The 26th ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel. The fifth in the Death/Susan theme, although they are not the main protagonists of the story.

The Auditors of Reality are at it again. This time, they plot to stop time and therefore all the messiness of life, freezing it perfectly. To do so, they approach a driven, unstable watchmaker called [[ShoutOut Jeremy Clockson]] - so called because he was a foundling of the Clockmaker's Guild - to build, or rather ''re''build, the Glass Clock of [[{{Pun}} Bad Schüschein]]. This Clock, built by a MadScientist, previously stopped time briefly [[TimeCrash before breaking and then shattered history]], causing the History Monks to have to put it back together imperfectly (and incidentally [[AWizardDidIt explaining all the Discworld series' continuity errors]]). Its existence survives only in a fairytale and the memory of an [[TheIgor Igor]], the grandson of the one who helped build the Clock. In order to interact with Jeremy, an Auditor makes a human body and inhabits it under the alias Lady [[MeaningfulName Myria Lejean]], but in the process finds herself losing her former nature and becoming addicted to life.

Meanwhile, another foundling called Lobsang Ludd has been taken away by the History Monks and is taught their disciplines - chiefly chronological kung fu. A difficult but know-it-all student, he is apprenticed to Lu-Tze (from ''Discworld/SmallGods''), spoken of with fear yet claiming to be only a simple sweeper, and thus outside the system. Via their Mandala, the monks learn of the attempt to reconstruct the Glass Clock, and know that this time there's no hope of repairing history if it strikes. Merely a birth pang of the coming doom causes the room of Procrastinators (time manipulating machines) to go haywire, yet Lobsang somehow instinctively calms them. Lu-Tze, who failed to stop the first clock, is put on the case by the Abbot, a serial reincarnator currently in the body of a baby. He and Lobsang journey down towards Ankh-Morpork...

And meanwhile, Death has a job of his own: mustering the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and recruiting his granddaughter Susan to intervene so the Apocalypse won't happen at all.

Preceded by ''Discworld/TheTruth'', followed by ''Discworld/NightWatch''. The inciting incident of ''Night Watch'' is directly caused by the climax of ''Thief of Time,'' so these books are closely connected, despite being part of different "series." This is the final novel to feature cover art by Josh Kirby who would pass away before ''Night Watch'' was published. Paul Kidby would take on the role of cover artist for the rest of the series.

Preceded in the Death/Susan subseries by ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}''.
!! ''Thief of Time'' provides examples of:
* AgainstMyReligion: Used by an (unusually creative) Auditor to explain his irrational behavior while disguised as a human.
* TheAirNotThere: Averted. Lu-Tze mentions that special precautions have to be taken when slicing time to move the frozen-in-time air molecules out of the way.
* AllAmazonsWantHercules: Mrs. War (a Valkyrie) henpecks her husband for nearly all her time onscreen. But when War gets his HesBack moment (and his spine back), she blushes happily when he commands her to leave.
* AlmightyJanitor. Lu-Tze in his disguise as a mere sweeper.
** [[spoiler:Ronnie Soak, also known as Kaos]].
* AndThatLittleGirlWasMe: Played with. Lu-Tze doesn't get any further into the story than "There was once this young sweeper--" before Lobsang interrupts to point out that he's obviously talking about himself.
* AnimalsLackAttributes: Invoked when Susan takes a paper tube away from Jason and informs the boy that, no, the cardboard animal which the class is constructing is a polite horse. Possibly a reference to a 20th century joke campaign to clothe animals: "A nude horse is a rude horse!" was their slogan.
* AntWar: War and his children hang around observing one of these, simply because the relatively peaceful age has left them nothing better to do. They hang severed ant heads from their saddles to fit the setting.
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: Time; it had previously been hinted in an earlier version of the ''Discworld Companion'' that she was female, because "Time waits for no man"... [[spoiler:except Wen]].
* ArcWords: Lu-Tze reminding everyone of [[RuleNumberOne Rule One]], which is "Never act incautiously when facing a small wrinkly bald smiling old man!" [[spoiler:He proves it by beating the tar out of ''the new personification of Time.'']]
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: The embodied Auditors shouldn't have felt the need to breathe, if they were using their powers to exchange gases between their new bodies and the surrounding air: it's the buildup of carbon dioxide in body fluids that ''makes'' the brain's respiratory centers trigger each breath.
* AxCrazy: [[spoiler:Mr White. ''Literally''.]]
* BadassBaritone: War employs one of these, briefly, [[spoiler: just before the Horsemen ride against the Auditors]].
* BadassGrandpa: "[[RuleNumberOne Rule One]]: Never act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man!"
** "Rule 19: "Always remember Rule One and ask yourself, ''why was it created in the first place?''
* BaitAndSwitchComment:
** When Lu-Tze takes a shortcut through the dojo, he is accosted by a young monk who accuses him of being somewhere he's not allowed and prepares to beat him up. The dojo master intervenes, asking, "Do you not wish to know the name of the man you are about to destroy?", and when the young monk scoffs that he doesn't need to know the name of a servant, the dojo master clarifies that his question was addressed to Lu-Tze.
** When Jeremy asks Igor if he's good at glasswork, he says that he isn't -- he's ''bloody amazing'' at glasswork.
* BerserkButton: Discussed towards the end of the novel as part of a discussion about little "exceptions to the rules". Soto's exception to his general pacifism? "Not the hair."
