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Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion ... So Far
 


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Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion ... So Far


  CONTENTS

  Cover

  Title page

  Where am I?

  The Discworld A–Z

  Turtles All the Way Down: Even More Discworld Stuff!

  Terry Pratchett: The Definitive Interview

  Readers And Fan Mail

  The Language Barrier

  Cripple Mr Onion

  Also by Terry Pratchett

  Copyright

  WHERE AM I?

  ‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Oxford any more.’

  When I look back over the years since I last revised the introduction to the Companion, I am staggered at how much has happened.

  My original introduction to the first Discworld Companion said: ‘Six years ago I was a civil servant who dabbled in amateur dramatics (er . . . I still am)’. Well, OK, nothing actually has changed there. But a lot of others things have.

  As many of you know, I fell into Discworld backwards, as if I’d been leaning on a rickety old door in a walled garden and I’d suddenly found myself in a magical kingdom full of snow, fauns and benevolent lions. I hadn’t meant to be here, but I’m jolly glad that I am.

  I came across Discworld while looking for books to dramatise for my amateur drama club. We were the first people – anywhere in the world – to dramatise the works of Terry Pratchett. When I first wrote to Terry back in 1990 to ask permission to dramatise Wyrd Sisters, I little realised that in choosing that book to dramatise, I had made a really BIG life choice. I can still remember how worried we were when the author (then Mr Terry Pratchett) actually telephoned me – in person – to say that he wanted to come and see our little production. Would he like it? Would he let us do any more?

  Wyrd Sisters went so well that we went on to stage sixteen more Discworld books (so far!). Most of these have now been published (plus two other Pratchett plays by Oxford University Press) and have been staged by amateur drama clubs all over the world – Australia to Zimbabwe, Indonesia to Bermuda, Finland to France, South Africa to the USA. Even in the Antarctic – how cool is that? Along the way, they’ve raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Orang utan Foundation from their royalties.

  Anyway, back to 1992. One day, when I was working on only my second Discworld play, I mentioned to Terry Pratchett that I was convinced from my reading that Ankh-Morpork had a distinct shape. He doubted it – he said he’d just put buildings and streets in wherever the plot required them. I said that in this world they got put in wherever History demanded them and I was sure the city was mappable. Fine, he said. Go ahead. And that led to The Streets of Ankh-Morpork, published in 1993, possibly the first map ever to get into the bestseller lists.

  The arguments and constant reference-seeking involved in that project led me to wonder out loud if it wasn’t time for a guide to Discworld.

  And The Discworld Companion was born.

  Since then, my own little ‘backlist’ has grown to include three maps, dramatisations of eighteen of Terry’s books – Wyrd Sisters, Mort, Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum, The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, Interesting Times, Night Watch, Feet of Clay, Lords and Ladies, Going Postal, Making Money, Monstrous Regiment, Unseen Academicals, Johnny & the Dead and The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, six diaries, a Cook Book and a graphic novel. There is also, now, The Wit & Wisdom of Discworld – an excellent reminder of your favourite bits – or a way to ease newbies into the world of Terry. It is weird, when friends return from foreign travels to tell me they’ve seen the maps in a bookstore in Munich, the Companion at a French airport or, much more surprisingly, one of my plays in a bookshop in Zimbabwe.

  The weirdness factor is compounded when, from time to time, I get a small package from Colin Smythe (Terry’s and my agent) containing translations of some of the above – the cook book in German, the Companion in French, a Diary in Bulgarian or a map of Ankh-Morpork in Polish.

  Several years ago now, I recorded a couple of lines to go into Dave Greenslade’s From the Discworld album . . . this was another happy accident, as I’d only gone along to the studio to dress up as Death for some publicity pix. From those two lines (‘The turtle moves’ and ‘Nevertheless, the turtle does move’), I have now moved on to recording some of the unabridged books for Isis Publishing. These are a tremendous responsibility. It was nerve-wracking enough to have to replace the established artist (Nigel Planer), who had a loyal following among those who listen to the books on tape or CD but I am also all too aware also that Terry and his family receive early copies of the completed recordings. I now also record the unabridged Discworld novels for US publisher Harper Audio, and have recorded some work, too, for UK publisher Random House.

