“What is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
Death thought about it.
CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE.”
From the Witches and Rincewind to Death himself, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld characters have become truly iconic over the past thirty years. This handy guide will introduce you to key lead characters in the Discworld series, and tell you which books are about them.
Death is, as you’d expect, a tall, hooded skeleton with a scythe, and SPEAKS IN A VOICE LIKE THE SLAMMING OF COFFIN LIDS. However, he also likes a good curry, and kittens, and finds the lives of mortals endlessly fascinating.
Sam Vimes is an old-fashioned copper. He, and the City Watch he commands, started in the gutter (one outside a pub), and Vimes takes care not to forget it, wearing extra thin boots so he can feel the streets of his city as he proceeds along them, cigar in hand, gimlet eyes peeled not just for crime, which being extremely cynical he suspects everyone of, but also injustice, which makes him very angry.
Discworld’s witches, based around the rural and mostly vertical kingdom of Lancre, deliver babies, treat warts and keep an eye on troublesome kings, vampires or incursions from other worlds, which they do not hold with. They don’t have leaders, but Granny Weatherwax is the most highly regarded and steely of the leaders they don’t have, assisted by Nanny Ogg – mother of fifteen and brewer of lethally strong cider.
Rincewind is the Disc’s most useless wizard – he can’t even spell wizzard, and his most notable talent is running away, very fast. But somehow whenever anyone wants a wizard for a terrifying quest, it is Rincewind they call on. The other wizards of Unseen University aren’t much better, spending more time studying the common room biscuit tin than mystical tomes – but they occasionally stretch to some magic between elevenses.
Moist von Lipwig is a cheat and a swindler and a conman. So he’s the natural choice whenever an ailing institution like the Post Office or the Royal Bank needs new management. With a taste for flashy suits and even flashier publicity stunts, he takes on some of the worst jobs on the Disc and battles even bigger crooks than himself.
Tiffany Aching is a young witch – as well as a social worker and cheese maker extraordinaire. She hails from a long line of shepherds and has a powerful connection with the Chalk where she lives. Wherever Tiffany goes, it’s almost certain that there will be a horde of tiny fightin’, boozin’ blue men in kilts – the Nac Mac Feegles – not far away.