A cynical, cowardly, and incompetent wizardnote who frequently finds himself unwittingly thrust into situations where he must save the day. Rincewind has raised "running away" to an art form: he has the soul of a wizard and the body of a long-distance sprinter. One of the Discworld's greatest heroes, although he would vastly prefer not to be. Accompanied by an ill-tempered and overprotective sentient suitcase known as 'the Luggage'.
- Action Survivor: He'd rather be an Inaction Enjoyer but somehow it never works that way. He's very good at surviving dangerous events, usually by running away.
- Badass on Paper: His list of accomplishments is long and illustrious, but most of them were incidental to ignobly running away from something scarier.
- Badass Unintentional: He just wants to lead a boring life, but has to keep fighting off monsters and saving the world.Rincewind: I do not wish to volunteer, sir.Vetinari: No one was asking you to.Rincewind: Oh, but they will, sir, they will. Someone will say: hey, that Rincewind fella, he's the adventurous sort... And then I'll run away, and probably hide in a crate somewhere that'll be loaded on to the flying machine in any case... Or there'll be a whole string of accidents that end up causing the same thing. Trust me, sir, I know how my life works.
- Berserk Button: Like many wiz(z)ards, touching his hat is one of the only ways to make him forget his "violence will only make my situation worse" motto.Mad the Dwarf: You did this to people just because they stole your hat?! What do you do if they spit in your eye, blow up the country?
- He also seems to have a cynicism-fuelled contempt for ideologies that preach 'better to die than violate my principles', given a short but vehement rant in Interesting Times on how a person only has one life but can pick up a new cause at any street corner.
- Blessed with Suck: Having the Lady favor you means your life is a continuous chain of almost dying horribly.
- Born Lucky: Lady Luck loves him. Fate, on the other hand...
- Butt-Monkey: Nothing really seems to go right for him.
- Celibate Hero: Although there are a few hints he's had sex a couple of times, all wizards are officially celibate. note Even beyond the rules, however, Rincewind is particularly confused when it comes to sex, thanks to an incident in Interesting Times that leaves him with a Pavlovian association between arousal and potatoes. Footnote Fever in the same volume notes that, eventually, Rincewind will get some therapy involving a pretty woman, a huge plate of potatoes, and a big stick with nail in it that will cure him of this. Until then, he basically starts thinking about how much he wants potatoes whenever he would normally get aroused.
- Chew Toy: His constant Butt-Monkey state is kept amusing because as even he has realized by now, he will always be saved from death or serious injury."Somewhere in the world, he reasoned, there was someone who was on the other end of the see-saw, a kind of mirror Rincewind whose life was a succession of wonderful events. He hoped to meet him one day, preferably while holding some sort of weapon."
- The Chosen One: Spoofed. The spells in the Octavo chose Rincewind as the host for the Eighth Spell precisely because they knew he was good as surviving. Rincewind is disheartened to learn this.
- City Mouse: As a Morporkian born and bred, Rincewind is completely at odds in the wild. So naturally, events conspire to keep him far away from cities.
- Cosmic Plaything: Oh dear god, yes. Apparently his Lifetimer is so warped that not only does Death have no idea how or when Rincewind will meet his end, his mere presence in a situation renders its outcome unreadable. Death keeps Rincewind's Timer on his desk as a conversation piece.War: Odd person.
Death: With him here, even uncertainty is uncertain. And I'm not sure even about that.
- Also literally, he's the player piece for The Lady in the games between gods.
- Combat Pragmatist: Because he is not much good at all as a fighter, Rincewind will use Improvised Weapons and Groin Attacks to survive whatever situation he finds himself in.
- Crippling Overspecialization: For a while anyway. He accidentally learned one of the eight most powerful spells to ever exist, but it took up so much room in his head that it left him unable to learn any other spells. It's gone now, but he's still not much of a mage.
- Deadpan Snarker: Given that he lives in a World of Snark, this is obligatory. Taken Up to Eleven in the video games, where he has a sarcastic comment about everything and anything.
- Demoted to Extra: In some books, such as "Mort", he has a smaller role than the first books. This is much to his relief. Now he wants nothing more to live a boring life, since boredom is preferrable to the excitement he's been subjected to.
- Determined Defeatist: In his later appearances, especially The Last Hero, he will reluctantly go on adventures despite saying that nothing will go right the whole way, because he knows he will have to go anyway.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: With a half brick. In a sock.
- Earlier than that, he punched out a One-Winged Angel Trymon. Though to be fair, that was less intentional and more panicking and flailing in his general direction.
- Disney Death: At the end of The Colour of Magic, he and Twoflower are thrown off the edge of the Disc to their presumed death. In The Light Fantastic, the Octavo uses the Change spell across the entire universe to save Rincewind, or more accurately, the spell he has trapped inside his head.
- The Drag-Along: All the adventures he is pulled into are against his will. See quote above.
- There is a partial exception in The Last Hero, where he volunteers for the adventure... solely because he knows this trope would kick in if he didn't.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Rincewind doesnt have any friends. Partly its because of his pessimistic attitude, partly because of his status as a shit-hitting-fan magnet. The only real friends hes got are the Luggage, the Librarian, Twoflower and his cousin Bill; everyone else, at best tolerates him, at least as much as they need him for some terrible purpose.
- Fragile Speedster: Not superhumanly fast, perhaps, but he can, and has, outrun most people and a fair number of creatures on the Disc. And even a few people and creatures in and from other dimensions. He has literally outrun Death on his horse, partly from luck and partly from savvy. Being all too aware of the "fragile" part just seems to lend extra speed.
