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Literature / Carpe Jugulum

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Mightily Oats has not picked a good time to be a priest. He thought he'd come to the mountain kingdom of Lancre for a simple little religious ceremony. Now he's caught up in a war between vampires and witches, and he's not sure there is a right side. There're the witches – young Agnes, who is really in two minds about everything, Magrat, who is trying to combine witchcraft and nappies, Nanny Ogg, who is far too knowing... and Granny Weatherwax, who is big trouble. And the vampires are intelligent – not easily got rid of with a garlic enema or by going to the window, grasping the curtains and saying, "I don't know about you, but isn't it a bit stuffy in here?" They've got style and fancy waistcoats. They're out of the casket and want a bite of the future. Mightily Oats knows he has a prayer, but wishes he had an axe.

The 23rd Discworld novel and the sixth in the Witches Theme.

King Verence and Queen Magrat of Lancre have had their first child, a daughter, and have invited all the nearby rulers to her naming ceremony. Unfortunately, this includes the de Magpyr family of vampires from neighboring Überwald, and now that they've been invited to Lancre, they have no intention of leaving. It's up to the witches, along with a drippy Omnian priest called Mightily Oats, to defeat them and save the kingdom from its new vampire overlords.

Preceded by The Last Continent, followed by The Fifth Elephant. Preceded in the Witches series by Maskerade, followed by The Wee Free Men.

Contains examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: The vampires. Just ask them.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: The de Magpyrs have built up a tolerance to, among other things, garlic, holy water, sunlight, and OCD. This actually ends up backfiring on them, when they realize that their weakness to holy symbols is dependent on them recognizing the symbols, and their training has given them a very broad knowledge of holy symbols, many of which are common geometric figures.
  • Acrofatic: Whenever Perdita takes over Agnes' body. Agnes has a quite a lot of muscle she doesn't know how to use.
  • Affably Evil: Count de Magpyr insists that he is Affably Evil and talks like a self help guru. His attempts at being friendly and affable lead to him being a far greater horror than his genuinely Affably Evil uncle.
  • All the Other Reindeer: At one point, Granny thinks back to how she helped stop a child-killer. Afterward, at his funeral, some of the people there started going on about how he "wasn't really that bad", and came to the conclusion that somehow Granny must have made him do it.
  • Alternate Personality Punishment: Agnes' more vicious personality Perdita makes a nasty comment about Granny Weatherwax and gets slapped by Nanny Ogg for it... or rather, Agnes gets slapped for it since they share a body.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Magpyrs are strong believers in eugenics.
  • And I Must Scream: Used as a threat by Granny. While (presumably) there's no way to permanently kill off a vampire, it's entirely possible to, say, trap said vampire in gaseous form in a bottle and then drop the bottle from the edge of the Disc. (If you really want to kill a vampire, Witches Abroad indicates that being eaten by a cat will do the trick.)
  • Arc Words: "Everyone knows that, who knows anything about vampires," and "Everywhere I look I see something holy."
  • As the Good Book Says...: When Mightily Oats must build a fire in a wet, cold forest, he looks for guidance in the Book of Om. First, he runs into irrelevant passages ("...and in that time, in the land of the Cyrinites, there was a multiplication of camels..."), but then he finds this: "Where there is darkness we will make a great light." So, he takes the book and makes a great light. Given what we see of Brutha and Om in Small Gods, that's probably entirely intentional.
  • Assimilation Backfire: The Magpyrs suck Granny Weatherwax's blood and attempt to turn her. She survives the experience without becoming a vampire; the Magpyrs aren't so lucky, however, as feeding on Granny Weatherwax has allowed her to turn them. By the end, they're craving tea instead of blood and even talking like her.
  • At Least I Admit It: The Old Count, who never saw the point in trying to hide being a blood-thirsty predator. Everyone knew he was evil and he never pretended that not killing someone should somehow make them any more grateful to him. On the other hand, he was also a sportsman who gave his prey a fighting chance, targeted only adults, particularly 'only adventurous females over the age of 17 who looked good in a night-dress', and held those who defeated him in high regard as a Worthy Opponent, even reminiscing about it to their descendants.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Inverted. Vampire teenagers have "Goth" birth names like Lacrimosa, so they think calling themselves "Wendy" or "Susan" is edgy and rebellious.
  • Badass Preacher: Oats, after taking a few levels in badass.
    • A key moment comes when he's alone with Granny in a wet, cold forest at night, afraid she's going to freeze to death, and the only dry material he has that could start a fire to warm her up is the paper his Bible... er, Book of Om is printed on. Looking for guidance, he finds a passage in it that says, "Where there is darkness we will make a great light..." He takes the Book... and makes a great light.
