YMMV / Unseen Academicals

  • Hilarious in Hindsight: An American distributor (apparently due to a complete lack of understanding of Morris dancing) once claimed Lords and Ladies was about a football team in its synopsis, to which Pratchett's response was that football was one subject he would never write a Discworld book about...
  • Marty Stu:
    • Nutt. Troubled past, brooding, good at everything...the list goes on. One wonders how the race was "annihilated" when they are so perfect? The only three things Nutt doesn't demonstrate excellence in are magic, cooking, and social skills.
      • The answer to that is largely because Nutt was encouraged to explore his potential, and was given the vast library and resources of Lady Margalotta to do so. Also, Nutt is not necessarily a cipher for all orcs beyond the fact that they're not necessarily violent monsters.
    • Vetinari has always tread this line, being a near-omniscient big-good who is better than almost everyone in almost everything and plays five steps ahead of everyone else. He only avoids this by staying out of focus and his ultra-competence being used for comedy. In fact, Nutt is quite reminiscent of how Vetinari would be in troubled circumstances.
  • Older Than They Think: If the book was intended as a subversion of Tolkien's conception of Orcs, in fact some of Tolkien's late writings move along remarkably parallel lines, considering that orcs might have free will when apart from their evil masters and being made from ruined men rather than elves. He died before he could finally decide on one definite origin story and cosmic fate.
  • Fantasy Writers have Inconsistent Scaling: The value of a dollar fluctuates wildly over the course of the book. $25 is considered to be a month's wages for a cook (so roughly $40-50 per American). A city bus home costs one pence, which converts to ~$0.50 American. The budget night bus to the next town costs $2.50, which would be $100 by this standard. However, the rubber soccer ball costs $20, which would mean it costs $1000 American, and they are being given away freely. Nutt also shoes a horse for express passage for four and $5, which would be valued at at least $25 Ankh Morpork, or thousands of American dollars. While the price is considered steep in-story, that's absurd.
  • Separated by a Common Language: Evans the Striped's posthumous threat to make boys without their kit PLAY IN THEIR PANTS went over the heads of American readers who didn't realize he meant their underpants.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • The Librarian eating the poisoned banana. Justified - considering the Librarian's reputation and how everyone else regards him, who would be stupid enough to try poisoning him with even a sedative? And also foreshadowed, much earlier, when it's mentioned that unlike men, who waste a lot of time asking questions like "I seem to see a banana, but could my senses be deceiving me?", an orangutan will just eat the banana. The Librarian's habit of taste-testing anything he happens upon isn't new; it's why he's unofficially banned from the High Energy Magic building.
    • Mrs. Atkinson, who poisoned the Librarian in the first place, having failed to realise that being an old lady with a big vicious son might protect her from retribution in the Shove, but will do nothing to stop the wizards or, for that matter, the angry Librarian himself punishing her.
  • The Woobie: Nutt, most of the time. At least before he tried auto-hypnosis quasi-Freudianism.
    • A Woobie, for sure, but of the iron kind.