Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
The second Discworld novel, from 1986 and a direct sequel to The Colour of Magic. It opens with the Octavo saving Rincewind and Twoflower from their No One Could Survive That fate in the first book by changing the entire world around them to stop them from falling off the edge of the Discworld. They are dropped in a secluded forest where they befriend a gnome named Swires.At the same time, power struggles rage at Unseen Universities when Ymper Trymon schemes to take the job of Deuteragonist Arch-Cancellor Galder Weatherwax. After summoning Death to question about the sudden changing of the world, the wizards set out on their own quest to find Rincewind.And unbeknownst to the citizens of the Disc, Great A’Tuin continues to travel straight towards an inevitable collision with a malevolent red star.When Galder Weatherwax is devoured whole by the luggage, Trymon experiences a very sudden rise to power. As the newest Head of the Order, Trymon sends a female warrior named Herrena out to track down Rincewind and retrieve the final spell of the Octavo.Rincewind and Twoflower eventually meet and team up with Cohen the Barbarian, an elderly barbarian who was once a legendary hero known widely across the Disc, and a young woman named Bethan, whom Cohen rescues from being sacrificed by a group of druids, not that she’s grateful about it.The Light Fantastic shows itself to be a much more developed Discworld story than its predecessor: the novel abandons the episodic of the first novel in favour of a single interconnected plot.This book is also notable for introducing several characters and concepts that would later become pillars of the Discworld series, including Unseen University (mentioned in passing in The Colour of Magic, but explored as a setting here) and the Librarian (who gets turned into an orangutan by the Octavo’s Change spell), the Weatherwax family (through Decoy Protagonist Galder Weatherwax, believed to be a cousin of the much more well known character Granny Weatherwax of the later novels), pixies, trolls, dwarves (and Swires, who would go on to become a member of the City Guard in later novels), Cohen the Barbarian, and Death’s Domain (which is visited by Twoflower and Rincewind when they both have a very near-death experience) and family (through the character of Ysabell, Death’s daughter).Preceded by The Colour of Magic, followed by Equal Rites. After a brief cameo role in Mort, Rincewind next went on to star in Sourcery.
All Trolls Are Different: The first Discworld book to introduce the idea of trolls being silicon-based life forms made of stone that simply stop being able to function in the heat of day.
The Anticipator: Galder manages this by being Crazy-Prepared: "A floorboard creaked. Galder had spent many hours tuning them, always a wise precaution with an ambitious assistant who walked like a cat. D-flat." That meant he was just to the right of the door. However, his Anticipator status kicks in when he automatically recognizes who it is. "'Ah, Trymon,' he said, without turning, and noted with some satisfaction the faint in drawing of breath behind him. 'Good of you to come. Shut the door, will you?'"
Like all wizards' workshops, the place looked as though a taxidermist had dropped his stock in a foundry and then had a fight with a maddened glassblower, braining a passing crocodile in the process (it hung from the rafters and smelt strongly of camphor).
Arbitrary Skepticism: Rincewind refuses to believe in talking trees, even though he's a wizard who lives on a disc carried by four elephants standing on the back of a gigantic space-turtle.
Astrologer: Trymon orders an astrologer to make Rincewind's horoscope in order to find him.
Brick Joke: Cohen paying Lackjaw to craft some dentures for him after Twoflower explained the concept to him.
But Now I Must Go: At the end of the book, Twoflower decides once and for all to return home.
Cave Mouth: Twoflower's kidnappers inadvertantly settle in the mouth of an enormous troll, mistaking it for a cave. They probably would have been fine if they hadn't lit a fire inside it, ironically to ward off trolls.
Chainmail Bikini and Breast Plate: Averted and parodied, Herrena the barbarian heroine is introduced with a long aside mentioning how the cover artist is expected to start slavering over black leather and whips and chains and thighboots, before noting how impractical such things are and that she's in fact dressed quite sensibly. "All right - maybe the boots are leather. But not black!"
The Librarian here is a very passive and nonthreatening figure, and even gives up dangerous, world-ending information to Trymon in return for a banana. This may be justified: the Librarian became an orangutan very recently (as in, in the same book), and hasn't quite gotten used to being an orangutan just yet.
Death is transitional here. Rincewind's still scared of him, but he's much closer to the character we all know and love than the psychotic version from The Colour of Magic. Strangely enough, it's his daughter Ysabell who comes across as creepy and crazy this time, and her characterisation again changes when she next appears in Mort.
