In truth, the Nac Mac Feegle believe that the world is such a wonderful place that in order to have gotten into it, they must have been very good in another existence and now have arrived in, as it were, heaven. Of course, they appear to die sometimes, even here, but they like to think of it as going off to be born again. Numerous theologians have speculated that this is a stupid idea, but it is certainly more enjoyable than many other beliefs.
Terry Pratchett’s books have been, along with J K Rowling’s, the ones that I have most often and consistently reread since my early teens. I have so much admiration for his work, and his courage and campaigning these last few years. During hard times the Discworld audiobooks helped me, and my sister, too, to ease our churning minds and get some rest, though sometimes they made us laugh too much to fall asleep.
Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, Sam Vimes, Carrot and Angua, Tiffany Aching, Gaspode - there are too many beloved characters to name. Thank you Terry Pratchett for giving me so many friends and heroes, and in the sadness of your passing, those last brilliant tweets. What a legend.
Unfortunately, since the pictsies were very individualistic, each one had his own cry and Tiffany could only make out a few over the din: “They can tak’ oour lives but they canna tak’ oour troousers!” “Ye’ll tak’ the high road an’ I’ll tak’ yer wallet!” “There can only be one t’ousand!” “Ach, stick it up yer trakkans!” But the voices graduatlly came together in one roar that shook the walls: “Nae King! Nae Quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna be fooled again!”
– battle cries | Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men
I woke up this morning with the urge to post a brief and thoroughly non-exhaustive list of Discworld pun/reference names of varying levels of obscurity that people may or may not have gotten, and HERE IT IS.
Vetinari is a play on “Medici,” the extremely powerful Italian political family who inspired Macchiavelli’s “The Prince.”
The philosopher Didactylos’s name literally means “two fingers,” which refers to a rude British gesture roughly equivalent to flipping someone off.
The feuding Ankh-Morpork Selachii and Venturi noble families are named, respectively, for the scientific name for sharks and a part found in jet engines. This is a reference to the feuding Sharks and Jets street gangs in the musical West Side Story, which is itself a retelling of Romeo and Juliet.
“Nobby” is a slang term for a policeman. Nobby’s dad, Sconner, gets his name from- well, you know how the Nac Mac Feegle call people “ya wee scunner”? Same word.
The guide to nobility Twurp’s Peerage is named after the Roundworld equivalent, Burke’s Peerage.
“Greebo” means… well, I’ll quote the Annotated Pratchett File: “'Greebo’ is a word that was widely used in the early seventies to
describe the sort of man who wanders around in oil-covered denim and
leather (with similar long hair) and who settles disagreements with a
motorcycle chain – the sort who would like to be a Hell’s Angel but
doesn’t have enough style.”
Nanny Ogg’s house is called “Tir Nanny Ogg,” a play on “Tír na nÓg,” the otherworld in Irish mythology.
Miss Treason’s given name, Eumenides, is another name for the Erinyes, Greek goddess of vengeance.
Erzulie Gogol’s first name is shared with a Vodou goddess, and “Baron Saturday” is a play on “Baron Samedi.” (EDIT: somebody said it’s actually a straight English translation, which I was not aware of.)
Desiderata Hollow, good fairy godmother, has a first name derived from the Latin word for “to wish.”
“Lilith de Tempscire”‘s surname is just a French translation of “Weatherwax.”
The terrible pun in Casanunda’s name (he’s a dwarf, so he’s UNDA, not OVA) is probably obvious to a lot of people, but it took YEARS for me to notice it, so I’m including it on this list.
The old Count de Magpyr’s name is Bela de Magpyr, after, of course, Bela Lugosi. (And Vlad also mentions an aunt Carmilla.)
“Djelibeybi,” for those unfamiliar with British sweets or classic Doctor Who, is pronounced identically to “jelly baby.” The country of Hersheba was introduced after many, many Americans failed to get the joke- with limited success, because it’s less immediately recognizable as a play on “Hershey bar.”
“Omnian” is a multilingual play on “Catholic.” Omni- is a root meaning “everything,” and “Catholic” originally meant “universal.”
Lu-Tze’s name is a play on Laozi/Lao-Tzu/Lao-Tze, founder of Taoism.
Dr. Follett, head of the Assassin’s Guild thirty years ago in Night Watch, is named for… author Ken Follett, in exchange for a significant monetary donation to charity.
Hey, I can't remember if the thing about Feegles and Smurfs was featured on this blog or another, but I'd like to add my two cents - what if Smurfs are the past life of Feegles, the one they figure they were really good in to be able to have their current awesome afterlife?
“I expect you wouldn’t have stolen it if you weren’t so hungry, then,” she said. There were several hundred astonished looks. “Oh, we would, mistress,” said the helmet twiddler. “You would?” Tiffany sounded so surprised that the twiddler looked around at his colleagues for support. They all nodded. “Yes, mistress. We have tae. 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?” “Fightin’!” “And what else?” “Drinkin’!” “And what else?” There was a certain amount of thought about this, but they all reached the same conclusion. “Drinkin’ and fightin’!” “And there was summat else,” muttered the twiddler. “Ach, yes. Tell the hag, lads!” “Stealin’ an’ drinkin’ an’ fightin’!” shouted the blue men cheerfully. “Tell the hag who we are, lads,” said the helmet twiddler. There was the scrape of many small swords being drawn and thrust into the air. “Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna be fooled again!”
– on the wee free men |
Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men