Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

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Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:45 am

**Warning**

This thread is for discussing Sourcery in some depth. If you haven’t read the book then read on at your own risk – or, better still, go and read the book and join in the fun.

For those of us that are going to join in the discussion, here are a few guidelines:

Please feel free to make comparisons to other Discworld books, making sure you identify the book and the passage you are referring to. Others may not be as familiar with the book you are referencing, so think before you post.

Sometimes we’ll need to agree to disagree – only Terry knows for sure what he was thinking when he wrote the books and individuals members may have widely different interpretations – so try to keep the discussion friendly.

We may be discussing a book that you don’t much care for – don’t be put off joining in the discussion. If you didn’t care for the book, then that in itself is a good topic for discussion.

Please note: there is no time limit to this discussion. Please feel free to add to it at any time - especially if you've just read the book.

And finally:

Please endeavour to keep the discussion on topic. If necessary I will step in and steer it back to the original topic – so no digressions please!

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Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 1988

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Introduction

Ipslore the Red is the eighth son of an eighth son and that makes him a wizard and that should be the end of it. But he falls in love and is cast out from the Unseen University. There’s a very good reason that wizards are normally celibate, but they don’t like to talk about it. Seven sons down the line and Ipslore fathers Coin, an eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son – a source of magic – A Sourcerer!

The rise of the Sourcerer heralds the end of the Discworld unless Rincewind the Disc’s most inept wizard can stop him. It’s a million to one chance, but they happen nine times out of ten.

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This has always been one my least favourite of the series. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to work out why. It’s got lots in it – excitement, adventure, humour and even a warning about how power corrupts. But to me it just doesn’t quite gel together.

We see Vetinari for the first time in that the Patrician gets a name and an identity and even a dog! We also see Rincewind in possibly his most heroic role. In some ways this book set the scene for the wizard books to come with the Faculty that we all love so much. It did this by basically wiping out the earlier ideas that Terry had about wizardry and giving him a fresh start. So I guess we’ve got this one to thank for that.

I think my biggest problem with this book is that none of the characters are likeable enough to make me care about their fates.

But what did you think? :)
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Want to write the introduction for the next discussion (Moving Pictures)? PM me and let me know if you’d like to – first come first served. :wink:
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:08 pm

Oh dear - not a very auspicious start... :roll:

Well let's start with the Wizards then - granted this is the mould that leads into Ridcully's rule as a more robust but intrinsically sloppy attitude to magic with a more academic cut and thrust and emphasis on good living to leave the homidicidal autorcrat type in the past and good riddance! :twisted:

I was quite interested in Spelter as the Bursar run pilot with his nerves stretched and frazzled to all buggery in preparation for the dried frogs pills riff when he shuffles off to make way for Dr Dinwiddie in Eric (well that's what it says in the L-Space Wiki :lol: ). Actually I thought Spelter was quite a compassionate character once the staff made it's presence felt with trying to warn the Librarian and save the books and his concern for poor little Coin's nocturnal sobbing sessions under the kosh of his father's rod of octiron :shock:
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby HazelRah17 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:01 pm

I think Coin could have done with a bit more development. I mean he's this awful wizard killing little psycho and then suddenly he's a bullied little kid. Also I feel so bad for Rincewind, he's travelling with this group of people and is pretty much in love with Coinina and they're barely civil to him. Not much in the way of questing companionship. It does sort of make them hard to like considering they're supposed to be the good guys.
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby TimBou » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:04 am

I liked the Arabian Nights spoof in the middle of the book - having enjoyed all of those stories as a child. The snake pit with just one paltry snake in it! And Creosote of course.

And the overcommitted yuppie genie with the mobile phone - too true!

And Nijel the Destroyer... with his manual.

The Conina thing didn't quite work for me. Yes it was funny her being a frustrated hairdresser and all but I didn't really understand why she fell for Nijel. The luggage being stuck on her was funny, of course.

Also I liked the bit with the Ice Giants near the end. And the Horsemen of the Apocralypse at the inn. And yes, Rincewind did manage to do something heroic and self-sacrificing despite himself.

It had a lot, but despite all of that I found the story kind of floundered in the middle. And the ending was not the best as it seemed to lose momentum for me once Coin did his about-face.

Good DW, but not great DW IMHO.

