Terry Pratchett, the author for our times

io9 has compiled 10 most appropriate Pratchett quotes for those of us feeling a bit unhappy right now. Here’s two I really like..

Commander Vimes didn’t like the phrase “The innocent have nothing to fear,” believing the innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like “The innocent have nothing to fear.”

There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty.

The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: ‘What’s up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don’t think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! And at the other end of the bar the world is full of the other type of person, who has a broken glass, or a glass that has been carefully knocked over (usually by one of the people calling for a larger glass), or who had no glass at all, because they were at the back of the crowd and had failed to catch the barman’s eye.

They left out the one I’m feeling right now.

If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn’t as cynical as real life.

I bet some of you have a favorite Pratchett quote. Share.


  1. Czech American says

    “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.”
    — Lily Tomlin

  2. cmotdibbler says

    Terry Pratchett isn’t my god but he is certainly my hero.

    Personal ain’t the same as important
    – Granny Weatherwax

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    io9 quoted Prtchett:
    >blockquote>4) Shoot the dictator and prevent the war? But the dictator is merely the tip of the whole festering boil of social pus from which dictators emerge; shoot one, and there’ll be another one along in a minute. Shoot him too? Why not shoot everyone and invade Poland? In fifty years’, thirty years’, ten years’ time the world will be very nearly back on its old course. History always has a great weight of inertia. – Lords and Ladies

    too many “kill Hitler” advocates when discussing the current influx of time travel stories. The problem wasn’t Hitler himself as much as the whole infrastructure that produced, supported and enabled him to rise.
    Regardless of Godwin, the exact same thing applies to 2016 and Trump. If DJT didn’t specifically exist there is still a plethora of other despicables who would still be here in substitution.
    Trump is an awful person, yet the real disgust is that this awful person was elected to be our leader; totally disregarding the rock solid evidence of his awful behavior.
    Even if Trump magically vanished from existence, we’d be left with a plethora of awfuls still in power.
    We are screwed. Even without Trump

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 3:
    borked the html tags. crap. I borked it up. apologies. the fix is left as an exercise for the reader, should be pretty obvious where the blockquote ends.

  5. archangelospumoni says

    Drumpfh voter:

    “The glass is fake. The Pointy Headed Mainstream Librul Meedya is feeding us fake news about the glass.”

  6. ravenred says

    “Sergeant Colon had had a broad education. He’d been to the School of My Dad Always Said, the College of It Stands to Reason, and was now a post-graduate student at the University of What Some Bloke In the Pub Told Me.”

    Any connection to any voting population anywhere in the world is entirely coincidental.

  7. 24fps says

    “It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.”

  8. jerthebarbarian says

    Pretty much anything from Jingo. I think it was one of the few books that really understood the whole mentality of the Iraq War and anytime I felt that we as a people were being uniquely stupid I would re-read it to remind myself “no, not so unique really” (Being published in ’97 its pretty depressing that it predicts the attitude of the people towards the war in Iraq by basically being a commentary on the previous war in Iraq).

  9. jmosthaf says

    “Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time”
    -Terry Pratchett “Hogfather”

  10. Søren says

    “Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact.”

    – Moving pictures

  11. says

    This is not particular to the current situation, but it’s still my favourite of all:

    The Samuel Vimes Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness

    The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

    Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

    But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

    This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.

    I like it because it is an apt, if simplified analysis of what’s actually supported by data, for example that poor people spend more money for food because they can’t buy in bulk, don’t have time to prepare, can’t drive by car to the Megamart to buy in bulk and so on.

    But more than that, the quote became unusually real for me when one of the canditates for mayor in our town (who won) actually made the same point, only in the most cynical and aloof way possible.

    He was a staunchly conservative asshole from the CDU, who wanted to and has demolished social housing, but was popular with the Green voters (for the Germans: that was in BaWue, ’nuff said) because he was “ecofriendly” and had been a manager with a popular shopping catalogue (Manufactum, which sells “handcrafted”, oldtimey shit to people with too much money). He had written a book about the “Manufactum philosophy”, in which he said: if you buy cheap shoes (i.e. non-Manufactum handlicked leather), they won’t last as long, and you’ll spend more money in the end than if you buy expensive ones, so it’s basically your fault for not buying Manufactum.

    Not only did he completely ignore the reasons for people settling for cheap shoes, but his example or “cheap” was a shoe for 150 €, while the expensive one was 400 €. Asshole.

  12. davidc1 says

    Off topic ,i have started commenting on the Guardian and the Independent comments section .Can i share this exchange with you all
    No fartface ,gop (gods own party) ,murdoch fox news big companies that pollute the land and sea are just a few of the problems .

    ReplyDeleteShare2 replies

    17 minutes ago
    Obama true globalist …
    Oh no one of those conservationists…. I bet you dress funny

    ReplyShare1 reply

    Less than a minute ago
    Well i do stand on my head to put my trousers on if that what you mean .Jeans ,tee shirts and boots .
    I bet you are one of those people who think that we can go on treating our world like an all you can eat buffet.

  13. redweasel says

    ..which just shows that the human brain is ill-adapted for thinking and was probably designed for cooling the blood-

  14. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    Not a quote but I ♥ that Nac Mac Feegle swords glow blue in the presence of lawyers.

  15. davidc1 says

    I mst have a crap memory ,i only started reading the Discworld novels a few years ago i have read all of them and of all the quotes above the only one i can remember is the Commander Vimes one .
    I like how Trolls count ,
    One ,two ,many ,lots .
    PS, the guy i am in contact with on the Independent reckons he is responsible for the Georgia Guide stones .
    Going to ask him if he got planning permission .

  16. says

    “Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.”

    Granny Weatherwax quoted by Tiffany Aching, A Hat Full of Sky.

