In a move that has Pratchett fans everywhere breaking out in hives, I have decided to read all 41 of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. I understand that it is ill advised. I have been duly warned. I just finished the third book and although the Discworld has nearly met its end in each of the books, our planet has not ceased to rotate about its axis and I am enjoying myself considerably. So, I think I’ll just keep on going.
Book 3 keeps somewhat to the buddy comedy theme of the first two books, except in this book we also have a master/apprentice dynamic and, importantly, the buddies are female. This is important because as the punny title implies, these characters challenge gender roles.
On the discworld, wizardry is practiced exclusively by men. Until a dying wizard accidentally passes on his magic to a newborn (gulp!) girl, Eskarina. Granny Weatherwax, a local witch, tries her level best to teach the girl witchcraft, a much more acceptable vocation for a girl. She of course learns that she can’t change Eskarina’s destiny and quickly becomes her biggest advocate in her efforts to break the wizard world’s glass ceiling.
Granny is pretty fantastic. She knows the names that goats give themselves and each other and she knows that knowing things that other people don’t know is a kind of magic. She is a wise woman and I can’t wait to see her again in other books.
I enjoyed the continued exploration of the idea of the multiverse as well. Simon, a self-taught, stuttering wizard apprentice, explains the idea to the scholars at unseen university, “…lots of worlds, all nearly the same and all sort of occupying the same place… so that everything that ever could happen would have somewhere to happen in.” The wizards, like the rest of us, have a hard time understanding the concept. Two wizards struggling to make sense of it find this peace as described by Pratchett, “They both savoured the strange warm glow of being much more ignorant than ordinary people, who were ignorant of only ordinary things.” Exactly.
These kind of pseudo-philosophical musings are right up my alley. I love that the author obviously likes to think about these things and I love that he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Three books in I have developed what I suspect will be an unpopular opinion. Here it is. The first one is my favorite so far. All three are hilarious and I liked the characters of Granny and Eskarina more than Rincewind and Twoflower (from the previous books), BUT the first book drew me in with the mythology of the Discworld and I want more of that. In the first book it was clear that Pratchett didn’t just have a map in his head, he had a culture. Here in book 3 we are mucking around in the weeds. We are digging up artifacts. They are really funny and fun and give me lots of great things to think about, but I miss the big picture perspective of book one. Onward to book 4 – Mort.
|1||The Colour of Magic||1983||Rincewind||93rd in the Big Read.|
|2||The Light Fantastic||1986||Rincewind||Continues from The Colour of Magic|
|3||Equal Rites||1987||The Witches, The Wizards|
|4||Mort||1987||Death||65th in the Big Read|
|5||Sourcery||1988||Rincewind, The Wizards|
|6||Wyrd Sisters||1988||The Witches||135th in the Big Read|
|7||Pyramids||1989||Discworld Cultures (Djelibeybi)||British Science Fiction Award winner, 1989|
|8||Guards! Guards!||1989||The City Watch||69th in the Big Read|
|9||Eric||1990||Rincewind||Published in a larger format and fully illustrated by Josh Kirby|
|10||Moving Pictures||1990||Miscellaneous (Holy Wood), The Wizards|
|11||Reaper Man||1991||Death, The Wizards||126th in the Big Read|
|12||Witches Abroad||1991||The Witches||197th in the Big Read|
|13||Small Gods||1992||Discworld Cultures (Omnia), The History Monks||102nd in the Big Read|
|14||Lords and Ladies||1992||The Witches, The Wizards|
|15||Men at Arms||1993||The City Watch||148th in the Big Read|
|16||Soul Music||1994||Death, Susan Sto Helit, The Wizards||151st in the Big Read|
|17||Interesting Times||1994||Rincewind, The Wizards|
|19||Feet of Clay||1996||The City Watch|
|20||Hogfather||1996||Death, Susan Sto Helit, The Wizards||137th in the Big Read; British Fantasy Award nominee, 1997|
|21||Jingo||1997||The City Watch|
|22||The Last Continent||1998||Rincewind, The Wizards|
|23||Carpe Jugulum||1998||The Witches|
|24||The Fifth Elephant||1999||The City Watch||153rd in the Big Read; Locus Fantasy Award nominee, 2000|
|25||The Truth||2000||Ankh-Morpork, The City Watch, The Ankh-Morpork Times||193rd in the Big Read|
|26||Thief of Time||2001||Death, Susan Sto Helit, The History Monks||152nd in the Big Read; Locus Award nominee, 2002|
|27||The Last Hero||2001||Rincewind, The Wizards, The City Watch||Published in a larger format and fully illustrated by Paul Kidby|
|28||The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents||2001||Miscellaneous (Überwald)||A YA (young adult or children’s) Discworld book; winner of the 2001 Carnegie Medal|
|29||Night Watch||2002||The City Watch, The History Monks||Received the Prometheus Award in 2003; came 73rd in the Big Read; Locus Award nominee, 2003|
|30||The Wee Free Men||2003||Tiffany Aching||The second YA Discworld book; also published in larger format and fully illustrated by Stephen Player|
|31||Monstrous Regiment||2003||Discworld Cultures (Borogravia),The City Watch, The Ankh-Morpork Times||The title is a reference to The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women; 2004 nominee for Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.|
|32||A Hat Full of Sky||2004||Tiffany Aching, The Witches||The third YA Discworld book|
|33||Going Postal||2004||Moist von Lipwig, Ankh-Morpork||Locus and Nebula Awards nominee, 2005|
|34||Thud!||2005||The City Watch||Locus Award nominee, 2006|
|35||Wintersmith||2006||Tiffany Aching, The Witches||The fourth YA book.|
|36||Making Money||2007||Moist von Lipwig, Ankh-Morpork||Locus Award winner, Nebula nominee, 2008|
|37||Unseen Academicals||2009||The Wizards, Rincewind, Miscellaneous (Nutt)||Locus Award Nominee, 2010|
|38||I Shall Wear Midnight||2010||Tiffany Aching, The Witches||Fifth YA book, Andre Norton winner, 2010|
|39||Snuff||2011||The City Watch (Sam Vimes)||Third fastest selling book in first week of publication|
|40||Raising Steam||2013||Moist von Lipwig, Ankh-Morpork,The City Watch|
|41||The Shepherd’s Crown||2015||Tiffany Aching||Completed mid-2014, due to be published posthumously in 2015|