The Quotable Pratchett: Carpe Jugulum

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 Carpe Jugulum

Carpe Jugulum coverThis is the 23rd Discworld novel and the 6th in the Witches series.

All the makings of a horror story descend upon Lancre: a cadre of forward-thinking vampires has been invited to The Christening, an Omnian missionary has set up his tent (and harmonium), and Granny Weatherwax is feeling left out. Oh, and let’s not forget the mythical creatures streaming into Lancre from Überwald: cenaurs and the phoenix and the little blue men (and one woman) known as the Nac Mac Feegle.

When the Magpyr Vampires take over Lancre, the Coven must find a way to fight them – and they can’t rely on Granny Weatherwax. Will Agnes/Perdita give in to the Music of the Night and allow Vald to turn her? Will Mightily Oats, Omnian missionary, find something worth believing?

Examining the fundamentals of faith, family, and ethics, Carpe Jugulum isn’t your typical vampire story.

5 Stars

The Goodreads Blurb:

In a fit of enlightenment democracy and ebullient goodwill, King Verence invites Uberwald’s undead, the Magpyrs, into Lancre to celebrate the birth of his daughter. But once ensconced within the castle, these wine-drinking, garlic-eating, sun-loving modern vampires have no intention of leaving. Ever.

Only an uneasy alliance between a nervous young priest and the argumentative local witches can save the country from being taken over by people with a cultivated bloodlust and bad taste in silk waistcoats. For them, there’s only one way to fight.

Go for the throat, or as the vampyres themselves say . . . Carpe Jugulum

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

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

It wasn’t that [the Lancrastrians] didn’t take an interest in the world around them. On the contrary, they had a deep, personal and passionate involvement in it, but instead of asking “why are we here?” they asked “is it going to rain before the harvest?”

A philosopher might have deplored this lack of mental ambition, but only if he was really certain about where his next meal was coming from.

Between the light and the dark . . . well, sometimes that’s where you had to be.

Lancre operated on the feudal system, which was to say, everyone feuded all the time and handed on the fight to their descendants. The chips on some shoulders had been passed down for generations. Some had antique value. A bloody good grudge, Lancre reckoned, was like a fine old wine. You looked after it carefully and left it to your children.

The smug mask of virtue could be almost as horrible as the face of wickedness revealed.

It wasn’t that he’d lacked faith. But faith wasn’t enough. He’d wanted knowledge. . . . He’d found knowledge, and knowledge hadn’t helped.

You can always rely on a man with stitches all around his head.

I’m commandin’ you, religious man l What do you really . . . believe? What did you . . . think it was all about? Singing songs? Sooner or later . . . it’s all down to . . . the blood . . .

Once you gave a thing a name you gave it life.

Occasionally the spoil heap outside a badger sett would reveal a piece of bone or a scrap of corroded armour. The Lancrastians didn’t go digging themselves, reckoning in their uncomplicated country way that it was bad luck to have your head torn off by a vengeful underground spirit.

Mythology’s just the folktales of people who won ‘cos they had bigger swords.

It’s like that chess stuff, see? Let the Queen do the fightin’, ‘cos if you lose the King you’ve lost everything.

There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.

It’s a lot more complicated than that–

No it ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.

Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes-

But they starts with thinking about people as things . . .

Hard to have faith, ain’t it, when you read too many books.


Still got it, though?



If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have anything.

People were good at imagining hells, and some they occupied while they were still alive.

Terrible thing to have to burn all them words, though.

The worthwhile ones don’t burn.

If I thought there was some god who really did care two hoots about people, who watched ’em like a father and cared for ’em like a mother… well, you wouldn’t catch me sayin’ things like “There are two sides to every question,” and “We must respect other people’s beliefs.” You wouldn’t find me just being gen’rally nice in the hope that it’d all turn out right in the end, not if that flame was burning in me like an unforgivin’ sword. And I did say burnin’, Mister Oats, ‘cos that’s what it’d be. You say that you people don’t burn folk and sacrifice people any more, but that’s what true faith would mean, y’see? Sacrificin’ your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin’ the truth of it, workin’ for it, breathin’ the soul of it. That’s religion. Anything else is just… is just bein’ nice. And a way of keepin’ in touch with the neighbors.

The role of the lower intestine in the efforts to build a better nation is one that is often neglected by historians.

Remember — that which does not kill us can only make us stronger.

And that which does kill us leaves us dead!

. . .

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