No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away

With the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett and the publication of The Shepherd’s Crown, I embarked on an epic re-reading of all 41 official Discworld novels, with the goal of finishing by 31 December, 2016.

Famous for its wit and wisdom, the series offers countless quotable quotes on a variety of subjects. The quotes I share should not be considered the whole of Sir Terry’s excellent prose; indeed, they are the tasty appetizers to a succulent, nourishing meal.

About Mort

Mort Cover Terry PratchettThis is the 4th Discworld novel and the first to feature Death as a main character. He’s known for SPEAKING IN ALL CAPS, enjoying a good curry, and watching out for cats. He’s also one of my favorite characters on the Disc. As Rhianna Pratchett said,

We got a number of tear-inducing letters from fans who were nearing the end of their lives and took great comfort in imagining that the death that came for them would be riding a white horse called Binky. Dad had done something with more success than anyone else – he made Death friendly.

I particularly enjoy Mort for its examination of history, fate, destiny, and free will. The Librarian and Rincewind make cameo appearances, too.

The Goodreads Blurb:

In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can’t refuse — especially since being, well, dead isn’t compulsory. As Death’s apprentice, he’ll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won’t need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he’d ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

The  Librarian as he appears in The Discworld Companion, illustrated by Paul Kidby


Scientist have calculated that the chance of anything so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one.

But magicians have calculated that that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.


Mort . . . had about the same talent for horticulture that you would find in a dead startfish

It wasn’t that he was unhelpful, but he had that kind of vague, cheerful helpulness that serious men soon learn to dread.


His heart’s in the right place, mind . . . ‘Course, ’tis the rest of him that isn’t.

Sometimes he starts thinking so hard you has to hit him round the head to get his attention.



Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?

No, what?

Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serve ’em right.

His granny taught him to read, see. I reckon it overheated his mind.


The awesome splendor of the universe is much easier to deal with if you think of it as a series of small chunks.


[Priests] are always telling folk how much better it’s going to be when they’re dead. We tell them it could be pretty good right here if only they’d put their minds to it.


There had been a sound like someone making no noise at all. Forget peas and mattresses – sheer natural selection had established over the years that the royal families that survived longest were those whose members could distinguish an assassin in the dark by the noise he was clever enough not to make.


History is all worked out, from start to finish. What the facts actually are is beside the point; history just rolls straight over the top of them. You can’t change anything because the changes are already part of it.


History always has a few tricks up its frayed sleeve. It’s been around a long time.


It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever. Have you thought of going into teaching?


WHAT IS IT CALLED WHEN YOU FEEL WARM AND CONTENT AND WISH THINGS WOULD STAY THAT WAY?

I guess you’d call it happiness.


Just because you happen to rescue a princess, you shouldn’t rush into things.

VERY WISE. TOO MANY YOUNG WOMEN LEAP INTO THE ARMS OF THE FIRST YOUNG MAN TO WAKE THEM AFTER A HUNDRED YEARS’ SLEEP, FOR EXAMPLE.

. . .

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