Headscratchers / Wyrd Sisters

New entries on the bottom.

    open/close all folders 

    Time gap 

  • The three witches bring the kingdom several years (I believe it's 15, so Tomjon will be 18 years old upon his return) into the future. How does this jive with the other books around it? Everyone brings up the Small Gods problem of the ending being a hundred years after the beginning, but I don't recall anyone trying to explain the fifteen-year time gap which should logically fall between Sourcery and Pyramids (or, since there's some debate over when Pyramids falls in the timeline, Sourcery and Guards! Guards!). Certainly, this makes Wuffles being 16 in The Truth all the more confusing.
    • Time Monks. Seriously, Time Monks is the explanation for any temporal shenanigans affecting or not affecting anything and going unnoticed.
    • What does Lord Vetinari's dog have to do with Lancre?? But anyway, as the previous poster explained, Thief of Time explicitly states that the Time Monks move time around, and have been moving a lot of time from the deep sea and high mountains into Ankh-Morpork to allow all those inventors enough time to speed up development, but and this is important, without actually making all the people in the city age faster. Societal and technological progress simply moves faster in the cities than in the countryside.
    • Wuffles was introduced as a very old dog in (I think) Sourcery. If fifteen years passed between Sourcery and Guards! Guards! (and by proxy, the rest of the timeline) then he would be much older than sixteen. The fact that he isn't would seem to imply temporal nonsense, but the History Monks do clean that up a bit.
    • It could be that Vetinari's first terrier passed away immediately after Sourcery's events, and he got Wuffles # 2 as a replacement. The guy owns dozens of sets of identical clothing, so he won't have to be bothered with deciding what to wear; naming his new dog after his previous one would be consistent with this.
    • Wuffles is 16 at the time of The Truth, which chronologically takes place about 16 years after Sourcery. My theory is that Coin turned him back into a puppy at the end of that novel, to make amends for Vetinari being deposed and turned into a lizard.
    • Given how little interplay there'd been between Lancre and other regions prior to Witches Abroad, it's possible that Wyrd Sisters actually begins before The Colour Of Magic does, and only comes into synch with the other books after the time-skip.
    • Granny knows Rosie Palms, who doesn't seem to have aged a decade and a half between Equal Rites and Maskerade. Moreover, Archchancellor Ridcully is also from Lancre and also knows Granny Weatherwax. So either Ridcully was living in Lancre when Granny sent it through time (which would put him out of sync with the wizards at Unseen University), or he was living somewhere else, presumably somewhere in the Sto Plains or Copperhead Mountains (which would put him out of sync with Granny). Since neither is the case, we should just assume that the History Monks did it.
    • Rosie Palms didn't actually appear in Maskerade. There was a young woman who recognized Granny at Ms. Palms' establishment, but that was a different seamstress (Colette), who could have met Equal Rites' Granny as a child. Granny even mentions that Ms. Palms is thinking about retirement.
    • Ridcully was living elsewhere up until he was made Archchancellor. That's part of why he was made Archchancellor, actually, since he wasn't around for the embarrassing events of Sourcery.
    • Rosie Palms was already a Seamstress (hem hem) in Night Watch, so she's been a part of the Guild (if not yet a madam) long enough to have met Granny back then. Carrot in Guards! Guards! assumed Mrs. Palms was the mother of Reet and the other prostitutes, implying she looked old enough to have grown-up daughters.
    • Mrs. Palm was also one of the "most senior guildmasters" who confront Vimes in his office in Feet Of Clay. Even if this only means she's one of the longest-incumbent among the city's guildmasters, it still supports the idea that she's middle-aged herself.
    • Granny is secretive about her own powers, and probably wouldn't want to share information about witchcraft with a wizard - not even Ridcully. If his family's estate lay beyond Lancre's border (so he missed being caught up in the time-shift), and he'd said something like "So it's been what, sixty years?", she's hardly going to go out of her way to explain that, for her, it's only been forty-five.
    • Ridcully didn't grow up in Lancre, he only went there for his summer holidays as a young man. His family estate is elsewhere in the Ramtops. Indeed, we know he had to have lived at least 20 miles away from Bad Ass, because Moving Pictures tells us that animals within that range of his estate are flat freaking terrified of people in pointy hats, and Granny's hat doesn't freak out Lancre wildlife.
    • Is there any reason why some (or even all) of the stories between Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad couldn't have taken place during that fifteen-year gap? We know the books can overlap: the opening scenes of Night Watch run concurrently with the climax of Thief of Time. This might just be an extreme case.
    • The Discworld Timeline makes it fit by putting Sourcery and Pyramids in the gap (and unspecified "events from Equal Rites", but that has to be a mistake). It also places "Troll Bridge" then to explain discrepencies in Cohen's age. Guards! Guards! can't happen while Lancre is outside time, though, because Carrot's father talks to Magrat at the start.
    • Technically Magrat didn't appear in Guards! Guards!: it's just mentioned that a messenger was sent to ask her a question. It isn't explicitly stated that she answered it, so Carrot's aunt might have made it as far as the border of Lancre, found everyone frozen in time (see below), and come back unsatisfied.
      • Magrat's answer is, in fact, mentioned — that Carrot's sword was the least magical thing that she's seen.
    • The fifteen year gap neatly explains the absence of witch input into Sourcery. You can be sure witches would either have been infected by the magical war going on and taken part — with a vengeance. Or the stronger ones would have fought like Hell against a Sourceror bringing about the end of the world — knowing Granny W, she'd have found some neat way of finessing the situation and bringing down Coin and Ipslore, one which simply would not have occurred to any Wizard. If the War of the Sourceror happened during Lancre's effective removal from the circles of the world, the country would have been insulated and protected and simply would not have noticed. Even so, witches not in Lancre would have been drawn in? For instance, what would Hilta Goatfounder, Mrs Proust or even Granny Aching have noticed going on and how would they have dealt with it?
    • Granny Aching probably wouldn't care unless the event specifically posed a threat to her sheep. Most of the others were probably either keeping their heads down while those silly wizards got all that nonsense out of their system, or waiting for Granny Weatherwax to do something about the situation.