    • Importantly, the whole book Oats had tried to gain faith by reading random passages from the Book of Om. When he meets Granny she stresses that he has the ability to make his own faith... and in the end, he does.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After getting vampired, it seems Granny Weatherwax has Borrowed herself into little Esme. Agnes and Perdita catch on quicker than Nanny Ogg that this is too obvious a move, and think she's gone into Oats. They're all wrong - she's in the vampires.
  • Balancing Death's Books: When she's called to see to the young Mrs. Ivy, a heavily-pregnant young woman who had been kicked by a cow. Death himself seems unsure of who will be going with him when he shows up, and it's hinted that the choice of whether mother or child lived fell to Granny.
  • Batman Gambit: Granny getting the vampires to bite her so that she could control the blood inside them.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Many. Granny resists being turned into a vampire, Oats and questioning his faith, Agnes fights the allure of Vlad and becoming a beautiful, powerful, eternally-young vampire.
  • Berserk Button: Seeing the Industrialized Evil (which the Magpyrs ironically intended as a demonstration of how civilised and un-monsterly they were,) is what truly convinces Agnes that there must be no mercy for them.
  • Berserker Rage: Verence, of all people, succumbs to this when the Feegles give him an overdose of Big Aggie's battle-brew. He breaks Jason Ogg's nose and needs half the men in Lancre Village to restrain him from bashing his way through his own castle's oaken doors.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Magrat, as before, is surprisingly tough when pushed into a corner (especially now that she's got Mama Bear tendencies as well), but "bad girl" Perdita is shocked at just how ruthless the previously pathetic Agnes becomes when she sees the Industrialized Evil of the Magpyrs.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Scraps, Igor's lovable Frankenstein-style dog.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The title is a play on the Latin phrase "Carpe Diem" (seize the day). "Carpe Jugulum" means "seize the throat". Sadly, in a lot of languages, the phrase "Carpe Diem" is not commonly used in its Latin form, which also led to the book's title getting translated to the actual language and losing the bilingual bonus.
    • The musical beer stein that Shirl Ogg gave Nanny plays a German tune that translates as "I am a drunken pig".
  • Blatant Lies:
    • After being told to leave Granny alone, Nanny Ogg and Magrat take roughly five seconds (Perdita counted) before declaring they accidentally dropped something in the caves and must go back and check. Agnes tries pointing out she never saw Nanny remove the pipe she supposedly lost, which makes Nanny say she'll have to go lose it.
    • When told magpies had simply stolen her invitation to the naming ceremony, Granny pauses for a long while before responding that she knew this. No-one bothers correcting her.
  • Blood Bath: One of the Magpyr ancestors in the story is a parody of Elizabeth Bathory (although her name's Carmilla). The modern Magpyrs believe the story of her bathing in the blood of two hundred virgins is highly exaggerated. The bath would overflow if you used more than eighty. They've checked.
  • Bluff the Impostor: Even when they're being chased by homicidal vampires, Magrat knows that Nanny Ogg would never say that now isn't the time to be telling a lewd joke. The vampires don't, nor do they know the joke that Magrat asked "Nanny" to tell.
  • Borrowed Catch Phrase:
    • When Granny leaves, Nanny and Magrat's mannerisms start to change to reflect their new roles in the coven (Nanny has taken Granny's place as the Hag and Magrat has become the Mother). Nanny even uses Granny's "I can't be having with all this" at one point, but the other witches are quick to point out that it's just not the same.
    • Borrowing Granny's mannerisms is one of the first signs that she's infected the vampyres instead of the other way around.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Oats, reading Omnian texts from information on vampires, notes they never actually say where the heart is. Later on, it turns out the old Count had a similar problem, and therefore left a helpful anatomy chart - being dead was fine, apparently, quite restful, but he objected to looking like a colander.
    • Granny Weatherwax still aten't dead.
    • Listing typical vampire weaknesses, Nanny Ogg notes that they can be crippled by someone stealing one of their socks (they're anal-retentive, see?). Later on, the Count mentions how he's overcome that weakness too, and it only irritated him a little. Meanwhile, Igor notes how the Old Count had this happen to him... and was upset, because they were expensive, dammit!
    • Way, way back when Bad Ass was first mentioned in Equal Rites, Drum Billet observed that this was "a name with a story behind it" but he didn't have time to hear it. It finally appears here, after Agnes mentions the name to Oats.
  • Burn the Witch!: When Oats mentions the records of Omnians doing this, Granny suggests that the victims were more likely ordinary old women who looked like easy targets. In her opinion, witches are more likely to be the ones doing the burning. ("We ain't all nice.")
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: Subverted by the de Magpyrs at the start, and lampshaded by the Count when he lectures his kids about it.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Oats lists some of the ways vampires can be defeated, which depends on where they're from, including stuffing a lemon in their mouth. While trying to leave Lancre Castle, Nanny encounters a vampire, and politely asks where in Uberwald he's from. On learning, she stuffs a lemon in his mouth, smacks him on the head to make him bite, and escapes while he's incapacitated.
