The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Reading Discworld!

    Hello, everyone!

    Here is the story: I first read "The Colour of Magic" and "Light Fantastic" almost 15 years ago. I enjoyed the books but never read the rest of the novels. Skip to 3 weeks ago and I find the whole collection (41 book) in English on sale on a book store near my house. I buy it and decide to re-read the first two books then read the rest in publication order.

    Once again I enjoy the adventures of Rincewind and company in the first two books, and friends tell me the books get much better, so I'm looking forward to it!

    That said, right now I'm halfway through "Equal Rites" and I'm bored out of my freaking mind! Reading it feels like a chore! Is it ok to skip it or should I force my way to the end?

    Any suggestions about what to read next? Should I just stick with publication order? What do y'all think?
    Last edited by Lemmy; 2018-07-12 at 05:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Equal Rites gets better toward the end. That said, Mort, the very next book, is usually said to be where the series hits its stride.
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    The first few books aren't bad, but they're a little all over the place. The Night Watch 'series' is a good jumping on point overall, to be read in order: Guards! Guards! (book 8), Theatre of Cruelty (apparently? I've never read this one), Men At Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Thud!, and Snuff.

    Vimes is the closest the series comes to having a main character besides perhaps Death IMO.

    If you want more Rincewind, there's also Sourcerer and Interesting Times.
    Last edited by Rynjin; 2018-07-08 at 02:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Sourceror was medium, if you ask me.

    I read one of the Guards series which was excellent (unfortunately forgot the name).

    Two of the young witches series (one as an audio book) which were both very good.

    Small gods was interesting and highly relevant on ethics, but not "nice" to read. Depressing, actually.

    Equal rites was also merely ok, not spectacular.
    Last edited by Mightymosy; 2018-07-08 at 02:30 PM.
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Hello, everyone!

    Here is the story: I first read the "Colour of Magic" and "Light Fantastic" almost 15 years ago. I enjoyed the books bur never read the rest of the novels. Skip to 3 weeks ago and I find the whole collection (41 book) in English on sale on a book store near my house. I buy it and decide to re-read the first two booms then read the rest in publication order.

    Once again I enjoy the adventures of Rincewind and company in the first two books, and friends tell me the books get much better, so I'm lookinv forward to it!

    That said, right now I'm halfway through "Equal Rites" and I'm bored out of my freaking mind! Reading it feels like a chore! Is it ok to skip it or should I force my way to the end?

    Any suggestions about what to read next? Should I just stick qith publication order? What do y'all think?
    Be a MAN! or Dwarf?!

    Read every single book, in publication order!
    Do it as homage to one of the greatest fantasy authors of our generation!!
    And post updates, progress report, thoughs, after each book !!!
    Last edited by lord_khaine; 2018-07-08 at 03:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Be a MAN! or Dwarf?!

    Read every single book, in publication order!
    Do it as homage to one of the greatest fantasy authors of our generation!!
    And post updates, progress report, thoughs, after each book !!!
    Basically this.
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Equal Rites is one of the few Discworld books I've only read a couple times, with the only ones that I've only read once being the very last few when the quality was declining.

    The only other real misses from the main body of his work would be Eric and Pyramids. Both enjoyable enough, but not on par with the other books he was writing at the time.

    As for Equal Rites, you don't really miss anything if you skip it. It's early enough that a lot of the events get retconned and don't really get brought up again. It does get better towards the end, as mentioned, and it is relatively short. I'd say it's definitely one of the weaker novels overall.

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    First of all you're not alone: I love Equal Rites now but I did find it tough going the first time around. It's a pretty radical departure from the first two books and while Mort (the fourth book in the series) is a bit similar in being introspective that book is more overtly funny and the character interaction is more fun.

    Most people will tell you the later Disc books are better... which is sort of true but sort of isn't. Basically the series starts getting a lot less interested in parodying fantasy at a certain point and more interested in parodying late 20th century/early 21st century society through a fantasy lens. It is good stuff and it works for most people, but if the medieval-esque/D&D/Conan/Lankhmar fantasy aspect itself is a big draw the books after Interesting Times might be less appealing.

    I'd personally tell you to put down Equal Rites and go for Mort next, then Sourcery and then Guard! Guards!. Those three between them cover three of the basic Discworld styles and at the very least you'll probably like Sourcery which is Rincewind book with a strong feel of The Light Fantastic to it.

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Really?

    I liked Equal Rites more than anything with much of Rincewind.

    Off the top of my head Lords & Ladies is my favorite, but reading Wyrd Sisters, and Witches Abroad sets it up (as does Equal Rites to lesser extent), otherwise I thought that

    Mort

    Guards! Guards!