  Along the way, and again virtually by accident, I have found myself selling a range of Discworld merchandise to Terry’s readers across the globe. It all started with an Unseen University scarf, but has gone on to include enamelled badges, T-shirts, key-rings, tea towels, aprons, etc. Sadly, now, the pressures of my real life job have obliged me to drop that little ‘spare bedroom business’.

  Before I met Terry, I had no access to email or the internet at all, but now I am totally immersed in email and Facebook, with email having replaced the paper-based alternative for 95 per cent of my correspondence. Even so, and much to Terry’s disgust, this Companion is still based on material captured on an old-fashioned card index.

  Discworld has been very good to me and I welcome the limited chances I get to meet Terry’s readers, either at the conventions, get-togethers at Bernard Pearson’s shop in Wincanton, or on those occasions when the publishers let me tag along to a book launch. It really is strange to see people wearing badges and shirts I’ve created, or offering for signature diaries, maps, plays that I’ve helped to create. I wouldn’t have missed it for worlds.

  This Revised Edition

  The last time I revised the Companion (in 2002, I think), I had to act like Legitimate First, gravedigger at the Cemetery of Small Gods (see Night Watch). I had to move some people out of the main cemetery of the Companion and into the charnel house of my card index to make room for all the new people struggling to get in. So we lost quite a few more of those characters whose only functions was to support a gag line, or to bop Rincewind on the head. Some of them still held on – Terry and I still have a soft spot for the bit-part players on the great stage of life. For this new version, almost all of the entries from the first Companion have been reinstated. This version still incorporates material from the various Discworld diaries. These contained some good background material, which I enjoyed researching and which it would be a pity to see disappear because the diaries, by their nature, are only transient . . . they wither away like the purple lilac once their year is over.

  I have also added back in, at the publisher’s request, some of the original introductory material. At this point, I’d like to point out that the card index I started for the original Discworld Companion back in 1992 is still just as accessible and readable as it was when I started it. In total contrast, trying to extract the text of the original Companion from what counted as state of the art IT storage back in the 1990s has been a little more of a challenge. Technology, eh?

  Stephen Briggs

  October 2012

  NOTE:

  A name or word in SMALL CAPITALS indicates that it is the subject of a fuller, separate entry; regular references such as Ankh-Morpork, Granny Weatherwax and Unseen University are not flagged.

  Where a character or reference occurs in only one or two books, this is indicated at the end of the entry.

  The following abbreviations are used for th
e books:

  AGD Assassins’ Guild Diary (2000)

  CJ Carpe Jugulum

  COM The Colour of Magic

  CWD City Watch Diary (1999)

  DD Death’s Domain

  DM Discworld Mapp

  E Eric

  ER Equal Rites

  FGD Fools’ Guild Diary (2001)

  FOC Feet of Clay

  GG Guards! Guards!

  GP Going Postal

  H Hogfather

  HFOS A Hat Full of Sky

  ISWM I Shall Wear Midnight

  IT Interesting Times

  J Jingo

  LF The Light Fantastic

  LL Lords and Ladies

  M Mort

  M!!!!! Maskerade

  MAA Men at Arms

  MM Making Money

  MP Moving Pictures

  MR Monstrous Regiment

  NOCB Nanny Ogg’s Cook Book

  NW Night Watch

  P Pyramids

  RFD Reformed Vampyre’s Diary (2003)

  RM Reaper Man

  S Sourcery

  SALF The Sea & Little Fishes (short story)

  SG Small Gods

  SM Soul Music

  SN Snuff

  T! Thud!

  TAMAHER The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

  TB Troll Bridge2

  TFE The Fifth Elephant

  TGD Thieves’ Guild Diary (2002)

  TGL A Tourist Guide to Lancre

  TLC The Last Continent

  TLH The Last Hero

  TOC Theatre of Cruelty3

  TOT Thief of Time

  TSOD The Science of Discworld1

  TSOD2 The Science of Discworld 21

  TSOD3 The Science of Discworld 31

  TT The Truth

  UA Unseen Academicals

  UUD Unseen University Diary (1998)

  W Wintersmith

  WA Witches Abroad

  WFM The Wee Free Men

  WS Wyrd Sisters

  THE DISCWORLD

  A-Z

  Abbot, the. The 493rd Abbot of the MONKS of History is an old man with wrinkled hands when we first encounter him during the events of Small Gods. And, the time the events of Thief of Time occur, this dear kind man’s teeth are giving him trouble and he is not walking very well. That is because, by then, he has been born again.