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Count von Magpyr pointedly doesn't look like this. The Old Count does.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Granny's darker nature mentions that her sister Lilith (of Witches Abroad) gave into it.
    • Oats is something of an update to Small Gods. He laments that his faith's new direction, spending their time arguing points of dogma and comparative religion studies, lacks the passion they had in earlier times. This proves Brutha's reforms worked well; when they had that fire, they were a terrible force that focused more on the monolithic church than on Om, resulting in only a single true believer, the last in an enormous institution believing only in itself that committed horrifying deeds and declared bloody holy wars in its own name, and had every neighbouring country setting aside their differences to attack Omnia exclusively. Now the church is less militant, it has spread peacefully across the continent. Ultimately Oats ends up striking a balance between pre-Brutha Omnianism and post-Brutha Omnianism that eliminates the worst aspects of both.
    • Mention is made of the Simonites, who going by the name are followers of Simony, also from that book. St. Ossory, one of the Prophets of Om, gets a nod by Count Magpyr, and in fitting with most of his recorded deeds being falsehoods, the Count mentions he helped write some of Ossory's works.
    • There are also a lot of continuity nods to Lords and Ladies, in particular the reappearance of many minor characters. For example, it is shortly mentioned that one of the would-be-witches from Lords and Ladies now has a baby. But to actually recognize her, you have to have read Maskerade too (because she took her husband's last name). The references in this book and Maskerade are both well hidden in lists of random names used as examples for a recent topic.
    • When Oats warns Granny that his mule can be difficult, she whispers something in the animal's ear, and then gets on without any trouble. It was established back in Witches Abroad that Granny knows the Horseman's Word.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Traditional vampires like the Old Count did this for entirely pragmatic reasons so people wouldn't try to make sure he stayed Deader than Dead, and because he was a Fair-Play Villain. Igor does it too as a matter of style (though also to aggravate the new Count, whom he finds insufferable).
  • Convenient Weakness Placement: Deliberate on the part of the Old Count, who kept a flowing moat, easily-opened curtains, and objects that could be bent into religious symbols lying around to give his victims a fighting chance. This encouraged his killers not to take extreme efforts. Be easily dispatched and it'll be called a day once you're dust. Be hard to kill and they'll try a lot harder to end you for good.
  • Covert Pervert: Magrat. This shocks even Nanny, but Magrat reminds her that she is a married woman and a mother now.
  • Daywalking Vampire: The vampires have gotten rid of their sunlight problems with the power of positive thinking.
  • Deader than Dead: The Old Count, unlike his nephew, realizes this is what a vampire who doesn't play by the customary rules of sportsmanship will eventually wind up. The Escrow villagers are all for inflicting this fate on the defeated Magpyrs, e.g. by scattering their ashes into the sea or a windstorm.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Of the Classical Movie Vampire, especially Dracula himself. The Magpyrs are the deconstruction, having overcome their various weaknesses and dropped the Villain Ball so that they can be effective monsters and rule over humanity. Granny presents the reconstruction, and this is demonstrated by the Old Count, who is a good sport about the traditional cycle — just enough of a threat that his victims get to have a fun adventure without anybody getting seriously hurt, including him.
  • Dehumanization: Granny's yardstick for evil, and also the main difference between the Count von Magpyr and the Old Count. The Count views humans as cattle who should appreciate the efficient system they've built with no bodycount to the village; the Old Count would attack and kill people, but respected their rules, restricted himself to those who could fight back, offered them a fighting chance, and never deluded himself into thinking that anyone should be grateful for his presence - yet, oddly, because of that they sort of were.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • "I'm fed up with you smarming at me smarmily as if you were Mister Smarm!"
    • Verence fits multiple uses of "respect" into a single paragraph. Lampshaded by Nanny.
  • Dirty Business: Part of being a witch is having to make the hard decisions so others doesn't have to make them. Granny is starting to get tired of it.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The Nac Mac Feegle are pretty similar to their later portrayal in the Tiffany Aching books, but their accent is quite stronger. Also, Terry stated that childrens' books are "...written with the knob turned down a level, so it will be more accessible to the younger market." This was probably deliberate "de-obfuscation" so that young readers wouldn't be going "Mummy, what's he saying there?" every other line. The Watsonian explanation is that the different clans just have different accents; there are cultural differences too, like this clan embracing contract law instead of fearing lawyers, something alluded to later on with Jeannie - who came from the Long Lake clan, this clan - embracing literacy and teaching her husband to read.
  • Eat Me: Granny letting the vampires suck her blood.
  • Either "World Domination", or Something About Bananas: Mightily Oats notes that although the Old Book of Om is very clear about what should be done to witches, there's a school of thought which believes the passage in question has been mistranslated and was originally referring to cockroaches, and the bit about them bringing lascivious dreams might just as easily be read in context as being about boiled lobsters.
  • Empathic Environment: The "gnarly ground" changes its appearance to match the mood of visitors.
