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Fridge Brilliance in the Discworld series.

As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Specific Novels

Fridge Logic

  • 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.
  • When trolls "strip", they put clothes on, not off. Consider that a troll's brain functionality is temperature-dependent, i.e. a troll's thinking capacity gets lower the hotter they get, and you start wondering if the appeal of clothed female Trolls might have something to do with Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!...? Squick.
    • Then again, rocks don't emit heat, thus clothing might do better towards insulating the cold. As long as the troll in question isn't in an environment like Omnia or Klatch, they might be alright.
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    • Alternately, it might be that trolls in human-like fashions are more stimulating to trolls due to the rarity of seeing a very well-turned-out troll in the street than the everyday natural cragginess.
      • It's discussed in an early book (possibly even as early as The Light Fantastic) that Troll logic re: the passage of time goes 'You can see the past, therefore it's ahead of you; whereas you can't see the future, so it must be behind you.' Following this line of thought leads Trolls to believe that they experience time in the reverse of how Humans experience it. Thus, their version of a striptease involves putting clothes on.
  • With Cohen gone does that mean The Good Chancellor Twoflower gets a promotion to The Good King?
    • According to the Discworld Atlas, it's actually Pretty Butterfly who now chairs the People's Beneficent Republic of Agatea. A more level-headed and competent (albeit much scarier) choice than her daddy.
  • Do vampires have an afterlife? And if so, how would that actually work? For instance, when a vampire is resurrected from the dead, are they suddenly getting ripped out of a conversation with a great philosopher or being put under the knife by a demon?
    • Death/Susan doesn't actually come get someone until they're really dead. When the body gives out, that's just physical death, and if their Lifetimer hasn't run out yet, their auto-biography says something about how they found themselves undead. We see Death show up for the King of the Wyrmburg and the Baron of Genua when it's their Time to Go. Ergo, a vampire us temporarily inconvenienced, standing there tapping their foot until someone pours blood into their ashes.

Fridge Horror

  • 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...
    • ...Fred Colon, the other closest thing to a father figure in Vimes' life went to join Ankh-Morpork's legion and Nobby followed him in...
    • ...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.
  • One of Terry Pratchett's last Discworld books is Wintersmith, in which the Underworld is populated by invisible monsters that drain emotion, memory and hope from the spirits trapped there. One character remarks "When you take away memories, you take away the person. Everything they are." Some time later, Terry revealed that he had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease...
    • 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 Hogfather, Ridcully tries defending Bloody Stupid Johnson by pointing out that he at least managed to make a working potato peeler. One of the other wizards points out that it's actually labelled as a manicure device. Let's hope it was just used on a potato first to be safe, because otherwise yikes. And honestly, even though he's usually brought up in a comedic tone, Johnson's inventions must have killed or grievously maimed a lot of people.
  • According to Eric and other novels, it's heavily implied/outright stated that people only go to the afterlife that they feel they deserve, resulting in Hell being full of those poor, meek souls who have always tried to do good and have always been afraid all their lives that they hadn't done enough. Not only is that Disproportionate Retribution of the highest order, but this implicitly means that true monsters like Carcer Dun will get off Scott-free in the end and never meet a proper punishment for their atrocities. Sure, there is no justice in Death, but Christ.
    • On the other hand, it's also made clear in the books that dying strips away many of the illusions a character may have had while they lived, giving them a different point of view regarding their life, which may well bring some of them to realize what they truly deserve. However, there probably are some characters twisted enough to go on believing they deserve good things, even once they die.
    • Also, in Interesting Times, though Lord Hong is noted to not believe in angry ghosts, Death states that there are plenty of angry ghosts in the desert-afterlife that believe in Lord Hong. If your actions in life had victims, it seems they can make their complaints to you personally, no matter what you believe.
  • As alluded to above, do undead like zombies, vampires, and werewolves actually have any form of afterlife, or do they just suffer a Cessation of Existence? Does this potentially mean that when Carrot and Angua eventually die, that they will be forever separated from each other for the rest of eternity?
    • Most undead are sustained by their Unfinished Business, and werewolves are a kind of honourary undead only because they don't die if you stab them without using silver. Everyone goes to the afterlife they think they've got coming to them when the time comes, and time doesn't flow in Death's Country. If they beleive they'll spend eternity together, they will, and whoever dies first won't have all that long to wait.