I think part of the problem for me was not knowing who the real villain was... was it Coin, or his father, or the Hat, or...? Give me a Discworld with a really clear, meaty, evil villain like Reacher Gilt, or Vorbis, or Carcer...
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:36 pm

Nijel's manual was, I think, a reference to the adverts you used to get in comics a long time ago. They were often for unlikely items such as X-Ray specs and such. One of the regular ones was a manual supposedly written by Charles Atlas, the ex Mr Universe, promising skinny wimps that "You too can have a body like mine" and that they'd instantly become attractive to the opposite sex. They seemed to be aimed at people just like Nijel. :lol:
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby LilMaibe » Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:35 pm

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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Harry Blue5 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:55 pm

The book has a nice enough opening, but it sort of suffers towards the middle. Didn't really like Conina or Nijel much either. I didn't hate them, I just didn't find them that interesting. As the other posters said, Coin could've done with a bit more development before he switched sides.

Still, at least Rincewind got to do something awesome.
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:06 pm

I think Ipslore the Red is an interesting character in this book - even though he is , arguably, not in it much. I don't think there was very much 'love' in his relationship with Coin's unnamed mother, except maybe at the beginning.

He seems to have decided to do what was banned and not only have children, but to have eight sons. You have to wonder what sort of man he was to have such an obsession. Coin was the fulfilment of his plan to breed a sourcerer. he wasn't (it seems) interested in any of his other sons - he drove them out as soon as he got the chance, because they were, in effect, an end to a means.

But even once Coin had been born, Ipslore was determined that he would control his creation, even after his own death. Coin himself is not evil, but he does seem to have been under the influence of someone who, if not evil himself, is obsessively determined to be in control of huge power.

It takes Rincewind to break that spell between father and son. It seems that Coin was already reluctant to be using his power in the way he was being steered.

Despite my introduction (which I copied from a previous discussion I'd done on this book on another board) I did find more to this book this time around than previously. I still find some of the minor characters a bit hollow, but it has more depth than I'd previously realised. :)
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby TimBou » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:47 am

Yes, I agree he was a promising villain. It was probably a mistake to imprison him in a staff for most of the book - limits opportunities for character development!

I remember Charles Atlas on my comics when I was a kid (yes, and the x-ray specs, and the invisible ink and who could forget the sea monkeys?). And I ordered one of those spectacular-looking wargames from the US and was disappointed at how small and plastic the pieces were compared to the picture...

Terry must have missed out on the sea monkeys, I could see the potential for a few good DW jokes on that subject. The trouble is you can buy them in the shops nowadays so they lose that mailorder romance they used to have...
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby LilMaibe » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:59 pm

I just wondered when the novel is set.
The timeline at the l-space wiki says ten years after CoM&TLF, though one line about Luggage eating a spellbook made me wonder.
(we really need an official timeline)
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:58 pm

I think there's mention somewhere that the Luggage 'ate' the Octavo at the end of Light Fantastic, but gave it up again at a later date.

I disagree about needing a timeline. It's not a history or even a serial as such - just a series of stories set on an imaginary world.
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raptornx01 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:54 pm

In my mind i placed it about 15 or 16 years later cause of the time jump in wyrd sisters. i see no reason it can't be.

and Tony, its a fan thing. you'll get that no matter what franchise you are talking about. but all in all they fit in the presented timeframe rather well (small gods notwithstanding but having the line in there by Simony "kicking and screaming into the century of the fruit bat" gives me pause in reference to some people's theories about when its set).

Seems to me Terry intended for them to follow a timeline but only later really set down to standardize it. just reminds me of the discussion about Vetinari Vs the patrician in CoM and then Terry coming out finally and saying, yes that WAS Vetinari in CoM, but Vetinari as written by a less experienced author.
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby LilMaibe » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:30 pm

well, in Wyrd Sisters only Lancre made a timejump.
I say it's fully possible that several of the stories we read are set during these 15 years.
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raptornx01 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:09 pm

Lancre moved forward so the outside world is 15 years older. Yeah, its possible, but the alternative isn't unlikely.
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Re: Sourcery Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby LilMaibe » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:48 pm

found another bit on the time issue:
Rincewind mentions that he's been twenty years behind the staff. Now, in CoM, TLF and Sourcery it is mentioned that at the time of CoM he's been at the University for 16 years (which, going with the compendium and its information that students usually start at the age of 16 now makes sense, seeing that his roundworld self is 33)
While there'd be various ways of reading this of course, I think that means he's rounding his time at the university up, which then again means less than four years have passed since TLF
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