  • Enemy Within: Granny's dark side tries to tempt her while she's unconscious from the vampire bite.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Once Count von Magpyr takes baby Esmerelda hostage - something the Old Count would never have done - Igor decides that enough's enough and revives the Old Count, that that may more be a case of Igor's personal Godzilla Threshold being crossed. (Killing his dog probably factored into it as well.) A more classic example is him being stunned when confronted with the prospect of the Magpyrs using the mist trick to get through the vault door that Magrat and baby Esmerelda are behind, simply because it's so unsporting.
    • Even the Count, though his bar is set much lower. When Lacrimosa mentions they should put Granny out of her misery, she likens it to when the Count said the same thing about her cat. The Count clarifies that what he really meant was for her to stop what she was doing to it.
    • The villagers liked the Old Count more than the new one because he never acted like anything other than what he was, which was a bloodthirsty predator - albeit a polite one who genuinely respected them. The new Count tries to convince people that the murderous, domineering nature of vampires is something everyone should be pleased about.
  • Exposition of Immortality: The Old Count recognises the names of several of the peasants in the mob at his castle and reminisces about his encounters with their grandparents.
  • Fair-Play Villain: The Old Count was a sportsman - he'd enjoy a decade or two of Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, then some villager would pluck up the courage to venture into his lair (conveniently littered with garlic, mirrors, holy water, anatomical charts indicating where the heart is, etc), there'd be a thrilling showdown, and he'd be reduced to dust for a few decades until blood was spilled on the remains.
  • Fantastic Fantasy Is Mundane: Teenage vampires going through the equivalent of a goth/pseudo-vampire phase do things like dressing in mundane clothes, insisting on being called "Susan" instead of "Lacrimosa", and drinking blood in bottles but claiming it's wine.
  • Fighting from the Inside: King Verence is the only person shown to be attempting to resist the vampires' mind control in a noticeable way - even Nanny Ogg gets caught, even when she's prepared for it. Agnes also shrugs off being turned by Vlad, though it helped that she was more "Weatherwaxed" than "vampired".
  • Forbidden Fruit: The Magpyr home is named "Don'tgonearthe Castle", in the happy knowledge that this will guarantee a steady supply of passing travellers to snack on.
  • Foreshadowing: Nanny Ogg's Know-Nothing Know-It-All nature is established early on, the witch's habit of refusing to admit they're wrong on something they know nothing about. It bites her in the arse when she insists she can resist the vampyres now that she knows what they are, even as Agnes and Perdita try to point out otherwise... and promptly gets herself charmed again.
    • Vlad using Granny's catchphrase shortly after she gets bitten by the Magpyr family is a sign that Granny is turning them, rather than the other way around.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire:
    • The vampyres try to portray themselves this way, but completely fail due to their Industrialized Evil being worse than popping up every few decades to terrorize the populace and get put down.
    • The Old Count, due to his Fair-Play Villain status, ends up as this. Yes, he's a monster who feeds on the living, but he never pretended to be anything else, he's a Friendly Enemy who's free with the Villain Respect and restricts himself to targets who were of age, nobody ever got too seriously hurt, and fighting him is good sport for the local lads and the occasional lass (if adventurous and over the age of seventeen) every generation or so.
    • Granny mentions that Lancre once had a vampire queen who denied her vampire nature, refusing to drink blood and getting by on blue steaks. Subverted in that she was an iron-fisted dictator; it just had nothing to do with her being a vampire.
      Granny: She had no problem with shedding blood, but she drew the line at drinking it.
  • Fur Against Fang: Werewolves live around Don'tgonearthecastle. They don't get on with the vampires, but leave the villagers of Escrow alone, because they're no sport. However, the sound of werewolves howling is a good incentive to get into Don'tgonearthecastle for any traveller who suffers a sudden case of broken carriage wheel.
  • Genre Blindness: King Verence kindly invites the Magpyrs to the naming ceremony. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize that this counts as an invitation.
  • Genre Savvy: In a low-level fashion, the "spontaneous" mob feels something is wrong when met by the Count, since they know the typical reaction to a mob should be screaming defiance from a burning lab, or fighting the hero on the ramparts, as opposed to calmly smoking a cigar.
  • Go Fetch: Death reluctantly plays fetch with Scraps, at least until Igor resurrects the Franken-dog.
  • Good Old Ways: Everyone agrees that the old fashioned vampires were better.
  • Goth: Completely turned on its head: Lacrimosa and her vampire friends partake in a subculture that has them wearing bright colours, pretending to drink wine, staying up well past noon, and adopting names like "Henry" and "Freda".
  • Harmful to Minors: Perdita is aghast at the lynch-mob bringing children along to kill the vampires. Agnes, meanwhile, approves of it, since she feels the children need to see that some monsters can be killed.