    Men at Arms

    Hogfather

    The Last Hero

    Night Watch

    The Wee Free Men

    A Hat Full of Sky

    Wintersmith,

    and

    I Shall Wear Midnight

    were all standouts in the series.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Well I decided to try Equal Rites for at least a couple more chapters... Hopefully it gets better soon.
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    The first few are very different than later ones - Pterry basically changed directions with the setting after them. I kind of like the Colour of Magic and Ligth Fantastic the way they were written and sometimes wish he had kept that style going.

    It is in the middle of the series that has the best books to my mind. He really understood the setting by that stage and was writing top notch stuff.

    A lot of teh later books saw a bit of a decline though. A large part of that was of course his decline health, but also he tended to be a bit more anvilicious as well. It wasn't that he didn't have messages in early books, but they were a little better disguised.

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    I've found that the Discworld books are even better if you are familiar with what they're spoofing. My schoolboy studies of shakespeare meant I got a *lot* of the jokes in the Witches books, for example.

    My favourite book is probably Monstrous Regiment. Pratchett's later stuff tends to lack decent villains or a sense of danger, but Monstrous Regiment works with the "villain" being the setting, a bleak war-torn country.

    Equal Rites is one of the earlier books that I find a bit denser and harder to read, but there's a lot of good stuff in there. I still love the idea of a town called Bad Ass ("Disobedient Donkey would have been too long") and it sets up Witchcraft and the Wizards very well, although Granny Weatherwax is a wierd amalgam of herself and Nanny Ogg in it - Pterry hadn't found her voice yet.

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Yes, thats one of the main reason for why i think you should soldier on.
    It gives a crucial insigt into the first apperance of one the most important discworld characters.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Read them all in publication order, but if you find yourself struggling with one - don't worry about skipping it. You can decide later whether it's worth coming back to try again.

    Reading them in anything but publication order is - often recommended, but not a good idea. There are dependencies and shifts throughout the whole series that nobody has ever mapped fully, and if you try to read any of the "sub-series" out of sequence, you'll be subtly off-balance for having missed the intervening "unrelated" books.

    Personally, Eric is my favourite of the whole series and a contender for Funniest Book Ever, but everyone has their own opinions about that kind of ranking, so I urge you not to be swayed by any of it. Form your own opinions.
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    I've read them in order a couple of times and it all comes down to personal preferences. I've spend many an hour at the bar at a Discworld Con discussing which are the best. Some like the 'witches' subseries very much, others like the 'city watch' or 'death' more. Personally I find the witches less interesting (except for witches abroad and maskerade) and I love Susan Sto Helit and Sam Vimes, but that's my personal preference. I would certainly not give up on this great series of books because one of them is a bit less good than the others.

    As to reading order, I think in order of publication is the best way not to miss anything, although I mostly read the Tiffany Achings (young witches series) separate. Of course, having read all of them multiple times already, this is less of an issue as I will get most of the connections.
    https://www.lspace.org/main.html : a fan site with suggested reading order (not fully up to date) and also annotations and quotes (again, not completely up to date).
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Equal Rites

    Thank you, everyone, for your replies.

    This morning I finished reading "Equal Rites". It does get better near the end, but (with all due respect to Sir Terry Pratchett) it's a book I will probably never read again. I can't say it's a bad book. It's obviously very well-written, but I found it to be extremely boring... With the exception of Granny Weatherwax, who is by far the most interesting and entertaining character in the book, and every page without her was a chore to endure. I was really glad to learn that she becomes an important part of the series.

    Well... Next is "Mort". Many people told me this is when Discworld really starts to shine. I'm looking forward to it!
    Last edited by Lemmy; 2019-09-15 at 10:43 PM.
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    And if you ever get hooked enough, there are multiple Conventions all over the world. The 'official' one is in the UK (every two years, now less than a month away), but also in the US, Australia (called Nullus Anxietas), Germany and probably some others I don't know about. Terry used to go to quite a lot of them.
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    Mort

    Well, I finished "Mort". In 3 days. So good it was that had I not to work, I'd probably have done it in a single day. Putting the book down was always a difficult task!

    All characters are interesting and entertaining. And seeing Death having a mid-life crisis was amazing. It's really interesting how he's devoted to his duty, but also intrigued by humanity and somewhat sympathetic to the living (as often as he claims "THERE'S NO JUSTICE, THERE'S JUST ME.", he is clearly displeased by needless death). He grows as a character just like Mort, Ysabel, Keli and Cutwell... And Albert... Hah! I hope he shows up more often! He's definitely a great character! These days, it's not so unusual to see the Grim Reaper depicted in a more humorous fashion, but not only Sir Pratchett did it decades ago, he did it in a way that makes Death not only entertaining, but also... Well... Human.

