’m sure it can wait, Commander.”
“Yes, sir. That’s the trouble, sir. That’s what it’s doing.”
Vetinari waved a languid hand. “Full carts congesting the street, Vimes, is a sign of progress,” he declared.
“Only in the figurative sense, sir,” said Vimes. (p. 9)
- 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.” (p. 15)
- “I can tell you anything you need to know,” said Vimes.
“Yes, Your Grace, but that is not how an inquiry works. I must act completely independently. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Your Grace.”
“I know that one,” said Vimes. “Who watches the watchmen? 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.” (p. 17)
- There was more…yes, call it venom in the air. Too much ancient politics, too many chips handed down from shoulder to shoulder. Too much boozing, too. (p. 23)
- He preached to the superiority of dwarf over troll, and that the duty of every dwarf was to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers and remove trollkind from the face of the world. It was written in some holy book, apparently, so that made it okay, and probably compulsory. (p. 24)
- “It’s only stamps, sir,” said Cheery. “I mean, there’s no law against stamps…”
“There ought to be one against being a bloody fool!”
“If there was, sir, we’d be on overtime every day!” said Cheery, grinning. (p. 26)
- You could barely understand the man, he was that posh. It was not so much speech as modulated yawning. (p. 34)
- “The mural is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world! Every civilized person hwould spot it in an instant!”
“What did it look like?” said Fred Colon. (p. 35)
- “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. (pp. 40-41)
- “He said the government hushed it up.”
“Yeah, but your mate Dave says the government always hushes things up, Nobby,” said Fred.
“Well, they do.”
“Except he always gets to hear about ’em, and he never gets hushed up,” said Fred.
“I know you like to point the finger of scoff, Sarge, but there’s a lot goes on that we don’t know about.”
“Like what, exactly,” Colon retorted. “Name me one thing that’s going on that you don’t know about. There—you can’t, can you?” (p. 43)
- Vimes leaned back. “Don’t try to put me at my ease, Miss von Humpeding,” he said. “It makes me nervous when people do that. It’s not as though I have any ease to be put at.” (p. 46)
- “What was your last job?”
“Didn’t have one. I was a musician.” (p. 47)
- People needed to see coppers at a time like this. They gave the illusion that the whole world hadn’t gone insane. (p. 48)
- The important thing is not to shout at this point, Vimes told himself. Do not…what do they call it…go postal? Treat this as a learning exercise. Find out why the world is not as you thought it was. Assemble the facts, digest the information, consider the implications. Then go postal. But with precision. (p. 53)
- “Good Morning, Insert Name Here! I am the Dis-Organizer Mark Five, the Gooseberry™. 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—” (p. 56)
- “Then would you like to engage the handy-to-use Bluenose™ 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!™, 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 favorite tunes? My iHum™ function enables me to remember up to one thousand five hundred of your all-time—”
“You could try learning to use it, sir,” said Angua, as Vimes once again shut the lid on the protesting voice.
“Did use one,” said Vimes.
“Yup. As a doorstop,” rumbled Detritus, behind him.
“I’m just not at home with technomancy, all right?” said Vimes. “End of discussion.” (pp. 56-57)
- 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 around, the whole board could’ve been a republic in a dozen moves. (p. 67)
- But maybe it was some mystic ceremony, and who’d look for sense there? (p. 85)
- Some people would be asking: Whose side are you on? If you’re not with us, you’re against us. Huh. If you’re not an apple, you’re a banana… (p. 87)
- Vimes carefully lifted the top of the bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, and smiled inwardly. 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. (p. 87)
- Could I ask you to look at things from my point of view? This is my job. This is what I am. I am, therefore I think. (p. 93)
- Cogito ergo sum, Insert Name Here. I exist, therefore I do sums! (p. 96)
- Trolls with a message. It was unlikely to be an invitation to a literary lunch. (p. 98)
- But I want you all, whatever, whoever you are, there is know this: I’ve got no patience with idiots who’ll drag a grudge across five hundred miles and a thousand years. (p. 102)
- Vimes stared at him. 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. (p. 103)
- Would a minute have mattered? No, probably not, although his young son appeared to have a very accurate internal clock. Possibly even two minutes would be okay. Three minutes, even. You could go to five, perhaps. But that was just it. If you could go to five minutes, then you’d go to ten, then half an hour, a couple of hours…and not see your son all evening. So that was that. Six o’clock, prompt. Every day. Read to Young Sam. No excuses. He’d promised himself that. No excuses. No excuses at all. Once you had a good excuse, you opened the door to bad excuses. (p. 121)
- Vimes try to think. Don’t think of it all as one big bucket of snakes. Think of it as one snake at a time. Try to sort it out. Now, what needs to be done first?
All right, try a different approach. (pp. 142-143)
- What we could do is die valiantly. I’ve seen men die valiantly. There’s no future in it. (p. 165)
- “Hold it!” Sally thrust both hands in front of her in a gesture of peace. “There’s something we’d better sort before this goes any further!”
“Yes. We’re both wearing nothing, we’re standing in what, you may have noticed, is increasingly turning into mud, and we’re squaring up to fight. Okay. But there’s something missing, yes?”
“And that is…?”
“A paying audience? We could make a fortune.” Sally winked. “Or we could do the job we came here to do.” (p. 174)
- “We are naked, Lance Constable!”
“Only technically. This mud really sticks.”
“I mean underneath the mud!” said Angua.
“Yes, but if we had clothes on we’d be naked underneath them, too!” Sally pointed out. (p. 183)
- Coffee was only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your slightly older self. (p. 186)
- “I wouldn’t know anything about that, sir.” That was an automatic reaction; it made life simpler. (p. 187)
- Vetinari drummed his fingers on the table.
“What would you do if I asked you an outright question, Vimes?”
“I’d tell you a downright lie, sir.”
“Then I will not do so,” said Vetinari, smiling faintly. (p. 188)
- “Their weapons are culturally very important to them, Vimes,” said Vetinari.
“Yeah, sir, I know. I myself have a strong cultural bias against getting my brains bashed in and my knees cut off,” said Vimes. (p. 188)
- A wise ruler thinks twice before directing violence against someone because he does not approve of what they say. (p. 192)
- And I’m going home, Vimes repeated to himself. Everyone wants something from Vimes, even though I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Hell, I’m probably a spoon. (p. 225)
- Usually she got her own way and he was happy to give it to her, but the unspoken agreement was that when he really insisted, she listened. It's a married couple thing. (pp. 237-238)
- I think I’m looking at this wrong. It’s not my cow. It’s a sheep with a pitchfork. Unfortunately, it goes quack. (p. 249)
- You can always find an excuse that your side will accept, and who cares what the enemy thinks? In the real world, it wouldn’t make any difference. (p. 249)
- Some of us think the darkness isn’t a depth, it’s a state of mind. (p. 254)
- Beating people up in little rooms…he knew where that led. And if you did it for a good reason, you’d do it for a bad one. You couldn’t say “we’re the good guys” and do bad-guy things. (p. 256)
- The plain fact was that while Tawneee had a body that every other woman should hate her for, she compounded the insult by actually being very likable. This was because she had the self-esteem of a caterpillar and, as you found out after any kind of conversation with her, about the same amount of brain. Perhaps it all balanced out, perhaps some kindly god had said to her: “Sorry, kid, you are going to be thicker than a yard of lard, but the good news is, that’s not going to matter.” (p. 259)
- Alcohol didn’t seem to go to her brain at all. Maybe it couldn’t find it. But she was pleasant, easygoing company, if you avoided allusion, irony, sarcasm, repartee, satire, and words longer than “chicken.” (p. 259)
- Darkness fell like an axe. (p. 272)
- “We’ve struck a blow for womanhood,” Sally declared loudly. “Shoes, men, coffins…never accept the first one you see.” (p. 285)
- Home was where you had to feel safe. If you didn’t feel safe, it wasn’t home. (p. 300)
- 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!” (p. 304)
- Historical Re-creation, he thought glumly, as they picked their way across, under, over, or through the boulders and insect-buzzing heaps of splintered timber, with streamlets running everywhere. Only we do it with people dressing up and running around with blunt weapons, and people selling hot dogs, and the girls all miserable because they can only dress up as wenches, wenching being the only job available to women in the olden days. (p. 324)
- And his mind worked fast, flying in emergency supplies of common sense, as human minds do, to construct a huge anchor in sanity and prove that what happened hadn’t really happened and, if it had happened, hadn’t happened much. (p. 351)
- It was all mystic, that’s what it was. Oh, it might all be true, but how could you ever tell? You had to stick to the things you can see. And you had to keep reminding yourself of that, too.
Yeah, that was it. What had really happened, eh? A few signs? Well, anything can look like you want to, if you’re worried and confused enough, yes? (p. 351)
- There…some logical thought, and the mystic becomes…well, straightforward. You can stop feeling like some puppet and become a man with a purpose once again. (p. 351)
- Nobby’s face was an open book, albeit the kind that got banned in some countries. (p. 357)
- And yet we say this. Here, in this cave at the end of the world, peace is made between dwarf and troll, and we will march beyond the hand of Death together. For the enemy is not Troll, nor is it Dwarf, but it is the baleful, the malign, the cowardly, the vessels of hatred, those who do a bad thing and call it good. (p. 364)
- “Why do you carry no axe?” Ardent snarled.
