Terence David John (Terry) Pratchett (Born April 28, 1948) British author .
See also: Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman)
The Colour of Magic
- "[I]f 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."
- "Picturesque meant - he decided after careful observation of the scenery that inspired Twoflower to use the word - that the landscape was horribly precipitous. Quaint, when used to describe the occasional village through which they passed, meant fever-ridden and tumbledown."
- "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...'"
- "Rescuing beleagured maidens had a certain passing reward, but most of the time he'd finished up by setting them up in some city somewhere with a handsome dowry, because after a while even the most agreeable exmaiden became possessive and had scant sympathy for his efforts to rescue her sister sufferers."
- "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
- "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."
- "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."
- "they say it will hit us in hogswatchnight and the seas will boil and the counties of the disk will be broken..." "i'm off in the mountains."
"That will help, will it?"
"no but the view will be better!"
- "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"
- "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."
- "'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."
- "'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."
- "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 definitly 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'."
- "A key to the understanding of all religion is that a god's idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs."
- "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."
- "'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."
- "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."
- "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."
- "Camels gallop by throwing their feet as far away from them as possible and then running to keep up."
- "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.
- "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."
- "[N]o-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 it's 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."
- "[I]nside every old person is a young person wondering what happened."
- "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?'"
- "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."
- "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."
- "Tell me," said Magrat, "you said your mummy knows about the big bad wolf in the woods, didn't you?"
- "That's right."
- "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.
- "Just erotic, nothing kinky. It's the difference between using a feather and using a chicken."
- "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."
- "'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."
- "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."
- "When the least they could do to you was everything, then the most they could do to you suddenly held no terror."
- “Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off.”
- 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 occassionally 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."
Lords and Ladies
- "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."
Men at Arms
- "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."
- 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."
- "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."
- "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."
- "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."
- "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 UNCERTAINTY 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.'"
- "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."
- "'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.[']"
- "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."
Feet of Clay
- "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"
- "'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?'"
- "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'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 humourous 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."
Thief of Time
- "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. YES. '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. 'No.' 'Nor have I. Now imagine you were that hammer. Uncertain death, see?'"
- "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."
- Gentlemen, no fighting please. This is after all a council of war.
- "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 about of moo."
The Last Continent
- "All tribal myths are true, for a given value of 'true'."
- "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."
- "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."
- "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."
- "But still, 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."
- "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."
The Fifth Elephant
- "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."
- "'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."
- "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.
The Last Hero
- "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."
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
- "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."
- - From Mr Bunnsy Has an Adventure
- Annotation: Mr Bunnsy's adventures are a parody of the Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit children's stories.
- 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.
- "'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.
- "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."
- " and 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?'
- '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.
- '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'in 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!'
- 'We will!'
- '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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "[The pamphlet] 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."
- "[T]he 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.
- 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.
- 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?’
- I want to eat chocolates in a great big room where the world is a different place.
EDITOR, THE TIMES OF ANKH-MORPORK
‘The Truth Shall Make Ye Frep’
Gleam Street, Ankh-Morpork e-mail: WDW@Times.AM
- Someone had crossed out the ‘p’ in ‘frep’ and pencilled in an ‘e’ above it.
- ‘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 . . .
A Hat Full of Sky
- "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.'"
- "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 Stools, you never know who is catching up!" - [please edit if this is incorrect - i dont have the book to hand]
Other Discworld Books
The Discworld Companion
- "There are no inconsistencies in the Discworld books, merely alternative pasts."
Science of Discworld
- "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."
- "As yet unmeasured, but believed to be faster than light owing to its ability to move so quickly out of light's way."
- Note: [on the speed of dark]
- I just wanted to bring this out in the open, Dean, calmly and in the spirit of reconciliation...
...we are all here for you, although I can't imagine what you are here for.
Theatre of Cruelty
Theatre of Cruelty
- "'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 Carpet Peaple
- "They called themselves the Munrungs. It meant The People, or The True Human Beings.
It's what most people call themselves, to begin with. And then one day the tribe meets some other People or, if it's not been a good day, The Enemy. If only they'd think up a name like Some More True Human Beings, it'd save a lot of trouble later on."
- "On the fifth day the Governor of the town called all the tribal chieftains to an audience in the market square, to hear their grievances. He didn't always do anything about them, but at least they got heard, and he nodded a lot, and everyone felt better about it at least until they got home. This is politics."
- "Keep 'em busy. That was one of the three ruls of being chief that old Grimm had passed on to him. Act confidently, never say 'I don't know,' and when all else fails, keep 'em busy."
- "...I wish that the people who sing about the deeds of heroes would think about the people who have to clear up after them."
- "Anyway, just because you're sworn enemies doesn't mean you can't be friends, does it?"
- "When they're standing right in front of you, kings are a kind of speech impediment."