- Genius Ditz: Due to his ability to survive life in Unseen University, he knows psychological warfare inside out and can become quite cunning in the right situation. However, this usually only occurs when running is no longer an option.
- Got Volunteered: How he got the title of Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography in the first place. The wizards wanted someone to explore their Roundworld project, and Rincewind was just hanging around as the Librarian's assistant. He then got dragged up in front of Ridicully and told he was being given a new job. Which he couldn't refuse and couldn't resign from.
- Incredibly Lame Fun: After being made Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography, he spends his free time sorting the previous incumbent's collection of samples (I.E.: rocks). Since this is in no way dangerous, Rincewind's having the time of his life.
- Inept Mage: Rincewind is actually a wizard— he can see octarine (the colour of magic) and perceive Death's presence — but he is almost completely inept at casting spells. Initially, he couldn't use magic because one of the Octavo's eight spells was taking up all the room his mind had for spellcasting. After The Light Fantastic, the Octavo spell is gone... but he still isn't much of a mage. Not counting a brief spate of power in Sourcery when magical energy was grounding through any wizard it could find, he's only ever successfully cast two spells (one to save the Discworld, and one to open a lock.)
- Insistent Terminology:
- Rincewind defines himself as a wizard, never mind his lack of magical talent.
- Later on, when he's given an honorary (read: having no actual authority) professorship, he insists that people call him Professor Rincewind. It may be a meaningless title, but it's his meaningless title.
- Invincible Incompetent: He is noted for trying to run away from the plot action, yet invariably winning somehow.
- In Vino Veritas: In The Last Continent and Sourcery his personality pretty much inverts itself after a few beers.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's sarcastic and can be a bit mean-spirited, and is a self-proclaimed coward. Beneath all that, however, he's a decent person and is not as selfish as he pretends to be.
- Kid with the Leash: Sort of. The Luggage follows his instructions at least a little bit, but mostly just acts according to its own Luggagey, mysterious, and usually violent whims.
- Lovable Coward: He started out as a Dirty Coward, but his decent qualities have gradually grown to outweigh his earlier greed and treachery.
- Misery Trigger: His reaction to being forced into the hero role is invariably one of existential misery and angst.
- Mysterious Past: Some details of his own childhood are a mystery even to him. He's reasonably certain he had parents at some point, but can scarcely remember anything about them (the implication is that Mr and Mrs. Presumably Rincewind weren't exactly attentive and loving parents).
- Nice Guy: He develops into this while growing out of his Dirty Coward stage — and is none too happy about it, because, dammit, it means he has a conscience that sometimes stops him from running away even when that's clearly the smart thing to do.
- Nominal Hero: He started off as one, being a coward who wants to run away from the plot that demands heroic action of him but gradually he mellows into a Knight In Sour Armor.
- Non-Action Guy: Unless that action is 'run away at the first opportunity'. In early books he occasionally used hand-to-hand combat when he absolutely had to but "violence only makes the situation worse."
- Omniglot: He does have a legitimate talent for languages (that's what Twoflower originally hired him for) but his particular speciality is screaming for help.Rincewind could scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four. — Interesting Times
- Only One Name: Once he mentions that he doesn't know whether he has a first name.
- Only Sane Man: He and Ponder Stibbons alternate in this role in later books, with Ponder providing the high-level rationality Rincewind lacks and Rincewind making up for Ponder's occasional descent into Mad Science.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: While this is the case for all the UU faculty, Rincewind's the only one who has it invoked. Part of the deal of his being made a professor is that he is never, under any circumstances, to try and teach anyone. Which, since Rincewind doesn't want to teach anyone, works out nicely.
- Punch-Clock Hero: In Interesting Times he muses that even saving the world probably doesn't count as heroism if you're thinking, "This time I'm really going to die!"
- Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Reason: As the favoured of The Lady (Luck), this is pretty much Rincewind's way of life. He's saved the Disc several times over, mostly by running for his life and stumbling into the villain's plans. You can count the amount of times he acted bravely on purpose on one hand.
- Secret Keeper: In a way. He's the only one who knows the Librarian's real name — and he's not telling, mainly because the Librarian threatened bodily harm on him if he did. He was also carrier of one of the Octavo spells for many years until it freed itself at the end of Interesting Times.
- Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Somewhat common in Discworld, especially with him. The guy would be so obviously right in his cynicism... but Twoflower would come out fine anyway, leaving him looking like an idiot.
- The So-Called Coward: He wants to be a Dirty Coward, but his own decency keeps him from it. He considers this a serious character flaw in himself. He got better after the events of 'The Light Fantastic'.
- In Unseen Academicals, there is a moment where it looks like a battle between wizards is going to erupt. The last time this happened, Rincewind stopped it with a half-brick-in-a-sock. In the hall, after the tensions have calmed down, he is seen putting his sock back on.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: His promotion to Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography, however, seems to have taken, and he's more or less managed to work his way into the Unseen University faculty Cast Herd.
- As of The Science of Discworld III, Rincewind has been appointed to twenty-one different faculty positions, all of which involve little to no actual work, and even less prestige.
- Raising Steam mentions that he's doing some research on the pharmaceutical properties of plants in the Netherglades.
- Took a Level in Kindness: From The Light Fantastic onwards, he is not quite as selfish and cowardly as he formerly was but is still very good at running away and would prefer to do so.