* BittersweetEnding: For [[spoiler:[=LeJean=]/Unity, since she decides to kill herself rather than live as an insane auditor trying to be human once she stops the invasion. Death considers it a waste of her potential, but we do see that unlike the other auditors she has earned a soul.]]
* TheBore: Jeremy is introduced as someone whose only topic of conversation is clocks - he can expound at length about each and every kind of clock imaginable, and is more likely to run out of listeners before he runs out of clocks. He's also said to be so dull that, if he decided to become interesting, he'd likely search for a book on how to be interesting and try to see if there are any classes he can take.
* BriarPatching: When the monks learn that a new Glass Clock is being built, Lu-Tze makes a big deal about how much he wants to go to Uberwald to look for it, correctly assuming that he will be prevented from going to Uberwald and will thus be free to go and deal with the real problem in Ankh-Morpork.
* BrownNote: During the sequence in Qu's workshop, Qu mentions that he's working a technique of weaponized chanting that incorporates frequencies that have a particular effect on the human nervous system.
* BrickJoke:
** More like a convoluted way to get to a 'perfect moment.' At the start of the book, it's mentioned that the history and lead-up to a 'perfect moment' is not straightforward. At the very end of the book, [[spoiler:Susan and Lobsang have their 'perfect moment.']]
** Early on, Lu-Tze considers the monastery's valley in which it is always the same day and the cherry trees are in blossom forever, and mentions that it might be nice to ''pick'' cherries for once. [[spoiler:At the end, Lobsang makes the trees bear fruit as a gift to him]].
** The repeated uses of ''Tick'' to mark narrative shifts between scenes is eventually proven to have a purpose when the Glass Clock stops time and a ''Ti-'' appears. When time resumes, it's with a ''-ck.''
** When hungry, Lobsang asks if monks know a technique to feed on air, Lu-Tze responds "On the planet Sausage, maybe". At the very end [[spoiler:Chaos]] says there are planets made entirely of chocolate.
** The opening scene begins with Death watching a demonstration involving large quantities of buttered toast, before the subject moves on; several pages and an extended flashback sequence later, when the reader is unlikely to be actively recalling the scene's beginning, the scene ends with Death doing a comic pratfall after slipping in some spilled butter. The explanation for this experiment (every toast ends up butter-side down) is explained much later as malignity- ordinary objects becoming more hostile to non-objects (garden hoses tangling up) is an indicator of increased Auditor activity or presence.
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Soto - one of the best field agents the Monks of Time have - refuses to cut his hair, as he believes it to be a separate entity that simply happens to live on his head. At least, so he claims.
* CallBack: Lu-Tze and the Abbot first appear as minor characters in ''Discworld/SmallGods''. Young monks hanging around Mrs. Cosmopilite's dress shop to seek enlightenment was a gag reference in ''Discworld/WitchesAbroad''.
* ChekhovsGun:
** The obvious one is the pair of procrastinators procured by Qu, in a scene reminiscent to a ''Film/JamesBond'' film. Lu-Tze says that they're untested and to be used only as a last resort, so it's certain they'll be essential at some point.
** The Yeti's SaveScumming ability is demonstrated as a curiosity, and Lu-Tze mentions that he knows how to do it in theory but would have to be very desperate to try it for real, given the stakes.
* ClockworkCreature: One of Igor's previous insane masters constructed a "ticktock man" from wires and springs, programmed with hole-punched paper tape. It could sweep the floor and make a nice cup of tea, unless it bumped something - in which case it broke the furniture and made a furious cup of cat.
* ColdEquation: Susan is of the opinion that it's best to use cold logic in the face of the end of the world, even to the point of letting certain people die in order to save everyone else.
* ColourCodedTimestop: Not only the passages in which time is sliced are described as having weird colours, Lobsang eventually confirms that there are scrolls explaining how the world changes its colours as time is sliced.
** And the reduced speed of light on Discworld - just 600 mph - makes the effect visible at even mild time slices.
* ColourfulThemeNaming: Thanks to Lejean blurting something out upon first introducing them, the other Auditors are all named Mr or Miss [Colour] -- possibly a ShoutOut to ''Film/ReservoirDogs''. Or else a shout-out to the British board game ''Cluedo'' (named ''Clue'' in the American version), with characters named "Colonel Mustard", "Reverend Green", "Miss Scarlett", "Dr. Black", etc.
** The naming convention of the incarnated Auditors also has a certain resemblance to the Strangers from ''Film/DarkCity''.
** The theme of Auditors in human form all dressing in monochrome grey -- grey clothes, grey hats, grey shoes -- might be a {{homage}} to the Grey Gentlemen in Creator/MichaelEnde's fantasy novel ''Literature/{{Momo}}'', published in 1973 (alternative titles in English were ''The Grey Gentlemen'' or ''The Men in Grey''). The villanous (and non-human) Grey Gentlemen were also called "time thieves" because they stole time from humans by persuading them to "save" time and deposit it in the Grey Gentlemen's time banks to be paid back with interest at an unspecified date.
** Refer also to Creator/MichaelMoorcock. In his scifi novel ''The Final Countdown'', time-travelling hero ''Jerry Cornelius'' - another J.C. - is duped by his adversary Miss ''Brunner'' into helping to devise a supercomputer that puts a stop to human history - ending effectively the passage of time...
