So if a big part of dwarf courting is finding out what the other dwarf's sex is... what's their stance on homosexuality?
The Truth suggests that it's generally assumed one and only one dwarf in a wedded pair is female but only the couple need to know which is which, nor is what they do in private anyone else's business. This is born out by The Fifth Elephant, Thud, and Unseen Academicals: consistently, disapproval is based on public displays of feminine or fey behaviour, without any suggestion of what plumbing the dwarf in question does or does not have.
The sweet little tale of "Where's My Cow" makes you wonder... if the kid is unable to identify the animal until the appropriate sound is made, does that mean the kid is blind?
It's specifically said that the art makes it appear that the animals look like cows for a moment. Kids like the repetition. At two years old, learning that a horse doesn't become a cow just because the hatstand behind its head makes it look a bit like it's got horns actually is a major intellectual insight. Kids that young are still learning what categories like "cow" are, and that they're not just about superficial appearances.
Compare the innocent, idealistic Sam Vimes from Night Watch and the broken, alcoholic Sam Vimes from Guards! Guards!... and wonder what must have happened in between.
John Keel died, and then one mad Patrician was replaced by another who was just as bad...
...and then Vetinari took over, and things got better overall, but only because the Watch lost authority over thieves and assassins...
...and Vimes became Captain and started spending most of his pay on supporting the widows and orphans of the Watchmen he failed to protect.
Simon from Equal Rites is never mentioned again after that book. He was among the first to show that magic causes dimensional instability, shortly before Coin's takeover of the University. He may have been killed resisting, if his fragile health didn't catch up to him first. Although Esk shows up in I Shall Wear Midnight, it's not clear whether Simon is also still alive somewhere/when.
That same character goes on to lose his memories of at, the very least, his role in the events of the first book, and quite possibly the supernatural events of the other two books as well, in I Shall Wear Midnight. And suddenly he's acting pretty differently...
In Mort the characters come across books that are written about people's lives as they happen. At the end of the book Death shows Mort, the character, the book titled Mort. The last few paragraphs are in italics to show that Mort is reading it. Having finished the book, you close it, look at the cover, and realize that the physical book Mort could quite easily be the book Mort that exists in the Discworld-verse. - drumsolo
On a related note, when Mort and Ysabell read Keli's book, it describes the consequences of (what would have been) her death, rather than just jotting "The End" the instant she (was intended to have) kicked the bucket. It's only when I skipped the intervening novels and moved directly to Reaper Man, next in the "Death" subseries, that I realized that Windle Poons' book really would have listed the consequences of his life and unlife (e.g. getting Lupine and Ludmilla together), following the end of his zombie-hood. Where Death's biography collection is concerned, dead people really do live on until whatever they helped initiate in life has run its course. The biography of Adora Belle's brother is still being written. - Sharlee
For some time I wondered why Vetinari so easily let go of the issue of tax evasion amongst the guild leaders in Jingo, but then I realized: When someone with high social standing complains to Vetinari or the Watch, Vetinari (or Carrot) can retort by commenting on their status as tax-paying citizens to induce cooperation. In Guards! Guards! the Thieves' Guild leader complains to Vetinari about being arrested. Vetinari manages to turn the situation around by implying knowledge of unlicensed crime. If Vetinari had acted on the violations, he wouldn't have been able to use them as leverage! If he did something about the tax evasion, the Guilds could demand help and expect him to have to act. As things are he can just use what he knows against them!!!
When I first read Unseen Academicals, I wasn't sure about Glenda's second job selling "beauty aids" to female trolls that help them grow lichen, since Monstrous Regiment says that male trolls disapprove of females having lichen. Then I reread MR, and the exact quote was "der boys say bald is modest". Couple that with the fact troll "strippers" put clothes on, and it appears that a female troll covered in lichen is the equivalent of a human woman wearing very revealing clothing. Daibhid C
Or, alternately, the equivalent of a human woman trimming and shaving her body hair.
Or, troll fashion in (noted backwater) Borogravia is well behind Ankh-Morpork's avant-garde. It's mentioned several times in recent books that human culture is heavily influencing other races, including their beauty standards and gender roles.