Fridge Brilliance

  • 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!!!
  • 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 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
  • 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.
    • Also, as mentioned earlier in the book, Tax evasion. Honest and dedicated to justice as he is, Carrot dislikes bending the law at the best of times. If they killed Vimes then every single transgression they got away with could come back to haunt them.
    • Vimes owns the land the Guild stands on, if he dies, it reverts to Sybil, and she probably won't like the idea of them staying there...
      • Sybil is also probably rich enough to take out contracts on the entire guild council, and there's only one person besides Vimes on the exclusion list.
      • Which could make for a hilariously bloody scene at the Guild's next Council meeting....
  • 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 last books, I Shall Wear Midnight, is the importance of good endings and leaving a legacy. Pratchett, as we know, was not in the best of health at the time this book was published. 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, not the older witches. Even Ponder Stibbons and Rincewind are getting better at handling the senior wizards, and might well take over one day. Pratchett ensured 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 is: 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 characters who represent more modern and relevant tropes.
      • Personally, I have long thought that it is Vimes, rather than Moist, who is being set up to be the new Patrician. Think about it. Vetinari practically forced Vimes up the political ladder to become the second most powerful person in the city. He allowed himself to be arrested *by Vimes* for violating the laws of Ank-Morpork, establishing the Rule of Law *and* that Vimes was more dedicated to it than to Vetinari. He made him a diplomat, resulting in his becoming possibly the most respected man on the Disc. And as a result of all this, he is the only man other than Vetinari that the Assassin's Guild dares not touch.
      • More Fridge Brilliance here: Vetinari was grooming both of them. It's been heavily implied in the books just how much of a monster Vimes could become if he didn't have various things keeping him in check, and sometimes needs a sharp sting of sense from outside himself — someone Watching The Watchman — when he starts to get too carried away. Moist is a inveterate con-artist who did cause major damage in folks' lives until Vetinari brought him to heel. If either of them do become Patrician after Vetinari, the other will not only survive, but serve to keep the other from getting too caught up in their own power — Vetinari's set up a system of checks and balances so that Ankh-Morpork will continue its success after he dies. He's even set up conflict between Moist and Carrot, if Vimes passes and Carrot takes over instead!
  • 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'!
      • This is actually lampshaded openly in the books (paraphrasing) "They call themselves seamstresses - "Ahem ahem" " (a throat clearing noise used to indicate something a bit risque or embarrassing)
      • To be absolutely clear, it's "hem hem".
    • I was always wondering if it had something to do with sailors and what they do when in port - go visit their Sea Mistresses.
    • In times past (even as recently at the 1800s) it was a not-unknown euphemism in the real world, too. If you were a woman who made most of your money via prostitution, and someone insisted on knowing your profession (say, a census-taker), "seamstress" was an easy lie because it was very hard to disprove — you can do it out of your home, there's no special equipment, you don't work particular hours, etc.
  • 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.
  • 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 wizard and tourist.
    • While The Light Fantastic explicitly states otherwise (that nothing else was altered, according to Death), it's quite likely this was a result of Coin reshaping the world to be "safer" as he did at the end of Sourcery; especially making the Patrician sharper, or at least more motivated to protect Ankh-Morpork.
  • 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.
    • Actually, it's highly implied that the "Fools' Guild" is actually the Spy's Guild. Specifically, the fact that not only do they share a wall with the Assassin's Guild for a reason, they're one of the only guilds that has their own martial art, and they also train all of the hosts and guides at theme parks, who are perfectly normal people once they're out of costume.
  • 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.