Cosmic Egg: One of the many origins of the Discworld universe given by the Great Spells
Cult: The Star People, who also engage in book-burning sessions - as the books in question include Tomes of Eltrich Lore like the Necrotelicomnicon, this would be rather dangerous if the star wasn't reducing the strength of magic on the Disc.
Everythings Better With Primates: This is the book where the Librarian of Unseen University is turned into an orangutan. Oddly - to those who have read the later books first - he's very upset at no longer being human.
Can be justified in that, having just been changed, he hadn't yet stumbled on all the perks this form afforded him.
Fantastic Measurement System: This is the first book where thaums are mentioned (Rincewind talking about the gingerbread cottage) as a unit of magic, rather than Primes as in the previous book. This would be explained by the Discworld Companion as being two competing units of measurement, like Fahrenheit and Celsius.
Foreshadowing: At one point close to the end of the book, the Octavo uses Rincewind to say "The star is life, not death." At the end of the book, it's revealed that the red star is producing baby Discworlds. This also explains why Great A'Tuin was so eager to reach the star.
Genre SavvyNarrator: The narrator starts to describe the mooks following the female warrior Herrena, and goes ahead Breaking the Fourth Wall by saying there's no point describing them in a story like this in which they're all going to get killed anyway.
Heroes Want Redheads: Then they prefer brunettes, then blondes, then what they look for in a woman is... patience.
Twoflower reveals that he bought the Luggage from such a shop.
A shop the group stumbles into while on the run from some cultists. It turns out the owner pissed off a sorcerer who cursed his shop to wander around and in and out of existence, never able to stay in the same place for long. It becomes a very convenient way for the group to get back to Ankh-Morpork in a hurry, as the shop is able to just materialize on an empty wall there.
Mad Mathematician: Ymper Trymon believes language should be replaced with an easily understood numerical system.
Magic A Is Magic A: Galder Weatherwax magically lifts himself to the top of the Tower of Art by using stone falling from it as a counterweight.
The Magic Goes Away: Starts to happen as the Star's solar wind begins to strip the Discworld's magical field away.
Monster Shaped Mountain: Some mountains in Discworld are revealed to be very old trolls who simply sat down to think and never got up again. Old Grandad is one such troll, and Herrena's band make the mistake of setting up camp inside his Cave Mouth.
One-Winged Angel: An Eldritch Abomination-possessed Trymon near the end. Subverted in that he's still a pretty frail and a lousy fighter even after transforming, given that Rincewind is able to punch him out anyways. Not quite a Clipped Wing Angel though, since the sprouting claws and tentacles do give him a boost (he was very much a Squishy Wizard before transformation).
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The first appearance of Discworld dwarfs; industrious and quiet, but very handy with an axe if you cross them.
Red Shirt: After introducing Herrena, the narrator mentions she has a couple of mercenaries with her who will probably die soon, so there is no reason to introduce them. Although most of them last about as long as Herrena does. They don't die, however, but are written out of the story when Rincewind and Twoflower escape, and Herrena is later mentioned in passing as being in Ankh-Morpork in Eric.
Society-on-Edge Episode: A large part of the plot is caused by a very bright, malevolently red star appearing in the sky, and this drives the inhabitants of the Disc to start doomsday cults (Death himself finds them creepy).
Squishy Wizard: How Rincewind is able to beat Trymon in the end. While Rincewind is a wizard at heart, he's more physically fit than the average wizard (and a dirty fighter).
Technicolor Science: Invoked. Galder's workroom includes a complicated arrangement of colored liquid bubbling through pipes — which is there entirely for effect.
This happens to the heads of the eight orders of wizardry after they go to 'congratulate' Trymon on making contact with the Dungeon Dimensions.
And, in the movie adaptation alone, this is also what happens to Trymon by... himself.
Who Will Bell the Cat?: when one member of the Star People cult tries to intimidate Cohen by saying that that if he is killed, more will take his place. Cohen replies that it doesn't matter since he will be dead anyways. The cultist wisely backs off.
Western Zodiac: The Discworld version of astrology is mentioned. It's much harder than on our world, because the constellations keep changing as Great A'tuin swims along. The wizards try to locate Rincewind by working out his exact horoscope; Rincewind's birth sign is "The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars", which later features in The Last Continent, set thousands of years in the past, as a much larger nebula in the sky.