Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The turtle moves!

Stories are important. People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way round. Stories... have evolved... The strongest have survived, and they have grown fat... Stories etch grooves deep enough for people to follow... A thousand wolves have eaten grandmother, a thousand princesses have been kissed... Stories don't care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told, that the story repeats.

Terry Pratchett in Witches Abroad, describing the Theory of Narrative Causality

A world, and a mirror of worlds.

The Discworld, a flat planet carried by four elephants standing on the back of a gigantic space-turtle, is the venue for Sir Terry Pratchett's long running fantasy series.

The first few books were a straightforward parody of Heroic Fantasy tropes, but later books have subverted, played with, and hung lampshades on practically every trope on this site, in every genre, and many not yet covered, as well as parodying (and in some cases, deconstructing) many well known films, books, and TV series. The humour ranges from simple wordplay to wry reflections on the absurdities of life.

While all of the Discworld books exist in the same Constructed World, with the same continuity (and roughly in chronological order, with a few exceptions), many can be loosely grouped into different series, following some of Pratchett's recurring characters. These include Rincewind the incompetent "wizzard," The Ankh-Morpork City Watch (which are usually mystery novels), the Lancre witches (which lend themselves well to Shakespeare) and Death. Some books follow one-off protagonists who may or may not appear in supporting roles in other books.

In addition to the main characters, there is a large cast of recurring characters, including dodgy street trader Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler and benevolent tyrant Havelock Vetinari ('benevolent' in the sense that he's a much nicer tyrant than his predecessors). Villains have included sociopathic geniuses, Eldritch Abominations, and the Auditors of Reality, cosmic bureaucrats who consider life too untidy to be tolerated.

As of Pterry's death in 2015, there were fourty-three books in the series, six of them marketed as young-adult and another two marketed toward children, as well as several short stories. With the destruction of his notes in 2017, it is unlikely that there will be any more.

There are also Discworld calendars, diaries, maps, compendia, three Video Games,[1] three Board Games,[2] and a pen and paper RPG, each with additional background information about the Disc. All the books have been adapted for the stage, two have become animated series, and three (technically four, as The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic were filmed as a single story under the former title, but the second is a direct follow-on) have become live-action Made For TV Movies. A cop show based around the Ankh-Morpork Watch is in the works. Yes, really.

See also the character sheet for details on the more major of the series' Loads and Loads of Characters, and the fan-run L-Space Web for quotes and annotations (which unfortunately haven't updated since Going Postal, from 2004). There is a reading order guide for those who would like to go through the books by internal series.

The Discworld series was pre-dated by science-fiction novel entitled Strata. While this isn't a Discworld book per se, it does prominently feature a flat Earth, and it does seem to contain the seeds of many ideas that would feature in the Discworld books later on.

Warning: Some of the summaries contain spoilers.

The main Discworld novels, in order of release:

Brackets denote date of UK publication and main character(s) - standalone indicates that it is not currently part of a series.

  1. The Colour of Magic (1983 - Rincewind the wizard)
  2. The Light Fantastic (1986 - Rincewind)
  3. Equal Rites (1987 - Granny Weatherwax the witch)
  4. Mort (1987 - Death)
  5. Sourcery (1988 - Rincewind)
  6. Wyrd Sisters (1988 - The Lancre witches, inc. Granny Weatherwax)
  7. Pyramids (1989 - standalone)
  8. Guards! Guards! (1989 - The City Watch)
  9. Eric (or "Faust Eric") (1990 - Rincewind; originally published as an illustrated novel)
  10. Moving Pictures (1990- standalone, Wizards subplot)
  11. Reaper Man (1991 - Death, Wizards subplot)
  12. Witches Abroad (1991 - The Lancre witches)
  13. Small Gods (1992 - standalone, History Monks cameo)
  14. Lords and Ladies (1992 - The Lancre witches, Wizards cameo)
  15. Men at Arms (1993 - The City Watch)
  16. Soul Music (1994 - Death, Susan, Wizards subplot)
  17. Interesting Times (1994 - Rincewind, Heroes)
  18. Maskerade (1995 - The Lancre witches)
  19. Feet of Clay (1996 - The City Watch)
  20. Hogfather (1996 - Death, Susan, Wizards subplot)
  21. Jingo (1997 - The City Watch)
  22. The Last Continent (1998 - Rincewind/Wizards)
  23. Carpe Jugulum (1998- The Lancre witches, Uberwald)
  24. The Fifth Elephant (1999 - The City Watch, Uberwald)
  25. The Truth (2000 - standalone, The City Watch cameo)
  26. Thief of Time (2001 - History Monks, Death, Susan)
  27. Night Watch (2002 - History Monks, The City Watch)
  28. Monstrous Regiment (2003 - standalone/The City Watch cameo, Uberwald)
  29. Going Postal (2004 - Moist von Lipwig)
  30. Thud! (2005 - The City Watch)
  31. Making Money (2007 - Moist von Lipwig)
  32. Unseen Academicals (October 2009 - Wizards and new characters)
  33. Snuff (October 2011 - The City Watch)
  34. Raising Steam (2013 - Moist von Lipwig)

Illustrated novels:

  • Faust Eric (1990 - Rincewind; also available in paperback novel format)
  • The Last Hero (2001 - Rincewind, bits of The City Watch and Wizards, Heroes; republished with more illustrations)

The young-adult Discworld novels:

Children's books:

Short stories:


Animated series:

  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld: Soul Music (1996)
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld: Wyrd Sisters (1997)


  • The Mapps
    • The Streets of Ankh-Morpork
    • The Discworld Mapp
    • A Tourist's Guide To Lancre
    • Death's Domain
Discworld is the Trope Namer for:
The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the Discworld franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.

Tropes that are not specific to one character (or group of characters) and appeared in three or more books (anything else should go in those pages, since otherwise five-sevenths of the tropes on this site would be listed).


  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Death's scythe and sword, Carrot's sword, and Inigo Skimmer's palm knife. Especially Death's scythe, which is described as "proverbially sharp" and can cut the dialog in the book when it's swung. It exudes an aura of sharpness that extends several inches from the actual blade- because it is that sharp.
    • Carrot's sword is also very interesting. It is one of the very few swords on the Disc without a single hint of magic in it. Instead, it is a long and very sharp piece of metal designed specifically to cut through man, horse and armour. IT is also an extremely old sword. This makes sense, given its implied origin.
  • Academy of Adventure: If the Unseen University doesn't have adventure happen to it, the wizards will make one (usually by accident).
  • Addiction Displacement: all Black Ribboner vampires turn to a particular obsession (coffee, photography, politics, et cetera) as a psychological substitute for craving human blood. Sam Vimes also replaces alcohol with cigars.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Nanny Ogg has Greebo; Granny Weatherwax eventually has You.
  • All the Myriad Ways: Mentioned and discussed in Night Watch. Plays quite a big part in Jingo and Lords and Ladies.
  • All Theories Are True: Especially the morphogenic field, and anything involving the word "quantum".
  • All Trolls Are Different: The trolls are actually made of stone, instead of turning to stone. They sometimes go dormant for long periods of time and are mistaken for rocks.
    • The legend of trolls turning into stone during the day is based on the fact that trolls are nocturnal: their brains are silicon based and easily overheat, leading both to torpor and stupidity and startling intelligence under the right circumstances.
      • To wit, Detritus is once trapped in a freezer and slowly freezes to death. Just before he loses consciousness, he he writes an equation in the condensation which explains the origin of life in its entirety. However, when the door is opened, the rush of warm air gets rid of the condensation and the formula. He is also once taken to the Klatchian desert and can barely move during the day.
      • Diamond trolls are capable of regulating their own internal temperature and are known for being extremely bright. Mr. Shine is an example of this.
    • Also a major reason for the conflict between trolls and dwarves: "Dwarves are beings who spend most of their time digging through rock to find precious minerals. Trolls are essentially metamorphic rock wrapped around valuable minerals."
    • Gargoyles are a subspecies of Troll, whose jaws are permanently stuck open, and like to hang out on tall buildings because their primary foodstuff is pigeons (unlike regular trolls, who eat rocks), and are perfectly at home spending days on end staring at nothing. See also the entry below for Our Gargoyles Rock.
  • Alternative Number System: Trolls apparently have a "base Many" system (actually base four). As in, "one, two, three, many, many-one, many-two...
  • Amusing Alien: The Luggage.
  • Angels, Devils, and Squid: Gods, demons and the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions. The first two groups are more similar than they'd like to admit ("the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters"), while the Things just want the light and shape of our reality and would kill us without even noticing if they ever got through. That's without mentioning the Auditors and other weirdness.
    • Thief of Time has a scene where pictures of particularly dangerous entities are shown. The picture of the most feared of all shows...an empty, hooded robe, hanging in mid-air. That's how Auditors appear. Angels and Demons have USES for humans. The Things From The Dungeon Dimensions would eradicate humans without noticing. Auditors are the only ones who are actually malevolent: They ACTIVELY want life not only gone, but to have never been.
  • Anthropic Principle: One of the series' major themes: Discworld is a world of stories. The world often conspires to get the people in the stories to play their roles, no matter what the consequences. The people often aren't happy with this.
    • One book mentions the Unseen University Professor of Anthropics, who has created the Extreme Anthropic Principle: the theory that the universe is here solely for the Unseen University Professor of Anthropics. It is further mentioned that everyone, with a few changes of the Insert Name Here variety, secretly believes the same thing.
  • Arc Number: 8. The Discworld has eight seasons and eight-day weeks, and its spectrum has eight colours (though only magically gifted people can see octarine). An eighth son of an eighth son becomes a wizard. There are eight Muses and eight circles of Hell. The Tower of Art at the Unseen University has 8,888 steps.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: While there a few good ones in the books, the aristocrats of Ankh-Morpork are generally a bunch of blithering idiots who are as incompetent in politics as they are in military matters.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
  • Badass: Many of the heros and villains are one variety or another of Badass, including the Magical Nanny and the nine-year-old farm girl.
    • Not related to the trope in question there is also the home village of Eskarina Smith that was named after an ill-behaved donkey, which is also where one of the most Badass characters happens to live.
  • Badass Normal: Besides the non-normal, like the powerful wizards and witches, or the granddaughter of Death, you have major threats like watchman Sam Vimes or living Xanatos Gambit Havelock Vetinari.
    • So threatening are they that the crime rate actually drops when Vimes leaves the city, since the criminal underworld knows what he'll do if it rises while he's away. Vetinari, on the other hand, is only ever taken by surprise by a dragon and a sourcerer. Everything else is either a plan of his or the results of one of his plans. The city cannot function without him.
      • Though as of Thud!, Vimes is now a Badass Abnormal.
      • Vetinari's surprise by the dragon is questionable, since its appearance leads to him being locked into an extremely secure dungeon, with all the locks on the inside. He's basically the safest man in the city until he decides to leave.
      • While he might not have been surprised by it (as he did select the man, and MUST have known that Vimes was getting to the point where he needed someone like him), Vetinari did ACT surprised when Vimes informed him that, following completion of his current assignment for Vetinari, Mr. Pessimal would be joining the Watch.

