‘It is gov-ern-ment money, kid,’ said Maurice patiently.  'Say it.  Gov-ern-ment money.’

'Gov-ern-ment money,’ said the boy obediently.

'Right!  And what do governments do with money?’

'Er, they…’

'They pay soldiers,’ said Maurice.  'They have wars.  In fact we’ve prob'ly stopped a lot of wars, by taking the money and putting it where it can’t do any harm.  They’d put up stachoos to us, if they thought about it.’
—  Terry Pratchett, “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents”
Terry Pratchett's 'The Wee Free Men' is getting a movie adaptation from the Jim Henson Company
The first book in Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series is going to be a movie.

With a screenplay by Rhianna Pratchett, daughter of Terry Pratchett, we’re finally going to see an adaptation of The Wee Free Men.

The Wee Free Men introduced Tiffany Aching, the young witch who starred in several of Pratchett’s last Discworld books. It also features a group of Discworld characters who seem absolutely perfect for a Jim Henson movie: the Nac Mac Feegle, a community of foul-mouthed and gleefully violent gnomes.


Wee Free Men announcement

“The Jim Henson Company announced today the development of a feature film based on the great literary legacy of the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s “THE WEE FREE MEN,” part of the wildly popular Discworld series.

The long-awaited film adaption will be written by his daughter Rhianna Pratchett, an award-winning scriptwriter for videogames, comics, film and TV. Her work includes the 2013 smash hit reboot of Tomb Raider, the BAFTA nominated Heavenly Sword and the Writers’ Guild winning Overload and Rise of the Tomb Rider.


‘You can’t arrest the commander of an army!’

'Actually, Mr. Vimes, I think we could,’ said Carrot.  'And the army, too.  I mean, I don’t see why we can’t.  We could charge them with behavior likely to cause a breach of the peace, sir.  I mean, that’s what warfare IS.’

Vimes’s face split in a manic grin.  'I LIKE it.’

'But in fairness our–that is, the Ankh-Morpork army–are also–’

'Then you’d better arrest them, too,’ said Vimes.  'Arrest the lot of 'em.  Conspiracy to cause an affray,’ he started to count on his fingers, 'going equipped to commit a crime, obstruction, threatening behavior, loitering with intent, loitering WITHIN tent, hah, traveling for the purposes of committing a crime, malicious lingering and carrying concealed weapons.’
—  Terry Pratchett, “Jingo”
(And the thing is, we laugh at this because the idea of Sam Vimes arresting two armies IS funny.  But on top of being funny–and on top of Vimes trying to pile on the charges here with this list–Pratchett intended with this book above all else to characterize war as, in itself, a crime.  In this case, a war started because of a lie and because of racial/ethnic/national prejudice.  But we’re meant to be thinking about this.  When is war NOT a crime, when you get down to what most people think crimes are?  Why is killing people okay and legal when it’s war, for one thing?  Why is it legal to loot places when you conquer them?  Why isn’t it murder and theft?  Well?)

eliasraine  asked:

Which do you think is the better berserker scene in Discworld canon, Sam Vimes howling "THAT!!! IS!! NOT!!! MY!!!! COW!!!!" in Thud! or Dorfl's methodical rampage through Ankh-Morpork following his being given free will?

You…you want me to pick between Sam Vimes’ love for his son, and Dorfl’s emancipation from being a Thing into a Person?

*narrows eyes*

What kind of monster are you…

(Some minor spoilers ahead)

In all honesty I don’t think I can choose. Sam Vimes and his love for his family, his utter devotion to Young Sam, is one of the most pure and wonderful things I’ve ever read.

From a man who has nothing, literally nothing to lose and doesn’t care, to a man who suddenly has everything, and is so certain he doesn’t deserve it he lives in terror every day of losing it. He’s not a violent man either despite what some people think, oh he’ll fight to survive and he’ll fight dirty to do it, but he’s not intrinsically a violent man.

Until he sees the dwarf assassin going into his son’s nursery. And then Vimes finds a prayer in his soul, deep and dark and terrible like some old god of vengeance, a promise that makes hell fire look like a candle:

“I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you

He doesn’t have to, of course. The Summoning Dark does the work for him, and indeed perhaps that promise came from the Darkness, and not himself. Sam Vimes might well want to kill the dwarf that stands of his son’s cradle with an axe raised. But Sam Vimes is Sam Vimes, and Sam Vimes will always find a way to bring evil into the light. We see that in the cavern when the Darkness tries to take over him fully, and the only thing Sam Vimes can do is reach for the last part of him that lives in the light. And that’s reading “Where’s My Cow” to his son every night. This cynical, jaded man who lives in fear of his own demons, his rage, his alcoholism, his inability to trust anyone, his want to lash out at a world that lets the innocent get hurt while the guilty thrive, his depression—even calls it The Beast—worries that he’s not a good man because that’s what good men do. And when the ultimate darkness tries to claim him, making his body swing an axe like a berserker, Sam Vimes goes to the place that reads his son a bedtime story every night. And stops it before the axe can fall.