    The original statement was from Carpe Jugulum, but I’m too lazy to go find it right now.

  17. bashoan says

    My favorite quote by Pratchett is
    “He was the sort of person who stood on mountaintops during thunderstorms in wet copper armour shouting ‘All the Gods are bastards.'”
    quickly followed by
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. ”
    My two favorite quotes by Pratchett must be –

    oh damn…

  18. cartomancer says

    Mustrum Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association. His mental approach to it could be visualised as a sort of business flowchart with, at the top, a circle entitled “Me, who does the telling” and, connected below it by a line, a large circle entitled “Everyone else”.

  19. says


    “And that’s what your holy men discuss, is it?’
    ‘Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example.’
    ‘And what do they think? Against it, are they?’
    ‘It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of grey.’
    ‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
    ‘It’s a lot more complicated than that-‘
    ‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
    ‘Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes-‘
    ‘But they starts with thinking about people as things. . .’ “

  20. devnll says

    “Or, to put it another way, the existence of a badly put-together watch proved the existence of a blind watchmaker.”
    ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

    “Life in this world,” he said, “is, as it were, a sojourn in a cave. What can we know of reality? For all we see of the true nature of existence is, shall we say, no more than bewildering and amusing shadows cast upon the inner wall of the cave by the unseen blinding light of absolute truth, from which we may or may not deduce some glimmer of veracity, and we as troglodyte seekers of wisdom can only lift our voices to the unseen and say, humbly, ‘Go on, do Deformed Rabbit . . . it’s my favorite.’ ”
    ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

    “His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools — the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans — and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, ‘You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink.”
    ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

  21. MPG says

    There’s about a dozen you could pick from Going Postal, particularly those related to corrupt businessman Reacher Gilt, who was clearly based on a certain thin-skinned horror-show (Gilt’s office is even in a building called “Tump Tower”, for goodness sake). Re-reading it today, some passages stand out as eerily prophetic.

    [Reacher Gilt] surveyed the faces of men who now knew that they were riding a tiger. It had been a good ride up until a week or so ago. It wasn’t a case of not being able to get off. They could get off. That was not the problem. The problem was that the tiger knew where they lived.

    And then it occurred to one or two of the board that the jovial ‘my friends’ in the mouth of Reacher Gilt, so generous with his invitations, his little tips, his advice and his champagne, was beginning, in its harmonics and overtones, to sound just like the word ‘pal’ in the mouth of a man in an alley who was offering cosmetic surgery with a broken bottle in exchange for not being given any money. On the other hand, they’d been safe so far; maybe it was worth following the tiger to the kill. Better to follow at the beast’s heel than be its prey…

  22. Petal to the Medal says

    Re: glass half full/empty. I’ve been called a glass-half-empty person, but I’m not. I look at the glass & say something like “That looks like about an 8-ounce glass with about 4 ounces of liquid in it.

  23. Siobhan says

    “Build a man a fire, and you’ll warm him for a day. Set a man on fire, and you’ll warm him for the rest of his life.”

  24. laurian says

    Well, you all condone smuggling when the right people are doing it because they’re chums, and when they aren’t they’re heavily fined. You apply one law for the poor and none for the rich, my dear, because the poor are such a nuisance. -Snuff

  25. quotetheunquote says

    From Hogfather, Death speaking with Susan

    “All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”


    “Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—”


    “So we can believe the big ones?”


    “They’re not the same at all!”


    RE: Big scary big all-caps; that’s just the way Death talks.

  26. Sakura No Seirei, Knight of the Order of the Glittry Hoo Ha says

    @Anne, Cranky Cat Lady. The first time I read that line it was like an explosion in my mind, It has been a guide to me ever since.

    My favourite quotes:

    “Men marched away, Vimes. And men marched back. How glorious the battles would have been that they never had to fight!”
    ― Jingo

    “And Tiffany knew that if a witch started thinking of anyone as “just” anything, that would be the first step on a well-worn path that could lead to, oh, to poisoned apples, spinning wheels, and a too-small stove… and to pain, and terror, and horror and the darkness.”
    ― The Shepherd’s Crown

    “On the Kite, the situation was being ‘workshopped’. This is the means by which people who don’t know anything get together to pool their ignorance.”
    ― The Last Hero

    “What a place! What a situation! What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.”
    ― Going Postal (oh so apt)

    “Welcome to fear, Moist said to himself. It’s hope, turned inside out.”
    ― Going Postal

    “The smug mask of virtue triumphant could be almost as horrible as the face of wickedness revealed.”
    ― Carpe Jugulum

    “You couldn’t say ‘I had orders.’ You couldn’t say ‘It’s not fair.’ No one was listening. There were no Words. You owned yourself. […] Not ‘Thou Shalt Not’. Say ‘I Will Not’.”
    ― Feet of Clay

    “We’re really good at it, Teppic thought. Mere animals couldn’t possibly manage to act like this. You need to be a human being to be really stupid.”
    ― Pyramids

    “Death knew that to tinker with the fate of one individual could destroy the whole world. He knew this. the knowledge was built into him.
    TO BILL DOOR, he realised, it was so much horse elbows.
    OH, DAMN, he said.
    And walked into the fire.”
    ― Reaper Man

    “Bill Door had never paid a great deal of attention to the names and faces of people, beyond that necessary for business. Corn stretched over the hillside; it was made up of individual stalks, and to the eye of one stalk another stalk might be quite an impressive stalk, with a dozen amusing and distinctive little mannerisms that set it apart from all other stalks, But to the reaper man, all stalks start off as. . .just stalks.
    Now he was beginning to recognise the little differences.”
    ― Reaper Man

