Discworld/Making Money

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Making Money
Written by: Terry Pratchett
Central Theme:
Genre(s): Fantasy
Series: Discworld
Preceded by: Wintersmith
Followed by: Unseen Academicals
First published: 2007
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Moist: Why will anyone want to kill me?
Vetinari: I couldn't say, Mister Lipwig. But there was at least one attempt on your life when you were innocently delivering letters, so I expect your career in banking will be an exciting one.


The 36th book in the Discworld series, Making Money returns us to Moist von Lipwig, who has taken to breaking into his own building and stealing his own possessions to alleviate the boredom of living a more virtuous life. Since Going Postal, he has become a major figure in the city and is tipped to become the next chairman of the Merchant's Guild. Vetinari, realizing that Moist would be much more useful if he redirected this bored energy towards a new project, offers him the chance to revamp the Royal Mint in much the same fashion as he revived the Post Office.

Topsy Lavish, the current majority shareholder of the Royal Bank of Ankh Morpork, spies Moist for what he is immediately—a dirty, scheming crook. Naturally, when she dies not long after meeting him, she leaves all of her shares to her pet dog... and leaves her pet dog to Moist. Her family, objecting to the bank falling into the hands of a non-relative, go to great lengths to bribe, torment and even attempt to kill Moist.

Meanwhile, Moist's fiancee Adora Belle Dearheart has been away on a dig, and Moist has been fighting off the advances of Gladys the golem. While both of these seem relatively innocent, they will eventually evolve into much bigger problems, which could cause Moist even bigger issues should things go wrong...

Tropes used in Discworld/Making Money include:
  • Above Good and Evil: Justifying necromancy... Er, Post-Mortem Communications.
  • Actual Pacifist: Moist is more comfortable being threatened with a sword than he is holding one.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: Mr. Bent
  • Altum Videtur: Vetinari's claim that his actions in appointing Moist to government positions are justified under the legal grounds of "Quia ego sic dico", which is eventually translated as "Because I say so."
  • Army of Lawyers: There's one surrounding the Lavish family.
  • Arrow Catch: Gladys catches one of the Assassin's Guild "warning shots", stopping it so suddenly that it catches fire.
  • Battle of Wits
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Moist loves doing this, but most notably, busting an expert stamp forger out of prison to design his paper money for him.
  • Berserk Button: While he hardly goes berserk as such, Moist does succeed in accidentally making Vetinari extremely angry by implying that he had Mrs. Lavish murdered to allow Moist to take control of the bank.

Vetinari: But now the city works, Mr Lipwig. We progress. We would not do so if the ruler was the kind of man who would kill elderly ladies, do you understand?
Moist: I never said-
Vetinari: I know exactly what you never said. You refrained from saying it very loudly. I am extremely angry, Mr Lipwig.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Lady Deidre Waggon, the author of an old fashioned book on etiquette and household management, has a section in said book on disposing of dead bodies.
  • Body Horror:
    • As a part of Cosmo's attempts to mimic Lord Vetinari, he wears a copy of the Patrician's ring that is much too small for him. His finger eventually starts rotting because it can't get any blood, and in the end Moist tricks him into exposing the ring to direct sunlight, which due to the special properties of the metal it's made of, causes it to get superhot and burn his finger clean off. We don't get a proper description, but it has "green mushrooms" and Moist notes the "colors" and the "wriggling things".
    • And then there's Cribbins' exploding dentures. "He made a noise like someone trying to scream, except that even screaming was too painful".
  • Boxed Crook: Moist, of course. He tries to set this up with Owlswick, only to realize that Vetinari would have given him the same offer Moist got anyway.
  • Bring Them Around: Moist needs to convince the highly traditional Mint to print paper money, Mr. Bent off the gold standard, and the public to accept paper money as worth its printed value.
  • Canis Latinicus: Lord Vetinari rules Ankh-Morpork on the law of Quia ego sic dico.[1]
  • Circular Reasoning: The Department of Post Mortem Communications can't be called necromancy:

Moist: So what you are saying is that necromancy is a very bad form of magic performed only by evil wizards, and since you are not evil wizards, what you are doing cannot possibly be called necromancy?
Dr. Hicks: Yes.
Moist: And what defines an evil wizard?
Dr. Hicks: Well, for a start, doing necromancy.

