Headscratchers / Thief of Time

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    Sword of Kaos 

  • I just realized (reading the Mundane Utility page where it says "Kaos' sword is a rule-breaking as he is"): Why is Kaos' sword's power absolute coldness? Cold brings order. Adding heat energy to something would be more chaotic. Chaos could be "what happens when the fire goes out" (or "what there was before we had fire") considering how important fire was (and, in some forms, still is), but what would be less chaotic than making something's atoms go in all different directions at once, shattering molecules and turning water and ice into steam? His color theme could still be blue, since Red's taken by War and pale (pale green/clear flame) would already be taken by Death... Unless Kaos is actually Entropy, by (possibly) violating the conservation of energy? You'd think Entropy would be part of Death's job, unless Death handled only the actual ending bit and what comes after, but entropy would have made the matter of the universe less chaotic to coalesce into ordered systems of stars and planets and rocks, so that's probably out two ways. It just doesn't make sense for Kaos' power to be Cold. Oh, one last thing: He uses his ability to travel without time to deliver dairy products every day at the exact same time. Rebelling against his former job, what?
    • 'It was a work of art, the sword. It had imaginary velocity, negative energy and positive cold, cold so cold that it met heat coming the other way and took on some of its nature.' Basically, the thing was a hang-over from the 'bid bang' period, maybe even before, and so, of course it didn't make sense. Ronnie himself also shows this, being able to generate, stop, and even 'reverse' time independent of the rest of the world. One wonders if Ronnie is even on the same level as the others, or if he is a cut above them.
    • The way I saw the cold thing, the original perception of the horsemen seems to come from Omnia. A desert. I feel that the coldness of night would be the original chaos to the people of the barren wasteland. That, and, original chaos before the world was in the cold darkness of space.
    • Well, it's given in the novels that Kaos is what existed before most other stuff in the universe, so it may be that the sword is an analogue for Absolute Zero, 0 Kelvin, the lowest temperature something can be, because this is the point that even atoms stop moving.
    • Actually, think about it another way. It's so cold, that it literally loops around negative infinity and touches positive infinity temperature-wise, despite such a thing being impossible, because that's the way it works. "cold so cold that it met heat coming back the other way and took on some of it's nature". So it's possible that it loops in a similar fashion in regards to order, in that it actually goes beyond absolute order and swings right back into utter chaos.
    • The sword's coldness is chaotic, by breaking the laws of thermodynamics. What I got from the description of the sword can be summed up in two words: Negative. Kelvin. It doesn't get much more impossible than that.
    • What about -i Kelvins?
    • The assumptions seems to be that motion is necessarily chaotic, and inaction necessarily ordered. While this may appear true from a human perspective, this isn't necessarily true from a truly objective one- after all, the Auditors, the incarnation of order, specifically involve themselves in the continued orbit of celestial bodies. Perhaps the coldness of the sword represents the breakdown of all action, and so the ability of order to manifest itself in a meaningful fashion?
    • Yet another possible explanation: you would expect the sword of Chaos to be hot, but living according to expectations is orderly. It's cold precisely because you'd expect it not to be.
    • This troper recently read an article about negative Kelvin, which stated that entropy increases as temperature (in K) becomes more negative. So Kaos's sword could have infinite negative K, with infinite entropy...
    • He's Kaos, not chaos, obviously the same expectations do not apply.
    • Kaos not being chaotic is unpredictable, and therefore chaotic!
    • Hmm...ok, entropy could be thought of as inherently more ordered,since everything in the universe goes towards entropy because that's the way the arrow of time points—basically, from our perspective, a decrease in entropy would correspond to going back in time. And can't really happen. Or if it did we wouldn't be able to know. So would a negative potential energy. And negative Kelvin would be "hotter" than any positive temperature, since heat would always flow from the the negative object to the positive one. Which I guess raises the question of what truly is chaotic...
    • 2nd law of thermodynamics 'In a closed system, all things tend towards entropy [read 'Chaos']. Look at it on a universal scale (the only true 'closed system'. All the time the Universe is losing energy, the suns burn themselves out, etc (though we know that this happens time and time again, our sun is believed to be a '3rd generation star', so made out of bits of 2nd gen, which were made out of the ORIGINAL stars!) If we don't go 'Big Crunch' eventually all energy in the universe will be used up- as a closed system there is no way to replace it. What there will be is a uniform spread of atoms, with a overall temperature of 3'K. Chaotic/Cold enough?
    • The sword is so chaotic, it changes the temperatures (and maybe some other properties as well) of objects randomly, infinite times per time unit. By chance (chaos), whenever it's observed, it seems to have left the target object colder. Yes, this is the "million monkeys on typewriters" explanation.
    • Kaos's sword isn't the first so-cold-it-boils thing in Discworld, actually: back in Equal Rites, Esk's staff became so cold when she was trapped in the Dungeon Dimensions that it caused a huge iceberg to form around it in the river, with a pool of boiling-cold water at the center where it was floating. It's just the same so-extreme-it-comes-out-the-other-side phenomenon that gave Otto dark light for his iconographs in The Truth.