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: The Auditors attempt to analyze art by disassembling paintings into their component molecules.
* ContinuityNod: In reference to the ContinuitySnarl mentioned below, Lu-Tze points out several issues that fans have pointed out over the years about ''Discworld'' continuity as examples of problems caused by the new patchwork history. For example, there's the opera house/theatre business and the fact that Ephebe's philosophers are so long-lived (they appear both in ''Discworld/{{Pyramids}}'' and ''Discworld/SmallGods'', set about a century earlier). Also a FandomNod.
** Leafing through his book of Memories, Death pauses when he turns to a recollection of xylophone music. In ''Soul Music'', the raven snarks to Susan that ordinary children get given xylophones, they don't play music on their grandfather's ribcage.
** Susan asks if Lobsang has "rhythm in his soul", a reference to ''Discworld/SoulMusic''.
** During the headmistress's interview with Susan, it's mentioned that one of the children who'd been terrified of bogeymen before joining Susan's class has now started hunting for them with her father's sword in hand. Sounds like [[Discworld/{{Hogfather}} belief in the poker]] is transferable to other implements too.
** This isn't the first time a Discworld character has crafted the masterpiece he'd dreamed of using notes scribbled all over his bedclothes: when filming ''Blown Away'' in ''Discworld/MovingPictures'', Dibbler had Detritus carry his whole bed around so he could consult the script.
** Leonardo Da Quirm had it happen to him so often he tried to invent a helmet he could wear in bed so he'd stop waking up to designs of siege engines with carefully listed set of parts scribbled all over his sheets.
* ContinuitySnarl: In-universe example, this is what happened to Discworld history after the first Glass Clock struck and the History Monks were unable to completely repair it. There's even a ShoutOut to specific continuity errors fans have previously pointed out, such as some characters crossing over between ''Discworld/{{Pyramids}}'' and ''Discworld/SmallGods'' despite the books taking place decades apart ([[EpilepticTrees ... probably]]) and the setting up of a Shakespearean-style theatre being new and radical in ''Discworld/WyrdSisters'' when it turns out that the city has had a Victorian-style opera house for many years in ''Discworld/{{Maskerade}}''.
* CosmicRetcon: The aforementioned ContinuitySnarl is used to HandWave plot holes and SchizoTech in the rest of the series.
* CurbStompBattle: [[spoiler:Even after becoming Time incarnate]], Lobsang doesn't stand a chance against Lu-Tze.
* CrystalDragonJesus: Readers with an eastern philosophy bent will quickly notice that "Order of Wen the Eternally Surprised" -- a.k.a. the History Monks -- is Buddhism with a dash of Taoism thrown in for taste. Wen is even the name of the mythological author of the I Ching, an important Taoist/Buddhist book. (In this case, Wen falling in love with [[spoiler:Time]] is probably a subtle pun.)
* DefectorFromDecadence: Lejean decides to stop the other Auditors' plan after experiencing the sensations and thoughts that come with being alive. Though under the circumstances it's more of a defector into decadence.
* DeliciousDistraction: Made easy since the Auditors are not used to their new senses.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: [[spoiler: Lu-Tze beating down ''Time''.]]
* DivineParentage: [[spoiler:Lobsang and Jeremy are the son of Time. In fact they are the same person, but her powers made two of them. [[MindScrew Best not to think about that]].]]
* DontTouchItYouIdiot:
** The narrator remarks, "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."
** The reaction of Qu when Lobsang starts picking up things in his workshop.
* DramaticSlip: This causes the second half of the plot. Lobsang and Lu-Tze were running to reach the Glass Clock before it struck and would have made it if not for this trope. The stupidity is later lampshaded:
-->I'm sorry? You were dashing to prevent the end of the world but you stopped to help some old man? You... [[IdiotHero hero!]]
* EldritchAbomination: Rarely for a late Discworld novel, the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions are mentioned, as statues in the History Monks' garden (they call them ''dhlang'', demons). An Auditor statue is among them and called the most dangerous of them all, despite its unassuming appearance.
* ElementNumberFive: As in the previous book, it is said that on the Disc the Fifth Element is "Surprise". Fitting the number, Lu-Tze has a 'Garden of Five Surprises' which Lobsang attempts to puzzle out after only finding four of them. [[spoiler:He's convinced it's some meta explanation like Lu-Tze himself being the fifth surprise, but the actual fifth surprise is just a cheap carnival mask Lu-Tze puts on with a "Boo!"]] "I never said it was a ''good'' surprise..."
* EmptyElevator: [[spoiler: The Auditors]] are waiting for the last humans alive [[spoiler: for a given value of [[AmbiguouslyHuman 'human' and 'alive']]]] to come out of an elevator. [[DeliciousDistraction They don't]].
* EurekaMoment:[[spoiler: For the first six Auditors to become human after Lady Lejean is trying to stop the clock. For beings who hated imagination and could never lie, the way they countered her attempts to stop them were quite impressive.]]
* EvilLawyerJoke: Igor opens the door when Myria brings colleagues, and his tone of voice makes it clear what he thinks of them.
--> Her ladythip is here... and thee hath brought ''lawyerth.''
