If you get the characters right you've done sometimes nearly half the work. I sometimes find I get the characters right then the characters will often help me write the book - not what they look like that's not very important - what people look like is not about their character. You have to describe the shape they leave in the world, how they react to things, what effect they have on people and you do that by telling their story.
The gods of the Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that's where they believe, in their deepest heart, that they deserve to go. Which they won't do if they don't know about it. This explains why it is so important to shoot missionaries on sight.
Magicians and scientists are, on the face of it, poles apart. Certainly, a group of people who often dress strangely, live in a world of their own, speak a specialized language and frequently make statements that appear to be in flagrant breach of common sense have nothing in common with a group of people who often dress strangely, speak a specialized language, live in ... er ...
I think when people mean that Discworld books have become darker they really mean the series is growing up. In 'The Colour of Magic' most of the city is set alight. It's a joke, in much the same way that the Earth is destroyed almost at the start of Douglas Adams's 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.'
There should be a word for that brief period just after waking when the mind is full of warm pink nothing. You lie there entirely empty of thought, except for a growing suspicion that heading towards you, like a sockful of damp sand in a nocturnal alleyway, are all the recollections you'd really rather do without, and which amount to the fact that the only mitigating factor in your horrible future is the certainty that it will be quite short.
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It was Carrot who'd suggested to the Patrician that hardened criminals should be given the chance to 'serve the community' by redecorating the homes of the elderly, lending a new terror to old age and, given Ankh-Morpork's crime rate, leading to at least one old lady having her front room wallpapered so many times in six months that now she could only get in sideways.
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You see the lighted windows and what you want to think is that there may be many interesting stories behind them, but what you know is that really there are just dull, dull souls, mere consumers of food, who think their instincts are emotions and their tiny lives of more account than a whisper of wind.
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder. Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels. Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies. Elves are glamorous. They project glamour. Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment. Elves are terrific. They beget terror. 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. No one ever said elves are nice. Elves are bad.
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Igor?' said Moist. 'You have an Igor?' Oh, yes,' said Hubert. 'That's how I get this wonderful light. They know the secret of storing lightning in jars! But don't let that worry you, Mr Lipspick. Just because I'm employing an Igor and working in a cellar doesn't mean I'm some sort of madman, ha ha ha!' Ha ha,' agreed Moist. Ha hah hah!,' said Hubert. 'Hahahahahaha!! Ahahahahahahhhhh!!!!!-' Bent slapped him on the back. Hubert coughed. Sorry about that, it's the air down here,' he mumbled.
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Anyway, lots of warrior tribes think that when they die, they go to a heavenly land somewhere," said the toad. "You know, where they can drink and fight and feast forever? So maybe this is theirs." "But this is a real place!" "So? That's what they believe. Besides, they're only small. Maybe the universe is a bit crowded and they have to put heavens anywhere there's room? I'm a toad, so you'll appreciate that I'm having to guess a lot here.
I mean, you're right about the fire and war, all that. But that Rapture stuff--well, if you could see them all in Heaven--serried ranks of them as far as the mind can follow and beyond, league after league of us, flaming swords, all that, well, what I'm trying to say is who has time to go round picking people out and popping them up in the air to sneer at the people dying of radiation sickness on the parched and burning earth below them? If that's your idea of a morally acceptable time, I might add.
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Look at Satan. Created as an angel, grows up to be the Great Adversary. Hey, if you're going to go on about genetics, you might as well say the kid will grow up to be an angel. After all, his father was really big in Heaven in the old days. Saying he'll grow up to be a demon just because his dad became one is like saying a mouse with its tail cut off will give birth to tailless mice. No. Upbringing is everything. Take it from me.
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One of the recurring philosophical questions is: 'Does a falling tree in the forest make a sound when there is no one to hear?' Which says something about the nature of philosophers , because there is always someone in a forest. It may only be a badger, wondering what that cracking noise was, or a squirrel a bit puzzled by all the scenery going upwards, but someone.
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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! Who's been pinching my beer?
That's what's so stupid about the whole magic thing, you know. You spend twenty years learning the spell that makes nude virgins appear in your bedroom, and then you're so poisoned by quicksilver fumes and half-blind from reading old grimoires that you can't remember what happens next.
