I told my son that I read this for the beginning of a Terry Pratchett mini-challenge. "Ah," he said, "Where we are introduced to Rincewind and TwoflowI told my son that I read this for the beginning of a Terry Pratchett mini-challenge. "Ah," he said, "Where we are introduced to Rincewind and Twoflower. And of course Luggage!" And we went on to laugh at some of our favourite Discworld characters. It's quite possible that my son has loved Terry Pratchett novels as long as I have - admittedly he was only one when this first one was published, but I may not have been introduced right back then. It may even have been my son who first gave me one to read. I should check with him - he'll remember.
So, what can a long-time, committed fan say about this book (that isn't an incoherent rave)?
I love the way Pratchett pokes fun at things, but in a way that 'believers' also will laugh. For example, on page 37:
'Is Hrun the Barbarian here?' said Twoflower, looking around eagerly. Rincewind took a deep breath. 'That's him behind us,' he said. The enormity of this lie was so great that its ripples did in fact spread out on one of the lower astral planes as far as the Magical Quarter across the river, where it picked up tremendous velocity from the huge standing wave of power that always hovered there and bounced wildly across the Circle Sea. A harmonic got as far as Hrun himself, currently fighting a couple of gnolls on a crumbling ledge high in the Caderack Mountains, and caused him a moment's unexplained discomfort.
Within that tiny segment is the psychology of telling a lie - the having to steel oneself to it, the fear that simply telling a lie might have repercussions (quite aside from the possibility of being found out) in a 'spiritual' manner; then there's the visual humour; and the delightful way Pratchett has of giving us creatures which we may never have described to us in any more detail, and it doesn't matter!
Here's another random pick (page 83), which shows the cleverness of Pratchett where he merges his brand of magic with the sort of physics phrases that backyard boffins (who would probably be lost in a real physics lecture) like to spout:
There was now, for example, a five-metre-tall mountain troll standing in the road. It was exceptionally angry. This was partly because trolls generally are, in any case, but it was exacerbated by the fact that the sudden and instantaneous teleportation from its lair in the Rammerorck Mountains three thousand miles away and a thousand yards closer to the Rim had raised its internal temperature to a dangerous level, in accordance with the laws of conservation of energy.
Pratchett manages to make wry comment about so many things - 'progressive education' through the voice of the dead wizard Greicha, 'economics' with reference to in-sewer-ants and the financial wizardry of gold, 'courage' ... to name a few. So, though the world is wacky and the characters weird and wonderful, we all know situations in our own lives and in the world we live in that are the same. And we know people who grandstand and people who panic and people who have one-track minds and people who are naïve and people who are funny (both deliberately and not) and people who are self-serving and people who are basically good at heart even if their outward appearances are deceptive....more
I found my copy of this classic children's book in 1984, in a second-hand bookshop, and grabbed it immediately. I remembered it from my childhood, andI found my copy of this classic children's book in 1984, in a second-hand bookshop, and grabbed it immediately. I remembered it from my childhood, and my son was 2 weeks short of 2 years old so I knew he'd enjoy it for quite a while. 4 years later my daughter was born, so it was a treasured story for her too. And now the grandchildren are loving it, and I must thank my daughter for giving me the grandchildren that I kept my favourite books for!
Harold is a toddler with a purple crayon, and like many other toddlers before and after him, he draws on the wall! How delightfully subversive. Then he steps into the picture and goes on a fabulous walk across the land and sea, over mountains, and then along a railroad track until, thanks to perspective, he changes from a giant to a miniature boy. This is superb for the imagination and excellent for the artist's eye. A lovely book!...more