“I need no axe to be a dwarf,” said Bashfullsson. “Nor do I need to hate trolls. What kind of creature defines itself by hatred?” (p. 365)
- Oh, don’t make that face, Sergeant. It’s all the rage in politics these days, spying on your friends. That’s what I’m told. (p. 372)
- “The mine falls to us by default?” said Vetinari.
“Apparently, sir. I believe the term is ‘eminent domain.’”
“Ah, yes. That means ‘theft by the government,’” said Vetinari. (p. 376)
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.
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in 2007 by Harper Teen ISBN 978-0-06-089033-9
- All spelling, dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- “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, there I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do.”
It wasn’t a spell, except in her own head, but if you couldn’t make spells work in your own head, you couldn’t make them work at all.
- Chapter 1, “The Big Snow” (p. 11)
- Witches usually wear black, but as far as she could tell, the only reason that witches wore black was that they’d always worn black. This did not seem a good enough reason, so she tended to wear blue or green. She didn’t laugh with scorn at finery because she’d never seen any.
- Chapter 2, “Miss Treason” (pp. 20-21)
- She took the view that if you were capable of learning, you’d work it out. There was no point in making it easy for people. Life wasn’t easy, she said.
- Chapter 2, “Miss Treason” (p. 29)
- “Ach, people’re always telling’ us not tae do things,” said Rob Anybody. “That’s how we ken what’s the most interestin’ things tae do!”
- Chapter 2, “Miss Treason” (p. 66)
- I fear the art of storytelling has got into a pretty bad way in these parts. I really shall have to do something.
- Chapter 3, “The Secret of Boffo” (pp. 88-89)
- They say that there can never be two snowflakes that are exactly alike, but has anyone checked lately?
- Chapter 4, “Snowflakes” (p. 113)
- I made mistakes. But I didn’t make excuses.
- Chapter 4, “Snowflakes” (p. 115)
- They think they’re so grown-up! But they’re still no better than babies in the sandpit, squabbling over mud pies. I see their lies and excuses and fears. They never grow up, not really. They never look up and open their eyes. They stay children their whole lives.
- Chapter 5, “Miss Treason’s Big Day” (p. 173)
- “I am an old person and that means what I say is wisdom!” She gave the bewildered Tiffany a stern look. “Do you understand, child?”
Tiffany’s mind raced. Everything is a test! “No,” she said. “I’m not a child and that’s nonsense, not wisdom!”
- Chapter 5, “Miss Treason’s Big Day” (p. 174)
- Living this long’s not as wonderful as people think. I mean, you get the same amount of youth as everyone else, but a great big extra helping of being very old and deaf and creaky.
- Chapter 5, “Miss Treason’s Big Day” (p. 179)
- “We are small people,” her father had said. “It ain’t wise to come to the attention of the gods.”
- Chapter 5, “Miss Treason’s Big Day” (p. 189)
- I’m not superstitious. I’m a witch. Witches aren’t superstitious. We are what people are superstitious of.
- Chapter 6, “Feet and Sprouts” (p. 194)
- “When a bull coo meets a lady coo, he disna have tae say, ‘My heart 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.”
- Chapter 6, “Feet and Sprouts” (p. 235)
- Granny Weatherwax stopped pacing and looked at Miss Tick, who said: “Ah, yes…er…we are exploring every possibility—”
“That means we don’t know,” said Granny. “That’s the truth of it. This is about gods, see? But yes, since you ask, they can be a bit touchy.”
- Chapter 7, “On with the Dance” (p. 240)
- “Er...I dinna 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 an’ 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.
- Chapter 7, “On with the Dance” (p. 251)
- Look, just because a woman’s got no teeth doesn’t mean she’s wise. It might just mean she’s been stupid for a very long time.
- Chapter 7, “On with the Dance” (p. 269)
- Nanny Ogg changed the way people thought, even it if was only for a few minutes. She left people thinking they were slightly better people. They weren’t, but as Nanny said, it gave them something to live up to.
- Chapter 8, “The Horn of Plenty” (p. 295)
- You could say it was unfair, and that was true, but the universe didn’t care because it didn’t know what “fair” meant.
- Chapter 8, “The Horn of Plenty” (p. 313)
- “According to Chaffinch,” she said, with the Mythology open on her lap, “the god Blind Io created the Cornucopia from a horn of the magical goat Almeg to feed his two children by the Goddess Bisonomy, who was later turned into a shower of oysters by Epidity, God of Things Shaped like Potatoes, after insulting Resonata, Goddess of Weasels, by throwing a mole at her shadow. It is now the badge of office of the summer goddess.”
“I always said there used to be far too much of that sort of thing in the old days,” said Granny Weatherwax.
- Chapter 8, “The Horn of Plenty” (pp. 316-317)
- Tomorrow…might become anything. But today the winter world was full of color.
- Chapter 11, “Even Turquoise” (p. 374)
- “A metaphor is a kind o’ lie to help people understand what’s true,” said Billy Bigchin, but this didn’t help much.
- Chapter 12, “The Pike” (p. 380)
- She did, eventually, find a staircase that went up (unless, of course, you started at the top).
- Chapter 13, “The Crown of Ice” (p. 394)
- His ancestors had been knights, and they had come to own the Chalk by killing the kings who thought they did. Swords, that’s what it had all been about. Swords and cutting off heads. That was how you got land in the old days, and then the rules were changed so that you didn’t need a sword to own land anymore, you just needed the right piece of paper. But his ancestors had still hung on to their swords, just in case people thought that the whole thing with the bits of paper was unfair, it being a fact that you can’t please everybody.
- Chapter 13, “The Crown of Ice” (p. 399)
- There be a lot o’ men who became heroes ’cuz they wuz too scared tae run!
- Chapter 13, “The Crown of Ice” (p. 405)
- “But that’s okay, right? ’Cuz ye have a Plan!”
“I hope I’ve got it right, though,” said Roland. “My aunts say I’m too clever by half.”
“Glad tae hear it,” said Rob Anybody, “’cuz that’s much better than bein’ too stupid by three quarters!”
- Chapter 13, “The Crown of Ice” (p. 417)
- And, as always happens, and happens far too soon, the strange and wonderful becomes a memory and a memory becomes a dream. Tomorrow it’s gone.
- Chapter 13, “The Crown of Ice” (p. 432)
- Tiffany walked across the grass where the palace had been. There were a few pieces of ice left, but they would be gone in an hour. There were the clouds, but clouds drifted away. The normal world pressed in on her, with its dull little songs. She was walking on a stage after the play was over, and who now could say it had ever happened?
- Chapter 13, “The Crown of Ice” (p. 432)
Making Money (2007)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in October 2008 by Harper (1st printing) ISBN 978-0-06-116165-0
- All spelling, dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- “The king is insuring against ‘what everyone knows’ being wrong. It so often is.
- Chapter 1 (p. 3)
- There are times when “it does not get any better than this” does not spring to mind.
- Chapter 1 (p. 5)
- There were meetings. There were always meetings. And they were dull, which is part of the reason they were meetings. Dull likes company.
- Chapter 1 (p. 18)
- It would be hard to imagine an uglier building that hadn’t won a major architectural award.
- Chapter 1 (p. 26)
- “It is a large treadmill that provides power for the coin stamping and so forth. Powered by prisoners once upon a time, when ‘community service’ wasn’t just a word. Or even two. It was considered cruel and unusual punishment, however, which does rather suggest a lack of imagination.”
- Chapter 1 (p. 28)
- “I read somewhere that the coins represent a promise to hand over a dollar’s worth of gold,’ said Moist helpfully.
Mr. Bent steepled his hands in front of his face and turned his eyes upwards, as though praying.
“In theory, yes,” he said after a few moments. “I would prefer to say that it is a tacit understanding that we will honor our promise to exchange it for a dollar’s worth of gold provided we are not, in point of fact, asked to.”
- Chapter 2 (pp. 36-37)
- “I take a keen interest in the criminal mind,” said Moist, slightly faster than he’d intended. It was true. All you needed was a talent for introspection.
- Chapter 2 (pp. 42-43)
- “You mean that if you do overtime you have to do more overtime to pay for it?” said Moist, still pondering how illogical logical thinking can be if a big enough committee is doing it.
- Chapter 2 (p. 43)
- No errors get past me, you may depend upon it. An error, sir, is worse than a sin, the reason being that a sin is often a matter of opinion or viewpoint or even of timing but an error is a fact and it cries out for correction.
- Chapter 2 (p. 57)
- Damn. He’d forgotten the ancient wisdom: take care, when you are closely observing, that you are not closely observed.
- Chapter 2 (p. 57)
- “But what does it actually do?”
