The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    The good news is, you're just about past what I consider the "awkward adolescent" stage of Discworld. There's Guards! Guards!, which is excellent but has a bit of early weirdness in the characterization of the Watch characters, and then there's Eric, which is just plain odd due to it being practically a novella rather than a proper Discworld story.

    After that, you're into what I consider the Golden Age - he's nailed down the personalities of all his characters, gotten the worldbuilding settled, and firmly established the writing style for the rest of the series.
    The thing about Eric was that it was originally an illustrated story (one of two in the Discworld canon, the other being The Last Hero) - the original was about twice the size because of the illustrations.

    But yes, this is the point where Pratchett starts producing consistently good to excellent novels. How long this lasts is pretty much personal opinion, but no matter how you measure it, it was a long run.
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  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mightymosy View Post
    I started with Discword yeary ago with a couple of the middle books in German, and later read a couple of the newest ones, also in German. And watched the movie (is it Postal?).
    There are 4 'made-for-TV feature-length specials' (The Colour of Magic, The Lite Fantastic, Hogfather and Going Postal) and 2 animated features (Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music). They're all generally pretty faithful to the novels, though the animation style of the latter two is somewhat old fashioned and cheap looking nowadays.

    If ever a series was crying out for a big budget Disney-style remake, it's something like Guard! Guards!... Hell, Lords and Ladies even has a musical interlude written right into it....

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    So... All in all, not a bad book, but not a great one either. Feels very forgettable. I don't see myself coming back to re-read it... I guess they can't all be winners, huh?
    I understand where you're coming from. The problem with the 'stand alone' novels like Pyramids and Small Gods is that they start out with brand new characters with no back story, in a new location that hasn't been very well detailed. If you start reading the book and you don't care for either of those things, for any reason, there's nothing that can save the rest of it unfortunately.

    I feel the same way about Monstrous Regiment. Even putting the barely-concealed political subtext aside, it's one of my least favourite stories. The next-but-one that will come up on your list, however - Small Gods - is generally considered to be a classic, however.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Small Gods was an awesome book, but for me not a very enjoyable read (because dark and sad).
    Great literature though, also because it is very standalone.
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  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    The good news is, you're just about past what I consider the "awkward adolescent" stage of Discworld. There's Guards! Guards!, which is excellent but has a bit of early weirdness in the characterization of the Watch characters, and then there's Eric, which is just plain odd due to it being practically a novella rather than a proper Discworld story.

    After that, you're into what I consider the Golden Age - he's nailed down the personalities of all his characters, gotten the worldbuilding settled, and firmly established the writing style for the rest of the series.
    I completely agree with all of the above. Small Gods in particular, is a contender for my favorite book in the whole Discworld series.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    I dont even think Small Gods were that sad.
    And it did have some of the most memorable moments in all of discworld.
    The ending in particular.
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  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    The big hook in Pyramids is that the Assassins Test at the beginning is a direct mickey-take of the older British driving test - down to namedropping some of the pieces such as the emergency drop (== emergency stop). After people read that they were generally engaged enough to keep going.
    The very first part is also an homage to Tom Brown's School Days, which was pretty much the ur-text for the british boarding school genre. Which most people these days are probably familiar with from the Harry Potter series.
    Last edited by brionl; 2018-08-06 at 10:16 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Pyramids had two of my favorite scenes in the series.

    Pteppic, having been caught by some guards:
    Guard: Drop every weapon you're carrying.
    Pteppic: That could take some time...
    Guard: And keep your hands where I can see them.
    Pteppic: Ah. We may be at an impasse there.

    Cracks me up every time I read it.

    Also, when the sun gods are competing for control of the sun, one priest does his best impression of a football/soccer announcer: "And it's NOON!"

    But, yeah. Either really boring or really fascinating depending on your sensibilities. We don't see the world from the perspective of an assassin much in the Discworld books, so Pteppic's story adds something new to the setting. (Plus there's something funny about going to a test hung over from wine you're going to drink to celebrate after you pass it.)