    Separated and orphaned 

  • Why were Jeremey and Lobsang separated at birth? Why were they basket babies? Why couldn't they be raised by their parents?
    • This one bugged me too, but I think it's probably because some sort of time-shift happened the instant they were born so they're parents literally disappeared as they were being born. They were probably separated because of some Guild tradition about twins or something...
    • Possibly they would never have been able to grow up, either physically or mentally, if they remained in the suspended-time environment of Time's domain. Death had similar problems with Ysabell not having a normal childhood, which Time and Wen might've feared would trouble their son(s) as well.
    • This is the most logical answer. Time and Wen cannot raise them to adulthood since time passes differently for them. Nanny suggested leaving them as foundlings but deliberately left them at different guilds to prevent anyone from realizing that they were twins.
    • It's myffic. A stronger version of mythic, so says Nanny Ogg.
    • For the very obvious reason that the moment they got close to each other they started to affect each other, transmit their feelings, and so on. When they touched they even merged. Separating them was the only possibility to allow both of them an individual life.

    Lobsang in earlier books 

  • In a couple earlier books (I can't remember which ones exactly), there's a reference to the Sweeper and his apprentice Lobsang. Is this the same Lobsang, or is Lobsang just a common name among the History Monks (considering that Lobsang's guild-given name was Newgate Ludd and the monks gave him the name of Lobsang)?
    • In the early books, "Lobsang" is basically Pterry's go-to name for any monk type character. Like how in one of the Witches books, Magrat gets something dubious from "Lobsang Dibbler." So in-universe, it's probably just the stereotypical/common name for monks in general.

      On the other hand, this is the book where Time literally shatters and has to be put back together piece by piece, so it may just be the same Lobsang in some time displaced legend.
    • At one point, an Abbott Lobsang of the Listening Monks was mentioned, so it is probably a fairly common name in that area, at least among monks.
    • In fact, it could be their go-to name for foundlings!

    Imp y Celyn 

  • What happened to Imp y Celyn?
    • It's mentioned in Hogfather (between Soul Music and Thief of Time) that Susan has had boyfriends, but that they didn't work out for various reasons, usually to do with Susan's strangeness. Imp might well be one of those cases.
    • Or they might have broken up simply because their personalities weren't compatible. Susan has a low tolerance for impracticality, soppiness, and "woolly thinking", and Imp is a musician after all: you don't get much more impractical and romantic (="soppy") than that.
    • There's a passing mention in Mrs. Bradshaw's Handbook of a handsome young man who runs the chip shop near Quirm College for Young Ladies. No proof that he's Imp, but he might be.