In Guards! Guards!, the discussion between the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night concerning the sword in the stone myth. The True King the legends tell you to search for is the person that pulls the sword out of the stone, but, when you think about it, the True King you should really be looking for is really the one that put the sword into the stone in the first place. In Men at Arms, immediately after it is revealed that Captain Carrot is the True King of Ankh-Morpork, he does both. — Vebyast
After reading Guards! Guards! probably five times, I finally realised that, near the start, Brother Plasterer talks about an old prophecy: "Yea, the king will come bringing Law and Justice, and know nothing but the Truth, and Protect and Serve the People with his Sword." Then Carrot shows up and is revealed to be the true king, but he doesn't want to rule. Instead he brings Law and Justice, knows nothing but the Truth and Protects and Serves the People with his Sword by staying a regular watchman. He also becomes involved with Angua, daughter of one of the ruling parties of a foreign nation, Uberwald. I.e., a princess. In Feet of Clay, Dragon King of Arms' objection to her is simply that she's a werewolf, not that she's insufficiently noble.
In Mort, Death slaps Mort across the face for a transgression. In Soul Music, Mort's daughter Susan has a birthmark on her face that shows up when she is embarrassed or angry - three parallel lines on her cheek in exactly the same place her father was slapped. You know the expression "hit you so hard your kids feel it"? Death did that for real.
I've always wondered what the hell Pterry was thinking when he described the sound of the Pyramids flaring in Pyramids as "Cheops". Then I realised: The flaring is the Pyramids essentially moving things back in time. And the sound "cheops" is phonetic.
Also, the Great Pyramid of Cheops is one of the more famous pyramids in real life — also goes by the name of "Giza".
I wondered why I Shall Wear Midnight portrayed Nanny Ogg more like Tiffany's mentor - anyone who read just that book, and not Wintersmith or A Hat Full of Sky wouldn't realize Granny Weatherwax was her real mentor. But when I finished the book, I realized: there's matchmaking, family affairs, weddings, and romances all over the book, and that is Nanny Ogg's territory (that of the Mother) entirely. - vifetoile
I really don't know how it could've possibly taken me so long to get this but Death's main adversaries being the Auditors makes even more perfect sense when you think about it. After all, what're the two certainties in life? Death and Taxes. - Mr Death
It gets even more brilliant/telling when you remember that Granny's biggest fear is that she'll start to ...cackle (turn to the Dark Side), and the role Narrative Causality usually assigns to the powerful magic-user you failed to invite. She thinks she's being forced to ...cackle, and set-up to go on the usual Revenge SVP, so she goes and hides where she can't hurt anyone. - Alasseo
In Carpe Jugulum, at the end, the Omnian preacher, Mightily Oates, sets off into the mountains with his harmonium, singalongs, and cups of tea, to teach the vampires "something else." Suddenly, reformed vampires appear in later Discworld books, and they like to gather round the harmonium, sing songs, and have a nice cup of tea... looks like Mr. Oates missionary work was successful. - jackk
Also, in Unseen Academicals, we learn that "Pastor Oates" walks Far Uberwald, with Forgiveness (his double headed battle axe) at his side... it was Forgiveness that cut through Nutt's chains and set him free. - rarefiednight
I realized that there was never a more appropriate Weapon Name than Forgiveness—after all, it's double-edged In Real Life in a lot of ways, starting with how a little can be good but a lot is really really bad for you. - Marvellous9
In Night Watch, it's mentioned that Commander Vimes has been removed from the potential list of clients for various reasons such as politics and the chaos such an assassination would be liable to create. But there's another reason. As big and personally loyal to him as the Watch has become, if someone assassinated Vimes, just how long would the Assassin's Guild stay standing? - Canonier
It would be pretty disappointing to Vimes wherever he went if his watch disobeyed everything he stood for and took revenge outside of the law on the Assassins. I don't think Carrot would let that happen. Personal is not the same as important.
Carrot would prevent the Watch from getting personal instead of important. Vetinari, Diamond, Rhys, Margolotta, and Ridcully — and, if they weren't killed in the attempt on his life, Sybil and Willikins — might decide to get very personal indeed. Vimes is correct in Snuff when he points out that you might not want to mess with him, but you really don't want to mess with his professional contacts.
