Tag Archive: Terry Pratchett


Quotes From Terry Pratchett

PostalAll but the final quotation are from Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett.

“Steal thousands of dollars and you were either a government or a hero.” In contrast to stealing a few dollars. Moist’s thought as he is waiting to be hanged.

“No practical definition of freedom would be completely without the freedom to take the consequences.” Lord Vetinarri to Moist, including that the consequences may be death.

“Weapons made him nervous, which was why he’s never carried one.” Moist to himself, during his first escape, thinking over his situation.

What kind of man would put known criminal in charge of criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Aside from, say, the average voter.” Moist, thinking over his situation,

“Being an absolute ruler today was not as simple as people thought.” “A least, it was not simple if your ambitions included being an absolute ruler tomorrow.”

“Who will tell the tyrant that he is a tyrant? “Lord Vetinari, in a conversation with Drumknott.

“The R’iil’nai said there were certain rules of civilized behavior we had to follow.”—Bowling (yes, me.) The book is Homecoming, and the context is the Human, Cinda, telling Marna about the Confederation. “The R’il’nai said there were certain rules of civilized behavior we had to follow. Like not trying to take over a planet with another intelligent species on it.”

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Quotes from Terry Pratchett

Here are the contexts of the quotes tweeted from @sueannbowling between October 23 and October 29, 2014. All but the last are from Mort, by Terry Pratchet.

Mort cover“Lonely, dedicated drinkers always generate a mental field which insures complete privacy.” Especially when the lonely, dedicated drinker is Death.

“Death must be the loneliest creature in the Universe.” Mort realizes this when Death has disappeared.

“Funny thing about eyebrows. You never really noticed them until they’d gone.” Cutwell has been trying to create fireworks.

“DEATH IS WHOEVER DOES DEATH’S JOB.” Mort, as he finds he is taking on more and more of Death’s attributes, including the VOICE.

“When you step off a cliff, your life takes a very definite direction.” Mort, when he challenges Death for Keli’s life.

“YOU COULD HAVE HAD ETERNITY.” Death to Mort, after the battle is over. Mort’s reply? “I’ve been very lucky.”

“He may know himself better than you know him.” Sue Ann Bowling, Homecoming. Marna, speaking to Lai about Roi.

Quotes from Terry Pratchett

Here are the contexts of the quotes tweeted from @sueannbowling between September 18 and September 24, 2014. The first six are from Mort, by Terry Pratchett.

Mort cover“A stuffed alligator is absolutely standard equipment in any properly-run magical establishment.” Even in the establishment of Igneous Cutwell, as Mort observes.

“Rather than drown in uncertainty it was better to surf right over the top of it.” One of the things Mort has learned as an apprentice to Death.

“If there’s one thing that really annoys a god, it’s not knowing everything.” Why the gods have not loosed an avalanche on the abbey of the Listeners.

“History has a habit of changing the people who think they are changing it.” Mort thinks he has changed history by preventing an assassination, but history is tougher than that.

“People just don’t see what their mind says isn’t there.” Cutwell is speaking to Mort, who already knows that.

“Better to be a dead queen in your own castle than a live commoner somewhere else.” The Royal way of looking at things, as Cutwell attempts to explain Keli’s attitude to Mort.

“Empaths were necessary, but they were not suited to rule.” Sue Ann Bowling, Tourist Trap. Part of Zhaim’s grievance against Roi.

Quotes from Terry Pratchett

These are the contexts of the quotes tweeted from @sueannbowling between August 14 and August 20, 2014. The first 6 are by Terry Pratchett, from Mort.

Mort cover“Magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances come up nine times out of ten.” At least in Discworld!

“It’s the people the gods ignore who get the really rough deals.” The gods take an interest in tragic heroes, but sometimes it’s even worse to be ignored.

“The awesome splendour of the Universe is much easier to deal with if you think of it as a series of small chunks.” Mort, just apprenticed to Death, is trying to deal with cleaning the stable of Death’s horse.

“People don’t want to see what can’t possibly exist.” So they don’t.

“REALITY IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT IT SEEMS.” Death, explaining to Mort that those surrounding him are aristocrats, who are very good at not seeing what they don’t want to.