  • Consequence Combo: Topsy delivers an awesome one of these. "The sum of $20,000 annually will be paid for performing this duty, which I beg you to accept. If you do not ... your arse will belong to the Guild of Assassins."
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: Moist is obligated to do this with Mr Fusspot.
  • Continuity Nod: Stanley's favorite Pin Emporium, mentioned in Going Postal, is briefly mentioned as becoming a Pin and Stamp Emporium. One of the subplots is Vetinari's use of the Device from Thud. And Moist wonders why an axe is stuck in the table...
    • The jobs Moist gets at the start of this book are the exact same jobs that were offered to his Evil Counterpart at the end of Going Postal, which he... refused.
    • Mrs. Cake from Reaper Man makes an appearance, as does her daughter.
  • Cool Old Lady: Topsy
  • Courtroom Antic: During Moist's trial, Mr. Fusspot is propelled across the courtroom floor by a vibrating dildo he's using as a chew toy. Moist quickly decides that a world where something like that can actually happen can handle someone like him being in charge of a bank, and confesses to everything.
  • Crazy Prepared: If Moist ever needs to leave town under a different name (again) he has a wide range of options.
  • Cypher Language: Adora Belle's use of "golem language" is phonetic English rendered in Hebrew-style characters.
    • Something close to it, anyway: "Why", for instance, is spelled "U/V/W"-"H"-"I/Y", which would mean the pool of letters is similar to Latin, except for some reason R and M are the same.
  • Dirty Old Man: Topsy's late husband, who had whole closets of unusual sex toys that amuse Adora Belle and trouble Moist. And provide Mr. Fusspot with a chewtoy.

Moist: "Did he often 'work late'?"
Vetinari: "With astonishing regularity for his age, I understand."

    • Also Professor Flead, former head of the Necromancy Department at Unseen University. Shamelessly perverted and incapable of being much older for the same reason he's the former head—he's dead. At the end of the book Moist makes a deal with him that sees him bound to the Pink Pussycat Club for the rest of time, which is like paradise for him- when he was alive, he thought seeing a woman's ankles was saucy.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Mr. Fusspot is safe from guild assassins, because killing a little lapdog looks really bad on one's resumé.
    • The Assassins also won't accept a contract on someone who already has one, so by hiring them to kill Moist if he fails to protect Mr. Fusspot, Topsy was actually protecting him from her murderous in-laws.
    • Vetinari does a lot of morally ambiguous things for the good of the city, but killing old ladies isn't among them.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Moist gets rather excited about the sound of Adora Belle speaking the language of the golems.
  • Fantastic Nuke: It's mentioned that "if you don't think of building fifty-foot high killer golems first, someone else will", and later Moist points out that "if you don't think ofnotusing fifty-foot high killer golems first, someone else will."
  • Foreshadowing: "Joshua liked to be in control. Oh yes, didn't he just." Moist later discovers a closet full of S&M equipment in Joshua's room.
    • When trying to find out about Mr Bent's mysterious past Moist discovers a diary entry saying that some 'funny looking men' appeared at the bank asking about him. Probably meant to be taken quite literally as he used to be a clown.
  • Formally-Named Pet: Topsy Lavish's dog and eventual chairman of the bank is named Mr Fusspot.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Vetinari does a sudoku-equivalent in the Times which is called a Jikan no Muda—rough Japanese for "waste of time".
  • Groin Attack
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy
  • Honey Trap: Pucci tries to be one; Moist sees her and takes off in the other direction at top speed.
    • Turns into a Brain Bleach moment, as his appalled memory cells try to die.
  • How Many Fingers?: Igor - with an actual jar full of them.
  • Idiot Ball: Moist calls himself on holding it because he did not check out the vault day one with a lawyer and a guard to check on the status of the gold.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Cosmo towards Vetinari (see below).
  • I Know Kung Faux: There's a reference to sloshi, the art of Martial Arts Clowning.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Bent. Just Bent.
    • Clowns in general. According to Dr. Whiteface, Bent's technique, on forty-year-suppressed instinct, is better than some clowns who train all their lives.
  • Infraction Distraction: In the opening, Moist breaks into the Post Office. He conceals the evidence by broadly implying that he's not alone in bed.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Department of Postmortem Communications are not necromancers. (Technically true, since necromancy officially means consulting the dead to learn about the future. Contacting them to figure out what's going on in the past or present doesn't count.)
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Cosmo Lavish is plotting to overthrow Lord Vetinari by becoming Lord Vetinari. His plans to achieve this go as far as to steal the patrician's boots and jewelry and copy his manner of dress and facial hair at all times.
    • Given how magic and belief work on the Discworld, this is not quite as crazy as it sounds.
      • Admittedly, given that Cosmo's is about two and a half times the Patrician's body size, it's crazy enough.
      • Later, we find there is an entire wing of a hospital devoted to people who think they're Vetinari.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Moist, when the Lavishes denounce him for stealing the bank's gold, accuse him of being a fraud, and insult his fashion sense.
  • It's All About Me: Pucci, whose Screw the Rules, I Have Money remarks incriminate her entire family.
  • Just Testing You: When Mr. Bent has a paper corrected by one of his younger employees and suffers a breakdown, Moist initially wonders why he simply didn't claim he was testing them.