- Trademark Favorite Food: He likes potatoes. He really likes potatoes.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: By The Science of Discworld book 2, he's been given a variety of titles that the university doesn't want or need, but for whatever reason can't get rid of. By the next, he's up to twenty-one. The upshot is that, since the university porter assigns buckets of coal by how many titles a wizard has on their door, Rincewind has a limitless supply of the stuff.
- Unluckily Lucky: He is The Lady's favourite... which is a very bad place to be. He stumbles into so much disaster while running away from more disaster that only the Theory of Narrative Causality embodied has kept him alive for so long. In fact, in one story he accepts to join a Magnificent Bastard scheme by someone who called him the (un)luckiest bastard he's ever met before even being told what it is; this is because he's Genre Savvy enough by now to know that if he declined and walked (and then ran) as far away from the scheme as he could, the scheme and its potential collateral damage would still find him.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: He is introduced this way in the very first book, attempting to con Twoflower out of his gold, and genuinely willing to abandon his allies to their fates when danger threatens. The Light Fantastic begins his Character Development into The So-Called Coward.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Whenever he escapes danger or some scheme he is yanked back in by some improbable circumstance.
Galder Weatherwax is the Deuteragonist of The Light Fantastic and the first of the Weatherwax family we are introduced to. He is Archchancellor at the Unseen University. He is the only wizard who seems to protest Trymon's presence. He is killed by the Luggage a quarter of the way through the story, leaving Trymon unopposed.
- Deuteragonist: He's the main protagonist of the Unseen University storyline of The Light Fantastic.
- Decoy Protagonist: Despite being the Deuteragonist of the second novel, he is killed a third of the way through the book.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: He was Eaten Alive by the Luggage, offscreen at that.
- Killed Offscreen: His death is only realised when Trymon comes to to find an empty room with the Luggage sitting in the centre.
- Large Ham: He enjoys doing all the dramatic speeches and proclamations of wizarding rites, and gets miffed when the other wizards and Death refuse to play along.
- Wizard Duel: Begins one with Trymon after a failed assassination attempt from the latter.
Librarian at Unseen University. Originally known as Dr. Horace Worblehat before the events that made him a mon... ape. He was turned into an orangutan in The Light Fantastic, and has outright refused to be turned back. This is because of the many advantages his new form offers, including increased agility and strength (and with a name like Worblehat, you can imagine he gets more respect as an orangutan than he ever did as a human).
- Animorphism: Although he could be changed back to human form, he likes being an orangutan and has taken many precautions to prevent that from happening.
- Ascended Extra: Started as a one-off joke. Now makes an appearance in pretty much anything set in Ankh-Morpork. The Librarian has been in more Discworld books than any other character except Death.
- Badass Bookworm: He might look like a 300-pound sack, but remember that it's filled with muscle. Not for no reason is he a Special Constable as well.
- Berserk Button:
- He really hates being called a monkey.
- He won't tolerate open flames in the Library. If you're lucky you'll only get your cigarette confiscated and eaten, and if you're not he'll attempt to unscrew your head from your torso.
- The Cameo: Often appears in one just long enough for someone to say the M-Word and set him off.
- Catchphrase: He's an orangutan, so he can't really speak English. He just says "Ook". Most people seem able to pick up his meaning regardless. Sometimes he also says "Eek!" when offended or annoyed.
- Cursed with Awesome: Not only does he have the specified benefits of being an orangutan, but he also gained the ability to read even the most cursed books that are said to drive a man mad from glancing at it, because he's not technically a man anymore.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Mostly because he's gone out of his way to make sure that his name is nowhere in any of the records, in case someone wanted to use it to change him back.
- Genius Bruiser: A supremely gifted librarian (which, in this setting, means a highly literate Reality Warper) in the body of a large and immensely strong ape who can (and does) rip off limbs when offended.
- I Am Not Weasel: Not to keep harping on this, but there's a certain word you should not use to refer to him.
- Insistent Terminology: He is an ape and he will insist very firmly that he be called one, not a monkey.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: He only communicates through "ook"s and the occasional "eek." Despite this, few characters seem to have any trouble understanding him after a little time to acclimate.
Ridcully: No life for a man, bein' a monkey.
- Lampshaded in Moving Pictures, when the Bursar tried to explain about the Librarian to the newly-appointed Archchancellor Ridcully:
Bursar: Ape, Archchancellor. And he seems to prefer it, I'm afraid.
Ridcully: How d'yer know? Speaks, does he?
Bursar: ...He says "oook", Archchancellor.
Ridcully: And what's that mean?
Bursar: Means "no", Archchancellor.
Ridcully: And how does he say "yes", then?
Bursar: Er... "Oook", Archchancellor.
Ridcully: That was the same oook as the other oook!
Bursar: Oh, no. No. I assure you. There's a different inflection... I mean, when you get used to... I suppose we've just got into the way of understanding him, Archchancellor...
- No Man of Woman Born: The grimoires in the Library are full of Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, not Things Ape Was Not Meant To Know. An orangutan can read them with no problem, beyond a mild headache.
- Odd Friendship: He and Rincewind became pals during the events of The Light Fantastic, and were co-workers until Rincewind was stranded in another dimension during Sourcery. When Interesting Times brought with it a demand for 'The Great Wizzard,' the Librarian was the only member of the staff who even remembered Rincewind and his misspelled hat.
- Only Sane Man: The rest of the faculty is perpetually fumbling the Sanity Ball. The Librarian is the one who catches it.
- Reality Warper: Sort of. To be more precise, all libraries have reality-warping properties, and the Unseen University library more than most. He, meanwhile, is a good enough librarian to exploit them.