Too late, he saw the signs. Hubert grasped the lapels of his jacket, as if addressing a meeting, and swelled with the urge to communicate, or at least talk at length in the belief that it was the same thing.
- Chapter 3 (p. 63)
- “They are not at home to disappointment, sir. They have tried to declare Mrs. Lavish insane, sir.”
“Really,” said Moist. “Compared to who?”
- Chapter 3 (p. 69)
- Whoever said you can’t fool an honest man wasn’t one.
- Chapter 3 (p. 70)
- To a man traveling on his wits, a newspaper was a useful treasure. Stuck down your shirt, it kept the wind off your chest. You could use it to light fires. For the fastidious, it saved a daily resort to dockweed, burdock, or other broad-leaved plants. And, as a last resort, you could read it.
- Chapter 3 (p. 70)
- It wasn’t that he wasn’t good at delegating. He was extremely good at delegating. But the talent requires people on the other end of the chain to be good at being delegated onto. They weren’t.
- Chapter 3 (p. 72)
- Gross men, for the most part, greedy, venal, and clumsy. Cunning can do duty for thought up to a point, and then you die.
- Chapter 4 (p. 100)
- “But I’ve been dropped right in it!”
“Not by me,” said Vetinari. I can assure you that if I had, as your ill-assumed street patois has it, ‘dropped you in it,’ you would fully understand all meanings of ‘drop’ and have an unenviable knowledge of ‘it.’”
- Chapter 4 (p. 100)
- “The world is full of things worth more than gold. But we dig the damn stuff up and then bury it in a different hole. Where’s the sense in that? What are we, magpies? Is it all about the gleam? Good heavens, potatoes are worth more than gold!”
“If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what would you prefer, a bag of potatoes or a bag of gold?”
“Yes, but a desert island isn’t Ankh-Morpork!”
“And that proves gold is only valuable because we agree it is, right? It’s just a dream. But a potato is always worth a potato, anywhere. Add a knob of butter and a pinch of salt and you’ve got a meal, anywhere. Bury gold in the ground and you’ll be worrying about thieves forever. Bury a potato and in due season you could be looking at a dividend of a thousand percent.”
“Can I assume for a moment that you don’t intend to put us on the potato standard?” said Sacharissa sharply.
Moist smiled. “No, it won’t be that.”
- Chapter 4 (p. 108)
- It was a dream, but Moist was good at selling dreams. And if you could sell the dream to enough people, no one dared to wake up.
- Chapter 4 (p. 118)
- You could say this about Pucci: she was easy to confide in, because she never bothered to listen. She used the time to think about what to say next.
- Chapter 4 (p. 135)
- Whole new theories of money were growing here like mushrooms, in the dark and based on bullshit.
- Chapter 5 (p. 142)
- His bleary eyes strayed back to the editorial. They, on the other hand, could be quite funny, since they were based on the assumption that the world would be a much better place if it was run by journalists.
- Chapter 5 (p. 146)
- “Master, I protest! Banking is not a game!”
“Dear Mr. Bent, it is a game. And it’s an old game, called ‘What can we get away with?’”
- Chapter 5 (p. 150)
- Pucci stood ignored and steaming with rage for a while and then flounced out. It was a good flounce, too. She had no idea how to handle people and she tried to make self-esteem do the work of self-respect, but the girl could flounce better than a fat turkey on a trampoline.
- Chapter 5 (p. 155)
- I wonder... am I really a bastard or am I just really good at thinking like one?
- Chapter 5 (p. 156)
- “Why are you always in such a hurry, Mr. Lipwig?”
“Because people don’t like change. But make the change happen fast enough and you go from one type of normal to another.”
- Chapter 5 (p. 169)
- Mr. Bent liked counting. You could trust numbers, except perhaps for pi, but he was working on that in his spare time and it was bound to give in sooner or later.
- Chapter 5 (p. 171)
- Gods wanted belief, not rational thinking.
- Chapter 6 (p. 186)
- Building a temple didn’t mean you believed in gods, it just meant you believed in architecture.
- Chapter 6 (p. 186)
- “Um…oh yes, mystic stuff doesn’t hurt, people’ll believe in any damn thing if it sounds old and mysterious. Doth not a penny to the widow outshine the unconquered sun?”
“What does that mean?”
“I haven’t the foggiest idea,” said Moist, “I just made it up.”
- Chapter 6 (p. 193)
- “They said we could trust Mr. Lipwig’s word ’cos he’s as straight as a corkscrew.”
“A corkscrew?” said Bent, shocked.
“Yeah, we asked about that, too,” said Shady. “And they said he acts curly, but that’s okay ’cos he damn well gets the corks out!”
- Chapter 6 (p. 212)
- Mr Lipwig, there’s a lady in the hall to see you and we’ve thanked her for not smoking three times and she’s still doing it!
- Chapter 6 (p. 213)
- My name is Adora Belle Dearheart, so as you can imagine I’ve got a pretty short temper.
- Chapter 6 (p. 214)
- Moist pointed to a sign which said If you are smoking, thank you for being beaten about the head.
- Chapter 6 (p. 214)
- “That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way,” said Ponder.
- Chapter 6 (p. 221)
- “Aha! The right type of question!”
“I bet you don’t know the answer, though.”
“You are correct. But you must admit it’s an interesting question not to know the answer to.”
- Chapter 6 (p. 222)
- “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.”
- Chapter 6 (p. 223)
- “There’s no need to get hysterical,” said Adora Belle.
“Yes, there is! What there isn’t a need for is staying calm.”
- Chapter 7 (p. 236)
- Students, eh? Love ’em or hate ’em, you’re not allowed to hit ’em with a shovel.
- Chapter 7 (p. 237)
- “The Umnians did make their own jewelry, though, which largely consisted of scenes of human sacrifice, badly executed in every sense of the word. They were incredibly inventive in that area. A theocracy, of course,” he added, with a shrug. “I don’t know what it is about stepped pyramids that brings out the worst in a god…”
- Chapter 7 (p. 249)
- “It’s funny you should say that, Reverend,” said the woman, her eyes bright with nervousness, “because I belong to a small group of ladies who run, well, a god-of-the-month club. Er…that is, we pick a god and believe in him…or her, obviously, or it, although we draw the line at the ones with teeth and too many legs, er, and foreign ones, of course, and then we pray to them for a month and then we sit down and discuss it. Well, there’s so many, aren’t there. Thousands! We’ve never really considered Om, though, but if you would care to give us a little talk next Tuesday I’m sure we’ll be happy to give him a jolly good try!”
- Chapter 7 (pp. 255-256)
- Nevertheless, the human brain, which survives by hoping from one second to another, will always endeavor to put off the moment of truth.
- Chapter 7 (p. 257)
- Plans can break down. You cannot plan the future. Only presumptuous fools plan. The wise man steers.
- Chapter 8 (p. 267)
- He delegated with the same ease that oysters tango.
- Chapter 8 (p. 277)
- Hubert’s an economist. That’s like an alchemist, but less messy.
- Chapter 8 (p. 278)
- Commander Vimes says that when life hands you a mess of spaghetti, just keep pulling until you find the meatball.
- Chapter 9 (pp. 298-299)
- And what had he wanted? He’d never sat down to think about it. But mostly, he wanted yesterday to be different from today.
- Chapter 9 (p. 305)
- “Do you think I should pray, Igor?” said Moist, watching his face.
“I couldn’t thay. The Igor position on prayer is that it is nothing more than hope with a beat to it.”
- Chapter 9 (p. 309)
- It contained herbs and all natural ingredients. But belladonna was an herb, and arsenic was natural.
- Chapter 9 (p. 309)
- What to do, what to do? Pray? Moist wasn’t too keen on prayer, not because he thought the gods didn’t exist but because he was afraid they might. All right, Anoia had got a good deal out of him and he’d noticed her shiny new temple the other day, its frontage already hung with votive egg-slicers, fondant whisks, ladles, parsnip butterers, and many other useless appliances donated by grateful worshipers who had faced the prospect of a life with their drawers stuck. Anoia delivered, because she specialized. She didn’t even pretend to offer a paradise, eternal verities, or any kind of salvation. She just left you with a smooth pulling action and access to the forks.
- Chapter 9 (p. 310)
- The strange thing about what lawyers have fun with is that no one else ever sees the joke.
- Chapter 10 (p. 315)
- They looked uncertain. In theory, they should be stampeding up the steps. Moist knew what was holding them back. It was hope. It was the little voice inside that said: This isn’t really happening. It was the voice that drove people to turn out the same pocket three times in a fruitless search for lost keys. It was mad belief that the world is bound to start working properly again if I truly believe, and there will be keys. It was the voice that said “This can’t be happening” very loudly, in order to drown out the creeping dread that it was. He had about thirty seconds, while hope lasted.
- Chapter 10 (pp. 315-316)
- And now, Moist thought, for the Moment of Truth. If possible, though, it would become the Moment of Plausible Lies, since most people were happier with them.
