Discworld is a comedic fantasy book series by British author Terry Pratchett set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which are in turn standing on the back of a giant turtle, the Great A'Tuin. The stories are arranged in several different story arcs that are further explained in the Wikipedia article on the Discworld reading order. This article also shows quotes of the video game adaptations of the series.
- 1 The Colour of Magic (1983)
- 2 The Light Fantastic (1986)
- 3 Equal Rites (1987)
- 4 Mort (1987)
- 5 Sourcery (1988)
- 6 Wyrd Sisters (1989)
- 7 Pyramids (1989)
- 8 Guards! Guards! (1989)
- 9 Faust Eric (1990)
- 10 Moving Pictures (1990)
- 11 Reaper Man (1991)
- 12 Witches Abroad (1991)
- 13 Small Gods (1992)
- 14 Lords and Ladies (1992)
- 15 Men at Arms (1993)
- 16 Soul Music (1994)
- 17 Interesting Times (1994)
- 18 Maskerade (1994)
- 19 Feet of Clay (1996)
- 20 Hogfather (1996)
- 21 Jingo (1997)
- 22 The Last Continent (1998)
- 23 Carpe Jugulum (1998)
- 24 The Fifth Elephant (1999)
- 25 The Truth (2000)
- 26 Thief of Time (2001)
- 27 The Last Hero (2001)
- 28 The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (2001)
- 29 Night Watch (2002)
- 30 The Wee Free Men (2003)
- 31 Monstrous Regiment (2003)
- 32 A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
- 33 Going Postal (2004)
- 34 Thud! (2005)
- 35 Where's My Cow? (2005)
- 36 Wintersmith (2006)
- 37 Making Money (2007)
- 38 Other Discworld works
- 38.1 Theatre of Cruelty (2003)
- 38.2 The Discworld Companion (1994, 1997, 2003)
- 38.3 Discworld (Reformed) Vampyre's Diary 2003
- 38.4 The Discworld Almanak - The Year of The Prawn (2004)
- 38.5 The Science of Discworld (1999)
- 38.6 The Science of Discworld II: The Globe (2002)
- 38.7 The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch (2005)
- 39 Video Games
- 40 External links
The Colour of Magic (1983)
- If complete and utter chaos was lightning, then he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are bastards'.
- What he didn't like about heroes was that they were usually suicidally gloomy when sober and homicidally insane when drunk.
- "It could be worse," he said by way of farewell. "It could be me."
- That's what's so stupid about the whole magic thing, you know. You spend twenty years learning the spell that makes nude virgins appear in your bedroom, and then you're so poisoned by quicksilver fumes and half-blind from reading old grimoires that you can't remember what happens next.
- Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the Discworld. Tourist, Rincewind had decided, meant "idiot."
- It was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universe was ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact of the matter was that the Disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists' houses and smashing their windows.
- 'You know, I never imagined there were he-dryads. Not even in an oak tree.'
One of the giants grinned at him.
Druellae snorted. 'Stupid! Where do you think acorns come from?'
- What heroes like best is themselves.
- 'We've strayed into a zone with a high magical index,' he said. 'Don't ask me how. Once upon a time a really powerful magic field must have been generated here, and we're feeling the after-effects.'
'Precisely,' said a passing bush.
- The only reason for walking into the jaws of Death is so's you can steal his gold teeth.
- 'It is forbidden to fight on the Killing Ground,' he said, and paused while he considered the sense of this. 'You know what I mean, anyway...'
- Some pirates achieved immortality by great deeds of cruelty or derring-do. Some achieved immortality by amassing great wealth. But the captain had long ago decided that he would, on the whole, prefer to achieve immortality by not dying.
- It was octarine, the colour of magic. It was alive and glowing and vibrant and it was the undisputed pigment of the imagination, because wherever it appeared it was a sign that mere matter was a servant of the powers of the magical mind. It was enchantment itself.
But Rincewind always thought it looked a sort of greenish-purple.
- I've seen excitement, and I've seen boredom. And boredom was best.
- 'What's this wine — crushed octopus eyeballs?'
'Sea grape,' said the old man.
'Great,' said Rincewind, and swallowed a glassful. 'Not bad. A bit salty, maybe.'
'Sea grape is a kind of small jellyfish,' explained the stranger. '[...] Why has your friend gone that strange colour?'
'Culture shock, I imagine,' said Twoflower.
- 'We don't have gods where I come from,' said Twoflower.
'You do, you know,' said the Lady. 'Everyone has gods. You just don't think they're gods.'
The Light Fantastic (1986)
- The pen is mightier than the sword ... if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.
- The disc, being flat, has no real horizon. Any adventurous sailor who got funny ideas from staring at eggs and oranges for too long and set out for the antipodes soon learned that the reason why distant ships sometimes looked as though they were disappearing over the edge of the world was that they were disappearing over the edge of the world.
- Of course I'm sane, when trees start talking to me, I don't talk back.
- Weems might have had a room-temperature IQ, but he knew idiocy when he saw it.
- Early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy, wealthy and dead.
- 'Dead?' said Rincewind, In the debating chamber of his mind a dozen emotions got to their feet and started shouting. Relief was in full spate when Shock cut in on a point of order and then Bewilderment, Terror and Loss started a fight which was ended only when Shame slunk in from next door to see what all the row was about.
- Darkness isn't the opposite of light, it is simply its absence.
- Ankh-Morpork! Pearl of cities! This is not a completely accurate description, of course — it was not round and shiny — but even its worst enemies would agree that if you had to liken Ankh-Morpork to anything, then it might as well be a piece of rubbish covered with the diseased secretions of a dying mollusc.
- The death of the warrior or the old man or the little child, this I understand, and I take away the pain and end the suffering. I do not understand this death-of-the-mind.
- Radiating from the book was the light that lies on the far side of darkness, the light fantastic.It was a rather disappointing purple colour.
Equal Rites (1987)
- It may, however, help to explain why Gandalf never got married and why Merlin was a man. Because this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author's control. They might.
- She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.
- "They're both magic. If you can't learn to ride an elephant, you can at least learn to ride a horse."
"What's an elephant?"
"A kind of badger."
- It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done.
- One reason for the bustle was that over large parts of the continent other people preferred to make money without working at all, and since the Disc had yet to develop a music recording industry they were forced to fall back on older, more traditional forms of banditry.
- It was a small village, and wouldn't have shown up on a map of the mountains. It barely showed up on a map of the village.
- "[...]Can't you read, Esk?"
The astonishment in his voice stung her.
"I expect so," she said defiantly. "I've never tried."
- This is the Death whose particular sphere of operations is, well, not a sphere at all, but the Discworld, which is flat and rides on the back of four giant elephants who stand on the shell of the enormous star turtle Great A'Tuin, and which is bounded by a waterfall that cascades endlessly into space.
Scientists have calculated that the chance of anything so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.
- What is your name?
'Uh,' said Mort. 'Mortimer...sir. They call me Mort.'
What a coincidence, said the skull.
- 'And he goes around killing people?' said Mort. He shook his head. 'There's no justice.'
Death sighed. No, he said, there's just me.
- He saw his life stretching out in front of him like a nasty black tunnel with no light at the end of it.
...He'd been wrong, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and it was a flamethrower.
- 'It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever' he said.
'Have you thought of going into teaching?'
- Knowledge = Power = Energy = Matter = Mass. A library is just a genteel black hole that can read
- Death was standing behind a lectern, poring over a map. He looked at Mort as if he wasn't entirely there.
You haven't heard of the Bay of Mante, have you? he said.
'No, sir,' said Mort.
Famous shipwreck there.
There will be, said Death, if I can find the damn place.
- His father regarded him critically.
"Very nice," he said, "for the money."
"It itches," said Mort, "I think there's things in here with me."
"There's thousands of lads in the world'd be very thankful for a nice warm — " Lezek paused, and gave up — "garment like that, my lad."
"I could share it with them?" Mort said hopefully.
- You don't see people at their best in this job, said Death.
- "Look, I'll be frank," he said. "I could point you in the direction of a great brothel."
"I've already had lunch," said Mort vaguely.
- "I've — we've got a special on Cutwell's Shield of Passion ointment," said the face, and winked in a startling fashion. "Provides your wild oats while guaranteeing a crop failure, if you know what I mean."
- (That was a cinematic trick adapted for print. Death wasn't talking to the princess. He was actually in his study, talking to Mort. But it was quite effective, wasn't it? It's probably called a fast dissolve, or a crosscut/zoom. Or something. An industry where the senior technician is called a Best Boy might call it anything.)
- History always has a few tricks up its frayed sleeve. It's been around a long time.
- Go away, Mort thought. His subconcious was worrying him. It appeared to have a direct line to parts of his body that he wanted to ignore at the moment.
- "Sodomy non sapiens," said Albert under his breath. "What does that mean?" "Means I'm buggered if I know."
- Although the scythe isn't pre-eminent among the weapons of war, anyone who has been on the wrong end of, say, a peasants' revolt will know that in skilled hands it is fearsome.
- The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles — kingons, or possibly queons — that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.
- Only one creature could have duplicated the expressions on their faces, and that would be a pigeon who has heard not only that Lord Nelson has got down off his column but has also been seen buying a 12-bore repeater and a box of cartridges.
- "My granny says that dying is like going to sleep," Mort added, a shade hopefully.I wouldn't know. I have done neither.
- "Pardon me for living, I'm sure."No one gets pardoned for living.
- "You're dead," he said. Keli waited. She couldn't think of any suitable reply. "I'm not" lacked a certain style, while "Is it serious?" seemed somehow too frivolous.
- The thing between Death's triumphant digits was a fly from the dawn of time. It was the fly in the primordial soup. It had bred on mammoth turds. It wasn't a fly that bangs on window panes, it was a fly that drills through walls.
- Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.
- I ushered souls into the next world. I was the grave of all hope. I was the ultimate reality. I was the assassin against whom no lock would hold."Yes, point taken, but do you have any particular skills?"
- Women's clothes were not a subject that preoccupied Cutwell much — in fact, usually when he thought about women his mental pictures seldom included any clothes at all — but the vision in front of him really did take his breath away.
- "You won't get away with this," said Cutwell. He thought for a bit and added, "Well, you will probably get away with it, but you'll feel bad about it on your deathbed and you'll wish — " He stopped talking.
- "What do people like to drink here, then?" The landlord looked sideways at his customers, a clever trick given that they were directly in front of him.
- "You like it?" he said to Mort, in pretty much the same tone of voice people used when they said to St George, "You killed a what?"
- 'And what would humans be without love?'
Rare, said Death.
- He sighed again. People were always trying this sort of thing. On the other hand, it was quite interesting to watch, and at least this was a bit more original than the usual symbolic chess game, which Death always dreaded because he could never remember how the knight was supposed to move.
- The vermine is a small black and white relative of the lemming, found in the cold Hublandish regions. Its skin is rare and highly valued, especially by the vermine itself; the selfish little bastard will do anything rather than let go of it.
- This was the type of thief that could steal the initiative, the moment and the words right out of your mouth.
- These weren't the normal city watch, cautious and genially corrupt. These were walking slabs of muscle and they were absolutely unbribable, if only because the Patrician could outbid anyone else.
- After that one thing sort of led to another and pretty soon everyone was fighting to get something — either away, out or even.
- He did of course sometimes have people horribly tortured to death, but this was considered to be perfectly acceptable behaviour for a civic ruler and generally approved of by the overhelming majority of citizens.†
†The overhelming majority of citizens being defined in this case as everyone not currently hanging upside down over a scorpion pit.
- It wasn't blood in general he couldn't stand the sight of, it was just his blood in particular that was so upsetting.
- Of course, Ankh-Morpork's citizens had always claimed that the river water was incredibly pure in any case. Any water that had passed through so many kidneys, they reasoned, had to be very pure indeed.
- 'My father always said that death is but a sleep,' said Conina.
'Yes, the hat told me that,' said Rincewind, as they turned down a narrow, crowded street between white adobe walls. 'But the way I see it, it's a lot harder to get up in the morning.'
- 'My father always said that it was pointless to undertake a direct attack against an enemy extensively armed with efficient projectile weapons,' she said.
Rincewind, who knew Cohen's normal method of speech, gave her a look of disbelief.
'Well, what he actually said,' she added, 'was never enter an arsekicking contest with a porcupine.'
- The Hashishim, who derived their name from the vast quantities of hashish they consumed, were unique among vicious killers in being both deadly and, at the same time, inclined to giggle, groove to interesting patterns of light and shade on their terrible knife blades and, in extreme cases, fall over.
- A popular spell at the time was Pelepel's Temporal Compressor, which on one occasion resulted in a race of giant reptiles being created, evolving, spreading, flourishing and then being destroyed in the space of about five minutes, leaving only its bones in the earth to mislead forthcoming generations completely.
- The truth isn't easily pinned to a page. In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap, and much more difficult to find...
- 'I don't trust this man,' said Nijel. 'I try not to judge from first impressions, but I definitely think he's up to no good.'
'He had you thrown in a snake pit!'
'Perhaps I should have taken the hint.'
- Wizards didn't kill ordinary people because a) they seldom noticed them and b) it wasn't considered sporting and c) besides, who'd do all the cooking and growing food and things. And killing a brother wizard with magic was nigh-well impossible on account of the layers of protective spells that any cautious wizard maintained about his person at all times.*
- * Of course, wizards often killed each other by ordinary, non-magical means, but this was perfectly allowable and death by assassination was considered natural causes for a wizard.
- Some people think this is paranoia, but it isn't. Paranoids only think everyone is out to get them. Wizards know it.
- 'I'm not going to ride on a magic carpet!' he hissed. 'I'm afraid of grounds!'
'You mean heights,' said Conina. 'And stop being silly.'
'I know what I mean! It's the grounds that kill you!'
- There was a respectful silence, as there always is when large sums of money have just passed away.
- Many people who had got to know Rincewind had come to treat him as a sort of two-legged miner's canary, and tended to assume that if Rincewind was still upright and not actually running then some hope remained.
- 'This is fun,' said Creosote. 'Me, robbing my own treasury. If I catch myself I can have myself flung into the snake pit.'
'But you could throw yourself on your mercy,' said Conina, running a paranoid eye over the dusty stonework.
'Oh, no. I think I would have to teach me a lesson, as an example to myself.'
- 'I can't hear anything,' said Nijel loudly. Nijel was one of those people who, if you say "don't look now", would immediately swivel his head like an owl on a turntable.
- Too much magic could wrap time and space around itself, and that wasn't good news for the kind of person who had grown used to things like effects following things like causes.
- They suffered from the terrible delusion that something could be done. They seemed prepared to make the world the way they wanted or die in the attempt, and the trouble with dying in the attempt was that you died in the attempt.
- 'Poor I don't mind,' said the Seriph. 'It's sobriety that is giving me difficulties.'
- Take it from me, there's nothing more terrible than someone out to do the world a favour.
- Wizards don't like philosophy very much. As far as they are concerned, one hand clapping makes a sound like 'cl'.
- 'Quick, you must come with me,' she said. 'You're in great danger!'
'Because I will kill you if you don't.'
- "I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that makes living worthwhile?" Death thought about it. Cats, he said finally. Cats are nice.
- The Luggage might be magical. It might be terrible. But in its enigmatic soul it was kin to every other piece of luggage throughout the multiverse, and preferred to spend its winters hibernating on top of a wardrobe.
- Rincewind stared into the frothy remnants of his last beer, and then, with extreme care in case the top of his head fell off, leaned down and poured some into a saucer for the Luggage. It was lurking under the table, which was a relief. It usually embarrassed him in bars by sidling up to drinkers and terrorizing them into feeding it crisps.
- The subject of wizards and sex is a complicated one, but as has already indicated it does, in essence, boil down to this: when it comes to wine, women and song, wizards are allowed to get drunk and croon as much as they like.