- Shown Their Work: He's an orangutan, and orangutans are apes, not monkeysnote . He feels VERY strongly about this distinction. And he doesn't have cheek flanges because despite being the only orangutan at Unseen University, he doesn't consider himself the dominant male - he's still a wizard as well as an ape, and Ridcully's senior to him. (Ridcully, for his part, insists he doesn't 'dominate' anyone, and stop staring at his cheeks!)
- Speech-Impaired Animal: He communicates only with "ook"s and "eek"s, but he perfectly understands human speech, and at least some of the wizards understand him.
- Stable Time Loop: The Librarian knows that L-space can be exploited to travel between libraries... or even the same library at two different points in time. However, in the interests of preventing the History section from becoming out-of-date, he only uses that ability in ways that won't alter the past.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: It's gotten to the point where people just habitually ignore the 300-pound ape at the Mended Drum, and if someone told the Faculty that there was an orangutan wandering around the grounds, they'd probably go ask the Librarian if he'd seen it.
- Was Once a Man: He was originally a wizard, but a magical accident turned him into an ape. He resisted any attempt to turn him back.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He beats up any man who calls him a monkey (or even utters the word in his presence) but when women do it (like Ginger in Moving Pictures or Agnes in Maskerade) he expresses disapproval nonviolently.
- Similarly, when Adora Belle Dearheart lights a cigarette in the library, he confiscates it. The Librarian's usual punishment for smoking in the Library is to try confiscating your head. (Although possibly he has heard that Adora is more difficult than usual to direct violence against.)
Arch-Chancellor of Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork's premiere Wizarding School. Combines traits of the traditional wizard with that of the stereotype of the gruff, outgoing huntin'-and-sportin' British gentleman. Far from stupid, but very stubborn and set in his ways. His mind has been likened to a steam engine: powerful, but slow to start and stop, and almost impossible to steer.
First seen in Moving Pictures- others filled the post before him.
- Assassin Outclassin': While not shown on page, he more or less single-handedly ended the Unseen University's tradition of Klingon Promotion by virtue of being unkillable.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Was chosen to be Archchancellor because the other wizards thought he'd be a pushover. Remained Archchancellor by being anything but. It's stated that he once went a few rounds with Detritus the troll, and arm-wrestled the Librarian and 'lost, of course, but still had his arm.'
- Awesome, but Impractical: Ridcully's attitude towards magic (likely subconsciously learned from Granny Weatherwax). He's actually seriously powerful — a fact which he tends to keep hidden — but in his experience if the eldritch horror born out of nightmare can't be taken down with a couple of hearty thwacks from his staff (six feet of solid oak, wielded by a man strong enough to box a troll) it's probably immune to magic as well.
- This doesn't stop him keeping a couple of subcritical spells in his pocket for good measure though. One never knows.
- Big Eater: One of the more particular wizards in this regard, although the entire staff of Unseen University seems to have this trait, and with a compulsion to add condiments.
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Wow-wow sauce is a Trademark Favorite Food of his; it contains (among other things) scumble (itself a highly infamous Gargle Blaster), saltpeter and sulfur, and protective gear is an important part of its preparation. It tends to explode when mixed with charcoal (not surprising, given that sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal together make black powder) or is allowed to age. Doubles as a Hideous Hangover Cure.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Hands the size of dinner plates and a magically-reinforced staff. And he used to keep himself in shape by avoiding the assassination attempts by wizards trying to use the Dead Man's Shoes clause.
- Catchphrase: "BURSAAAAR!"
- Crazy-Prepared: Mostly seen in his hat, which (despite being thoroughly un-magical, unlike the last Archchancellor's Hat) includes a miniature crossbow, a bottle of whisky and cup, fishing flies, a roll of oiled silk and four extendable legs allowing it to transform into a tent, little cupboards and pockets containing three days' iron rations, and a small spirit stove.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Don't be fooled by the good-natured expression or the short attention span. There's a reason this man is Archchancellor of a University that acts as Ankh-Morpork's nuclear deterrentnote
- His mind has been compared to a locomotive. Slow to start and given to linear travel, but once it gets going there's not a whole lot that can stop it.
- Egomaniac Hunter: "Mustrum Ridcully did a lot for rare species. For one thing, he kept them rare."
- Friend to All Living Things: Subverted: That's what the faculty expected him to be like before he arrived, since Ridcully grew up in the mountains (his title at first appearance was Ridcully the Brown, in parody of Radagast from The Lord of the Rings). As it turns out, he only talks to the animals to say "Winged you, you bastard!"
- Gentleman Wizard: An interesting variation. Ridcully is less a riff on the genteel, urban gentleman, and more one on the no less gentlemanly but wildly different hunting, fishing, shooting country squire.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: No one is allowed to mistreat the wizards - that's his job, damnit!
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Depending a little on who you ask. He can be a right bastard to his subordinates, and is at least partially responsible for at least one major nervous breakdown, but he's not malicious (the evidence suggests that he didn't intend the Bursar's nervous breakdown, and attempted to help... unfortunately, this only exacerbated the problem), and is known for being generally pleasant towards the common populace. He's even on good terms with Sam Vimes, which is probably deserving of some kind of Mr. Congeniality award.
- Just Smile and Nod: His standard reaction to Ponder Stibbons. Unfortunately Ponder is now getting savvy enough to use it to his advantage (Ridcully is finding his name signed on things that he "agreed to")
- Klingon Promotion: He single-handedly stopped the tradition of this at Unseen University by being pretty much completely indestructible, but old habits die hard. Anyone who sees the need to, for example, awaken him suddenly in the middle of the night or barge into his room unannounced had better be good at ducking.
