Terry Pratchett’s Discworld tour
One of the main “storytellers” of our time, Terry Pratchett is dead for several years, but his books continue to occupy high places in all sorts of ratings and win the hearts of new readers. Pratchett’s Discworld rightfully occupies a roughly equal place on the Olympus of science fiction along with Tolkien’s middle-Earth or JK Rowling’s world of wizards. But unlike the last two writers, Pratchett was not so linear in his work; the universe he created is truly different from anything that fans of science fiction have ever encountered in their lives.
Frankly, the chronology of Discworld novels is very confusing, and you certainly shouldn’t assume that the first book written will be an ideal starting point. In 1983, Pratchett wrote the first Discworld novel, the Color of magic. But at the time, he had no idea how large-scale his work would be after the next 30 years. It was a strange, magical, Discworld populated by wizards, dwarves, trolls, dragons, and warlike heroes. Like the ideas of ancient peoples about the world around them, the Discworld is comfortably located on the backs of four elephants, which, in turn, fit on the shell of a huge turtle.
If you think that picking up the first chronology of writing a novel about the Discworld, you will go on a long journey of 41 books, you are deeply mistaken. The fact is that these books are not inherently a series (a cycle or a Saga, as it is now fashionable to say), that is, the plot of the books does not have a linear character.
Wizard Rincewind and the birth of the world
Despite the fact that the first book “the Color of magic” and the subsequent “Mad star” open up the Discworld To the reader, these works serve, first of all, only as a prologue to more than a dozen other novels.
In his first works, Terry Pratchett talks about the social and geographical features of the World, introduces the reader to the first acting characters. All this he does in his exceptional and amazing style: without divisions into chapters, with a lot of unique expressions and sparkling humor. In books you can find references to ancient mythology, as well as classical works, so his work is something more than just fiction. Perhaps the word “family” more aptly describes all his work!
The first two books were written in the style of a comic parody of the popular Tolkien trilogy and the reader’s fascination with stories about wizards, dragons, and sword fights. Fans of the genre will probably see in the image of the wizard Rincewind “antiprototype” of Gandalf: Rincewind is a terribly inept magician and a real magnet for all sorts of failures. It moves steadily along its path through difficulties and other obstacles that, for the most part, it creates for itself.
It is worth noting that these two books are the only ones that require linear reading. In other novels, new characters appear, and each work is completely self-sufficient. Thus, you can choose absolutely any book and read it separately from all the others.
By their structure, Discworld novels can be grouped into separate sub-cycles: for example, sub-cycles of individual characters (Rincewind, Death, Witches, and so on). The chronological sequence of reading is also acceptable, but you will not notice the story linearity.
The magic of the
The invisible University (an educational institution in the Discworld that teaches the basics of magic and sorcery) plays a Central role in almost half of the books. Chaotic in its structure, the University is populated by wizards of different suits, and to move up the hierarchy, you need to kill your colleague. All this was before wizards came to the idea that the whole point and wisdom of magic is to know when not to use it. However, it is necessary to convince everyone around you that you have magic and can use it at any time necessary. Interestingly, Terry Pratchett himself never attended universities, however, it is obvious that he had his own idea of how everything lives and works inside.
But magic in the Discworld is not limited to the walls of the Unseen University! An equally prominent character after Rincewind in the Pratchett series of books is Esmeralda Weatherwax, the witch. Mother Weatherwax, as she is often called, embodies the complete opposite of what Rincewind is: she is strong, fearless, stubborn, proud, and extremely skilled in magic! Together with the third significant character is the McGrath of Chesnok — they are doing what is best obtained from real witches: to interfere in everything surrounding their business.
The image of witches is found in Pratchett’s many works, including “Masquerade” (1995) and “Witches abroad” (1991).
Death in the Discworld
Interestingly, at the time of writing the book “I will wear midnight” (2010), Terry Pratchett was ill much more seriously than all this was displayed in public. Fortunately, this was not his last book! Probably, the writer had a special attitude to death, in fact, this character looks special in the Flat World.
It is noteworthy that a strange creature of skeletal appearance, wrapped in a hood on a white horse, has acquired almost the most humanoid face. Works about Death, mostly, tell about how he (Yes, it is he; Death is a male being in Pratchett’s novels) tries to understand himself, in his experiences and his personification of a living being, which often leads to disastrous consequences.
“Mor, the disciple of Death” (1987) tells about the mistake that Death makes when deciding to take a disciple to help him. This is another example of a book in the series where reading about the Discworld can start with a randomly selected work.
Struggle for justice
Samuel Vimes is another character in this series of books, which focuses on the city guard of Ankh-Morpork — the largest settlement in the Discworld. Samuel is a drunken sentinel who appears in the book Sentinel! The guard” (1989). I think it is not difficult to guess that this character appears in various works and occupies a fairly prominent position in the entire cycle of books.
In total, Pratchett devoted 10 books to the theme of the city guard, which addresses issues such as Nazism, racism, bigotry and genocide. As is often the case with Terry Pratchett, such serious topics are veiled under layers of irony and humor. However, the hidden meaning or subtext, if you like, is exactly what it is read for all over the world.
Many of Pratchett’s works are devoted to issues of gods and religion, social and national problems, but at the same time, we should not forget that many books, individually and as part of entire cycles, tell about the process of industrialization of the Discworld. Some books can be considered independent publications, and some of them contain familiar characters. Pratchett as a person took place during a period of special influence of technology on society, and therefore he paid great attention to how technology came to the Discworld.
Moving pictures is a 1990 book that brings readers back to the walls of an Unseen University. But this time the story focuses entirely on the invention of films. Of course, the creation of cinema in the magic world clearly hints at the period of early Hollywood.
Much later, in 2000, a book called “Pravda” was published, in which there is a place for the first Newspapers in the Discworld, and then for freedom of speech, “controlled” by the first dictator. In this work, Pratchett draws on his own journalistic experience, and also mentions some of the commandments of a real journalist.
A series of books dedicated to the character of moist von Lipwig revolves around the postal theme. This character was literally saved from the hands of death thanks to the patrician, and then elevated to a position in the postal service — just at this time in the Discworld began to develop a modern telecommunications network. This, in particular, is discussed in the book “Keep the mark!”In 2004 the publishing house.
Moist appears for the second time in Make money (2007), where he was assigned to restore the banking system. His actions in the work strangely coincide with the world crisis, but this is not the end of his adventures. In 2013, another book was published — ” Give a couple!”- the period of development of railway traffic in the Flat world.
Discworld has long been something more than a fictional location for a series of science fiction books. There are whole maps and guides to this world, in addition, even small films were made about this magical land. The most remarkable thing about all these stories is that you can get acquainted with them literally from the first book you come across. If you like humor, irony, sometimes turning into satire, and an original story, you will probably become a big fan of the Discworld and the work of Terry Pratchett in General.