Would a minute have mattered? No, probably not, although his young son appeared to have a very accurate internal clock. Possibly even 2 minutes would be okay. Three minutes, even. You could go to five minutes, perhaps. But that was just it. If you could go for five minutes, then you'd go to ten, then half an hour, a couple of hours...and not see your son all evening. So that was that. Six o'clock, prompt. Every day. Read to young Sam. No excuses. He'd promised himself that. No excuses. No excuses at all. Once you had a good excuse, you opened the door to bad excuses.
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5.Buggre Alle this for a Larke I amme sick to mye Hart of typefetinge. Master Biltonn if no Gentelmann, and Master Scagges now more that a tighte fisted Southwarke Knobbefticke. I telle you, onne a daye laike thif Ennywone withe half and oz of Sense shoulde bee oute in the Suneshain, ane nott Stucke here alle the lielong dale inn thif mowldey olde By-Our-Lady Workefhoppe *[email protected];I*
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Particles of raw inspiration sleet through the universe all the time. Every once in a while one of them hits a receptive mind, which then invents DNA or the flute sonata form or a way of making light bulbs wear out in half the time. But most of them miss. Most people go through their lives without being hit by even one.
They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they want to. This book is dedicated to those fine men.
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Belief is one of the most powerful organic forces in the multiverse. It may not be able to move mountains, exactly. But it can create someone who can. People get exactly the wrong idea about belief. They think it works back to front. They think the sequence is, first object, then belief. In fact, it works the other way.
So let's not get frightened when the children read fantasy. It's the compost for a healthy mind. It stimulate s the inquisitive nodes, and there is some evidence that a rich internal fantasy life is as good and necessary for a child as healthy soil is for a plant, for much the same reasons.
The Yen Buddhists are the richest religious sect in the universe. They hold that the accumulation of money is a great evil and a burden to the soul. They therefore, regardless of personal hazard, see it as their unpleasant duty to acquire as much as possible in order to reduce the risk to innocent people.
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Any sensible ruler would have killed off Leonard, and Lord Vetinari was extremely sensible and often wondered why he had not done so. He'd decided that it was because, imprisoned in the priceless, inquiring amber of Leonard's massive mind, underneath that bright investigative genius was a kind of willful innocence that might in lesser men be called stupidity. It was the seat and soul of that force which, down the millennia, had caused mankind to stick its fingers in the electric light socket of the Universe and play with the switch to see what happened - and then be very surprised when it did.
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And then there were cats, thought Dog. He'd surprised the huge ginger cat from next door and had attempted to reduce it to cowering jelly by means of the usual glowing stare and deep-throated growl, which had always worked on the damned in the past. This time they had earned him a whack on the nose that had made his eyes water. Cats, Dog considered, were clearly a lot tougher than lost souls. He was looking forward to a further cat experiment, which he planned would consist of jumping around and yapping excitedly at it. It was a long shot, but it just might work.
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You say that you people don't burn folk and sacrifice people anymore, but that's what true faith would mean, y'see? Sacrificin' your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin' the truth of it, workin' for it, breathin' the soul of it. That's religion. Anything else is just . . . is just bein' nice. And a way of keepin' in touch with the neighbors.
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Down there - he said - are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any inequity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathsomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass-produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept evil not because they say yes, but because they don't say no.
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Sam Vimes could parallel process. Most husbands can. They learn to follow their own line of thought while at the same time listening to what their wives say. And the listening is important, because at any time they could be challenged and must be ready to quote the last sentence in full. A vital additional skill is being able to scan the dialogue for telltale phrases such as "and they can deliver it tomorrow" or "so I've invited them for dinner?" or "they can do it in blue, really quite cheaply.
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For the first time in her life Granny wondered whether there might be something important in all these books people were setting store by these days, although she was opposed to books on strict moral grounds, since she had heard that many of them were written by dead people and therefore it stood to reason reading them would be as bad as necromancy. Among the many things in the infinitely varied universe with which Granny did not hold was talking to dead people, who by all accounts had enough troubles of their own.
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And what do you really do? asked Tiffany. The thin witch hesitatied for a moment, and then: We look to ... the edges, said Mistress Weatherwax. There's a lot of edges, more than people know. Between life and death, this world and the next, night and day, right and wrong ... an' they need watchin'. We watch 'em, we guard the sum of things. And we never ask for any reward. That's important.
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Nigel gave the lamp a cautious buff and small smoking red letters appeared in the air. "Hi," Nigel read aloud, "Do not put down the lamp because your custom is important to us. Please leave a wish after the tone and, very shortly, it will be our command. In the meantime, have a nice eternity."