    And the Watch books are definitely one of the finer groups in the series, for my money. Witches and Death round out my top three, though I couldn't tell you the order within that trio.
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  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quote Originally Posted by Calemyr View Post
    Pyramids had two of my favorite scenes in the series.

    Pteppic, having been caught by some guards:
    Guard: Drop every weapon you're carrying.
    Pteppic: That could take some time...
    Guard: And keep your hands where I can see them.
    Pteppic: Ah. We may be at an impasse there.

    Cracks me up every time I read it.

    Also, when the sun gods are competing for control of the sun, one priest does his best impression of a football/soccer announcer: "And it's NOON!"

    But, yeah. Either really boring or really fascinating depending on your sensibilities. We don't see the world from the perspective of an assassin much in the Discworld books, so Pteppic's story adds something new to the setting. (Plus there's something funny about going to a test hung over from wine you're going to drink to celebrate after you pass it.)

    And the Watch books are definitely one of the finer groups in the series, for my money. Witches and Death round out my top three, though I couldn't tell you the order within that trio.
    Oh, it definitely has great moments! I wouldn't even say it's boring... Just not very exciting, overall. It's... Ok. At no point I thought about giving up on reading the book...I just wasn't really looking forward to it either.
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  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Anyone else find Feet of Clay frustrating?

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    Generally there is some balance between the different species/races in Diskworld. Vampires have vampire weaknesses, trolls are dumb at lowrr altitudes, Dwarves are physically very similar to humans, Werewolves can be dealt with using aniseed and wolfsbane, etc.

    Golems OTOH are highly intelligent, stronger then trolls, faster then anyone can see, immortal, nearly indestructible, and can reproduce faster then any other race.
    Last edited by Tvtyrant; 2018-08-10 at 05:05 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Golems OTOH are highly intelligent, stronger then trolls, faster then anyone can see, immortal, nearly indestructible, and can reproduce faster then any other race.


    I thought the whole point of Feet of Clay was that golems couldn't reproduce safely - when they tried, the resulting golem went insane?
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2018-08-10 at 01:38 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Anyone else find Feet of Clay frustrating?

    Generally there is some balance between the different species/races in Diskworld. Vampires have vampire weaknesses, trolls are dumb at lowrr altitudes, Dwarves are physically very similar to humans, Werewolves can be dealt with using aniseed and wolfsbane, etc.

    Golems OTOH are highly intelligent, stronger then trolls, faster then anyone can see, immortal, nearly indestructible, and can reproduce faster then any other race.
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    The plot is predicated on the point that they canít reproduce at all because they canít produce a stable personality...

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    I thought the whole point of Feet of Clay was that golems couldn't reproduce safely - when they tried, the resulting golem went insane?
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    No the golem they made was made in a profoundly stupid way, where they instilled a ton of contradictory orders into its head. They each stuck their hopes into it with the desire to make a messiah. This makes it insane.

    Carrot figures out how to free golems by granting them self-ownership. They then collect money to buy back all of the golems in existence and grant them their own ownership, but nothing stops them making new free golems.
    Last edited by Tvtyrant; 2018-08-10 at 05:05 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    The whole "words in the head" thing may be an issue. Does the script have to be written by somebody special - a priest of some kind, to work "properly"?

    There's also the issue of creating new golems being illegal - so golems, being very law-abiding, don't do so - except for that one case which went wrong. Possibly they're too worried that it will happen again.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2018-08-10 at 01:49 PM.
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    I thought the whole point of Feet of Clay was that golems couldn't reproduce safely - when they tried, the resulting golem went insane?
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    The golem they made for themselves was overstuffed with animating words, causing it to have multiple potentially-conflicting guiding principles in its head. If I'm recalling Feet of Clay correctly it's something of an open question as to whether they could have successfully created a normal golem with the regular one phrase/verse/whatever worth of magic words.. but considering the economic force that self-owned golems turned out to be they probably just pay somebody to make one if they want to reproduce later.

