Thursday, 30 June 2011

Series Overview - Discworld

Day 03: Your favorite series

This is part of a 30 day book review challnge thing. You can read my rather glib introduction here.


Discworld will be appearing again and again during this project. For the sake of variety, I'd love to review a book not by Mr Pratchett, but it'd be plain untrue to pretend that any other series in any medium can really come close. Discworld started of as a parody of fantasy stories, most noticeably Lankhmar and Lord of the Rings, and revelled rather a lot in farce, but Pratchett quickly turned his subversive tendencies to real life. Discworld is a satire on politics and culture and life in general. He never abandoned his fantasy roots and much of his work involves marrying stories and real life, showing how they affect us as people and as a society.

The real draw of Discworld, however, is the characters. Populating this land are some of the finest fictional characters, fun and cartoonish and larger than life yet complex and compelling. Captain Vimes of the watch, the witch Granny Weatherwax, the wizard Rincewind and even Death himself. Each of these have a strong and varied supporting casts who could easily star in novels of their own and it is a colourful cast of characters, filled with species and nationalities of a wide spectrum. He writes a mean female character too.

Pratchett embues the stories with a rich vein of references to fairy tales, modern culture, classic literature and more. Such proliferation could easily have overbalanced the stories, yet Pratchett somehow strikes the right note, allowing for the stories to be enjoyed on a shallow level whilst more diligent readers get a reward for their effort. If this sounds all very intimidating, it shouldn't: Pratchett's novels are mostly very silly and funny creatures.

Really, the worst part of the Discworld series is that it has to end. Whether or not Pratchett intends to give us final resolutions for his characters is unknown, and I'm not sure if I want him to or not. When I was reading it, I got the feeling that the fun would last forever, but what with his diagnosis of Alzheimers my bubble has been rather popped. The Discworld should go on forever, but it won't and what we have been given is so great that I can only be thankful we even got one book. Thirty-eight and still going? Good times.

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