    “RUINED? MY HARVEST? He straightened up. BUGGER THAT.”
    ― Reaper Man

    The further you run, the closer you get.
    The new Death stepped unhurriedly out of the shadows.
    You should know that, it added.
    Bill Door straightened up.
    We will enjoy this.
    The new Death advanced. Bill Door backed away.
    Yes. The taking of one Death is the same as achieving the end of a billion lesser lives.
    (. . .)
    The new Death raised his cowl.
    There was no face there. There was note even a skull. Smoke curled formlessly between the robe and a golden crown.
    Bill Door raised himself on his elbows.
    A CROWN? his voice shook with rage. I NEVER WORE A CROWN!
    You never wanted to rule
    (. . .)
    . . .Bill Door was already rising and unfolding like the wrath of kings. he reached behind him, growling, living on loaned time, and his hands closed around the harvest scythe.
    The crowned Death saw it coming and raised its own weapon but there was very possibly nothing in the world that would stop the worn blade as it snarled through the air, rage and vengeance giving it an edge beyond any definition of sharpness. It passed through the metal without slowing.
    NO CROWN, said Bill Door, looking directly into the smoke. NO CROWN. ONLY THE HARVEST.”
    ― Reaper Man

    Azrael’s expression did not change.
    The dark, sad face filled the sky.
    Death took a step backwards.
    It was impossible to read expression in Azrael’s features.
    Death glanced sideways at the servants.
    ― Reaper Man

    “On nights such as this, evil deeds are done. And good deeds, of course. But mostly evil, on the whole.”
    ― Wyrd Sisters

    “‘Mrs Vitoller,’ she said eventually, ‘may I make so bold as to ask if your union has been blessed with fruit?’
    The couple looked blank.
    ‘She means― ‘ Nanny Ogg began.
    ‘No, I see,’ said Mrs Vitoller, quietly. ‘No, We had a little girl once.’
    A small cloud hung over the table. For a second or two Vitoller looked merely human-sized, and much older.”
    ― Wyrd Sisters.

    “Granny stared at him. She hadn’t faced anything like this before. The man was clearly mad, but at the heart of his madness was a dreadful cold sanity, a core of pure interstellar ice in the centre of the furnace. She’d thought him weak under a thin shell of strength, but it went a lot further than that. Somewhere deep inside his mind, somewhere beyond the event horizon of rationality, the sheer pressure of insanity had hammered his madness into something harder than diamond.”
    ― Wyrd Sisters.

    “‘I’ll bloody well show him what a witch could do”‘ she yelled.
    ‘Yes, yes, very good, very good,’ said Nanny. ‘ Only perhaps not just now and not just like this, eh?’
    ‘Wyrd sisters, indeed!’ Granny yelled/ ‘I’ll make his―’
    ‘Hold her a minute, Magrat,’ said Nanny Ogg, and rolled up her sleeve.
    ‘It can be like this with the highly-trained ones,’ she said, and brought her palm round in a slap that lifted both witches off their feet. On such a flat, final note, the universe might have ended.”
    ― Wyrd Sisters.

    “Granny never had much time for words. They were as insubstantial. Now she wished that she had found the time. Words were insubstantial. There were as soft as water, but they were also as powerful as water and now they were rushing over the audience, eroding the levees of veracity, and carrying away the past.’
    ― Wyrd Sisters.

    “The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.”
    ― Lords and Ladies

    “‘Um, it’s Granny Weatherwax,’ said Perdita. ‘Um. She’s a witch, um …’
    ‘What level?’ said Diamanda.
    (. . . )
    ‘Levels, eh?’ she said. ‘Well, I suppose I’m level one.’
    ‘Just starting?’ said Diamanda.
    (. . .)
    ‘Oh, yes,’ said Granny, quietly. ‘Just starting. Every day, just starting.’”
    ― Lords and Ladies

    “The gods knew that the man deserved it. . .
    . . .but young Sam was watching him, across thirty years.
    When we break down, it all breaks down. That’s just how it works, . .When you break it, it all breaks down until there’s nothing unbroken. It starts here and now.”
    ― Night Watch

    “Coppers liked to say that people shouldn’t take the law into their own hands, and they thought they knew what they meant. They were thinking about the normal times, and men who went round to sort out a neighbour with a club because his dog had crapped once too often on their doorstop. But at times like this, who did the law belong to? If it shouldn’t be in the hands of the people, where the hell should it be? People who knew better? Then you got Winder and his pals, and how good was that?
    ― Night Watch

  27. Jeroen Metselaar says

    “The secret is not to dream,” she whispered. “The secret is to wake up. Waking up is harder. I have woken up and I am real. I know where I come from and I know where I’m going. You cannot fool me any more. Or touch me. Or anything that is mine.” – Wee Free Men

  28. davidc1 says

    Just remembered ,Cut my own throat Dibbler was renamed Cut my own hand off in one novel .

  29. weatherwax says

    Yen Buddhism: One of the monastic sects from Enlightenment country up towards the Hub, whose main theological argument is that excess money and valuables are a drain on one’s spiritual welfare and an active impediment on achieving dharma and oneness with the universe. Therefore, the monks make the world the selfless offer that they will undertake, at the risk of their own union with the godhood, to take away this impediment to other people achieving consciousness and the opening of the Third Eye. They accept the spiritual tarnish that comes with being one of the richest religious sects on the Disc so that you don’t have to.

    (Stolen from Pratchett Wiki ’cause I can’t remember which book it was originally in)

  30. weatherwax says

    “Most witches don’t believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don’t believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman.”

    Witches Abroad

  31. Jack says

    Funny, I’d just been looking at some of these.

    This is my favourite at the moment, from Night Watch:

    “There were plotters, there was no doubt about it. Some had been ordinary people who’d had enough. Some were young people with no money who objected to the fact that the world was run by old people who were rich. Some were in it to get girls. And some had been idiots as mad as Swing, with a view of the world just as rigid and unreal, who were on the side of what they called ‘the people’. Vimes had spent his life on the streets, and had met decent men and fools and people who’d steal a penny from a blind beggar and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he’d never met The People.