- How can the effect be described with delicacy and taste? For most of the wizards, it was like being an elderly man who, suddenly faced by a beautiful young woman, finds to his horror and delight and astonishment that the flesh is suddenly as willing as the spirit.
- And I didn't bother with chapter six, because I promised my mother I'd just stick with the looting and pillaging, until I find the right girl.
Wyrd Sisters (1989)
- A tiny sun and moon spin around them, on a complicated orbit to induce seasons, so probably nowhere else in the multiverse is it sometimes necessary for an elephant to cock a leg to allow the sun to go past.
Exactly why this should be may never be known. Possibly the Creator of the universe got bored with all the usual business of axial inclination, albedos and rotational velocities, and decided to have a bit of fun for once.
- No gods anywhere play chess. They prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve Transcendence but Go Straight to Oblivion; A key to the understanding of all religion is that a god's idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs.
- The calendar of the Theocracy of Muntab counts down, not up. No-one knows why, but it might not be a good idea to hang around and find out.
- It was dawning on him that the pleasures of the flesh were pretty sparse without the flesh. Suddenly life wasn't worth living. The fact that he wasn't living it didn't cheer him up at all.
- Granny Weatherwax didn't hold with looking at the future, but now she could feel the future looking at her. She didn't like its expression at all.
- If I'd had to buy you, you wouldn't be worth the price.
- The days followed one another patiently. Right back at the beginning of the multiverse they had tried all passing at the same time, and it hadn't worked.
- Demons were like genies or philosophy professors — if you didn't word things exactly right, they delighted in giving you absolutely accurate and completely misleading answers.
- Destiny was funny stuff, he knew. You couldn't trust it. Often you couldn't even see it. Just when you knew you had it cornered, it turned out to be something else — coincidence, maybe, or providence.
- This was real. This was more real even than reality. This was history. It might not be true, but that had nothing to do with it.
- This is Art holding a Mirror up to Life. That's why everything is exactly the wrong way round.
- Greebo's grin gradually faded, until there was nothing left but the cat. This was nearly as spooky as the other way round.
- "Actors," said Granny, witheringly. "As if the world weren't full of enough history without inventing more."
- The duke had a mind that ticked like a clock and, like a clock, it regularly went cuckoo.
- "There must be a hundred silver dollars in here," moaned Boggis, waving a purse. "I mean, that's not my league. That's not my class. I can't handle that sort of money. You've got to be in the Guild of Lawyers or something to steal that much."
- "I'd like to know if I could compare you to a summer's day. Because — well, June 12th was quite nice, and..."
- "'Tis not right, a woman going into such places by herself." Granny nodded. She thoroughly approved of such sentiments so long as there was, of course, no suggestion that they applied to her.
- Above the hearth was a huge pokerwork sign saying "Mother". No tyrant in the whole history of the world had ever achieved a domination so complete.
- "A man could go far, knowing his rights like you do," said Granny. "But right now he should go home."
- "I daresay," said Granny, pushing the Fool aside and stepping over a writhing taproot. "If anyone locked me in a dungeon, there'd be screams."
- "Yes, bugger all that." said Nanny. "Let's curse somebody."
- On nights such as these the gods, as has already been pointed out, play games other than chess with the fates of mortals and the thrones of kings. It is important to remember that they always cheat, right up to the end...
- The famous Battle of Morpork, he strongly suspected had consisted of about two thousand men lost in a swamp on a cold, wet day, hacking one another into oblivion with rusty swords. What would the last King of Ankh have said to a pack of ragged men who knew they were outnumbered, outflanked and outgeneralled? Something with bite, something with edge, something like a drink of brandy to a dying man; no logic, no explanation, just words that would reach right down through a tired man's brain and pull him to his feet by his testicles.
- All assassins had a full-length mirror in their rooms, because it would be a terrible insult to anyone to kill them when you were badly dressed.
- You scrimped and saved to send them to the best schools, and then they went and paid you back by getting educated.
- Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It's where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more.
- It was said that life was cheap in Ankh-Morpork. This was, of course, completely wrong. Life was often very expensive; you could get death for free.
- The king looked surprised.
"I understood that Death came as a three-headed giant scarab beetle," he said.
Death shrugged. Well. Now you know.
- It's not for nothing that advanced mathematics tends to be invented in hot countries. It's because of the morphic resonance of all the camels, who have that disdainful expression and famous curled lip as a natural result of an ability to do quadratic equations.
- The fact is that camels are far more intelligent than dolphins.*
- * Never trust a species that grins all the time. It's up to something.
- From here he could see past the long, low bulk of the palace and across the river to the Great Pyramid itself. It was almost hidden in dark clouds, but what he could see of it was definitely wrong. He knew it had four sides, and he could see all eight of them.
It seemed to be moving in and out of focus, which he felt instinctively was a dangerous thing for several million tons of rock to do.
- [...]human beings, little bags of thinking water held up briefly by fragile accumulations of calcium,[...]
- Camels gallop by throwing their feet as far away from them as possible and then running to keep up.
- Nature abhors dimensional abnormalities, and seals them neatly away so that they don't upset people. Nature, in fact, abhors a lot of things, including vacuums, ships called the "Marie Celeste", and the chuck keys for electric drills.
- Mere animals couldn't possibly manage to act like this. You need to be a human being to be really stupid.
- "I bid you already know." (Discworld philosophers)
- The Ephebians made wine out of anything they could put in a bucket, and ate anything that couldn't climb out of one.
- There was not a lot that could be done to make Morpork a worse place. A direct hit by a meteorite, for example, would count as gentrification.
- "Therefore I will have dinner sent in," said the priest. "It will be roast chicken." "I hate chicken." Dios smiled. "No sire. On Wednesdays the King always enjoys chicken, sire."
- She had a number of stoutly-held views on a variety of subjects, but most of them involved the flaying alive of people she disapproved of. This meant most people under the age of thirty-five, to start with.
- He [Ptaclusp] put his arms around his sons' shoulders.
"Lads", he said proudly. "It's looking really quantum"
- This is most irregular
We're sorry. It's not our fault.
How many of you are there?
More than 1300, I' afraid
Very well, then. Please form an orderly queue.
Guards! Guards! (1989)
- They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten mintues into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they want to.
This book is dedicated to those fine men.
- He couldn't help remembering how much he'd wanted a puppy when he was a little boy. Mind you, they'd been starving — anything with meat on it would have done.
- It was amazing, this mystic business. You tell them a lie, and then when you don't need it any more you tell them another lie and tell them they're progressing along the road to wisdom. Then instead of laughing they follow you even more, hoping that at the heart of all the lies they'll find the truth. And bit by bit they accept the unacceptable.
- The reason that clichés become clichés is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication.
- 'No one knows how to do officering, Fred. That's why they're officers. If they'd knew anything, they'd be sergeants.'
- 'Brother Doorkeeper?'
- 'What's the good of not wanting to be poor if the rich are allowed to go round livin' in ordinary rooms?'
- 'You don't get big houses and carriages without grindin' the faces of the poor a bit.'
- 'Those are the royal hippos of Ankh,' said the man proudly. 'Reminders of our noble heritage.'
- He looked up at the hooded figure beside him. 'We never intended this,' he said weakly. 'Honestly. No offence. We just wanted what was due to us.' A skeletal hand patted him on the shoulder, not unkindly. And Death said,
- People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."
- The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the date last shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality
- "... a number of offences of murder by means of a blunt instrument, to whit, a dragon, and many further offences of generalized abetting ..."
- "Have another drink, not-Corporal Nobby?" said Sergeant Colon unsteadily. "I do not mind if I do, not-Sgt Colon," said Nobby.
- "'E's fighting in there!" he stuttered, grabbing the captain's arm. "All by himself?" said the captain. "No, with everyone!" shouted Nobby, hopping from one foot to the other.
- [Captain Vimes addresses a band of rioters] This is Lord Mountjoy Quickfang Winterforth IV, the hottest dragon in the city. It could burn your head clean off.
- There was a thoughtful pause in the conversation as the assembled Brethren mentally divided the universe into the deserving and the undeserving, and put themselves on the appropriate side.
- All dwarfs have beards and wear up to twelve layers of clothing. Gender is more or less optional.
- All dwarfs are by nature dutiful, serious, literate, obedient and thoughtful people whose only minor failing is a tendency, after one drink, to rush at enemies screaming "Arrrrrrgh!" and axing their legs off at the knee.
- He nodded to the troll which was employed by the Drum as a splatter [footnote: Like a bouncer, but trolls use more force].
- It was possibly the most circumspect advance in the history of military manoeuvres, right down at the bottom end of the scale that things like the Charge of the Light Brigade are at the top of.
- Lady Ramkin's bosom rose and fell like an empire.
- It's a metaphor of human bloody existence, a dragon. And if that wasn't bad enough, it's also a bloody great hot flying thing.
- A number of religions in Ankh-Morpork still practiced human sacrifice, except that they didn't really need to practice any more because they had got so good at it.
- Thunder rolled. ... It rolled a six.
- Right, you bastards, you're... you're geography
- The significant owl hoots in the night.
- A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read
Faust Eric (1990)
- Just erotic, nothing kinky. It's the difference between using a feather and using a chicken.
- "I thought you were stuffed", said Rincewind.
[The parrot] "Up yours!"
- When he was left alone he wandered over to the lectern and looked at the book. The title, in impressively flickering red letters, was Mallificarum Sumpta Diabolicite Occularis Singularum, the Book of Ultimate Control. He knew about it. There was a copy in the Library somewhere, although wizards never bothered with it.
This might seem odd, because if there is one thing a wizard would trade his grandfather for, it is power. But it wasn't all that strange, because any wizard bright enough to survive for five minutes was also bright enough to realise that if there was any power in demonology, then it lay with the demons. Using it for your own purposes would be like trying to beat mice to death with a rattlesnake.
- The librarian was, ex officio, a member of the college council. No-one had been able to find any rule about orang-utans being barred, although they had surreptiously looked very hard for one.
- 'They never give him any of the things a sensitive growing wossname really needs, if you was to ask me.'
'What, you mean love and guidance?' said Rincewind.
'I was thinking of a bloody good wossname, thrashing.' said the parrot.
- Demons have existed on the Discworld for at least as long as the gods, who in many ways they closely resemble. The difference is basically the same as that between terrorists and freedom fighters.
- Interestingly enough, the gods of the Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that's where they think they deserve to go. Which they won't do if they don't know about it. This explains why it is important to shoot missionaries on sight.
- Astfgl had achieved in Hell a particularly high brand of boredom which is like the boredom you get which is a) costing you money, and b) is taking place while you should be having a nice time.
- 'According to Ephebian mythology, there's a girl who comes down here every winter.'
'To keep warm?'
'I think the story says she actually creates the winter, sort of.'
'I've known women like that,' said Rincewind, nodding wisely.
- 'Multiple exclamation marks,' he went on, shaking his head, 'are a sure sign of a diseased mind.'
Moving Pictures (1990)
- A crude hut of driftwood had been built on the long curve of the beach, although describing it as 'built' was a slander on skilled crude hut builders throughout the ages; if the sea had simply been left to pile the wood up it might have done a better job.
- The senior wizard in a world of magic had the same prospects of long-term employment as a pogo stick tester in a minefield.
- The Archchancellor's most important job, as the Bursar saw it, was to sign things, preferably, from the Bursar's point of view, without reading them first.
- What the Bursar failed to consider was that no more bangs doesn't mean they've stopped doing it, whatever it is. It just means they're doing it right.
- Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleaning, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact.
- No-one with their sleeves rolled up who walks purposefully with a piece of paper held conspicuously in their hand is ever challenged.
- He'd looked at its ramshackle organisation, such as it was, with the eye of a lifelong salesman. There seemed nowhere in it for him, but this wasn't a problem. There was always room at the top.
- 'She hwas dusting,' said Mrs Whitlow, helpfully. When Mrs Whitlow was in the grip of acute class consciousness she could create aitches where nature never intended them to be.
- Probably only one person in the world had been interested in whether the old man lived or died, and he'd been the first to know.
- Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.
- The Wahooni Fruit grows only in certain parts of heathen Howondaland. It's twenty feet long, covered in spikes the colour of ear wax, and smells like an anteater that's eaten a very bad ant.
Reaper Man (1991)
- One said, That is the point. The word is him. Becoming a personality is inefficient. We don't want it to spread. Supposing gravity developed a personality? Supposing it decided to like people?
One said, Got a crush on them, sort of thing?
- 'It's not old Windle. Old Windle was a lot older!'
'Older? Older than dead?'
- The Archchancellor was the first one to recover.
'Windle!' he said. 'We thought you were dead!'
He had to admit that it wasn't a very good line. You didn't put people on a slab with candles and lilies all round them because you think they have a bit of a headache and want a nice lie down for half an hour.
- Was that justice? Was that a proper reward for being a firm believer in reincarnation for almost 130 years? You come back as a corpse?*
- * No wonder the undead were traditionally considered to be very angry.
- Intellectually, Ridcully maintained his position for two reasons. One was that he never, ever, changed his mind about anything. The other was that it took him several minutes to understand any new idea put to him, and this is a very valuable trait in a leader, because anything anyone is still trying to explain to you after two minutes is probably important and anything they give up after a mere minute or so is almost certainly something they shouldn't have been bothering you with in the first place.
- Ridcully was simple-minded. This doesn't mean stupid. It just means that he could only think properly about things if he cut away all the complicated bits around the edges.
- No naked little men sat on the summit dispensing wisdom, because the first thing the truly wise man works out is that sitting around on mountaintops gives you not only haemorrhoids but frostbitten haemorrhoids.
- "My name's Miss Flitworth."
"I expect you have a name too," she prompted.
Yes. That's right.
She waited again.
"What is your name?"
The stranger stared at her for a moment, the looked around wildly.
"Come on," said Miss Flitworth. I ain't employing no one without no name. Mr...?"
The figure stared upward.
"No one's called Mr. Sky."
"Could be. Could be Mr. Door. There was a chap called Doors I knew once. Yea. Mr. Door. And your first name? Don't tell me you haven't got one of those too. You've got to be a Bill or a Tom or a Bruce or one of those names."
One of those.
Er. The first one?
"You're a Bill?"
Miss Flitworth rolled her eyes.
"All right, Bill Sky..." she said.
"Yeah. Sorry. All right, Bill Door..."
Call me Bill.
- Drop the scythe, and turn around slowly!
- What can the harvest hope for, if not for the care of the Reaper Man?
- A crown? I never wore a crown!
'You never wanted to rule.'
- Windle shook his head sadly. Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
- Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
- Because you're all you've got, said Death.
'What? Oh. Yes. That as well. It's a great big cold universe out there.'
You'd be amazed.
'One lifetime just isn't enough.'
Oh, I don't know.
That was your life.
And, with great relief, and general optimism, and a feeling that on the whole everything could have been much worse, Windle Poons died.
Witches Abroad (1991)
- 'Tell me,' said Magrat, 'you said your mummy knows about the big bad wolf in the woods, didn't you?'
'But nonetheless she sent you out by yourself to take those goodies to your granny?'
- All witches are very conscious of stories. They can feel stories, in the same way that a bather in a little pool can feel the unexpected trout. Knowing how stories work is almost all the battle. For example, when an obvious innocent sits down with three experienced card sharpers and says 'How do you play this game, then?', someone is about to be shaken down until their teeth fall out.
- She heard Nanny say: 'Beats me why they're always putting invisible runes on their doors. I mean, you pays some wizard to put invisible runes on your door, and how do you know you've got value for money?'
She heard Granny say: 'No problem there. If you can't see 'em, you know you've got proper invisible runes.'
- Granny Weatherwax didn't like maps. She felt instinctively that they sold the landscape short.
- Asking someone to repeat a phrase you'd not only heard very clearly but were also exceedingly angry about was around Defcon II in the lexicon of squabble.
- You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it's just a cage.