* ExactWords: Igor assures Jeremy's boss that he sees him pour out a spoonful of his medicine regularly. What he ''doesn't'' mention is that Jeremy then pours the spoonful of medicine down the sink instead of down his throat.
* FairyTale: Invoked to explain how stories work.
* FakeUltimateHero: Played with but ultimately averted with Lu-Tze, who really is as good as his legend says.
* FalseReassurance: Someone from the Guild of Clockmakers regularly checks that Jeremy is taking his medicine. Igor assures him that [[ExactWords he sees Jeremy pour out a spoonful every day]] -- but doesn't mention that he then pours it down the drain.
* FantasticallyIndifferent: After time has been stopped, Ronnie Soak drops a milk bottle and sees it stop in mid-air when it leaves the personal field of time around Ronnie. 'Another idiot with a Clock', he surmises, but is otherwise unfazed.
* FantasticTimeManagement: The title character can make time flow faster or slower for himself relative to the world around him. He regularly uses this ability for mundane everyday schedule management. (And for stealing things.)
* FoodPorn: Just try to not be in the mood for chocolate after finishing this one.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Lu-Tze reminds the abbot of how, traditionally, an apprentice sets off into the world with his master, to find his Way and, eventually, himself. [[spoiler: Lobsang finds himself ''literally'', as well as the Way home to Time's glass halls.]]
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: [[spoiler: Myria [=LeJean=]/Unity]] in the museum after time stops; she uses a family of squatters as furniture, even offering [[spoiler: Susan and Lobsang]] to "pull up a child and have a seat."
* GenreSavvy: Even after it appears Lu-Tze is MistakenForBadass, Lobsang never forgets RuleNumberOne.
* TheGhost: Time Herself never appears or deliberately interferes with the plot.
* GRatedDrug: [[spoiler:The Auditors eventually become somewhat addicted to life; narrowing their senses down to five is easy-peasy, but they are unprepared for the sheer intensity of them. It literally drives them insane.]]
* HenpeckedHusband: War.
--> '''War:''' Do I like rabbit?\\
'''Mrs. War:''' Yes, dear.\\
'''War:''' I though I liked beef.\\
'''Mrs. War:''' No, dear. Beef gives you wind.\\
'''War:''' Oh. Any chance of onions?\\
'''Mrs. War:''' You don't like onions, dear.\\
'''War:''' I don't?\\
'''Mrs. War:''' Because of your stomach, dear.\\
'''War:''' Oh. Erm... dear, do I ride out for Apocalypses?\\
'''Mrs. War:''' No, dear. You always come down with a cold.\\
'''War:''' I thought I rather, er, sort of ''liked'' that sort of thing?\\
'''Mrs. War:''' No, dear. You don't.\\
'''War:''' Perhaps I would like a beer?\\
'''Mrs. War:''' You don't like beer, dear.\\
'''War:''' I don't?\\
'''Mrs. War:''' No, it brings out your trouble.\\
'''War:''' Ah. Uh, how do I feel about brandy?\\
'''Mrs. War:''' You don't like brandy, dear. You like your special oat drink with the vitamins.
* HesBack: [[spoiler:Kaos becomes Chaos, which is something the auditors loathe, allowing the horsemen to finally turn the tide. Shortly before that War shakes off the unfocused state the long stretch of relative peace had put him in when it's time to ride out.]]
* HilariousInHindsight: We are finally given a canonical, in-Universe explanation for Discworld's [[ContinuitySnarl continuity anomalies.]] Later in the book, Lu-Tze [[Creator/DetectiveComics punches]] [[ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis Time.]]
* HistoricalInJoke: One of Lobsang's instructors recounts to the Abbot how, in an attempt to embarass Lobsang into paying attention, he challenged the boy to solve the problem on the blackboard; only Lobsang was looking at the wrong problem, and instead solved part of a lesson that had been impossible even for the advanced students who it had been intended for. This is more or less what happened to George Dantzig in 1939 when he was a graduate student at Berkeley; he arrived late to a statistics class one day and scrawled down what he assumed was part of his homework assignment. Six weeks after he turned it in, his professor came to him and told him he'd solved two rather famous unsolved problems that had been giving mathematicians trouble for years.
* HorsemenOfTheApocalypse: [[spoiler: Five.]]
* HumanityIsInfectious: [[spoiler:The Auditors, especially Lejean and Mr White.]]
* HumanMail: Jeremy gets an Igor mailed to him in a box.
* HumanoidAbomination: The Auditors when they take human form.
* TheIgor: Or rather ''an'' Igor. The Auditors hire one to assist Jeremy in making the clock.
* IKnowKungFaux: Several techniques are named, including ''Okidoki, Upsi-Dasi,'' and the mystical Déjà Fu. [[spoiler:That last one's real.]]
* IndividualityIsIllegal: A number of Auditors takes human form and individual names, a venture that ends in bloodshed and chaos, with the last survivor deciding to commit suicide in a vat of chocolate.
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain: Some of the Auditors end up seeming quite relatable as they navigate and endure the peculiarities of humanity, especially in other incarnated Auditors -- such as Mr. White, who takes to vicious bullying almost as well as some humans.
* InsaneEqualsViolent: Mr. White did not handle incarnation well. Jeremy is an inverted, milder case - he's absolutely ''sane''. The only violence he did was offscreen, a NoodleIncident, and apparently was very, very messy. [[FalseReassurance He has medicine for it now.]]
