The Quotable Pratchett: Pyramids

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 Pyramids

Pyramids CoverPyramids is the 7th book in the Discworld series and the first truly stand-alone novel.

As a history teacher and amateur philosopher, I love this book.

Pratchett has combined histories & philosophies of Egypt, Greece, and the Mesopotamian Empires to form the Old Kingdom of Djelibeybi, an empire in existential crisis.

Regular readers of Pratchett may be put off by the lack of recurring characters – other than a few cameos by DEATH at the very beginning and very end of the book.

Nevertheless, the wit and satire we have come to love remain the same, and we get a more in-depth look at the Assassin’s Guild than we have in the past.

The Goodreads Blurb:

It’s bad enough being new on the job, but Teppic hasn’t a clue as to what a pharaoh is supposed to do. After all, he’s been trained at Ankh-Morpork’s famed assassins’ school, across the sea from the Kingdom of the Sun. First, there’s the monumental task of building a suitable resting place for Dad — a pyramid to end all pyramids. Then there are the myriad administrative duties, such as dealing with mad priests, sacred crocodiles, and marching mummies. And to top it all off, the adolescent pharaoh discovers deceit, betrayal – not to mention a headstrong handmaiden – at the heart of his realm.

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

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


People have often speculated about [what our ancestors would be thinking if they were alive today]. Would the approve of modern society, they ask, would they marvel at present-day achievements? And of course this misses the fundamental point. What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is “Why is it so dark in here?”


There was not a lot that could be done to make Morpork a worse place. A direct hit by a meteorite, for example, would count as gentrification.


King Teppicymon XXVII . . . was less certain than his sister of the unpleasantness of assassination; he’d been reluctantly in politics for a long time, and felt that while assassination was probably worse than debate it was certainly better than war, which some people tended to think of as the same thing only louder.


Of course, when you’re a pharaoh, you get a very high class of obscure dream.


Mere animals couldn’t possibly manage to act like this. You need to be a human being to be really stupid.


Never trust a species that grins all the time. It’s up to something.


The conversation of human beings seldom interested him, but it crossed his mind that the males and females always got along best when neither actually listened fully to what the other one was saying. It was much simpler with camels.


“Ibid is a well-known authority on everything,” said Xeno. “Except for geometry. And interior decorating. And elementary logic.” Ibid glared at him.


Nature abhors dimensional abnormalities, and seals them neatly away so that they don’t upset people. Nature, in fact, abhors a lot of things, including vacuums, ships called the Marie Celeste, and the chuck keys for electric drills.


Ptracia didn’t just derail the train of thought, she ripped up the rails, burned the stations and melted the bridges for scrap.


That’s how we survive infinity – we kill it by breaking it up into small bits.

. . .

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