- The Yen Buddhists are the richest religious sect in the universe. They hold that the accumulation of money is a great evil and a burden to the soul. They therefore, regardless of personal hazard, see it as their unpleasant duty to acquire as much as possible in order to reduce the risk to innocent people.
- "We've got a lot of experience of not having any experience"
"But the point is... the point is... the point is we've not been experienced for a lot longer than you."
- The only way housework could be done in this place was with a shovel or, for preference, a match.
- People didn't hit you over the head with farmhouses back home.
- Racism was not a problem on the Discworld, because — what with trolls and dwarfs and so on — speciesism was more interesting. Black and white lived in perfect harmony and ganged up on green.
- Nanny Ogg quite liked cooking, provided there were other people around to do things like chop up the vegetables and wash the dishes afterwards.
- "Emberella," thought Magrat. "I'm fairy godmothering a girl who sounds like something you put up in the rain."
- Magrat was annoyed. She was also frightened, which made her even more annoyed. It was hard for people when Magrat was annoyed. It was like being attacked by damp tissue.
- Nanny Ogg looked him up and down or, at least, down and further down. "You're a dwarf," she said.
- "'S called the Vieux River."
"Know what that means?"
"The Old (Masculine) River," said Nanny.
"Words have sex in foreign parts," said Nanny hopefully.
- Bad spelling can be lethal. For example, the greedy Seriph of Al-Ybi was cursed by a badly-educated deity and for some days everything he touched turned to Glod, which happened to be the name of a small dwarf from a mountain community hundreds of miles away who found himself magically dragged to the kingdom and relentlessly duplicated. Some two thousand Glods later the spell wore off. These days, the people of Al-Ybi are renowned for being remarkably short and bad-tempered.
- Greebo's technique was unscientific and wouldn't have stood a chance against any decent swordmanship, but on his side was the fact that it is almost impossible to develop decent swordmanship when you seem to have run into a food mixer that is biting your ear off.
- Genua had once controlled the river mouth and taxed its traffic in a way that couldn't be called piracy because it was done by the city government.
- "Baths is unhygienic," Granny declared. "You know I've never agreed with baths. Sittin' around in your own dirt like that."
- "Listen, happy endings is fine if they turn out happy," said Granny, glaring at the sky. "But you can't make 'em for other people. Like the only way you could make a happy marriage is by cuttin' their heads off as soon as they say "I do", yes? You can't make happiness..."
Small Gods (1992)
- Time is like a drug. Too much of it kills you.
- 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.
- Words are the litmus paper of the minds. 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.
- Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum.
[Translated: "When you have a good grip on their balls, their hearts and minds will follow"]
- When the least they could do to you was everything, then the most they could do to you suddenly held no terror.
- 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, in 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.
- Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off.
- One day a tortoise will learn how to fly.
- Vorbis was the head of the Quisition, whose job it was to do all those things that needed to be done and which other people would rather not do.
- You do not ask people like that what they are thinking about in case they turn around very slowly and say 'You.'
- Tortoise: 'How many talking tortoises have you met?'
Brutha: 'I don't know.'
Tortoise: 'What d'you mean, you don't know?'
Brutha: 'Well, they might all talk. They just might not say anything when I'm there.'
- 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.
- 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 ploughman like your father?'
- 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.
- I swear to me that I am the Great God Om, greatest of gods!
- Most gods find it hard to walk and think at the same time.
- It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong... 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.
- Gods don't like people not doing much work. People who aren't busy all the time might start to think.
- Pets are always a great help in times of stress. And in times of starvation too, o'course.
- Or, to put it another way, the existence of a badly put-together watch proved the existence of a blind watchmaker.
- 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.
- 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.
- 'That's right,' he said. 'We're philosophers. We think, therefore we am.'
- 'We get that in here some nights, when someone's had a few. Cosmic speculation about whether the gods 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.'
- Because what gods need is belief, and what human want is gods.
- 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.
- 'The God speaks to a chosen one and he becomes a great prophet,' said Nhumrod. 'Now, I am sure you wouldn't presume to consider yourself one of them? Mmm?'
- 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
- 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.
- The Omnians were a God-fearing people. They had a great deal to fear.
- 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 have to kill them before they saw the error of their ways.
- 'Did not the Great God declare, through the Prophet Abbys, that there is no greater and more honourable 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 in to the eyes of someone who wished him dead.
- 'Yes, but humans are more important than animals,' said Brutha.
'This is a point of view often expressed by humans,' said Om.
- '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.'
- 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 ordinary philosopher in the streets looking for 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
- '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 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.'
- Do unto others before they do unto you.
- Bishops move diagonally. That's why they often turn up where the kings don't expect them to be.
- His philosophy was a mixture of three famous school — the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans — and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink. Mine's double, if you are buying. Thank you. And a packet of nuts. Her left bosom is nearly uncovered, eh? Two more packets, then!'
- 'Now we've got a truth to die for!'
'No. Men should die for lies. But the truth is too precious to die for'
- "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."
- The trouble with being a god is tha't you've got no one to pray to.
- "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."
- "It's a god-eat-god world."
- "You can't trample infidels when you're a tortoise. I mean, all you could do is give them a meaningful look."
- Dhblah sidled closer. This was not hard. Dhblah sidled everywhere. Crabs thought he walked sideways.
- History, contrary to popular theories, is kings and dates and battles.
- And it came to pass that in time the Great God Om spake unto Brutha, the Chosen One: "Psst!"
- 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.
- "There's very good eating on one of these, you know."- [Eyeing the tortoise for tea.]
- The labyrinth of Ephebe is ancient and full of one hundred and one amazing things you can do with hidden springs, razor-sharp knives, and falling rocks.
- "Ah. Philosophy," said Om.
- "Not a man to mince words. People, yes. But not words."
- Squeak.- The Death of Rats
- "Eureka," he said. "Going to have a bath then?"
- "Are you a philosopher? Where's your sponge?"
- Remind me again, he said, How the little horse-shaped ones move.
- "Go on, do Deformed Rabbit... it's my favourite."
- "Oh, a very useful philosophical animal, your average tortoise. Outrunning metaphorical arrows, beating hares in races... very handy."
- The people who really run organizations are usually found several levels down, where it is still possible to get things done.
- Guilt was the grease in which the wheels of the authority turned.
- "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.
- "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."
- "He says gods like to see an atheist around. Gives them something to aim at."
- "You're not one of us."
"I don't think I'm one of them, either," said Brutha. "I'm one of mine."
- Simony's eyes gleamed with the gleam of a man who had seen the future and found it covered with armour plating.
- "All holy piety in public, and all peeled grapes and self-indulgence in private."
- 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.
- "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 all because dozens of other poor buggers are doing all the real work around the place."
- "Why do you bother with him? He's had thousands of people killed!"
"Yes, but perhaps he thought that you wanted it."
- 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).
- The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish.
- "He's muffed it," said Simony. "he could have done anything with them. And he just told them the facts. You can't inspire people with facts. They need a cause. They need a symbol."
- "You can't find a hermit to teach you herming, because of course that rather spoils the whole thing."
- Om began to feel the acute depression that steals over every realist in the presence of an optimist.
- "All the other prophets came back with commandments!"
"Where they get them?"
"I ... suppose they made them up."
"You get them from the same place."
- Brutha tried to nod, and thought: I'm on everyone's side. It'd be nice if, just for once, someone was on mine.
- 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.
- Give anyone a lever long enough and they can change the world. It's unreliable levers that are the problem.
- You have perhaps heard the phrase that hell is other people? "Yes. Yes, of course." Death nodded. In time, he said, You will learn that this is wrong.
- "I used to think that I was stupid, and then I met philosophers."
- "I like the idea of democracy. You have to have someone everyone distrusts," said Brutha. "That way, everyone's happy."
- "But Vorbis died a hundred years ago!"
Yes. He had to walk it all alone. All alone with himself. If he dared.
"He's been here for a hundred years?"
Possibly not. Time is different here. It is ... more personal.
"Ah. You mean a hundred years can pass like a few seconds?"
A hundred years can pass like infinity.
The black-on-black eyes stared imploringly at Brutha, who reached out automatically, without thinking…and then hesitated.
He was a murderer, said Death. And a creator of murderers. A torturer. Without passion. Cruel. Callous. Compassionless.
"Yes. I know. He's Vorbis," said Brutha. Vorbis changed people. Sometimes he changed them into dead people. But he always changed them. That was his triumph.
"But I'm me," he said.
Vorbis stood up, uncertainly, and followed Brutha across the desert.
Lords and Ladies (1992)
- 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.
- 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.
- Mustrum Ridcully did a lot for rare species. For one thing, he kept them rare.
- Using metaphor in front of a man as unimaginative as Ridcully was like a red flag to a bu — was like putting something very annoying in front of someone who was annoyed by it.
- 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.
- 'But all them things exist,' said Nanny Ogg.
'That's no call to go around believing in them. It only encourages 'em.'
- '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!'
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dwarfs are generally scared of heights, since they don't often have the opportunity to get used to them.
- Magrat says a broomstick is one of them sexual metaphor things.†
- † Although this is a phallusy.
- 'It's certain death anyway,' said Ridcully. 'That's the thing about Death, certainty.'
- 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
- Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. 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 meaning 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.
Men at Arms (1993)
- He could think in italics. Such people need watching.
Preferably from a safe distance.
- 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.
- The Ramkins were more highly bred than a hilltop bakery, whereas Corporal Nobbs had been disqualified from the human race for shoving.
- 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 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!'
- 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.
- 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.
- Dwarfs and trolls get along like a house on fire ... Ever been in a burning house, miss?
- Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.
- If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you 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 are 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.
Soul Music (1994)
- 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.
- 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.
- Susan hated Literature. She'd much prefer to read a good book.
- The school encouraged fresh air, it was available in large amounts for free.
- 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.
- Imp hesitated, as people do when, after having used a language all their lives, they're told to 'say something'.
- 'We'll practise as we go along,' said Glod. 'Welcome to the world of professional musicianship.'
- Susan looked at the mess sizzling in the huge frying-pan. It wasn't a sight to be seen on an empty stomach, although it could probably cause one.
- 'You're a musician, ain't you?' said Glod. 'What do you think you do?'
'I hits 'em with de hammers,' said Lias, one of nature's drummers.
- 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.
- It was eight in the morning, a time when drinkers are trying either to forget who they are or to remember where they live.
- 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.
- '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.
- 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.
- Bee There Orr Bee A Rectangular Thyng
- Live Fats and die Yognu
- I'm mean and turf and I'm mean and turf and
I'm mean and turf and I'm mean and turf.
Me and my friends will walk towards you
With our hats on backwards in a menacing way.
Interesting Times (1994)
- There is a curse. They say: may you live in interesting times.
- Assassination was meat and drink to the Hunghung court; in fact, meat and drink were often the means.
- 'I reckon it was some kind of firework. They're very big on fireworks here.'
'You mean the sort of things where you light the blue touch paper and stick it up your nose?'†
- † KIDS! Only very silly wizards with bad sinus trouble do this. Sensible people go off to a roped-off enclosure where they can watch a heavily protected man, in the middle distance, light (with the aid of a very long pole) something that goes 'fsst'. And then they can shout 'Hooray'.
- 'It's just that his memory's bad. We had a bit of trouble on the way over. I keep telling him, it's rape the women and set fire to the houses.'
'Rape?' said Rincewind. 'That's not very — '
'He's eighty-seven,' said Cohen. 'Don't go and spoil an old man's dreams.'
- Probably the last sound heard before the Universe folded up like a paper hat would be someone saying, 'What happens if I do this?'
- '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.
- With him here, even uncertaincy is uncertain. And I'm not sure even about that.
- What is so surprising about bacon?
'I don't know. I suppose it comes as something of a shock to the pig.'
- '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.'
- 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.
- Nanny also recalled her as being rather thoughtful and shy, as if trying to reduce the amount of world she took up.
- 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 9 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.
- Ahahahahaha! Ahahahaha! Aahahaha!
The Opera Ghost
- "What sort of person," said Salzella patiently, "sits down and writes a maniacal laugh? And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head. Opera can do that to a man."
- His progress through life was hampered by his tremendous sense of his own ignorance, a disability which affects all too few people.
- 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.
- 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]
- 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.
- People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were the kind of people who didn't need people
- "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..."
- "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, really."
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- She'd even given herself a middle initial - X - which stood for "someone who has a cool and exciting middle name".
- Most people in Lancre, as the saying goes, went to bed with the chickens and got up with the cows. [footnote: 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.]-
- "...my father is the Emperor of Klatch and my mother is a small tray of raspberry puddings."- [Agnes tells Christine after realising she isn't listening]
- "There have been...accidents."
"What kind of accidents?"
"The kind of accidents you prefer to call...accidents."
- "But I don't believe in reincarnation!" he protested.
And this, Mr Pounder understood with absolute rodent clarity, meant: Reincarnation believes in you.
- 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.
- No male had ever touched Agnes before, except perhaps to push her over and steal her sweets.
- 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.
- Nanny could get a statue to cry on her shoulder and say what it really thought about pigeons.
- Greebo could, in fact, commit sexual harrassment simply by sitting very quietly in the next room.
- It is the fate of all banisters worth sliding down that there is something nasty waiting at the far end.
Feet of Clay (1996)
- I am Death, not taxes. I turn up only once.
- And, while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions.
- It is traditionally the belief of policemen that they can tell what a substance is by sniffing it and then gingerly tasting it, but this practice had ceased in the Watch ever since Constable Flint had dipped his finger into a blackmarket consignment of ammonium chloride cut with radium, said "Yes, this is definitely slab wurble wurble sclup," and had to spend three days tied to his bed until the spiders went away.
- 'You listen to me,' hissed Vimes. 'I mix with crooks and thieves and thugs all day and that doesn't worry me at all but after two minutes with you I need a bath. And if I find that damn golem I'll shake its damn hand, you hear me?'
- 'We can rebuild him,' said Carrot, hoarsely. 'We have the pottery.'
- Today is a good day for someone else to die!
- Dwarfish warcry
- 'I Suggest You Take Me And Smash Me And Grind The Bits Into Fragments And Pound The Fragments Into Powder And Mill Them Again To The Finest Dust There Can Be, And I Believe You Will Not Find A Single Atom Of Life-' 'True! Let's do it!' 'However, In Order To Test This Fully, One Of You Must Volunteer To Undergo The Same Process.' There was silence. 'That's not fair,' said a priest, after a while. 'All anyone has to do is bake up your dust again and you'll be alive...' There was more silence.
- The Community Co-ordinator of Equal Heights for Dwarfs was demanding that dwarfs in the Watch be allowed to carry an axe rather than the traditional sword, and should be sent to investigate only those crimes committed by tall people.
- 'There's not a lot you can say about mining. "I mine in my mine and what's mine is mine,"' said Cheery in a singsong voice.
- 'He screamed a lot, Vimes. In a heart-rending fashion, I am told. And I gather he uttered a number of threats against you, for some reason.' 'I shall try to fit him into my busy schedule, sir.'
- 'No it's not! said Constable Visit. 'Atheism is a denial of a god.' 'Therefore It Is A Religious Position,' said Dorfl. 'Indeed, A True Atheist Thinks Of The Gods Constantly, Albeit In Terms of Denial. Therefore, Atheism Is A Form Of Belief. If The Atheist Truly Did Not Believe, He Or She Would Not Bother To Deny.'
- 'What are your duties?' said Vimes. 'To Serve The Public Trust, Protect The Innocent, And Seriously Prod Buttock, Sir,' said Dorfl.
- 'You Say To People "Throw Off Your Chains" And They Make New Chains For Themselves?' 'Seems to be a major human activity, yes.' Dorfl rumbled as he thought about this. 'Yes,' he said eventually. 'I Can See Why. Freedom Is Like Having The Top Of Your Head Opened Up.' 'I'll have to take your word for that, Constable.'