- Chapter 10 (p. 331)
- You know, Mr. Lipwig, killing you right now would solve an incredibly large number of problems.
- Chapter 11 (p. 345)
- “But I have sinned. Oh, indeed I have! I have worshiped false idols!”
“Well, sometimes you can’t get real ones,” said Miss Drapes.
- Chapter 11 (p. 350)
- But somebody was Making a Statement. It didn’t matter what it was, so long as it looked impressive.
- Chapter 12 (p. 355)
- I’m in a world where that just happened, Moist thought. Nothing matters. It was an insight of incredibly wonderful liberation.
- Chapter 12 (p. 359)
- On the first day of the rest of his life Moist von Lipwig woke up, which was nice, given that on any particular day a number of people do not, but woke up alone, which was less pleasing.
- Chapter 13 (p. 371)
- “They are tragic” said Vetinari, “and we laugh at their tragedy as we laugh at our own. The painted grin leers out at us from the darkness, mocking our insane belief in order, logic, status, the reality of reality. The mask knows that we are born on the banana skin that leads only to the open manhole cover of doom, and all we can hope for are the cheers of the crowd.”
“Where do the squeaky balloon animals fit in?” said Moist.
“I have no idea.”
- Chapter 13 (pp. 378-379)
- “So it’s a replica of a rumor” said Adora Belle. Outside the coach, some gates were swung open.
“Indeed,” said Vetinari. “A copy of something that does not exist. One can only assume that it is authentic in every respect.”
- Chapter 13 (p. 383)
- “I think that comes under the quia ego sic dico rule.”
“Yes, what did that mean?”
“’Because I say so,’ I think.”
“That doesn’t sound like much of a rule.”
“Actually, it’s the only one he needs.”
- Chapter 13 (p. 388)
- This looks like a job for inadvisably applied magic if ever I saw one.
- Chapter 13 (p. 394)
- You get a wonderful view from the point of no return.
- Chapter 13 (p. 400)
Unseen Academicals (2009)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in October 2010 by Harper (1st printing) ISBN 978-0-06-116172-8
- All spelling and italics as in the book.
- 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 finely 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. (p. 1)
- A cloying silence reigned along the ancient corridors and cloisters of Unseen University. There was silence in the Library; there was silence in the halls. There was so much silence you could hear it. (p. 4)
- Nutt was young and as such did not have that reverence for age that is had by, mostly, the aged. (p. 7)
- The thing disappeared down another gloomy corridor, incessantly making that flat honking noise of the sort that duck hunters make just before they are shot by other duck hunters. (p. 8)
- Unfortunately, Ponder was a clear logical thinker who, in times of mental confusion, fell back on reason and honesty, which, when dealing with an angry Archchancellor, were, to use the proper academic term, unhelpful. And he neglected to think strategically, always a mistake when talking to fellow academics, and as a result made the mistake of employing, as at this point, common sense. (p. 18)
- Maybe there had been true evil there, but apparently the evil was, oddly enough, always on the other side. (p. 29)
- It was amazing, he thought, how people would argue against figures on no better basis than “they must be wrong.” (p. 36)
- “I’m sure the Bursar would not agree with those figures,” said the Senior Wrangler sourly.
“That is so,” said Ponder, “but I’m afraid that is because he regards the decimal point as a nuisance.” (p. 36)
- “With your looks you could snag a man who thinks about more than beer and footie. Just speak with a little more class, eh? You don’t have to sound like—”
“My fare, lady?” (p. 43)
- He would sit all night under the lamp, book of the moment in front of him, dictionary and thesaurus on either side, wringing the meaning out of every word, punching ceaselessly at his own ignorance. (p. 46)
- He said they ranged in size from unpleasantly large to disgustingly small, had about the same level of culture as yogurt and spent their time picking their own noses and missing. A complete waste of space, he said. It caused quite a stir. Anthropologists are not supposed to write that sort of thing. (p. 47)
- There are those who say that sherry should not be drunk early in the morning. They are wrong. (p. 49)
- “People do not understand the limits of tyranny,” said Vetinari, as if talking to himself. “They think that because I can do what I like I can do what I like. A moment’s thought reveals, of course, that this cannot be so.”
“Oh, it is the same with magic,” said the Archchancellor. “If you flash spells around like there’s no tomorrow, there’s a good chance that there won’t be.” (p. 49)
- Tradition is at least as important as bowels, if not quite so useful. (p. 50)
- In my day we were all so…so relentlessly physical. But if I was to suggest so much as an egg and spoon race these days they’d use the spoon to eat the egg. (p. 50)
- “As a wizard, I must tell you that words have power.”
“As a politician, I must tell you I already know.” (p. 52)
- “Look at them. Ranks, files,” he said, waving a hand over the little stone figures, “locked in everlasting conflict at the whim of the player. They fight, they fall, and they cannot turn back because the whips drive them on, and all they know is whips, kill or be killed. Darkness in front of them, darkness behind them, darkness and whips in their heads. But what if you could take one out of this game, get him before the whips do, take him to a place without whips—what might he become? One creature. One singular being. Would you deny them that chance?”
“You had three men hanged last week,” said Ridcully, without quite understanding why.
“They had their chances. They used them to kill, and worse. All we get is a chance.” (p. 53)
- It’s a short walk from the palace to Unseen University; positions of power like to keep an eye on one another. (p. 54)
- “’Ow do I know I can trust you?” said the urchin.
“I don’t know,” said Ridcully. “The subtle workings of the brain are a mystery to me, too. But I’m glad that is your belief.” (p. 56)
- Truth is female, since truth is beauty rather than handsomeness; this, Ridcully reflected as the Council grumbled in, would certainly explain the saying that a lie could run around the world before Truth has got its, correction, her boots on, since she would have to choose which pair—the idea that any woman in a position to choose would have just one pair of boots being beyond rational belief. Indeed, as a goddess she would have lots of shoes, and thus many choices: comfy shoes for home truths, hobnail boots for unpleasant truths, simple clogs for universal truths and possibly some kind of slipper for self-evident truth. More important right now was what kind of truth he was going to have to impart to his colleagues, and he decided not on the whole truth, but instead on nothing but the truth, which dispensed with the need for honesty. (p. 58)
- “Well, go on, then, what did he say?”
“He responded to reasoned argument.”
“He did? Where’s the catch?” (p. 58)
- “When you live there, it’s safer that way. Anyway, you have to support your own.”
“But is it not a game, like spillikins or halma or Thud?”
“No! It’s more like war, but without the kindness and consideration!” (p. 63)
- “Apes had it worked out. No ape would philosophize, “The mountain is, and is not.” They would think, “The banana is. I will eat the banana. There is no banana. I want another banana.” (pp. 72-73)
- The Librarian was not very familiar with love, which had always struck him as a bit ethereal and soppy, but kindness, on the other hand, was practical. You knew where you were with kindness, especially if you were holding a pie it had just given you. (p. 74)
- “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.” (p. 87)
- “You two have a history, I think,” said Nutt.
“You are a sharp one, aren’t you? Quiet and sharp. Like a knife. Yeah, I suppose it was a history. I wanted it to be more of a geography, but she kept slappin’ my hand.” (p. 88)
- It has been said that crowds are stupid, but mostly they are simply confused, since as an eyewitness the average person is as reliable as a meringue lifejacket. (p. 103)
- She hated people like him, who lived for the exercise of third-hand authority and loved every little bit of power they could grab. (p. 104)
- But Nutt had a point. It was hard to argue with a man who insisted that he was not dead. (p. 114)
- Don’t be smart. Smart is only a polished version of dumb. Try intelligence. It will surely see you through. (p. 116)
- “It’s a kind of medicine with words,” said Nutt, carefully. “Sometimes people fool themselves into believing things that aren’t true. Sometimes that can be quite dangerous for the person. They see the world in a wrong way. They won’t let themselves see that what they believe is wrong. But often there is a part of the mind that does know, and the right words can let it out.” (pp. 117-118)
- It would have been nice to have a bit of cosmic explanation at this point, but the universe never gave you explanations, it just gave you more questions. (p. 122)
- Glenda enjoyed her job. She didn’t have a career; they were for people who could not hold down jobs. (p. 124)
- The wizards paid no further attention and settled down to the passing of cups, the handing round of the sugar bowl, the inspection of the quality of the chocolate biscuits with a view to taking more than one’s entitlement and all the other little diversions without which a committee would be a clever device for making worthwhile decisions quickly. (pp. 129-130)
- In theory, something should fit, but all she ever found was facts, which are so unbecoming. (p. 149)
- “It’s the real stuff. Champagne.”
“What? I thought only nobby people drank that!”
“No, just people with money, love. Sometimes it’s the same thing.” (p. 160)
- Weapons got you killed, often because you were holding one. (p. 180)
- “It’s positively an offense against morality.”
