Disworld #3 – Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett

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[7]
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
18 Maskerade 1995 The Witches
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[8]
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[9]
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[10]
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[11]
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;[12] 2004 nominee for Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.[13]
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[14]
34 Thud! 2005 The City Watch Locus Award nominee, 2006[15]
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[16]
37 Unseen Academicals 2009 The Wizards, Rincewind, Miscellaneous (Nutt) Locus Award Nominee, 2010
38 I Shall Wear Midnight[17] 2010 Tiffany Aching, The Witches Fifth YA book, Andre Norton winner, 2010[18]
39 Snuff 2011 The City Watch (Sam Vimes) Third fastest selling book in first week of publication[19]
40 Raising Steam 2013 Moist von Lipwig, Ankh-Morpork,The City Watch
41 The Shepherd’s Crown[20] 2015[21] Tiffany Aching Completed mid-2014, due to be published posthumously in 2015[22]

2 thoughts on “Disworld #3 – Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett

  1. not sure why other TP fans would be breaking out in hives – I think this is a fantastic way to read them. It’s the way I read them…of course back then I was just reading them as they were published! 🙂 As the song goes – “The best is yet to come!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Sandy. I wanted the discworld to unfold for me the way it did for readers from the beginning, except kind of in fast forward since I don’t have to wait a year for the next book.


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