- Large Ham: Most of his dialogue is "bellowed" or "roared". Fans occasionally compare him to BRIAN BLESSED.
- Manipulative Bastard: very much so - although he's a leading power in Ankh-Morpork, so what did you expect?
- Unfortunately he is now being observed by a quick learner - Ponder Stibbons - who is taking notes.
- Metaphorgotten: Tends to be distracted by metaphors and similes, especially in conversations with Ponder Stibbons. (The other wizards are the same, but he's more prone to it.)
- New Media Are Evil: One of his beliefs. This being Discworld, he sometimes turns out to be right in a very literal, run-and-hide-from-the-new-media sense.
- Nice Hat: He's a wizard. A Nice Hat comes with the territory. In particular, Ridcully's hat includes several storage compartments for booze and various other odds and ends.
- No Indoor Voice: Ridcully's favored method of management is bellowing at people until they deal with the problem. (Though granted, he has other tactics in his arsenal for when this fails.)
- No One Gets Left Behind: Ridcully refuses to leave a fellow wizard in danger, even if they're a zombie (Reaper Man) or almost totally incompetent at wizardry (Interesting Times, The Last Continent)
- Not a Morning Person: Inverted, especially considering the habits of most wizards. "Ridcully was a morning person and, most unfairly, a late night person. Sometimes he went from one to the other without sleeping in-between."
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Particularly noticeable in Lords and Ladies. Ponder Stibbons tried to explain the concept of Alternate History, and Ridcully kept wandering off on tangents until Stibbons gave up. The next day, Ridcully explained the theory to Granny Weatherwax. He does, however, never quite grasp why he never gets invites to his alternates' weddings."Not for the first time, Ponder wondered if Ridcully was smarter than he looked. Which wouldn't be that hard."
- Ponder eventually becomes an avid "Ridcully Watcher" and is now under no illusions whatsoever about Ridcully's intelligence. This actually left him completely flat-footed in Unseen Academicals when Ridcully turned out to be actually clueless about something.
- Only Sane Man: Depending on how you view the rest of his (frequently misplaced) faculty. Shares the title to varying degrees with Ponder and the Librarian.
- Papa Wolf: Despite all their flaws, as a group or as individuals, Ridcully is strongly loyal and protective of his faculty. To wit, when the Librarian appears to have been poisoned:"[I]f anyone has poisoned our Librarian, then, although I am not, by nature, a vindictive man, I will see to it that this university hunts down the poisoner by every thaumic, mystic and occult means available and makes the rest of their life not only as horrible as they can imagine it, but as horrible as I can imagine it. And you can depend on it, gentlemen, that I have already started work on it."
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Not his usual way of talking, but he does occasionally demonstrate that when it suits him he's perfectly capable of using big words and flowery language. Usually it's a sign of him turning on the charm.
- Sibling Rivalry: His brother (implied by the Uncanny Family Resemblance in The Last Hero to be his twin brother) is the High Priest of Io and the de facto leader of the Ankh-Morpork religious hierarchy. They get along pretty well, which is rare between a priest and a wizard, though in public they pretend not to for the sake of their images among their respective peers.
- Shout-Out: To Radagast. He's referred to as "Friend to All Living Things" and his "wizard-colour-thing" is Ridcully the Brown. Make of this what you will.
- Smarter Than You Look: To go with the obfuscating. Shows up at one point in the first Science of Discworld. He realizes Ponder would never have built a machine that could potentially blow up the universe without making damn sure it wouldn't first. And he's right. Ponder had actually turned it on earlier.
- Stout Strength: Has the type of body shape that big University dinners create as a matter of course, but it turns out he started out large. A keen outdoorsman, avid hunter and fearsome martial artist (he boxes trolls for fun), and in pretty great overall shape.
- Unexpected Successor: Had actually retired from wizardry before being elected Archchancellor, and he was chosen primarily because the fact that he had retired and gone back to his farm in the Ramtops meant that he had been totally uninvolved in the events of Sourcery.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: To Granny Weatherwax, believe it or not. He still harbours feelings for her after all this time.
- The Worf Effect: His main purpose in some books (such as Reaper Man, Lords and Ladies, and Soul Music) is to show that brute force and magical power aren't enough to defeat some of the menaces to the Discworld.
One of the younger wizards at Unseen University - the youngest member of the University Council by multiple decades - who heads up the "new generation" of wizardry in the High Energy Magic department (read: physicists and nerds). Creator of the Magitek computer "Hex". His official title on the University Council and as a member of the Faculty is Reader in Invisible Writings.
He's a cross between Beleaguered Assistant and Hyper-Competent Sidekick to Ridcully. Although he complains about his job, he's happy enough with it to turn down Ridcully's offer of a real professorship and Brazeneck College's offer to make him Bursar.
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: When dealing with Hex. He turns it on by "initializing the GBL" (great big lever); it only works when it's "FTB-enabled" (it has a fuzzy teddy bear) and so on.
- Almighty Janitor: As of Unseen Academicals, Ponder is still not tenured faculty, and may not even have officially received his Doctor of Thaumatology (since he seems to be "Mr. Stibbons" instead of "Dr."). However, he has taken over so many staff positions that he's the only one who understands UU's finances and holds a majority of votes in University Council meetings. A Roundworld equivalent would be the lab tech who never finished his dissertation but is the only one who knows how to calibrate all the instruments.
