The Quotable Pratchett: The Last Hero

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 The Last Hero

This is the 27th Discworld novel and the 7th in the Rince-cycle.

This is not your typical Discworld novel. It is an oversized “fable” heavily illustrated by the incomparable Paul Kidby. The illustrations alone are worth the price of this book.

Having grown dissatisfied with civilization, Genghiz Cohen the Barbarian and the Silver Horde are on one last adventure – to return fire to the gods on Dunmanifestin. Accompanied by a saga-writing minstrel and Evil Harry, the Last Dark Lord, these ancient heroes will make the whole Disc shake.

Of course, when the Disc needs saving, there’s only one Wizzard to run from the task: Rincewind. Persuaded by Lord Vetinari, Rincewind, Carrot, and Leonard of Quirm must stop Cohen before everything goes wahooni-shaped.

Terry Pratchett’s wit and Paul Kidby’s immaculate illustrations make this a must-have for any Discworld lover.

5 stars

The Goodreads Blurb:

Cohen the Barbarian. He’s been a legend in his own lifetime.

He can remember the good old days of high adventure, when being a Hero meant one didn’t have to worry about aching backs and lawyers and civilization. But these days, he can’t always remember just where he put his teeth…So now, with his ancient (yet still trusty) sword and new walking stick in hand, Cohen gathers a group of his old — very old — friends to embark on one final quest. He’s going to climb the highest mountain of Discworld and meet the gods.It’s time the Last Hero in the world returns what the first hero stole. Trouble is, that’ll mean the end of the world, if no one stops him in time.

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

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

The Librarian ambled past again, with another load of books. Another response of the wizards, when faced with a new and unique situation, was to look through their libraries to see if it had ever happened before. This was, Lord Vetinari reflected, a good survival trait. It meant that in times of danger you spent the day sitting very quietly in a building with very thick walls.

Ask people to imagine an animal god and they will, basically, come up with the idea of someone in a really bad mask. Men have been much better at inventing demons, which is why there are so many.

Lord Vetinari, despite his education, had a mind like an engineer. If you wished to open something, you found the appropriate spot and applied the minimum amount of force necessary to achieve your end. Possibly the spot was between a couple of ribs and the force was applied via a dagger, or between two warring countries and applied via an army, but the important thing was to find that one weak spot which would be the key to everything.

I have no use for people who have learned the limits of the possible.

It sucks the life right out of you, civilisation.

He opened the box and took out the kitten. It stared at him with the normal mad amazement of kittens everywhere.

I DON’T HOLD WITH CRUELTY TO CATS, said Death, putting it gently on the floor.

“I think the whole cat in the box idea is one of them metaphors,” said Albert.

It occurred to him that when you’d had everything, all that was left was nothing.

Well, if you’re not going to expect unexpected flames, what’s the point of going anywhere?

All my life I’ve gone adventuring with old maps found in old tombs and so on, and I never ever worried about where they came from. It’s one of those things you never think about, like who leaves all the weapons and keys and medicine kits lying around in the unexplored dungeons.

The situation was being ‘workshopped’. This is the means by which people who don’t know anything get together to pool their ignorance.

What goes around comes around. If not examined too closely, it passes for justice.

If you do cheat Fate, I do not believe it says anywhere that Fate’s subsequent opinion matters.

. . .

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