“How? Where? Only in your heads, I feel.” (p. 189)
- Tradition is the scourge of endeavor. (p. 206)
- “I’m sorry we seem to have loaded you down a bit. I’m sure it wasn’t deliberate.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t, too, sir. Very little around here is.” Ponder sighed. “I’m afraid that unthinking delegation and prevarication and procrastination are standard practice here.” (pp. 209-210)
- A lot hinges on the fact that, in most circumstances, people are not allowed to hit you with a mallet. They put up all kinds of visible and invisible signs that say “Do not do this” in the hope that it’ll work, but if it doesn’t, then they shrug, because there is, really, no real mallet at all. (p. 225)
- Glenda had decided tonight that she couldn’t read unwritten rules. (p. 226)
- A man could be dogmatic, and that was all right, or he could be stupid, and no harm done, but stupid and dogmatic at the same time was too much, especially fluxed with body odor. (p. 226)
- “How many languages do you speak, you…Nutt?”
“Three dead and twelve living, sir,” said Nutt.
“Really. Really,” said Ridcully, as though filing this away and trying not to think How many of them were alive before you murdered them? (pp. 229-230)
- I see evil when I look in my shaving mirror. It is, philosophically, present everywhere in the universe in order, apparently, to highlight the existence of good. I think there is more to this theory, but I tend to burst out laughing at this point. (p. 236)
- Why is there a certain cast of the military mind which leads sensible people to do again, with gusto, what didn’t work before? (p. 236)
- 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. (pp. 236-237)
- “I believe that football is a lot like life.”
“There ish that, shir, there ish that. You does your besht and then shomeone kicksh you inna fork.” (p. 248)
- “The female mind is certainly a devious one, my lord.”
Vetinari looked at his secretary in surprise. “Well, of course it is. It has to deal with the male one.” (p. 251)
- People who had no real idea why they were doing so congregated to listen to other people who also did not know anything, on the basis that ignorance shared is ignorance doubled. (p. 258)
- Juliet’s version of cleanliness was next to godliness, which was to say it was erratic, past all understanding and was seldom seen. (p. 268)
- 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 just have been you screaming inside your head, or a horse backfiring. (p. 279)
- “That is a magnificent distillation of the situation,” said Hix. “Which is incredibly helpful while at the same time inaccurate in every possible way.” (p. 291)
- “Are you worthy?” said the woman.
“What sort of question is that to ask a stranger?”
“An interesting and possibly revealing one. Do you think the world is a better place with you in it, and would you do me the courtesy of actually thinking about your answer rather than pulling one off the ‘affronted’ rack?” I’m afraid there’s far too much of that these days. People believe that acting and thinking are the same thing.” (p. 314)
- The rising sun managed to peek around the vast column of smoke that forever rose from Ankh-Morpork, City of Cities, illustrating almost up to the edge of space that smoke means progress or, at least, people setting fire to things. (pp. 323-324)
- “They put it like that?” said Glenda, wide-eyed.
“Oh, you know the sort of thing if you read the papers a lot,” said Ponder. “I seriously think they think that it’s their job to calm people down by first of all explaining why they should be overexcited and very worried.” (p. 325)
- “Can’t you wizards do something?”
“Yes,” said Ponder. “We can do practically anything, but we can’t change people’s minds. We can’t magic them sensible. Believe me, if it were possible to do that, we would have done it a long time ago.” (p. 327)
- You know, there’s people in this city that would watch a beheading and hold their kiddies up for a better view. (p. 331)
- It does not matter whether you win or lose so long as you score the most goals. (p. 343)
- “After all, it’s only a game.”
“But a game is not about games. And what sort of game do you think you will get tomorrow?”
“A war,” said Vetinari. “And the thing about war is that it’s about war.” (p. 349)
- 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 State.‡
‡ i.e., up to something. (p. 363)
- “I don’t think he’s been poisoned,” he said.
“Why’s that, Archchancellor?” said Ponder.
“Because if anyone has poisoned our Librarian,” said Ridcully, “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.” (pp. 377-378)
- “Look, you can’t tell me that’s not magic,” Andy insisted.
“No,” said Glenda. “You know what? I think it’s religion.” (p. 395)
- For I am the crowd and I am the ball
I am the triumph and the blame
I am the turf, the pies, the All
Always and ever, I am the Game.
It matters not who won or lost
Nothing is the score you made
Fame is a petal that curls in the frost
But I will remember how you played. (p. 395)
- “The orcs?”
“Yes. They really are wretched. Of course, people say that about the goblins and while it is true that they religiously save their own snot, and, frankly, just about everything else, at least there is a logic to it.”
“Well, a religious logic, at least,” murmured Vetinari. “They tend to be quite stretchable.” (pp. 406-407)
- “Peace?” said Vetinari. “Ah, yes, defined as period of time to allow for preparation for the next war.” (p. 407)
I Shall Wear Midnight (2010)
- All page numbers from the trade paperback revised edition published in 2015 by Harper, 3rd printing ISBN 978-0-06-243529-3
- All spelling, dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- 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.
- Chapter 1, “A Fine Big Wee Laddie” (p. 2)
- 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.
- Chapter 1, “A Fine Big Wee Laddie” (p. 4)
- 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.
- Chapter 1, “A Fine Big Wee Laddie” (p. 11)
- 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.
- Chapter 1, “A Fine Big Wee Laddie” (p. 20)
- His hands had closed automatically into fists because he had always been a man who thought with them. Soon he would try to use them; she knew it, because it was easier to punch than think.
- Chapter 2, “Rough Music” (p. 27)
- When the brain stops thinking, the fist steps in.
- Chapter 2, “Rough Music” (p. 39)
- Everyone wants magic to exist, Tiffany thought to herself, and what can I say? No, it doesn’t? Or: Yes, it does, but it’s not what you think? Everyone wants to believe that we can change the world by snapping our fingers.
- Chapter 2, “Rough Music” (p. 40)
- “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.
- Chapter 2, “Rough Music” (p. 44)
- But she was a witch, after all, and there was a job to do. Mysterious omens could wait. Witches knew that mysterious omens were around all the time. The world was always very nearly drowning in mysterious omens. You just had to pick the one that was convenient.
- Chapter 4, “The Real Shilling” (p. 61)
- “The cook has told me that you are a very religious woman, always on your knees, and that is fine by me, absolutely fine, but didn’t it ever occur to you to take a mop and bucket down there with you? People don’t need prayers, Miss Spruce; they need you to do the job in front of you, Miss Spruce. And I have had enough of you, Miss Spruce, and especially of your lovely white coat. I think Roland was very impressed by your wonderful white coat, but I am not, Miss Spruce, because you never do anything that will get it dirty.”
The nurse raised a hand. “I could slap you!”
“No,” said Tiffany firmly. “You couldn’t.”
The hand stayed where it was. “I have never been so insulted before in my life!” screamed the enraged nurse.
“Really?” said Tiffany. “I’m genuinely surprised.”
- Chapter 5, “The Mother of Tongues” (pp. 103-104)
- The soil and the salt were an ancient tradition to keep ghosts away. Tiffany had never seen a ghost, so they probably worked, but in any case they worked on the minds of people, who felt better for knowing that they were there, and once you understood that, you understood quite a lot about magic.
- Chapter 5, “The Mother of Tongues” (p. 105)
- “Simple?” said the Toad, who seems to be enjoying himself. “Well, as a lawyer I can tell you that some thing that looks very simple indeed can be incredibly complicated, especially if I’m being paid by the hour. The sun is simple. A sword is simple. A storm is simple. Behind everything simple is a huge tail of complicated.”
- Chapter 5, “The Mother of Tongues” (p. 109)
- He rubbed his nose. Then he sighed. “Miss Aching, I am arresting you on suspicion of…well, I’m just feeling suspicious.
- Chapter 7, “Songs in the Night” (p. 165)
- Her ladyship was not happy about this, but the captain cheerfully did not notice, in that very professional way policeman have not seen things they don’t want to see. And there was a definite sense that he wouldn’t have paid much attention in any case.
- Chapter 7, “Songs in the Night” (p. 166)
- Sometimes what is legal isn’t what is right, and sometimes it needs a witch to tell the difference. And sometimes a copper too, if you have the right kind of copper. Clever people know this. Stupid people don’t. And the trouble is, stupid people can be oh so very clever.
- Chapter 7, “Songs in the Night” (p. 179)
- “Please,” Tiffany said, “can we get some sleep? My father always says that things will look better in the morning.”
There was a pause. “Upon reflection,” Mrs. Proust said, “I think your father will turn out to be wrong.”
- Chapter 7, “Songs in the Night” (p. 187)
- The world is full of omens, and you picked the ones you liked.
- Chapter 7, “Songs in the Night” (p. 187)
- He looked like a cat on the day it rained mice.
- Chapter 8, “The King’s Neck” (p. 192)
- He was hanged, and then much later they put up a statue to him, which tells you more about people than you might wish to know.
- Chapter 8, “The King’s Neck” (p. 193)
- “Of course,” said Miss Smith. “Boy meets girl, one of the greatest engines of narrative causality in the multiverse.”
- Chapter 8, “The King’s Neck” (p. 201)
- Poison goes where poison’s welcome.