    People on the side of The People always ended up disappointed, in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn’t that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.
    As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn’t measure up. What would run through the streets soon enough wouldn’t be a revolution or a riot. It’d be people who were frightened and panicking. It was what happened when the machinery of city life faltered, the wheels stopped turning and all the little rules broke down. And when that happened, humans were worse than sheep. Sheep just ran; they didn’t try to bite the sheep next to them.”

  32. Alverant says

    I liked the next part of the quote.
    Humans need to believe in things that aren’t true, how else will they become.


    What I like about it is how the “they” is ambiguous. Does it mean that humans need to believe in things that aren’t true to become human or that if humans believe in things that aren’t true they will become true or both? We believe in justice and mercy so it becomes real for us and by doing so it makes us human.

  33. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    It always embarrassed Samuel Vimes when civilians tried to speak to him in what they thought was “policeman”. If it came to that, he hated thinking of them as civilians. What was a policeman, if not a civilian with a uniform and a badge? But they tended to use the term these days as a way of describing people who were not policemen. It was a dangerous habit: once policemen stopped being civilians the only other thing they could be was soldiers.

    — Snuff, Terry Pratchett

  34. weatherwax says

    I was trying find one from Reaper Man, and stumbled across this one. it seems appropriate.

    “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…”
    Reaper Man

  35. weatherwax says

    “Something wonderful, if you look the long view, was about to happen. If you took the short or medium view, something horrible was about to happen.”
    Reaper Man

  36. says

    “She was a witch, after all. Scratch any witch and … well, you’d be facing a witch you’d just scratched.” — “The Sea and Little Fishes”

    For decades, as I read my Pratchett books, I’d note in the back flyleaf pointers to great quotations. Then tumblr came along, with its queuing / post scheduling option. That enabled me to load up all those quotes and dispense them a day at a time.

    You can find the results here: http://justjohn-jj.tumblr.com/tagged/Terry-Pratchett

  37. says

    “I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged on to a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.”
    – Lord Vetinari in Unseen Academicals

  38. jo1storm says

    “Thoughts peeled back and vanished in the gale. No more talking, no
    more wondering, no more seeing the world as something out there… layers of his mind streamed past as the blast
    stripped away everything that he’d thought of as me, leaving only the brain of a cat. A clever cat, but still… just a cat.
    Nothing but a cat. All the way back to the forest and the cave, the fang and the claw…
    Just a cat.
    And you can always trust a cat to be a cat.
    The cat blinked. It was bewildered and angry. Its ears went flat. Its eyes flashed green.
    It couldn’t think. It didn’t think. It was instinct that moved it now, something that operated right down at the level of
    its roaring blood.
    It was a cat and there was a twitching squeaky thing and what cats do to twitching squeaking things is this: they
    The Amazing Maurice and his educated rodents

    And another one, for the balance of things.

    “Lightning fried the evening sky, turning it purple and
    Above the little hollow in the cliff, where the tribe
    clustered and flinched, a sleek black shadow moved like
    an extension of the night. It wasn’t hurrying. Dinner
    wasn’t going anywhere. When the lightning
    faded its eyes gleamed for a while.
    Something grabbed its tail. It spun around, snarling, and
    a fist extended on the end of a very long arm hit it right
    between the eyes, lifting it off the ledge.
    It landed heavily on the ground, jerked for a moment,
    and lay still.
    The ape horde scattered around the rocks, screaming,
    and then stopped to look back.
    The big cat didn’t move.
    Another bolt of lighting hit the ground nearby, and a
    dead tree exploded into flame. Against the violet corona
    of the storm, red in the light of the burning tree, a huge
    figure stood holding a large stone in the crook of each
    As Rincewind said, it was a vision you were unlikely to

    The Science of Discworld I

  39. Lofty says

    “As a witch, Tiffany possesses First Sight, the ability to see ‘what is really there’ “

  40. Alex the Pretty Good says

    My favourite quote was already mentioned upthread: the Vimes “boots” theory of socio-economics.

    The most painfully relevant one (especially the last few years) is “A lie will be halfway around the world before the truth has gotten its boots on.” – The Truth

    And in the just fun for the heck of it category:
    “School Rule No.16 : No boy is to keep a crocodile in his room.
    School Rule No.16a : No boy is to keep an alligator or any large amphibious reptile in his room.
    School Rule No.16b : No boy, we wish to make it clear, is to keep any kind of monitor, goanna or giant chameleon in his room.
    School Rule No.16c : Nor in the cellar.
    School Rule No.16d : Nor in a cage on the roof.
    School Rule No.16e : No boy is to own, rent, lease or hire any kind of lizard, amphibian or any species of creature broadly resembling the aforesaid (dead or alive) in his room, or anywhere else on, in, above or under Guild premises, or in any dimension occassionally congruent with this one, nor is any boy allowed to keep an alligator (or similar) costume, or posses a humourous inflatable alligator (or similar) that may be dangled on the end of a string in front of the window of the study below. Pictures of crocadilians and related creatures of a size normally expected in a work of natural history are acceptable. Newts may be kept for the purposes of nature study.
    School Rule No.16f : Boys are forbidden to keep a newt of a length greater than five (5) inches at full growth. Despite significant differences apparently visible to the educated eye, the Sumtri Fire Newt is defined as a crocodilian under school rules, in so far as it is capable of eating a full grown master.
    School Rule No.16g : None of the above rules 16-16f applies to pupils who are worshippers of Offler the Crocodile God.
    School Rule No.16h : No boy is to convert to Offlerism without permission in writing from the Head Master.
    School Rule No.16i : Any boy pretending to Offlerism may, at the whim of the Head Master, be subjected to twenty complicated questions on its tenets and beliefs. Inaccuracy in this area will result in expulsion. Religion is not a joking matter.
    School Rule No.16j : The Guild of Assassin and its associated teaching establishment fully accept that to the worshipers of Nog-Humpy the custard God, religion is a joking matter.” – Assassin’s Guild and Yearbook Diary 2000