- He hated the very idea of the world being divided into the shaved and the shavers. Or those who wore the shiny boots and those who cleaned the mud off them. Every time he saw Willikins the butler fold his, Vimes's, clothes, he suppressed a terrible urge to kick the butler's shiny backside as an affront to the dignity of man.
- It was hard enough to kill a vampire. You could stake them down and turn them into dust and ten years later someone drops a drop of blood in the wrong place and guess who's back? They returned more times than raw broccoli.
- Rumor is information distilled so finely that it can filter through anything. It does not need doors and windows — sometimes it does not need people. It can exist free and wild, running from ear to ear without ever touching lips
- Slab: Jus' say "AarrghaarrghpleeassennononoUGH"- [Detritus' war on drugs]
- There were no public health laws in Ankh-Morpork. It would be like installing smoke detectors in Hell.
- "Just because someone's a member of an ethnic minority doesn't mean they're not a nasty small-minded little jerk ..."
- You never ever volunteered. Not even if a sergant stood there and said, "We need someone to drink alcohol, bottles of, and make love, passionate, to women, for the use of." There was always a snag. If a choir of angels asked for volunteers for Paradise to step forward, Nobby knew enough to take one smart pace to the rear.
- In all, I've had seventeen demands for your badge. Some want parts of your body attached. Why did you have to upset everybody?- Lord Vetinari reproves Vimes.
- It was Carrot who'd suggested to the Patrician that hardened criminals should be given the chance to "serve the community" by redecorating the homes of the elderly, lending a new terror to old age and, given Ankh-Morpork's crime rate, leading to at least one old lady having her front room wallpapered so many times in six months that now she could only get in sideways.
- What a mess the world was in, reflected Vimes. Constable Visit had told him that the meek would inherit it, and what had the poor devils done to deserve that?
- WORDS IN THE HEART CANNOT BE TAKEN -Dorfl
- 'And there's the sign, Ridcully,' said the Dean. You have read it, I assume. You know? The sign which says "Do not, under any circumstances, open this door"?'
'Of course I've read it,' said Ridcully. 'Why d'yer think I want it opened?'
'Er...why?' said the Lecturer in Recent Runes.
'To see why they wanted it shut, of course.'†
- † This exchange contains almost all you need to know about human civilisation. At least, those bits of it that are now under the sea, fenced off or still smoking.
- Downey stood up with some relief and walked over to his large drinks cabinet. His hand hovered over the Guild's ancient and valuable tantalus, with its labelled decanters of Mur, Nig, Trop and Yksihw.†
- † It's a sad and terrible thing that high-born folk really have thought that the servants would be fooled if spirits were put into decanters that were cunningly labelled backwards. And also throughout history the more politically conscious butler has taken it on trust, and with rather more justification, that his employers will not notice if the whisky is topped up with eniru.
- Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.
- She'd become a governess. It was one of the few jobs a known lady could do. And she'd taken to it well. She'd sworn that if she did indeed ever find herself dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she'd beat herself to death with her own umbrella.
- 'You can't give her that!' she screamed. 'It's not safe!'
It's a sword. said the Hogfather. They're not meant to be safe.
'She's a child!' shouted Crumley.
'What if she cuts herself?'
That will be an important lesson.
- 'I...think my name is Bilious. I'm the...I'm the Oh God of Hangovers.'
'There's a God of Hangovers?'
'An oh god,' he corrected. 'When people witness me, you see, they clutch their head and say "Oh God..." How many of you are standing here?'
- 'So mistletoe, in fact, symbolises mistletoe?'
'Exactly, Archchancellor,' said the Senior Wrangler, who was now just hanging on.
'Funny thing, that,' said Ridcully, in the same thoughtful tone of voice. 'That statement is either so deep it would take a lifetime to fully comprehend every particle of its meaning, or it is a load of absolute tosh. Which is it, I wonder?'
'It could be both,' said the Senior Wrangler desperately.
'And that comment,' said Ridcully, 'is either very perceptive, or very trite.'
'It might be bo — '
'Don't push it, Senior Wrangler.'
- It's the expression on their little faces I like, said the Hogfather.
'You mean the sort of fear and awe and not knowing whether to laugh or cry or wet their pants?'
Yes. Now that is what I call belief.
- Then the Dean repeated the mantra that has had such a marked effect on the progress of knowledge through the ages.
'Why don't we just mix up absolutely everything and see what happens?' he said.
And Ridcully responded with the traditional response.
'It's got to be worth a try,' he said.
- 'I remember my father tellin' me some valuable advice about drinks,' said Ridcully. 'He said, "Son, never drink any drink with a paper umbrella in it, never drink any drink with a humorous name, and never drink any drink that changes colour when the last ingredient goes in. And never, ever, do this — "'
He dipped his finger into the beaker.
- While evidence says that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, they're probably all on first steps.
- Many people are aware of the weak and strong anthropic principle. The weak one says, basically, that is was jolly amazing of the universe to be constructed in such a way that humans could evolve to a point where they make a living in, for example, universities, while the strong one says that, on the contrary, the whole point of the universe was that humans should not only work in universities but also write for huge sums books with words like 'Cosmic' and 'Chaos' in the titles.†
- † And they are correct. The universe clearly operates for the benefit of humanity. This can be readily seen from the way the sun comes up in the morning, when people are ready to start the day.
- Why are your hands on bits of string, child?
The child looked down the length of its arms to the dangling mittens affixed to its sleeves. It held them up for inspection.
"Glubs," said the bobble hat.
I see. Very practical.
"Are you weal?" said the bobble hat.
What do you think?
The bobble hat sniggered. "I saw your piggie do a wee!" it said, and implicit in the tone was the suggestion that this was unlikely to be dethroned as the most enthralling thing the bobble hat had ever seen.
Oh. Er ... good.
"It had a gwate big — "
What do you want for Hogswatch? said the Hogfather hurriedly.
- You may as well know this. Down in the deepest kingdom of the sea, where there is no light, there lives a type of creature with no brain, no eyes and no mouth. It does nothing but live and put forth petals of perfect crimson where none are there to see. It is nothing except a tiny yes in the night. And yet... it has enemies that bear it a vicious, unbending malice, who wish not only for its tiny life to be over but also that it had never existed. Are you with me so far?
"Well, yes, but — "
Good, now, imagine what they think of humanity.
- "All right," said Susan, "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need ... fantasies to make life bearable."
No. Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meet the rising ape.
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers?"
Yes. As practice. You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
"So we can believe the big ones?"
Yes. Justice. Duty. Mercy. That sort of thing.
"They're not the same at all!"
Really? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet you act, like there was some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged:
"Yes. But people have got to believe that or what's the point?"
My point exactly.
- "Are those real mountains or some kind of shadows?"
- There are those who believe that knowledge can only be recalled, that there was some Golden Age in the distant past when everything was known and the stones fitted together so you could hardly put a knife between them, you know, and it's obvious they had flying machines, right, because of the way the earthworks can only be seen from above, yeah? and there's this museum I read about where they found a pocket calculator under the altar of this ancient temple, you know what I'm saying? but the government hushed it up ...†
- † It's amazing how good governments are, given their track record in almost every other field, at hushing up things like alien encounters. One reason may be that the aliens themselves are too embarrassed to talk about it. It's not known why most of the space-going races of the universe want to undertake rummaging in Earthling underwear as a prelude to formal contact. But representatives of several hundred races have taken to hanging out, unsuspected by one another, in rural corners of the planet and, as a result of this, keep on abducting other would-be abductees. Some have been in fact abducted while waiting to carry out an abduction on a couple of other aliens trying to abduct the aliens who were, as a result of misunderstood instructions, trying to form cattle into circles and mutilate crops. The planet Earth is now banned to an alien races until they can compare notes and find out how many, if any, real humans they have actually got. It is gloomily suspected that there is only one who is big, hairy and has very large feet. The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.
- 'So Hex here has caught daftness off the Bursar,' said Ridcully. 'Simple. Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.'
- Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.
- Solid Jackson, a parody of the real world "Give a man a fish..." proverb.
- Gentlemen, no fighting please. This is, after all, a council of war.
- An allusion to Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.
- Lord Vetinari sounded like a man straining to see a light at the end of the tunnel. ... It had turned out that the end of the tunnel was on fire.
- I know no-one ever locked their houses down our street. ... It was 'cos the bastards even used to steal the locks.
- For the serious empire-builder there was no such thing as a final frontier.
- Putting up a statue to someone who tried to stop a war is not very, um, statuesque. Of course, if you had butchered five hundred of your own men out of arrogant carelessness, we'd be melting the bronze already.
- The intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it.
- After all, when you seek advice from someone it's certainly not because you want them to give it. You just want them to be there while you talk to yourself.
- Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum amount of moo.
- And then Corporal Littlebottom had pointed out that Ankh-Morpork's pigeons were, because of many centuries of depredation by the city's gargoyle population, considerably more intelligent than most pigeons, although Vimes considered that this was not difficult because there were things growing on old damp bread that were more intelligent than most pigeons.
- I do like negotiating with people after the Unseen University have entertained them to lunch. The tend not to move around as much and they'll agree to practically anything if they think there's a chance of a stomach powder and a small glass of water.
- There may be a lot of things I'm not good at, thought Vimes, but at least I don't treat the punctuation of a sentence like a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey...
- "Captain Carrot is an honest young man, Vimes."
"And did you know that he winces when he hears you tell a direct lie?"
"Really, sir?" damn.
- "One of the advantages of horses that people sometimes point out," said Vetinari, after some thought, "is that they very seldom explode. Almost never, in my experience, apart from that unfortunate occurence in the hot summer a few years ago."
- "Captain, I expect that if you'd done it in a cellar at midnight his lordship would have said 'wasn't it rather dark down there?' next morning."
- It was still a mystery, but he'd solve it, he knew he would. He'd assemble the facts, analyze them, look at them from every angle with an open mind, and find out exactly how Lord Rust had organized it.
- D'reg wasn't their name for themselves, although they tended to adopt it now out of pride. The word meant enemy. Everyone's.
- Sargeant: "They're... D'regs, sir!"
Officer: "No. D'regs would be charging, sergeant."
Carrot: "Oh, sorry. Shall I tell them to charge? Is that what you prefer?"
- He was in the immediate company of a man even the Assassin's Guild was frightened of, another man who would stay up all night in order to invent an alarm clock to wake him up in the morning, and a man who had never knowingly changed his underwear.
- Ye gods, no! My mother is a D'reg! She'd be terribly offended if I trusted her. She'd say she hadn't brought me up right.
- It is always useful to have an enemy who is prepared to die for his country, this means that both you and he have exactly the same aim in mind.
- 'Chapter Fifteen, Elementary Necromancy', she read out loud. 'Lesson One: Correct Use of Shovel…
- It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
- One of the universal rules of happiness is: always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.
- ...Vimes's grin was as funny as the one that moves very fast towards drowning men. And has a fin on top.
- She sighed again. She was familiar with the syndrome. They said they wanted a soulmate and helpmeet but sooner or later the list would include a skin like silk and a chest fit for a herd of cows.
- "*Veni, vici*...Vetinari."
- And there was nothing finer than a wizard dressed up formally, until someone could find a way of inflating a Bird of Paradise, possibly by using an elastic band and some kind of gas.
- "One o'clock pee em! Hello, Insert Name Here!"- The Dis-organizer
- He had the look of a lawn mower just after the grass had organised a workers' collective. There was a definite suggestion that, deep inside, he knew this was not really happening. It could not be happening because this sort of thing did not happen. Any contradictory evidence could be safely ignored.
The Last Continent (1998)
- All bastards are bastards, but some bastards is bastards.
- All tribal myths are true, for a given value of 'true'.
- We might find out why mankind is here, although that is more complicated and begs the question "Where else should we be?"
- You couldn't stop Tradition. You could only add to it.
- Something as artificial and human as an hour wouldn't last five minutes here.
- Logic is a wonderful thing but doesn't always beat actual thought.
- Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association.
- Rincewind awoke with a scream, to get it over with.
- Creators aren't gods. They make places, which is quite hard. It's men that make gods. This explains a lot.
- He hated weapons, and not just because they'd so often been aimed at him. You got into more trouble if you had a weapon. People shot you instantly if they thought you were going to shoot them. But if you were unarmed, they often stopped to talk. Admittedly, they tended to say things like, 'You'll never guess what we're going to do to you, pal,' but that took time. And Rincewind could do a lot with a few seconds. He could use them to live longer in.
- It had been going so well. They almost seemed up to speed. This may have been what caused Ponder to act like the man who, having so far fallen a hundred feet without any harm, believes that the last few inches to the ground will be a mere formality.
- There's a certain kind of manager who is known by his call of 'My door is always open' and it is probably a good idea to beat yourself to death with your own CV rather than work for him. In Ridcully's case, however, he meant, 'My door is always open because then, when I'm bored, I can fire my crossbow right across the hall and into the target just above the Bursar's desk.'
- And he was pretty sure that there was no way you could get a cross between a human and a sheep. If there was, people would definitely have found out by now, especially in the more isolated rural districts.
- 'Haven't you noticed that by running away you end up in more trouble?'
'Yes, but you see, you can run away from that, too,' said Rincewind. 'That's the beauty of the system. Dead is only for once, but running away is for ever.'
'Ah, but it is said that a coward dies a thousand deaths, while a hero dies only one.'
'Yes, but it's the important one.'
- Rincewind paused. He had always been the foremost exponent of the from rather than the to of running.
- One of the most basic rules for survival on any planet is never to upset someone wearing black leather.†
- † This is why protesters against the wearing of animal skins by humans unaccountably fail to throw their paint over Hell's Angels.
- That was the thing about fire. If you saw one, everyone went to put it out. Fire spread like wildfire.
- Rincewind had always been happy to think of himself as a racist. The One Hundred Meters, the Mile, the Marathon — he'd run them all. Later, when he learned with some surprise what the word actually meant, he'd been equally certain he wasn't one. He was a person who divided the world quite simply into people who were trying to kill him and people who weren't. That didn't leave much room for fine details like what colour anyone was.
- The Bursar, who had been properly brought up said, 'Hooray, there's a rosebush?'.
- PEOPLE'S WHOLE LIVES DO PASS IN FRONT OF THEIR EYES BEFORE THEY DIE. THE PROCESS IS CALLED 'LIVING'
- "When it's time to stop living, I will certainly make Death my number one choice!"
- "I think there may be one or two steps in your logic that I have failed to grasp, Mister Stibbons," said the Archchancellor coldly. "I suppose you're not intending to shoot your own grandfather, by any chance?" "Of course not!" snapped Ponder, "I don't even know what he looked like. He died before I was born." "Ah-hah!"
- In the fetid fleapit of Rincewind's brain the projectionist of memory put on reel two. Recollection began to flicker.
- Daggy stepped forward, but only comparatively; in fact, his mates had all, without discussion, taken one step backwards in the choreography of caution.
- They say the heat and the flies here can drive a man insane. But you don't have to believe that, and nor does that bright mauve elephant that just cycled past.
- Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association. His mental approach to it could be visualised as a sort of business flowchart with, at the top, a circle entitled "Me, who does the telling" and, connected below it by a line, a large circle entitled "Everyone else".
- "When You're Up to Your Ass in Alligators, Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life."
Carpe Jugulum (1998)
- In Ghat they believe in vampire watermelons, although folklore is silent about what they believe about vampire watermelons. Possibly they suck back.
- They thought that you could see life through books but you couldn't, the reason being that the words got in the way.
- Mirrors had lead to one of the Church's innumerable schisms, one side saying that since they encouraged vanity they were bad, and the other side saying that since they reflected the goodness of Om they were holy.
- Lancre operated on the feudal system, which was to say, everyone feuded all the time and handed on the fight to their descendants. The chips on some shoulders had been passed down for generations.
- The smug mask of virtue triumphant could be almost as horrible as the face of wickedness revealed.
- What had she ever earned? The reward for toil had been more toil. If you dug the best ditches they gave you a bigger shovel.
