Equal Rites Discussion *Spoilers*

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Equal Rites Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:42 am

**Warning**

This thread is for discussing Equal Rites 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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Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 1987

Image

Image

Introduction

When the dying wizard, Drum Billet, hands his staff to the newly born eighth son of an eighth son, he makes a slight error. Eskarina Smith isn’t a son at all, but the damage is done and Esk has a destiny to fulfill. A life in Magic – but her magic is wrong for witches and the wizards won’t have her.

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Terry says early in this book that it is a story about sex. He’s right in more ways than one. It’s also one of the earliest Discworld books and his first real attempt at comic satire rather than parody. The book has the debut of one of his most beloved characters in Granny Weatherwax. For those of us who read the books in order as they were published, the evolution of Granny seemed more subtle – but getting to know Granny and then going back to see this early draft is a bit unsettling. However, characters do develop and change and it’s kind of nice to meet this version of Granny.

I think this book is underrated. It’s heaps better than the first two and there’s so much more depth – albeit, there’s not the skill in writing that Terry shows in some of the later books. I guess Terry’s writing developed as well. :)

But what did you think of it?
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
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Postby kakaze » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:23 am

Was the apple tree Drum Billet? Or was he just kind of "hanging out" in the tree?

The tree was already there when Esk was born, and then grew "perceptably taller then the other apple trees" as she grew up.

Also, later at the end of the book, one of the ants is revealed to be Drum Billet, who had "finally decided to give life another chance."
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:46 am

It's a dead short book. Possibly the shortest after Eric.

Esk is an early incarnation of Tiffany, she even has second thoughts.
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:56 am

Oh! And the picture at the top of this page is wrong because the book said the Disc was bigger than Great A'Tuin. 8)
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Postby kakaze » Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:24 am

poohcarrot wrote:It's a dead short book. Possibly the shortest after Eric.


It's still got plenty of stuff though.

I guess it's main theme is obviously gender inequality and the stereotypes that we make about men and women. Such as women (witches) being more in touch with nature, herbs and psychology (headology), while men are more ceremonial, elaborate, and ritual, and are better at mathematics ("jometery").

Terry makes an obvious reference to to Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy:
"Only dumb redheads in Fifties' sitcoms are wacky."

The Liber Paginarum Fulvarum is, like the Necrotelicomnicom, a reference to Lovecraft's necronomicon. Apparently, "Liber Paginarum Fulvarum" is Latin for "Book of Yellow Pages", although I've read that they got the shade of yellow wrong.

"RAMTOP" was the name of a system variable in the old Sinclair Spectrum computers. Wasn't Terry a computer programmer on an early type of computer?

The name Hoki ("'I've seen the thundergods a few times,' said Granny, 'and Hoki, of course.'") is a combination of 'hokey' (to be of flimsy credibility or quality) in combination with the Norse god Loki. The description of Hoki, however, is obviously the Greek god Pan.

We met Bel-Shamharoth in The Colour of Magic.
C'hulagen references C'thulhu.
"The Insider", is a reference to Lovecraft's "The Outsider".

"good fences make good neighbours." is probably my favorite pun in the book. :P

This is the book where Mrs. Palm is introduced (although we don't actually meet her). I was unaware of it, but apparently "Mrs. Palm" is a reference to male masturbation.

When Treatle says "Alma mater, gaudy armours eagle tour and so on." it's a reference to an old student's drinking song "Gaudeamus Igitur"

I thought that maybe Ksandra (the university maid) was the princess from the Weyreburg, but apparently it's a reference to Cassandra (the psychic) whom the Gods gave the gift of prophecy and the curse of no-one believing a word she said.

"Granpone the White. He's going to be Granpone the Grey if he doesn't take better care of his laundry." is an obvious reference to Gandolf the Grey

"the Creator hadn't really decided what he wanted and was, as it were, just idly messing around with the Pleistocene." The Pleistocene was an age of dinosaures, and sounds like Plasticine, a brand of moldable plastic clay.

I thought the duel between Weatherwax and Cutangle was a reference to The Sword in the Stone, but apparently it goes back farther than that, to an old song 'The Two Magicians'.

This book introduced the "Million-to-one chance" theory.

Cutangle's saying "red sky at night, the city's alight" sounded like the saying "red sky at night, sailor's delight", though perhaps Terry was thinking of the "shepherd" version. :P
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:43 am

:lol: You haven't been to LSpace and read the annotations by any chance have you? :lol: :wink:
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:10 am

I can't think of much to say about this book, so I'll wait for someone to say something stupid and then argue with them. :twisted:

(Jan's usually good for a stupid comment or two. So is SWReader, but she's incapacitated at the moment.)

