Inconsistencies in Discworld books

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Inconsistencies in Discworld books

Postby Casaninbetween » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:27 pm

Hi!

I thought we'd make a thread where we collect, and, if possible, try to explain - both in Discworld terms and in real-life terms - all inconsistencies in the books that we can possibly think of. This is not an attempt to criticize Pratchett, not at all, but rather a way to try to expand the understanding of his wonderful universe for all of us.

First, I'll try and make an explanation for Discworld inconsistencies in general. When Terry started the series, it wasn't as in the cases of J.K.Rowling and the Harry Potter books, or J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings, where the authors had an idea of what the whole series would look like, from beginning to end. Rather, Terry started to write one book, then the next, and the next, and so on, and eventually started to feel that the books would be better if he changed some things in some ways. And by that time, it was to late to go back and change what was written in the older books.

Anyway, here's an inconsistency: The river Ankh.
In the early books, it's an actual river, with water in it. Boats go in and out of it, and when there's a major fire, the gates to the river are closed so the river can flood the city and put the fire out.
In the later books, the river is so full of mud you can walk on it and leave footprints that last for days.

How can one explain this? Well, I don't know how much time elapses from The Colour of Magic to, i.e., Feet of Clay, but it's possible that in that time, the environment changes so that a lot of mud clogs up the river.

Ok, your turn! :D
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Postby The_Discworldaholic » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:40 pm

probably something to do with trolls :lol:
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:48 pm

As far as the Ankh is concerned - I think it's a case of whether the tide is in or not. There are lots of cities at the mouth of rivers that, when the tide is out become mudflats. The River Thames in olden times is famous not only for this, but the fact that it was used as a public sewer.

I think that Terry exagerates the thickness of the mud sometimes for comic value, but remember that Ankh-Morpork is also a sea port and the ships will actually be on the sea rather than too far up the river I imagine. :)
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Postby Colin » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:47 pm

I seem to recall that Terry's opinion is (something along the lines of) there are no discrepancies in the Discworld narrative... just alternative histories.
I can live with that.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:56 pm

And the Trousers of Time. :wink:
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Postby TheMole » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:11 pm

:D There are no discrepancies.
There is just Lu - Tze.
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:21 pm

Characters undergo big changes. But then who doesn't? :D
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Postby Casaninbetween » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:45 pm

Colin wrote:I seem to recall that Terry's opinion is (something along the lines of) there are no discrepancies in the Discworld narrative... just alternative histories.
I can live with that.


I find that annoying. I want my stories to have canon! :x
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Postby Jarmara » Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:12 pm

*shrugs* Read something else?
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Postby Jinx » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:22 pm

Are we talking about "fanwanking" here?
Also who came up with that horrible term?



Sometimes it can be fun if there's something particularly challenging to explain. Like howcome in the first few books Death was made of Octarine light and could only be seen by wizards and cats who could see this particular area of the spectrum, but in later books it became a matter of just accepting what was really there in front of you?
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Postby Casaninbetween » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:28 pm

Jinx wrote:Are we talking about "fanwanking" here?


Never heard of that term, and I don't dare to Google it either.
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Postby Jinx » Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:07 pm

lol - it's not very nice sounding, is it?
I think it means going to lengths to fill in gaps and plot holes.
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Postby chris.ph » Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:28 pm

characters evolve as any series progress. some things work others are changed to fit plot lines. poetic license is a better term than fanw###ing :wink:
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Postby mspanners » Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:36 pm

The books do follow cannon broadly but there are some out standing differences between books, CMOT Dibbler as far as I can recall got His Nick Name ( C M O T ) from Vimes when He was sent back through time and space in the book Night Watch.............. but in a latter book C M O T was the initials of this first names.............. unlikely that they would both be right......... and there is the case of Twoflower being of European or American appearance in the TV Movie when it had been fairly well established He was from a Parallel of China, although it is the Movie that shows this and no so the book........ if Twoflower was meant to be Caucasian why was Interesting times set in an alternate China...........? Things just get confused and you can get into some quite heated debates over minor errors, some fans will just not accept that even the best writers in the World can get it wrong some times! :)

You just have to ignore the inconsistency in his writing and enjoy each book as it is. :roll:
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Postby Casaninbetween » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:50 pm

Note that this thread is slightly different from a fanwanking thread; we don't have to solve the inconsistencies, just bring'em up! :)

mspanners wrote: The books do follow cannon broadly but there are some out standing differences between books, CMOT Dibbler as far as I can recall got His Nick Name ( C M O T ) from Vimes when He was sent back through time and space in the book Night Watch.............. but in a latter book C M O T was the initials of this first names.............. unlikely that they would both be right.


I always thought that C.M.O.T. was just the initials for his nickname, "Cut My Own Throat", and never the initials for his real first name.

mspanners wrote: ...... and there is the case of Twoflower being of European or American appearance in the TV Movie when it had been fairly well established He was from a Parallel of China, although it is the Movie that shows this and no so the book........ if Twoflower was meant to be Caucasian why was Interesting times set in an alternate China...........?


This has already been discussed, in the Color of Magic Movie thread. Back then, I ended up agreeing with the other guys, but I've been giving it some thought, and I actually agree with you again. The Agateans should definitely look Chinese.

Anyway, that's an inconsistency between a book and a movie, which is extremey common - I doubt you could find a single book-based movie in the world which has the exact same story as the book. It's not an inconsistency between different books, which is really what this thread is about.
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