The Colour of Magic Discussion *Spoilers*

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The Colour of Magic Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:16 am

**Warning**

This thread is for discussing The Colour of Magic 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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The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 1983

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When Twoflower, the Discworld’s first tourist and his homicidal luggage meet Rincewind, the Discworld’s most inept wizard, they become pawns in a game played by the Gods. This game takes them to various exotic places that threaten to kill them in various exotic ways.

Can they survive fires, angry bears, tree nymphs, Dungeon Dimension creatures, dragons, pirates, slave masters, sea trolls, human sacrifice and falling off the edge of the Disc?

They might with the help of The Lady – just as long as they don’t say her name!

Why can’t the Gods play Trivial Pursuit instead?

- - - - - - - - - - - - -


This is the one that started the whole phenomena that is Discworld. I know a lot of people don't like this one, but it is important. If this book hadn't been even a reasonable success, then we probably wouldn't be here now talking to each other via this Message Board. Stop and think about that for a while. How much difference have these books made to your life? I know that they’ve made a huge difference to me personally.

This was the first of Terry's books that I ever read and I was hooked. I read it just about the time it came out as a paperback and I've read all the books since then as they've been published.

Death is a little different in this one, but it's easy to see how he became the character we all know and, maybe even love...? Likewise Ankh-Morpork is somewhat different. What did you think of these early versions?

I've got some things to say about Twoflower later into the discussion, unless somebody beats me to it.

It's not my favourite Discworld book by a long stretch, but it is arguably a very important one. If you really hate this book, and I suspect there are some of you that really, really hate it, then tell us why you hate it some much.

These discussions are not just for people to say how much they enjoyed a book.
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Want to write the introduction for the next discussion (Making Money)? PM me and let me know if you’d like to – first come first served. :wink:
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:25 am

When I started rereading all the books in order a few months ago I read this for what was probably only the second time and was actually very impressed with it (I'll admit I was expecting it to be pretty poor).

I think its weakest point is that it isn't very rereadable and I'm not quite sure why that is.

The amount of Discworld creation that Pratchett manages in this book is brilliant and there's a lot of lines that made me go - that came from this early - wow.
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Postby DaveC » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:33 am

This one took me a long time to read, about a year, as oppossed to the few months it tookk me to read LF and the 2 weeks of the rest!

I don't hate it by a long stretch, it was just a lot different from other books that I had. The four section style was wierd to me coming off of Elmore Leonard books that were short crime thrilllers with six page chapters.

As I spent so long on it, it really did feel like a journey I was going on. I really liked Rincewind's attitude at the time, a bit similar to mine, I don't want any trouble... :) I also like Twoflower's innocence in contrast to Rincewind's cynicsim.

I understood by the after 10 mins reading how much more of a comedy it was going to be, although the only other fantasy books I had read were Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. Elements from all of these types of books are satirised and I loved that.

I think the only reason why it took me so long to read is that I was writing a lot at that time (need to get back to that... :oops: )

Ankh's Morpork's Medieval/Elizabethan description was really vivid to me, it seemed really colourful, yet dirty at the same time.

This is too many thoughts in one post for me, I'll let someone else chime in... :D
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:50 am

I think it is still very funny today but, like Pyramids, has a Pythonesque-style of humour which will not appeal to all. :D
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Postby mspanners » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:33 am

As the first dip into the Discworld series this has to be classed as one of the classic books, lots of new ideas were sprung upon the world by Mr Pratchett and it laid the foundations of the Disc we have all come to know and love.

OK.... there were a few rough edges but I loved it when I read it.. and still do!

I can not think of any Sword and Sorcery book that merged fantasy and comedy prior to this...... I may be wrong but none spring to mind.

I must admit that when I first read it I was left in disbelief at the ending when it appeared the main people in it were effectively left for Dead!! :shock:

Not until I picked up The Light Fantastic did I feel relieved that it was not a one off book with a strange ending but a series of books...... :D

.... with strange endings... :lol:
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Postby pip » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:50 am

I've tendency to lumpm this in with strata and darkside of the sun as books where Terry honed his art.
Its a good book just not as polished as what followed.

What I've always found hard is the Geography of it all.
I've gotten used to a well developed idea of where everything is in Discworld but here its all a bit confused.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:13 am

Like you say Tony - it's the book that started it all so it has to be important, even if you don't like it any more. :lol:

But I do like it and have said so on this board more than once, whilst acknowledging that it's different to the rest (even LF although that is essentially a sequel). Re-reading for the first time in many a year I was prepared to think it's not as good stylistically or technically than the later books after Terry really gets into his stride with Mort (or wherever in the publication order you think Discworld really starts to come into its own). I was wrong - it's very well written indeed, but it's just not as honed perhaps as the books to come and that I think is a good thing because CoM is a book of it's time and timed for people who love their fantasy well spiced (in an intellectual sense) to get out of the Tolkien rut - yes really! - but especially right away from his lesser imitators (and sorry folks that includes authors like David Eddings and Terry Brooks and Katharine Kerr) without losing the depth and 'feel' for an original and truly fantastic environment. :D

