The Quotable Pratchett: Witches Abroad

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 Witches Abroad

Witches Abroad coverThis is the 12th Discworld novel and the 3rd in the Witches series.

When godmother Desiderata dies with unfinished work, our friendly Lancre witches – Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, & Magrat Garlick – are off to New Orleans Genua to make sure the fairy-tale ending doesn’t happen. Along the way the make sure other stories get the endings they need, and discover the delights of foreign cuisine.

Weaving in fairy tales in ways you haven’t quite seen before, Pratchett examines the notion of family and what it means to be “good.”

The Goodreads Blurb:

Once upon a time there was a fairy godmother named Desiderata who had a good heart, a wise head, and poor planning skills—which unforunately left the Princess Emberella in the care of her other (not quite so good and wise) godmother when DEATH came for Desiderata. So now it’s up to Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg to hop on broomsticks and make for far-distant Genua to ensure the servant girl doesn’t marry the Prince.

But the road to Genua is bumpy, and along the way the trio of witches encounters the occasional vampire, werewolf, and falling house (well this is a fairy tale, after all). The trouble really begins once these reluctant foster-godmothers arrive in Genua and must outwit their power-hungry counterpart who’ll stop at nothing to achieve a proper “happy ending”—even if it means destroying a kingdom.

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

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


People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.


It’s far too early in the morning for it to be early in the morning.


No one ever went hungry when they had dwarf bread to avoid. You only had to look at it for a moment, and instantly you could think of dozens of things you’d rather eat. Your boots, for example. Mountains. Raw sheep. Your own foot.


Granny Weatherwax always held that you ought to count up to ten before losing your temper. No one knew why, because the only effect of this was to build up the pressure and make the ensuing explosion a whole lot worse.


“This is Greebo. Between you and me, he’s a fiend from hell.”

“Well, he’s a cat,” said Mrs. Gogol, generously. “It’s only to be expected.”


The wages of sin is death but so is the salary of virtue, and at least the evil get to go home early on Fridays.


Cats gravitate to kitchens like rocks gravitate to gravity.


You can’t go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it’s just a cage.


Progress just means bad things happen faster.


Where’s the pleasure in bein’ the winner if the loser ain’t alive to know they’ve lost?


There’s a billion places like home. But only one of ’em’s where you live.

. . .

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