  • Hate at First Sight: Agnes Nitt secretly desires to be a "bad girl". Then she meets Lacrimosa, an actual bad girl, and her reaction is summed up as "There is such a thing as hate at first sight."
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: The Old Count turns out to have an anatomical chart showing where the heart is to help would-be heroes, otherwise he might end up leaky as a colander.
  • Heel Realization: The Count outright asks the villagers of Escrow to look at him, and then at the newly-resurrected previous Count, believing that the comparison will convince them that he's the better of the two. But Villainous Breakdown ensues when he realizes that being savvy is considered far, far worse than the old Count's intentional use of the Villain Ball. Vlad gets this too, presumably, since he genuinely believes that the alternative for Escrow that his father offers is better than what it used to be.
  • Heroic BSoD: Granny Weatherwax, when she thinks she's becoming unnecessary.
  • Heroic Willpower:
    • King Verence is the only person other than Granny, Agnes, and Oats who manages at least to keep a small part of his mind intact from the vampyres' Mind Control, and his will is strong enough that they have to put an explicit enchantment ("a 'fluence") on him to keep him under control. Considering that Granny is a powerful witch who specialises in Psychic Powers (and even then, she states the Count came very close to getting her, in her own cottage), Agnes is a witch with the advantage of being in two minds all the time, and Oats is also in two minds and generally beneath the Magpyr family's notice, that is very impressive.
    • Granny not only manages to resist the vampyres' blood and to avoid becoming a vampire herself, but she infects the vampyres with her personality instead.
    • With a little unconscious help from Granny, Agnes also avoids being turned, though Vlad tried.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The vampires' Acquired Poison Immunity to religious symbols backfires when that immunity wears off. They'd learned to recognize so many religious symbols by sight that everything looks like a religious symbol.
  • Horrifying the Horror: We get a good idea of how dangerous the Feegles are when Greebo, who once ate a vampire, stops mid-pounce and decides he'd much rather clean himself, before hiding under the nearest bed.
    • The phoenix's entrance has this effect on the Magpyrs.
  • The Igor: This book introduces Überwald's clan of classically trained Igors.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Vampire mind control and mind reading doesn't work well on Agnes (because Perdita interferes). Vlad finds that fascinating.
  • Immune to Mind Control: Agnes and Mightily Oats are able to resist the vampires' hypnosis because of their split personalities.
  • Improvised Cross:
    • Weaponized, where the vampires have built up an immunity to all the traditional vampire repellents including garlic and holy symbols (crosses are not mentioned, but there are so many religions on the Disc there's probably one or two). This backfires spectacularly when Granny gets in their heads and removes their immunity to holy symbols—but because they got that immunity by repeatedly studying such symbols, most of which are just simple geometric figures, they can now find such symbols basically everywhere.
    • Also invoked by the old Count de Magpyr, who, being a Fair-Play Villain, helpfully decorated his castle with easily-bendable wall decorations.
  • Industrialized Evil: The orderly and systematic blood-draining that takes place in the villages surrounding the Magpyr estate horrifies Agnes more than anything else the vampires do.
  • I Never Told You My Name: When Agnes meets Vlad he says her name without being told. When she considers that he might have asked someone, Perdita asks her why anyone would ask for her name. Agnes' immediate thought is irritation at Perdita, so she misses the significance.
  • Ironic Echo: "Everywhere I look I see something holy!"
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • The vampyres are apparently less "dark" than traditional vampires. Appearances deceive.
    • During Granny's Battle in the Center of the Mind, the right answer is walking towards the darkness, because that's where the light should go.
  • Living Shadow: King Verence's (second) shadow has to be removed and "killed" by the Nac Mac Feegle (with a well-aimed crossbow bolt) because its presence allows the vampires to control Verence.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Vlad's grandfather in the Magpyr portrait gallery, which is something of a lesson on How Vampires Have Been Different through the ages.
  • Lots of Luggage: In a maternal variant, when Magrat leaves the castle she insists that Reverend Oats haul along every toy, blanket, nappy bag, basin, potty or bath item which her baby daughter might possibly need. Most are things which an infant that age won't be old enough to require for months, and they're only away for a day or two.
  • Magpies as Portents: Flocks of them. Pterry jokes that none of the traditional counting rhymes work very well because "they're not the ones the magpies use."
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Agnes's superhuman vocal range lets her scream high and loud enough to stun keen-eared vampires, albeit not for long.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: An easy identifier of a male vampire is their silk waistcoat. The higher their position in the food chain, the better it looks. Perdita thinks Vlad's waistcoat isn't even that good looking anyway.
  • Mathematician's Answer: During a near-death experience, Granny Weatherwax asks Death if she's dying, and he answers "Yes." She quickly realizes that from Death's point of view everyone is dying, so this is not a very helpful answer.
  • Mercy Kill: One of Granny's jobs is to help people die when they need it.