- She'd never, ever asked for anything in return. And the trouble with not asking for anything in return was that sometimes you didn't get it.
- There was something... sort of damp about him, the kind of helpless hopelessness that made people angry rather than charitable, the total certainty that if the whole world was a party he'd still find the kitchen.
- 'Will it be enough to know that the world is your oyster?'
Her forehead wrinkled in perplexity. 'Why should I want it to be some nasty little sea creature?' she said.
'Because they get eaten alive,' said the Count.
- She was not, herself, hugely in favour of motherhood in general. Obviously it was necessary, but it wasn't exactly difficult. Even cats managed it. But women acted as if they'd been given a medal that entitled them to boss people around. It was as if, just because they'd got the label which said 'mother', everyone else got a tiny part of the label that said 'child'...
- The result would have been called primitive even by people who were too primitive to have a word yet for 'primitive'.
- Oh, we're always all right. You remember that. We happen to other people.
- The role of the lower intestine in the efforts to build a better nation is one that is often neglected by historians.
- Drinking's what they like best"
"drinking an' fighting!"
"Drinking and fighting is what they like best"
"An' snaffling coobeasties!"
"And stealing cows"
- "It's not as simple as that. It's not a black-and-white issue. There are so many shades of gray."
"There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."
"It's a lot more complicated than that-"
"No. It ain't. When people say things are more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried that they won't like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."
"Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes-"
"But they starts with thinking about people as things…"
The Fifth Elephant (1999)
- 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'.
- It was funny how people were people everywhere you went, even if the people concerned weren't the people the people who made up the phrase 'people are people everywhere' had traditionally thought of as people. And even if you weren't virtuous, as you had been brought up to understand the term, you did like to see virtue in other people, provided it didn't cost you anything.
- 'Can you think of any reason why someone would kill him?'
The troll scratched his head. 'Well, 'cos dey wanted him dead, I reckon. Dat's a good reason.'
- He sagged to his knees. He ached all over. It wasn't just that his brain was writing cheques that his body couldn't cash. It had gone beyond that. Now his feet were borrowing money that his legs hadn't got, and his back muscles were looking for loose change under the sofa cushions.
- Practically from the moment she'd been able to talk she'd been taught how to listen.
- 'And I thought, "I wonder if someone'd tried to make a mould of the replica Scone", sir,' said Reg.
'Now that is clever,' said Fred Colon, 'You'd get the real one back then, wouldn't you?'
- A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.
- He 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.
- The one positive thing you could say about the bread products around him was that they were probably as edible now as they were on the day they were baked. Forged was a better term. Dwarf bread was made as a meal of last resort and also as a weapon and a currency. Dwarfs were not, as far as Vimes knew, religious in any way, but the way they thought about bread came close.
- You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was "but we've always done it this way." A million dead people can't have been wrong, can they?
- 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.
- There was no such thing as a dwarfish female pronoun or, once the children were on solids, any such thing as women's work.
- He wasn't strictly aware of it, but he treated even geography as if he was investigating a crime (did you see who carved out the valley? Would you recognize that glacier if you saw it again?)
- As castles went, this one looked as though it could be taken by a small squad of not very efficient soldiers. For defence, putting a blanket over your head might be marginally safer.
- She moved like someone who had grown used to her body and, in general, looked like what Vimes had heard described as "a woman of a certain age." He'd never been quite certain what age that was.
The Truth (2000)
- The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret.
- Misprinted motto of the Ankh-Morpork Times, which was supposed to read, "The Truth Shall Make Ye Free".
- Spit or swallow, he thought, the eternal conundrum.
- The world is made up of four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. This is a fact well known even to Corporal Nobbs. It's also wrong. There's a fifth element, and generally it's called Surprise.
For example, the dwarfs found out how to turn lead into gold by doing it the hard way. The difference between that and the easy way is that the hard way works.
- In fact he was incurably insane and hallucinated more or less constantly, but by a remarkable stroke of lateral thinking his fellow wizards had reasoned that, in that case, the whole business could be sorted out if only they could find a formula that caused him to hallucinate that he was completely sane.†
- † This is a very common hallucination, shared by most people.
- 'You know I've always wanted a paperless office — '
'Yes, Archchancellor, that's why you hide it all in cupboards and throw it out of the window at night.'
- There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty.
The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: 'What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! And at the other end of the bar the world is full of the other type of person, who has a broken glass, or a glass that has been carefully knocked over (usually by one of the people calling for a larger glass), or who had no glass at all, because they were at the back of the crowd and had failed to catch the barman's eye.
- Your Brain On Drugs is a terrible sight, but Mr. Tulip was living proof of the fact that so was Your Brain on a cocktail of horse liniment, sherbet and powdered water-retention pills.
- If his body was a temple, it was one of those strange ones where people did odd things to animals in the basement, and if he watched what he ate it was only to see it wriggle.
- William barely had time to undress and lie down before it was time to get up again.
- No enemy was too strong, no wound was too deep, and no sword was too heavy for a de Worde. No grave was too deep either.
- Do not put all your trust in root vegetables. What things seem may not be what things are, said Death.
- Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.
- "Oh vill you come to the mission, vill you come, come, come, zere's a nice cup of tea and a bun, and a bun..."
Thief of Time (2001)
- Then you have The Story of the Emperor Who Had No Clothes.
But if you knew a bit more, it would be The Story of the Boy Who Got a Well-Deserved Thrashing from His Dad for Being Rude to Royalty, and Was Locked Up.
- Genius is always allowed some leeway, once the hammer has been pried from its hands and the blood has been cleaned up.
- Igor had to admit it. When it came to getting weird things done, sane beat mad hands down.
- "I will teach you to deal with time as you would deal with a coat, to be worn when necessary and discarded when not."
"Will I have to wash it?" said Clodpool.
Wen gave him a long, slow look. "That was either a very complex piece of thinking on your part, Clodpool, or you were just trying to overextend a metaphor in a rather stupid way. Which do you think it was?"
- When you look into the abyss, it's not supposed to wave back.
- "Sometimes I really think people ought to have to pass a proper exam before they're allowed to be parents. Not just the practical, I mean."
- Susan stopped. Of course someone would be that stupid. Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying "End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH", the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.
- In the Second Scroll of Wen the Eternally Surprised a story is written concerning one day when the apprentice Clodpool, in a rebellious mood, approached Wen and spake thusly:
"Master, what is the difference between a humanistic, monastic system of belief in which wisdom is sought by means of an apparently nonsensical system of questions and answers, and a lot of mystic gibberish made up on the spur of the moment?"
Wen considered this for some time, and at last said: "A fish!"
And Clodpool went away, satisfied.
- "Well, I just...I thought...well, I just thought you'd be teaching me more, that's all."
"I'm teaching you things all the time," said Lu-Tze. "You might not be learning them, of course."
- 'Questions don't have to make sense, Vincent,' said Miss Susan. 'But answers do.'
- ¨A loophole," said Susan.
"Well, why can't you find one too?"
I am the grim reaper. I do not think people wish me to get... creative.
- "I said it's uncertain death."
"Is that worse than certain death?"
"Much. Watch." Susan picked up a hammer that was lying on the floor and poked it gently towards the clock. It vibrated in her hand when she brought it closer, and she swore under her breath as it was dragged from her fingers and vanished. Just before it did there was a brief, contracting ring around the clock that might have been something like a hammer would be if you rolled it very flat and bent it into a circle.
"Have you any idea why that happened?" she said.
"Nor have I. Now imagine you were that hammer. Uncertain death, see?"
- A chocolate you did not want to eat does not count as chocolate. This discovery is from the same branch of culinary physics that determined that food eaten while walking along contains no calories.
- Some distance away [...] were a number of gentlemen's clubs. It would be far too cynical to say that here the term "gentlemen" was simply defined as "someone who can afford five hundred dollars a year"; they also had to be approved of by a great many other gentlemen who could afford the same fee. And they didn't much like the company of ladies. This was not to say that they were that kind of gentlemen, who had their own, rather better-decorated clubs in another part of town, where there was generally a lot more going on. These gentlemen were gentlemen of a class who were, on the whole, bullied by ladies from an early age. Their lives were steered by nurses, governesses, matrons, mothers and wives, and after four or five decades of that the average mild-mannered gentleman gave up and escaped as politely as possible to one of these clubs, where he could snooze the afternoon away in a leather armchair with the top button of his trousers undone.
- Rule One: Never act incautiously around small, wrinkly, bald, smiling men.
- "You may think otherwise, but it was me standing there."
The Last Hero (2001)
- Their eyes said that wherever it was, they had been there. Whatever it was, they had done it, sometimes more than once. But they would never, ever, buy the T-shirt. And they did know the meaning of the word 'fear'. It was something that happened to other people.
- I have no use for people who have learned the limits of the possible.
- This man was so absent-mindedly clever that he could paint pictures that didn't just follow you around the room but went home with you and did the washing-up.
- More of the ambassadors from other countries had arrived at the university, and more heads of the Guilds were pouring in, and every single one of them wanted to be involved in the decision-making process without necessarily going through the intelligence-using process first.
- 'I don't think I've become old.' said Boy Willie. 'Not your actual old. Just more aware of where the next lavatory is.'
- Rincewind stared at the badge. He'd never had one before. Well, that was technically a lie ... he'd had one that said 'Hello, I Am 5 Today!', which was just about the worst possible present to get when you are six.
- It occurred to him that when you'd had everything, all that was left was nothing.
- 'I SAID YOU HAD TO CUT OFF YOUR WORST ENEMY'S WOSSNAME AND PRESENT IT TO HER!'
'Aye, romance is a wonderful thing,' said Mad Hamish.
'What'd you do if you didn't have a worst enemy?' said Boy Willie.
'You try and cut off anyone's wossname,' said Truckle, 'and you've soon got a worst enemy.'
- '"Morituri Nolumus Mori" - "We who are about to die dont want to"
- One day, when he was naughty, Mr Bunnsy looked over the hedge into Farmer Fred's field and it was full of green lettuces. Mr Bunnsy, however, was not full of lettuces. This did not seem fair.
They chased the dogs and bit the cats, they —
But there was more to it than that. As the amazing Maurice said, it was just a story about people and rats. And the difficult part of it was deciding who the people were, and who were the rats.
But Malicia Grim said it was a story about stories.
- This begins with lines from Robert Browning's "The Pied Piper of Hamelin".
- 'Listen, Peaches, trickery is what humans are all about,' said the voice of Maurice. 'They're so keen on tricking one another all the time that they elect governments to do it for them.'
- He'd realized there was something educated about the rats when he jumped on one and it'd said, 'Can we talk about this?', and part of his amazing new brain had told him you couldn't eat someone who could talk. At least, not until you'd heard what they'd got to say.
- Everyone's thinking these days. I think there's a good deal too much of this thinking, that's what I think. We never thought about thinking when I was a lad. We'd never get anything done if we thought first.
- People listened to Hamnpork because he was the leader, but they listened to Darktan because he was often telling you things that you really, really needed to know if you wanted to go on living.
- It was much more true than the truth would sound.
- 'What is a rat?' and Hamnpork had replied, Teeth. Claws. Tail. Run. Hide. Eat. That's what a rat is.'
Dangerous Beans had said, 'But now we can also say "what is a rat?"' he said.
'And that means we're more than that.'
'We're rats,' Hamnpork had argued. 'We run around and squeak and steal and make more rats. That's what we're made for!'
'Who by?' Dangerous Beans had said, and that had led to another argument about the Big Rat Deep Under The Ground theory.
- He lived life as if it was a performance. Other rats just ran around squeaking and messing up things, and that was quite good enough to convince humans there was a plague. But, oh, no, Sardines always had to go further. Sardines and his yowoorll song and dance act!
- It was a good routine, even Maurice had to admit. Some towns had advertised for a rat piper the very first time he'd done it. People could tolerate rats in the cream, and rats in the roof, and rats in the teapot, but they drew the line at tapdancing.
If you saw tap-dancing rats, you were in big trouble. Maurice had reckoned that if only the rats could play an accordion as well they could do two towns a day.
Night Watch (2002)
- There was some more laughter. We who think we are about to die will laugh at anything.
What a bunch. I know you well, gentlemen. You're in it for the quiet life and the pension, you don't hurry too much in case the danger is still around when you get there, and the most you ever expected to face was an obstreperous drunk or a particularly difficult cow. Most of you aren't even coppers, not in your head. In the sea of adventure, you're bottomfeeders.
And now, it's war... and you're in the middle. Not on either side. You're the stupid little band of brownjobs. You're beneath contempt. But believe me, boys - you'll rise.
- His movements could be called cat-like, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things.
- Ninety per cent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact.
- Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That's why they're called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes.
- 'Then he went on sweeping.'
"Oh, it's the kind of holy thing they do. So they don't tread on ants, I think. Or they sweep sins away. Or maybe they just like the place clean. Who cares what monks do?"
- "He wanted to add: you're a cell of one, Reg. The real revolutionaries are silent men with poker-player faces and probably don't know or care if you live or die. You've got the shirt and the haircut and the sash and you know all the songs, but you're no urban guerrila. You're an urban dreamer. You turn over rubbish bins and scrawl on walls in the name of The People, who'd clip you round the ear if they found you doing it."
- "You'd like Freedom, Truth and Justice, wouldn't you, comrade sergeant?" said Reg encouragingly.
"I'd like a hardboiled egg," said Vimes, shaking the match out.
What's this all about, Reg?'
"The People's Republic of Treacle Mine Road!" said Reg proudly. "We are forming a government!"
"Oh, good," said Vimes. "Another one. Just what we need. Now, does any one of you know where my damn barricades have gone?"
- "That was my egg, you bastard!" he screamed, punching the nose. "With soldiers!"
- "see the little angels rise up high..." Others were picking up the tune.
"do they rise up, rise up, rise up, how do they rise up, rise up high?"
"It could have been good, sergeant," said Reg, looking up. "It really could. A city where a man can breathe free."
"they rise ARSE up, arse up, arse up, see the little angels rise up high..."
"Wheeze free, Reg," said Vimes, sitting down next to him. This is Ankh-Morpork." And they all hit that line together, thought the part of him that was listening with the other ear. Strange that they should do that, or maybe not.
"Yeah, make a joke of it. Everyone thinks it's funny," said Reg, looking at his feet.
"I don't know if this'll help, Reg, but I didn't even get my hardboiled egg," said Vimes.
- 'That's a nice song,' said young Sam, and Vimes remembered that he was hearing it for the first time.
'It's an old soldiers' song,' he said.
'Really, sarge? But it's about angels.'
Yes, thought Vimes, and it's amazing what bits those angels cause to rise up as the song progresses. It's a real soldiers' song: sentimental, with dirty bits.
'As I recall, they used to sing it after battles,' he said. I've seen old men cry when they sing it,' he added.
'Why? It sounds cheerful.'
They were remembering who they were not singing it with, thought Vimes. You'll learn. I know you will.
- 'But I'll tell you what,' said Vimes. 'If this goes on, the city will see to it the deliveries come in by other gates. We'll be hungry then. That's when we'll need your organizational skills.'
'You mean we'll be in a famine situation?' said Reg, the light of hope in his eyes.
'If we aren't, Reg, I'm sure you could organize one,' said Vimes, and realized he'd gone just a bit too far.
- Some had even fled Reg Shoe, who was sitting on the barricade, staring at the sheer weight of arrows in him. As he watched, his brain seemingly decided that he must be dead on this evidence, and he fell backwards. But in a few hours, his brain would be in for a surprise.
No one knew why some people became natural zombies, substituting sheer stubborn will power for blind life force. But attitude played a part. For Reg Shoe, life was only just beginning...
- 'Make sure Reg Shoe gets a decent burial!'
'Not too deep, he'll be wanting to come out again in a few hours!'