* ItIsPronouncedTropay: The Angel Clothèd All in White of the Iron Book from the Prophecy of Tobrun is keen to remind you that 'Clothèd' is pronounced "cloth-edd". "It's the slanty thing over the E".
* {{Kiai}}: The monks' various martial arts use FunnyBruceLeeNoises, allowing the ArrogantKungFuGuy to turn "ohshee" into "oh shit" when he learns who he's fighting.
* [[TheKeyIsBehindTheLock The Crowbar is Inside the Box]]: There's a recurring metaphor about "opening a box with the crowbar you'll find inside".
** Done literally with the Igor shipped in a crate to Jeremy. He pushes the crowbar out of the crate through an airhole so Jeremy can open it since the shippers ignored 'This Way Up'.
* KnuckleCracking: When Lady Lejean and her bodyguards first visit Jeremy, one of the bodyguards cracks his knuckles when he sees Jeremy looking at him.
* LetsGetDangerous: Death rides out to gather the Horsemen for the coming Apocalypse, but finds that [[spoiler: each of them has, in some way, been rendered effectively useless by the qualities they acquired from being an AnthropomorphicPersonification.]] The trope comes when they [[spoiler: actually come to Death's aid, along with ex-Horseman Chaos, and War pushes his image as a HenpeckedHusband aside (to his Valkyrie wife's nostalgic delight) to show that they're every bit as dangerous as they were prophesied to be.]] See LoopholeAbuse for what happens next.
* LogicBomb: Used by [[spoiler:Lejean/Unity]] against the orderly-minded Auditors, such as signs that point right but say "Keep Left" and signs that read "Ignore This Sign -- By Order", and "Do Not Feed the Elephant" when there is no elephant.
** Not to mention going metaphysical when she puts up a sign that says "Duck" when there's no reason to duck.
*** And [[{{Duck}} no waterfowl in sight]] either.
** The Auditors finally find a way around it by creating the new category of orders that are "bloody stupid" and thus don't have to be followed, after taking heavy losses.
* LoopholeAbuse: Used by the Horsemen in the climax, [[spoiler:as they decide to fight the Auditors on humanity's behalf]]:
-->'''Death:''' [[spoiler:[[AC:While it is true we have to ride out, it doesn't say anywhere against ''whom''.]] ]]
* MadScientist: Jeremy Clockson, though he's described as being too sane rather than not sane enough.
** Only by himself. Igor considers it to be just another type of crazy.
* MagicFeather: The portable procrastinator, but only for Lobsang: he makes his own time [[spoiler: since he's Time's son]].
* MathematiciansAnswer: Was the most accurate one. [[spoiler: "Are you Lobsang or are you Jeremy?" "Yes."]]
* MeaningfulName: Doubles as punny -- Wen the Eternally Surprised. His name sounds like "when", and interestingly enough, ''wen'' in Chinese means "to ask a question", which he did after his enlightenment.
** Myria [=LeJean=], [[spoiler:Myriad Legion]]. After [[spoiler:Susan convinces her that it's no good to build her confidence on numbers]], she changes her name to [[spoiler:Unity.]]
* TheMenInBlack: The History Monks (a.k.a. The Men In Saffron, a.k.a. No Such Monastery).
* MergerOfSouls: Lobsang Ludd and his not-quite-twin brother Jeremy Clockson. The really weird truth, when it comes out, is that they are [[spoiler:not twins at all but the same soul born twice due to a temporal anomaly (their mother is the anthropomorphic personification of Time, and her labour got a bit strange, despite the best midwife in the Discworld being present). The two half-souls are allowed to fuse together towards the end of the book, with Lobsang dominating, so as to take over the job of running Time from their mother.]]
* MistakenForProfound: Lu-Tze thinks what Mrs. Marietta Cosmopolite says is deep wisdom.
** It shows up Lobsang, who assumes the Way is more mystical, when Lu-Tze manages to use the Way to ignore the cold by [[spoiler:wearing a masterfully crafted pair of longjohns made by Mrs. Cosmopolite.]] Lu-Tze is later called a master at seeing "the wisdom hidden in plain sight."
* MundaneUtility:
** [[spoiler: Chaos (Ronnie Soak) has an impossibly cold sword, and, like Death, the ability to be where he needs to be. He uses the sword to keep milk cold, and the ability to deliver milk and dairy products to everyone in Ankh-Morpork. Every day. At ''precisely'' 7 AM. Everywhere.]]
** Susan, as part of her inherited powers from being Death's Granddaughter, can stop time for herself. She mentions this power is great for grading her students' work. She also uses the compelling voice to get some time off. The voice, however, won't be able to get her a pay raise.
* MyGreatestFailure: For Lu-Tze, it's his failure to stop the first TimeCrash.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Lobsang [[spoiler: barely misses stopping the second clock]] because he slowed down to catch a falling Lu-tze. Susan chastises him for this, calling him "hero" in a derogatory tone.
* NobleShoplifter: On their trip to Ankh-Morpork, Lu-Tze and Lobsang take supplies from people's houses, and leave behind [=IOUs=] that will be settled by the next History Monk to pass through who isn't in such a hurry.
* NoBodyLeftBehind: When the Auditors "die" in their artificially made human bodies, the bodies sometimes simply break down at the atomic level, seeming to turn to dust.