    "There was no need for desperate stuff with a pillow, or deliberate mistakes with the medicine. You didn't push them out of the world, you just stopped the world pulling them back. You just reached in, and... showed them the way."
  • The Missionary: Reverend Oats decides to act as a missionary to Uberwald. As seen in Unseen Academicals, it works.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: The witch-shaped rock formation near the cave entrance where Granny goes to isolate herself.
  • Monster/Slayer Romance: Vampyr Vlad de Magpyr becomes infatuated with Witch Agnes Nitt, despite knowing right from the start that the Lancre witches see the Vampyrs who have usurped the kingdom as an infestation to be wiped out.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • A highwayman makes the mistake of holding up the Magpyrs' coach, and winds up as lunch.
    • Invoked at Mightily Oats when he tries to rally the people of Lancre to go rescue Granny Weatherwax. He tells them she's out there with monsters. Bestiality Carter asks "What do we care what happens to monsters?"
  • Multiple-Tailed Beast: "Scraps", the Frankenstein's Monster of a Big Friendly Dog created by Igor.
    Nanny Ogg: He's as happy as a dog with two... oh, he does have two tails.
  • Mundane Utility: Granny's attempts to fight her vampire transformation generate incredible heat, which she transfers into an iron anvil to keep it from killing her. Hodgesaargh, the ever practical falconer, then puts a pot of tea on the anvil to boil.
  • Must Be Invited: A significant plot point: Verence sends a formal invitation to the Magpyrs for the naming ceremony, failing to consider what a very bad idea this might be.
  • Naming Ceremony: The one for Magrat and Verence's daughter is key to the plot. The ceremony can apparently be performed by whatever priest is handy, and there seems to be a rule that whatever the priest says after "I now name you..." is irrevocable — which is how the girl in question ends up as Princess Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre. (Also mentioned: James What The Hell Is That Cow Doing In Here? Poorchick and King My God He's Heavy the First. Magrat herself is an example, as her name is a misspelling of Margaret.)
  • Nay-Theist: Granny. Oats is terrified of the idea of her actually finding a god who met her moral standards, given her sheer passion and persuasive ability.
  • Noble Demon: The Old Count. The new Count views himself as this, but he's horribly wrong.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Omnianism is pretty much a Discworld version of Christianity, right down to having an instrument of torture as its most holy symbol.
  • Noodle Implements:
    • Magrat mentions a joke Nanny told about "the priest, the old woman and the rhinoceros", remarking it's the only one of Nanny's jokes she still doesn't understand. Nanny says that even she didn't understand that one until she was forty.
    • A reference to the joke about the priest, the nun, and the camel. "Well, what are you waiting for? Stick it in the camel and let's get the hell out of here!"
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: A sign of just what the vampyres do to folk is that Mrs. Scorbic, the battleaxe of a cook for the Lancre Castle kitchens, is jolly, polite and cheerful.
    • Agnes knows Nanny is really worried about Granny because when Agnes mentions buoys with balls of glass, Nanny doesn't immediately jump at the chance of making a lewd joke.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Thanks to the Count training them with a little exposure at a time, the Magpyrs are not affected by traditional vampire weaknesses such as garlic, holy symbols, holy water, and sunlight.
    • Also, the vampires of the Magpyr family turn into flocks of magpies instead of bats.
    • They're also capable of conventional reproduction, as Vlad and Lacci were both born as vampires.
    • The trope is also invoked in the story, since the method for disposing a vampire depends on which village he's from. And a footnote compares vampirism to diseases — some are extremely virulent and deadly, and some just make you avoid fruit and walk funny.
  • Paranoia Gambit: For the Magpyrs, Granny's Borrowing trick goes from mildly amusing delaying tactic to alarming once they start succumbing to her attack from within and they start turning on each other, arguing about where she might be.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: At one point, Granny thinks back to a guy who'd been killing children, and had sworn to her he hadn't "meant" to do it. Granny made sure he wound up hanged, noting that she could see Death, followed by lots of smaller spirits looking for some payback.
  • Planet of Steves: Igor gets very offended when Nanny Ogg just assumes that he is called Igor on the basis of how he looks. Even though he ith an Igor. But he might not have been!
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • The Count occasionally objects to his daughter's sadistic habits, but not for altruistic reasons. They discuss the phoenix, concluding that it's absurd for a bird to burn. After all, Lacrimosa tried with a chicken — the count says that she really should have killed it first because at least then it would've been quieter.
    • The Old Count's Contractual Genre Blindness is in no small part a survival mechanism - so long as he gives people a sporting chance and isn't too hard to dust when people get fed up with him, the plucky villagers will just stake him and call it a day. If he becomes too much of a problem, someone will snap and render him Deader than Dead.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Count: An axe isn't even a holy symbol!
    Oats: Oh. Then let's make it so.
  • Punny Name: Igor named the dog he made out of many dogs' bodies Scraps. (Or Thcrapth, in his lisp)
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: The Count and Countess have a textbook example when they recall their honeymoon.