A.E. Pessimal? Small man, very clean shoes?

        • It's possible that Pessimal was supposed to be absorbed into the Watch as a forensic accountant, but that's quite a long way removed from attacking a troll with his teeth.
    • Also worth mentioning are Cohen and the Silver Horde, a band of octogenarian barbarians. They're completely normal human beings who got very good at staying alive, and simply never dropped the habit.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Mended Drum (originally the "Broken Drum", you can't beat it).
    • Also, 'Biers', the bar for the differently-alive including vampires, zombies, werewolves, bogie-men, ghouls and various others too weird to fit in anywhere else. Also Mrs Gammage: nearly blind old woman who no-one has the heart to tell her the bar is no longer the Crown and Axe.
  • Battle Butler: Quite literally, with Sam Vimes' butler Willikins. Both in the sense that he temporarily leaves the household for military service in Jingo (and proved quite ferocious as a sergeant, both in and out of battle), and in Thud! he turns up as a Special Constable, and takes down two of the three Dwarf assassins without thinking about it, despite the fact that they surprised him by coming directly through the wall. Sam thinks how comforting it is at times like that to have a butler who can throw a common fish knife so hard it is extremely difficult to remove from the wall. He's also glad that the different street gangs they were in as kids had a treaty, so he never had to face Willikins in a rumble.

Willikins: A cap with sharpened pennies sewn to the brim.
Vimes: You could take an eye out with that!
Willikins: With care, sir, yes.

  • Battle-Interrupting Shout: By several characters.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Like many Police Procedurals, the City Watch stories never make it easy to collect information.
  • Begone Bribe: The modus operandi of the Beggar's Guild.
    • Sometimes literally; Coffin Henry wanders around with a sign that reads "for sum muny I wunt folo you home".
  • Being Human Sucks: The orangutan Librarian of the Unseen University.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Mustrum Ridcully and the wizards of UU may look like harmless, slightly overweight, cheerful old men. The entire purpose of UU is to keep them that way so they don't destroy the world!
    • Nanny Ogg is generally much nicer than Granny Weatherwax, which is why people tend to seek her out for help when they need it. She is however, every bit as cunning and manipulative as Granny, if not more so. Pratchett himself hinted that Nanny may be even more powerful than Granny, but is smart enough not to show it.
    • Death is pretty congenial, and does his job sensibly while trying to understand humanity as much as possible (even if most of the time he doesn't really get it). But if you threaten the nature of reality, seriously threaten his granddaughter Susan (which is pretty hard to do in the first place), or try to mess up his part of the universe, you had better start running like Rincewind and never stop running! He gets emotional over kittens as well.
    • And then, of course, there's Rule One: "Do not act incautiously when dealing with small, bald, smiling, wrinkled, apparently harmless old men!"
      • The Librarian also seems like a genial and harmless half-deflated inner tube, until someone says the M-word...
    • Carrot Ironfounderson. More than once the poster boy of goodness to the point you imagine him with baby smooth skin and living in the 1950s US at times has made others realize this about him.
  • Berserk Button: For the love of God, don't call the Librarian a say monkey the m-word near the Librarian.
    • Or call Granny Weatherwax a Crone, a Hag, etc.
    • Or try to take Rincewind's hat away. Or any other wizard's.
    • Or mispronounce Teatime.
    • Or say "garlic" to Chef Aimsbury. It's not that it makes him angry, but it's still not a good idea to cause someone whose job more or less requires that he be carrying or at least have ready access to knives, cleavers, etc. to lose control of himself.
    • Or threaten Sam Vimes' family. Or his city.
      • Definitely do not threaten Vimes' family. Even the king of the dwarves knew he'd made a mistake and he was lucky that Vimes decided not to do anything about it.
      • Chrysophrase, undisputed mob boss of the toughest city on the Disc, made it EXTREMELY clear how displeased he was with a subordinate who made an OBLIQUELY IMPLIED threat to Sam Vimes' family. Later when Chrysophrase asks Sam if he'd like some rocks for a rock garden, Sam thinks that the box cannot possibly contain a WHOLE troll.
  • Big Freaking Gun: Detritus of the Watch wields a siege crossbow, converted to fire bundles of arrows which burst into tiny projectiles at high speed. It can remove doors from their frames, their houses and the world of objects larger than a matchstick. The only safe place to be when Detritus fires it is a hundred feet or more behind him.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Gods tend to throw these at people who annoy them, particularly atheists.

A bolt of lighting lanced through the clouds and hit Dorfl's helmet. There was a sheet of flame and then a trickling noise. Dorfl's molten armor formed puddles around his white-hot feet.
"I Don't Call That Much Of An Argument"

  • Brainless Beauty: Laddie, Christine, Tawneee and Juliet. Perhaps surprisingly, with the slight exception of Christine, they are portrayed sympathetically as good natured innocents.
  • Brawn Hilda: Vimes' wife in The Fifth Elephant; the valkyrie in Soul Music. To a lesser extent, Agnes Nitt in Maskerade
    • Vimes' wife right from her first appearance in Guards! Guards! In that one, some Palace Guards come to take her to be eaten by the dragon. She takes exception to being dragged off by a load of guards...with a broadsword. It doesn't work out for her, but two of her pets (Sam Vimes and a most peculiar young male swamp dragon) rescue her later on.
    • It is noted on several occasions, as recently as 'Snuff' that Sybil is descended from the kind of old aristocracy that kept its place by being more than able to defend themselves. Hence why even in Night Watch a younger Sybil grabs a ornamental sword (or something else long and metal?) to defend herself when (stranger to her at that time) Vimes comes to the door.
      • There were previous references to the martial activities of Sybil's male ancestors, usually in the context of her even tougher female ancestors looking after everything else, including caring for whatever portions of their male relatives made it back from battle. As well, given the later references to the family apparently never throwing anything away if it could possibly have any use, there's no reason to think that sword wasn't entirely functional. (Given how badly she handles a sword in the chronologically later events of Guards! Guards! she probably didn't know how to use it, but that's not important when you consider the kind of help the family tends to hire and the fact that her father might well have been home.)
  • Brick Joke: Happens quite often, even across books in the form of Continuity Nods. As one example, in The Truth, there's mention of someone trying to pass a parrot off as a dog by teaching it to bark and writing "DoG" on its feathers. In The Last Hero, Leonard of Quirm is shown feeding a bunch of birds, one of which is that parrot.
    • Also, a bar called The Broken Drum (You Can't Beat It!) burns down in the first book. It appears rebuilt subsequently throughout later books as The Mended Drum (You Can Get Beaten).
    • Bloody Stupid Johnson's handiwork constantly appears around Ankh-Mopork. See Bungling Inventor for more.
    • In Soul Music, it's detailed that the Klatchian Foreign Legion is where people go to forget their lives (in the literal sense). This is mentioned again as a throwaway line in Going Postal, 12 books later.
    • In Men at Arms, Angua mentions in passing that Big Fido thinks that all wolves have names like Quickfang and Silverback, and laughs it off. We find out in Feet of Clay that the full names of her parents are Baron Guye von Uberwald, aka (Silvertail), and Seraphine Soxe-Blumberg, aka (Yellowfang). Of course, they are family of ( werewolves), so....
      • Though in The Fifth Elephant, we're told that most true wolves don't have names so much as descriptions. Gaspode attempts to translate one of these for the rather prudish Captain Carrot. They eventually settle on "Bum," which Carrot can choose to interpret in the way common in the US (vagrant, tramp, hobo) while remaining at least somewhat similar to the more precise translation "Arsehole".
    • Another one crops up in Night Watch: In The Truth, one of the newspaper headlines is "CITTY's BIGGEST CAKE MIX-Up!!!". It's a story about cart carrying several tons of flour overturning and causing a cart of carrying a cartload of eggs to overturn, which in turn causes a cart carrying 30 churns of milk to overturn... Anyway, in Night Watch, after Vimes destroys certain siege engine, we find out that it is not the biggest cake mix-up after all. As one of people who ordered siege engine sent against Vimes: "Those oxen were really feisty, sir."
    • A character introduced in a book published in 1987 finally makes a second appearance... in a book published in 2010.
  • Bungling Inventor: Bloody Stupid Johnson, whose works tend to warp reality when they're not outright useless: the Colossus of Ankh-Morpork, which fits in a pocket, an exploding sundial, a Portal Network apartment complex, a tower built with quicksand (it'd be built faster), several pipe organs, a shower that combines with a pipe organ and a geyser, a mail-sorting machine that receives letters from alternate universes...
    • A particularly good example being that garden of Patrician's palace, which includes:
      • A trout pond that due to a mix up with measurements is 150 feet long and an inch wide and home to just the one trout.
      • A chiming sundial that explodes around noon.
      • A fountain that when turned on fired a cherub a thousand feet into the air.
      • Cast iron garden furniture that has been known to melt on hot days.
      • A maze so small that people get lost looking for it.
      • Crazy paving that has committed suicide.
      • The 'Ho-Ho', which is like a Ha-ha (a ditch that hides a fence) but much, much deeper, and has to date claimed three gardeners.