  41. says

    “Who’re you?”
    “P’Tang-P’Tang, me.”
    “You’re a god?”
    “Yeah? How many worshippers have you got?”
    The newt looked at him hopefully, and added, “Is that lots? Can’t count.”
    It pointed at rather crudely-molded figure on the beach in Omnia and said, “but got a stake!”
    Om looked at the figure of the little fisherman.
    “When he dies, you’ll have fifty worshippers,” he said.
    “That more or less than fifty-one?”
    “A lot less.”
    “No one tell me that.”
    There were several dozen gods watching the beach. Om vaguely remembered the Ephebian statues. There was the goddess with the badly carved owl. Yes.
    Om rubbed his head. This wasn’t god-like thinking. It seemed simpler when you were up here. It was all a game. You forgot that it wasn’t a game down there. People died. Bits got chopped off. We’re like eagles up here, he thought. Sometimes we show a tortoise how to fly.
    Then we let go.
    He said, to the occult world in general, “There’s people going to die down there.”
    A Tsortean God of the Sun did not even bother to look round.
    “That’s what they’re for,” he said. In his hand he held a dice box that looked very much like a human skull with rubies in the eye-sockets.
    “Ah, yes,” said Om. “I forgot that, for a moment.” He looked at the skull, and then turned to the little Goddess of Plenty.
    “What’s this, love? A cornucopia? Can I have a look? Thanks.”
    Om emptied some of the fruit out. Then he nudged the Newt God.
    “If I was you, friend, I’d find something long and hefty,” he said.
    “Is one less than fifty-one?” said P’Tang-P’Tang.
    “It’s the same,” said Om, firmly. He eyed the back of the Tsortean God’s head.
    “But you have thousands,” said the Newt God. “You fight for thousands.”
    Om rubbed his forehead. I spent too long down there, he thought. I can’t stop thinking at ground level.
    “I think,” he said, “I think, if you want thousands, you have to fight for one.”
         — from Small Gods

    Right now, there were carts on the way that’d find those gates closed to them. Yet, no matter what the politics, eggs hatch, and milk sours, and herds of driven animals need penning and watering, and where was that going to happen? Would the military sort it out? Well, would they? While the carts rumbled up, and then were hemmed in by the carts behind, and the pigs escaped, and the cattle herds wandered off?
    Was anyone important thinking about this? Suddenly the machine was wobbling, but Winder and his cronies didn’t think about the machine, they thought about money. Meat and drink came from servants. They happened.
    Vetinari, Vimes realized, thought about this sort of thing all the time. The Ankh-Morpork back home was twice as big and four times as vulnerable. He wouldn’t have let something like this happen. Little wheels must spin so that the machine can turn, he’d say.
         — from Night Watch

    It was regrettable how many rulers of the city had been inhumed by the men in black because they didn’t recognize a chance when they saw it, didn’t know when they’d gone too far, didn’t care that they’d made too many enemies, didn’t read the signs, didn’t know when to walk away after embezzling a moderate and acceptable amount of cash. They didn’t recognize that the machine had stopped, that the world was ripe for change, that it was time, in fact, to spend more time with their family in case they ended up spending it with their ancestors.
         — from Night Watch

    ‘I shall smite you with lightning!’ squeaked Nuggan, raising his hands to protect himself.
    ‘You can’t! Not here! You can only do that stuff back in the world! All you an do here is bluff and illusion! And bullying! That’s what prayers are… it’s frightened people trying to make friends with the bully! All those temples were built and… and you’re nothing but a little—’
        — from The Last Hero

    ‘I prohibit the practice of panupunitoplasty,’ said Sweevo.
    ‘What’th that?’
    ‘Search me, but it’s got them worried.’
         — from The Last Hero

  42. says

    From Thief of Time,

    “Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”

    And, when I realized that Susan Sto-Helit is me:

    “Don’t you *ever* let go?”
    “I haven’t yet.”
    “I suppose… because in this world, after everyone panics, there’s always got to be someone to tip the wee out of the shoe.”

    I guess it’s time to reread me some Discworld. After all, it’s been months.

  43. forgotmygingko says

    “The intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it.”

  44. Pierce R. Butler says

    Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages. – Wyrd Sisters

    People needed to believe in gods, if only because it was so hard to believe in people. – Pyramids

    The Supreme Grand Master smiled in the depths of his robe. It was amazing, this mystic business. You tell them a lie, and then when you don’t need it any more you tell them another lie and tell them they’re progressing along the road to wisdom. Then instead of laughing they follow you even more, hoping that at the heart of all the lies they’ll find the truth. And bit by bit they accept the unacceptable. Amazing. – Guards! Guards!

    ‘…why is it that the heathens and the barbarians seem to have the best places to go when they die?’ ‘A bit of a poser, that,’ agreed the mate. ‘I s’pose that it makes up for ’em… enjoying themselves all the time when they’re alive, too?’ – Small Gods

    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head. – Hogfather

  45. says

    @#51, forgotmygingko

    “The intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it.”

    That one has always bugged me, because it implies that adding more people to a crowd will make the crowd smarter, which is the exact opposite of what that part of that book is implying. According to this idea, if you got a million people together, the aggregate would be vastly smarter than the average individual, which is highly unlikely.

  46. martha says

    I don’t have the book handy right now, but the bit in Small Gods where Brutha yells at the ascendant god Om, explaining exactly what he will and will not be allowed to do in the future. I wish more believers would decide to be the boss of their gods.

