Trish's Reviews > The Colour of Magic

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
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really liked it

The very first Discworld novel. The one it all began with.

I've been a fan of Sir Terry's for a long time. I've even read a few other of his books (some standalone, some of the Fairy Tales or later volumes of this series) and loved them all.
Fans have given me two pieces of advice ever since I first heard of Discworld:
1) Stay away from the first 3 books!
2) Read them all! What are you, a savage?!

*lol* You can see how this made me undecided for the longest time.
Thus, I did what every self-respected bookworm with no idea what to do would do - I let the matter rest and, in time, watched a few of the movies first. Bwahahahahaha!
The movies weren't bad at all despite apparently never having had the appropriate budget and I found myself wishing for more.
All the while I collected the books (I'm very particular about the covers/editions), magnets, bookmarks, postcards, original art, pins and "science books" about the Discworld.

And then Sir Terry died.

Even while writing this my eyes water. It was, if you believe it or not, another reason to put off reading the books.

In the meantime, I've collected all of the volumes I wanted (DEATH, witches, Tiffany and more) and have the others as ebooks/audiobooks, but it was time to finally start reading the series so when we talked about just that in the group, I had no further excuses.

This volume introduces readers to the Discworld that stands on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the shell of the great turtle Great A'Tuin that floats through space.

Science as we know it doesn't apply here as gods are real, so is magic, and many things exist solely because people believe in them.
It is about a wiz(z)ard named Rincewind and his adventure (or at least the first half of it) with Twoflower, a visitor from the counterweight continent. Twoflower being the very first tourist means a lot of miscommunication (people in Ankh-Morpork, where he lands first, don't know what glasses are for example). This gives the author the great opportunity to mock tourism in general with people experiencing foreign places through the lenses of their "picture boxes", speaking in not really helpful sentences out of dictionaries. Interpsersed we get funny takes on insurance (utterly unheard of in Ankh-Morpork) and the whole "hero" business then and later in the book.
Rincewind, one must admit, isn't exactly the greatest of wizards, but his quirky way is endearing.
He and Twoflower travel from Ankh-Morpork to Quirm (or at least towards it), Wyrmberg, and even the Edge where they meet the people of Krull. They stumble from one catastrophe into the next, all the while being unaware that their encounters are actually caused by gods (they are pieces on one of their board games).
This means that the reader gets to see a number of corners of this unique world that so perfectly mirrors the craziness of our own. We even get an overlapping when Rincewind calls a plane from our world to save himself and Twoflower. *lol*

One comment about Rincewind. Not sure what Sir Terry intended (he had a cameo in the movie so he must have known about the interpretation of Rincewind for the screen) but he seems to be younger in the books than in the movie.
Book Rincewind on covers:
Movie Rincewind (right):
And yes, the actor reminds me a bit of a male Maggie Smith with his gestures and facial expressions (he is as cynical and grumpy as the Dowager Countess Grantham after all).

The story then concludes with a quite literal cliffhanger (bad play of word, I know) and picks up immediately at the start of the next book so technically they belong together.

Now, for the actual impression.
I can see why many have told me not to start the series with the first book. I am a completist and I like to read in chronological order even if it might not be 100% necessary. So doing this was the right choice. That being said, I have to admit that some spins on ideas the author played with in this were ... not too original and therefore not too funny. Sure, I enjoyed the "Big Bang" joke right at the beginning and loved the cynical view on many things, but overall it really could have been sharper.
Moreover, and this is my fault alone, many stabs at classic fantasy bits were (if not completely then at least to some degree) lost on me. Sure, I got the parody of heroes and stuff, but none of that was laughing-out-loud material. Yes, it almost sounds like blasphemy, but it is obvious how old the book is, in what early stages Sir Terry still was and yet - and YET - you can already see and feel the greatness poking through with a dagger (Assassin's Guild style)!

P.S.: For anyone wondering, luggage really was a fantastic character and I expect it to be at least this good in the next too.
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Quotes Trish Liked

Terry Pratchett
“You can't map a sense of humor. Anyway, what is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs. ”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“No, what he didn't like about heroes was that they were usually suicidally gloomy when sober and homicidally insane when drunk.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the discworld. Tourist, Rincewind had decided, meant 'idiot'.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“Don't you understand?" snarled Rincewind. "We are going over the Edge, godsdammit!"
"Can't we do anything about it?"
"No!"
"Then I can't see the sense in panicking," said Twoflower calmly.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic
tags: humor

Terry Pratchett
“On the Disc, the Gods aren't so much worshipped, as they are blamed.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“Some pirates achieved immortality by great deeds of cruelty or derring-do. Some achieved immortality by amassing great wealth. But the captain had long ago decided that he would, on the whole, prefer to achieve immortality by not dying.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“(Plants on the disc, while including the categories known commonly as annuals, which were sown this year to come up later this year, biennials, sown this year to grow next year, and perennials, sown this year to grow until further notice, also included a few rare re-annuals which, because of an unusual four-dimensional twist in their genes, could be planted this year to come up last year. The vul nut vine was particularly exceptional in that it could flourish as many as eight years prior to its seed actually being sown. Vul nut wine was reputed to give certain drinkers an insight into the future which was, from the nut's point of view, the past. Strange but true.)”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic
tags: humor