- Chapter 8, “The King’s Neck” (p. 205; catchphrase repeated several times in the book)
- She heard him mutter, “Can you take away this grief?”
“I’m sorry,” she replied quietly. “Everyone asks me. And I would not do so even if I knew how. It belongs to you. Only time and tears take away grief; that is what they are for.”
- Chapter 9, “The Duchess and the Cook” (p. 240)
- “My mother taught me to read and write, much against my dad’s wishes, and since that meant I was no good for a proper job, I got packed off to be an apprentice priest in the Church of Om. I quite liked that; I learned a lot of interesting words, but they threw me out for asking too many questions, such as ‘Is this really true or what?’”
- Chapter 9, “The Duchess and the Cook” (p. 261)
- Roland was staring at Tiffany, so nonplussed he was nearly minused.
- Chapter 10, “The Melting Girl” (p. 274)
- It was almost impossible to make a Feegle look sheepish, but Rob Anybody looked as if he was about to say “Bah.”
- Chapter 10, “The Melting Girl” (p. 278)
- And there, right there, was the drawback of being a witch. Here was a person whose mere existence had led Tiffany, one evening, to wonder about that whole business of sticking pins into a wax figure. She hadn’t actually done it, because it was some thing that you shouldn’t do, something that witches greatly frowned on, and because it was cruel and dangerous, and above all because she hadn’t been able to find any pins.
- Chapter 10, “The Melting Girl” (pp. 285-286)
- When Mr. Aching had worked for the old Baron, they had, as men of the world, reached a sensible arrangement, which was that Mr. Aching would do whatever the Baron asked him to do. Provided the Baron asked Mr. Aching to do what Mr. Aching wanted to do and it needed to be done.
- Chapter 10, “The Melting Girl” (p. 292)
- Should I blame him for what he’s been ordered to do? she wondered. After all, you can’t blame the hammer for what the carpenter does with it. But Brian has got a brain, and the hammer hasn’t. Maybe he should try to use it.
- Chapter 10, “The Melting Girl” (p. 296)
- Did you see the title of that book? I did. It was right in front of me! It was The Bonfire of the Witches! It was dictated by an Omnian priest who was so mad that he wouldn’t have been able to see sanity with a telescope. And you know what? Books live. The pages remember!
- Chapter 11, “The Bonfire of the Witches” (p. 325)
- Tiffany opened her mouth to reply before she had any idea what she was going to say, but that is not unusual among human beings.
- Chapter 12, “The Sin o’ Sins” (p. 358)
- She tried not to be gloomy at funerals. People lived, and died, and were remembered. It happened in the same way that winter follows summer. It was not a wrong thing. There were tears, of course, but they were for those who were left; those who had gone on did not need them.
- Chapter 13, “The Shaking of the Sheets” (p. 372)
- Tiffany thought, Is this the right song for a funeral? And then she thought, Of course it is! It’s a wonderful turn and it tells us that one day all of us will die but—and this is the important thing—we are not dead yet.
- Chapter 13, “The Shaking of the Sheets” (p. 384)
- “Do you believe in luck?” said the Duchess.
“I believe in not having to believe in luck,” said Tiffany.
- Chapter 13, “The Shaking of the Sheets” (pp. 395-396)
- These times are not necessarily good, and not necessarily bad. In fact, what they are depends on what we are.
- Chapter 13, “The Shaking of the Sheets” (p. 396)
- People aren’t just people; they are people surrounded by circumstances.
- Chapter 14, “Burning the King” (p. 409)
- Your power is only rumor 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.
Inside, I am flint.
- Chapter 14, “Burning the King” (pp. 418-419)
- “I want a proper school, sir, to teach reading and writing, and most of all thinking, sir, so people can find out what they’re good at, because someone doing what they really like is always an asset to any country, and too often people never find out until it’s too late.” She deliberately looked away from the sergeant, but her words had caused a susurration around the room that Tiffany was glad to hear. She drowned it out with “There have been times, lately, when I dearly wished that I could change the past. Well, I can’t, but I can change the present, so that when it becomes the past it will turn out to be a past worth having. And I’d like the boys to learn about girls and I’d like the girls to learn about boys. Learning is about finding out who you are, what you are, where you are and what you are standing on and what you are good at and what’s over the horizon and, well, everything. It’s about finding the place where you fit. I found the place where I fit, and I would like everybody else to find theirs.”
- Chapter 15, “A Shadow and a Whisper” (pp. 429-430)
- All this got a big cheer, which is what generally happens when people have worked out that they are likely to get something that they won’t have to pay for.
- Chapter 15, “A Shadow and a Whisper” (p. 430)
- “You’ve taken the first step.”
“There’s a second step?” said Tiffany.
“No; there’s another first step. Every step is a first step if it’s a step in the right direction.”
- Chapter 15, “A Shadow and a Whisper” (p. 435)
- It is important that we know where we come from, because if you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.
- Author’s Note (p. 447)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in January 2013 by Harper (8th printing) ISBN 978-0-06-221886-5
- All spelling, dashes, ellipses (with one noted exception), and italics as in the book.
- “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.” (p. 4)
- Among his curses was doing the paperwork.
There was always paperwork. It is well known that any drive to reduce paperwork only results in extra paperwork. (p. 5)
- You had to stop discussing politics or you would run right into it, causing no damage to anything but yourself. (p. 16)
- Of course people here would be on the take. You didn’t need evidence. It was human nature. (p. 26)
- 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?” (p. 30)
- Vimes’s lack of interest in other people’s children was limitless, but he could count. “And the last one?”
“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—” (p. 31)
- You are mistaking value for worth, I think. (p. 37)
- I’ve been following the noble profession herming here for nigh on fifty-seven years, practicing piety, sobriety, celibacy and the pursuit of the true wisdom in the tradition of my father and grandfather and great-grandfather before me. (p. 42)
- Aristocrats don’t notice philosophical conundra. They just ignore them. Philosophy includes contemplating the possibility that you might be wrong, sir, and a real aristocrat knows that he is always right. It’s not vanity, you understand, it’s built-in absolute certainty. They may sometimes be as mad as a hatful of spoons, but they are always definitely and certainly mad. (p. 44)
- Very interested indeed in rubber, so I heard, but it takes all sorts to make a world and it would be a funny old place if we were all the same, and especially if we were all like him. (p. 48)
- “Your 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.” She smiled at Vimes’s expression and said, “Well, it’s true, dear. A lot of farming is about manure.” (p. 53)
- Vimes said,“Do you serve anything that isn’t alcoholic?”
The barman very carefully hung the tankard on a hook over the bar and then looked directly at Vimes and said, without rancor, “Well, you see, sir, this is what we call a pub. People gets stuffy about it if I leaves out the alcohol.” (pp. 59-60)
- “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.” (p. 64)
- As far as Sam Vimes was concerned, he liked tea, but tea was not tea if, even before drinking, you could see the bottom of the cup.
Still worse than the stuff he was being offered was the conversation, which inclined toward bonnets, a subject on which his ignorance was not just treasured but venerated. (p. 74)
- Whoever said that a soft answer turners away wrath had never worked in a bar. (p. 86)
- “Of course, we went on trying, because that’s the military way!”
“You mean, pile dreadful failure on top of failure?” said Vimes. (p. 106)
- Well, we live and learn, Vimes thought, or perhaps more importantly, we learn and live. (p. 116)
- There passed between husband and wife a look that deserved the status of telepathy. (p. 132)
- I’m not the law, no policeman is the law. A policeman is just a man, but when he wakes up in the morning it is the law that is his alarm clock. (p. 144)
- Time to be a real copper, lad. Do the right thing and fudge the paperwork afterward, like I do. (p. 144)
- That just goes to show that you never know, although what it is we never know I suspect we’ll never know. (p. 168)
- He smiled to himself. Maybe the goblins weren’t all that stupid, only more stupid than humans were, which, when you came to think about it, took some effort. (p. 187)
- Where there are little crimes, large crimes are not far behind. (p. 200)
- “The son? The criminal?”