- Beleaguered Assistant/Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Gets every single administrative job the rest of the faculty positions doesn't want to do (read: all of them). With all the paperwork this entailed. However, this has also given him a level of control over the inner workings of Unseen University that has effectively made him The Man Behind The Group Of Crotchety Old Wizards. He finds it rather ironic that all he was trying to do was work hard and be responsible. Fortunately for the other wizards Ponder's got no political ambitions whatsoever.
- Black Sheep/White Sheep (depending on your interpretation of Unseen University): Unlike all the other wizards who start off eager and eventually become lazy and well-fed, Stibbons started off plump and lazy (which everyone agreed was a good start), and then he quickly became the head of the Department of High Energy Magic, which all the Old Guard are not fond of. And then, to add insult to injury, instead of becoming lazier as time went on, he's become increasingly more competent, something every wizard in his right mind finds strange, weird, and generally deplorable.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Started off as this. And then he founded the High Magic tower with a group of like-minded students and well...
- Characterization Marches On: From Insufferable Genius crossed with Too Clever by Half (none of the wizards take all his brilliant accomplishments at the High Energy Magic tower seriously), he goes through a Break the Haughty and has now become the Beleaguered Bureaucrat cross Hyper-Competent Sidekick who effectively runs everything in UU.
- Gas Lighting: All the senior wizards used to enjoy running rings around Ponder with their Obfuscating Stupidity, almost driving him mad with frustration and bewilderment. Then he caught on. Now they're paying for it as he automatically assumes they really do understand what he's saying and scoffs when they have to beg for an explanation.
- Geek Physiques: In a University where a large waistline and long beard are congruent with wisdom and gravitas, it doesn't help that he's skinny and cleanshaven. What is worse is that he started out as plump in his student years but started to lose weight shortly after Lords And Ladies. By 24 he was positively scrawny by wizard standards...and he's stayed that way into middle age. Reversing the established trend of increasing age and girth hasn't made him any more popular with the senior faculty.
- Genius Programming: He made Hex, a magical multi-dimensional magitek computer, from ants. Ponder's best student defects to Brazeneck College in Unseen Academicals and makes a knockoff called Pex which runs on chickens. Ridcully can't understand why Ponder takes this all so calmly until failure to account for the blit-slood differential results in a 30-foot high killer chicken and Ponder isn't at all surprised.
- Go Among Mad People: His sanity has gotten seriously challenged by the time he spends around the UU faculty. Their Insane Troll Logic and frequent irrationality leave him continually flustered...at least until he learns how to get around them.He wasn't interested in promotion, anyway. He'd just be happy if people listened for five minutes instead of saying 'Well done, Mister Stibbons, but we tried that once and it doesn't work,' or 'We probably haven't got the funding,' or, worst of all, 'You don't get proper fill-in-nouns these days - remember old "nickname" ancient-wizard-who-died-fifty-years-ago-who-Ponder-wouldn't-possibly-be-able-to-remember? Now there was a chap who knew his fill-in-nouns.'
- Good with Numbers: The only people in the Discworld who are better at them are Susan Sto Helit (who memorises square roots), the Bursar whose role Ponder has largely replaced, Mavolio Bent (the banker from Making Money), and Nutt, who Ponder is delighted to find out is a polymath...and is then rather shocked to find no-one else finds this amazing.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: When he's first introduced, this trope is pretty much inverted, where he is an Insufferable Genius who looks down on the faculty who do nothing but move between their rooms and the dining tables, wondering why they're not out trying to improve or change the world. Then he realized, to his disappointment, that there is a reason things are working as they are and just tries to keep things running. note Nowadays, despite his occasional stab at an ego he has a very realistic understanding of his situation and, oddly enough, isn't so much proud of his own academic accomplishments as of HEM as a whole. He's become pretty cynical for his young age - and apparently is finding grey hairs.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Ridcully's, in later books. Most of the day-to-day business of the university is handled entirely by Ponder.
- Insufferable Genius: Was this until he went through a Break the Haughty courtesy of Ridcully and the senior wizard staff's misadventures. Not even Ridcully's powerful mind can always keep up with Ponder's travels deep into the landscape of the logical, theoretical or abstract. However, despite not being as technically brilliant as Ponder, the older Faculty members - particularly Ridcully - have decades of ingrained cunning he lacks.
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: The reason he decided to come to Unseen University in the first place. Didn't quite work out as planned though. It's not so much that The Cake Was A Lie, but that The Cake Is Less Interesting Than Multi-dimensional Sufficiently Analysed Magic.
- Jade Coloured Glasses: Starts wearing a pair after prolonged exposure to the Wizarding Faculty. You see, he started out quite naive, and was rather shocked to find out that the reason UU exists is to keep Wizards happy, fat and constantly wandering between breakfast, lunch, dinner and various snacks.
- Just Think of the Potential: The older wizards, who have seen the less than pleasant outcomes of thinking like this, are quick to point out that the "potential" is all too often great big green things with teeth. For example, he was quite excited when he found out that there were rips in time and space, much to the rest of the faculty's horror. Hex is a direct result of his thinking along the lines of "I wonder what would happen if..." and much of the senior faculty still deeply mistrust it.
- Magi Babble: See the entry immediately below.
- Mr. Exposition: If there's a reason for what's happening that is in some way connected to logic, expect him to find it... and exposit it! At length! The other wizards find it a bit exasperating. Lampshaded, of course. note
- One Judge to Rule Them All: He is that judge, technically — he gradually accumulates staff responsibilities that have to be taken care of but no one else will volunteer for. The University Council assigns votes per position not per individual, and by Unseen Academicals Ponder holds enough of those posts to be a quorum and a majority of the University Council by himself. However, he rarely exercises this power for more than routine business, as it would only make more work for him.