  15. - Top - End - #165
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    It may be illegal:

    http://discworld.wikia.com/wiki/Golems

    The creation of new golems is illegal due to the ethical questions it raises. Many still exist, however, and destroying them is also ethically tricky.

    https://wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/Golems

    Most golems had been made centuries before the present; no new golems have been made (save the illicit King Golem of Feet of Clay) because priests argued that the creation of life is the domain of the gods.
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  16. - Top - End - #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    The whole "words in the head" thing may be an issue. Does the script have to be written by somebody special - a priest of some kind, to work "properly"?

    There's also the issue of creating new golems being illegal - so golems, being very law-abiding, don't do so - except for that one case which went wrong. Possibly they're too worried that it will happen again.
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    True enough, but they still undermine a lot of the story.

    No one used golems when attacked by a dragon.
    Golems are more dangerous then guns but aren't brought up in Men at Arms.
    Golems aren't used to clear the cart monsters.

    Basically they get retconned into the story, but are way more powerful then the other components.
    Last edited by Tvtyrant; 2018-08-10 at 05:05 PM.

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    Golems follow orders - but are somewhat distrusted.

    That might be why the Patrician is the only one to take advantage of "Golems can harm others if ordered to by a duly constituted authority" with Mr Pump in Going Postal.

    The first golem reference is in Soul Music - they seemed back then to be connected to zombies in some way. By Feet of Clay, this appears to have been dropped.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2018-08-10 at 02:22 PM.
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  18. - Top - End - #168
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    Golems follow orders - but are somewhat distrusted.

    That might be why the Patrician is the only one to take advantage of "Golems can harm others if ordered to by a duly constituted authority" with Mr Pump in Going Postal.
    Thats one of the few genuinly dumb things the Patrician has come up with in my oppinion.
    As it has already been pointed out. Golems are massively more powerful than just about anything else. That they are not allowed to hurt people is funny enough one of the things that keeps them safe from angry mobs.
    If they are suddenly seen as the Patricians private inhuman army, then its a recipi for disaster.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Thats one of the few genuinly dumb things the Patrician has come up with in my oppinion.
    As it has already been pointed out. Golems are massively more powerful than just about anything else. That they are not allowed to hurt people is funny enough one of the things that keeps them safe from angry mobs.
    If they are suddenly seen as the Patricians private inhuman army, then its a recipi for disaster.
    He has a good reason to employ Mr. Pump specifically - Moist is too slippery for anyone, or anything, else to be able to keep him under control. There's no indication I can remember that there's even a second Mr. Pump, let alone an army of them.
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    let's not spoil the rest of the books for the OP, who's reading them in order.
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  21. - Top - End - #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by dehro View Post
    let's not spoil the rest of the books for the OP, who's reading them in order.
    You are correct, I went back and spoilered my comments. Sorry OP.

  22. - Top - End - #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    I thought the whole point of Feet of Clay was that golems couldn't reproduce safely - when they tried, the resulting golem went insane?
    They can reproduce safely. The reason the new golem broke was
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    they overloaded with words, too many expectations for any creature not a god. It went insane under the weight of a burden too heavy to bear. Also, they baked its clay in a bread oven , which meant it was falling apart.


    The reason it is illegal is because the religions of the discworld teach that the creation of life is the domain of the gods, thus the creation of golems is a blasphemy. Clearly they didn't always think that way, as it takes a holy man/woman to write the words that go in their heads, but that's definitely the dominant viewpoint at the time of the novels.

    The reason golems aren't regulated the way gonnes are is because , for the most part, they can't. Mr. Pump can, and I wonder if they changed his words, but as a rule they run on the Asimov rules of robotics: A robot may not injure a human being or , through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

    Also, people just don't think of them as weapons. They're ... background machinery. Asking one to kill a dragon would no more cross an AM citizen's mind than ordering a mop to do so.