  47. Snoof says

    martha @ 54

    Is this the one?

    [Discussing what the new commandments of the Prophet Brutha should be.]
    “Not killing people. We could do with one like that,” said someone else.
    “It’d be a good start,” said Urn.
    They looked at the Chosen One. He shook himself free of their grip and stood alone, swaying a little.
    “No-oo,” said Brutha. “No. I thought like that once, but it wouldn’t. Not really.”
    Now, he said. Only now. Just one point in history. Not tomorrow, not next month, it’ll always be too late unless it’s now.
    They stared at him.
    “Come on,” said Simony. “What’s wrong with it? You can’t argue with it.”
    “It’s hard to explain,” said Brutha. “But I think it’s got something to do with how people should behave. I think… you should do things because they’re right. Not because gods say so. They might say something different another time.”
    VII. I Like One About Not Killing, said Om, from far above.
    VIII. It’s got a good Ring To It. Hurry Up, I’ve Got Some Smiting To Do.
    “You see?” said Brutha. “No. No smiting. No commandments unless you obey them too.”
    Om thumped on the roof of the Temple.
    IX. You Order Me? Here? NOW? ME?
    “No. I ask.”
    X. That’s Worse Than Ordering!
    “Everything works both ways.”

    (Apologies for any errors in transcription, I’m copying from a paperback which is falling apart. The forces of entropy shall not be denied, it seems.)

  48. grasshopper says

    I stoled this from http://discworld.starturtle.net/lpc/links/cabbage/recipies/boiledc.html
    Everybody likes food, and this is a great recipe.

    Ankh Morpork boiled cabbage

    This recipe is a favourite of all Ankh Morporkians, living as they do in the middle of the biggest cabbage growing district of Discworld.



    Put the water in a pot and boil over a fire until it is boiling hot. Make sure that all the water does not evaporate, it will be needed for the next step.

    Take the cabbage, rip the outside leaves off and feed them to the dog or the snails. Rip off a few of the succulent leaves from the inside of the cabbage. Wash the newly ripped leaves in some water (be sure not to use the boiling water at this point). Place the washed and ripped leaved into the boiling water. Boil for as many hours as is needed to completely remove all taste from the cabbage. Salt to taste.

    Since reading “The Colour Of Magic” all those years ago, I have been trying to get myself a piece of Luggage, but as Henry Crun might say “You can’t get the sapient pear-wood, you know.”

  49. whirlwitch says

    Any fool could be a witch with a runic knife, but it takes skill to be one with an apple-corer. – Witches Abroad

    Look, just because a woman’s got no teeth doesn’t mean she’s wise. It might just mean she’s been stupid for a very long time. – Wintersmith

  50. =8)-DX says

    I’m out of actual DW quotes (having read them all multiple times but a decade ago), but always remember these lines from the first pc game:

    Bursar:”Young man a piece of advice: Always expect the unexpected!”
    Rincewind:”How can I expect it when it’s unexpected?”
    Bursar:”Oh, very well then, my advice is: Always expect, the expected!”

  51. says

    Everyone else has dropped in a lot of my favourites, but one which hasn’t been mentioned is this one from “Guards! Guards!”

    The Patrician steepled his hands and looked at Vimes over the top of them.

    ‘Let me give you some advice, Captain,’ he said. ‘It may help you make some sense of the world. I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people. You’re wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.’

    And from “Men At Arms

    There were such things as dwarf gods. Dwarfs were not a naturally religious species, but in a world where pit props could crack without warning and pockets of fire damp could suddenly explode they’d seen the need for gods as the sort of supernatural equivalent of a hard hat. Besides, when you hit your thumb with an eight-pound hammer it’s nice to be able to blaspheme. It takes a very special and strong-minded kind of atheist to jump up and down with their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout, ‘Oh, random-fluctuations-in-the-space-time-continuum!’ or ‘Aaargh, primitive-and-outmoded-concept on a crutch!’.

    (Can’t think why I’d think that one might be appreciated here…)

  52. vytautasjanaauskas says

    I can’t believe no one mentioned the truest (and one people for some reason have trouble getting through their heads) thing ever written by him:

    “…there are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot be easily duplicated by a normal, kindly family man who just comes into work every day and has a job to do.”

  53. anym says

    #34, davidc1:

    Just remembered ,Cut my own throat Dibbler was renamed Cut my own hand off in one novel .

    Every discworld culture has its Dibbler (or at least someone with a homophonic name). Klatch, the caliphate-expy in Jingo, would presumably have had the hand-remover. There was a “Disembowel-myself-honorably Dibhala” in the Counterweight Continent with its Japan/China mashup culture, but I forget the name of the book now. I’m sure the internet would enlighten you, anyway.

  54. Lofty says

    A plethora of Dibblers from Here:

    List Of Dibblers Around The Disc

    Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, Ankh-Morpork (most stories starring Ankh-Morpork)
    Fair Go Dibbler, Bugarup (The Last Continent)
    Disembowel-Meself-Honourably Dibhala, Hunghung (Interesting Times)
    Cut-Me-Own-Hand-Off Dhblah, Omnia (Small Gods)
    Al-Jiblah, Al Khali (Jingo)
    May-I-Never-Achieve-Enlightenment Dhiblang (mentioned in The Last Continent)
    Dib Diblossonson (mentioned in The Last Continent)
    May-I-Be-Kicked-In-My-Own-Ice-Hole Dibooki (mentioned in The Last Continent)
    Swallow-Me-Own-Blow-Dart Dlang-Dlang (mentioned in The Last Continent)
    Soll Dibbler, Dibbler’s Nephew (Moving Pictures)

    The term Dibbleganger has been coined by an unsung genius to describe the many morphic resonances of Dibbler around the Disc.