* NobodyTouchesTheHair: Marco Soto.
* NoMedicationForMe: Jeremy takes medicine to make sure he doesn't become "too sane", but then decides he thinks better without it.
* NoodleIncident: Whatever Jeremy did to that guy who kept his watch fast. He has medicine now.
** It's mentioned in passing that Susan has met the Tooth Fairy, the Soul Cake Duck, and Old Man Trouble. The Tooth Fairy encounter took place in ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', and Old Man Trouble patronizes Biers like Susan does, but the Soul Cake Duck never appears in any Discworld novel.
* NoSocialSkills: Jeremy.
* NotSoDire: Three novices once pushed over Lu-Tze's shrine (when he was already a MemeticBadass). The abbot tells them that until they find the courage to confess to Lu-Tze and then face him in the final dojo to learn his Way, they will remain sweepers.
--> And the story continues: The novice who had protested that it was only the shrine of a sweeper ran away from the temple, the student who said nothing remained a sweeper for the rest of his life, and the student who had seen the inevitable shape of the story went, after much agonizing and several months of meticulous sweeping, to Lu-Tze and knelt and asked to be shown the Right Way. Whereupon the Sweeper took him to the dojo of the Tenth Djim, with its terrible multi-bladed fighting machines and its fearsome serrated weapons such as the clong-clong and the uppsi. The story runs that the Sweeper then opened a cupboard at the back of the dojo and produced a broom and spake thusly: "One hand here and the other here, understand? People never get it right."
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Lu-Tze. In truly epic amounts.
* OhCrap: When the Sweeper and Lobsang cut through a dojo as a shortcut, one of the students angrily stops him and challenges him to a fight when the Sweeper won't leave. Then the Sweeper introduces himself to the student, triggering this reaction.
--> '''Lu-Tze''': My name is Lu-Tze.\\
'''Student''': Oh shee... ''oh shee-yit...''
* OldMaster: Played with. Lu-Tze has a fearsome reputation among the History Monks as a powerful warrior, but over the course of the story, he reveals that most of his feats are accomplished by simple trickery. Then he [[spoiler:puts a physical embodiment of time in a submission hold.]]
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: Lu-Tze is generally easy-going and seems to view the world as a big joke that only he is in on, but when it seems like he and Lobsang are going to be too late to stop time being destroyed (again), he becomes entirely serious and short-tempered. Downplayed at the very end, where he displays frightening keeness and helpfulness in front of the chief acolyte in order to get the ceremony going.
* OrderVersusChaos: Comes down on the side of chaos, because life and emotion and free will are disorderly: that's why the auditors want to destroy it.
* PaintingTheMedium: Throughout the book, the word ''tick'' is inserted in-between most scenes. [[spoiler: When Lobsang fails to stop the glass clock, and time stops, the ticking stops as well.]]
* PerspectiveFlip: The opening chapter, discussing where stories begin, speculates about happy polar bears and seals that meet with tragedy when [[Film/{{Titanic 1997}} tons of floating iron and an exciting soundtrack]] collide with their iceberg.
* ThePeteBest: [[spoiler:Kaos, the ''Fifth'' Horseman.]] [[invoked]]
* PrettyInMink: To help her image as a wealthy socialite, Lejean wears a huge white fur coat when she first meets Jeremy, then a mink stole later.
* PrimordialChaos: [[spoiler: Kaos, the Fifth [[HorsemenOfTheApocalypse Horseman of the Apocalypse]]. He left before they got famous.]]
* ProphecyTwist[=/=]ExactWords:
** Tobrun was ''right'' about the Horsemen bringing terror to the multitudes. [[spoiler:He just failed to specify that they'd be multitudes of Auditors.]]
** The Horsemen will ride out at the Apocalypse. [[spoiler:The prophecy never said against ''whom''. Death is able to convince his fellow Horsemen to ride out ''to save the universe.'']]
* PuttingTheBandBackTogether: Death trying to reunite the Four Horsemen.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Lobsang witnesses a sunrise in colors (like "surgical-appliance pink") that no artist would be caught dead using in a ''painting'' of a sunrise.
* RenownedSelectiveMentor: Everyone is shocked when Lobsang becomes the apprentice of Lu-Tze The Sweeper. Even if they don't recognise The Sweeper in person, they are shocked by his rep, and because he ''never'' takes apprentices anymore. In fact Lobsang's apprenticeship is a punishment posting for both of them in different ways.
* RogueDrone: Lady Myria [=LeJean=]. Once she picks up a physical body, a name, and a gender, she starts seeing life as less of a blight on the perfection of the universe. And had the other Auditors spent the same amount of time, they would likely have done the same.
* SaveScumming: The yetis have avoided extinction (three times) by working out how to perform what amounts to a quicksave and reload. [[spoiler:Lu-Tze learned it from them later.]]
* SchizoTech: A key part of the backstory -- when the monks repaired history, they did a somewhat patchwork job. In fact, this book manages to HandWave every single instance of SchizoTech ''in the entire Discworld series'' by outright stating that all of the inconsistencies were created when the time stream was essentially pieced back together by little men in robes wielding glue-sticks.
* ScrewThisImOutOfHere: It turns out nowhere in the Code of the Igors do they need to stay once the angry mob arrives.
* SdrawkcabAlias: [[spoiler:Ronnie ''Soak''.]]