It is rumoured that some people regard this book as being packed full of sexual innuendo. :shock:

Personally, I don't, but I'd love to hear from anyone who does. :twisted:

Example;

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"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:20 pm

Here's Kakaze's sexual innuendo;

kakaze wrote:This is the book where Mrs. Palm is introduced (although we don't actually meet her). I was unaware of it, but apparently "Mrs. Palm" is a reference to male masturbation.
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:21 pm

:lol: Oh I think you underestimate your own ability to make stupid comments Pooh! :wink:

Rosie Palm and her five daughters, or various versions of that are well known references to male masturbation. Somehow I doubt Terry happened to name her that coincidentally.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:28 pm

kakaze wrote:Was the apple tree Drum Billet? Or was he just kind of "hanging out" in the tree?

The tree was already there when Esk was born, and then grew "perceptably taller then the other apple trees" as she grew up.

Also, later at the end of the book, one of the ants is revealed to be Drum Billet, who had "finally decided to give life another chance."
I don't think it's clear although it seems to me that Billet was haunting the tree until he finally made up his mind to be reincarnated. Death says that with his karma he'd be lucky to be reborn as an ant.

I liked the subtle hints that Death was following Drum Billet to the forge. The white cat certainly seems to have been able to see Death before anyone else. :)
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:00 pm

A couple of lines I like from the book are :

'Million to one chances' Granny said crop up nine times out of ten.


Do you know how wizards like to be buried,
Yes
Well how
Reluctantly.

Your wizards Esk screamed well bloodly well wizz. :)
He willnae tak' a drink! I think he's deid! , on the other hand though A Midgie in yir hand is worth twa up yir kilt.
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Postby kakaze » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Tonyblack wrote::lol: You haven't been to LSpace and read the annotations by any chance have you? :lol: :wink:


Yes! I did! :D

It seemed like a good way to get the thread going.

When Death said that he'd "be lucky to be an ant", I took it to mean that he had to be a tree before he qualified as an ant.

However, the timelines don't match up; the tree was planted before he died, and (presumably) was still around while he was an ant (unless Esk's dad cut it down soon after she left). Of course, with reincarnation lives don't have be consecutive.

Also, the reason he'd be lucky to be an ant is because of his karma, and he wasn't a very good tree (sour, wormy apples, and twisting branches to drop Esk's brothers), so I don't think that would have improved his karma very much.

I also read Why Gandalf Never Married, and he had some interesting things to say about gender inequality in fantasy. I'd like to add to that with Harry Potter. Rowling has been criticised by feminist groups for not being even-handed in her books. In the entire series, I can only think of three females who really do much; Hermione, McGonagall, and Bellatrix Lestrange. The rest stick in my mind as one-off or support characters. The main character (harry), his best friend (ronald), his favorite teacher (hagrid), the schoolmaster (dumbledore), his arch-enemy (voldemort), and voldimort's main liutenant (Lucious) were men.

Tonyblack wrote:I liked the subtle hints that Death was following Drum Billet to the forge. The white cat certainly seems to have been able to see Death before anyone else.


I'm not sure if I'm remembering it correctly or not, but couldn't cats see Death in The Color of Magic, but were scared of him?
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Postby Lady Vetinari » Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:55 pm

Molly Weasley does a HECK of a lot - and its Molly Weasley that KILLS Bellatrix LeStrange - in defence of Ginny ... who also fights alongside Harry at the end of OotP - and stands loyally by him at the end of Half-Blood Prince ... in Deathly Hallows she stands up TO SNAPE in DEFENCE of Harry AFTER he 'murder's' Dumbledore.
They obviously have forgotten Lily ... A WOMAN who DEFEATED Voldemort NOT JAMES!!!!
TRELAWNEY had the prophecy that led to Voldemorts destruction - another woman - AND NARCISSA also leads Voldemort to his death - these might be subtle but still powerful!
I can think of several instances but don't forget - Delores Umbridge. Arabella Figg. Nymphadora Tonks. Nevilles Mum who was driven mad in her defence ....
Luna Lovegood was held as a prisoner in MALFOY'S Mansion for crying out loud.

Think that's enough ....
Sorry but there are PLENTY of women in HP world that do a lot ... The only thing that bugged me was that she went for the stereotype male Werewolf ...

I liked Equal Rites as an introduction to Granny Weatherwax but that's it really.
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Postby Lady Vetinari » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:28 pm

And on her site she has Wizard of the Month - One of them was a Female Minister of Magic in the early 1800'S ... SO Rowling's world has equality long before the parallel world ... I.E Ours. Can't remember her name.

I love both authors for various reasons and dislike both for OTHER various reasons ... But I think Rowling has created many good, powerful women of differing backgrounds... and there are various types of women in the world... My mum could CLOUT any Feminist if she hurt any of us even NOW... and she's a housewife ... by choice ... that's true feminism allowing women to do what they want without condemning them for their choice.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:11 am

I think you make a good points about women in fantasy. The first two DW books were very much parodies of the genre and, the more I think about it, the more I can see that this one is to a degree as well.

In fantasy magical men were wizards and magical women were witches. Terry has stirred that up in this book and said - suppose a woman was a wizard? Why not? What is it that makes a wizard a wizard and a witch a witch? And then he uses the book to explore the differences using Esk as a sort of gender challenged magical practitioner. :)
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