    Dibbler himself has also used various extremely flimsy alternative names to lend credence to his various business ventures. These include:

    Professor Alkhali Dibblah, master astrologer trained in the Klatchian tradition, readings a snip at $10 (The Celebrated Discworld Almanak)
    Lap Sung Dibbler, Fung Shooey consultant (The Celebrated Discworld Almanak)
    Toplis and Dibbler, publishers of artistic and educative works for the discerning connisseur.

    all these Dibbler-variants appear to be based at the same address in Monkey Street.

  55. alkisvonidas says


    ..which just shows that the human brain is ill-adapted for thinking and was probably designed for cooling the blood

    This was not Pratchett’s invention, it was actually Aristotle’s view of the brain’s function.

    It’s also true; the brain cools the blood as a side-effect of its energy demands. And, for certain people, it’s also all it does.

  56. says

    Maybe a few from the non-Discworld books?

    ‘But we should kill him!’
    ‘No. You’ve been listening to Brocando too often,’ said Bane.
    Brocando bristled. ‘You know what he is! Why not kill—’ he began, but he was interrupted.
    ‘Because it doesn’t matter what he is. It matters what we are.’
         — from The Carpet People

    ‘Why are all the humans around it?’ said Masklin, bewildered. ‘Why aren’t they frightened?’
    Grandson Richard’s reply was another gale.
    ‘He says, they think some creatures from another world will come out and talk to them.’
    ‘I don’t know,’ said the Thing. ‘Perhaps they don’t want to be alone.’
         — from Wings

    Once we were overpopulated. And we found that the more people there were, the more they were the same. It was the only way we could survive. People had always dreamed of a unified world. We thought it would be a richer one. It wasn’t. It meant that the Eskimo got educated and learned cost accountancy, but it didn’t mean that the German learned to hunt whales with a spear. It meant everyone learned how to press buttons, and no one remembered how to dive for pearls.
         — from Strata

    ‘Why are you all leaving?’ said Johnny.
    ‘Oh, yes. It’s Judgement Day.’ said Mr. Vicenti. ‘We decided.’
    ‘I thought that was chariots and things.’
    ‘I think you’ll have to use your own judgement on that one. No point in waiting for what you’ve already got. It’s different for everybody, you see. Enjoy looking after the cemetery. They’re places for the living, after all.’
         — from Johnny and the Dead

    ‘You’re ill, aren’t you,’ said Johnny.
    ‘Is it obvious?’
    ‘You keep taking pills, and your breathing doesn’t sound right.’
    Wobbler smiled again. But this time there was no humour in it.
    ‘I’m suffering from life,’ he said. ‘However, I’m nearly cured.’
         — from Johnny and the Bomb

    Mrs Tachyon reached up and adjusted the headphones under her bobble hat.
    She scratched at a surgical dressing. Dratted thing. She’d have to get someone to take it off her, but she knew a decent nurse over in 1917.
    Then she scrabbed in her pockets and fished out the sixpence the sergeant had given her. She remembered him giving it to her. Mrs Tachyon remembered everything, and had long ago given up wondering whether the things she remembered had already happened or not. Take life as it was going to come was her motto. And if it didn’t come, go and fetch it.
    The past and the future were all the same, but you could get a good feed off of a sixpence, if you knew the right way to do it.
    She squinted at it in the grey light of dawn.
    It was a bit old and grubby, but the date was quite clear. It said: 1903.
    ‘Tea and buns? That’s what you think, Mr Copper!’
    And she went back to 1903 and spent it on fish and chips. And still had change.
         — from Johnny and the Bomb

    Two more deaths, Hermit Crab, said Locaha.
    “Do they make you happy?” growled Mau. “Then send this priest to the Perfect World.”
    How can you ask that, little hermit crab who does not believe?
    “Because he did. And he cared, which is more than his gods did.”
    No bargains, Mau, even for another.
    “At least I’m trying!” Mau yelled. Everyone stared at him.
    The shadow faded.
    On the edge of the reef, above the dark current, Mau tied broken coral to the old man and watched him sink beyond the reach of sharks.
    “He was a good man!” he shouted to the sky. “He deserved better gods!”
         — from Nation

  57. alkisvonidas says


    Say what? I do understand that Pratchett meant it as a joke, of course. I’m just pointing out the original source, which some readers might have missed.

  58. Holms says

    That one has always bugged me, because it implies that adding more people to a crowd will make the crowd smarter, which is the exact opposite of what that part of that book is implying. According to this idea, if you got a million people together, the aggregate would be vastly smarter than the average individual, which is highly unlikely.

    I always interpreted that passage to mean reciprocal rather than root.

  59. Jack Krebs says

    This thread inspired me to start my next Discworld book, which is “Night Watch”. I was quickly reminded of an important rule: don’t read Pratchett and drink coffee at the same time. Reading laugh-out-loud lines in a restaurant can be embarrassing. :-)

  60. blf says

    Some of many pTerry giggles are the names and allegorical references in various books. For instance, in Soul Music, “Llamedos” (hint: read it backwards), “The Band with Rocks In”, “Bud of Holly”, and so on, including the great pun:

    “You want to go back to playing for half a dozen people in some cellar somewhere after this?” said Buddy. “Who’s the most famous horn player there ever was, Glod?”
    “Brother Charnel,” said the dwarf promptly. “Everyone knows that. He stole the altar gold from the Temple of Offler and had it made into a horn and played magical music until the gods caught up with him and pulled his—”
    “Right,” said Buddy, “but if you went out there now and asked who the most famous horn player is, would they remember some felonious monk or would they shout for Glod Glodsson?”

