Discworld discussion

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Chronological or by Theme?

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message 1: by Chloe (new)

Chloe | 2 comments Alright first of all I'd like to say that I'm well aware that there has already been quite a lot said on this and so I'm sorry, but none of it's really helped my dilemma. I should also mention that I absolutely hate reading books out of order, it's a big pet peeve of mine. I've already read 'A Colour of Magic' and I quite liked it, I can see why people would say it's not the best but I could certainly read another one. So originally I had intended to read them all in chronological order, as I have no time limit I thought this would be best. But then it occurred to me that it might feel more 'out of order' if I was constantly switching main characters and storylines. So I was wondering, should I read each mini-series independently? Or will there be a lot of references I don't get which will throw me off? Is there an overarching storyline to the Discworld series which would tie the mini-series together? If you were as insanely OCD about book order as me, which way would you do it?


message 2: by Mitali (new)

Mitali | 18 comments Each mini-series is by and large self-contained. Each one follows the stories of a certain group of characters, and those stories certainly flow better if you read each mini-series independently. For example, Sam Vimes’s growth as a character certainly feels a lot more organic if you read all the books in the City Watch mini-series at a go, rather than, say, reading ‘Guards! Guards!’, the book in which he first appears, then reading 6 books in which he doesn’t appear at all, then reading ‘Men at Arms’ which charts the next phase in his life, then reading 3 more books in which he doesn’t appear, then reading ‘Feet of Clay’ which again charts his growth, and so on.

On the other hand, the mini-series do occasionally overlap. Vimes and some of the other City Watch characters appear as side characters in ‘The Truth’, which focuses on other characters; these characters, as well as Vimes also appear as side characters in ‘Monstrous Regiment’, which focuses on yet another set of characters; and so on. Some characters are introduced as side characters, then go on to become the major characters in a different mini-series – for example, Mustrum Ridcully is introduced in ‘Moving Pictures’, which is a standalone book that roughly fits into the ‘Industrial Revolution’ set of books, but then he goes on to become the main character in the Wizards mini-series.

Then there are the general technological changes that go on in the background of all the stories. The city of Ankh Morpork undergoes a number of social changes as well. The social, technological and political background in the beginning of the series is nothing like that even halfway through, nevermind near the end.

So it depends on what you prioritize. If you prefer to read a set of strongly interconnected stories about the same characters, then read each mini-series independently. If you prefer to read a set of very loosely connected stories about vastly different characters, all of whom live in an organically evolving world, then read all the books chronologically. And if you can’t bear to miss a single reference to a past book, you should probably read chronologically.


message 3: by Niall (new)

Niall | 129 comments Ultimately, with the exception of the Colour of magic then the light fantastic, all the books at stand alone stories.
There will be mentions of things that have happened in other books, and some characters that cross over. DEATH, the Librarian, Cut My Own Throat Dibbler, Vetinari get everywhere. But those details don't are not key to the story you are reading, what they do though, is add to the overall depth of The Discworld.
Detritus the Troll is a key part of the watch, but he starts a a bit part out with the watch, and there is a definite growth of him as a character. Knowing where he comes from only adds to your appreciation of him as a character.
When I started reading the only choice was read them in order, I think in order for a first outing is the better approach, but you're reading and enjoying them and that's what matters.
Hope that helps✌️


message 4: by Chloe (new)

Chloe | 2 comments Thankyou Mitali, that's exactly what I was looking for, you've been a great help. I think in that case I'll read it by mini-series, as it would be far more frustrating to wait for the mini-series to continue than it would be to miss the occasional reference.


Ninnisha (Roberta) | 2 comments If I can add my opinion, even if you seem to have decided already, I think if you have a thing for order chronological is better.
Sure, the series show character growth, but it's not like a series is a whole story, they're all single stories anyway.It's not like you find yourself waiting for say the next book of Witches to know how the story goes on with them, because it will be another stand-alone story.

I find instead that the growth of the world itself appreciated through chronological order is a big flow, that gets kinda broken by going by series. And for instance, you'll find characters spread throughout all the books. You'll meet the Guards and the Wizards very often when in Ankh-Morpork, for example, Death I think is really in all books. So it's not just about references, it's about "story of the world" progression, technology included.
But that just my opinion.


message 6: by Wastrel (new)

Wastrel | 21 comments i'm not OCD at all, but I definitely think publication order* is better. There's more emotional resonance and more humour if you have the characters established in the proper order, and because the style and the themes change substantially over time I think the books would make more sense in their proper place, in the order they were intended to be read in. This also can help with the potential problem of repetition - as these are self-contained novels with the same cahracters in the same (usually) location, there are a number of plot beats that will be repeated - to put it in TV terms, the subseries aren't like HBO shows designed to be binge-read, they're old-fashioned episodic procedurals with linking arcs... I think you'll enjoy each subseries more if you get to have a break in between 'episodes' than if you try to read the whole series in one go.

But, I know others disagree.


message 7: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Koh | 4 comments I'm actually re-reading the Discworld including today I haven't read as a teenager.

I'm doing it by series and I'd have to say that I would prefer to have done it chronologically. I find myself having to read multiple series at a time to keep up with the character development so I'm jumping back and forth.

I'd recommend the publication order ☺


message 8: by Dale (new)

Dale | 7 comments Read them in publiication order, after that for a re-read THEN go in series order.. just my opinion.. but I also think TCOM is actually the best and funniest book ever written... how any so-called Discworld fan could think otherwise is beyond me..why even read them if you dont like the Rincewind stories? They are the backbone of the entire series..


message 9: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Koh | 4 comments Cool idea Dale! Read them twice!


message 10: by Brett (new)

Brett (warforgedbard) | 3 comments I think Mitali pretty much knocked it out the park.


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