And there’s something so incredibly visceral about that. But the exact same can also be said for Dorfl.

Feet of Clay is one of my favorite works of literature of all time. I want to be buried with a copy of it, I want the quote “Words In The Heart Cannot Be Taken” engraved on my tombstone. Every time I read it, which is multiple times a year, I am rendered in awe by the anger, the downright burning rage that the world is so cruel and dark that children die because of politics and that people can be treated like property just because we say so and then we hate them for it because it’s easier to hate them instead of ourselves for being the monsters that wrought the chains…and yet…and yet there’s something so innocent about the golems. The way they take a piece of themselves, and try to make something pure and good and just, and imbue it with all their hopes and dreams, the things they dare not do themselves but think perhaps if they make something new that isn’t already worn down by the world, maybe, just maybe they might one day be free…except that’s now how it works. You cannot ask someone else to burn just so you can be warm, you cannot put the weight of the world onto a single pair of shoulders and be surprised when their back breaks. But the golems didn’t know this because all they had were stories in their heads, where good people triumph and the bad are punished…so of course it didn’t work in the real world, of course the Golem King goes mad, the weight of all that hope like a terrible maw of despair in his head…guide us, deliver us, set us free, lead us to…goodness, kindness…their absolute horror and grief when they realize what has happened is overwhelming in a quiet stricken way.


And then there’s Dorfl. Dorfl who tries to take the blame, Dorfl who is passive and huge and lumbering and terrifying to behold…Dorfl who is silent because Things should not speak so his tongue was never made. And people blame him for that too.

Dorfl who is given his freedom, and suddenly the words in his head change and he looks around the world and sees the injustice of it all and his immediate rage is like an inferno blazing a trail through the darkness…

Dorfl who takes action because words are no longer enough. Dorfl who frees animals and breaks mills and becomes angry and upset when the other golems don’t immediately join him because they don’t know, they don’t know what it’s like to see the world in color yet, and even the sunrise can look like fire if you’ve only ever seen hell before…

Dorfl who is willing to die to stop a human being from being murdered because he can…Dorfl who has the words ripped out of his head and tossed aside like a broken toy…Dorfl who rises up because he has to, Dorfl who lays in the dust of his own rubble. Dorfl whose dying words—words he will never speak because he was never given a voice but he knows them to be true because he’s here, he’s still alive in defiance of the universe, even as the light fades from his eyes— WORDS IN THE HEART CANNOT BE TAKEN

Dorfl who emerges from the fire—remade with a tongue and a voice that echoes like thunder and stands defiant even to the gods. Dorfl who chooses to be kind…to fight on the side of justice because he can.

Dorfl who knows if you want change you have to not only break the wheel yourself, but also remake it.

Dorfl who frees the golems one by one and brings them blinking into this new world and gives them voices so that they might finally be heard.

Dorfl man…just…Dorfl.

Discworld Sentence Starters
  • “Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.”
  • “Just call in at the torturer on your way out. See when he can fit you in.”
  • “I reckon responsible behavior is something to get when you grow older. Like varicose veins.”
  • “Ninety percent of true love is acute, ear-burning embarrassment.”
  • “Witches aren’t like that. We live in harmony with the great cycles of Nature, and do no harm to anyone, and it’s wicked of them to say we don’t. We ought to fill their bones with hot lead.”
  • “Trouble is, just because things are obvious doesn't mean they're true.”
  • “We ain’t going to curse anyone. It hardly ever works if they don’t know you’ve done it.”
  • "No gods anywhere play chess. They haven’t got the imagination. Gods prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve Transcendence but Go Straight To Oblivion."
  • “Did I do anything last night that suggested I was sane?”
  • “Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?”
  • “Steal five dollars and you're a common thief. Steal thousands and you're either the government or a hero.”
  • “I commend my soul to any god that can find it.”
  • “What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.”
  • “You know how to pray, don’t you? Just put your hands together and hope.”
  • “Welcome to fear. It's hope, turned inside out. You know it can't go wrong, you're sure it can't go wrong...But it might.”
  • “Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.”
  • “Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”
  • “Real children do not go hoppity skip unless they are on drugs.”
  • “There is always time for another last minute."
  • “Hello, inner child, I'm the inner babysitter!”
  • “That's not fair, you know. If we knew when we were going to die, people would lead better lives."
  • “It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
  • “Assassins have a certain code, after all. It's dishonorable to kill someone if you aren't being paid.”
  • “Don't stick your nose where someone can pull it off and eat it.”
  • “People ought to think for themselves... The problem is, people only think for themselves if you tell them to."
  • “He could think in italics. Such people need watching. Preferably from a safe distance.”
  • “Aargh! I’m too short for this shit!”
  • “Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.”
  • “There's nothing more useless in the world than a groom just before the wedding.”
  • “How many dishonorable discharges have you had?”
  • “The air smelled of a limited life expectancy."

