Here in the Pratchett Path I’m gonna take a look through the work of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and give a few of my thoughts on them. These won’t be full reviews as I’m sure many of you will be familiar Pratchett already, so you don’t need me to prattle on about how you should read it. Our time would be much better spent talking about the lovable Luggage, dream powered dragons, and its wonderful way with magic.
Luggage is one of the most emotive and iconic creations in the fantasy genre. I think that is something we all have to agree on. From his veracious appetite for all things…well all things in existance to be honest, to his odd adorableness he really does embody everything great about Discworld. Despite his absurdity in concept, within the confine of the world it has reasonably grounded explanation for its existence. That is a key part of its charm if you think about it, that even in a world where the insanity is commonplace there is an internal logic to the world.
Onto the dragons, as somebody experiencing dragon-fatigue I have to say I love the take Pratchett has on dragons in this book. That they exist only because people imagine them while the other common creatures of fantasy exist independently is I believe a commentary on fantasy writing as a whole. They only exist as long as you believe them to and the more you care about and believe in your creations the greater they will be, leading to Twoflower creating the greatest dragon the inhabitants of Wyrmberg had ever seen.
Now that leads onto the thing I love most about Discworld besides its absurdist comedy, the magic system. In this book it’s pretty much exclusive to Wizards and how they impose their will upon the world and it’s a fascinating font of ridiculous rules, upended tropes and subtle digs at other fantasy properties. The leveling of wizards based on political power, the primate librarian, and Rincewind and his abysmal abilities all come together to make culture of magic unlike any other you’ll see. The magic in this world is a critique of intellectual arrogance with the Unseen University, and of mob mentality where if enough people believe something to be true then it is.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short look into Discworld and discuss in the comments what you took away from the first Discworld novel. In a couple of weeks we will carry on with The Pratchett Path and look at The Light Fantastic and how it builds up the world born here.