- The Particulars, they were officially, but as far as Vimes could remember they'd revelled in their nickname of the Unmentionables. They were the ones that listened in every shadow and watched at every window. That was how it seemed, anyway. They certainly were the ones who knocked on doors in the middle of the night.
- 'And when you told that man to prove he was Henry the Hamster, I thought I'd widdchoke! You knew they weren't going to sign, right, sarge? 'cos if there's a bit of paper saying they've got someone, then if anyone wants to find out-'
'Just drive, lanceconstable.' But the boy was right. For some reason, the Unmentionables both loved and feared paperwork.
- Sorry for the inconvenience, ladies and gentlemen, but it appears the Unmentionables are not doing business tonight. Looks like we'll have to do the interrogation ourselves. We're not very experienced at this, so I hope we don't get it wrong. Now, listen carefully. Are any of you serious conspirators bent on the overthrow of the government?
- 'Come on, come on,' said Vimes. 'I haven't got all night. Does anyone want to overthrow Lord Winder by force?'
'Well... no?' said the voice of Miss Palm.
'Or by crochet?'
'I heard that!' said another female voice sharply.
- They didn't like the Unmentionables. Like petty criminals everywhere, the watchmen prided themselves that there were some depths to which they would not sink. There had to be some things below you, even if it was only mudworms. (Older Vimes's thoughts)
- Bad coppers had always had their ways of finding out if someone was guilty. Back in the old days — hah, now — these included thumbscrews, hammers, small pointed bits of wood and, of course, the common desk drawer, always a boon to the copper in a hurry. Swing didn't need any of this. He could tell if you were guilty by looking at your eyebrows.
He measured people. He used calipers and a steel ruler. And he quietly wrote down the measurements, and did some sums, such as dividing the length of the nose by the circumference of the head and multiplying it by the width of the space between the eyes. And on such figures he could, infallibly, tell that you were devious, untrustworthy and congenially criminal. After you had spent the next twenty minutes in the company of his staff and their less sophisticated tools of inquiry he would, amazingly, be proved right.
- Everyone was guilty of something. Vimes knew that. Every copper knew it. That was how you maintained your authority. Everyone, talking to a copper, was secretly afraid you could see their guilty secret written on their forehead. You couldn't, of course. But neither were you supposed to drag someone off the street and smash their fingers with a hammer until they told you what it was.
- 'I repeat, I order you to dismantle this barricade.' He took a breath, and went on: 'And rebuild it on the other side on the corner with Cable Street! And put up another one at the top of Sheer Street! Properly built! Good grief, you don't just pile stuff up, for gods' sake! A barricade is something you construct!
- 'Yeah? On whose authority?'
Vimes swung his crossbow up. 'Mr Burleigh and Mr Stronginthearm,' he said, and grinned.
The two guards exchanged glances. 'Who the hell are they?' said one.
There was a moment of silence followed by Vimes saying, out of the corner of his mouth: :'Lance-Constable Vimes?'
'What make are these crossbows?'
'Er... Hines Brothers, sir. They're Mark Threes.'
'Not Burleigh and Stronginthearm?'
'Never heard of them, sir.'
Damn. Five years too early, thought Vimes. And it was such a good line, too.
'Let me put it another way,' he said to the guards. 'Give me any trouble and I will shoot you in the head.' That wasn't a good line, but it did have a certain urgency, and the bonus that it was simple enough even for an Unmentionable to understand.
- It was a beguiling theory that might have arisen in the minds of Wiglet and Waddy and, yes, even in the not overly exercised mind of Fred Colon, and as far as Vimes could understand it, it went like this:
1. Supposing the area behind the barricades was bigger than the area in front of the barricades, right?
2. Like, sort of, it had more people in it and more of the city, if you follow me.
3. Then, correct me if I'm wrong, sarge, but that'd mean in a manner of speaking we are now in front of the barricades, am I right?
4. Then, as it were, it's not like we're rebellin', is it? 'cos there's more of us, so the majority can't rebel, it stands to reason.
5. So that makes us the good guys. Obviously we've been the good guys all along, but now it'd be kind of official, right? Like, mathematical?
6. So we thought we'd push on to Short Street and then we could nip down into Dimwell and up the other side of the river...
7. Are we going to get into trouble for this, sarge?
8. You're looking at me in a funny way, sarge.
9. Sorry, sarge.
- Bleedwell had worn black. Assassins always did. Black was cool and, besides, it was the rules. But only in a dark cellar at midnight was black a sensible colour. Elsewhere, Vetinari preferred dark green, or shades of dark grey. With the right colouring, and the right stance, you vanished. People's eyes would help you vanish. They erased you from their vision, they fitted you into the background.
- Vetinari had done him a private honour, though. He had hunted down and melted the engraver's plates of Some Observations on the Art of Invisibility.
He tracked down the other four extant copies, too, but had felt unable to burn them. Instead he'd had the slim volumes bound together inside the cover of Anecdotes of the Great Accountants, Vol. 3. He felt that Lord Winstanleigh Greville-Pipe would rather appreciate that.
- There is no more time, even for cake. For you, the cake is over. You have reached the end of cake. - Death
- The sound of running feet indicated that Sergeant Detritus was bringing some of the latest trainees back from their morning run. He could hear the jody Detritus had taught them. Somehow, you could tell it was made up by a troll:
'Now we sing dis stupid song!'
'Sing it as we run along!'
'Why we sing dis we don't know!'
'We can't make der words rhyme prop'ly!'
'Er ... What?'
- It's ginger beer time!
- 'Yeah, all right, but everyone knows they torture people,' mumbled Sam.
'Do they?' said Vimes. 'Then why doesn't anyone do anything about it?'
''cos they torture people.'
- History finds a way. The nature of events had changed, but the nature of the dead had not. It had been a mean, shameful little fight that ended them, a flyspecked little footnote of history, but they hadn't been mean or shameful men. They hadn't run, and they could have run with honor. They'd stayed, and he wondered if the path had seemed as clear to them then as it did to him now. They'd stayed not because they wanted to be heroes, but because they choose to think of it as their job, and it was in front of them —
- Vetinari: "'You know, it has often crossed my mind that those men deserve a proper memorial of some sort."
Vimes: "Oh yes? In one of the main squares, perhaps?"
Vetinari: "Yes, that would be a good idea."
Vimes: "Perhaps a tableau in bronze? All seven of them raising the flag, perhaps?"
Vetinari: "Bronze, yes."
Vimes: "Really? And some sort of inspiring slogan?"
Vetinari: "Yes, indeed. Something like, perhaps, 'They Did The Job They Had To Do'?"
Vimes: "No. How dare you? How dare you! At this time! In this place! They did the job they didn't have to do, and they died doing it, and you can't give them anything. Do you understand? They fought for those who'd been abandoned, they fought for one another, and they were betrayed. Men like them always are. What good would a statue be? It'd just inspire new fools to believe they're going to be heroes. They wouldn't want that. Just let them be. For ever."
The Wee Free Men (2003)
- There was a gust of Jolly Sailor tobacco, and sheep, and turpentine.
Sparkling in the dark, light glittering off the white shepherdess dress and every blue ribbon and silver buckle of it, was Granny Aching, smiling hugely, radiant with pride. In one hand she held the huge ornamental crook, hung with blue bows.
She pirouetted slowly, and Tiffany saw that while she was a brilliant, sparkling shepherdess from hat to hem, she still had her huge old boots on.
- Tiffany had seen a picture of Klatch in the Almanack. It showed a camel standing in a desert. She'd only found out what both those names were because her mother told her. And that was Klatch, a camel in a desert. She'd wondered if there wasn't a bit more to it, but it seemed that "Klatch = camel, desert" was all anyone knew.
- "Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna be fooled again!"
- "You take the high road an' I'll take your wallet!"
- "We are a famously stealin' folk. Aren't we, lads? Whut's it we're famous for?"
"Stealin'!" shouted the blue men.
"And what else, lads?"
"And what else?"
"And what else?"
There was a certain amount of thought about this, but they all reached the same conclusion.
"Drinkin' and fightin'!"
"And there was summat else," muttered the twiddler. "Ach, yes. Tell the hag, lads!"
"Stealin' an' drinkin' an' fightin'!" shouted the blue men cheerfully.
- "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 any more. Or touch me. Or anything that is mine."
- This time it had been been magic. And it didn't stop being magic just because you found out how it was done.
- They didn't have to be funny - they were father jokes.
- The stories never said why she was wicked. It was enough to be an old woman, enough to be all alone, enough to look strange because you have no teeth. It was enough to be called a witch. If it came to that, the book never gave you the evidence of anything. It talked about "a handsome prince"... was he really, or was it just because he was a prince that people called handsome? As for "a girl who was as beautiful as the day was long"... well, which day? In midwinter it hardly ever got light! The stories don't want you to think, they just wanted you to believe what you were told...
- "Tell me why you still want to be a witch bearing in mind what happened to Mrs. Snapperly."
"So that sort of thing doesn't happen again." said Tiffany
"If you trust in yourself ... and believe in your dreams...and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy"
- "Yes, but my father said that free advice often turns out to be expensive." Said Tiffany.
- Granny had smiled at the horizon, puffed at her pipe for a while, and replied: "A man who takes arms against his lord, that man is hanged. A starving man who steals his lord's sheep, that man is hanged. A dog that kills sheep, that dog is put to death. Those laws are of these hills and these hills are in my bones. What is a baron, that the law be brake for him?"
- Granny smoked her pipe and stared at the new lambs and said: "Ye speaks for your master, your master speaks for his dog. Who speaks for the hills? Where is the Baron, that the law be brake for him?"
- "Good. A law is brake by silver or gilt is no worthwhile law..."
- "This is the school, isn't it. The magic place? The world. Here. And you don't realize it until you look. Do you know the pictsies think this world is heaven? We just don't look. You can't give lessons on witchcraft. Not properly. It's all about who you are... you, I suppose."
- "The thing about witchcraft," said Mistress Weatherwax, "is that it's not like school at all. First you get the test, and then afterward you spend years findin' out how you passed it. It's a bit like life in the respect."
Monstrous Regiment (2003)
- Paul had wanted medals, because they were shiny. That'd been almost a year ago, when any recruiting party that came past went away with the best part of a battalion, and there had been people waving them off with flags and music. Sometimes, now, smaller parties of men came back. The lucky ones were missing only one arm or one leg. There were no flags.
- She unfolded the other piece of paper. It was a pamphlet. It was headed "From the Mothers of Borogravia!!" The mothers of Borogravia were very definite about wanting to send their sons off to war Against the Zlobenian Aggressor!! and used a great many exclamation points to say so. And this was odd, because the mothers in the town had not seemed keen on the idea of their sons going off to war, and positively tried to drag them back. Several copies of the pamphlet seemed to have reached every home, even so. It was very patriotic. That is, it talked about killing foreigners.
- He's dead. However, credit where it's due, he hasn't let that stop him.
- The interests of Ankh-Morpork are the interests of all money-lov — oops, sorry, all freedom-loving people everywhere.
- Most of the vampire families were highly nobby. You never knew who was connected to who... not just connected to who, in fact, but to whom. Whoms were likely to be far more trouble than your common everyday who.
- 'The great General Tacticus says that in dangerous times the commander must be like the eagle and see the whole, and yet still be like the hawk and see every detail.'
'Yessir,' said Jackrum, gliding the razor down a cheek. 'And if he acts like a common tit, sir, he can hang upside down all day and eat fat bacon.'
'Er...well said, sergeant.'
- 'I've starved a few times. There's no future in it. Ate a man's leg when we were snowed up in the Ibblestarn campaign but, fair's fair, he ate mine.' He looked at their faces. 'Well, it's not on, is it, eating your own leg? You'd probably go blind.'
- Lieutenant Blouse was standing in the middle of the floor in his breeches and shirtsleeves, holding a sabre. Polly was no expert in these matters, but she thought she recognised the stylish, flamboyant pose as the one beginners tend to use just before they're stabbed through the heart by a more experienced fighter.
- 'Good evening, gentlemen!' said the vampire. 'Please pay attention. I am a reformed vampire, which is to say, I am a bundle of suppressed instincts held together with spit and coffee. It would be wrong to say that violent, tearing carnage does not come easily to me. It's not tearing your throats out that doesn't come easily to me. Please don't make it any harder.'
- 'What's abominable about the colour blue? It's just a colour! The sky is blue!'
'Yes, sir. Devout Nugganites try not to look at it these days. Um ...' Chinny had been trained as a diplomat. Some things he didn't like to say directly. 'Nuggan, sir ... um ... is rather ... tetchy,' he managed.
- You mean Nuggan objects to dwarfs, cats and the colour blue and there're more insane commandments?
- Yes, I think I can see why. So what we have here is a country that tries to run itself on the commandments of a god who, the people feel, may be wearing his underpants on his head. Has he Abominated underpants?
No, sir, Chinny sighed. But it's probably only a matter of time.
- All right, all right,' the sergeant said. Upon my oath, I am not a man to disobey orders. — And the eyes twinkled.
- Polly heard Tonker gasp. Strappi turned, eyes glinting with sinister anticipation. Oh, someone doesn't like being called a lady, eh?' he said. Dear me, Private Halter, you've got a lot to learn, haven't you? You're a sissy little lady until we make a man of you, right? And I dread to think how long that's going to take. Move!'
I know, thought Polly, as they set off. It takes about ten seconds, and a pair of socks. One sock, and you could make Strappi.
- When they were standing a little apart from the rest of the squad, Blouse lowered his voice and said: 'I don't wish to discourage initiative, Perks, but what are you doing?'
'Er . . . anticipating your orders, sir.'
'Ah. Right. This is still small-picture stuff, is it?'
- She'd larded it with as many 'sirs' as she dared. And she was very proud of 'anticipating your order'.
She hadn't heard Jackrum use it, but with a certain amount of care it was an excuse to do almost anything. 'General thrust' was pretty good, too.
- I want to eat chocolates in a great big room where the world is a different place.
William De WordeSomeone had crossed out the 't' in 'fret' and pencilled in an 'e' above it.
EDITOR, THE TIMES OF ANKH-MORPORK
'The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret'
Gleam Street, Ankh-Morpork c-mail: WDW@Times.AM
- 'Mr de Worde, you have I am sure heard the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword?'
De Worde preened a little. 'Of course, and I — '
'Do you want to test it? Take your picture, sir, and then my men will escort you back to your road.'
- The pencil was hovering. Around it, the world turned. It wrote things down, and then they got everywhere. The pen might not be mightier than the sword, but maybe the printing press was heavier than the siege weapon. Just a few words can change everything...
- And the new day was a great big fish.
- A woman always has half an onion left over, no matter what the size of the onion, the dish or the woman.
A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
- Wishes needed thought. She was never likely to say, out loud, 'I wish that I could marry a handsome prince,' but knowing that if you did you'd probably open the door to find a stunned prince, a tied-up priest and a Nac Mac Feegle grinning cheerfully and ready to act as Best Man definitely made you watch what you said.
- Admittedly — and it took some admitting — he was a lot less of a twit than he had been. On the other hand, there had been such a lot of twit to begin with.
- The beef stew tasted, indeed, just like beef stew and not, just to take an example completely and totally at random, stew made out of the last poor girl who'd worked here.
- 'Mistress Weatherwax is the head witch, then, is she?'
'Oh no!' said Miss Level, looking shocked. 'Witches are all equal. We don't have head witches. That's quite against the spirit of witchcraft.'
'Oh, I see,' said Tiffany.
'Besides,' Miss Level added, 'Mistress Weatherwax would never allow that sort of thing.'
- To be looked at by Annagramma was to know that you'd already taken up too much of her valuable time.
- 'I had a lot of voles last night,' said Mistress Weatherwax over her shoulder.
'Yes, but you didn't actually eat them, did you?' said Tiffany. 'It was the owl that actually ate them.'
'Technic'ly, yes,' Mistress Weatherwax admitted. 'But if you think you've been eating voles all night you'd be amazed how much you don't want to eat anything next morning. Or ever again.'