    Mona Ogg 

  • Myria LeJean's face is supposed to be based on the Mona Ogg. The Mona Ogg presumably shows a much younger version of Nanny Ogg. Even accounting for Nanny looking very different after several decades, wouldn't Susan have noticed some resemblance between the two?
    • The Auditors edited and improved by removing 'flaws'. By the time they had finished it's possible the only resemblance was in the colour of her hair and eyes.
    • She's actually based on 'Woman Holding a Ferret'.
    • Besides, the painting is of MONA Ogg. Nanny's name is Gytha, and shame on you not remembering that. We know that looks, and an... adventurous approach to matters of sexuality, run in the Ogg family, though.
    • The "Mona" in "Mona Lisa" just means "lady" or "ma'am", however. No reason it couldn't mean the same thing here.
    • The painting's just titled "The Mona Ogg," but it's of Nanny. She's noted elsewhere in the Discworld series as having had a relationship with him at some point.
    • At her present age, Nanny has only one tooth and a face like an elderly apple. Any resemblance to the Mona Ogg from the painting is most likely obscured by now.
    • Read Nanny Ogg's Cookbook and The Art of Discworld. After reading both of them, one could very easily get the impression that Nanny being the Mona Ogg's subject is HEAVILY implied to be Word of God.
      • And if that isn't enough in Maskerade the picture Nanny had used for the cover of Joy of Snackes was a picture done by "that artist chap who used to visit in the summer"

    Mrs Cosmopilite 

  • Just how old is Mrs. Cosmopilite? Lu-Tze is explicitly described as being young (although not given a specific age) when he turned up in Ankh-Morpork, seeking perplexity. He's now 800 years old, and she still sends him those woolly longjohns.
    • Don't assume that a History Monk ages in chronological order.
    • Given how the book is explicitly about rationalizing away discrepancies exactly like this, the answer seems to be inherent the plot. Given how much Lu-Tze likes those thermals, I'd say he had a vested interest in seeing The Life and Times of Mrs. Cosmopilite being used for as many patches in history as possible from both breakages.

    Jeremy's watch 

  • It's implied that Jeremy attacked a clockmaker because he set his clock five minutes fast. Seems legit. But it's also established that Jeremy owns a watch that runs about five seconds fast, so that he and other people are warned to cover their ears when his other clocks chime the hour. Given how many clocks he has and how accurate they are, also legit. But isn't keeping a watch set five seconds fast hypocritical after attacking someone who set it fast as well?
    • I've always interpreted that as his alarm being set early. Like 7:59 instead of 8:00. As long as it's telling time accurately and going off at the correct time, Jeremy's okay with it.

    Lobsang's and Jeremy's ages 

  • It seems pretty clear that Lobsang is meant to be a teenager (Susan says something about him being sixteen or so). It also seems like Jeremy is meant to be an independent (if medicated) adult, who has been in the clockmaking business for a while. If they were both given to different guilds, why would that be in different years, making them different ages? They could have been put in any time- why two different ones?
    • I didn't notice any age discrepancy. They could both be roughly eighteen or thereabouts: still young, but not too young to plausibly hold an independent job, especially not in a pre-20th century society like the Discworld. Jeremy's a fully taught clockmaker because he's a genius (and because the Guild doesn't particularly want him around any more).

    Jeremy as a clockmaker 

  • Lobsang was left at the Thieves' Guild- not necessarily an obvious choice, but one in which he was able to use his talents unobtrusively. Jeremy, on the other hand, was left at the Clockmakers' Guild- someplace where one would think that the son of the personification of Time might perhaps stand out. In fact, it could be argued that Jeremy having been left at that particular Guild essentially kickstarted the entire plot of the book.
    • Wen and Time had just become parents to something even more confusing than twins. Maybe they weren't quite thinking straight?
(Of course, a very obvious answer is that Wen and Time knew exactly what was going to happen and were following the expected path to keep things happening in the right order- but that's not a super satisfying answer.)