“PEOPLE CAN’T EXPECT TO HAVE ME RUNNING AROUND AFTER THEM ALL THE TIME.” Death, the first time he sends Mort out to attend deaths.

“What was wrong with her, that she had forgotten so thoroughly the dangers of her home?” Sue Ann Bowling, Homecoming. Marna’s thoughts just after she has almost been attacked by a butterfly cat, forgetting the predatory nature of these beasts.

Most of the Twitter quotes for the past week have been from Hogfather, a Terry Pratchett book that satirizes (among other things) the commercialization of Christmas.

Actually the Hogfather, like a good many of the things we connect with Christmas, is associated with the winter solstice, which is today. Here in Alaska, it’s 8:30 this evening; if you live on the East Coast it’s 12:30 tomorrow morning. The book has been made into a DVD, which I reviewed yesterday. Happy southern Solstice!

“Three million dollars could buy a lot of no questions.” Thoughts of Downey, the head of the Assassins’ Guild, when the auditors offer that amount to get rid of the Hogfather (the Discworld’s equivalent of Santa Claus.)

“Everything starts somewhere, though many physicists disagree.” The opening sentence of Hogfather, though unless this is a reference to the old steady-state universe theory, now pretty well debunked, I’m not sure why the physicists would disagree.

“Real children don’t go hoppity-skip unless they are on drugs.” Susan Sto Helit, rebuking Gawain for stepping on the cracks to bring the bears so she can go after them with the nursery poker.

“Education had been easy. Learning things had been harder.” Susan, considering her past life and education.

“Wizards wouldn’t be wizards if they couldn’t see a little way into the future.” In this particular case, the wizards of Unseen University are apprehensive, with good reason, about the hangover cure being mixed by Mustrum Ridcully in hopes of curing the oh god of hangovers.

“Clever isn’t the same as sensible.” Susan to the oh god of hangovers, after she has said that the wizards of some of the cleverest men in the world.

“Idiocy is not a communicable disease.” Ridcully’s comment on the idea that Hex (the Unseen University computer) might have caught something from the burser (who is more than usually unusual mentally.) In fact Hex is confused by something done by Death, who is filling in for the Hogfather.

“Freedom came even before survival.” Bowling, Tourist Trap. Roi is commenting on Timi’s mindset, and how it differs from his own.

Hogfather: DVD Review

“HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.”

Thus Death says to his granddaughter, Susan Sto Helit, and thus Sir Terence David John Pratchett says in the interview on this DVD. You have to start believing in the little lies, like the Hogfather (Santa Claus) and the Tooth Fairy, in order to believe the big lies, like truth and justice.

The Auditors don’t believe in this. Humans are untidy. Life is untidy. So they plan to get rid of the untidiness, first by getting rid of the Hogfather. To manage this, they engage the Guild of Assassins, who assign the task to one Teatime (Teh-ah-tim-eh, as he keeps correcting people’s pronunciation) who is a little strange, even for an assassin.

The DVD is remarkably close to the book, probably because Terry Pratchett was closely involved with making it. Since the plot involves not only the Hogfather and Teatime, but Death, his granddaughter Susan (especially Susan), the Tooth Fairy and the franchise she runs, the wizards of Unseen University, and an assortment of unlikely creatures such as the oh god of hangovers and the sock-eater, there tends to be a good deal of jumping between scenes.

There are complications, many (and much of the satire on the commercialization of Christmas) coming from Death’s taking over the Hogfather’s job. I particularly enjoy his filling in for the hired Hogfather at the Discworld equivalent of a department store. Then there is the idea that there has to be a certain amount of belief in the world, leading to any personification thought of coming into being once the children’s belief in the Hogfather wavers. But there are serious scenes, too, like the Hogfather, in boar shape, being chased by the Auditors as dogs. (Why not boarhounds, instead of Malinois? And how did the filmmakers manage the boars, either fleeing from the dogs or pulling the sleigh? Are they animated?)

If you like satire and like Pratchett, it’s definitely worth watching. It’s on my watch-every-Christmas list. And, as a challenge to the reader, Pratchett himself is in the movie. I had to check the cast list to find out whom he portrayed. Can you do better?