"Even school teachers know that one!"

  • Karma Houdini: Heretofore appears to get away with it. Granted he didn't do anything especially bad himself (though indirectly leading to Cranberry murdering people) but considering how he managed to swipe some of Vetinari's possessions...
    • The only item he procured that was actually Vetinari's was the skullcap, and the description state that it was a matter of simple bribery. And he doesn't strictly qualify for this trope since we know Havelock is sending people after him.
  • Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: A mild form: Vetinari hands Moist a sword while questioning him, so he can confirm that Moist is more afraid when he's holding a sword than he is when Vetinari is. A subtle but brilliant Continuity Nod back to Guards! Guards!, in which the maddened Lupin Wonse screamed at Vetinari "You think you're in control just because I've got a sword and you haven't!"
    • Could be considered as a Continuity Nod for Moist, to the scene in Going Postal where Moist kills a banshee and puke right after he does so, showing to the reader that he hates violence, even when it is done in order to save his own life.
  • Mad Artist: Owlswick Jenkins. It's not clear as to whether Pterry knows anything about Japanese Manga Artists. Because having an artist who only does his brilliantly amazing art when insane and goes by the alias CLAMP is either the greatest shout-out or coincidence in history. Given Terry Pratchett's nigh invincible levels of Genre Savvy, it's fair bet this was deliberate.
  • Mad Scientist: Topsy's nephew Hubert Turvy, a Mad Economist, who built a hydraulic computer to calculate the flow of money.
    • Although, in the same style as many of Discworld's da Quirm inventions, the computer is based on a real-world device—the MONIAC, devised in 1949.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: Some of the fundamentals of martial clowning, such as lethal balloon animals and "battle-planking".
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Those dentures. Fridge Brilliance: Goddess Anoia, which rules over things stuck in the drawers and lost causes, owes Moist a HUGE favor! And what is coloquial name for mouth? Drawers, as in shut your drawers!
  • Meaningful Name: Mild, in-universe case; Moist reflects that you never see a tall, slim Hubert, and Hubert Turvy is no exception.
  • Men Are Generic, Women Are Special: Moist has to remind himself that non-Gladys golems aren't really men anymore than she's actually female.
  • The Mistress: Topsy was the mistress, became the wife, and was aware that newer models were coming along. She explained that keeping this all open made it very convenient for everyone's schedules.
  • Multilayer Facade: Topsy discusses Moist's relationship with Adora in these terms.

"I suspect you like her because she can see your inner self. Or at least an inner self you've left inside just in case."