    Another big difference is that a golem is made to work. The fact that it can kill as well is a secondary function, and one strongly forbidden by the words in their head. A gonne, by contrast, is a tool for killing. It has no other purpose. It also makes killing easy. Any commoner can kill a knight in armor if they lay their hands on one; that's why the upper classes of Ankh-Morpork take a dim view of them. Rich lords in armour don't like the idea of being on the same level as ordinary humans, and the assassins don't like the idea that a child could do their job with the right equipment.

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    The golems really can't reproduce properly. They had one really weak chance and Meshugah wiped it all out after the fact.

    They needed:
    1) An oven that could do the job - They used a dwarven bread oven, that didn't work well. The owner of the oven was interested in trying it out of curiosity. Meshugah killed him. The troll's kiln worked perfectly, but he's way too smart to let it happen without Watch okay.

    2) A holy man to write the words - They found an old religious scholar who found the concept fascinating. Meshugah killed him. Proper holy men have been unwilling to animate golems for centuries.

    3) A whole heck of a lot of clay. Which is now being watched like a hawk. People weren't watching because golems were just dismissed as furniture. They are no longer treated like that, they will no longer have that freedom.

    The only new golems that crop up in the series after Meshugah are all old golems.

    And yes. Mr. Pump can harm/kill the living because Vetinari had his words changed so that he could - if ordered to by high ranking civil authority. Vetinari can get away with this because... he's Vetinari.
    Last edited by Calemyr; 2018-08-13 at 09:26 AM. Reason: Retroactive Spoilers
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  24. - Top - End - #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calemyr View Post
    And yes. Mr. Pump can harm/kill the living because Vetinari had his words changed so that he could - if ordered to by high ranking civil authority.
    Do we actually know that for a fact, or are we just taking Mr Pump's word for it?

    Because it occurs to me that "lying" would probably require a much less drastic change than "murder".
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    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Do we actually know that for a fact, or are we just taking Mr Pump's word for it?

    Because it occurs to me that "lying" would probably require a much less drastic change than "murder".
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    Set in absolute stone? No. But when asked about it, Vetinari just says that of course he made that change, it only makes sense.
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    Guys...

    Please, please, PLEASE... Use spoilers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    Guys...

    Please, please, PLEASE... Use spoilers.
    Oh... oh crap. Sorry, man. Lost track of where I was. Not cool.
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    Hey guys! I've been trying to go through discworld for the past year and a half or so mostly through expiditions on my kindle. I was curious... is it natural to like one particular plotline or group in this world much... much more than the others? I've found choice little that I like with the Rincewind books, for instance.... but I've *thoroughly* enjoyed every City Watch book that I've read so far, with some of them ending up in my top 10-20 lists...

    Just thought it was odd since before I started reading, the only character I ever see referenced is Rince...

    Edit: For the record, I'm on Maskquerade at the moment, currently paused while I read through all the Ravnica books in prep for november >.-
    Last edited by Arsonist; 2018-08-14 at 10:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Since you are entitled to your own opinion : no, it's not weird to prefer one cast or series of books or whatever over another. Pratchett is good enough of an author to make his writing style fit the plot / genre, and the Wizard books are distinctly different from Watch books (or Witch, or Death...) some people prefer one over the other.

    Also, Rincewind was the first protagonist, even though his importance has dwindled a lot since. I guess for that reason he still kind of is the face of the world, a little at least, but I feel the character I see most often is Death.
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    Default Re: Reading Discworld!

    Rincewind is, in many ways, the perfect personification of the Discworld: a faithful examination and refutation of the traditional fantasy setting, torn to pieces and rebuilt with a little common sense. Rincewind isn't the all-powerful hero, he's a powerless loser who survives his inevitable adventures through cynical pragmitism, craven cunning, and no reservations about fleeing a threat he is no match for (i.e. all of them).

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