  Although he is mentally around 900 years old and extremely clever, he has never mastered the art of circular ageing (crudely known as ‘immortality’). He has therefore been forced to achieve longevity in a more circular way, via serial reincarnation. The Abbot, in short, goes round and round, while managing to remember all his past lives; by Thief of Time he is a mere baby, although he is off the wet nurse (something of a trial for all concerned, in the circumstances) and onto less embarrassing fare, such as rusks.

  He travels around the Oi Dong Monastery in a sling on the back of an acolyte, often wearing an embroidered pictsie hood to keep out the cold. His speech wavers between the sensible outpourings of a wise and very old man, and loud outbursts of babytalk when the infantile body takes over. He uses his wide selection of toys as apparently unintentional weapons against his recalcitrant colleagues, and many a monk has been struck by a random rubber yak, wooden giraffe or large wooden brick hurled from the abbot’s pudgy little hands. It may well be, perish the thought, that having so recently had to put up with these people patronising him and shouting things in his ear, he treats these juvenile periods as a welcome opportunity to settle a few scores.

  Abbys. Bishop. Prophet of the Omnian Church, to whom the Great God OM is said to have dictated the Codicils to the Book of OSSORY. Little is known of this great man except that he had a big beard, because this is essential wear for prophets. On the subject of beards, the famous Ephebian riddle about them – All men in this town do not shave themselves and are shaved by the barber. Who shaves the barber? – caused some head-scratching when it was printed in an almanac that got as far as LANCRE. People there couldn’t see what was so philosophical about the statement because Lancre’s barber is one Mrs Deacon, who is open for haircuts, warts and teeth two mornings a week. [SG]

  Abraxas. Ephebian philosopher, also called Abraxas the Agnostic, and ‘Charcoal’ Abraxas (because he had been struck by lightning fifteen times – which suggests that being an agnostic requires an enviable strength of mind, not to say thickness of skull. His own comment, just before the fifteenth stroke, was ‘They needn’t think they can make me believe in them by smiting me the whole time’). He was the author of On Religion, and the man who found the Lost City of EE. And presumably lost it again. He was readily identified by the smell of burnt hair. [SG]

  Abrim. Grand Vizier of AL KHALI. A tall, saturnine wizard, with a long thin moustache and wearing a turban with a pointy hat sticking out of it. He was once refused entry to Unseen University because they said he was mentally unstable. Given the apparent mental equilibrium of many of UU’s faculty, one can only wonder at this exclusion. Driven by the ARCHCHANCELLOR’S HAT, Abrim was destroyed in a battle of magic. ‘Never trust the Grand Vizier’ is a popular Discworld saying which many adventurers would have survived a whole lot longer by knowing. [S]

  Aching, Tiffany. When we first meet her in the series, Tiffany is a nine-year-old girl. What does she look like? Start with the boots. They are big and heavy boots, much repaired by her father and they’d belonged to various sisters before her; she wore several pairs of socks to keep them on. They are big. Tiffany sometimes feels she is nothing more than a way of moving boots around.

  Then there is the dress. It has been owned by many sisters before her and has been taken up, taken out, taken down and taken in by her mother so many times that it really ought to have been taken away. But Tiffany rather likes it. It comes down to her ankles and, whatever colour it had been to start with, is now a milky blue.

  Then there is Tiffany’s face. Light pink, with brown eyes, and brown hair. Nothing special. Her head might strike anyone watching as being just slightly too big for the rest of her, but perhaps she’ll grow into it. We also meet Tiffany at the age of eleven (A Hat Full of Sky), thirteen (Wintersmith) and not quite sixteen (I Shall Wear Midnight).