    I also loved the idea of history resisting change and people around barely being able to see and remember someone who should be dead because they somehow know that said someone shouldn't be there.

    ...And we even get a Rincewind cameo.

    To put it more succintly: "Mort" is not only the best Discworld book so far, but definitely one of my all-time favorite books. Another great thing to come from 1987!

    I'm now even more excited for what's to come!

    Next comes "Sourcery". You set a pretty high bar, Sir Pratchett... Let's see how you live up to it.
    Last edited by Lemmy; 2019-09-15 at 10:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    Well, I finished "Mort". In 3 days. So good it was that had I not to work, I'd probably have done it in a single day. Putting the book down was always a difficult task!
    I remember borrowing those from a friend in highschool and giving them back the next day, having read the whole thing in one go and asking if he could, please, please, please, lend me the next one.
    Aaaah. Those were the days.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    All characters are interesting and entertaining. And seeing Death having a mid-life crisis was amazing. It's really interesting how he's devoted to his duty, but also intrigued by humanity and somewhat sympathetic to the living (as often as he claims "THERE'S NO JUSTICE, THERE'S JUST ME.", he is clearly displeased by needless death). He grows as a character just like Mort, Ysabel, Keli and Cutwell... And Albert... Hah! I hope he shows up more often! He's definitely a great character! These days, it's not so unusual to see the Grim Reaper depicted in a more humorous fashion, but not only Sir Pratchett did it decades ago, he did it in a way that makes Death not only entertaining, but also... Well... Human.

    I also loved the idea of history resisting change and people around barely being able to see and remember someone who should be dead because they somehow know that said someone shouldn't be there.

    ...And we even get a Rincewind cameo.

    To put it more succintly: "Mort" is not only the best Discworld book so far, but definitely one of my all-time favorite books. Another great thing to come from 1987!

    I'm now even more excited for what's to come!

    Next comes "Sourcery". You set a pretty high bar, Sir Pratchett... Let's see how you live up to it.
    Death has a mandatory cameo in all but two books (the french translation had a different joke about him being a man when the word is feminine each time) and several books are centered around him and his family, so don't worry, he has plenty of growth left in him yet.
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    To put it more succintly: "Mort" is not only the best Discworld book so far, but definitely one of my all-time favorite books. Another great thing to come from 1987!

    Next comes "Sourcery". You set a pretty high bar, Sir Pratchett... Let's see how you live up to it.
    Sourcery is kind of the last of the 'classic fantasy' parody books, IMO (Although that marker could arguably lay with Guards, Guards) - in particular, the tone and style of the Wizards change dramatically after the events of Sourcery. If you're into Pratchett's depiction of Death, tho, it's only going up from there - he's present in virtually every book to a greater or lesser degree, and there's several more that feature him and his adopted family as lead characters.

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    Death will return, don't worry. I think he's one of the best characters in the series.

    Sourcery has its good points, but it's not the best book in the series by a long margin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    Sourcery is kind of the last of the 'classic fantasy' parody books, IMO (Although that marker could arguably lay with Guards, Guards)
    What about The Last Hero?
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    I'm one of the people who don't really care for classical fantasy parody, and started really liking the series from Guards!Guards! onwards, and even for me The Last Hero is great. Terry really outdid himself on that one.

    It's in the style of his first books, but with the quality of his best ones.
    Last edited by Cozzer; 2018-07-12 at 01:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    What about The Last Hero?
    I think The Last Hero is a bit different because there is a definite tone about putting that 'classic fantasy' parody back in the past - there is a lot of nostalgic fondness in that book but it is definitely an end of an era vibe.

    In contrast Sourcery and to a lesser extent Guards! Guards! are still strongly in that 'classic fantasy' parody style.

    As I said before, as someone who honestly did prefer his Ankh-Morpork as more pseudo-medieval than pseudo-Victorian I think there is a genuine charm in the early books even if I concede they are sometimes not as polished as the later stuff.

    Anyway Lemmy I'm glad you liked Mort. Sourcery is closer in style to The Light Fantastic than it is to Mort but I enjoyed it a lot and I hope you do too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    Well, I finished "Mort". In 3 days. So good it was that had I not to work, I'd probably have done it in a single day. Putting the book down was always a difficult task!