Terry Pratchett
“Either dragons should exist completely or fail to exist at all, he felt. A dragon only half-existing was worse than the extremes.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“It is at this point that normal language gives up, and goes and has a drink.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“Sometimes I think a man could wander across the disc all his life and not see everything there is to see,' said Twoflower. 'And now it seems there are lots of other worlds as well. When I think I might die without seeing a hundredth of all there is to see it makes me feel,' he paused, then added, 'well, humble, I suppose. And very angry, of course.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“My personal theory is that he has a very firm grasp upon reality, it's simply not a reality the rest of us have ever met before.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“He wondered what kind of life it would be, having to keep swimming all the time to stay exactly in the same place. Pretty similar to his own, he decided.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“An alternative, favored by those of a religious persuasion, was that A’Tuin was crawling from the Birthplace to the Time of Mating, as were all the stars in the sky which were, obviously, also carried by giant turtles. When they arrived they would briefly and passionately mate, for the first and only time, and from that fiery union new turtles would be born to carry a new pattern of worlds. This was known as the Big Bang hypothesis.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“I CAN BE ROBBED BUT NEVER DENIED,”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“inn-sewer-ants-polly-sea.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“But what do you want to sacrifice us for?” asked Twoflower. “You hardly know us!” “That’s rather the point, isn’t it? It’s not very good manners to sacrifice a friend.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett
“There was, for example, the theory that A'Tuin had come from nowhere and would continue at a uniform crawl, or steady gait, into nowhere, for all time. This theory was popular among academics.
An alternative, favoured by those of a religious persuasion, was that A'Tuin was crawling from the Birthplace to the Time of Mating, as were all the stars in the sky which were, obviously, also carried by giant turtles. When they arrived they would briefly and passionately mate, for the first and only time, and from that fiery union new turtles would be born to carry a new pattern of worlds. This was known as the Big Bang hypothesis.”
Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic


Reading Progress

May 7, 2017 – Started Reading
May 7, 2017 – Shelved
May 7, 2017 –
page 6
2.11% "Foreword:
If I had a penny for every time someone asked me where I got the idea of the Discworld, I'd have - hang on a moment - £4,67.
Anyway, the answer is that it was lying around and didn't look as though it belonged to anyone.

The world rides through space on the back of a turtle. It's one of the great ancient myths, found wherever men and turtles were gathered together; [...]"
May 20, 2017 –
page 13
4.56% "An alternative [theory], favoured by those of religious persuasion, was that A'Tuin was crawling from the Birthplace to the Time of Mating, as were all the stars in the sky[...] When they arrived, they would briefly and passionately mate[...] and from that union new turtles would be born to carry a new pattern of worlds. This was known as the Big Bang hypothesis.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
May 31, 2017 –
page 204
71.58% "Finally getting to update here / finish the book! I now understand what many fans of Discworld meant when they said it wasn't (yet) all that good and that I should start with later (better) books.
It's not bad, don't worry, not at all. Just not as top notch as I'm used to."
May 31, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Mike I know, right? Pratchett books need a warning label so fewer people suffer from LMAO syndrome!


Trish Actually, no. I'd let them run into it, head first. It'll be good for them. ;P


Bradley Maybe there's no net on the edge... just let them keep running.... into the depths of space and time... :)


Trish *lol* Well, they do end up there, of course, but the net and troll there was pretty cool too (coming from another world).


message 5: by Lata (new) - added it

Lata I really liked the luggage.


Trish Lata wrote: "I really liked the luggage."

Apparently it's an instant favourite of most readers. :D


message 7: by Lata (new) - added it

Lata Trish wrote: "Lata wrote: "I really liked the luggage."

Apparently it's an instant favourite of most readers. :D"


Though bitey, I liked luggage's personality. I also liked Twoflower for all his naivete.


Trish I especially liked the development Twoflower and Rincewind caused in each other, however slight it might have been.


message 9: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote I love Del Boy David Jason but the dude’s in his seventies and Rincewind is in his thirties – terrible casting!


Trish I wonder why they chose to do that ... he looks a bit like Sir Terry so I have a theory.


message 11: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote He would've made a good Ridcully instead.


Trish Have I met that one (probably also a wizard) yet?


message 13: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote He's the Archchancellor of Unseen University. I think his first appearance is in Book #3, Equal Rites.


Trish That explains why the name sounds familiar but I've never read about him. ;)


message 15: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote He might've also appeared in the TV adaptations but I never saw them - nobody looks or sounds like the characters in my mind's eye! Are you reading the series in chronological order or by batches of characters, ie. the Rincewind books, the Witches books, the City Watch books, etc?


message 16: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike FWIW, I'm going chronological and have Guards! Guards! queued for the near future. I find that the characters lodge in my head well so I can safely travel the Disk chronologically.


Trish Sam wrote: "He might've also appeared in the TV adaptations but I never saw them - nobody looks or sounds like the characters in my mind's eye! Are you reading the series in chronological order or by batches o..."

Chronological orders with some members of the group. I like the chronological order more since sometimes there seem to be little (if not too important) hints at events from previous books (and just in general).


message 18: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote Also if you do it chronologically you notice how much better Terry's writing gets as the series progresses ;)

That said, I do like the crudeness of his early books - things get a bit too PG towards the end.


Trish Yeah, I've been told the betterment of the style is palpable if the books are read in chronological order. We'll see.


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