  She was born and brought up on Home Farm, the farm her father, Joe, rents from the local Baron. Her name means ‘Land Under Wave’, though her late and much lamented grandmother, Granny Aching, used to call her ‘jiggit’.

  She was given two pieces of jewellery in the course of the books – a silver horse (resembling a chalk horse on a local hillside), and a golden hare. Both pendants.

  Tiffany has substantial magical abilities which, combined with a bucketload of common sense, a real skill at cheesemaking and a close friendship with the Nac Mac Feegle, should serve her well in her future. (TWFM, AHFOS, W, ISWM]

  Aching, Wentworth. Tiffany’s younger brother is two years old when we first meet him (he was seven by the time of Wintersmith). At that age, anything could make Wentworth sticky. Washed and dried and left in the middle of a clean floor for five minutes, Wentworth would be sticky. It didn’t seem to come from anywhere. He just got sticky. But he was an easy child to mind, provided you stopped him eating frogs. By the time he was seven, little Wentworth was always running after the men, always wanting to be one of them, always trying to help. By the time he’s in I Shall Wear Midnight, he’s happy to fight much bigger boys in the village to defend his sister’s honour. (TWFM, AHFOS, W, ISWM]

  Achmed the Mad. Klatchian necromancer, who taught himself magic partly by trial, but mainly by error. Author of the NECROTELICOMNICON. It is said that he wrote it one day after he had drunk too much of the strange, thick Klatchian coffee (see FOOD AND DRINK), which sobers people up too much. Achmed preferred to be called ‘Achmed the I Just Get These Headaches’. He is also the author of Achmed the I Just Get These Headaches’s Book of Humorous Cat Stories, the writing of which was said to have driven him mad in the first place. [MP]

  Agantia. Queen of Skund. Just one of those people who turns up. CAS
ANUNDA the dwarf claims to have received his title of ‘Count’ by performing a small service for the Queen; but since Skund is almost entirely forest and has next to no population, let alone a royal family, this is what is called, in historical terms, a lie. [LL]

  Agatean Empire. Capital city: Hung-hung. Principal and only port: BES PELARGIC. Pop.: about 50,000,000. Old, cunning and very, very rich empire on the COUNTERWEIGHT CONTINENT, also called the Aurient, because of its gold deposits. Once ruled by the Sun Emperor, who was considered by his subjects to be a god (i.e. someone who can kill you instantly for no reason and not have to say sorry). Following the events of Interesting Times, it was ruled for a while by Ghenghiz COHEN. Agatean architecture is inclined towards squat pyramids; there is a wall built round the entire Empire, around twenty feet high and sheer on its inner side. In the bad old days, it was patrolled by the Heavenly Guard in very heavy boots to jump on the fingers of the terminally inquisitive. Ladders and tall trees anywhere near the wall were emphatically discouraged.

  There is only one port because the Empire did not encourage more contact with the outside world than was absolutely necessary. To be a citizen of the Agatean Empire, it was felt, was to be the most fortunate of mortals, and the old government wanted its citizens to remain steadfast in that belief; it was important, therefore, to encourage the suggestion that anywhere else was a mere barbaric wasteland, inhabited by legions of vampire ghosts. The benefits of a period under the rule of a genuine barbarian invader have yet to make themselves shown outside the walls.

  Aggy, George. Senior Postman Aggy is a wizened old postman, with a tin leg and a badge for having had fifteen dog bites and still being standing. He is the Chairman of the Ankh-Morpork Order of the Postal Workers Benevolent and Friendly Society and a Member of the Brotherhood of the Order of the Post. [GP]

  Agony Aunts, the. Dotsie and Sadie. Possibly sisters. Possibly even real aunts.

  Most of the Guilds have their own laws and some means of enforcing them. The Ankh-Morpork GUILD OF SEAMSTRESSES is no exception, although what they police are not so much laws as acceptable standards of behaviour. There are some things the ladies of the Shades will not put up with, in short. But no one wants the Watch clumping around the place, putting everyone off and ogling at people who have reasons for not wishing to be ogled, and so when the traditional troll with a big club is not sufficient the Agony Aunts are sent for.

 
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