As sad as I was to hear about Leonard Nimoy, it was even more devastating a couple weeks later to hear that Terry Pratchett had died. Pratchett’s Discworld series is my go-to resource on bad days and sad times, the funniest book I ever read came from his pen, and I consistently pick one of his books for funniest read of the year every year. When I heard of his death, inside of fifteen minutes I was on my mobile phone to–what else?–request a Discworld book from my library.
So in honor of Sir Terry, I’m re-posting my collection of favorite Discworld moments…not quotes exactly, because several are all about the dialogue or the back-and-forth. Hereare some moments that always make me think or make me laugh or do both!
First, a philosophical one, about the power of knowledge:
They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.
– Guards! Guards!
And another time, Death waxes philosophical. It should be noted that Death always speaks IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS:
WHO KNOWS WHAT EVIL LURKS IN THE HEART OF MEN?
The Death of Rats looked up from the feast of potato.
SQUEAK, he said.
Death waved a hand dismissively. WELL, YES, OBVIOUSLY ME, he said. I JUST WONDERED IF THERE WAS ANYONE ELSE.
– The Truth
And because Death is so brilliant, another one, after someone suggested that he should be “more of a people person”:
He looked up.
There was a chill in the air. Beano waited…
I WONDER… CAN WE START AGAIN? I DON’T SEEM TO HAVE THE HANG OF THIS…
– Men at Arms
Maskerade is probably a favorite moment in its entirety, and I could quote most of it…but here’s just one moment. A dead body turns up, along with a note from the Opera Ghost:
Yrs, The Opera Ghost
“I don’t understand! Is this man mad?”
Salzella put an arm around his shoulders and led him away from the crowd. “Well, now,” he said as kindly as he could. “A man who wears evening dress all the time, lurks in the shadows and occasionally kills people. Then he sends little notes, writing maniacal laughter. Five exclamation marks again, I notice. We have to ask ourselves: is this the career of a sane man?”
“But why is he doing it?” Bucket wailed.
“That is only a relevant question if he is sane,” said Salzella calmly. “He may be doing it because the little yellow pixies tell him to.”
The image of the Phantom of the Opera, chatting with the little yellow pixies, never fails to crack me up. It’s the same for this very odd bit below, about a crazed artist:
“He was convinced that if he went to sleep at night, he would turn into a chicken. He’d leave little notes for himself saying, ‘You are not a chicken,’ although sometimes he thought he was lying… Scholars have puzzled over the notes ever since, seeking some insight into the poor man’s tortured mind. They are not in any order, you see. Some are very…odd.”
“Odder than ‘You are not a chicken’?”
I think I need to re-read all of these books now. 🙂 Other Discworld readers, what are your favorite quotes or moments?