The Quotable Pratchett: The Wee Free Men

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 Wee Free Men

This is the 30th Discworld novel and the 1st in the Tiffany Aching series.

the-wee-free-men-coverWith Granny Aching gone, all the stories are coming true, dreams and nightmares. Tiffany Aching, granddaughter of Granny and would-be witch – is determined to keep the borders safe. After all, she’s got her trusty frying pan.

However, everybody knows you can’t raise a witch on chalk; it’s too soft. I suppose it’s just as well that everybody knows that what everybody knows is wrong.

With the aid of the Nac Mac Feegle, pictsies who think they’ve died and gone to heaven, our unlikely heroine will call down Thunder and Lightning, rescue her brother and the prince, and push back the parasitic world . . . if she can overcome the Queen of Fairyland (and her lawyers.)

This might be a “young adult” novel, but kids of all ages will love this Discworld adventure.

5 stars

The Goodreads Blurb:

Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk’s local Nac Mac Feegle – aka the Wee Free Men – a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds – black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors – before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone…

In a riveting narrative that is equal parts suspense and humor, Carnegie Medalist Terry Pratchett returns to his internationally popular Discworld with a breathtaking tale certain to leave fans, new and old, enthralled.

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

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

Ordinary fortune-tellers tell you what you want to happen; witches tell you what’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. Strangely enough, witches tend to be more accurate but less popular.

Susurrus . . . according to her grandmother’s dictionary, it meant ‘a low soft sound, as of whispering or muttering’. Tiffany liked the taste of the word. It made her think of mysterious people in long cloaks whispering important secrets behind a door . . . susurruss-sususrruss . . .

They went from village to village delivering short lessons on many subjects. They kept apart from the other travelers, and were quite mysterious in their ragged robes and strange square hats. They used long words like corrugated iron. They lived rough lives, surviving on what food they could earn from giving lessons to anyone who would listen. When no one would listen, they lived on baked hedgehog. They went to sleep under the stars, which the math teachers would count, the astronomy teachers would measure, and the literature teachers would name. The geography teachers got lost in the woods and fell into bear traps.

It didn’t stop being magic just because you found out how it was done.

Speak up for those who don’t have voices.

Sometimes it’s so hard to find half a mind when you need one.

I am a teacher as well as a witch, said Miss Tick, adjusting her hat carefully. Therefore I make lists. I make assessments. I write things down in a neat, firm hand with pens of two colors.

If only people would think before they make up monsters.

Nothing’s louder than the end of a song that’s always been there.

That’s the trouble with a brain – it thinks more than you sometimes want it to.

What people mean to do and what is done are two different things.

It’s amazing what a child who is quiet and observant can learn, and this includes things people don’t think she is old enough to know.

What’s magic, eh? Just wavin’ a stick an’ sayin’ a few wee magical words. An’ what’s so clever aboot that, eh? But lookin’ at things, really lookin’ at ’em, and then workin’ ’em oout, now, that’s a real skill.

Them as can do has to do for them as can’t. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.

People who say things like “May all your dreams come true” should try living in one for five minutes.

Yes! I’m me! I am careful and logical and I look up things I don’t understand! When I hear people use the wrong words, I get edgy! I am good with cheese. I read books fast! I think! And I always have a piece of string! That’s the kind of person I am!

And they let you read too many books. It can’t be good for a young brain, knowing words like paradigm and eschatological.

You’ve got lots of things in your head. That doesn’t mean they aren’t real.

. . .

Previous: Night Watch | Next: Monstrous Regiment

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