Just because I can

In celebration of Lady Tam’s addiction to DiscWorld, some of my favorite Terry Pratchett quotes:

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.


He was the sort of person who stood on mountaintops during thunderstorms in wet copper armour shouting “All the Gods are bastards.”


Commander Vimes, on the other hand, was all for giving criminals a short, sharp shock. It really depended on how tightly they could be tied to the lightning rod.


This is very similar to the suggestion put forward by the Quirmian philosopher Ventre, who said, “Possibly the gods exist, and possibly they do not. So why not believe in them in any case? If it’s all true you’ll go to a lovely place when you die, and if it isn’t then you’ve lost nothing, right?” When he died he woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks and one of them said, “We’re going to show you what we think of Mr Clever Dick in these parts…”


“[…] a number of offences of murder by means of a blunt instrument, to whit, a dragon, and many further offences of generalized abetting […]”


Nature abhors dimensional abnormalities, and seals them neatly away so that they don’t upset people. Nature, in fact, abhors a lot of things, including vacuums, ships called the “Marie Celeste”, and the chuck keys for electric drills.


The sergeant put on the poker face which has been handed down from NCO to NCO ever since one protoamphibian told another, lower ranking protoamphibian to muster a squad of newts and Take That Beach.


I’m sure I’m missing a lot more of the better ones. Oh, well. Now, Tam will understand my occasional reference to “the Century of the Fruitbat.”


Reader question

20 thoughts on “Just because I can”

  1. I always liked the footnote to the troll who worked as a ‘splatter’

    * A lot like a ‘bouncer’ except trolls use more force.

  2. He who does not like Pratchett is an Abomination Unto Nuggan.
    And I kinda liked the last words of Moist von Lipwig.
    “I commend my soul to any god that can find it.”
    Or Lord Ventinari’s words on freedom:
    “I believe in freedom. Not many people do, although they will, of course, protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be completely without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.”
    Nice to know I’m in good company.

  3. The Patrician said you could. It was two hundred dollars per capita; if per capita was a problem, decapita could be arranged.

  4. Pratchett rules.

    A few of my favorites are:

    People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, “Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else.”

    In fact, the mere act of opening the box will determine the state of the cat, although in this case there were three determinate states the cat could be in: these being Alive, Dead, and Bloody Furious.

    Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact.

  5. “Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil…prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon…” – Terry Pratchett

  6. But, but I thought this was the century of the Anchovy!

  7. One of my favourites was

    “One of the universal rules of happiness is: always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.”

  8. The one about the wet copper armor is my personal favorite.

    However, there are just so many good ones…

    “Ankh-Morpork is the city of ‘one man, one vote. The Patrician is the man, and he’s got the vote.”

  9. Mightily Oats: “It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of grey.”

    Granny Weatherwax: “Nope.”

    Mightily Oats: “Pardon?”

    Granny Weatherwax: “There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby.


    Mightily Oats: “It’s a lot more complicated than that–“

    Granny Weatherwax: “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.”

  10. The dawn sunlight poured over the hills like liquid gold. Well … not like liquid gold, as the people living there did not suddenly become very rich and very dead …

  11. Speaking of Pratchett, had you heard that the BBC did a live-action ‘Hogfather?’

    It runs about 3 hours, and if you have a friend across the pond (or are not morally opposed to BitTorrent) you can get a hold of it pretty easily.

    I’ve seen it (legitimately, mind you) and it is worth looking into.

    But seriously.

    That is not my cow.

  12. Speaking of Pratchett, had you heard that the BBC did a live-action ‘Hogfather?’

    It runs about 3 hours, and if you have a friend across the pond (or are not morally opposed to BitTorrent) you can get a hold of it pretty easily.

    I’ve seen it (legitimately, mind you) and it is worth looking into.

    But seriously.

    That is not my cow.

  13. What about, from Reaper Man:

    Two-Dogs-Fighting? Two-Dogs-Fighting? said One-Man-Bucket. wow, he’d have given his right arm to be called Two-Dogs-Fighting.

  14. (after going through a lengthy description of all the different options added)…
    “Teppic picked up his hat and checked its lining for the coil of cheesewire. he placed it on his head at a jaunty angle, took a last satisfied look at himself in the mirror, turned on his heel and, very slowly, fell over.”
    From “Pyramids”

    If civilization were to collapse totally and the survivors were reduced to eating cockroaches, Madame Dawning would still use a napkin and look down on people who ate their cockroaches the wrong way around.

    From “Maskerade”


  15. “I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
    Death thought about it.
    “Cats,” he said eventually. “Cats are nice.”

    Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

    I gotta say there’s too many times when Death is right, Miss Tobi Ko is the only nice thing that day.

  16. Not a Pratchett, but funny nonetheless:

    Democracy is like Feudalism, it has one minor difference.

    In democracy, it’s your vote that counts.

    In Feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.

  17. I sorta like Rincewind’s philosophy of life:

    To paraphrase:
    Where your running to is not important, it’s what you’re running from that’s important.

    As others have said before me however, Prachett has so many quotable lines he could fill a volume with them alone.

Comments are closed.