Yesterday was the 3rd anniversary of my favorite writer’s death. Sir Terence David John Pratchett, better known as Terry Pratchett was one of the greatest writers of fantasy and undoubtedly one of the funniest people on earth. His comic fantasy monster of a series, *Discworld, is well known all around the planet, with more than 80 million books sold in 37 languages. There are 41 novels in the series (plus several short stories, encyclopedias, cook books, almanacs, etc.), and each book can be read as a standalone. He wrote many other books too, and his work has been adapted for film, television, radio, stage, comics, board games, video games, etc.
I’m writing this post because I love him, I miss him, and I want to share him with anyone who hasn’t yet heard of him or read him; with anyone in need of a hilarious fantastical book. 🙂 I will not list my favorite Discworld novels, firstly because I haven’t read them all yet, and secondly because it’s really hard to choose. I will list my favorite characters – witches, animals, city watch men, wizards and more. These are the characters who made my life so much better and brighter:
*Discworld is an imaginary flat world, sitting upon the backs of four gigantic elephants, which in turn stand on the back of an enormous turtle, Great A’Tuin, slowly drifting through space. This world is filled with magic: wizards, witches, fae, vampires, trolls, dwarves, assassins, sentient luggage, and more.
Gytha Nanny Ogg
“Nanny Ogg knew how to start spelling ‘banana’, but didn’t know how you stopped.”
Gytha Ogg, commonly known as Nanny Ogg, is a witch and a part of the three-piece Lancre coven. She is a matriarch with an enormous family. Nanny has a tendency to get drunk and sing a hilarious song called “The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All”. She is also the proud owner of the world’s most evil and horniest cat Greebo.
She appears in: Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, The Shepherd’s Crown.
“The Luggage said nothing, but louder this time.”
The Luggage is a large sentient chest made of Sapient Pearwood. It can produce hundreds of little legs sticking out from its underside; it can move very fast, and it’s basically indestructible. It has been described as “half suitcase, half homicidal maniac”.
It appears in: The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Sourcery, Eric, Interesting Times, The Last Continent, The Last Hero.
“YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME?”
Death in Discworld is a parody of several other versions of death. He is a black-robed skeleton carrying a scythe and, in case of a royal passing, a sword. Death owns a horse called Binky who is still very much alive. His hollow, peculiar voice is represented in the books unquoted and in all caps. Death is also quite fond of kittens.
He appears in: Mort, Sourcery, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather, Thief of Time.
“Odd thing, ain’t it… you meet people one at a time, they seem decent, they got brains that work, and then they get together and you hear the voice of the people. And it snarls.”
Samuel “Sam” Vimes is the commander of City Watch in the city-state Ankh-Morpork. His rise from an alcoholic policeman to a respected member of the aristocracy, and the growth and development of the Watch under his command, have together been one of the major threads of the Discworld series.
He appears in: Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch, Monstrous Regiment, Thud!, Snuff, Raising Steam.
Granny Esme Weatherwax
“I’m not a lady, I’m a witch.”
Esmerelda “Esme” Weatherwax is a witch and the head of the Lancre coven. Granny Weatherwax is always dressed in black and wears a pointed witch’s hat atop of her ‘iron-hard gray bun’, just like a proper witch. Unlike a proper witch, she has perfect skin, and all her teeth, so she is set on undoing this by consuming a lot of sugar. She has a commanding and formidable presence, and an icy, penetrating glare. Actually, her witchy powers mostly consist of her using her intimidating stance, which she calls headology.
She appears in: Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, The Shepherd’s Crown.
Bonus favorite characters: Rincewind, Lord Vetinari, The Librarian, Cut-me-own-throat Dibbler, Gaspode the Wonder Dog, Detritus the Troll, the Death of Rats, Giamo Casanunda, and ughhh many, many more.
Have you read any of the Discworld novels, or do you plan to? If you did, who are your favorite characters? I promise I’ll stop spamming with Pratchett for a while, I just love him so much :’)
*All images in this post belong to Paul Kidby, a long-time Discworld illustrator