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4.8 out of 5 stars
Lords and Ladies (Discworld, No. 14)
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 October 2009
Returning to their home kingdom of Lancre after various misadventures elsewhere, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are disconcerted to discover a new, younger and more hip coven of young witches has arisen in their absence. Whilst they deal with the situation with their traditional patience and thorough levels of understanding, Magrat finds that arrangements for her marriage to King Verence are steaming ahead and the invitations have been sent out already. One recipient is Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor of Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork who decides to attend on a whim (and the prospect of excellent fishing), dragging the terminally confused Bursar, the simian Librarian and the very keen young Ponder Stibbons (whose favourite word is 'quantum') along for the ride.

The wedding suffers a series of complications of the kind that are to be expected and some that are not, most notably a full-scale invasion by beings from another dimension. Naturally it is up to the witches of Lancre (plus an annoyed orang-utan, a legion of ninja morris dancers and a terminally frisky dwarf in a wig) to rise to the occasion...

Lords and Ladies is the fourteenth Discworld novel and the third featuring the Lancre witches' coven (and the fourth to feature Granny Weatherwax). Despite the novel working perfectly well as a stand-alone, Pratchett was sufficiently concerned about the book's continuity ties that he provides a thorough synopsis of Wyrd Sisters and a somewhat briefer one of Witches Abroad before cracking on with the tale, which is a nice touch but unnecessary.

One interesting device Pratchett starts employing in these middle-era Discworld books is taking a concept or idea mentioned very briefly earlier in the series and fleshing it out into a full-sized novel. For example, a running-gag in Reaper Man about a con artist and his trained mice eventually turned into The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents whilst the Hogfather was mentioned a few times before finally getting his own book. Similarly, Lords and Ladies builds on a very brief mention in The Light Fantastic where Twoflower starts dreamily talking about beautiful elves and Rincewind reacts the same way you would to someone saying, "Well, Hitler wasn't a completely bad person..." And of course, fans had been asking for a while where the Disc's elves were, since the dwarfs and trolls had been very much in evidence. With this book Pratchett delivered the answer.

It turns out that the Discworld's elves are a bunch of merciless and easily-amused homicidal maniacs with a perchance for toying with their prey before killing them. This leads to some of Pratchett's most effective horror and tension-filled sequences, not something he is renowned for but given how good he is at them it may be a style of writing he should have tried employing more often. Magrat's running battle with a bunch of elves in Lancre Castle stands out as one of the series' best action sequences, though still laced with some brilliant moments of humour (such as the introduction of the Schroedinger's Greebo paradox).

Granny Weatherwax, one of Pratchett's most complex and interesting characters, gets some very fine character development in this novel as we see some more of her past and also get a glimpse of the other lives she could have lived if things had turned out differently. Ridcully, hitherto one of Pratchett's more straightforward creations, also gets some much-needed depth to his character as well. The Bursar provides some amusing comic relief, but is thankfully not over-used. Some later books, most notably Interesting Times, are actually bogged down by his mindless babbling, but here it is more restrained. The return of Casanunda the permanently horny dwarf is also welcome and gives rise to several sequences which are among the funniest in the whole series (his lowwayman hold-up of Ridcully's coach is a classic scene).

After Small Gods, the best book in the series, Pratchett could have been forgiven for resting on his laurels and maybe bashing out a quickie Rincewind travelogue comedy or something. Instead, he cracked on and produced a book that is a strong candidate for the most relentlessly funny and entertaining book in the series, with a twisted dark side (possibly influenced by his then-recent collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Good Omens) and some great character development thrown in for good measure.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 August 2017
There is an awful lot going on in this book. The three witches have returned from their trip abroad to their hilly kingdom of Lancre only to find more modern and stylish witches trying to usurp them. You can imagine how Granny Weatherwax is going to react to that ! Magrat has found that her marriage to the king has been sorted out and arranged without her input and is not best pleased. Three grumpy witches now have to handle the invasion into Discworld of the elves - not the shining noble beings that Tolkein might have us believe but cruel and vicious creatures. Three witches, with the added help of a cat, a dwarf highwayman, a contingent of visitors from the Unseen University who have arrived for the wedding, and the local people steeped in folklore all have to manage the situation and save Lancre.

This is definitely one of the best books in the series. It is very funny in places and has non-stop action and jokes. I adore Magrat here as she has to fight her own wet nature and channel the powers of past queens (purely imaginary) to tackle invaders. We get a glimpse too into Granny's past and things that might have been. Any book which contains the Bursar and the Librarian is an excellent one and they are used to their full potential here. There are lots of great ideas and stone circles and morris dancing play an important part too. There is so much going on it is impossible to describe but it is enormous fun to read.