  • Ankh-Morpork has traits from so many cities because it is The City- not an example of that trope, just... that trope. Same with Howandaland, which is so many different jungle-based Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, or the Ramtops, which are every mountain range from Appalachia to Scotland to the Himalayas, because they're the ideas associated with geography, not simply geography. Discworld is literally made of ideas.
  • To elaborate on the above theory, much of Discworld is based on the theory of narrative causality, ie any story, myth, narrative creates a world and the people inside must follow the rules/tropes it abides by. Thus, Discworld saga is a story made out of stories (it has been described as a mirror of worlds).
    • The saga also explains the ways stories are told (plays, opera, movies, heraldry, paintings, sacred words, books, newspapers) and show off their power to change history and perception of things. It’s not surprising that people on the Discworld would use this power for both good and evil purposes.
    • Not just stories, but words. Terry Pratchett uses a lot of puns in the narrative, which means that the power of words on the Discworld makes things come alive. A bunch of cusswords turned into a swarm of hideous insects, for instance.
  • From Wintersmith: Tiffany recites the last three lines to the "Making of a Man" poem. Strength enough to build a home, time enough to hold a child, and love enough to break a heart. Then remember that these are three qualities that Death acquired in Mort and Reaper Man, which contributed to his developing humanity:
    • Strength enough to build a home - he created a field of wheat, and helped out at Ms Flitworth's farm
    • Time enough to hold a child - he raised Ysabell, and gave up some of his own time to keep Sal alive
    • Love enough to break a heart - he spared Mort for Ysabell's sake, and despite developing feelings for Ms Flitworth he reunited her with her once-and-only lover Rufus.
  • Granny Weatherwax's hatred of the theater is explained as her disliking magic that isn't hers, but there's a bit more to it than that. The actors are very close to elves in a sense. Elves are described as cats that eat mice, but make it so that the mice say that the cats have style. The actors who play villains get away with evil (albeit pretend) deeds, but a good actor would be applauded. When Granny rebukes the actors in the plays, she's protesting the idea of applauding any evil deed, no matter how much style is put into it.
    • Also, Actors present themselves as something or someone other than they are, and get the viewers to willingly accept that illusion. which is exactly what Elves do with their glamour. Which given her dislike of that aspect of elves, the aspect that makes people forget the bad things and only remember the illusions, it makes sense she would have a dislike of Theater and those who act in it.
    • Her distaste for things that pretend to be something other than they are may have a more personal grounding, as well. Remember that when we first met Lily Weatherwax, Granny's evil sister, she'd been musing about how easily she had been pretending to be of noble birth since her youth.
  • Trolls are said to believe that the past is in front of you, because you can see it. This seems odd to humans, as we think of the future as something we're moving towards, so it should be up ahead. But it also makes perfect sense if you recall that, as per The Light Fantastic, senior trolls are the ones most prone to philosophical musings, and when they get caught up in them they tend to sit down and stay put for ages, slowly reverting to inanimate stone. Of course they'd think about time's progress in terms of what they see, not where they're going, because they're not going anywhere!
  • Something I noticed on a recent rereading of some of the books, each one ends with 'The End'; okay nothing odd about that, but those two words are written in the same all caps font that Death speaks in - the words are not just a standard ending, they're Death speaking the final line of each book, sort of symbolically showing that the book's own 'life' has reached its end. So not only does Death show up for the death of characters within the book, but he also shows up for the book's own 'death'.
  • The Librarian is often mentioned to weigh 300 lbs, which is actually almost twice the size of your average wild male orangutan. Artistic License – Biology? No, because orangutans are known to get fat in captivity. The heaviest recorded captive orangutan weighed 450 lbs, or about as much as the Librarian and an average wild orangutan put together. Since the Librarian's human colleagues tend distinctly toward podginess, it's not surprising he's big for an orangutan.
    • Indeed, if he was anything like his colleagues as a man, he'd have been pretty obese before his transformation. So he changed from a fat man to a fat orangutan. The occasional workout on the rings in the UU gym hasn't been enough to burn off the excess flab, since.