I think I’ve finally put my finger on exactly what it is about the Discworld that had such a profound effect on me.

It starts in Guards! Guards!

There’s this thread – not quite a theme, it isn’t as overt – running through that book, which goes something like this:

If you have faith in people, they will, on the whole, rise to meet it.

You see it in Carrot and Sybil, how they both just believe in Vimes, like it’s a complete given, obviously he can take care of the dragon. Neither of them know him, or even the city, very well, so it’s partly naivete, but the lesson still holds – it’s explicitly stated that the Watch guys don’t want to let Sybil down, and half of Vimes’s heroism in that book is him seeing Carrot getting in over his head and going to back him up. Carrot trusts Vimes at the start because he’s naive, but Vimes refuses to break that trust.

Carrot believes that Vimes will back him up, and so Vimes rises to the occasion. Sybil believes that the Watch will save the city, and so they rise. And, without that faith, they wouldn’t have even tried.

It left a huge but subtle impression on me, I never put my finger on exactly what it was before, but it’s that thread (which shows up in more than just that book) that taught me to believe in people.

I just. God, these books.

GNU Terry Pratchett
A man is not dead while his name is still spoken. GNU Terry Pratchett.

In Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, the clacks are a series of semaphore towers loosely based on the concept of the telegraph. Invented by an artificer named Robert Dearheart, the towers could send messages “at the speed of light” using standardized codes. Three of these codes are of particular import:

G: send the message on
N: do not log the message
U: turn the message around at the end of the line and send it back again
When Dearheart’s son John died due to an accident while working on a clacks tower, Dearheart inserted John’s name into the overhead of the clacks with a “GNU” in front of it as a way to memorialize his son forever (or for at least as long as the clacks are standing.)

“A man is not dead while his name is still spoken.”
- Going Postal, Chapter 4 prologue

Okay okay okay I have to point out this excellent contrast of two quotes, which are just two pages away from each other–

Vimes sank gloomily into his armchair.  It was, he felt, a persistent flaw in his wife’s otherwise practical and sensible character that she believed, against all evidence, that he was a man of many talents.  He KNEW he had hidden depths.  There was nothing in them that he’d like to see float to the surface.  They contained things that should be left to lie.


She was very proud of Sam.  He worked hard for a lot of people.  He cared about people who weren’t important.  He always had far more to cope with than was good for him.  He was the most CIVILIZED man she’d ever met.  Not a gentleman, thank goodness, but a gentle man.

Oh look it’s How You See Yourself versus How Your Loved Ones See You.  It’s Vimes knowing he has a darkness inside, and constantly fighting it, see?  Such that Sybil can’t even fathom him being bad.  Because he wouldn’t be.  He is a good man, because what he does is good, even if inside he thinks he is bad or sometimes even thinks bad thoughts.  He is so much better than he realizes, or wants to realize.  And Sybil loves him, and she is so good, too.

Helpful reminder that Pterry did his chemistry homework so well while writing Feet of Clay that it’s possible to identify the exact test for arsenic Cheri is using, and how she burned off her eyebrows again while doing it.

It’s the Marsh test, the first really reliable arsenic test devised. This involves mixing a sample with nitric acid (known in medieval alchemy as “aqua fortis”) and a lot of zinc to give off hydrogen and, if there’s arsenic in the sample, arsine gas (AsH3). You set this gas on fire and hold something cool over the flame, and if there was arsenic in the sample you’ll get black metallic arsenic staining on it.

Cheri’s alchemy book is quoted as reading, “Adde Aqua Quirmis to the Zinc untile Rising Gas Yse Vigorously Evolved,” and she’s looking for a black stain. Her eyebrows are probably a victim of an explosion when there was a bit too much hydrogen when she set it off.