    Entering Lancre 

  • What would happen if, during the 15 year gap in time, someone decided to enter Lancre? Like say someone leaves Lancre right before the spell is cast and comes back a year later? Would they be brought 14 years into the future by the spell during the time gap?
    • If it's anything like the fairy-tale story which gave the witches the idea, they'd find everyone frozen in place, waiting to wake up. A similar situation was encountered in Witches Abroad, where Lilith had put a palace into suspended animation, although that time Granny's party was able to break the spell ahead of schedule.
    • Or they would have simply encountered empty fields, and spread rumors about a mystical and idyllic kingdom that only appeared once every fifteen years. It would be the perfect place for a Brigadoon joke, but Pterry didn't go in that direction.
    • It may also be that everyone who attempted to get to Lancre would get lost in the woods and be eventually led back to where they started.
  • If people could enter Lancre only to find time-frozen people, what would they make of Magrat and Verence's kiss? They might become a landmark (known as The Lovers), or a fertility shrine...

    The Queen 

  • What happened to Tomjon's mother the Queen? Surely she didn't die in childbirth, not with Nanny Ogg in attendance.
    • Doesn't mean she couldn't have died some time afterwards. Or fled into exile when her husband was murdered, separately from her child to make it easier for both of them to disappear.
    • If she'd fled into exile immediately after the murder it probably would have been mentioned, so I'd say she probably died.
    • It's only on approximately my 40th rereading of the book I've notice that zero mention is made of the Queen, and how odd that is - and considering how young an infant Tom Jon is at the beginning, childbirth seems the most obvious culprit for her death. She can't have had much chance to meet with accident SINCE then, after all. However good both Granny and Nanny are at midwifery, even they can't have 0% mortality - but what's odd, if one of the witches did attend the birth, is that they wouldn't mention it over the course of the story. And that when the populace begin to turn against the witches, a 'failure' in the Queen's labour isn't brought up. Still, maybe the Queen had an external doctor attend the birth or something and the witches weren't involved .It's also strange that Verence I doesn't wonder if he'll encounter his wife's ghost if she is recently deceased, though.
    • Near the end of the book, Nanny Ogg says that she attended Tomjon's birth, and also calls her the late queen. So I'd go with 'died in between son's birth and husband's death' too, although a Deathbed Confession of who Tomjon's father might really be is also possible.
    • Or maybe she'd stayed behind to lead her son's pursuers on a false trail, and was killed by Felmet's goons on the same night as her husband, but outside the castle where King Verence's ghost couldn't find her.

    Ghosts and haunting 

  • If ghosts have to stay where they were killed, why are there ghostly stags and bullocks in the castle kitchens? It's plausible that smaller animals like rabbits and chickens may have been slaughtered and butchered on the spot, but stags would've been shot in the woods and hauled back by the huntsmen, and cattle or large hogs would've been killed and quartered outdoors to keep them from tramping mud and barnyard dung all over the floors.
    • Narrativium. People tend to think of a kitchen as the last resting place of animals before being turned into food, and with so many people thinking that and the power of belief being so strong on the Disc, that is where they go. It might not be where they physically died, but it is where they metaphorically (and metaphysically) died. That is good enough for the Disc.