    All characters are interesting and entertaining. And seeing Death having a mid-life crisis was amazing. It's really interesting how he's devoted to his duty, but also intrigued by humanity and somewhat sympathetic to the living (as often as he claims "THERE'S NO JUSTICE, THERE'S JUST ME.", he is clearly displeased by needless death). He grows as a character just like Mort, Ysabel, Keli and Cutwell... And Albert... Hah! I hope he shows up more often! He's definitely a great character! These days, it's not so unusual to see the Grim Reaper depicted in a more humorous fashion, but not only Sir Pratchett did it decades ago, he did it in a way that makes Death not only entertaining, but also... Well... Human.

    I also loved the idea of history resisting change and people around barely being able to see and remember someone who should be dead because they somehow know that said someone shouldn't be there.

    ...And we even get a Rincewind cameo.

    To put it more succintly: "Mort" is not only the best Discworld book so far, but definitely one of my all-time favorite books. Another great thing to come from 1987!

    I'm now even more excited for what's to come!

    Next comes "Sourcery". You set a pretty high bar, Sir Pratchett... Let's see how you live up to it.
    If you liked Mort, make sure you read Reaper Man and Hogfather, since it follows the same plotline and characters.

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    Soul Music, between Reaper Man and Hogfather, is important - since several of the main characters in Hogfather besides Death, made their debut there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    Any suggestions about what to read next? Should I just stick qith publication order? What do y'all think?
    I intend to reread them in publication order soon and in your position I would just stick with it unless/until you feel the desire to read more about a specific group. I don't think there are any I would leave out entirely so just taking them in order works.

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    Sourcery is kind of the last of the 'classic fantasy' parody books, IMO (Although that marker could arguably lay with Guards, Guards) - in particular, the tone and style of the Wizards change dramatically after the events of Sourcery. If you're into Pratchett's depiction of Death, tho, it's only going up from there - he's present in virtually every book to a greater or lesser degree, and there's several more that feature him and his adopted family as lead characters.
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    It is actually one of the changes i liked the least. It more or less removed the majority of the magic from the world. And kinda turned the remaining wizards into a group of clowns most of the time.
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    It's interesting to see a first time reader and I'll be following your updates and reviews/opinions .. and maybe re-read for the umpteenth time some of my favourites (Thief of time, the fifth elephant, Jingo, the wee free men, Pyramids, Interesting times, The truth.. I would be hard pressed to shortlist only a couple favourites)
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    The Discworld series is an absolute favorite of mine.

    I think Sourcery is the last of the "Satire" era books, where Pratchett was focused on making fun of fantasy cliches. After Sourcery, his style lends more towards world building, where characters stop being one-off jokes and develop into consistent and coherent individuals that you can really follow. Different groups get different types of stories, so if you lean towards something you'll find particular characters really up your alley.

    Sourcery itself is pretty good, in my opinion, but you'll probably begin to notice the satire growing thin, with the focus shifting to the characters even as they make fun of old cliches.

    After Sourcery, well, I believe it gets infinitely better. Pratchett starts actually building the world, populating it with characters rather than one-off jokes. Esmerelda Weatherwax gets her coven, who really round her out and add up to great stories. We get the Night Watch, who develop over their books from the finest group of useless misfits you might care to root for into something that needs to be read to be believed. We get Susan, who... is Susan. And awesome. Rincewind stops being a focal character for the most part, but the books he leads are much better. We get the Auditors. We get a more sane University. And if you think Death is an interesting fellow now...

    Of the entire series, I think my personal favorites are Thief of Time and Night Watch. Thief of Time is just frickin' epic, pairing two of the greatest low-key badasses of the series against a threat nobody but them could even imagine. Night Watch, on the other hand, is a wonderfully personal story taking a personal favorite character of mine and putting them through a trial that puts everything they are and everything they believe to the test. After that, I'd say Carpe Jugulum, which also really puts its characters to the fire in order to show what they truly are. Runner ups would be Small Gods (an interesting book with long term consequences to the series) as well as Going Postal and Making Money (because I really love watching the main character when he's on his game).

    The weaker ones, I think, are Equal Rites (which doesn't really matter beyond introducing Granny), Pyramids (very good as a one-off, but doesn't add much overall), and Snuff (which at times drops clever parody for flat out preaching). I don't know if Faust Eric really should count, given its pedigree, but it isn't all that engaging, going back the old Satire days.

    That said, there are moments of pure gold in every book.
    Last edited by Calemyr; 2018-07-17 at 03:49 PM.
    Spoiler: My inventory:
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    1 Sentient Sword
    1 Jammy Dodger (I was promised tea)
    1 Godwin Point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kairos Theodosian
    It appears someone will have to saddle my goat, for we now must ride out in glorious battle.

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