    Other quotes (all from Soul Music):
    ● “The universe was bad enough without people poking it.”
    ● “We’re on a mission from Glod.”
    ● “In theory it was, around now, Literature. Susan hated Literature. She’d much prefer to read a good book.”
    ● “She got on with her education. In her opinion, school kept on trying to interfere with it.”
    ● “Ridcully was beginning to show certain signs. If he had been a volcano, natives living nearby would be looking for a handy virgin.”
    ● “Decided to put aside ethnic differences in the cause of making more money.”

    And from Lords and Ladies:

    The Monks of Cool, whose tiny and exclusive monastery is hidden in a really cool and laid-back valley in the lower Ramtops, have a passing-out test for a novice. He is taken into a room full of all types of clothing and asked: Yo, my son, which of these is the most stylish thing to wear? And the correct answer is: Hey, whatever I select.

  61. alkisvonidas says

    Oh, btw, my favorite quote is from The Truth:

    “William wondered why he always disliked people who said ‘no offense meant.’ Maybe it was because they found it easier to to say ‘no offense meant’ than actually to refrain from giving offense.”

    (and their words were taken out of context, of course)

  62. jetboy says

    “You see, I believe in freedom, Mr. Lipwig. Not many people do, although, they will, of course, protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be completely without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.” Lord Vetinari, Going Postal.

  63. says

    “Supposing there was justice for all, after all? For every unheeded beggar, every harsh word, every neglected duty, every slight… every choice… Because that was the point, wasn’t it? You had to choose. You might be right, you might be wrong, but you had to choose, knowing that the rightness or wrongness might never be clear or even that you were deciding between two sorts of wrong, that there was no right anywhere. And always, always, you did it by yourself. You were the one there, on the edge, watching and listening. Never any tears, never any apology, never any regrets… You saved all that up in a way that could be used when needed.”
    Carpe Jugulum

  64. weatherwax says

    At he top of the cellar steps Broadman knelt down and fumbled in his tinderbox. It turned out to be damp.

    ‘I’ll kill that bloody cat’ he muttered, and groped for the spare box that was normally on the ledge by the door. It was missing. Broadman said a bad word.

    A lighted taper appeared in mid-air, right beside him.


    ‘Thnaks,’ said Broadman.


    Broadman went to throw the taper down steps. His hand paused in mid-air. He looked at the taper, his brow furrowing. Then he turned around and held the taper up to illuminate the scene. It didn’t shed much light, but it did the darkness a shape…

    ‘Oh, no–‘ he breathed.

    BUT YES, said Death,

    The Colour of Magic

  65. weatherwax says

    Since we’re going ‘off canon’,


    Death, Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman).

  66. simonstephenson says

    “Sodomy non sapiens.”
    “What’s that mean then?”
    “Buggered if I know….”

    Or words to that effect. Don’t remember which of the Discworld series it occurs in.

  67. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    “War, Nobby. Huh! What is it good for?” he said.

    “Dunno, Sarge. Freeing slaves, maybe?”

    “Absol—well, okay.”

    “Defending yourself against a totalitarian aggressor?”

    “All right, I’ll grant you that, but—”

    “Saving civilization from a horde of—”

    “It doesn’t do any good in the long run is what I’m saying,
    Nobby, if you’d listen for five seconds together,” said Fred Colon sharply.

    “Yeah, but in the long run, what does, Sarge?”

    ― Terry Pratchett, Thud!

  68. Menyambal says

    I don’t have access to the book right now, but there’s a scene in Thief of Time where two people are running to save the world, and one of them falls. The other turns back to help them, instead of getting on with the important job of saving everybody. The word “hero” is used as an insult.

  69. says

    @#78, Menyambal
    There are two parts to that, kind of: first Lu-Tze says “save us from heroes!” when Lobsang stops to help him. Then later there’s an extended passage with Susan:

    “I take it you didn’t stop the clock,” said Miss Susan, looking up and down the street.
    “No. I was… too late. Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone back to help Lu-Tze.”
    “I’m sorry? You were dashing to prevent the end of the world but you stopped to help some old man? You… hero!”
    “Oh, I wouldn’t say that I was a —” And then Lobsang stopped. She hadn’t said “you hero” in the tone of voice of “you star”; it had been the tone in which people say “you idiot.”
    “I see a lot of your sort,” Susan went on. “Heroes have a very strange grasp of elementary maths, you know. If you’d smashed the clock before it struck, everything would have been fine. Now the world has stopped, and we’ve been invaded, and we’re probably all going to die, just because you stopped to help someone. I mean, very worthy and all that, but very, very… human…”
    She used the word as if she meant it to mean “silly.”

  70. CHARLES says

    Took me a while to find.

    From “Wee Free Men” Tiffany Aching to the Queen “The secret is not to dream,” she whispered. “The secret is to wake up. Waking up is harder. I have woken up and I am real. I know where I come from and where I’m going. You cannot fool me any more. Or touch me. Or anything that is mine.”

  71. Doc Dish says

    @blf (#70) “Llamedos” is probably a reference to Dylan Thomas’ “Llareggub” in ‘Under Milk Wood’.

    Pratchett’s word play was amazing. My absolute favourite has to be the set up, over many books, of Ankh Morpork’s two warring families; the Selachiis and the Venturis. The pay-off is that ‘selachian’ is the adjective referring to sharks, while a Venturi nozzle is part of a jet…

  72. ianh says

    My favourite PTerryisms have been covered (Particularly the Boots theory) so just to spread out a little how about some Douglas Adams
    To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

  73. opposablethumbs says

    Doc Dish, thank you – I had no idea about the jet part.

    It took me a while to make the wordplay connection between Vetinari and the Medici family, too :-s

  74. blf says

    “Llamedos” is probably a reference to Dylan Thomas’ “Llareggub” in ‘Under Milk Wood’

    Yes. Llamedos, read backwards, is “Sod ’em all”;
    and Llareggub, read backwards, is “Bugger all”.