“I believe, Sam, that the word is entrepreneur.” (p. 212)
- Oh dear, you of all people must recognize a substition when you’re possessed by it? It’s the opposite of a superstition: it’s real even if you don’t believe in it. (p. 217)
- I tell you, commander, it’s true that 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. (p. 219)
- Good people have no business being so bad. Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to. (p. 220)
- “One day I thought, ‘How hard can writing be? After all, most of the words are going to be and, the and I and it, and so on, and there’s a huge number to choose from, so a lot of the work has been done for you.’ That was fifty-seven books ago. It seems to have worked.” (p. 220)
- There were times when the world did not need policemen, because what it really did need was for somebody who knew what they were doing to shut it all down and start it all up again so that this time it could be done properly… (p. 234)
- It always embarrassed Samuel Vimes when civilians tried to speak to him in what they thought was “policeman.” If it came to that, he hated thinking of them as civilians. What was a policeman, if not a civilian with a uniform and a badge? But they tended to use the term these days as a way of describing people who were not policemen. It was a dangerous habit: once policemen stopped being civilians the only other thing they could be was soldiers. (pp. 244-245)
- Good old tobacco, nothing harmful about tobacco, and smuggling it was, well, it was really like a game, everybody knew that. Nothing wrong with outsmarting the revenue, that’s what the revenue was for! Vimes thought, isn’t that how I’ve always said it worked? Little crimes breeding big crimes. You smile at little crimes and then big crimes blow your head off. (p. 270)
- He was a scalawag, a chancer, a ruthless fighter and a dangerous driver of bargains over the speed limit. Since all this was a bit of a mouthful, he was referred to as a successful businessman, since that more or less amounted to the same thing. (p. 277)
- As for the law, don’t try to talk to me about the law. I am not above the law, but I stand right underneath it, and I hold it up!…Justice, not convenience, will be served. (p. 303; ellipsis represents a brief elision for the sake of continuity)
- Vetinari always said, “What is normal? Normal is yesterday and last week and last month taken together.” (p. 311)
- He was bewildered. This didn’t matter very much; bewilderment was often a copper’s lot. His job was to make sense of the world, and there were times that he wished the world would meet him halfway. (p. 396)
- But sometimes you should follow the arrogance…You should look for those who can’t believe that the law would ever catch them, who believe that they act out of a right that the rest of us do not have. The job of the officer of the law is to let them know that they are wrong! (p. 403)
- He was eating a roasted rabbit like there was no tomorrow—which clearly had been the case for the rabbit. (p. 417)
- They think that I’m like them! I hate that! They just don’t get it! They’ve got on well for years without ever having to think differently, and now they don’t know how! (p. 419)
- But I’ll say this for the old bastard: he is honorable, honest and straightforward. It’s a shame that he is also pigheaded, stupid, and incompetent. (p. 420)
- When you aren’t expecting it, that’s when you should expect it! (p. 428)
- You’re just a bully who found it easier and easier and decided that everybody else wasn’t really a real person, not like you, and when you know that, there’s no crime too big, is there? No crime you won’t do. (p. 432)
- Woman’s logic, Sam thought: everything is going to be all right because it ought to be all right. The trouble is, reality is never as simple as that and doesn’t allow for paperwork. (p. 437)
- The law is there for the people, rather than the other way round. (p. 446)
- Can I make one thing perfectly clear, your grace, the law cannot act retrospectively. If it did, none of us would be safe. (p. 460)
Raising Steam (2013)
- All page numbers from the trade paperback first US edition published in 2014 by Anchor Books (7th printing) ISBN 978-0-8041-6920-2
- All spelling, dashes, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- It is hard to understand nothing, but the multiverse is full of it. (p. 1)
- He reflected that, from a distance, the world might conceivably look to be at peace, a state of affairs that always ends in war, eventually. (p. 9)
- “How could you have foreseen it?”
“Well, madam, Diamond King of Trolls asked me the very same thing, but all I can say is that it lies in the indefatigable nature of sapient creatures. In short, they can’t all be satisfied at the same time.” (p. 11)
- After all, if you can’t trust governments, whom can you trust? (p. 56)
- Vetinari sighed and continued, “Though of course I do not imagine it is in my remit to monitor the private doings of my people.”
“My Lord,” interjected Drumknott. ”As a tyrant that is, in fact, exactly what you do.” (p. 63)
- “Young dwarfs, badly advised. They should have known better.”
The silence enveloped Lord Vetinari. “Indeed,” said his lordship, “but it is easy to be an idiot when you are seventeen and I would warrant that the grags who put them up to it are much older. There is no sense in breaking the arrow if, by acting sensibly, you may capture the archer.” (p. 68)
- 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. (p. 89)
- I know that monks have been carefully shepherding the world, but I rather think they don’t realize that the sheep sometimes have better ideas. (p. 102)
- Uncertainty is always uncertain, but the difficulty with people who rely on systems is that they begin to believe that nearly everything is in some way a system and therefore, sooner or later, they become bureaucrats. (p. 102)
- Dick just loved talking about Iron Girder and everything else to do with locomotion, but he was a straightforward man and the press of the Sto Plains could eat up for lunch straightforward man if he wasn’t careful. Moist, on the other hand, in the vicinity of the press, was as straightforward as a sackful of kaleidoscopes. (p. 110)
- The smile Mr. de Worde gave as he stepped from the platform on to the footplate cemented this moment onto the front page, assuming this journey was a success—although you had to be aware that it would also make the front page if the engine blew up. Journalism was, well, after all, journalism. (p. 113)
- We are not difficult people, but the government drags its feet when it comes to cleaning out ze bandits, because, as you understand, bandits and governments ’ave so much in common that they might be interchangeable anywhere in the world…I see you smiling, Mr. Lipwig. Is something amusing? (p. 139)
- Moist was, by inclination, a stranger to the concept of two in the morning, a time that happened to other people. (p. 187)
- “Thank you Mr. Forefather. Pretty soon there’ll be a lot of journalists coming to see all this and I’m sorry about that, but they turn up like flies.”
“That’s all right, sir. Good for business. Journalists drink twice as much as anyone else and for twice as long.” (p. 191)
- A dwarf who had been silent during the conclave in the cavern was remembering the old Djelibeybi legend about the way to get an ass down from the minaret, and of course the answer was you first have to teach it not to be an ass. But in what world could that ever happen when you’re dealing with grags? (p. 194)
- The terrible fact was that when dwarfs schism, they schism…every deviation from the norm was treated as an attack on all that was truly dwarfish. (p. 195)
- In the trouble with madness was that the mad didn’t know they were mad. The grags came down heavily on those who did not conform and seemed not to realize that this was like stamping potatoes into the mud to stop them growing. (p. 195)
- 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. (p. 200)
- “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.” (p. 201)
- “We can’t just drop everything, sir!”
“Mister Lipwig. Is there something in the word tyrant you do not understand?” (p. 201)
- Moist was not going to be intimidated by a bunch of small people who were giving themselves airs. He was never one for protocol—it got in the way and often concealed nasty and dangerous things. (p. 247)
- Moist gave up. Too much traveling on the railway could turn you into a philosopher, although, he conceded, not a very good one. (p. 280)
- A kind of ratchet formed in people’s minds: here is the new thing and here it is. And yesterday you never thought about it and after today you don’t know what you would do without it. That was what the technology was doing. It was your slave but, in a sense, it might be the other way round. (p. 281)
- That’s the trouble, you see. When you’ve had hatred on your tongue for such a long time, you don’t know how to spit it out. (p. 284)
- Sad to say, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if you keep turning the other cheek they’ll go on slapping you in the face. (p. 288)
- But it didn’t do to get angry, at least not yet. Anger was a weapon to be honed and treasured and used only at the moment yielding most premium. (p. 313)
- Mr. Lipwig, are you talking about magic here? I am an engineer, I am. We don’t ’old wi’ magic. (p. 322)
- Moist couldn’t help feeling sorry for them. Idiots with a cause and it had been such a stupid cause to begin with. (p. 338)
- But sooner or later there comes a time when you have to take names and crack skulls. I’m sorry, it’s at the other end of the spectrum from the little chat and it’s what happens when reason no longer holds sway. (p. 343)
- As his Lordship head pointed out: “if you take enough precautions, you never need to take precautions.” (p. 358)
The Shepherd's Crown (2015)
- All page numbers from the first paperback edition published in 2016 by Harper Books (4th printing) ISBN 978-0-06-242998-8
- All spelling, ellipses, and italics as in the book.
- But the reward for lots of work seemed to be lots more. If you dug the biggest hole, they just gave you a bigger shovel…
- Chapter 1, “Where the Wind Blows” (p. 8)
- Number two was Hugh, who had suggested to his father that he would like to go into the church. His father had said, “Only if it’s the Church of Om, but none of the others. I’m not having no son of mine fooling around with cultic activities!” Om was handily silent, thereby enabling his priests to interpret his wishes how they chose. Amazingly, Om’s wishes rarely translated into instructions like “Feed the poor” or “Help the elderly” but more along the lines of “You need a splendid residence” or “Why not have seven courses for dinner?” So Lord Swivel felt that a clergyman in the family could in fact be useful.
- Chapter 1, “Where the Wind Blows” (p. 12)
- She had always liked the scullery. It smelled of hard work being done properly. Here there were also spiders, mostly hiding around the bottles and jars on the shelves, but she thought scullery spiders didn’t really count. Live and let live.
- Chapter 2, “A Voice in the Darkness” (p. 25)
- Tiffany sighed. “Being a witch is a man’s job: that’s why it needs women to do it.”
- Chapter 6, “Around the Houses” (p. 92)
- If’n people do wrong things, well, why would they be surprised if bad things then happen to them? Most of ’em knows this, you know.
- Chapter 15, “The God in the Barrow” (p. 197)
- Some folk just don’t want to see the truth, even when you points it out to ’em.