- Only Sane Man: He thinks of himself as this, but he's got a Mad Scientist blind spot towards the risks HEM poses to the local space-time continuum and he lacks the caution of some of the older wizards. But non-wizards certainly see him as the sanest and easier to deal with of the UU faculty. The only other faculty member Ponder sees as sane is the Librarian, and relies on his help to keep things running smoothly.
- Ponder gradually learns that much of the senior faculty's pigheadedness is Obfuscating Stupidity and they understand more of what he says than they let on. He's also now made a science out of watching Ridcully so he can get past all the times when he's pretending to be less intelligent than he actually is. There are a lot of times when it's heavily implied that Ridcully misses when Ponder was more the Insufferable Genius archetype and far more naive.This leads to Ponder sometimes assuming that they understand more than they really do, and disbelieving them when they say they don't.
- Unknown to him, this position is also shared with Rincewind. While Ponder is intelligent high-rationality and prone to Mad Scientist territory, Rincewind has more common sense between the two but lack the intelligence.
- Reluctant Mad Scientist: As of Hex's construction, this has become one of his defining traits. The more he investigates L-space and experiments with Magitek, the more fully entrenched in this trope he becomes. The fact that Hex has started giving suggestions for his own improvements doesn't make him feel any better.
- Seers: The official function of the Reader in Invisible Writings is to piece together books written elsewhere in the multiverse, or as yet unwritten books in the same multiverse, by examining L-Space with the use of HEX, which works out into a semi-technological, semi-magical Clairvoyance ability controlled by Ponder Stibbons.
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Specialises in it.
- They Just Don't Get It: This is the result whenever he is in the position of explaining things to the Faculty. The degree of mental scarring he receives from each exposition attempt is determined by how badly the Faculty warp what he's said into a combination of irrationality, disturbing images, and food-centric dialogue.
- Too Clever by Half: The older wizards like to pretend that the HEM and any administrative or apocalypse-universe-destroying-end-of-the-world problems don't exist. This makes it rather difficult for them to notice when Ponder is running around cleaning up everybody else's mess or offer him any recognition for doing so.
- Vetinari Job Security: Ponder is the only member of the University Council who fully understands its rules and finances. He's got a job for life, now, as removing him would mean every one of his dozens of responsibilities would have to be reassigned, and he got them in the first place because no one else could be bothered. In Unseen Academicals the faculty did express interest in reducing his workload (and the disproportionate power it gives him)... which they immediately delegated to him.
Dr. A.A. Dinwiddie ("that's Dinwiddie with an O") is usually referred to only by his title, primarily when Ridcully is shouting "BursAAAR!" to get his attention. He oscillates between a nervous wreck, manic, and schizophrenic, which the wizards attempt to manage by feeding him hallucinogenic pills made from toxic Klatchian jungle frogs, carefully designed to make him hallucinate that he is completely sane note . The dosage frequently needs adjusting. Regardless of whatever madness the wizards have cooked up lately, the Bursar is mentally several light-years away, and it's rare for him to come out with a comment that isn't a non-sequitur.
- Achievements in Ignorance: His ability to fly when he takes the wrong dose of Dried Frog Pills is stated to be a form of this: lots of people think they can fly when they take hallucinogenic drugs, but if you're a wizard, the universe isn't quite sure that you can't.
- Butt-Monkey: Accidents are constantly happening to him; if someone throws away something, you can bet that it's going to hit the Bursar.
- Characterization Marches On: He started out as the University's Only Sane Man - though his nerves are clearly fraying - in Moving Pictures and had had a good deal of sanity at the start of Reaper Man. By the end of Reaper Man though...
- Cloudcuckoolander: Used to be relatively sane, but now does this as a coping mechanism for all the weird stuff that happens at UU.
- Or, rather, just to cope with Arch-Chancellor Ridcully.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Everyone always calls him Bursar.
- Genius Ditz: No matter how far gone his sanity goes, he can still function as the University's Bursar.
- As of Unseen Academicals this is no longer the case, after he declared he would have nothing to do with decimal places. Ponder took up his job as the last bit of the administration arm he didn't already control.
- He did, however, understand quantum mechanics perfectly.
- Good with Numbers: Or was at one point anyway. Ridcully's time as his employer has taken its toll on his sanity and he now regards the decimal point as a nuisance.
- Alternatively he's started going into more advanced branches of mathematics where you stop using numbers. The same sort of thing that Detritus was doing when locked in the Pork Futures Warehouse in ''Men At Arms"".
- Nervous Wreck: The events of Moving Pictures and Reaper Man leave him a paranoid, twitching, nervous mess, who has to be medicated into hallucinating he is sane (attempts to cure of his nervous state proved impossible).
- Noodle Incident: He isn't allowed metal utensils after 'The Unfortunate Incident At Dinner'.
- Subverted if you've read Reaper Man—it's pretty clear the 'Incident' was the Bursar witnessing Zombie Windle Poons lurching into the Great Hall, which led him to bite through his spoon.
- Sanity Slippage: Goes through one over the course of Reaper Man.
- Talkative Loon: He'll attempt to contribute to conversations, but he's usually not able to form a coherent sentence.Bursar: Whoops! Here comes Mr. Jelly!
