About the Archchancellor's hat

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About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby LilMaibe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:04 am

Don't worry, this is not going to be a rant, but rather some musing. I hope I managed to make sense (still tend to skip some steps from my thought-progress when writing it down)

Okay, so it is more of just a question and interpretation than headcanon, but still:

Back in Sourcery THE Archchancellor’s Hat (the one which holds all the spirits of former Archchancellors, compared to Ridcully’s which only holds his spirit) plays an important role, as we know.

And in sourcery it was destroyed. Annilihated.

Now, in Unseen Academicals, though, it is brought back to serve as a minor MacGuffin. Voices all included.

I think that bringing it back ‘from the death’ holds quite a lot of potential to be explored.

Let me explain:

In UA the hat serves, as said, as not much more than a plotdevice.

Now recall what the hat was capable of:

It could increase its wearers magical power by an outstanding amount

It was able to do magic on its own, telepathically communicate and control people’s minds.

I got the impression that the hat would actually cause Archchancellors to get killed to increase its own power.

As in: they wear it, it drives them to do unsettling things which leads to other wizards ‘take care’ of the Archchancellor in question, not because they want to ascend in their ranks (like others who might be after him), but because they worry what might happen if he’ll be allowed to stay around, unwittingly increasing the hat’s power.

I don’t know about you, but I hope this idea will get explored instead of just having the hat as some sort of offhand joke.
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby Dotsie » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:39 am

I don't really remember without checking, but as wizards change a lot throughout the series the hat probably will too. The hat discussed in UA is a symbol of power, by giving it up Ridcully won't lose anything but face. I know he doesn't wear it, but has made his own (that's right, isn't it?). Does the power of the hat get discussed in UA?

I know there's no consistency throughout the series regarding wizards, but IMO that doesn't matter - they're better as they are, ordinary non-magical hats and all.
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby pip » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:47 am

Dotsie wrote:I don't really remember without checking, but as wizards change a lot throughout the series the hat probably will too. The hat discussed in UA is a symbol of power, by giving it up Ridcully won't lose anything but face. I know he doesn't wear it, but has made his own (that's right, isn't it?). Does the power of the hat get discussed in UA?

I know there's no consistency throughout the series regarding wizards, but IMO that doesn't matter - they're better as they are, ordinary non-magical hats and all.

I didn't think the hat in UA was anymore than a replica and symbol rather than the destroyed powerful original to be honest
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby LilMaibe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:54 am

pip wrote:
Dotsie wrote:I don't really remember without checking, but as wizards change a lot throughout the series the hat probably will too. The hat discussed in UA is a symbol of power, by giving it up Ridcully won't lose anything but face. I know he doesn't wear it, but has made his own (that's right, isn't it?). Does the power of the hat get discussed in UA?

I know there's no consistency throughout the series regarding wizards, but IMO that doesn't matter - they're better as they are, ordinary non-magical hats and all.

I didn't think the hat in UA was anymore than a replica and symbol rather than the destroyed powerful original to be honest


Thought so too first. But then there is Ridcully's mention of him not liking the hat because 'it grumbles too much'
(Happens during the banquet IIRC). Which I'd read as -it is the hat we all deemed destroyed-
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby Dotsie » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:00 am

Possibly a new "sentient" hat was made, which will gather the memories of future arch chancellors
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby LilMaibe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:36 am

But....why?
I don't want to rant or anything, but...why bring up the hat to begin with? Having Ridcully state, for example,
You're after my chair. (Not that you'd fit in it)

Or something would have done the trick too I think.
Even if it is a new one...why make it. Ridcully is happy with his and....it's just weird :/
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:45 am

Maybe it's symbolic. The Queen doesn't always wear her crown, but that doesn't mean she doesn't need one. It's part of what makes her Queen.

And what about Moist's hat? It's the Postmaster's hat - it's a symbol of the office and, even if he doesn't wear it, he's still the postmaster.

I think Terry has said before that hats have power. It's why Granny Weatherwax wears a hat - it tells everyone who she is and makes the Headology work.

There would be an Archchancellor's Hat, even if he doesn't wear it.
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby LilMaibe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:50 am

Point taken.
(Though, honestly, Ridcully's actual hat is much neater than a sentient hat could ever be (not counting the sorting hat here))
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby pip » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:55 am

Well ridcully made his own hat while wizarding kind recognise the official one( at least the ones that know of the university) even if its an updated version. In history crowns have been lost but the new one is given the symbolic power of the old one. Why not the hat. The wizards would be silly enough to make a second one sentient as well
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby LilMaibe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:08 pm

Yes.
But back to the initial question:
Is there a potential story behind the 'ressurection' of the hat (if it actually is still the old one)
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby Dotsie » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:29 pm

There always is. But to find out what, it would have to be fanfic. Terry's not much of one for filling in the gaps I think.
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby LilMaibe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:36 pm

Damn.
Think there'll ever be a chance of dropped ideas and drabbles being made public?
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby pip » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:38 pm

Would need an encyclopedia and i can't see that cropping up anytime soon. The diaries used to fill a few of the gaps and details but no sign of a few new ones of them :cry:
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:33 pm

Well we kind of have a postcedent (as opposed to precedent) in the 'Sorting Hat' don't we? :twisted:

That adequately demonstrates the ceremonial symbolism of hats (as with the Queen's crown) so maybe the Archchancellor's hat was never actually worn by any of them (apart from the 1st Archchancellor) aside from at their investiture. The original hat's disappeared in the current timeline now so presumably there's a new 'official' one and Ridcully simply wears his 'day job' hat as a lifestyle statement to suit his huntin' shootin' and fishin' habits... :P
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Re: About the Archchancellor's hat

Postby raisindot » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:51 pm

LilMaibe wrote:Yes.
But back to the initial question:
Is there a potential story behind the 'ressurection' of the hat (if it actually is still the old one)


Methinks you're reading too much into this, LilMaibe. There're all sorts of inconsistencies throughout the series, which is perfectly understandable, given Pterry's literary evolution over time. I get the feeling that this late in his career, Pterry isn't all that concerned about making sure that every action in the past is somehow dealt with and explained in the present. Pterry is more interested in writing about people than exploring the backstories of arcana.
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