** According to Pratchett, [[spoiler:he only realized who Soak really was a minute or two before Lu-Tze did, and ran into a bathroom with a pen and a piece of paper to check to see if it was recognizeable when it's mirrored]].
* SecretArt: Deja fu. [[spoiler:The monks don't know it because ''Lu-Tze hasn't taught them''.]]
* SelfMutilationDemonstration: Cutting off the yeti's head to demonstrate his SaveScumming ability.
* SenseFreak: [[spoiler: The Auditors in human form, to the point that they die from taste bud stimulation.]]
* ShoutOut: As usual, plenty.
** [[spoiler:Kaos being 'the one who left before they became famous' is a reference to Pete Best, former drummer of Music/TheBeatles.]]
** The inventive monk Qu is an obvious CaptainErsatz of Q from ''Film/JamesBond''.
** Lu-Tze tells Lobsang he won't [[Series/KungFu call him some insect nickname]].
** Lu-Tze's line after figuring out [[spoiler:Kaos']] identity is a reference to a famous Rolling Stones song.
** "Jeremy Clockson" is almost certainly a pun on Jeremy Clarkson of ''Series/TopGear'', though the two don't share anything apart from the name (and, possibly, a fascination with engineering). This is debated ''[[http://disc.osiris-web.com/mediawiki/index.php/Talk:Jeremy_Clockson here]]'' on the L-Space Wiki. It may be another case of Tuckerisation?
** Alternatively, another J.C. who is described as a ''chrononaut on the seas of Time'' is Creator/MichaelMoorcock's [[Literature/TheCorneliusChronicles Jerry Cornelius]]. And Moorcock's novel ''The Final Countdown'' sets Jerry Cornelius against an Auditor-like nemesis called ''Miss Brunner'' (cf "Miss Brown") who also uses him to help build a machine that brings Time and therefore history to a dead stop.
** And ''Jeremy'' and ''Jerry'' are variations on the Biblical name ''Jeremiah'' - a harbinger and a prophet of bad news, hailed by Christians as one of the Biblical prophets of the End Times, ie the end of human history in the Apocalypse.
** The stance used to stop falling is called Stance of the Coyote, anybody else reminded of a certain cartoon coyote?
** Lu-Tze being a simple sweeper might also be a ShoutOut to the wuxia novel ''Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils'', where the most powerful character is a sweeping monk in the Shaolin temple who only appears in a few scenes and is never named.
*** His name is also a distortion of [[Creator/{{Laozi}} Lao Tzu]], the legendary founder of Taoism.
** The Procrastinators are so called after the saying that "procrastination is the thief of time".
** Death breaks it to the Angel of the Prophecy of Tobrun that the Omnian Church has written him out of canon, deciding that the prophecy was actually a metaphor for the struggles of the early Church, which is a reference to a similar controversy over the Biblical Book of Revelation.
*** In the same vein, the idea of Kaos being the Fifth Horseman and riding in a chariot stems from a controversy over whether, when the Book of Revelation says "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him", is this a description, or is Hell (or Hades) supposed to be a separate entity, making five in total?
** Kaos' helmet has eye-slits that look like butterflies' wings, in a reference to [[ButterflyOfDoom the Butterfly Effect]] in chaos theory (which was also mentioned in ''Interesting Times'') and/or the shape of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lorenz_system_r28_s10_b2-6666.png Lorenz attractor]].
** Lobsang Ludd is almost certainly a reference both to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobsang_Rampa Lobsang Rampa]] and to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobby_Lud Lobby Lud/Ludd]].
** Susan's classroom forays to distant cities or ancient battles are similar to Ms. Frizzle's "field trips" in ''TheMagicSchoolBus''.
** Stopping time, martial arts, jumping off tall buildings and [[spoiler:Myria renaming herself Unity]]... [[Film/TheMatrix They could make a movie out of this]]!
** To several works of music that Terry would be familiar with. As with ''Soul Music'', rock tracks are freely referenced, with a theme of the passing of time and history:
** The clocks ticking in Jeremy's shop - until they all chime at once: to Music/PinkFloyd's ''Music/TheDarkSideOfTheMoon''. Or possibly the opening scene of ''Film/BackToTheFuture''. (Or both.)
** Death's soliloquy on Space being dark, deep, cold and lonely: directly quoted from ''Music/{{Hawkwind}}'s ''Space is Dark,'' written by Creator/MichaelMoorcock.
** When Lobsang slows time so far the world goes from blue to, er, ''Music/DeepPurple'', is he then a "Child In Time"?
** When Susan and Lobsang meet after time is frozen, she asks if he's got rhythm, then if he's got music. She then observes "And you certainly haven't got a girl. I saw Old Man Trouble just a while ago, you'd best avoid him" which is a reference to the song "Who Could Ask For Anything More" by Music/IrvingBerlin.
** There is a dessert called Death By Chocolate. A literal interpretation of this name turns out to be an effective weapon against the Auditors, [[spoiler: and the multi-layered vat of chocolate in which Unity commits suicide is a near-perfect ''recipe'' for that scrumptious dessert]].
** As with the third example in Time Stands Still, below, a subtle Shout Out combined with Genius Bonus: the "sweet spot at high slicing levels" sounds awfully like the Islands of Stability at the higher end of the Periodic Table http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_of_stability.