Another member of UU's senior faculty, the Dean (Henry, last name unknown) is seldom nice or kind. No one really knows what he does, besides attend public functions and eat big dinners. A wizard of the old school, the Dean is usually the first to launch fireballs in the face of danger, and prefers to go 'Hut-hut-hut' when trouble arises. He also may be more sensitive to occult changes in the world than other wizards, as during the 'Music With Rocks In' craze, he began to dress in leather and painted his room black while everyone else was only mildly rebelling. He may or may not be the one responsible for bringing our universe into existence, although it was completely unintentional on his part. By Unseen Academicals, he's become Archchancellor Henry of Brazeneck University.
- Answers to the Name of God: Briefly in The Science of Discworld, thanks to creating the Roundworld universe. When Ridicully exclaims "ye gods", the Dean answers with "yo?"
- Big Eater: Even more so than his fellow wizards. He's gained so much weight that, according to Ridcully, he "looks like he swallered a bed!" Ridcully also nicknames him "Two-Chairs" because, well, he has to sit on two chairs.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Like most of the UU staff, he is known only by his title. On his first appearance his full title was given as Dean of Pentacles, and at least two other UU Dean positions have been mentioned, but he's usually just called the Dean. Even Ridcully, who's known him for decades, has to think pretty hard in order to remember what his actual name is.
- Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: He's always the one to get dragged into the craze of the day, especially Music With Rocks In.
- Heroic Wannabe: See especially Reaper Man and Soul Music.
- He even sets himself up as Archancellor of a different university to try to one-up Ridcully.
- Jedi Mind Trick: Proves to be capable of performing it in the fourth Science of Discworld book, using it mainly so he can take a cab for free.
Another member of UU's senior faculty. All we know of his real name is that it isn't "Arnold".
- Bigger Is Better: His solution to Roundworld's constant extinction disasters in The Science of Discworld is to design a giant mountain-sized limpet capable of surviving through them.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Like most of the UU staff, he is known only by his title.
- Flat Character: Mostly.
- Nervous Wreck: In the Animated Adaptation of Soul Music, he's characterized as a timid stutterer who seldom gets a word in edgewise - possibly as a composite of the Bursar.
- No Name Given: See above. To the point that in The Science of Discworld, when he has the opportunity to name an element after himself, he calls it "Runium".
Another member of UU's senior faculty. Hogfather revealed that his first name is Horace.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In some universities, a Wrangler is a philosopher, while in others it's the title of someone who looks after the horses. "The Senior Wrangler was a philosopher who looked like a horse".
- Distracted by the Sexy: The one wizard of the UU staff most likely to be this, though he's loath to admit it.
- Dirty Old Man: He protests it, but he's certainly got a dirtier mind than his colleagues. It's particularly when it comes to his "admiration" of Mrs Whitlow, but he's also the only one of the staff who when smelling bacon thinks not of breakfast but of Mrs Palm's House of Negotiable Affections. ("I just happened to walk past there once!")
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Like most of the UU staff, he is (mostly) known only by his title.
- Flat Character: Formerly, but got some characterisation in Hogfather and The Last Continent.
- Motor Mouth: He's a talker. In Unseen Academicals it's noted that "The Senior Wrangler would not have been the Senior Wrangler if he did not hate the sound of silence."
- No Name Given: See above. To the point that in The Science of Discworld, when he has the opportunity to name an element after himself, he calls it "Wranglium".
- One Steve Limit: Averted, as he shares his first name with the Librarian.
- Speech Impediment: In the Soul Music Animated Adaptation, he whistles the occasional S.
- Stalker with a Crush: On Mrs Whitlow.
Another member of UU's senior faculty.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Only in Moving Pictures is he said to be the fattest of the wizards - in later books this characteristic was transferred to the Dean.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Like most of the UU staff, he is known only by his title.
- Flat Character: Probably the least characterised of any of the faculty.
- Somebody Else's Problem: In The Last Hero we see that he can get out of anything by pointing out that it's a definite problem, and thus not his department.
- By Making Money this seems to have stopped working as he now bemoans the fact that Ponder and High Energy Magic come under his department and has no idea what any of them are doing or why it means there is a giant squid in the hall.
Head of the Department of Necrom... er, Post-Mortem Communications, first introduced in Making Money. Professor Hix is required by university statute to be at least a little evil, within acceptable levels, which usually includes cheating at games, playing pranks, and making smart-alecky or tasteless remarks.
- Brutal Honesty: Another function of his job. Since he makes tasteless remarks anyways, it falls to him to say the things that nobody wants to say, but must be said nonetheless.
- Catchphrase: "Skull ring", the badge of office for his department, which he uses as a get-out-of-disapproval-for-saying-something-crass-free card.
- Insistent Terminology: It's not necromancy, it's Post-Mortem Communications. Because only evil wizards perform necromancy, and he's not an evil wizard. So therefore what he's doing cannot be necromancy.
- Necessarily Evil: Under University statute, Professor Hix is required to partake in acts of evil on a fairly regular basis. Not quite great evil, but still, evil none the less. This allows him to fulfill two important functions:
- 1. Performing actions that are morally questionable but practically necessary. This includes hitting Archchancellor Ridcully over the head fairly hard to free him from a possessed object.
- 2. Allowing the university to claim a monopoly on all evil magical activities. If independent wizards continue to perform evil acts, he is fully authorized to show up at their caves and serve orders to cease and desist. With fireballs.
- Poke the Poodle: One of his more common evil acts is to distribute tickets to his community theater group, which it's implied aren't very good. He also regularly makes tasteless remarks.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Seriously. As in, it's his actual job description to be (minorly) evil.
- Token Evil Teammate: By University statutes no less. He's got a skull ring and everything.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: His parents were a Mr and Ms Hicks, but no self-respecting necromanc err post mortems communications wizard would pass up the chance to spell his name with an X