Took me a while to get this one. In Guards! Guards!, when the Brethren first summon the dragon, the items they use include an anti-crocodile charm and an "altar ornament", which the leader doesn't ask about. A few pages later, it's mentioned that there's an altar ornament missing from the Crocodile God's shrine. A few pages later still, one of the Brethren is mauled by a wild crocodile out of nowhere. Divine retribution. - Anderling
This one's a double, the brother in question had contributed an amulet that prevents alligator attacks.
It took me a while to understand the logic behind a couple of the characters' voices in the Stephen Briggs audiobooks. I had trouble with Vena the Raven-Haired until I realised that he was going for New Zealand. Reacher Gilt was also a puzzler: the point of the character is that he's a pirate, but that's not a West Country accent, and quite right too because that wouldn't fit the character at all. He's speaking quite fast but leaving weird pauses, and slurring a bit almost like he's drunk... Ohhhhh.
When Detritus the Troll is stuck inside the pork futures warehouse the cold temperature increases his intelligence. Truly a different kind of Fridge Brilliance, partly for the obvious reason and partly because it took me a while to figure this one out.
And then there's the way his brain works in general. Like him, his mind is silicon-based. It functions more effectively when equipped with a cooling fan. And he was unable to count very high until the moment Cuddy introduced him to binary.
The theme of one of the latest books, I Shall Wear Midnight, is the importance of good endings and leaving a legacy. Pratchett, as we know, is not in the best of health. And many of his "main" characters - insofar as such a series can be said to have main characters - seem to be electing successors. Vetinari, for example, seems to be grooming Moist von Lipwig as a replacement by training him in Xanatos Speed Chess and putting him in charge of all the city's most important offices (the Post Office, the Royal Bank and according to the title of the next Moist book, the tax office). Mistress Weatherwax seems also to be making young Tiffany ready to take over as the leader the witches don't have - Tiffany is already extraordinarily accomplished by any standard, and it's implied that the Cunning Man comes after the most powerful witch of the times: namely Tiffany. Even Ponder Stibbons and Rincewind are getting better at handling the senior wizards, and might well take over one day. Pratchett is ensuring that the Discworld continues to have a life after him. Combined with a touch of Fridge Horror and more than a touch of Tear Jerker.
YMMV. The question that remains it: The way the new characters are and what some of the old ones are becoming, will there be anywhere left to go with them? The more recent characters are pretty much one-shots that just work in their one role. You couldn't put, let's say, Trevor into an adventure in Howondaland or Juliet into a treasure hunt near the hub. They just wouldn't work there. Likewise with the established characters. Vimes has become too infallible, just as Vetinari. The wizards have been reduced to jokes, solely there to be amazed by what the new characters can do. It's a pity.
The Disc's mileage might be varying too. Narrative Causality may dictate that older characters, representing older tropes that are fading out of consciousness or becoming directed, must be replaced by newer character who represent more modern and relevant tropes.
On a funnier note, the real life section of the Band of Brothels page states that in Dutch, sewing ("naaien") is slang for screwing. No wonder they call it the Seamstresses' Guild.
This one is quite deliberate. Various remarks to the effect of, ahem, "threading the needle" are old euphemisms for, well, you know what. Threadneedle Street in London used to be called something quite different (although with precisely the same meaning...) due to the businesses along it, let's just say. Gropecunt Lane, if you really want to know.
Rather than delete the above and just have it come back: The two street name entries in The Other Wiki do not connect the two, and the etymologies for both go back to Old English—i.e., over a millennium. From the few other sites where the two names are connected, this seems to be a case of wishing it were so and/or simple error. See, e.g., a Featured Wikipedia article candidate discussion. And anyway, they wouldn't be precisely the same meaning—gropin' ain't 'zackly pokin'!
Forgive me for being so dense, but I've only just now figured out that There's no justice; there's just me is a pun. —Wack'd
It's even better in Mort - "There's no justice: there's just us.
In Jingo the Curious Squid are specifically and carefully prepared so that absolutely no squid gets in dishes, apparently just like the Japanese dish fugu, which is a poisonous pufferfish that is considered a delicacy. I just realized that maybe the squid aren't sold to the chefs who keep them out of the food, but are actually just caught to keep them out of the sea, so that none of the good fish are contaminated while they are alive.
Actually, that's already taken by Deep Sea Blowfish as of Pyramids.
