The Quotable Pratchett: Small Gods

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 Small Gods

This is the 13th Discworld novel and the 2nd of the “History” books, the first being Pyramids.

In Small Gods, Pratchett examines the relationship between belief, faith, religion, and gods. Don’t worry, though – history, philosophy, and atheism make strong claims, too!

At times irreverent, Small Gods mixes humor and theology in a way that would only work on the Discworld . . . or would it?

And, just in case you didn’t know, or in case you forgot:

The Turtle Moves

The Goodreads Blurb:

Just because you can’t explain it, doesn’t mean it’s a miracle.’ Religion is a controversial business in the Discworld. Everyone has their own opinion, and indeed their own gods. Who come in all shapes and sizes. In such a competitive environment, there is a pressing need to make one’s presence felt. And it’s certainly not remotely helpful to be reduced to be appearing in the form of a tortoise, a manifestation far below god-like status in anyone’s book. In such instances, you need an acolyte, and fast. Preferably one who won’t ask too many questions…

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

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

Things just happen, one after another. They don’t care who knows. But history . . . ah, history is different. History has to be observed. Otherwise it’s not history. It’s just, . . . well, things happening one after another.

There are fewer metaphors around than people think.

The sheer centratedness of History, sleeting past soundlessly out into the world, can be overwhelming. Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.

The trouble with being a god is that you’ve got no one to pray to.

There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal, kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.

People have reality dampers. . . . One of [the brain’s] functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary and turn the unusual into the usual.

What have I always believed?

That on the whole, by and large, if a man lived properly, not according to to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out all right.

Sheep are stupid, and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led.

“What’s a philosopher?” said Brutha.

“Someone who’s bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting,” said a voice inside his head.

If you spend your whole time thinking about the universe, you tend to forget the less important bits of it. Like your pants.

The Ephebians believed that every man should have the vote.*

*Provided that he wasn’t poor, foreign, nor disqualified by reason of being mad, frivolous, or a woman.

Abroad’s all right to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

Bishops move diagonally. That’s why they often turn up where the kings don’t expect them to be.

Give anyone a lever long enough and they can change the world. It’s unreliable levers that are the problem.

Logic is only a way of being ignorant by numbers.

Previous: Witches Abroad     |     Next: Lords and Ladies

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One thought on “The Quotable Pratchett: Small Gods

  1. I like the quotes. I often wonder how much thought (time wise) is put into quotes? Does the author sleep on it, or does it get printed just the way it is right off the bat?! These are hypothetical questions by the way. I’ve been seeing lots of quotes around of late. Have we got so little time that we have to learn life’s lessons from a quote? Another hypothetical, questioning thought.

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