- "Ye've got tae let me go sooner or later, you big 'natomy!" yelled Rob Anybody. "And then ye're gonna get sich a kickin'!"
- "Young Toby? He's been dead for fifteen years. And Mary was the old man's daughter, she died quite young. Mr. Weavall is very shortsighted, but he sees better in the past."
Tiffany didn't know what to reply except: "It shouldn't be like this."
"There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do."
- "Why would you need my help?" asked Annagramma sulkily.
— We need allies, the hiver thought with Tiffany's mind. They can help protect us. If necessary, we can sacrifice them. Other creatures will always want to be friends with the powerful, and this one loves power —
- People didn't respect Miss Level. They liked her, in an unthinking sort of way, and that was it. Mistress Weatherwax was right, and Tiffany wished she wasn't.
"Why did you and Miss Tick send me to her, then?" she said.
"Because she likes people," said the witch, striding ahead. "She cares about 'em. Even the stupid, mean drooling ones, the mothers with the runny babies and no sense, the feckless and silly fools who treat her like some kind of a servant. Now that's what I call magic — seein' all that, dealin' with all that, and still goin' on."
- Do you know what it feels like to be aware of every star, every blade of grass? Yes. You do. You call it "opening your eyes again." But you do it for a moment. We have done it for eternity. No sleep, no rest, just endless... endless experience, endless awareness. Of everything. All the time. How we envy you, envy you! Lucky humans, who can close your minds to the endless deeps of space! You have this thing you call... boredom? That is the rarest talent in the universe! We heard a song — it went "Twinkle twinkle little star...." What power! What wondrous power! You can take a billion trillion tons of flaming matter, a furnace of unimaginable strength, and turn it into a little song for children! You build little worlds, little stories, little shells around your minds, and that keeps infinity at bay and allows you to wake up in the morning without screaming!
Going Postal (2004)
- I told him, sir, that fruit baskets is like life — until you've got the pineapple off of the top you never know what's underneath.
- The Ankh-Morpork Central Post Office had a gaunt frontage. It was a building designed for a purpose. It was, therefore, more or less, a big box to employ people in, with two wings at the rear, which enclosed the big stable yard. Some cheap pillars had been sliced in half and stuck on the outside, some niches had been carved for some miscellaneous stone nymphs, some stone urns had been ranged along the parapet, and thus Architecture had been created.
- Always move fast, Mr Spools. You never know who's catching up!
- 'Yes, sir, we asked him about that, sir, but he said no, it wasn't. He said it provided' — his forehead wrinkled — 'occ-you-pay-shun-all ther-rap-py, healthy exercise, prevented moping and offered that greatest of all treasures which is Hope, sir.'
- After all, what could a master criminal buy? There was a shortage of seaside properties with real lava flows near a reliable source of piranhas...
- 'Oh, all right. Of course I accept as a natural born criminal, habitual liar, fraudster and totally untrustworthy perverted genius'. 'Capital! Welcome to government service!' said Lord Vetinari, 'I pride myself on being able to pick the right man.'
- They say that the prospect of being hanged in the morning concentrates a man's mind wonderfully; unfortunately what the mind inevitably concentrates on is that it is in a body, that, in the morning, is going to be hanged.
- 'Come on, Mr Spangler, you don't want me to get into trouble, do you?' said the hangman, patting him on the shoulder. 'Just a few words and then we can all get on with our lives. Present company excepted, obviously.'
- I commend my soul to any god that can find it.
- 'Work for wages, I realise the concept may not be familiar.' Only as a form of hell, Moist thought.
- Weapons raised the ante far too high. It was much better to rely on a gift for talking his way out of things, confusing the issue and, if that failed, some well-soled shoes and a cry of 'Look, what's over there!'
- What sort of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.
- Moist knew something about golems. They used to be baked out of clay, thousands of years ago, and brought to life by some kind of scroll put inside their heads, and they never wore out and they worked, all the time. You saw them pushing brooms, or doing heavy work in timber yards and foundries. Most of them you never saw at all. They made the hidden wheels go round, down in the dark. And that was more or less the limit of his interest in them. They were, almost by definition, honest.
But now the golems were freeing themselves. It was the quietest, most socially responsible revolution in history. They were property, and so they saved up and bought themselves.
- Mr Groat took a measured spoonful of tincture of rhubarb and cayenne pepper, to keep the tubes open, and checked that he still had the dead mole round his neck, to ward off any sudden attack of doctors. Everyone knew doctors made you ill, it stood to reason. Nature's remedies were the trick every time, not some hellish potion made of gods knew what.
- Speak softly and employ a huge man with a crowbar.
- 'Er..Mr Pump?'
'Yes, Mr Lipvig?' said the golem.
'Are you allowed to assist me in any way, or do you just wait around till it's time to hit me on the head?'
'There Is No Need For Hurtful Remarks, Sir. I Am Allowed To Render Appropriate Assistance.'
- The freedom to succeed goes hand in hand with the freedom to fail.
- Lord Vetinari
- Vimes stared at [Detritus]. When I first met you, you were chained to a wall like a watchdog and didn't speak much beyond a grunt, he thought. Truly, the leopard can change his shorts.
- In one way or another, are we not all looking for our cow?
- 'Where is my Cow' advertisement on the back of the Thud! hardback cover.
- It goes baa, that is a sheep! That is not my cow!
- Vimes had never got on with any game much more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks round, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves.
- Good Morning, Insert Name Here! I am the Dis-Organizer Mark Five, "The Gooseberry"TM. How may I — ' it began, speaking fast in order to get as much said as possible before the inevitable interruption.
'I swear I switched you off,' said Vimes.
'You threatened me with a hammer,' said the imp accusingly, and rattled the tiny bars. 'He threatens state-of-the-Craft technomancy with a hammer, everybody!' it shouted. 'He doesn't even fill in the registration card! That's why I have to call him Insert Nam — '
- 'Then would you like to engage the handy-to-use BluenoseTM Integrated Messenger Service?'
'What does that do?' said Vimes with deep suspicion. The succession of Dis-Organizers he had owned had proved quite successful at very nearly sorting out all the problems that stemmed from owning them in the first place.
'Er, basically, it means me running with a message to the nearest clacks tower really fast,' said the imp hopefully.
'And do you come back?' said Vimes, hope also rising.
'Thank you, no,' said Vimes.
'How about a game of Splong!TM, specially devised for the Mark Five?' pleaded the imp. 'I have the bats right here. No? Perhaps you would prefer the ever-popular Guess My Weight in Pigs? Or I could whistle one of your favourite tunes? My iHumTM function enables me to remember up to one thousand five hundred of your all-time — '
- Good old Cheery. She knew what a Vimes BLT was all about. It was about having to lift up quite a lot of crispy bacon before you found the miserable skulking vegetables. You might never notice them at all.
- 'Yes, your grace. Nevetheless, I must represent the public interest here. I shall try not to be obtrusive. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? your grace.'
'I know that one,' said Vimes. 'Who watches the watchman? Me, Mr. Pessimal.'
'Ah, but who watches you, your grace?' said the inspector, with a brief smile.
'I do that, too. All the time,' said Vimes. 'Believe me.'
- All the city's departments got inspected from time to time, Vetinari had said. There was no reason why the Watch should be passed over, was there? It was, after all, a major drain on the city coffers.
Vimes had pointed out that a drain was where things went to waste.
Nevertheless, Vetinari had said. Just nevertheless. You couldn't argue with 'nevertheless'.
- 'Shoes, men, coffins... never accept the first one you see.'
- 'Where's my daddy? Is that my daddy? He goes "Buggrit! Millennium hand and shrimp!" That's Foul 'Ole Ron! That's not my daddy!' - Vimes' "street version" of Where's My Cow?
- [Sargent Colon] 'D'you know much about art, Nobby?'
`If necessary, sarge.'
`Oh, come on, Nobby!'
`What? Tawneee says what she does is Art, sarge. And she wears more clothes than a lot of the women on the walls around here, so why be sniffy about it?'
`Yeah, but. ..' Fred Colon hesitated here. He knew in his heart that spinning upside down around a pole wearing a costume you could floss with definitely was not Art, and being painted lying on a bed wearing nothing but a smile and a small bunch of grapes was good solid Art, but putting your finger on why this was the case was a bit tricky. `No urns,' he said at last.
`What urns?' said Nobby.
`Nude women are only Art if there's an urn in it,' said Fred Colon. This sounded a bit weak even to him, so he added, `or a plinth. Both is best, o'course. It's a secret sign, see, that they put in to say that it's Art and okay to look at.'
`What about a potted plant?'
`That's okay if it's in an urn.'
`What about if it's not got an urn or a plinth or a potted plant?' said Nobby.
`Have you one in mind, Nobby?' said Colon suspiciously.
`Yes, The Goddess Anoia  Arising from the Cutlery,' said Nobby. `They've got it here. It was painted by a bloke with three i's in his name, which sounds pretty artistic to me.'
`The number of i's is important, Nobby,' said Sergeant Colon gravely, `but in these situations you have to ask yourself: where's the cherub? If there's a little fat pink kid holding a mirror or a fan or similar, then it's still okay. Even if he's grinning. Obviously you can't get urns everywhere.'
 Anoia is the Ankh-Morpork Goddess of Things That Get Stuck in Drawers.
Where's My Cow? (2005)
- "Where's my daddy? Is that my daddy? It goes: 'I arrest you in the name of the Law!' That's my daddy!"
"Law," yawned Young Sam, falling asleep.
"That's my boy," said Sam Vimes, as he tucked him in.
- 'Ach, she's writ here: Oh, the dear Feegles ha' turned up again' he said. This was met with general applause.
'Ach, what a kind girl tae write that', said Billy BigChin. 'Can I see?'
He read: Oh dear, the Feegles have turned up again.
- There be a lot o' men who became heroes cuz they wuz too scared tae run!
- 'Er ... I dinnae wanta be a knee aboot this, but why is ye all here freezin' tae death?'
'Our oxen wandered off and, alas, the snow's too deep to walk through' said Mr Swinsley.
'Aye. But youse got a stove and all them dry ol' books,' said the dark figure.
'Yes, we know,' said the librarian looking puzzled.
There was the kind of wretched pause you get when two people aren't going to understand each other's point of view at all.
- 'This I choose to do,' she croaked her breath leaving little clouds in the air. She cleared her throat and started again. 'This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. If it is my death, I choose to die. Where this takes me, I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do.' It wasn't a spell, except in her head. But, as Granny Weatherwax said, if you can't make a spell work in your own head, what good is it?
- Witches usually wear black, but as far as she could tell the only reason that witches wore black was because they'd always worn black. This did not seem a good enough reason, so she tended to wear blue or green.
- 'When a bull coo meets a lady coo he disna have tae say, "My hert goes bang-bang-bang when I see your wee face," 'cuz it's kinda built intae their heads. People have it more difficult. Romancin' is verra important ye ken. Basically it's a way the boy can get close to the girl wi'oot her attackin' him and scratchin' his eyes oot.'
Making Money (2007)
- Students, eh? Love 'em or hate 'em, you're not allowed to hit 'em with a shovel.
- 'There's no need to get hysterical,' said Adora Belle.
'Yes, there is! What there isn't a need for is staying calm!'
- 'The box exists in ten or possibly eleven dimensions. Practically anything may be possible.'
'Why only eleven dimensions?'
'We don't know,' said Ponder. 'It might be simply that more would be silly.'
- "If you are smoking, thank you for being beaten about the head"
- "I wonder ... Am I really a bastard or am I just really good at thinking like one?"
- "(...) true style comes from innate cunning and mendacity. You can't buy it."
- "Whole new theories of money were growing here like mushrooms, in the dark and based on bullshit."
- "Building a temple didn't mean you believed in gods, it just meant you believed in architecture."
- "I hate it when there are two four o'clocks in the same day."
Other Discworld works
Theatre of Cruelty (2003)
- '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.
The Discworld Companion (1994, 1997, 2003)
- There are no inconsistencies in the Discworld books, merely alternative pasts.
Discworld (Reformed) Vampyre's Diary 2003
- Thought for the week
Remember, ve are not bloodsuckers.
What is missing from *AMPY*ISM? V R! - 1–5 Offle
The Discworld Almanak - The Year of The Prawn (2004)
- If the Swan be nesting high, then floods are expected; if only the head of the Swan may be seen, they have arrived abruptly. -
- 1. All fungi are edible.
2. Some fungi are not edible more than once.
The Science of Discworld (1999)
- With magic, you can turn a frog into a prince. With science, you can turn a frog into a Ph.D and you still have the frog you started with.
- Magicians and scientists are, on the face of it, poles apart. Certainly, a group of people who often dress strangely, live in a world of their own, speak a specialized language and frequently make statements that appear to be in flagrant breach of common sense have nothing in common with a group of people who often dress strangely, speak a specialized language, live in ... er ...
- On Roundworld, things happen because the things want to happen.†
- † In a manner of speaking. They happen because things obey the rules of the universe. A rock has no detectable opinion about gravity.
- Sometimes, the best answer is a more interesting question.
- This was turning out to be the longest winter in living memory, so long, in fact, that living memory itself was being shortened as some of the older citizens succumbed.
- 'Where did you get the idea for this, Mister Stibbons?' said Ridcully.
'Well, er, a lot of it is from my own research, but I got quite a few leads from careful reading of the Scrolls of Loko in the Library, sir.'
[...]'Loko...Loko...Loko,' mused Ridcully. 'That's up in Uberwald, isn't it?'
'That's right, sir.'
'Tryin' to bring it to mind,' Ridcully went on, rubbing his beard. 'Isn't that where there's that big deep valley with the ring of mountains round it? Very deep valley indeed, as I recall.'
'That's right, sir. According to the library catalogue the scrolls were found in a cave by the Crustley Expedition-'
'Lots of centaurs and fauns and other curiously shaped magical whatnots are there, I remember reading.'
'Is there, sir?'
'Wasn't Stanmer Crustley the one who died of planets?'
'I'm not familiar with-'
'Extremely rare magical disease, I believe.'
'Indeed sir, but-'
'Now I come to think about it, everyone on that expedition contracted something seriously magical within a few months of getting back,' Ridcully went on.
'Er, yes, sir. The suggestion was that there was some kind of curse on the place. Ridiculous notion, of course.'
- "I somehow feel I need to ask, Mister Stibbons...what chance is there of this just blowin' up and destroyin' the entire university?'
Ponder's heart sank. He mentally scanned the sentence, and took refuge in the truth. 'None, sir.'
'Now try honesty, Mister Stibbons.'
[...] 'Well...in the unlikely event of it going seriously wrong, it...wouldn't just blow up the university, sir.'
'What would it blow up, pray?'
'Everything there is, you mean?'
'Within a radius of about fifty thousand miles out into space, sir, yes. According to Hex, it'd happen instantanously. We wouldn't even know about it.'
'And the odds of this are...?'
'About fifty to one, sir.'
The wizards relaxed.
'That's pretty safe. I wouldn't bet on a horse at those odds,' said the Senior Wrangler.
- As yet unmeasured, but believed to be faster than light owing to its ability to move so quickly out of light's way.
- On the speed of Dark
- As humans, we have invented lots of useful kinds of lie. As well as lies-to-children ('as much as they can understand') there are lies-to-bosses ('as much as they need to know') lies-to-patients ('they won't worry about what they don't know') and, for all sorts of reasons, lies-to-ourselves. Lies-to-children is simply a prevalent and neccesary kind of lie. Universities are very familiar with bright, qualified school-leavers who arrive and then go into shock on finding that biology or physics isn't quite what they've been taught so far. 'Yes, but you needed to understand that,' they are told, 'so that now we can tell you why it isn't exactly true.' Discworld teachers know this, and use it to demonstrate why universities are truly storehouses of knowledge: students arrive from school confident that they know very nearly everything, and they leave years later certain that they know practically nothing. Where did the knowledge go in the meantime? Into the university, of course, where it is carefully dried and stored.