- "'I can't have you subjects throwing my family over the balcony, that would never do.'
'Good,' said Snibril.
'I'll do it myself.'"
- "'Whose side are they on?' said Brocando.
'Sides? Their own, I suppose, just like everyone else.'"
- "'Stop that!' he shouted. 'You're soldiers! You're not supposed to fight!'"
- "Most armies are in fact run by their sergeants -- the officers are there just to give things a bit of tone and prevent warfare becoming a mere lower-class brawl."
- "The Deftmenes are mad and the Dumii are sane, thought Snibril, and that's just the same as being mad except that it's quieter. If only you could mix them together, you'd end up with normal people."
- "Normally its narrow streets were crowded with stalls, and people from all over the Carpet. They'd all be trying to cheat one another in that open-and-above-board way known as 'doing business'."
- "The sign outside the shop said Apothecary, which meant that the shop was owned by a sort of early chemist, who would give you herbs and things until you got better or at least stopped getting any worse."
- "'Well ... welcome. My house is your house', his brow suddenly furrowed and he looked worried, 'although only in a metaphorical sense, you understand, because I would not, much as I always admired your straightforward approach, and indeed your forthright stance, actually give you my house, it being the only house I have, and therefore the term is being extended in an, as it were, gratuitous fashion --'"
- "'What would Deftmenes be if we went around obeying orders all the time?'
'They might be ruling the Carpet,' said Pismire.
'Ha!' said Brocando, 'but the trouble about obeying orders is, it becomes a habit. And then everything depends on who's giving the orders.'"
- "'Waiting is the worst part,' said Pismire.
'No it isn't,' said Owlglass, who wasn't even being trusted to hold a sword. 'I expect that having long sharp swords stuck in you is the worst part.'"
- "'But we should kill him!'
'No. You've been listen to Brocando too often,' said Bane.
Brocando bristled. 'You know what he is! Why not kill--' he began, but he was interrupted.
'Because it doesn't matter what he is. It matters what we are.'"
- "Perhaps, if you knew you were going to die, your senses crammed in as much detail as they could while they still had the chance..."
- "'You're not going to die, are you sir?' he said.
'Of course I am. Everyone is. That's what being alive is all about.'"
- "The way to deal with an impossible task was to chop it down into a number of merely very difficult tasks, and break each one of them into a group of horribly hard tasks, and each of them into tricky jobs, and each of them..."
- "I keep vaguely wondering what Macs are like, but the ones I've seen spend too much
time being friendly."
- Source: alt.fan.pratchett, 5 July, 1992 
- "Never trust any complicated cocktail that remains perefectly clear until the last ingredient goes in, and then immediately clouds."
- Source: alt.fan.pratchett, 22 November 1993 
- "That seems to point up a significant difference between Europeans and Americans:
A European says: I can't understand this, what's wrong with me?
An American says: I can't understand this, what's wrong with him?"
- Source: alt.fan.pratchett, 9 May 1994 
- "'Educational' refers to the process, not the object. Although, come to think of it, some of my teachers could easily have been replaced by a cheeseburger."
- Source: alt.fan.pratchett, 15 October 1996 
- Notes: in response to a comment that if television is educational because watching it can teach you a lot about society, then a cheeseburger is also educational
- "I don't like the place at all. It's all wrong. An imposition on the landscape.
I reckon that Stonehenge was build by the contemporary equivalent of Microsoft, whereas Avebury was definitely an Apple circle."
- Source: alt.fan.pratchett, 8 June 1997 
- "Dickens, as you know, never got round to starting his home page."
- Source: alt.fan.pratchett, 8 August 1997 
- "'They can ta'k our live but they can never ta'k our freedom!'
Now there's a battle cry not designed by a clear thinker..."
- Source: alt.fan.pratchett, 11 January 1999 
- Notes: referring to the movie Braveheart
- "There should be a notice ahead of the movie that says 'This movie is PG. Can you read? You are a Parent. Do you understand what Guidance is? Or are you just another stupid toddler who thinks they're an adult simply because they've grown older and, unfortunately, have developed fully-functioning sexual organs? Would you like some committee somewhere to decide *everything* for you? Get a damn grip, will you? And shut the wretched kid up !'"
- Source: alt.fan.pratchett, 10 July 2001 
- "Life doesn't happen in chapters— at least, not regular ones. Nor do movies. Homer didn't write in chapters. I can see what their purpose is in children's books ("I'll read to the end of the chapter, and then you must go to sleep") but I'm blessed if I know what function they serve in books for adults."
- "I'd rather be a climbing ape than a falling angel."
- Mind you, the Elizabethans had so many words for the female genitals that it is quite hard to speak a sentence of modern English without inadvertently mentioning at least three of them.
- The trouble is that things never get better, they just stay the same, only more so.