** Igor's former masters include [[Film/Frankenstein1931 a mad scientist who died in a burning windmill]], one named [[Film/TheAbominableDrPhibes Dr. Vibes]], and one who attempted to [[Literature/GulliversTravels extract sunshine from vegetables]].
* SplitAtBirth: [[spoiler:Lobsang and Jeremy. In a very literal way.]]
* SuperReflexes: The History Monks use "slicing time" to give themselves enhanced perception and response. [[spoiler:Lobsang was taken by the monks because he could do this despite being untrained in their arts.]]
* {{Synchronization}}: When [[spoiler:Lobsang and Jeremy]] are near each other they exhibit this. [[spoiler:The unconscious Jeremy echoes everything Lobsang says, and when Susan pinches Jeremy, Lobsang feels it too.]]
* TakeThat: Terry Pratchett ''really'' hates nougat. He also doesn't seem to think too highly of "progressive" education, describing Madame Frout's Academy as chaos before Susan showed up.
* TechnicianVersusPerformer: Though timekeeping is not ''exactly'' an art form, this describes Jeremy and Lobsang's differences to a T. Note how high-strung and terrifying exact the "technician" Jeremy is, while Lobsang is such a performer half the time he has no idea what he even ''is'' doing, but his talent is spilling over everywhere.
* ThatMakesMeFeelAngry: The Auditors in human form reporting their emotions without knowing the term for it. Including pain...
* ThemeNaming: The Auditors with colours, so much so that they run out of colours and start calling themselves things like Mr. Taupe, for example.
* ThirdLineSomeWaiting: The main plot focuses on Lobsang/Lu Tze and Jeremy/Igor/Lady [=LeJean=], with Susan and [[AC:Death]] as C-plots.
* TimePolice: Deconstructed by the History Monks. Before the Crash they were a straightforward example, but since the disaster (if the word 'since' is applicable) they've gone from "make sure tomorrow turns out the way it's supposed to" to a desperate "make sure tomorrow happens at all".
* TimeStandsStill:
** {{Deconstructed}} with slicing -- a small pocket of space around the slicer is still subject to the ordinary passage of time, so it is necessary to move around so that the air around you doesn't get used up and cause you to suffocate. Also, touching a fast-moving object like a crossbow bolt is a really bad idea.
** Further deconstructed when it's mentioned that this is what happens when you do it ''right''. If you screw up slicing, your sorry-ass feet get sliced to ribbons on the grass. And ''then'' you suffocate.
** And then there's what happens if you master the basics and try to go for the high-level stuff. Going for the sweet spot at high slicing levels (where there's a valley in the energy required) and ''missing'' is '''not''' recommended. The guy who discovered the first valley ''theorised'' there existed another, even closer to the point at which no human would survive. It's still only a ''theory'' because, attempting to discover it, he exploded.
* TimeyWimeyBall: Oh the headache. [[spoiler:After two {{Time Crash}}es things are very messed up but still fixed by the end of the book.]]
* TitleDrop: "So easily does a thief of time repay his debts!"
* {{Tuckerization}}: While the book was being written, a chance to appear in the book as a character was offered as a prize in a charity auction. The winner, Marcus Soto, appears as a history monk (the one with the Hair).
* UncertainDoom: Because no one knows what happens after death if the Glass Clock kills you. Or even if it ''does'' "just" kill you - the only two... ''entities'' who got close enough for it to be lethal weren't quite mortal to begin with.
* UnusualEuphemism: One of the Auditors starts spouting absolutely [[Discworld/TheTruth ---ing]] ''[[spoiler:organ]]ic'' modifiers and interjections after discovering how unpleasant it is to have a body and failing to express her frustration through normal human expletives.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The Angel of the Iron Book seemed pretty indignant (being told the work that contains your only appearance is no longer canon will do that to you), then vanished.
* WhatTheHellAreYou: Lu-Tze to Lobsang.
* WillfullyWeak: [[spoiler: During their sparring match at the end, Lu Tze points out that Lobsang, as the new incarnation of Time, could just rewrite the timeline or even erase Lu Tze from history in order to win their match. Lobsang knows he could, but also knows he could never live with himself if he used his full power for such petty reasons.]]
* WorldsMostBeautifulWoman: Assuming she qualified as a woman at all, Myria [=LeJean=]/Unity. Though they don't really get human standards of beauty, the Auditors copied her features from what was considered the most beautiful ''painting'' of a woman in the world ('Woman Holding a Ferret', a reference to '[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_with_an_Ermine#/media/File:Dama_z_gronostajem.jpg Lady With an Ermine]]'), then improved upon them by erasing imperfections, adjusting symmetry, that sort of thing. One can't help but picture Photoshop or something as applied to reality.
** This artficial beauty and the fact that she doesn't quite know how to handle a human body (not always submitting to gravity, having an empty facial expression most of the time, having no body smell at all) lead to Jeremy assuming at first she might be a zombie and to Igor [[UncannyValley feeling highly uncomfortable at her presence.]]
* TheXOfY: The title.
* YouCantThwartStageOne: Lobsang has to try and outrun a lightning bolt about to hit the glass clock, which would stop the flow of time. [[spoiler:He fails, time stops and the auditors plan succeeds. The heroes must now work to set things right again.]]
->''[[BrickJoke -ck]]''