Terry Pratchett – Lords and Ladies

Carrying on with the Great Terry Pratchett Re-read-athon, and it’s back to the witches, with that rare thing in the series, an actual sequel. This follows on from Witches Abroad, and starts as Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick return to Lancre after their travels.

It’s been observed before that the Discworld is a bit on the leaky side, which can lead to things popping over from other dimensions or realities. At certain times, the walls between worlds become thinner, and, err, things can get through. The things in this instance are Elves. And you’d better forget any Tolkien-type thoughts. These aren’t your highly-civilised elder race, oh no. These are the real elves of folklore, who got the name “the fair folk” in the same way that the ancient Greeks referred to the Furies as “the kindly ones”. These are the sort of creatures who won’t just kill you, they’ll play with you first. Not only that, but they have the power of glamour, which basically means you’ll see them precisely the way they want you to, which is quite different from what they really are. They’ll make you think you’re worthless compared to them.

Dealing with them is a bit of a challenge even for the witches, and it takes all three of them to get anywhere. There’s more fun with Magrat’s impending marriage to the King (Verence, the former Fool we met in Wyrd Sisters), the under-staffed castle and the general lunacy of Discworld life.

Verence is having a bit of trouble settling down to being King, not least because

He had formed the unusual opinion that the job of a king is to make the kingdom a better place for everyone to live in.

As the wedding is a major occasion, the wizards have been invited, so there’s more fun with Archchancellor Ridcully

Stibbons gave up. Using a metaphor in front of a man as unimaginative as Ridcully was like a red rag to a bu- was like putting something annoying in front of a person who was annoyed by it.

And some actual thinking

Shoot the dictator and prevent the war? But the dictator is merely the tip of the whole festering boil of social pus from which dictators emerge; shoot one and there’ll be another one along in a minute.

But it’s not all serious, as the gags flow like the Ankh doesn’t

“The thing about elves is they’ve got no… begins with m,” Granny snapped her fingers irritably.
“Manners?”
“Hah! Right, but no.”
“Muscle? Mucus? Mystery?”
“No. No. No. Means like… seein’ the other person’s point of view.”
Verence tried to see the world from a Granny Weatherwax perspective, and suspicion dawned.
“Empathy?”

Nanny Ogg has another encounter with Casanunda, the world’s second greatest lover, which includes enjoying a bottle of wine

“What did you say it’s called?” She peered at the label. “Chateau Maison? Chat-eau… that’s foreign for cat’s water, you know.”

Talking of cats, Nanny’s cat Greebo teaches us something Erwin Shroedinger never mentioned about a cat in a box:

Greebo had spent an irritating two minutes in that box, Technically, a cat locked in a box may be alive or it may be dead. You never know until you look. 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.

You can guess which state Greebo was in.

There is, of course, much more. There’s extreme Morris Dancing, an old romance, and well, stuff.

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