  • Napoleon Delusion: In the end, Cosmo is taken to a lunatic asylum, which has a whole wing of people who think they're Vetinari.
  • Not My Driver: Moist has two nasty run-ins with a Lavish due to getting in the first black coach he sees. Nobby and Colon are there to point out how Genre Blind he's getting the second time.
  • Not With The Cap On You Won't: Moist prevents Owlswick Jenkins from committing suicide by eating a tube of highly toxic paint because he made the same mistake as a lot of amateurs.
  • Oblivious to Love: Mr Bent.
  • Out with a Bang
  • Pet Heir: Mr. Fusspot
  • Pink Means Feminine: Used to determine that an item wasn't made by a young girl, due to the lack of any pink on it.
  • Plank Gag: Mr. Bent uses this with a ladder when he barges in on Moist's hearing.
  • Post Climax Confrontation/Dragon Their Feet: Cribbins.
  • Reality-Changing Miniature: The Glooper becomes this, much to the distress of its creator.
  • Red Herring: We are repeatedly told that everyone suspects Mr. Bent of being a vampire. So often that the Genre Savvy reader knows he must be something else, and is perhaps thinking of other unusual Discworld races like Mr. Gryle the banshee from Going Postal. In the end, Mr. Bent turns out to be a clown.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The whole concept of paper money is Refuge in Audacity itself. Which makes Moist von Lipwig the perfect man to run a bank.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Cosmo's journal full of attempted signatures looks a lot like one; "vetinari vetinari vetinari vetinari vetinari vetinari vetinari vetinari vetinari vetinari vetinari".
  • Running Gag: Moist stealing Drumknott's pencil.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Heretofore, when Cosmo's madness reaches critical mass.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: A B Plot -- Cribbins recognises Moist as Albert Spangler, and blackmails him with the threat of revealing his secret. He tells Cosmo, but Moist confesses to his past in court before they can reveal it. He tracks Moist down for a Post Climax Confrontation... and his dentures explode, putting him in hospital.
  • Shout-Out: We've got Moist making paper money that is noted to be worth only what we think it is. We've got a man who's obsessing over a pair of boots. We've got a little dog. We've got Moist revitalizing his top hat. We've got a lady golem that does the ironing. Mr. Jenkins considers a battleship as a motif for the bills he's designing. Adora Belle gives Moist a golem horse, which he rides. What does this spell, do you think...?
    • The scene where Moist and Adora briefly believe Gladys the Golem has killed Mr. Fusspot is based on the "bunny boiler" scene from Fatal Attraction.
      • Possibly also based on the urban legend about a babysitter who microwaved a baby. Most variants of that urban legend have the babysitter roasting the baby, because she was so high (usually on acid) that she thought the baby was a turkey that she was supposed to prepare for the family's dinner. The scene where Gladys pulls Mr. Fusspot's collar out, though, is more reminiscent of the "Chinese Chow-Chow" legends (where a beloved family pet is turned into—or believed to be turned into—dinner when the family visits a Chinese restaurant).
    • Mr Bent's Backstory may be inspired by John Major, who was said to be the only person who ran away from the circus to become an accountant.
  • Shrouded in Myth
  • Clay Feminist: Gladys Becomes One Of These After Reading Books Written By Other Straw Feminists.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: When Moist explains to Vetinari why there are Mongooses in the letter boxes. Arguably more of a "swallowed a spider to catch the fly" type thing...
  • Summoning Ritual: The Professor of Necromancy... Er, Post-Mortem Communications makes great use of dribbling candles, and pentagrams, because he knows the spirits they are trying to summon won't come if it doesn't look right.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: One of Moist's tricks is to invoke this trope as a Bait and Switch—covering up the fact there's a woman in his bed just subtly enough that the hearer will assume that there is one and that they've seen through him... when in fact there isn't one at all, he just wants to keep them out of his room.
  • Sword Cane: Vetinari's walking stick is widely considered to be one (specifically, one forged from the iron in the blood of his enemies) but it's fairly ambiguous as to whether it actually is.
  • Taking the Bullet: Moist saves Vetinari from public humiliation by taking a Pie in the Face for him. Of course, this being Vetinari, the chances of him getting hit were near non-existent in the first place. Because he knew Moist would jump in front of it.
  • Tastes Like Purple: As a side effect of Igor transferring all of Owlswick's neuroses into a turnip. "It sounded like the smell of raspberries tastes."
  • Thanatos Gambit: Mrs. Lavish's will hands her money to Mr. Fusspot, makes Moist his guardian... and sets up a contingency contract on him with the Guild of Assassins if the dog doesn't live out its natural life. Which, the book notes, prevents anyone else from simply taking out a contract on Moist.
  • The Window or the Stairs: Moist is given the same choice as he was at the start of Going Postal, only to discover that the "bottomless pit" room is now perfectly normal. When he asks what happened to it, Vetinari claims to have no idea what he's talking about.
  • They Called Me Mad: Igor has to ask Hubert to say this.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Mr. Bent, probably to his mother's disappointment.
  • Under New Management: Moist Von Lipwig as the new management of the Mint.
  • Unfortunate Names: Apparently, Topsy Lavish's maiden name was Turvy. As it is implied that she used to be either an exotic dancer or music-hall girl, Topsy could quite probably be a stage name (or pole name as the case may be).
  • Vomiting Cop: An unnamed guardsman on the removal of Cosmo's glove.
  • Walk On the Wild Side Episode: In a Shout-Out to Twelfth Night, the austere and humourless bank clerk Mavolio Bent, a man who ran away from the circus to join a bank, suddenly re-asserts his destiny and heritage as a circus clown.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The pies. Just... everything concerning the pies. And the ladder.
  • Wrote the Book: Mr. Slant literally wrote most of the impressive-looking books on law.
  • You Fail Economics Forever: Averted, Pratchett did quite a bit of research into economic theory before writing the book, and it shows. (The British gold hullabaloo mentioned above notwithstanding.)
    • And the lump of labor fallacy when presented with the golems, although if you really wanted to justify it, you could say that Vetinari had his own reasons for saying that, and everyone else didn't know economics well enough to realize the mistake.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Anyone involved in Cosmo's obsession with Vetinari.
  1. roughly, "Because I said so."