There is always a deeper meaning to this author's humour and there is a lot here about regrets and living the best life you can - it gives the book a firm foundation and stops it being silly but this is by no means preachy. You don't have to have read any of the others in the series to understand this one but if you are already aware of the witches and the university you'll appreciate this one more.
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on 16 April 2016
Lords and Ladies is one of Pratchett’s earlier Discworld novels, and it’s an unfortunate sufferer of EPS – Early Pratchett Syndrome. By that, I mean that there’s nothing inherently wrong here – after all, Pratchett is like the Douglas Adams of the ages, and all of his work is worth reading eventually, but this is far from his best.

That said, it does have its merits, and one of its big strengths is the fact that Granny Weatherwax is there – a perennial favourite, even from the early days. It’s also a lot more Shakespearean than you’re likely to find in another Discworld novel, which is either a strength or a weakness, depending upon how you look at it.

For my part, I read this fairly early on, when I was first falling in love with the Discworld. It left an impression, but a fleeting one, and I haven’t re-read it since. This is one of the problems that you run up against when you attempt to review every book you’ve ever read – sometimes you come up against something like this, which I read and forgot about immediately afterwards. Sorry about that – sometimes, running a book review site has its problems.

But doesn’t that say something about Lords and Ladies? Even back then, when I first read it in my formative years, I didn’t go back to it – meanwhile, I read Feet of Clay a couple of dozen times, because I loved it. I just can’t bring myself to love this – if you think about books as the babies of the author who wrote them, this particular Pratchett baby is illegitimate, and the result of a one night stand.

Sure, it’s worth reading, if you’ve read the rest of the Discworld ouevre, but I’m certainly not in a hurry to recommend it – it was professional, and competent, and all of those other buzzwords that sound good but that point to mediocrity. It’s a bit like getting a B in a test – it’s good, but is it great? Possibly not great enough, when you consider Pratchett’s high standards.

I’m going to leave it up to you to decide whether to buy it or not – consider it, before purchasing.
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on 7 February 2002
All the Discworld books are brilliant but this one really does surpass all. This is due to the plot, which really is incredibly well constructed and interesting, and also this really does give a great feeling of the battle of good and evil.
It also contains some fantastic scenes like the one in the elven realm and the search for Magrat in the castle.
If you only read a few Discworld books, read this one as it really will make you gasp, laugh out loud and all the rest. Comic fiction is never better then this.
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VINE VOICEon 25 November 2008
Terry Pratchett's first novel, "The Carpet People", appeared in 1971. "Lords and Ladies" is the fourteenth novel in his hugely popular Discworld series and was first published in 1992. It's also the fourth book (after "Equal Rites", "Wyrd Sisters" and "Witches Abroad") to feature Granny Weatherwax, the Discworld's greatest witch.

Granny Weatherwax is joined by the two other members of her coven - Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick - and begins as the trio return home from a lengthy trip in foreign parts. Nanny Ogg is the raucous head of the Ogg clan based in Lancre town, and is pretty much Granny's oldest friend. Magrat is a much younger witch, and she has a few fanciful ideas about magic that Granny doesn't altogether approve of. Where Granny prefers Headology, Magrat has always been fond of dancing, occult jewellery and runes. However, she's also the closest thing Lancre has to a medical expert. Before the coven's trip abroad, Magrat had been romantically involved with Verence, Lancre's King. She had been a little worried about where she now stood, having been away for so long. However, it comes as something of a shock when she Verence has made all the plans for a Midsummer Day's Wedding...without having ever actually proposed to her.

The trouble, however, isn't caused by either the Royal Wedding : the Elves are trying to break through again. When Granny and Nanny see their first crop circles appearing, they know immediately what the trouble is...but they're initially reluctant to explain it to Magrat. They know that Magrat would see elves as lovely, wise and kind - when, in reality, they're cruel and vain. Eventually, Magrat storms off in her frustration and resigns as a witch to start being a Queen. However, she has a great deal to learn about being a Queen...though it's Queen Ynci and the castle's bees she learns the most from. (Bees are famous for hating chaos...and Lancre's bees are very worried).

For many years, the Elf Queen and her followers have been kept in their own world by the Dancers - eight standing stones, arranged roughly in a circle. However, the circle's power has been getting weakened recently - thanks to a group of young girls, who have been dancing around it - and the Queen will soon be able to return. While it's the two senior witches who lead the fight against the invaders, they do have some help. There is a group of wizards in town for the Royal Wedding - the Archchancellor, the Bursar, the Librarian and Ponder Stibbons - who do what they can, while Lancre's crack squad of Morris Dancers also provide a little help. (They're also working on a play, as part of the wedding-related celebrations - but that, unfortunately, causes more trouble than it's worth). Casanunda also returns, a dwarven count and the Discworld's second greatest lover. Being particularly smitten with Nanny Ogg, he's naturally very keen to help her out...

Another very funny book and - like "Wyrd Sisters" - some of the laughs are inspired by Shakespeare. Pratchett himself acknowledges that this is one of the few Discworld books where the reader would be better off knowing a bit of the back-story. (You could probably skip "Equal Rites", though you'd be better off reading at least "Wyrd Sisters"). While there's never been any mention of a Grandpa Weatherwax - let alone any children or grandchildren - "Lords and Ladies" does throw a little light on one of Granny's early romances...and the love-interest may come as a slight surprise. Totally recommended, this is Pratchett on top form.
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on 22 February 1999
Lords and Ladies is the 14th Discworld novel and my favourite.Loosely based on 'A Midsummer Nights Dream' it brings back the Witches, along with the Faculty of the Unseen University and reveals Granny Weatherwax to be a woman with a past. Granny, the most revered leader that the witches don't have, is having difficulties with a a group of girls who are tired of Grannys 'headology' (the Discworld equivalent of psychology/psychotherapy) and who want to practice real magic, usually involving black lace gloves, lots of white makeup and black nail varnish. They open up a path for the Elves to return to Lancre. Contrary to all other Fantasy writers, TPs elves are evil, manipulative, and cruel, and have been aching to get back to the 'real world' where they can hunt (the prey being human at times), torture and rule. The Elven queen decides to take a Consort to consolidate her claim to the Kingdom, and kidnaps King Verence, Magrats intended. This all takes place on Midsummer night, Magrats wedding day. Nanny Ogg, the geriatric sex siren, and Granny have to protect the younger 'witches', rally the troups (Shaun Ogg, the countrys standing army-except when he's lying down), defeat the Queen and restore the protective influence of the Stone Circles. Easy, really. This is a magical book. The story is powerful, and as well told as we've all come to expect from TP. The usual Pratchett humour is there,but there's something else. There is a philosophical and moral aspect to this book, and it interweaves elements of Paganism, spirituality and belief in a similar way to 'Small Gods'. Its quite moving in parts, and exceptionally well written. I know that Granny Weatherwax is not everybodys favourite character, but this story shows her in a much more sympathetic light, and you begin to realise just why she is as she is. Magrats character develops substantially, revealing her to be a lot more than just the covens tea-maker. And Nanny Ogg? Even she has unexpected talents, despite indulging her hormones with a dalliance with Count Casanunda, the dwarf (and the worlds second greatest lover). A great book, and his best.
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on 30 March 2003
Join the Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and the newly-wed Magrat for their amazing third adventure.
Magrat and Verence have had a baby and it's time for the christening, but it's also coming close to midsummers eve and the line between the disc realm and that of the elves is drawing closer.
protected only by the iron dancers and granny weatherwax, Lancre and the rest of the disc looks set to be invaded by the elves. not the beautiful, loving creatures the story books describe, the REAL elves, blood-thirsty, nasty, twisted and cruel. but Granny has other things on her mind.... there's a new witch in town, who's actually pretty good and then her childhood sweetheart turns up for the royal christening and Nanny STILL won't stop singing about hedgehogs!
this book is another of pratchetts parodies of the great bard, like Wyrd Sisters was 'macbeth' and Masquerade was 'Phantom of the Opera', Lords and Ladies is 'A Midsummers Nights Dream', but with the usual pratchett twist!
there's more morris dancing for a start. then there's an ape who APPRECIATES theatre, oh, and a bee-keeper who hates anyone who's not a bee.
did i mention King Verence and his attempts at the Karma Sutra? i didn't? well read the book and you'll understand.
this is one of pratchetts finest books, a page-turning, laugh-out-loud adventure that will keep you reading it again and again for years to come!
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on 13 March 2004
Pratchett delievers big time, with a tale of Elvish evil, the struggle between old and young witches over the future of witchcraft, and chance for Granny Weatherwax to actually have a love interest! The witches tales are among the best of the Discworld series, and Lords and Ladies is briliant- particuarly as all three witches get to show their own unique, and funny, ways of dealing with the Elves invading the Discworld. Read this book now.
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on 29 August 2000
this book is brilliant,it is really funny and clever and makes you think.The librarian and Weatherwax are so cool in this book!
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on 5 June 2000
Terry Pratchett's books seem to function like a satyr play at the end of a day of tragedies - they poke not too subtle fun at the themes and concerns which lie deep in the psyche.
This may seem a bold claim, but there has to be some reason for popularity of the discworld books.
In this one, "Lords and Ladies", Shakespeare's fairies from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' are combined with Tolkein's elves to create a sort of negative beautiful people - not too unlike some of the interpretations given to the darker side of the Shakespeare original. This has a logic behind it which, when you throw in the stable discworld characters, give it a harsh flavouring of socialism (or perhaps peasantism?) and let loose Mr Pratchett's wicked play on words, produces an energetic romp guaranteed to tickle not only the intellect but also the funny bone.
You can enjoy the book without knowing the Shakespeare, but you'd miss a lot if you did.
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