    Countess: And we met such lovely people. Do you remember Mr and Mrs Harker?
    Count: Very fondly. I recall they lasted nearly all week.
  • Reverse Psychology: The Magpyr's castle is named Don'tGoNearThe Castle, and the route to it is regularly marked by signs like "Don't take this quickest route to the Castle". According to Igor, it was always full of guests.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The male phoenix unleashes hell on the Magpyrs for what they did to his relative.
    Granny: He knows what they did. He was born knowing. Phoenixes share their minds. And they don't tolerate evil.
  • Rope Bridge: The gnarly ground presents Nanny and co. with one so rickety it has a certain "negative quality". Jumping off and hoping a gust of wind will carry you might work, but the bridge is certain death. Perdita, who lacks any self-doubt, just sees a serviceable stone across a ditch.
  • Sarcasm Failure: An upset Nanny Ogg is a pretty bad thing to see, even worse than an angry Nanny. But a Nanny Ogg who misses the chance to mock Agnes' Innocent Innuendo? Shit just got real.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The new Count uses his wealth to establish his own idea of order in his hometown.
  • Sham Supernatural: Inverted; Teenage vampires going through the equivalent of a goth phase do things like dressing in mundane clothes, insisting on being called "Susan" instead of "Lacrimosa", and drinking blood in bottles but claiming it's wine.
  • Shout-Out:
    "Thith ith water from the Holy Turtle Pond of Thquintth," said a voice above them. "Blessed by the Bithop himthelf in the Year of the Trout." There was a glugging noise and the sound of someone swallowing. "That wath a good year for beatitude," Igor went on. "But you don't have to take my word for it. Duck, you thuckerth!"
    • The old Count's name being Bela is an obvious one to Bela Lugosi, but his physical appearance, being "rather taller than most men, and wearing evening dress that might have been in style once upon a time. His hair was streaked with grey and brushed back over his ears in a way that gave the impression his head had been designed for aerodynamic efficiency" is a very good description of the other Trope Codifier for a Classical Movie Vampire.
    • Several aspects of the phoenixes seem to owe just a little bit to Marvel's Phoenix Force - the habit of blending in with those around it by taking a form/host that allows it to do so until it needs to be a Phoenix, golden Glowing Eyes of Doom when matters get serious, a distinct lack of tolerance for evil, sharing memories, manifesting a house sized bird of flame around a small mortal form in battle and last but not least, in hanging out with Granny, a preference for powerful women with Psychic Powers.
    • To go with the Christianity parallels, it's mentioned Omnians had their own version of Martin Luther nailing his theses to the door of a cathedral... only, since this is the Disc, Omnians keep doing it, and so no-one can hear anything over the sound of furious nailing going on (also, they have to book the doors in advance).
    • The line "There are as many types of vampires as there are strains of disease" is a riff on Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter saying there are as many species of vampire as there are beasts of prey.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The Nac Mac Feegle have one female and hundreds of males. Seeing as they're all six inches tall and blue...
  • Soul Jar: The heart-in-a-hidden-jar variation is mentioned to be used by magicians in Howondaland so they can't be killed.
  • Split Personality:
    • Agnes calls her second personality, which embodies the "bad girl" personality traits she would secretly like to have, "Perdita X Dream".
    • Also Mightily Oats, to a much lesser extent. He has an habit of calling his "two selves" Good Oats and Bad Oats, but he hasn't acknowledged them as separate personalities. Both his pious and skeptical sides agree with their names, but have different interpretations of who is who.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Agnes and Oats again, though in different ways.
  • Status Quo Is God: The people of Lancre don't mind having a king with big ideas for change... just as long as he doesn't expect them to actually listen to any of them. They like how things are as it is thank you. King Verence however manages to upset Nanny by telling her in no uncertain terms that change will come whether they likes it or not, and he intends for Lancre to be at the forefront of it. He's not exactly wrong about this, but the way he goes about it (inviting vampires) is absolutely terrible.
  • Stealth Pun: The nervous and neurotic Mightily Oats's outfit - a broad-brimmed hat and a black robe - sounds an awful lot like a preacher for the Quakers, and would make him a perfect mascot for Quaker Oats. (This might be coincidental, since the Quaker Oats Company is American.)
  • Super Loser: For all their powers and cunning, the vampires sometimes find that their state has its drawbacks, despite all their efforts to deny it.
    ...Vargo, a lank young man who actually became a vampire because he thought he'd meet interesting girls, or any girls at all, and had been told he looked good in black. And then he'd found that a vampire's interests always centre, sooner or later, on the next meal, and hitherto he'd never really thought of the neck as the most interesting organ a girl could have.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Mightily Oats must build a fire to save the life of a wounded and freezing Granny Weatherwax - but all he has for dry kindling is the Book of Om, his holy scripture. He makes a great light.