"To Bloody Stupid Johnson, scale was something that happened to other people."
"If you wanted a small ground-to-air missile, you just asked him to make an ornamental fountain"

    • And, quite impressively, he managed to create an explosive out of nothing but sand and water.
    • Completely inverted with Leonard of Quirm (who invents, among other things, incredibly destructive siege engines as intellectual exercises, including cutting instructions and parts lists) and Goldeneyes (one client tore them out to prevent him from making any works greater for anyone else) Silverhand (hand cut off for similar reasons by ANOTHER client) Dactylos, the Discworld's greatest engineer (who dies near the end of the first book, killed by his LAST client, same reason).
  • Canis Latinicus: Latatian, most of the time.
  • Career Killers: Played with. Ankh-Morpork has an Assassin's Guild, but assassins have a certain style and code, involving wearing lots of black. There are plenty of Psychos For Hire, and if they're titled at all, they're just plain old "killers".
    • Though since the Assassins Guild is not fond of freelancers, in a very short time most of them wind up as plain old dead. The Assassins seem more or less indifferent to those who are Axe Crazy for free, but if they start making money from it...
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Death: There is no justice. Just me.
    • Rincewind: "Oh shit I'm going to die!"
    • Moist: "Trust me."
    • all Igors: "Yeth, marthtar."
    • The Death of Rats: Squeak.
    • The Librarian: "Ook."
  • Cats Are Magic: Death is very fond of cats and gives them all nine lives. That said, the only cat who is really magical is Maurice, from The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. He gained sapience and speech by eating a rat who had, in turn, also eaten some magical garbage.
  • Cat Stereotype: Granny Weatherwax's cat You is a pure white kitten, full of purity and innocence. Nanny Ogg's cat Greebo, on the other hand, is grey, and is older, wiser, and pure malevolent evil.
  • Chronoscope:
    • There are the Omni-scopes which have the power to do this, although true to form the wizards spend a great deal of time and effort trying to eliminate that capacity treating it as a bug instead of a feature. It seems all they wanted was an expensive version of a webcam.
      • The problem, it is revealed, is in STEERING the damn things. They tend to start out with random viewing coordinates, so it's very hard to see anything in particular with them. Most of them end up being used as shaving mirrors because almost everywhere they might look is effectively featureless space.
    • Also from the Science of Discworld books, Hex is able to treat our entire universe as one of these. Fast fowarding, or rewinding to see specific spots in human history (our universe canonically exists in a snowglobe on a shelf in the Unseen University, a wobbly shelf).
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The series has gotten darker and more mature over the years, all without quite losing its sense of humor. And yes, Pratchett even plays with this trope, contrasting the dark Monstrous Regiment with the moderately lighthearted Going Postal followed by the dark Thud! followed by the moderately lighthearted Making Money followed by the even more lighthearted Unseen Academicals followed by the pitch black I Shall Wear Midnight...
  • Chalk Outline: Invoked rarely, and only for laughs. For example, the Ankh is the only river in the world you can draw a chalk outline on. Also, one of the previous postmasters spied into the sorting machine, and his outline was all over the sorting office.
    • In The Truth The probably human Corporal Nobbs drew a chalk outline of a victim, which is all fine and normal for a copper, except he did it in colored chalk, and felt the need to add a pipe and draw some clouds and flowers.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: Susan Sto Helit, Granny Weatherwax and her apprentice Tiffany Aching have powers to do this. The young Vetinari learns this in Night Watch (to the point that he nearly fails his Camouflage class for nonattendance), and Vimes has an uncanny ability to blend neatly into shadows.
  • Characterization Marches On: Remember when the The Patrician of Ankh-Morpork was obese? Or when Death seemed to actively cause people to die rather than merely collect their souls? Both have gotten excuses, one of which is that Death changed character after Mort, the other that it was a different Patrician. Word of God denies the latter, admitting it is this trope.
    • Keep in mind, knowing Ventinari it does not seem out of place that he would have acted that way or gained weight just for some mind game to further his goals.
    • Remember when Granny Weatherwax was just a simple village witch?
    • Or when Vimes was a depressive alcoholic?
  • Character Development: Or rather, setting development. Over the course of the series, Ankh-Morpork goes from a Wretched Hive locked in Medieval Stasis to a bustling Steampunk City of Adventure.
    • It's still a pretty much a Wretched Hive, it's just that everyone is more civilized about it.
    • Somehow the Senior Wrangler became the romantic of the UU faculty, while averting this trope enough to still be interchangeable with the Chair and Lecturer.
  • Chekhov's Gun - Pterry is evidently a huge fan of these. If it's not in a footnote, then you can put good money on that aside bit of characterization, world-building, rule, or so forth to become vitally important near the end of the book.
  • Chess with Death: Although he prefers Monopoly.

Remind me again how the little horse-shaped ones move.

  • The Chosen Zero: Nobby Nobbs is almost certainly falsely revealed to be the Earl of Ankh and the successor to the throne of Ankh-Morpork. The rich and powerful citizens who want to dispose of Lord Vetinari see Nobby's claim to the throne as a stroke of luck (he is a useful idiot and will make a good puppet ruler). The nobility of Ankh-Morpork couldn't accept Carrot because he was intelligent and a good person. The Big Bad couldn't accept Carrot because he's dating a werewolf.
    • And Nobby wouldn't accept the job because "Vimes'd go spare!"
  • City of Adventure: Ankh-Morpork.
    • The City Narrows: The Shades within Ankh-Morpork where the cops (and criminals) never go for fear of not coming out alive (of course that makes it okay for those members of the Watch who aren't technically alive).
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Usually subverted, but played straight sometimes.
  • Common Tongue: Morporkian, fitting the city's cosmopolitan influence.
  • Conservation of Ninjitsu: Narrativium pretty much guarantees this. For example, in Guards! Guards! the palace guard are afraid of Vimes because there is only one of him and he is smiling at them.
    • Pratchett explains this phenomenon by reasoning that the side with numbers has to think before hitting, whereas the hopelessly outnumbered side can just attack anything nearby and be pretty much sure it is an enemy, thus giving them an advantage. This makes sense in Discworld logic.
    • In Interesting Times, where 7 very old barbarians decided to face off against 700,000 enemy troops.
    • These same barbarians back off when faced by the single threat of Carrot in The Last Hero. You just don't mess with a hero and his big (magic?) sword when you outnumber him. They're very old heroes, which means they have a lot of experience doing extremely dangerous things without dying, and they know the odds.
    • The Nac Mac Feegle take a mass-based rather than numbers-based approach: they are described as having all the strength of a normal-sized person compressed into six inches...and like most things when compressed, they have a tendency to explode. They like big enemies because there's more of them to hit, and they're so small and fast it's almost impossible for said enemies to hit them back.
  • Continuity Nod: Pterry generally tries to acknowledge continuity. The events in Thief of Time are used to explain many remaining continuity problems.
  • Corrupt Politician: Subverted by Ephebe. They have the only elected politician on the disc, a new one is elected every five years on the basis of honesty, and they call him The Tyrant. It's his actual title.
  • Crazy Prepared: Commander Samuel Vimes has set up numerous traps at his home and office to deal with those pesky Assassins, to the point that some of the more mean-spirited instructors have begun sending out students to do "mock assassinations". If they can draw a bead on him with a crossbow, they pass. Good luck.
    • More importantly, his name has been taken off the register for real assassinations, meaning they're no longer accepting contracts on him. This means two things: First, it means that he's made himself more trouble than any amount of money the city's rich and influential are willing to pay is worth, and second, it means that the Guild reckons that killing him would be a really bad idea for all involved. The only other person for this to ever happen to is Lord Vetinari himself.
      • Sam Vimes explains it to himself as the Guild deciding that killing him or Vetinari wouldn't just spoil the game, it would smash the board.
  • Creator Cameo; Pratchett has cameos in all three of the TV movie adaptations to date. Not only that, but he speaks the final line of dialogue in all of them.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Numerous examples, one of them Lampshaded by a discussion amongst the gods about the empires on the Counterweight Continent:

"They are five great families feuding. The Hongs, the Sungs, the Fangs, the Tangs, and the McSweeneys."
"Very old, established family."

  • Defictionalization: A number of board/card games appear in the novels, and several of them have been given real life versions, Thud! being one example. Stealth Chess, for example, is a chess variant; Thud! is based on the ancient Norse game of hnefatafl, as befits a game of dwarves and trolls.
    • For trivia fans: The dwarf name for Thud is Hnaflbaflsniflwhifltafl (pronounced Hur-naffle-baffle-sniffle-wiffle-taffle) a rather more obvious connection to the Norse game.
    • There are also rules for Cripple Mr. Onion.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: So many examples, in so many books. However one that sticks to the forefront is everything to do with female dwarves dwarfs seems to be just like gay people in the real world.
  • Double Entendre: The novels make fairly heavy usage of innuendo and oblique references to disguise more adult subjects, either for humor (drinking songs like "A Wizard's Staff Has A Knob On The End" and "The Hedgehog Song"[3]) or for delicacy (King Lorenzo the Kind is only described as being "very fond of children" in the series itself - this is plainly doubletalk for "sadistic pedophile").
    • And the seamstresses!
      • Which is doubly effective in Dutch: the Dutch word for "sewing" also means "screwing", and as a result "seamstress" has always been a somewhat uncommon, but very recognisable euphemism for a you-know-what in the Netherlands.
      • This may also be a reference to Medieval and Renaissance literature. At that time, "seamstress" was such a common term for "prostitute" that it hardly counted as a euphemism. Lazarillo de Tormes is one example.
      • Not just in medieval times—up until the 19th century, at least, in some places.
    • It Makes Sense in Context, as female dwarves look so much like male dwarves that a large part of the Dwarven mating ritual involves figuring out if the other person is actually a different gender from yourself. Recent attempts by some female dwarves to asset their femininity haven't been met kindly by the more conservative factions.
    • A closer allegory may be Transgender people's plight in the real world. Since the Dwarves are (at least on the surface) a One-Gender Race, any Dwarf identifying as the "wrong" gender gets about the same reaction as people beginning transitioning do in real life. There's even a case of "self-trans panic" in the books, wherein the villain turns out to be a closeted "female Dwarf" who had a mental breakdown due to a combination of stress and cognitive dissonance -- she was a prim and proper dwarf, but prim and proper dwarves don't have dreams of wearing leather skirts and flowing chainmail dresses -- brought on by the growing Dwarf Femininity movement.
  • The Don: "Legitimate Businessman" Chrysophrase the troll. Harry King fits the type as well, but he's not a criminal (though ironically, he is literally in the recycling business).
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: Lord, what can the harvest hope for, if not for the care of the reaper man?]]
    • Also the motto on Sto Helit's coat of arms, befitting a house that passed to Death's apprentice and his and adopted daughter - "Non Timetis Messor".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The earliest books are quite different in tone, the characterization is different, things like troll biology are wildly different, all sorts of things. Sir Pterry spent some time building a plausible demiphysics based on the nature of the disc (eight seasons, a tropical belt at the edge and polar hub, etc), a mythology founded on that (the number eight, Eldritch Abominations) and so on. Except for the occasional reference to the eight day week and the eight seasons of the year, most of that is dropped in favor of wicked good character pieces and archetype development.
  • Eat Dirt Cheap: Trolls eat rocks.
  • Element Number Five: Surprise.
  • Eternal Hero: Parodied in The Last Continent, where Death speculates that Rincewind is a counterbalance to this, the "Coward with a thousand retreating backs". Discworld also gives us another parody, the octogenarian warrior-hero Cohen the Barbarian, who "has a lifetime's experience of not dying". Discworld also plays the trope straight with Badass Grandpa Lu-Tze, who's a 900-year-old member of a monastic Time Police. Also perhaps Sam Vimes since Thud!: his possession by the Summoning Dark and his resulting special abilities seem to be turning him into an eternal policeman, which can be seen in Snuff.
    • Cohen and his henchmen do fit the trope. At the end of The Last Hero, they suffer a huge explosion that should've killed them. But Death doesn't come for them. Why? Because of this trope.
      • Death, in a manner of speaking, comes for them all right, in the form of a crew of Valkyries. Whom they promptly horsejack and proceed to ride off to further adventures.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through: An important element of the Law of Narrative Causality, complete with Lampshade and two guys carrying a pane of glass.
  • Exposition of Immortality: In a Fantasy Kitchen Sink world populated by Anthropomorphic personifications, golems, gods, and wizards you should expect plenty of this. The golems are one of bigger examples: given that they're made of rock and effectively unkillable. Anghammarad is an extreme example; built over 20,000 years ago and still functioning, remembering times, events, places and languages that nothing else on the Disc does. Several of the vampires who pop up get in on this, too. The Count de Magpyr (the old, traditional one, not the trendy new one) recognises the names of several of the peasants in the mob at his castle and makes mentioning of remembering their grandparents.


  • Fallen-On-Hard-Times Job: Is Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler selling sausages? Then another stupid moneymaking scheme has just blown up in his face.
  • Fantastic Racism: dwarfs versus trolls; humans versus trolls in some places; just about everyone versus goblins.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Most cultures in the series have some real-life equivalent, often to create an Anachronism Stew fantasy setting.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Crossbows generally take the place of firearms on Discworld. Though only recently invented, firearms are by no means non-existent.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: The gods play games with the lives of men and toss bricks and lightning bolts at atheists.
  • Fictional Colour: Octarine
  • Flat World: People, fish, and sea monsters continually fall over the rim.
    • As indeed does the sea, but Word of God says "arrangements are made" to prevent it all draining away.
  • Flip Personality: Altogether Andrews, first introduced in The Truth.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Lady Sybil Ramkin and her dragons. Nanny Ogg and Greebo. Granny Weatherwax and You the cat.
  • Footnote Fever: They show up in most of the books to provide often-humorous clarification or deeper history on some topics.
  • Freudian Trio: The Lancre witches (Magrat: ego, Granny Weatherwax: superego, Nanny Ogg: id. Very, very id)
  • Fridge Brilliance: Thank goodness for the Pratchett File.
    • Also counts as a Genius Bonus in many cases. Only the most widely traveled of readers will get most of them, let alone some of the more obscure ones.
  • Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire: All the members of the League of Temperance, who only drink animal blood taken from slaughterhouses.
    • Or switch to something completely different. Coffee, anyone?
  • Gargle Blaster: Nanny Ogg's scrumble, which is made from apples (well, mostly apples). A few drops are enough to fell a troll.
  • Genericist Government: Towns have mayors, maybe a council, but that's generally it.
  • Genre Savvy and Dangerously Genre Savvy
  • The Ghost: Bergholt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson, Discworld's most infamous inventor. His works are present throughout the series, but Johnson himself has never made an appearance.
    • Probably because Sybil's grandfather "had him shot before he could do any real damage" when it looked like he was about to do work for the Ramkins.
  • Girls with Moustaches: All dwarfs, openly female or not, have long, flowing beards.
    • Rincewind (who grew up in Ahnk-Morpork and HATES being anywhere else) certainly believes this is common in some rural districts. This led to him thinking that certain mustachioed people wearing dresses in a city on XXXX were women who happened to have mustaches, instead of cross-dressed men.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Leonard da Quirm.

Leonard: Well, because it's submerged in a marine environment, I call it the Going-Under-The-Water-Safely-Device.

  • Good Guy Bar: The Bucket. Do not try to take the female watch officer hostage.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Corporal Carrot IS this trope, though Obfuscating Stupidity has its uses.
  • The Good King: Shows up rather often; King Verence of Lancre, Rhys Rhysson the Low King of the Dwarfs, and Mr Shine the Diamond King of the Trolls all care for their people and want whats best for them. Carrot may qualify (see I Just Want to Be Normal below) but prefers his position in the City Watch while Vetinari governs Ankh-Morpork. In Carrot's defense: Vetinari does an excellent job of running the city while Carrot believes he can serve it best as a copper.
  • The Grim Reaper: Death puts in at least one appearance in every single Discworld novel except 'The Wee Free Men and Snuff.
  • Guile Hero: Moist, Vetinari (although his position on the hero-villain continuum is complicated), Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, all in different ways.
  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: The "learning to commit more serious crimes" variety is parodied when the Ankh-Morpork Thieves' Guild, an entirely legal organisation, runs official classes in the city's main prison, the Tanty.
  • Happily Married: Commander Vimes and Lady Sybil, Fred Colon and his unnamed wife, and King Verence and Queen Magrat of Lancre.
    • And Mort and Ysabell despite their death in a carriage accident.
    • Detritus is said to be Happily Married to Ruby in Thud!, though they lack Babies Ever After.
  • The Hat Makes the Man: The king's crown and the archmage's hat both influence their wearer's personality.
  • Hat of Power: The Archchancellor's hat has the memories of all prior Archchancellors and can bestow them as it chooses on anyone who wears the hat, as well as possessing significant magical abilities of its own. At one point it freezes a thief solid for stealing it
  • Have I Mentioned I Am a Dwarf Today?: Played with; most of the time, it's the 6-foot tall Carrot who's doing the mentioning.
  • Hegemonic Empire: Ankh-Morpork used to be the more traditional type of Empire, but this way was more sustainable. The city-state only directly controls a small portion of land, but its economic influence throughout the continent is almost limitless, and its production is so great no one dares invade for fear of being deprived of the very tools needed for invasion. It's also the center of all information trade, giving unequaled political clout in the region.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Vermine, "a more careful relative of the lemming" with black and white fur much prized by royalty and nobility for lining their robes.
    • Its fur is also much prized by the vermine itself; the selfish little bastard will do anything rather than let go of it.
    • There's also the Scalby which is to Rats what Rats are to .. Things that make them look like better things than Scalbies. Scalbies are described as "Carrion birds that would eat stuff that would make vultures sick. Scalbies would eat Vulture sick."
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs
  • Humans Are Leaders: Not too surprising as humans appears to be the most populous species. But in Ankh-Morpork, dwarves, trolls, and vampires are factions that Vetinari and the Watch deal with like another guild.
  • The Igor: An entire family of them that does henching and Mad Science professionally. They also pioneer surgical techniques and do it almost recreationally; when an Igor is said to have his father's eyes, it's probably not a figure of speech. They may have been handed down through the generations (a good pair of hands are worth hanging onto as well). One of them has a pet dog made up of the pieces of many other pet dogs; he isn't too broken up about it when Scraps gets killed off, because it's only a matter of time until the next thunderstorm.
    • It's important to also note that the male Igors are Kavorka Men and considered quite the prize for young women, whereas the Igorinas are cute monster girls mixed with Hello, Nurse! — In lieu of scarred up bodies, they are mind-bogglingly attractive except for a bit of cute stitching for show, for example around a wrist like a tattoo, or in a celtic-like pattern on their cheeks.
      • When we finally get an on-screen Igorina (in Monstrous Regiment) she makes an off-hand remark that the scars from the stitching can be gotten rid of in 15 minutes with the right ointment. That means that Igors go around covered in scars because that's how Igors want to look.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Susan Sto Helit desperately wants to lead an ordinary life, which is complicated by the fact that she's the daughter of Death's adopted daughter and his former apprentice. And she's a duchess. Rincewind also hates being forced into dangerous quests to save the world, and would like nothing more than to be bored the rest of his life. Carrot Ironfoundersson may also qualify, as despite the fact that he is probably is the heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork, he prefers to be a copper.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Trolls gamble by tossing something up and then betting on whether or not it will come down.
  • Incredibly Lame Pune, or Play on Words: Common, though often subtle.
  • Instant Book Deal: Although in this case, it appears to be an aspect of the universe itself.
  • In the Local Tongue: Discussed several times. For example, Mount Oolskunrahod in Skund, which translates as "Who is this fool who doesn't know what a mountain is?"
    • The above is found in a forest named "Your finger, you fool," after an explorer pointed and asked a native "What's this?"
  • Jerkass Gods: Most of the gods are fairly weak and mundane, but some of the more powerful ones view human life as a game for them to manipulate.
  • Just Following Orders: Subverted, inverted, played with, deconstructed, and generally given hell from (at the very latest) Guards! Guards! onwards.
    • The Fifth Elephant probably attacked it most viciously, when Vimes encounters a man who let the enemies take his wife, Lady Sybil, because of 'orders'. He ordered Detritus to shoot the man on the spot, which the troll refused to do, proving why Vimes works with him at all. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome for both Detritus, and for Vimes, who trusts his officers not to take bad orders even from him.