The role of the Summoning Dark in Snuff is... curious. It's a quasi-demonic personification of vengeance, and it's exceedingly helpful to Sam Vimes throughout the story, providing him the gifts of Night Vision, Talk With Goblins, and key witness territory. All given freely without penalty (other than some minor itching). It only asks in return that Vimes continues to help the Goblin people, which he would've been doing anyway. So, on the one hand, you can conclude that its defeat in Thud! forced it into subservience. It can't leave Vimes, but it doesn't have the teeth to take over again. On the other hand, perhaps the Summoning Dark, realizing that saving the goblin people would take more than mere vengeance can achieve, has decided to call upon a higher power. Sam Vimes himself.
Willikins: "As for your question... I think Sam Vimes is at his best when he's confident that he's Sam Vimes."
On the other hand, killing a goblin in that area is not actually illegal (even though it should be), so Vimes is not investigating a crime or enforcing the law when the Summoning Dark assists him; he's only pursuing vengeance.
And he does his best to color within the lines in his head, even then.
Even in Thud!, it's suggested a few times that the Summoning Dark isn't "evil": the dwarf who conjured it with his death-curse had very little hope his murder would otherwise be discovered; the real evil was striking him down and leaving him to die. It's just that there's Dark-vengeance and then there's Vimes-vengeance. He bent one into the other, and some of that stuck.
In one scene in Thief of Time, Death uses a Tablecloth Yank to explain to Susan how History Monks manipulate the time of the universe to resolve problems. When Susan points out that he spilled the salt and there are still stains left on the cloth, Death takes pride in the effectiveness of the metaphor. Clever in itself, but after reading Reaper Man and seeing how Death deliberately throws off his dart game to endear himself to the villagers, it becomes apparent that Death specifically pulled the cloth such that the salt would spill and everything else would be fine. He can do that.
In Making Money, Moist asks goddess Anoia for a favor, since it was him that caused her to become a famous goddess with her own temple (instead of one of the small gods that shared a single altar and priestess). She is goddess of, among other things, things stuck in drawers. At the climax of the book, Moist's former partner gets bitten by the false teeth that he had stolen from a dead man, that were stuck in his "drawers" for years...
Another possibility is that the fight was considered "a lost cause". It's mentioned that Anoia was considering expanding her domain to be the goddess of lost causes.
In Carpe Jugulum, Mightily Oats' fear that Om doesn't really exist ("Was the god silent, or was there no one there to speak?") seems strange in a world where the gods are very much real... but when you remember what nearly happened to Om in Small Gods (that is, fading away into a small god because His followers weren't really worshiping Him), Oats' worries are pretty much justified.
Also crossed with a Moment Of Heartwarming, when you recall that the old Om would more likely have stepped in to smite Oats and others like him for daring to doubt him, rather than risk fading away again. That he hasn't resorted to the Bolt of Divine Retribution trope, like most Discworld gods would under the circumstances, implies that Om is keeping his promise to Brutha to adhere to their covenant: if Omnianism is to continue, he has to obey its moral commandments himself, too.
Pratchett was once quoted as saying that there are no continuity errors in the Discworld books, just "alternate pasts". In Night Watch, we actually see an alternate past being formed; one where John Keel taught Sam Vimes as usual, and one where Sam Vimes's and Carcer's interference caused a slightly different version of the Revolution of the 25th of May with largely the same results in the end.
Stanley Howler from Going Postal is said, by Mr. Groat, to have been raised by peas. Not on, but by. This sounds like more evidence that Mr. Groat has a screw loose. But one of the early Discworld novels mentions that wizards had tried to work out the laws of heredity by crossing garden peas and fruit flies, only to wind up with something green that buzzed. So maybe some of those unfortunate Plantimals avoided the vegetarian spiders, and went on to adopt Stanley...
Death has said that he doesn't have to be present for every death that occurs on the Disc, only the 'important ones'. Now what decides which death is important? Well, since the Disc runs on Theory of Narrative Causality obviously Death shows personally for plot-important deaths, to make sure they happen and the story continues as intended. That's why we (the readers) see him in every book.
Remember how different The Colour of Magic versions of Vetinari, Death and Rincewind were compared to how they are now? Well, in The Light Fantastic, the Octavo uses a change spell on the entire Discworld to save Rincewind and Twoflower. Apparently more was changed than just the location of wizzard and tourist.