It's a therapy day so I have to go soon, but I agree with what several people are saying already - before the end of story 1 you can smell A-M and especially the Ankh because Terry's writing has always been atmospheric and it's that quality that most feeds into the Discworld addiction everyone on this forum feels. So I didn't just like CoM I thoroughly loved it right from the very start and could barely wait for the others to follow. Those of you who came to Discworld later are paradoxicallly more fortunate and less 'stirred up' in a way, because the gaps in publication back in the early 80's were almost akin to cold turkey waiting for the next one to come out and be devoured far too quickly! 8)
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Postby raisindot » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:43 pm

To me, reading COM after first reading any of the mid to late period books is like reading "Two Gentleman of Verona" after reading "Twelfth Night." It just doesn't compare in depth, intelligence, or insights

Personally, I found COM (and TLF) a chore to read. To me it seems clear that Pterry was trying to position himself as the Doug Adams of the fantasy genre. He borrows many plays from the Adams playbook--Krazy Karacters, funny gods, silly situations--even the footnotes were the equivalent of Adams' encyclopediac annotations.

Rincewind has never been my favorite character. He is really little more than a two-joke character whose main purpose is to serve as the straight man for all the craziness that goes on around him. There's only so much running away and cowardice one can take before it gets old real fast.

The only things I liked about the book were Twoflower (who is such an innocent boob you've got to love him) and the Luggage, which is truly one of the most original comic gags. I'd rather read a whole novel built around The Luggage than another Rincewind book.

I think the best reason to read COM is see where PTerry came from, and to witness how much better a writer he became when he was finally willing to move on from joke-telling to story-telling. Most published writers either start at a high plateau and stay there, and start as rather undeveloped talents and progress a little bit until they they reach a comfortable level and never go beyond. Pterry, like Shakespeare, is one of those few writers whose mastery can be charted progressively.

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Postby michelanCello » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:19 pm

Color of Magic... I have to admit that - together with LF - it's maybe my least favorite DW book... Not that I didn't enjoy reading it, it's just that if I made a list of the series, it'd be quite at the bottom... Ik like Rincewind and Twoflower, the two are great togeher, but I agree with raisindot, that it's a bit as if TP'd "try himself out"...
What annoys me the most is that it practically consists of many little stories, which - if you look at it a bit closer - don't really stick together.
Maybe my least favorite part is when Rincewind and Twoflower get into another dimension with other personalities - on an airplane! I mean - why??

Still, we get to know the Luggage, "who" is one of my favorite characters. :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:47 pm

Doughnut Jimmy wrote:When I started rereading all the books in order a few months ago I read this for what was probably only the second time and was actually very impressed with it (I'll admit I was expecting it to be pretty poor).

I think its weakest point is that it isn't very rereadable and I'm not quite sure why that is.

The amount of Discworld creation that Pratchett manages in this book is brilliant and there's a lot of lines that made me go - that came from this early - wow.
As far as readability is concerned - it occurred to me on this reading that Terry seemed to be trying to write in the style of the fantasy novelists as well as parodying them. I mean using the sort of archaic prose that a lot of them used. It's a very "wordy" book and I feel that gets in the way of the story on times. :)
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:35 pm

It isn't my favourite book, but having read it in English for the first time it isn't bad :wink:

Who thinks the Patrician here is Vetinari? He's described as having chins. I can't imagine him being Vetinari :wink:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:02 pm

I think we don't really get to Vetinari in his classic definition until Sourcery - when Coin changes him into a lizard and Wuffles also gets transformed as well I think, but you could blink and miss that almost. Certainly we don't get the Patrician in a substantial cameo appearance until G!G!

I agree the earlier ones don't match too well physically, but there's traces of a Vetinari-style cynical despotism in these early glimpses, rather than the psychopathic variety with Snapcase and the other predecessor we see in Nightwatch
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:36 pm

Terry has gone on record (as it's a question he frequently gets asked) as saying that it is indeed Vetinari - albeit an early draft. :roll:

Can you really say that there are inconsistancies in the very first book of the series? Surely it's the later books that are inconsistant. :wink:

I noticed that Rincewind apparently doesn't have his hat in this one. If he does, it's not mentioned at all.
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:04 pm

The Patrician isn´t named, so to me it isn´t Vetinari :wink:

Terry is only the writer, what does he know :wink:
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Postby mspanners » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:38 pm

Patrician is a post like minister or prime minister and I as well do not see any resemblance to Vetinari either..... if it was an early version of the man from the later books then there was some MAJOR reworking!

He went from a Fat Beringed hedonist who dined of fine foods to an thin plain man who thought a glass of water and a slice of bread a fine feast....... :?

I dont care if Terry said He is the man...... He soooooooo not! :lol:
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