- Chapter 15, “The God in the Barrow” (p. 197)
- Geoffrey looked at the captains’ warriors and sighed internally. Could they do it? They were old men. And then he thought, Yes, they are old men. They have been old men for a long time, which means they have learned many things. Like lying, and being crafty and, most importantly, dissembling.
- Chapter 18, “The Shepherd’s Crown” (p. 243)
- And at the end of time, living is about fightin’ against everything.
- Chapter 18, “The Shepherd’s Crown” (p. 249)
Other Discworld works
- All page numbers are from the first American hardcover edition of A Blink of the Screen (2012), published by Doubleday; ISBN 978-0-385-53832-9, first printing
Theatre of Cruelty (1993)
- "What do we do now, Nobby?"
"Arrest the suspect, sarge," said Corporal Nobbs, saluting smartly.
"What suspect, Nobby?"
"Him," said Nobby, prodding the corpse with his boot. "I call it highly suspicious, being dead like that."
"But he's the victim, Nobby. He was the one what was killed."
"Ah, right. So we can get him as an accessory, too."
"He's been drinking, too. We could do him for being dead and disorderly."
- p. 184
- "Now I know you saw something, sir," he said. "You were there."
Well, yes, said Death. I have to be, you know. But this is very irregular.
"You see, sir," said Corporal Carrot, "as I understand the law, you are an Accessory After the Fact. Or possibly Before the Fact."
Young man, I am the fact.
- p. 186
The Sea and Little Fishes (1998)
- Quotes from pages 189-235 are from the story itself; from pages 277-284 are from the deleted extract from the story
- Fools rush in, but they are laggards compared to little old ladies with nothing left to fear.
- p. 191
- It was the same in just about every trade. Sooner or later someone decided it needed organizing, and the one thing you could be sure of was that the organizers weren’t going to be the people who, by general acknowledgement, were at the top of their craft. They were working too hard. To be fair, it generally wasn’t done by the worst, neither. They were working hard, too. They had to.
No, it was done by the ones who had just enough time and inclination to scurry and bustle. And, to be fair again, the world needed people who scurried and bustled. You just didn’t have to like them very much.
- p. 198
- That’s witchcraft today. All jewellery and no drawers.
- p. 205
- I moves with the times. We ought to move with the times. No one said we ought to give them a push.
- p. 206
- Granny Weatherwax was not an advertisement for witchcraft. Oh, she was one of the best at it, no doubt about it. At a certain kind, certainly. But a girl starting out in life might well say to herself: “Is this it? You worked hard and denied yourself things and what you got at the end was hard work and self-denial?”
- p. 206
- Keeping secrets made you powerful. Being powerful earned you respect. Respect was hard currency.
- p. 222
- “Er…you don’t think she’s losing it, do you?”
“No one’ll be able to find it if she has,” said Nanny.
- p. 227
- Unlike the magic of wizards, the magic of witches did not usually involve the application of much raw power. The difference is that between hammers and levers. Witches generally tried to find the small point where a little change made a lot of result. To make an avalanche you can either shake the mountain, or maybe you can just find exactly the right place to drop a snowflake.
- pp. 228-229
- “I did start out in witchcraft to get boys, to tell you the truth.”
“Think I don’t know that?”
“What did you start out to get, Esme?”
Granny stopped, and looked up at the frosty sky and then down at the ground. “Dunno,” she said at last. “Even, I suppose.”
- pp. 233-234
- She’d taken them to his farm and showed them where to dig, and he’d thrown himself down and asked her for mercy, because he said he’d been drunk and it’d all been done in alcohol.
Her words came back to her. She’d said, in sobriety: end it in hemp.
- p. 279
- The villagers had said justice had been done, and she’d lost patience and told them to go home, then, and pray to whoever gods they believed in that it was never done to them. Because the smug face of virtue triumphant could be almost as horrible as wickedness revealed.
- p. 279
- But she’d never set out to be nice. When you went up against some of the opponents she’d met, nice people would finish last, or not even finish.
- p. 280
- Knowing how bad you could be is a great encouragement to be good.
- p. 280
- So she’d been good. She was good at justice. She was good at medicine, particularly that type of medicine which started in the head. She was good at winning. She was good, though she said it herself, at most of the things she set her mind at.
But not nice. She had to admit it. And it seemed that people preferred nice to good.
- p. 280
- And a witch used what was to hand, too. All that fiddlin’ with coloured candles and crystal balls and whatnot, that was fine for them as needed it, but at a pinch you use what you could reach.
In this case she reached down and lifted the heavy wooden lid of the well and looked down into the dark waters.
There was nothing there. But there was never anything in a crystal, either. There was simply emptiness, which said: fill me up.
- p. 282
Thud: A Historical Perspective (2002)
- According to the trollish philosopher Plateau, “if you wants to understan’ an enemy, you gotta walk a mile in his shoes. Den, if he’s still your enemy, at least you’re a mile away and he’s got no shoes.”
- p. 247
Death and What Comes Next (2004)
- “May I continue?”
Yes, but not indefinitely, said Death. Everything is transient.
- p. 253
- 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 maximized 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...
- p. 254
- 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?
- pp. 254-255
A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices (2005)
- “Firstly,” said Ponder, “Mr. Pessimal wants to know what we do here.”
“Do? We are the premier college of magic!” said Ridcully.
“But do we teach?”
“Only if no alternative presents itself,” said the Dean. “We show ’em where the library is, give ’em a few little chats, and graduate the survivors. If they run into any problems, my door is always metaphorically open.”
“Metaphorically, sir?” said Ponder.
“Yes. But technically, of course, it’s locked.”
“Explain to him that we don’t do things, Stibbons,” said the Lecturer in Recent Runes. “We are academics.”
- p. 258
- “Yes, but what do you do? And have you been doing more of it in the past six months than in the previous six?”
“Well, if we’re asking that kind of question, Archchancellor, what do you do?” said the Dean testily.
“I administer, Dean,” said Ridcully calmly.
“Then we must be doing something, otherwise you’d have nothing to administrate.”
“That comment strikes at the very heart of the bureaucratic principle, Dean, and I shall ignore it.”
- p. 259
- “And what was it about?” said the Dean.
“Oh, I don’t think it was for reading. It was for having written,” said the Archchancellor.
- p. 259
- "We take in all sorts as it is," said the Dean.
"Does he mean people who are not traditionally good at magic?" said the Chair of Indefinite Studies.
"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 one hundred per cent young fools, thank you. Bring 'em in stupid, send them away clever, that's the UU way!"
"Some of them arrive thinking they're clever, of course," said the Chair of Indefinite Studies.
"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!"
"Thank you, Archchancellor," said the Dean. "I shall take that as a compliment. Carefully directed ignorance is the key to all knowledge."
"I think the inspector means people who by accident of birth, upbringing, background, or early education would not meet the usual entrance requirements," said Ponder quickly.
"Really? Good idea," said Ridcully. "And are we to take it that for his part he intends to make a point of hiring clerks who aren't very good at sums and file everything under 'S' for 'stuff'?"
"He doesn't appear to say so—"
"How strange. But, you see, we're a university, Mr. Stibbons, not a bandage. We can't just wave a magic wand and make everything better!"
"Ridcully waved a hand irritably. "Yes, yes, all right, I know. We can just wave a magic wand and make everything better. Except, of course, that making everything better by magic only makes things much, much worse!"
- pp. 260-261
- "Put it on the agenda for this time next year, Mr. Stibbons. No, perhaps the year after next. You can't hurry urgency, I've always said so."
- p. 262
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?'
- 'Er...everything, sir.'
- '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:
- THE RULES
- 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)
- 10 ...
- '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.'
- 'Sorry, Archchancellor.'
- '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.... '
The Science of Discworld II: The Globe (2002)
- 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.
The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch (2005)
- 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 in 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 dorsal 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 cruising 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?"
"Right! 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 sleeping Luggage) "A snoring chest? that's novel! well, I'll soon fix that."
(when examining the pond) "Actually it's been a while since I had a bath."
(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! 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 curiosity."
(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 curiosity 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 the Librarian's desk) "Must come in handy. Stacked with all the latest monkey accessories... (Gets whacked on the head by the Librarian) Did you get the number of that donkey cart?"
(when examining L-Space) "The way into L-Space."
(when examining a statue) "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 handsome 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! Do you don't mind if I monkey about in the Library for while? (Gets whacked on 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: Oook ook!
Rincewind: Excuse me?
Librarian: Ook ook ook eek!
Rincewind: I see - I need something in order to take out a book.
Librarian: Oook ook!
Rincewind: Toothpaste? Fingers... gloves... Something in your hand?
Rincewind: A dentist? Halitosis? 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! Oh, why didn't you say so in the first place? What happens if I just barge in without giving you a library card? Yes, - now look, unfortunately I don't have one, ape.
Rincewind: ...ape-on, upon my person! Yes, upon my person! Phew - I didn't say Monkey! (Gets whacked on 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 amoebas 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 haven'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 corpses 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, I'm 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.
- The Pratchett Quote File at The L-Space Web (lspace.org)
- Terry Pratchett Quotes by Subject