- 'We've got about ten seconds to the next discharge, sir,' said Ponder. 'Only...now that the balls have gone it will simply earth itself...'
'Ah. Oh. Really? Well, then...' Ridcully looked around at his fellow wizards as the walls began to shake again. 'It's been nice knowing you. Some of you. One or two of you, anyway...'
The whine of increasing magic rose in pitch.
The Dean cleared his throat.
'I'd just like to say, Mustrum,' he began.
'Yes, old friend?'
'I'd just like to say...I think I'd have made a much better Archchancellor than you.'
- 'And the Dean stirred it up,' the Senior Wrangler went on.
'That's right!' said the Dean. 'That means I'm sort of a god.'
'Waggling your fingers around and saying "oo, it prickles" is not godliness,' said Ridcully severely.
- 'My hypothesis, for what it's worth,' said the Lecturer in Recent Runes, 'is that since it was all started off by the Dean, a certain Dean-like tendency may have imparted itself to the ensuing...er...developments.'
'What? You mean we've got a huge windy universe with a tendency to sulk?'
'Thank you, Archchancellor,' said the Dean.
'I was referring to the predilection of matter to...er...accrete into...er...spherical shapes.'
'Like the Dean, you mean.' said Archchancellor.
'I can see I'm among friends here,' said the Dean.
- 'I would just like to point out, Dean, that it was not a very funny joke to begin with. It was a pathetic attempt, Dean, at dragging a sad laugh out of a simple figure of speech. Only four-year-olds and people with a serious humour deficiency keep on and on about it. I just wanted to bring this out in the open, Dean, calmly and in the spirit of reconciliation, for your own good, in the hope that you may be made well. We are all here for you, although I can't imagine what you are here for.'
- 'I think it looks more like a Hogswatchnight ornament,' said the Senior Wrangler later, as the wizards took a pre-dinner drink and stared into the omniscope at the glittering white world. 'Quite pretty, really.'
'Bang go the blobs,' said Ponder Stibbons.
'Phut,' said the Dean cheerfully. 'More sherry, Archchancellor?'
'Perhaps some instability in the sun...' Ponder mused.
'Made by unskilled labour,' said Archchancellor Ridcully. 'Bound to happen sooner or later. And then it's nothing but frozen death, the tea-time of the gods and an eternity of cold.'
'Sniffleheim,' said the Dean, who'd got to the sherry ahead of everyone else.
- Ponder was working the Rules again. Now they read:
1 Things fall apart, but centres hold
2 Everything moves in curves
3 You get balls
4 Big balls tell space to bend
5 There are no turtles anywhere
(after this one he'd added Except ordinary ones)
6 Life turns up everywhere it can
7 Life turns up everywhere it can't
8 There is something like narrativium
9 There may be something called bloodimindium (see rule 7)
- 'Well, what is it achieving? I mean, really? Y'know, I thought, all you had to do is get a world working, and before you could say "creation" there'd be some creature who'd stand up, getting a grip on its surroundings, gaze with a certain amount of intelligence and awe at the infinite sky and say - '
' - that thing's getting bigger, I wonder if it's going to hit us,' said Rincewind.
'Rincewind, that remark was extremely cynical and accurate.'
- 'Did you see the weather report for this world?' said Rincewind, waving his hands in the air. 'Two miles of ice, followed by a light shower of rocks, with outbreaks of choking fog for the next thousand years? There will be widespread vulcanism as half a continent's worth of magma lets go, followed by a period of mountain building? And that's normal.'
'Yes, well -'
'Oh yes, there are some nice quiet periods, everything settles down, and then - whammo!'
'There's no need to get so excited -"
'I've been here!' said Rincewind. 'This is how this place works! And now, please, you tell me how, I mean how, can anything living on this world possibly mess it up? I mean, compared to what happens anyway?' He paused, and gulped air. 'I mean, don't get me wrong, if you pick the right time, yes, sure, it's a great world for a holiday, ten thousand years, even a few million if you're lucky with the weather but, good grief, it's just not a serious proposition for anything long term. It's a great place to grow up on, but you wouldn't want to live here. If anything's got off, the best of luck to them.'
- Eden and Camelot, the wonderous garden-worlds of myth and legend, are here now. This is about as good as it ever gets. Mostly, it's a lot worse. And it won't stay like this for very long.
- 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
- 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, sometime inside a fish tells it that it is a fish, was a fish...and might eventually be something else...
- It is always useful for a university to have a Very Big Thing. It occupies the younger members, to the relief of their elders (especially if the VBT is based at some distance from the seat of learning itself) and it uses up a lot of money which would otherwise only lie around causing trouble or be spent by the sociology department or, probably, both. It also helps to push back boundaries, and it doesn't much matter what boundaries these are, since as any researcher will tell you it's the pushing that matters, not the boundary.
It's a good idea, too, if it's a bigger VBT than anyone else's and, in particular, since this was Unseen University, the greatest magical university in the world, if it's a bigger one than the one those bastards are building at Braseneck College.
'In fact,' said Ponder Stibbons, Head of Inadvisably Applied Magic, 'theirs is really only a QBT, or Quite Big Thing. Actually, they've had so many problems with it, it's probably only a BT!'
The senior wizards nodded happily.
- [...]In that world as we left it, the first humans walked on the Moon is less than seventy years after they flew at all.'
Ponder looked at their blank faces.
'Which was quite an achievement,' he said.
'Why? We've done that,' said the Dean.
Ponder sighed. 'Things are different on a globe, sir. There are no broomsticks, no magic carpets, and going to the Moon is not just a case of pushing off over the edge and trying to avoid the Turtle on the way down.'
'How did they do it, then?' said the Dean.
'Using rockets, sir.'
'The things that go up and explode with lots of coloured lights?'
'Initially sir, but fortunately they found out how to stop them doing that.'
- +++ I am sorry. It is hard to convey five-dimensional ideas in a language evolved to scream defiance at the monkeys in the next tree. +++
- 'Collecting was enormous popular among the English of this century. Bones, shells, butterflies, birds, other people's countries...'
- 'There are quite a lot of reasons why that course of action might not, with ease, be rescued in any coherent way from the category of the insanely unwise, Dean.
- Ponder Stibbons, in Ch. 11
- 'That would be unethical, Dean,' said Ridcully.'Why? We're the Good Guys, aren't we?''Yes, but that rather hinges on doing certain things and not doing others, sir', said Ponder. 'Playing around with other people's heads against their will would almost certainly be one of the nots.'
- Ch. 11
- This mission had created a difficult decision for Rincewind, when he'd been presented with the task of preventing Charles Darwin being stung to death by wasps. Right from the start it was obvious that Darwin would see him, and if Rincewind was invisible the wasps wouldn't see him. He'd therefore undertaken the mission carrying two buckets of warm jam and wearing a pink tutu, an acid-green wig, and a red nose, reasoning that (a) Darwin wouldn't believe that he had seen him and in any case (b) wouldn't dare tell anyone...
- Rincewind reappeared above the lawn, and rolled expertly when he hit the ground. Other wizards, nothing like so experienced at dealing with the vicissitudes of the world, lay about groaning or staggered around uncertainly.
'It wears off,' he said, as he stepped over them. 'You might throw up a bit at first. Other symptoms of rapid cross-dimensional travel are short-term memory loss, ringing in the ears, constipation, diarrhoea, hot flushes, confusion, bewliderment, a morbid dread of feet, disorientation, nose bleeds, ear twinges, grumbling of the spleen, widgeons, and short-term memory loss.'
- Most of Mount Impossible was hollow. You need a lot of space when you are trying to devise a dirigible whale.
'It really should work,' said the God of Evolution, over tea. 'Without that heavy blubber and with an inflatable skeleton of which, I must say I am rather proud, it should do well on the routes of migratory birds. Larger maw, of course. Note the cloud-like camouflage, obviously required. Lifting is produced via bacteria in the gut which produce elevating gases. The dorsail sail and the flattened tail give a reasonable degree of steerability. All in all, a good piece of work. My main problem is devising a predator. The sea-air ballistic shark has proved quite unsatisfactory. I don't know if you might have any suggestions, Mr. Darwin?'
Ponder looked at Darwin. The poor man, his face grey, was staring up at the two whales who were crusing gently near the roof of the cave.
The Darwin family motto:
cave et aude.
Watch, and listen
Discworld (Trouble With Dragons)
When the player clicks on Rincewind
"Hands off my pixels!"
"Who do you think you're poking? I'm a great wizard, I am! I'll turn you into a mindless ugly toad (second passes) gosh! it worked!"
"Please, don't stare, I'm rather shy."
"Of course it's me! Who were you expecting? Death?
"That's it! Poke a man in the ribs! let's see what you can do without it! (cursor disappears for a few seconds) oh, all right! you can have it back if you promise to use it wisely.
"If only I had another dimension, I'd teach you a thing or two."
When examining the Luggage
"Where'd you put all that stuff?"
"Luggage! *whistles* here! Luggage!"
"Oy! heel! heel! down! I'm sorry, he normally never does this"
"Why can't I just have an Inventory Window like everybody else?"
When examining certain items
(when examining the pond) "actually it's been a while since I had a bath."
(when examining the sleeping luggage) a snoring chest? that's novel! well, I'll soon fix that.
(when examining the Unseen University gate) "now where's the doorknob then? how can you have a door this big without a knob?
(when examining the Apprentice) good grief! and I thought the apprentices were all kept tied to stakes.
(when examining the Unseen University from outside) ah ha! good old Unseen U! I wonder if the walls are this high to keep what's outside from getting in, and what's inside from getting out?
(when examining a doorway) Ah. Portallus Exitus. Or, the common doorway. You see? I'm not a wizard for nothing!
(when examining the 'shape' out his window) yes, a mysterious shape, a sinister shape, a shape forted with, with, shapeness. it must be a plot element, otherwise there would be a better label
(when examining the Archchancellor) as far as leaders go, the only reason I'd follow him into battle is out of curiousity.
(when examining the frozen book) hmm.. 'sex magic' no wonder it's on ice.
(when examining the floating book acting like a guard dog) ahh, let's not press this curiousity thing too far then shall we?
(when examining the Librarian) Actually, on close examination, this would seem to be some sub-tropical boborial ape.
(when examining a staue) Actually, this one is not a statue, it used to be a frog outside in the pond. Oh, well, he should never have asked to be turned into a hansome plinth.
Rincewind: hi! you don't mind if I monkey about in the Library for while? (gets hit in the head by the Librarian) did you get the number off that donkey cart?
Rincewind: may I take a book from the Libarary please?
Librarian: ook! ook!
Rincewind: excuse me?
Librarian: ook! ook ee!
Rincewind: I see, um, I need something in order to take out a book.
Librarian: ook ook
Rincewind: toothpaste? fingers? gloves? something in your hand?
Librarian: ook ook
Rincewind: A dentest? Hypitosis? you want some mouthwash, that's it, you want some mouthwash, I'm sorry, but I'm already spoken for.
Rincewind: oh! a library card! well why didn't you say so in the first place? well why didn't you say so in the first place? what happens if just barge in without giving you a Library card? yes, well look, unfortunately, I don't have one, ape.
Rincewind: ape, on ya, upon my person, yes, upon my person, whew! I didn't say monkey! (gets hit in the head by the Librarian) did you get the number off that donkey cart?
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."
"Rincewind: 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?!"
When examining certain items or people
(when examining Granny Weatherwax)
"Granny Weatherwax: A tough lady this one. Best to let her get the beauty sleep she so obviously needs."
(when examining the Imp's steel-toed boots)
"Hmm. Those boots have steel caps on the end. Very...large, metal toecaps. Look, what do you want me to do? Shout out the word "hint"?!"
(when examining a Bunsen Burner)
"What's a "Bunsen" anyway? And why would you want to burn one?"
(when examining a mouse)
"I shall love him and squeeze him and name him George! Or something like that."
(when examining a pint of beer)
"A beer, with some amoeba's on a stick. Ooh, look! Some of them are waving!"
(when examining a Pot of ancient glue)
"Hey, this stuff's guaranteed to last 1000 years, so if it fails then you can take it back and complain."
(when examining a pillar)
"It's a pillar not a pillow!"
(when examining the man selling camels)
"*Sigh* It's the heat you know, it really does thing to a man's uh...a man's.....*Squeak*?"
When leaving a conversation
"Sorry, but I think it's about time for me to take my medicine."
(Acting in his own Moving Picture) "Now is the winter of our discontent, made all the more dreary for the lack of death. Oooh! To be, or not to be, that is the question. Whether to be extremely cool, reach the height of fashion and snuff it or to keep drawing breath and lose all fashion sense forever more."
(Acting in his own Moving Picture after being hit on the head a few times)
"Now is the winter of the tents, er, the discontent, made all the more dreary for the lack of, of, uh, death. Oooh! To be, or not to be, that's the question! Whether to be extremely cold, reach the heights of fashion and, and sniffing or to keep drawing breath and lose all fashion sense forever more."
It's not true that thaumic radiation damages the *Bark* brain! I've been exposed for months and every day and in every way, I am getting better and better and better! They laughed at me and said I was mad you know. Have a nice day! Have a nice day! Have real, real, real nice night, no day *woof* haha!
Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead, bring out yer living dead!
Dibbler: Banged grains, lovingly swept off the warehouse floor.
St. Ungalant (Who appears to be talking to an invisible person called "Angus")
Angus! Don't put those in there, you know they breed like flies!
Oh, they are flies! Well, bring the popcorn and we'll watch them!
Death: I'm about to have a chunder in a minute.
Rincewind: A chunder? What's a chunder?
Death: I don't know, but it sounds interesting.
Rincewind: HEX, please can you tell me the answer to the question "why"?
HEX rattles for a bit and then goes silent.
Skazz: It make take some time for HEX to come up with the answer.
Rincewind: How long will this take?
(Skazz pulls out a small stone circle and uses it like a calculator)
Skazz: Lets see...I think it'll take a few aeons.
Skazz: Nope. Aeons or age of the world, probably about 2 million years. would you like a cup of something while you wait?
Skazz: Ah, I don't think we have any of that in stock.
Skazz: (reading out the answer to the question "why") It says "because" and then it says: blip blip blip Out Of Cheese Error blip blip blip Unrecoverable Application Error blip blip blip Cannot Find Drive Z blip blip blip Please Reboot Universe blip blip blip Redo From Start blip blip blip.
Rincewind: Oh blip!
Mrs.Cake: Is it? ooh, I havn't been outside.
Rincewind: Hello there, nice day! Eh?
Mrs.Cake: What? How dare you!
Rincewind: I believe you're fouling up this whole conversation!
Mrs.Cake: What do you mean "how do I do it"?
Rincewind: You really are messing up this whole conversation. How are you managing to do it?
Mrs.Cake: Why, yes I am actually. Why, does it show?
Rincewind: She's telling me the answers before I even know what I'm gonna say! Is she a clairvoyant?
Mrs.Cake: Well, I'm glad we can put that whole messy business behind us. I'm sorry, sometimes I forget I've left it on you see.
Rincewind: Hello there, nice day! Oh, dammit! We're back here again!
Mrs.Cake: What? Hang on, I'll just turn my precognition off. (Turns it off) That's much better.
Mrs.Cake: Quite well, thank you. Well go on, ask it. I get a migraine if people don't ask the right questions once the answers have come.
Rincewind: Hello Mrs.Cake, how are you?
Mrs.Cake: That's better.
(Rincewind climbs out of the ship's cargo bay, where all the corpes are held)
Rincewind(To Pirate): Um, Hello there, I say!
Pirate: Aaaahhhh!!! It be the dreaded pirate orange beard, back from Davie Jones's bathroom!
(Jumps of 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.
- Terry Pratchett Quotes archive A searchable database of quotes from Terry Pratchett's novels.