  • Lampshade Hanging: Just about every book not only includes a lot of Trope Play, but a lot of Genre Savvy characters who will know just what's going on, and will be in no way shy about stating it.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Pops up in quite a few books, including The Light Fantastic and Soul Music.
  • Living Crashpad: Multiple examples.
    • In Wyrd Sisters, Magrat falls on "something soft" from a great height, which turns out to be the Fool.
    • Vimes believes it doesn't really count as killing someone when you fall off a roof and it's even odds who ends up on bottom when you land.
  • Living Legend: The Discworld runs on narrative causality and its characters are all archetypal, so it's no surprise that there are many living legends.
    • Granny Weatherwax, whose name among the trolls is Aaoograha hoa ("She Who Must Be Avoided") and among the dwarfs is K'ez'rek d'b'duz ("Go Around the Other Side of the Mountain"). She has taught respect to vampires and elves as well.
    • His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes is known throughout his city as scrupulously honest and a man who, when upset, tends to spread his discontent around with a big shovel. So well known generally for inventing the first capable and honest police force of the city of Ankh-Morpork that cops throughout the plains are known as Sammies.

Vetinari: "People know about you, commander. Descendant of a watchman who believed that if a corrupted court will not behead an evil king, then the watchman should do it himself [...] Sam Vimes once arrested me for treason. And Sam Vimes once arrested a dragon. Sam Vimes stopped a war between nations by arresting two high commands. He's an arresting fellow, Sam Vimes. Sam Vimes killed a werewolf with his bare hands, and carries law with him like a lamp [...] Watchmen across half the continent will say that Sam Vimes is as straight as an arrow, can't be corrupted, won't be turned, never took a bribe..."

    • Similarly, Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson, the rightful heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork (who just happens to like being a guard). His charisma is so strong it warps reality. Also, he has a punch that trolls respect.
    • Rincewind (a Wizzard) is famous among some communities for his ability to run away from anything. And scream in 27 languages. He's also saved the Disc multiple times when running was no longer an option. At one point, after two head wizards almost go nuclear, another realizes that the last time that happened, the Disc was almost destroyed and Rincewind stopped it with a half-brick in a sock. He looks around and sees Rincewind putting his sock back on.
    • Tiffany Aching is rapidly building herself a fearsome reputation.
    • Sergeant Jackrum of the Borogravian army has fought in every single war for forty years. The Sergeant knows everyone. Everyone knows the Sergeant. The Sergeant's reputation is such that generals will leave the room at the Sergeant's request.
  • Long Running Book Series
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Wizards' staffs, and the Luggage.
  • Unlucky Eight - eight makes many appearances as an occult number, most of them bad. Has a much stronger presence in the first two books, though.
    • The reduction in bad references to either may have to do with Two-Flower accidentally destroying the Temple of the Sender of Eight. He only just wanted a picture...
  • Made of Phlebotinum: This 'Verse can seem ordinary enough at first glance, until it's pointed out that, without heavy duty magic involved, a flat world on the back of a giant turtle that swims through space should be utterly impossible.
    • The magic is so thick that it 'slows down light' to create timezones on the disc. Magic heavy areas also completely and utterly play with the laws of physics, making the entire world plausible.
    • In one passage in Jingo the narrative recounts the winds of change literally blowing through the city, and the various weather-cocks turn to follow it. Except the one on the wizards tower, which is running slow and doesn't show the change for twenty minutes.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: As Moist von Lipwig observes in Going Postal, the eventual cost of doing everything by magic (magic having a very steep bill even for little things) is the reason that life on the Disc evolved Steampunk technologies for the advancement of society, rather than Functional Magic.
    • Whenever there needs to be a reason why the large number of highly skilled wizards of Unseen University cannot counter a problem with magic, one of the standard limitations is that it takes precisely the same amount of work (in the physics sense) to do something by magic as by any other means, and all the other mundane limitations (like action-reaction) as well. The result is that a wizard trying to pick a lock by magic expends most of his effort to keep his brain from squirting out of his ears.
  • Magical Camera: Iconographs are little more than boxes containing a very tiny imp with a sketchpad and set of paints. Because the imps have no imagination whatsoever, the images they create are accepted as objective. The flash works by frightening a captive Salamander, a magical lizard which absorbs light and can release it suddenly.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: Wizards tend to attract Eldritch Abominations.
  • Magical Library: The library of Unseen University leads to other dimensions thanks to the sheer weight of accumulated knowledge distorting the space-time continuum. This is known as L-Space. The library itself is pretty much a universe of its own with all the magical books, library creatures such as the thesaurus and lost tribes of research students inside.
  • Magical Society: Unseen University serves this function, and is implied to be responsible for the fact that there aren't any magical wars any more, since all the wizards are busy with bureaucratic politics and enjoying the comforts of their station. (It is noted that in the bad old days, "the plural of 'wizard' was 'war'".) Witches, on the other hand, are much less organised, and many of them seem to like it that way.
The basic unit of wizardry is the Order or the College or, of course, the University. The basic unit of witchcraft is the witch, but the basic contiguous unit, as has already been indicated, is the cottage.
  • Magitek: Due to his job before writing, Pratchett likes to compare magic to nuclear physics, hence the High Energy Magic Building and Ponder's staff talking of splitting the thaum. And then there's...Hex.
  • Master Poisoner: Lord Downey, head of the Assassins' Guild is rumoured to be this. There is no record of anyone Lord Downey may have wanted to inhume ever being poisoned, however. Which may just indicate that he's really good at it.
    • Given that Lord Vetinari was flunked at Camouflage during his Assassin's Guild schooling for never being seen in class, it seems likely that they regularly turn out people who really are that good.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery: Standard medical practice in Ankh-Morpork is hitting the patient over the head with a hammer. The only real doctor in the city is seen as crazy; when Vetinari is poisoned in Feet Of Clay, Vimes calls in a horse vet to treat him, because many of Doughnut Jimmy's patients survive.
    • When asked how good a doctor Doughnut Jimmy is, Vimes mentions that a horse he had treated just before a race didn't fall over until the last furlong. When someone says that doesn't seem very good, Vimes points out that what the horse was treated for was dropping dead on the way to the starting gate.
    • Lately, the Igors can provide effective medical treatment, but they're likely to return to claim payment in the form of body parts once the patient is no longer using them.
    • Dr. Lawn also seems to be subverting this trope in the city post-Night Watch. Of course, his methods come from Klatch, not the Sto Plains.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Suggested several times to be the case with the City Watch, particularly the canteen. The arrival of female Watchmen didn't seem to have any effect.
    • Subverted in the case of dwarfs, as they tend to keep tidy homes no matter what sex (if any) they admit to be. Nor do you ever find rats or cockroaches infesting their houses, so long as the residents can hold a frying pan.
  • Micro Monarchy: Lancre, and some of its neighboring kingdoms which are even smaller.
  • Million-to-One Chance: Invoked whenever someone needs a long shot to happen. Most notable in Guards! Guards!, where the Watch is trying to make an impossibly difficult shot, then deliberately makes things even harder to raise the odds to exactly 1,000,000 to 1.
    • They miss because any attempt to purposely invoke this trope results in only a 987,000 to one chance, not attracting The Lady's favor.
      • That, and they had a 0% chance to hit the very specific target, due to reasons discovered later.
    • Fortunately, surviving the ensuing chaos was an exact Million-to-One Chance.
  • Miraculous Malfunction: The best-case scenario of allowing Bloody Stupid Johnson to build anything.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: The reformation of the Night City Watch, particularly in Men-At-Arms.
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: Well it's magic for both sides, but male (wizard) magic is shown in a more scientific light and tends to be about bending the forces of nature to the spellcaster's will. Female (witch) magic, on the other hand, tends to be more psychological and more about attuning yourself to nature.
  • Modest Royalty: Carrot is the last living descendent of the royal line. He denies it to anyone who asks, perhaps due in large part to Vimes's influence, but he does make use of near-supernatural royal charisma and occasionally drops by Vetinari's office to make gentle suggestions that are surprisingly often accepted.
  • Monster Modesty: Trolls (except Detritus, who wears Watch uniform, and Chrysophrase, who wears a suit) mostly just wear a loincloth "to conceal whatever it was that trolls found it necessary to conceal". This is so much a part of their culture that male trolls will go to clubs to watch female trolls put on clothing. There's usually a riot by the second overcoat.
  • Morphic Resonance: Discworld has played a big part in popularising the phrase. Probably its most significant example is the law of magic that no shape-shifter, not even gods, can transform how their eyes look—so their eyes always provide a clue to their real identity or nature.
  • Mugging the Monster: Usually Angua, but has happened to others enough that the robber at the beginning of The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents had to go through a little checklist before he'd try to attack the coach.
    • Also, Casanunda makes a cameo in Carpe Jugulum just to witness a highwayman getting killed by the Magpyrs.
    • Members of the Assassin's Guild also get this in a book or two.
      • Zebbo Mooty, Thief Third Class.
    • Wee Mad Arthur (in Feet of Clay). He will not join the rat-catcher's guild, or pay their dues, and he will tell you that by breaking your kneecaps. It should be mentioned that Wee Mad Arthur is a gnome, and therefore, eight inches high.
  • Mundane Utility: Wizards. All the time. It goes hand in hand with their disdain for work.
  • National Weapon: Dwarfs consider their battleaxes cultural artifacts, and will not part with them even when circumstances require them to bequeath all other weapons (at a diplomatic function, for instance). In Thud!, we are introduced to a more liberal sect of dwarfs who do not carry them, believing that the axe is "a state of mind".
    • We also get to meet some of the Low King's most elite soldiers. While some soldiers bristle with weapons, they bristle with one weapon.
  • Never Mess with Granny: It can be safely said that Terry likes his women strong. For every three women introduced in this vast series, two and a half are old ladies (whether little or otherwise) that can stop a running bull, and the rest are just like them, but younger. Of particular note are Granny Weatherwax, who put a demon in his place with a few threats, and Mrs. Cake (a medium, bordering on small), whom High Priest Ridcully compares to the things from the Dungeon Dimensions.
  • Nice Hat: Wizards, witches, and various other professionals have to have one. Much is made of the importance of having the right hat for any job, as assuring people that you are a real witch/wizard/postmaster/whatever is half the battle. Sir Terry always wears one in real life, too.
  • Nice Shoes: A recurring theme.
  • Noodle Incident: Several Ankh-Morpork-based books make references to "what happened to Mr. Hong when he opened the Three Jolly Luck Take-Away Fish Bar on the site of the old fish-god temple in Dagon Street on the night of the full moon." (The implication is something very nasty involving an Eldritch Abomination.)
    • He also left very quickly. The type of quickly that involves leaving behind a kidney and an ear hole.
  • No Sense of Humor: Several characters exhibit this trope, most notably Granny Weatherwax. She understands humor on a conceptual level, but has absolutely no sense of humor and has no understanding of how or why jokes work.
    • Death also has No Sense of Humor, being an anthropomorphic personification who doesn't understand human emotions. His brief attempts to inject humor into his work failed spectacularly.
  • No Social Skills: A number of characters fail spectacularly at relating to people. Among them:
    • Jeremy Clockson. He's sane. He has a piece of paper that says so.
    • Nutt
    • Death
  • Nude Nature Dance : Alluded to, and then firmly averted more than once in the Discworld novels starring the three witches. Nanny Ogg is probably game, but... no. Just no.
    • Mustrum Ridcully, Moist von Lipwig and Nanny Ogg have practically made careers of it.
  • Oh Look More Rooms: Death's Domain. The initial hallway is intimidating enough, but several of the rooms along it open up into cavernous chambers filled with books or hourglasses.
  • One-Gender Race: The dwarfs were literally a one gender race, as they culturally made no distinction between the sexes. Later books show some dwarf women liking the idea of being female.
  • One-Hour Work Week: William de Worde before starting The Times. Also seems to be all the wizards get up to these days, which is a pity since that would be Victor Tugelbend's dream job. Colon and Nobby are technically on duty as much as the next watch officer but often call it quits sooner rather than later.
  • One Steve Limit: Played oddly with the Unseen University head faculty introduced in Moving Pictures—because they're known only by their titles, the first part of the title is effectively their first name, and so the Dean of Pentacles is the only Dean, the Lecturer in Recent Runes is the only Lecturer, the Chair of Indefinite Studies is the only Chair, and so on.
  • The One Who Made It Out: Lancre is "the place people come from to become successful somewhere else" (usually Ankh-Morpork). Opera singer Enrico Basilica grew up in Rookery Yard, in the Shades, where "you could fight your way out, or you could sing your way out" (or you could get out by going through an alley into Shamlegger Street, but no-one came to anything going that way).
    • Notably, Lancre has produced a quite disproportionate number of notable (and not so notable) wizards. There's not usually a whole lot of entertainment in the evenings, particularly in the winter...
  • Only Sane Man: Most protagonists have moments of this, but special mention should go to Ponder Stibbons.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • Death is generally a calm and collected speaker, so whenever he loses his temper (at, say, New Death in Reaper Man), you know shit just got real.
    • Vetinari plays Sam Vimes like a fiddle and gets him to do the best job possible, but mainly by pissing him off first. Usually after such a meeting, Vimes would punch the wall outside Vetinari's office. Until one day he doesn't.
    • An upset Nanny Ogg is bad to see, as Agnes notes in Carpe Jugulum. A Nanny Ogg that misses a chance to mock Agnes' Accidental Innuendo, on the other hand, is rather dread-inducing, because then something is seriously wrong.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Swamp dragons are unstable, Ugly Cute little runts which manufacture volatile chemicals in their insides for firebreathing purposes and are prone to exploding violently. Noble dragons are your typical fantasy dragon, but have all disappeared for some reason.
    • They seem to have retreated to fantasy but can show up under certain circumstances which always involve a lot of belief and/or magic. Examples are the Wyrmberg and Guards! Guards!
    • Though never stated, the implication seems to be that the dragons left due to the lessening of magical energy on Discworld, possibly due to the lack of Sourcerors.
  • Our Better Is Different: The dwarfs use "lower" as a synonym for "better" where humans & co would use "higher". For example, their ruler is known as the "Low King".
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Discworld dwarfs started out as an intentionally flanderized parody of this trope. Later books subverted it by introducing Yiddish elements to their culture, among other things.
  • Our Elves Are Different: And a race of Exclusively Evil fantastical sociopaths. They live in a parallel universe to the Disc called Fairyland and serve as a contrast to the Auditors. The Auditors are dull, bureaucratic demons who wanted everything to be orderly; elves are magical alien monsters that, unable to understand basic concepts like love, can only relate to other beings by causing them misery and spreading chaos.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Living statues that eat pigeons and can stare down anything, used as watchmen and clacks operators.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: All vampire myths are true in Discworld, but don't necessarily apply to any given vampire.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They have great regenerative capabilities, are only truly vulnerable to silver and fire, can switch freely between wolf and human form unless they are in the light of the full moon (which renders them wolves), and they struggle with conflicting sets of instincts and thought processes after changing. (Being effectively a human/wolf mix, they also have a nagging tendency to compromise and think like dogs.) They're considered undead on the basis of, "They're big and scary, they come from Überwald, and they don't die when you stick them with a sword, what more do you want?"
    • The werewolves of Discworld also illustrate a rarely-considered point: Humans hate werewolves. Wolves hate werewolves so much more. (This is because humans use werewolves as an excuse to kill wolves, and the opposite never occurs.) A lone werewolf is relatively safe mixing in a human community. A lone werewolf who stumbles into a pack of wolves has a very short life expectancy.
      • Not always the case, as Angua ran with real wolves in a real wolfpack, and knew quite well how rubbish Big Fido's notions of wolves were. (Big Fido seemed to think of a wolf pack as something like a poorly-run street gang of dogs.)
      • Angua was only accepted by the wolves because that pack was run by Gavin, Carrot's lupine equivalent. Werewolves can at least hide among humans, but a real wolf (not ruled by a furry messiah) will smell them straight away.
  • Outscare the Enemy: A frequently recurring joke, showing up independently in Interesting Times, Lords and Ladies, and Jingo, among others.
  • Overly Long Name: Sir Pterry is fond of these. Vampires, Nac Mac Feegle, and a number of others can have very long names. Even Nobby. And, eventually, His Grace, His Excellency, the Duke of Ankh Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, Blackboard Monitor and King of the River.
  • Overwhelming Obsession: This is the dwarfs' racial attitude toward gold. In more than one novel, it's made clear that their sorrow after a mine cave-in isn't caused by the loss of dwarf life, but rather by the loss of a seam of gold that hadn't been completely mined out yet. As for keeping the gold once they've dug it out of the ground:

Dwarfs are very attached to gold. Any highwayman demanding 'Your money or your life' had better bring a folding chair and packed lunch and a book to read while the debate goes on.


  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Death who talks like this has his own font, as do Golems in some books; Carrot's letters and their "ballistic approach to grammar"; the Auditors talk outside of dialogue (One thinks, one speaks like this); particularly odd looking signs might actually appear in the books as poorly drawn handwriting; etc etc. Pratchett doesn't as much paint the fourth wall as much as he uses a nice wallpaper and hangs an attractive painting off it.
  • Parodied Trope
  • Phrase Catcher: The Auditors tend to provoke talk of 'malignity'.
  • Pimped-Out Cape: The wizards wear very fancy robes.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Naturally, ladies of stature will wear one when appropriate. Four notable examples are the vermine-trimmed coronation dress Princess Keli Sto Lat wears in Mort, the dress Granny Weatherwax steals to infiltrate the ball in Witches Abroad and the one she wears to infiltrate the opera in Maskerade, the gaudy dress Cheery Littlebottom wears in The Fifth Elephant to show she was embracing her gender, and Tiffany Aching in I Shall Wear Midnight continues the tradition rather well based on how Prachett describes her as looking "damn good" wearing midnight. Lady Sybil inverts this by having the rank suitable to wear such dresses, and clumping around in tweed and galoshes.
    • Wizards in full regalia probably count, as well. They are likened to what would happen if you found a way to inflate a Bird of Paradise covered in glitter.
  • Playing with a Trope: The creator's entire body of work does this.
  • Power Limiter: The Unseen University of the Wizards is full of bureaucracy, bickering, eating, lazing around and pointless activities in general - all of which are found to have been very necessary when the system is temporarily overturned in Sourcery and the entire wizarding population goes into all-out destruction-mode. It turns out that the base instinct of a wizard is to build a magic tower and obliterate all other wizards until they're the last one (in fact, the the ancient plural of "wizard" was "war"). The current comforts, luxuries and politics of the Unseen University act as checks to keep that instinct suppressed.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Vetinari does not actually rule his realm with an iron fist. He has the novel idea of maintaining control by making people actually want to keep him in charge, or at the very least, make removing him from power an unsavory prospect. See Vetinari Job Security.
    • The problem is that the Guild leaders and nobility all hate each other too much to support any other candidate. There's also the fact that virtually every other Patrician before Vetinari has turned out to be insane, or has become insane once they've taken the position.
  • Pretty in Mink: When some characters want to glam up their appearance.
  • Psycho for Hire: Some of the villains, especially Mr Teatime.
  • Public Execution: Occurs in Witches Abroad, Going Postal, and The Last Continent.
  • Puny Humans: If anything this is played straighter in the Discworld books than in most fantasy. Most sapient races are flat out better than humans: dwarfs are tougher, stronger and live longer, trolls and golems are near indestructable and incredibly strong (and trolls are incredibly intelligent when in cooler temperatures), vampires have all their standard strengths and can even learn to replace their lust for blood, as noted above werewolves are extremely capable in combat and have fantastic regenerative capabilities, pictsies are unbelivably strong and ferocious (gnomes are described as being as strong as a human despite being the size of a Barbie doll), Igors (if they count as non-human) are all brilliant surgeons and also great healers and orcs can only be called superbeings.
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: A stock joke, appearing in Hogfather, Eric, and Small Gods at least.
  • Recruiters Always Lie: Touched upon anytime armed forces jobs come up, most obviously in Monstrous Regiment where one of the markers that the war is going so poorly is that the recruiting party can't even be bothered to try.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The eyes of golems glow an unnerving red. A subversion since they're not evil.
  • Red Herring: Pratchett uses this trope a LOT. You see it at least once in every Watch book, and in some of the others as well.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Dwarf cuisine, which the occasional human will sample. Probably just once.
  • Reference Overdosed
  • Refuge in Audacity: Moist von Lipwig's main strategy.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Vampires can be killed in a number of different ways, but will always regenerate when they eventually come into contact with blood. Careful slayers can keep them locked up for hundreds or thousands of years, but sooner or later they'll be back. Thus far, there is no known way to permanently dispatch them.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Mentioned many times, but especially in Interesting Times and Night Watch; a revolution only leaves blood and death in its wake, and changes nothing in the long run.
  • Rubber Band History: There are some instances of time travel: Dios in Pyramids, Eric, the wizards in The Last Continent, Vimes in Night Watch, and Death and Susan use it on occasion (Thief of Time is more time manipulation than time travel). In these cases, history in the Discworld is surprisingly resilient (see Mort). Or maybe because of quantum, we only see the universe where the Discworld equivalent of Hitler winning (Ankh-Morpork being conquered in Jingo, the coming of the ice giants, the Apocralypse, etc.) does not happen.
    • But also averted in Small Gods. Lu-Tze converts a century of war and a vicious, totalitarian religion into a century of peace and a religious debate society by simply sweeping dung into a pile in just the right place.
  • Rule of Funny: Explicitly mentioned several times - one footnote makes reference to the "new rules of comedy" which state that the droll results of wild shots in the air must be told to the public.
  • Running Gag: "Tiffany Aching was Aching all over", among lots of others.
    • Including aside references to Leonard of Quirm's painting of the "Mona Ogg", whose teeth follow you around the room.
    • Vetinari will often tell whoever he's talking to to look out a nearby window at what Ank-Morpork has to offer, in the hopes that they will see Ankh-Morpork the way he sees it, as a great city all things considered, but usually they get sidetracked by fog obscuring the view or a dog peeing in an alley or something equally pointless.
    • A variety of the deliberately-spaced phrase, "this is a pune, or play on words," often appear in the books whenever someone feels the need to emphasize said Incredibly Lame Puns, particularly when they are already quite blatant to the audience and people around them.
    • Any book with Nanny (and a few other books) will have someone tricked into drinking scumble, made from apples. Well, mostly apples.
    • "Do deformed rabbit, it's my favorite."
  • Sand Is Water:
    • The Dehydrated Ocean. Technically not sand, but a fourth state of water that occurs in a high density magical field.
    • In Jingo, a D'reg refers to ships as a camel of the water.
  • Sanity Ball: Let's just say there are only a few bouncing around.
  • Security Blanket: Weapon of choice against bogeymen. Because of the nature of belief, if you pull the covers over your head the bogeyman ceases to exist... so if you put a bogeyman under a blanket it causes severe, crippling existential questions.
  • Sent Off to Work For Relatives: This is standard practice for dwarfs, who are sent to their already-established relatives in (usually) Ankh-Morpork, learning a trade and sending money home. Others stay in the mines, but there's little connotation of punishment. Carrot Ironfoundersson was sent to join the Watch as he was a human raised by dwarfs.
  • Self-Proclaimed Liar: Casanunda.
  • Serious Business: Humor, as far as the Fools' Guild is concerned. They have incredibly strict and severe guidelines for telling jokes and being funny. Unauthorized joke telling is severely punished, and the Guild is almost completely devoid of warmth and happiness (and, ironically, humor). Graduates tend to be emotionally scarred for life.
    • In contrast, the cheerful students of the Assassins' Guild. Some things are still Serious Business over there, but at least they can laugh.
      • The Assassins Guild know that there are things that are serious (and they deal with some of the MOST serious things people who don't have to deal with magic deal with) and things that are not, how to tell the difference, and when each is in play. The Fools Guild doesn't know these things. This has UNFUNNY results in a universe held together by magic and driven by stories.
  • Seven Heavenly Virtues: Though as it turns out, there are eight.
  • Shameful Strip: Done to the captured soldiers in both Jingo and Monstrous Regiment.
  • Shout-Out: So very many that the fandom collected them into The Annotated Pratchett File. (Written before wikis.)
    • And it still may miss more obscure ones - e.g. "Wizzard" may be a reference to Midgard (see the second picture in this article).
  • Slasher Smile: Carcer. Mr Teatime. Vimes. The werewolves in Überwald. Death (by dint of having no other option while using the scythe).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Played with. The tone of the books and most of the characters are definitely on the cynical side—the idealistic ones tend to be portrayed as naive, dumb or putting up a front. However, the universe itself is idealistic: the good guys do triumph, almost always in a Big Damn Heroes way. This is explicitly due to narrativium.
    • In fact, a big thing amongst all of the Discworld heroes is that they use cynical means to achieve idealistic ends.
  • Smart People Play Chess: In the early novels, Vetinari plays chess. Later, when "thud" is introduced and made out to be the Disc's chess analogue, Vetinari keeps a rare board in his viewing room and plays a friend by clacks.
  • Spontaneous Crowd Formation: This is often called the official pastime of Ankh-Morpork. No matter what the citizenry are doing, if something interesting is going on, they WILL stop to watch it.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: It's mentioned in a few books that putting Ferrets (or Weasels) down your trousers is a popular rural entertainment. In I Shall Wear Midnight there is much disappointment when the man who does it doesn't show up for a fair. This is actually a real "sport".
    • Played somewhat more straight with the Feegles, and in The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents when the clan fight off a highwayman.
  • Squishy Wizard: All wizards on the disc are this by default. They love food, get winded rather easily, and many of them are also rather old. All of these traits are actually encouraged by wizard culture, and Mustrum Ridcully (Archancellor of the the Unseen University) is considered extremely eccentric for his enjoyment of exercise-heavy activities.
    • Averted by Rincewind and the Librarian. The former has spent the majority of his life running away from things, and the latter is an orangutan. Possibly also by Bengo Macarona,[4] who is athletic enough to be the backbone of the University's football team.
    • Although he isn't technically a wizard (as he keeps deliberately failing his final exams), Victor Tugelbend also avoids this out of sheer laziness. (He finds it easier not to carry all that extra weight around.)
  • Stealth Mook: If you want to pass your exam in the Assassin's Guild, then you have to demonstrate the ability to be stealthy like this. And yes, per regulations you have to wear all-black. Veterinari as a young assassin was the exception that proved the rule.
    • The Assassins Guild has also long stopped taking contracts on Constable Sam Vimes, because he can see through their stealth and it would not be sporting to shoot him on the street. Instead, they send uppity students after Sam to teach them a lesson in humility.
  • Stop Worshipping Me!:
    • The Lady. One of the few examples of this trope in a universe where Gods Need Prayer Badly. Explained by the fact that everyone believes in luck, even if no one worships it.
    • The Duchess from Monstrous Regiment. All the prayers to her have actually turned her into a deity, but as much as she wants to help she's powerless to do anything and just wants to be let off the hook.
  • Subverted Trope: One of the major themes of the series. Not only for jokes, but people and situations often go in unexpected directions.
  • Super Doc: See The Igor above.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: Strong magic leaves strong residue, to the point that especially strong magic can leave magical fields behind that warp reality and last for centuries. All wizards, and only wizards, have the ability to see octarine.
  • Take Over the City: Many villains desire to conquer Ankh-Morpork
  • T-Word Euphemism: Lots, from the vampires' refrain of "the B-vord", Mr. Tulip's repeated use of "---ing", Quoth the Raven's "N-word", and Moist Von Lipwig's tirade against Reacher Gilt in Going Postal.
    • The K-word, the L-word, the T-word, both S-words, the V-word and the Y-word.
    • 'Murdering conniving bastard of a weasel' is acceptable, however.
    • Don't forget to NEVER, EVER use the M-word near the Librarian of the Unseen University.
  • Talking Animal: Usually due to the magical equivalent of radioactive waste.
    • Notable examples include Gaspode the wonder dog, the eponymous Amazing Maurice and the puntastically named Quoth the raven.
  • Theme Naming: The novels featuring Moist Von Lipwig all have names of the form "(verb)ing (object)".
  • Those Two Guys: Fred Colon and Nobby Nobbs.
  • Title Drop: Several of the books contain their title phrases at least once.
  • Too Dumb to Fool:
    • Vimes describes Detritus as this in Feet of Clay, almost word for word.
    • Brought up in Making Money when Vimes sends troll guards to the bank. Moist comments that they're not too smart, but you can't talk them over to your side either.
    • Also Fred Colon, acting in his role as cell warden. He's stupid, but he's not an idiot. He keeps the keys in a tin box in the bottom drawer of his desk. He also ends up wandering into investigating the key to one of the mysteries in Thud!.
      • Due to this Colon is one of the few people Lord Vetinari finds hard to deal with, because he is so used to dealing with people who treat words as a form of warfare that virtually everything he says carries multiple connotations, implications, innuendo, traps and suggestions. All of which reach escape velocity over Colon's head, making him nigh invulnerable to being played, tricked, warned or helped.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • To the degree that the Watch in Ankh-Morpork now consider entering the Mended Drum and calling yourself "Vincent the Invulnerable" a form of suicide. Needless to say, there are quite a few means of comitting suicide in the city. Many of them involve typical Ankh-Morporkian stupidity and Berserk Buttons.
    • Or just entering the Shades.
  • Tribal Face Paint: The Nac Mac Feegle have elaborate clan tattoos, to the extent that the books sometimes seem contradictory as to whether they actually have blue skin or not.
  • Tribute to Fido: Lady Jane, the evil-tempered gyrfalcon who is constantly attacking Hodgesaargh, is named after a real falcon, just as Hodgesaaargh is named after a real falconer.
  • Trope Overdosed: So very, very much.
  • Troperiffic: Most likely the best example on the entire site.
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: Most heroes are not physical exemplars.
    • A young Granny Weatherwax "might have been called handsome by a good-natured liar".
    • Vimes is described in Guards! Guards! as a "skinny, unshaven collection of bad habits marinated in alcohol".
  • True Sight: Wizards and witches can see what's really there. Susan also teaches this in her class in Thief of Time
    • Children seem to have this. Even when Death makes himself known, most adults won't even notice that he's a skeleton, because everybody knows that skeletons can't walk around and talk. Children don't know that, though, and they see Death as he really looks. Not that it bothers them at all.


  • Unusually Uninteresting Name: The Patrician's scary secret service goes by the name of ...Clerks.
    • Well, everyone calls the actual scary secret service the "Dark Clerks", and a good many of them are scholarship students to the Assassin's Guild School. (Generally regarded as just about the finest place to get a general education in the whole world, even foreign royalty have been known to send their children there. Of course, it's also helpful to know how it's done if you want to avoid being inhumed...)
  • Victorian London: Ankh-Morpokh of the later books seems to be this due to a functional modern police force, vibrant minority communities, telegraph analogue (clacks), newspapers, postal system, and paper money off the gold standard.
    • You mean "paper money based off the GOLEM standard," don't you?[context?]
    • Word of God states that the city is a pastiche of Tallinn, Prague, London, Seattle, and New York City.
    • The running joke about the river being nearly solid is only barely an exaggeration.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: The witches don't really let spelling apply to them and Carrot's approach to punctuation is basically a pin the tail on the donkey game.
  • Watering Down: Several jokes about this.
  • We All Die Someday: It's widely acknowledged that Death meets everyone, sooner or later. But to note:
    • In Night Watch the conversation between Vimes and Lu-Tze:

Vimes: I've been talking to people who are going to die today. Do you have any idea how that feels like?
Lu-Tze: Of course. Everyone I talk to is going to die. Everyone you talk to is going to die. Everybody dies.

Ponder: Graveyards are full of people who rushed in bravely but unwisely.
The Librarian: Ook.[5]

  • Weapons Grade Vocabulary: Lord Vetinari, a product of the Assassins' Guild School where every graduate is expected to demonstrate lethal proficiency in at least one weapon, uses language to deadly effect.

Do not let me detain you.
No great rush!

  • Weirdness Censor: It's pretty ironclad as when anything that doesn't fit into what people consider "normal", it is actively ignored. Check the trope page for examples.
    • Additionally, especially savvy characters can exploit this to their benefit. One example comes up in Soul Music when a group of musicians hide themselves in a piano and walk out the front door in full view of a Watchman saying they, as a piano, are on break.
      • Mind you, that WAS Detritus the Troll they fooled with that gambit, who was guarding the Opera House against theft, not the CONTENTS of the Opera House.
  • Wiki Walk: Leonard of Quirm, the wizards of the university, and some many other characters are fond of these.
  • Wizard Classic: Most of the wizards in the series conform to this image, no doubt out of professional pride. Many avert it in some respects, however, such as in their method of Klingon Promotion or the fact that they intentionally avoid doing more magic than they have to. Rincewind is a classic wizard despite being hopelessly incompetent when it comes to spells.
  • Wizarding School: Unseen University, which exists as much to keep the current wizards out of trouble as it does to raise the next generation of them. There's also Bugarup University in XXXX and, just recently, Brazeneck University in Quirm, with references at least one more in Pseudopolis and possibly many others.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Barring fatal accidents, most wizards live well past their nineties, even with their horrible Big Eater habits. A wizard who lives past fifty can expect to live past one hundred. Witches are also pretty long lasting.
    • That said, they still age at the same rate. This is explicitly why so many of them are old men and women, they are old for most of their lives.
  • The Wonderland: Not just different, but Prachett often takes time in the narration to explain just how different everything is, from how time flows to the shape of the world....
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: Pratchett likes to include at least one silly pun, or play on words, per book.
  • World of Badass: If you intend to mess with someone here, make sure they're not witches, wizards, watchmen, werewolves, dwarves, trolls, Mrs. Cake, demons, gods, gnomes, Mrs. Cake, vampires, pictsies, heroes, assassins, the Luggage, Mrs. Cake or, last but not least, the Librarian. It's a wonder that anyone else is left in the place.
    • In fact, attempting to mess with Death is probably your safest bet on this world. The most he'll likely do is act confused/amused at your antics and walk away.
      • Note that this covers messing with Death himself. Mess with anything he cares about, and....
    • If you think that you can take down a watchman, make sure they're not Vimes, Carrot, Angua, Detritus, or Dorfl.[6]
      • The citizens of Ankh-Morpork have apparently learned the hard way that attacking any Watchman is a bad idea, as the Watch believe in Disproportionate Retribution for that sort of thing. Mister Vimes'll go spare!
  • X Makes Anything Cool:
    • Agnes Nitt desperately tries to acquire some cool by (briefly) assuming the name Perdita X Dream.

"But everyone just ended up calling her 'That girl Agnes who calls herself Perditax."

    • Dr. Hix of Unseen Academicals is actually named Hicks (as seen in Making Money), but as a man who dresses in a black cloak and skull ring, he wasn't going to miss a chance to have an "x" in his name.
  • "You?" Squared: The bar brawl version is known as the "Double Andrew", and is worth quite a lot of points. Bar brawls in Ankh-Morpork have become somewhat formalized.
    • 'Somewhat formalized' doesn't begin to cover it. There are formal scoring rules, judging, official teams, and extensive brawl planning. They even have an Igor on standby to stitch back on anything that happens to get cut off (and they recommended having your name tattooed on extremities to make sure he stitches the right bits back on you).
  • Your Vampires Suck: An entire book on this trope, before it ends with "Classic vampires are awesome". Mostly because they intentionally form a symbiotic relationship with their villages—they get blood and a mostly safe place to live, tourism (one is even mentioned as having a gift shop) and give the local community something to feel good about. Namely, having beat a vampire (or, in the case of the ladies, having been beautiful enough to be kidnapped by one).
  1. Four if you include the Colour Of Magic 1986 text adventure
  2. One based on the Watch, one based on a power struggle for Ankh-Morpork, and the Defictionalised chess-analogue Thud
  3. At least the canon verses, all of which are cut off before any explicit lyrics
  4. D.Thau (Bug), D.Maus (Chubb), Magistaludorum (QIS), Octavium (Hons), PHGK (Blit), DMSK, Mack, D.Thau (Bra), Visiting Professor in Chickens (Jahn the Conqueror University (Floor 2, Shrimp Packers Building, Genua)), Primo Octo (Deux), Visiting Professor of Blit/Slood Exchanges (Al Khali), KCbfJ, Reciprocating Professor of Blit Theory (Unki), D.Thau (Unki), Didimus Supremius (Unki), Emeritus Professor in Blit Substrate Determinations (Chubb), Chair of Blit and Music Studies (Quirm College for Young Ladies)
  5. Sooner or later, graveyards are full of everybody
  6. Remember that he is lightning-proof (which is how he remains a living Flat Earth Atheist); functionally immortal, as he can be ground up and simply be re-baked; and very, very strong.