During the Queen's mental attack on Magrat in Lords and Ladies, it is described as "tearing away at the planetary body of Magrat Garlick... ...exposing the core." Now, what is a planet's core made of? It's the biggest lump of iron it has.
And what better way to prove Magrat is a true witch at heart, if not to show she has a core of iron in her mind?
It doesn't seem to be very significant, but it is interesting how many of the major guilds are the opposite of what you'd expect them to be. The Assassin's Guild is posh, public and high-class, rather than seedy and secretive. The Thieves' Guild is, in most cases, honest and straightforward. The Beggars control one of the most valuable commodities in the city — information. And the Fools' Guild has no sense of humor.
A bit on the depressing side, but it's been noted that Foul Ole Ron's ability to speak coherently has been deteriorating throughout the series - it's likely he has some sort of mental disorder which has been getting worse.
As anyone who wears glasses will tell you, your eyesight actually gets worse after you wear corrective lenses for a while, such that you can't function without them. Foul Ole Ron's ability to speak coherently started deteriorating after he got Gaspode to translate for him, as his "thinking-brain dog."
There's a minor character in A Hat Full Of Sky (Brian) who claims to be a wizard, but actually only attended fretwork classes at UU: he couldn't cast an actual spell to save his life. So who has "Fretwork Teacher" among his Long List of demeaning busy-work titles at Unseen? Rincewind! Guess where Brian got the idea that someone with no magical skills whatsoever could still get away with dressing like and calling himself a wiz(z)ard?
Meta-Fridge Brilliance: The very first Discworld novel, The Colour Of Magic, is a case of Early-Installment Weirdness on one level, as it's a parody of fantasy tropes and series rather than of Real Life social dilemmas and cultural phenomena. However, it's much less incongruous if you remember that fantasy fiction is also a cultural phenomenon that's worthy of satire. Think of it as Pratchett taking jabs at the fantasy genre in exactly the same way as he's skewered rock and roll, Hollywood, Hammer Horror, football or Australia, and it fits into the series perfectly.
The traditional dwarfish reverence for the written word, as revealed in Thud!, adds new meaning to a lot of earlier characterization in the series.
It helps explain why Carrot was so very meticulous in his reading of, and adherence to, The Laws and Ordinances of Ankh and Morpork. If they were written down, they were sacred, not just of secular importance.
It suggests that Hwel is even more of a cultural rebel than Wyrd Sisters initially implied, as every line he jots down and then crosses out while working on a play would be considered an act of blasphemy by many dwarfs.
It implies that Goodmountain's "word smithy" — a place where words are not only mass-produced, but are generated in a form (the Ankh-Morpork Times) that will probably end up wrapping fish and lining bird cages — is an extremely controversial enterprise. It's therefore not surprising that it was made by relatively liberal Copperhead, not fundamentalist Uberwald, dwarves, and that they came to Ankh-Morpork instead of a more traditional dwarf city.
It accounts for why, prior to Going Postal, the favored means of ensuring a letter would be delivered was to entrust it to a dwarf who was headed in the right direction. If words are too precious to be erased, they're too precious to be left undelivered.
Death turns up in all of the books in the series at important deaths. Not at Stratford's death. He didn't have a soul.
Some people might complain that Andy Shank from Unseen Academicals is built up to be some kind of half-savage street monster that has Trev Likely terrified, but most of what we see him do in the book is posturing and threats; the worst thing he does in UA is stab Carter in the face for back-talking, knee-cap Macarona and Riducully during the Big Game, and try to kick Trev in the nads after the game. Then again, that's the point of Andy. He's a bully and a nutter, but he's still only human, and not the invincible beast Trev initially thinks he is. There might even be a bit of a Small Name, Big Ego thing going on with Andy, who thinks of himself as the terror of Dimwell when he's just another low-level psycho who gets his arse kicked by real tough guys like Mr. Nutt and Pepe.
As I read through The Truth, I noticed the sheer incompetency of Mr. Tulip and Mr. Pin because of the lack of information their shadowy employers provided. Then I realized that it acts as a foil to show the importance of what a newspaper does: to keep the powerful in check and inform the public of what they need to know!