  • The Discworld being absolutely stuffed with magic, it would be the equivalent of a lightning storm (sparks and tension, anything could go off at any moment). Thus, such a world would need a protagonist with a strong, stubborn, maybe cynical but grounded personality to keep it under control: this practical character type fits Rincewind (a coward, but smart and reasonable), Granny Weatherwax, Susan Sto-Helit, Vetinari, and the Watch members (Vimes, Carrot, Angua).
  • In "The Sea And Little Fishes", Nanny Ogg - a character frequently described as having a face like an elderly apple - shows off a new variety of apple that a local farmer has named after her. In a case of Bookends, Granny Weatherwax has a variety of onion named after her by the same farmer at the story's end. She and Nanny then comment on how the onion - useful, sharp, firm, good for the system - is rather like Granny herself, although Nanny gets carried away with the analogy and also says that onions go well with cheese. Now, how many recipes use apples and onions to complement each other? Plenty, because they - like best friends Gytha and Esme - go well together. How many use onions to enhance the taste of cheese? Also plenty, much as Granny's guidance now enhances the witchcraft-training of Tiffany Aching, a cheese-maker and Granny's chosen successor.
  • The Disc being a hodgepodge of myths, fables and legends, the most powerful deities on it are naturally the ones who control the stories:
    • the Creators and the History Monks handle the place and time (the setting)
    • the Fate and the Lady write the tales (with the Lady throwing random twists and turns into it to make it more interesting)
    • and Death, of course, is there at the termination of all tales.
  • The recurring name Iodine isn't just a random word that sounds good. The chief of the gods is Blind Io, and Iodine sounds like the feminine form.
  • Why is Ponder Stibbons' title Head of Inadvisably Applied Magic? Because 'Inadvisably Applied' is stubbornly-stodgy-old-wizard-speak for new.
    • Also, when turned into an acronym, it becomes I.A., which is Spanish for A.I. (and just the thing reversed). Still something that the wizards would call the work of the Devil if the Demonology department wasn't against such discriminatory appelative.
  • Carrot's sword is an Absurdly Sharp Blade because of how "reality" is a quantifiable characteristic on the Disc, no different from weight or electrostatic charge. Being a realistic medieval sword in a world based on fantasy tropes, it is able to cut through almost anything because its higher "reality index" makes it intrinsically harder than other substances. Now recall Death's blades, which constantly glow blue with Cherenkov radiation due to passing atoms splitting themselves against them. Death describes himself as THE ULTIMATE REALITY and this is Not Hyperbole. Death and anything associated with him has a higher reality index, therefore they can cut through anything, even words. Carrot's sword works on the exact same principles as Death's only to a lesser degree.
  • It's a Running Gag in the series that A Tap On The Head should only be done by people who know how to do it properly, and in at least one case of someone who tried to knock out a friend and committed manslaughter instead. In Real Life it isn't safe to try his under any circumstances, but on the Disc there are individuals (such as Igors and the Agony Aunts) who can knock people out for quite precise intervals. Why? Because of Narrative Causality. People believe in the trope, therefore it is—with training—doable. The same applies to the implied natural contraceptive method of tracking one's menstrual cycle, aka being "good at counting". This is terribly unreliable in the real world, but enough people think it works on the Disc for the main risk to be an error of arithmetic rather than the vagaries of hormones.
    • That's also why Headology works so well.
  • Why does Death love cats? Well, cats are the only life forms that can see him as a rule (wizards and witches, Quoth the raven, Binky, Vimes having near-death experiences, etc being exceptions to the general state of things, and gods, demons, Auditors, etc not strictly speaking being life forms). Death may have acquired his soft spot for cats because they were the only life forms he could interact with outside of the Duty.
    • Also, Amazing Maurice proves that they're one of the only mortal creatures - aside from the occasional product of Igor-sciences, which he tends to disapprove of - which he can normally expect to meet repeatedly.
  • Vetinari is a pun of Medici; instead of a doctor, he's a vet. Until the Free Hospital was established, vets in Ankh-Morpork were much more competent than doctors, since vets have to face the mob if their patients died.