  • Toilet Humor: The good people of Lancre attack the vampire-occupied castle by blowing up the privy.
    "Presently, there came a short shower of soft rain. Well... certainly a shower."
  • Too Dumb to Fool: More like, Too Singleminded To Fool. Hodgesaargh reckons a bird is a bird is a bird, even if it's a phoenix, and goes hunting for it like he would any other. Similarly, the Count takes a look at him and sees a mind "crammed end to end with hawks," and doesn't influence him at all — partly because he can't, but also because he doesn't need to distract a guy that fixated.
  • Took a Level in Badass: With a little coaching from/pronounced irritation by Granny (using the same 'testing people all the time' method she sometimes shows to Magrat and Agnes, but perfects with Tiffany), Mightily Oats goes from a wishy-washy priest wracked with doubt and inner turmoil to chopping off the head of the evil Count Magpyr with a single axe blow.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The vampires suck Granny Weatherwax's blood, and they're the ones who come off worse.
  • Trojan Horse:
    • Agnes and Oats sneak into the castle by hiding in some empty coffins that are being delivered. Luckily, the peasants who carry them in are too befuddled from being fed upon to notice the difference in weight.
    • Granny defeats the vampires by putting part of herself in her blood when Nanny made them think that she put herself elsewhere.
  • Undressing the Unconscious: Waking up after being knocked unconscious in a fight with vampires, witch Agnes Nitt demands to know who put the poppy seeds down her bra and threatens that if it wasn't a woman who took her stockings off, somebody is going to be in real trouble.
  • Uninvited to the Party: Granny Weatherwax isn't invited to the christening of Verence and Magrat's daughter, which hurts her far more than she cares to let on. In fact she had been invited, but the gold-framed invitation was stolen by a magpie belonging to a vampire. The fact that the baby is named after her helps soften the blow once things are settled and the vampires banished.
  • Villain Ball:
    • Invoked by the old Count, who allows himself to die so that no one ever tries to render him Deader than Dead.
    • In effect, Granny enforces this trope on the other de Magpyrs when they ingest her Borrowed blood, and with it, her refusal to run when faced with a losing battle and tendency to bluff on a weak hand.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Magpyrs go through this, as their idea of what "modern vampirism" is about gets stripped away, leaving the bloodthirsty, power-hungry monsters at their core.
  • Violent Glaswegian: The Nac Mac Feegle.
  • We All Die Someday:
    Granny Weatherwax: Am I dyin'?
    Death: Yes.
    Granny Weatherwax: Will I die?
    Death: Yes.
    Granny Weatherwax: But from your point of view, everyone is dying and everyone will die, right?
    Death: Yes.
    Granny Weatherwax: So you aren't actually bein' a lot of help, strictly speakin'.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Oats speculates that his own Split Personality is the schismatic tendency of Omnianism taken to its logical extreme.
  • What You Are in the Dark: What Granny has to prove during her Battle in the Center of the Mind.
    Granny: I knows what you are, Esmerelda Weatherwax, and I ain't scared of you anymore.
  • White Sheep: Subverted. When vampires try to be goths, it looks like this, but all the shown examples are as evil as the rest - if somewhat perkier.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: After Esmerelda winds up with the middle name of "Note Spelling", the narration mentions that she got off easily. Due to Lancre attitudes, parents will often give their kids names that just sound good, leading to poor sods with names like Total Biscuit, and one young girl who very nearly got named Chlamydia, until her mum realised "Sally" was easier to spell.
  • Would Hurt a Child: It's the fact that the Magpyrs and their friends start taking blood from kids from the age of twelve that really pushes Agnes into eschewing any sort of mercy she might have had on any vampire.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child:
    • When the witches go after Granny to the "gnarly ground", an Empathic Environment, Nanny says that it's perfectly safe to take Magrat's baby daughter with them.
      Nanny: It's Granny's thoughts that are shaping this place. But she wouldn't raise a hand to a child. Couldn't do it. Hasn't got it in her.
    • Igor notes that, by contrast with the new Count, the Old Count Magpyr restricted himself to victims who were scantly clad attractive females over seventeen.
    • After Granny's blood has its effect on the vampires, she's certain that they won't hurt baby Esmerelda, because she wouldn't.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • In a Continuity Nod, the Count dismisses the previous enemies Granny dispatched as "inbred elves and gormless humans".
    • More traditionally, the first thing the Magpyrs do is beat Granny in psychic battle. This gets Subverted in the end, as the Count failed to notice that the witches never defeated the villains themselves, they just meddled so a Deuteragonist could get the cojones/chance/abilities to do so.
    • The first indication of how formidable the Nac Mac Feegle can be? Greebo is scared of them.
  • Wine Is Classy: Played with, where the human subculture of vampires are considered freaks because they file down their teeth, wear bright colors, stay up past noon, and drink... wine.
  • Your Vampires Suck: