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The Folklore of Discworld [Kindle Edition]

Terry Pratchett , Jacqueline Simpson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

NOW UPDATED to include material on the Discworld books up to Raising Steam.

Most of us grow up having always known to touch wood or cross our fingers, and what happens when a princess kisses a frog or a boy pulls a sword from a stone, yet sadly some of these things are now beginning to be forgotten. Legends, myths, fairytales: our world is made up of the stories we told ourselves about where we came from and how we got there. It is the same on Discworld, except that beings which on Earth are creatures of the imagination - like vampires, trolls, witches and, possibly, gods - are real, alive and in some cases kicking on the Disc.

In The Folklore of Discworld, Terry Pratchett teams up with leading British folklorist Jacqueline Simpson to take an irreverent yet illuminating look at the living myths and folklore that are reflected, celebrated and affectionately libelled in the uniquely imaginative universe of Discworld.

Product Description


One of the most interesting and critically underrated novelists we have...The Folklore of Discworld...emphasises his irreverence and drollery. -- The Times

Pratchett is, like Mark Twain, or Jonathan Swift, not just a great writer but also an original thinker.
-- Guardian


Pratchett is, like Mark Twain, or Jonathan Swift, not just a great writer but also an original thinker.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 839 KB
  • Print Length: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (6 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003T0FK3U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,297 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he is the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he is the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

Photography © David Bird

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 105 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adds depth to the Discworld for fans 11 Sept. 2008
I got an advanced copy of this book at the Discworld Convention and read it straight away. It is written in an entertaining style and explains how the books of the Discworld series have been influenced by the folklore of Earth - for example, why there are 3 witches and why wizards have a university.

The book is split into chapters covering different aspects of the Discworld, e.g. the animals of the Discworld, the country of Lancre. Unlike the "Science of the Discworld" books, there isn't also a story to follow, only the description of the use of folklore. Don't expect to find full annotations of every reference to folklore in each of the Discworld books - it is more an extended essay on the subject, with good examples from the novels chosen to illustrate interesting points.

For fans of the Discworld familiar with the novels, it can be an illuminating experience reading this book - there were certainly times where I said to myself "I never knew that!". However, it is unlikely to be of interest to people who are not familiar with the Discworld universe, and there are even a few small spoilers which may annoy fans who haven't yet read all of the books.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and was only slightly disappointed because there isn't really any new Discworld in it - however it supports the Discworld novels very well and did increase my enjoyment of them!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Discworld enthusiast's necessity 4 Feb. 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you've not read a Discworld book, then don't bother reading this one - you'll be mystified and bored. It is really only a reference book and the references will be meaningless to you.

However, if you have read several Discworld books, or, better, lots of them, then this is facinating since it ties together unexplained oddities and also shows some of the thinking behind the quirky ideas. Some of the strangest are based on the reality found here on the Roundworld.

Jacqueline Simpson has an excellent light and humorous style and I soon gave up wondering who wrote which bits, and just enjoyed the book.

I would have liked more of it, but then that is always true of good things.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nineteen versions?? 20 Oct. 2008
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
Folklore, ancient or modern, is one of the major foundation stones of the Discworld books. Human nature being another, one assumes. Discworld folklore is a trivia test among Discworld fans who will slyly ask one another [generally over a pint], if they can identify the origins of a certain figure or idea. With some slight discrepancies between UK and North American versions, such exchanges can become, well, spirited. "Elves or elfs?" is always good for starting an evening.

Pratchett and Simpson sort all this out - and much else besides - in this delightful work on matters folklorish. Typically, the prompt for the book was Pratchett chanting as he signed a previous release: "How many versions of the Magpie Song do you know?" A distinguished-looking lady gave the query a moment's thought and responded "about nineteen" Thus began the wonderful collaboration leading to FoD. It's typical also of the theme of the book. Discworld and Roundworld [Earth] are linked by the universal presence of narrativium, which Dimitri Mendeleev inexplicably omitted from the Periodic Table. Pratchett knows all about narrativium, carefully explaining how it drifts between universes, carrying ideas or stimulating new ones. Folklore on the Discworld compared to that of Earth may demonstrate strong similarities, or just vague likenesses that have been severely modified. The process is unhelpful, the authors note, in determining which world is the source of the story, which is sometimes a let-down.

The book's organisation is appropriate for what it must cover - it begins with the entire universe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting & enjoyable book 21 Feb. 2012
I have always been fascinated by folklore and legends, and as I am also a big Discworld fan I have been meaning to get this book for a while but never got around to it until now. The book is co-written by Sir Terry and folklorist Jacqueline Simpson who he met at a book signing event and I must say that it is very interesting and informative to read.

The book is nicely set out into short sections easy to read sections. Each section deals with a subject such as gods, fantastical sentient races such as trolls and dwarves, heroes and various miscellanies legends. The sections deal with how their subject is dealt with on the Discworld, as well as their Earthly counterparts. From what I can see, the book has been very well researched and includes many interesting facts, some of which I knew and some I didn't, from both the Discworld and Earth.

On the downside, the book can be a little dry in places and so people who are expecting to laugh out loud will probably be a little disappointed but in my view the book is never less than entertaining. Also the book is, understandably, mostly focused on the folklore of the British Isles and Europe, and I felt that there were a number of places where the book could be quite easily expanded to include some folklore from further afield.

Despite its minor faults, `The Folklore is Discworld' is a very entertaining book and one that I am sure any Discworld fan will find at least a little interesting and overall I will give it a full five stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of my daughter's favourite publications from the Terry Pratchett library. She is raving about it.
Published 2 months ago by A G Stayte
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
As an 88yr old fan I have always enjoyed his books I like his humour
Published 4 months ago by ben brooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Really nice book, great background knowledge to discworld.
Great book, with some interesting background on where the ideas came from. Don't expect a discworld story, that's not what this is. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett folklore
superb book, excellent quality, bargain price!!
Published 4 months ago by Julie Day
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great insight into Sir Terry's knowledge. An excellent addition to any Discworld collection.
Published 5 months ago by paul stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loving these books
Published 5 months ago by sarajayneb3001
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
pratchett at his best , great .
Published 6 months ago by Mrs D Jopson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
gave as a present and they loved it
Published 6 months ago by rebecca.l.greenwood
4.0 out of 5 stars She liked it. Not my cup of tea
She liked it. Not my cup of tea.
Published 6 months ago by David Hearne
3.0 out of 5 stars Found it better when I just read the chapters with the Disc ...
Wasn't quite what I expected. Found it better when I just read the chapters with the Disc World characters in it. Have now read it twice so is a good story line.
Published 6 months ago by Mrs B
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