The Fifth Elephant Quotes

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The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24; City Watch, #5) The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
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The Fifth Elephant Quotes (showing 1-30 of 79)
“He'd noticed that sex bore some resemblance to cookery: it fascinated people, they sometimes bought books full of complicated recipes and interesting pictures, and sometimes when they were really hungry they created vast banquets in their imagination - but at the end of the day they'd settle quite happily for egg and chips. If it was well done and maybe had a slice of tomato.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was, ‘But we’ve always done it this way.’ A million dead people can’t have been wrong, can they?”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“This, milord, is my family's axe. We have owned it for almost nine hundred years, see. Of course, sometimes it needed a new blade. And sometimes it has required a new handle, new designs on the metalwork, a little refreshing of the ornamentation . . . but is this not the nine hundred-year-old axe of my family? And because it has changed gently over time, it is still a pretty good axe, y'know. Pretty good.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Vimes had once discussed the Ephebian idea of ‘democracy’ with Carrot, and had been rather interested in the idea that everyone had a vote until he found out that while he, Vimes, would have a vote, there was no way in the rules that anyone could prevent Nobby Nobbs from having one as well. Vimes could see the flaw there straight away.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“I assure you I will not kill you," said Inigo.
"I know that," said Vimes. "But will you try?”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“All he knew was that you couldn't hope to try for the big stuff, like world peace and happiness, but you might just about be able to achieve some tiny deed that'd make the world, in a small way, a better place. Like shooting someone.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
tags: life
“Wolves hate werewolves.'
'What? That can't be right! When she's wolf-shaped she's just like a wolf!'
'So? When she's human-shaped she's just like a human. And what's that got to do with anything? Humans don't like werewolves. Wolves don't like werewolves. People don't like wolves that can think like people, an' people don't like people who can act like wolves. Which just goes to show that people are the same everywhere.' said Gaspode. He assessed this sentence and added, 'Even when they're wolves.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“He took his hands off the oars and pulled in the mooring rope. If I make a couple of loops, he thought, I can strap the axe on to my back.
He had a mental picture of what could happen to a man who plunged into the cauldron below a waterfall with a sharp piece of metal attached to his body.
GOOD MORNING.
Vimes blinked. A tall dark robed figure was now sitting in the boat.
'Are you Death?'
IT'S THE SCYTHE, ISN'T IT? PEOPLE ALWAYS NOTICE THE SCYTHE.
'I'm going to die?'
POSSIBLY.
'Possibly? You turn up when people are possibly going to die?'
OH, YES. IT'S QUITE THE NEW THING. IT'S BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE.
'What's that?'
I'M NOT SURE.
'That's very helpful.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Not natural, in my view, sah. Not in favor of unnatural things.'
Vetinari looked perplexed. 'You mean, you eat your meat raw and sleep in a tree?”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Look down, your grace," said Skimmer. "Mhm, mhm."

Vimes realized he could feel the faintest prick of a knife blade on his stomach. "Look down further," he said.

Inigo looked down. He swallowed. Vimes had a knife, too. "You really are no gentleman, then," he said.

"Make a sudden move and neither are you," said Vimes.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Is that the drink with the vodka? Because- "

"No," said Lady Margolotta quietly. "This, I am afraid, is the other kind. Still, ve have that in common, don't ve? Neither of us drinks...alcohol. I believe you vere an alcoholic, Sir Samuel."

"No," said Vimes, completely taken aback. "I was a drunk. You have to be richer than I was to be an alcoholic.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Shut up sergeant. You're a free troll. That's an order"
Sam Vimes”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“No one actually saw it land, which raised the interesting philosophical point: When millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, but there is no one to hear it, does it - philosophically speaking - make a noise?”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“There were a lot of things he could say. "Son of a bitch!" would have been a good one. Or he could say, "Welcome to civilization!" He could have said, "Laugh this one off!" He might have said, "Fetch!" But he didn’t, because if he had said any of those things then he’d have known that what he had just done was murder.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Vimes, listening with his mouth open, wondered why the hell it was that dwarfs believed that they had no religion and no priests. Being a dwarf was a religion. People went into the dark for the good of the clan, and heard things, and were changed, and came back to tell…
And then, fifty years ago, a dwarf tinkering in Ankh-Morpork had found that if you put a simple fine mesh over your lantern flame it'd burn blue in the presence of the gas but wouldn't explode. It was a discovery of immense value to the good of dwarfkind and, as so often happens with such discoveries, almost immediately led to a war.
"And afterwards there were two kinds of dwarf," said Cheery sadly. "There's the Copperheads, who all use the lamp and the patent gas exploder, and the Schmaltzbergers, who stick to the old ways. Of course we're all dwarfs," she said, "but relations are strained.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Well, he thought, so this is diplomacy. It's lying, only for a better class of people.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“He sagged to his knees. He ached all over. It wasn't just that his brain was writing cheques that his body couldn't cash. It had gone beyond that. Now his feet were borrowing money that his legs hadn't got, and his back muscles were looking for loose change under the sofa cushions.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“We try to make guests feel welcome," said Dee, scuttling behind his desk. He pulled off his pointed hat and, to Vimes's amazement, put on a pair of thick smoked glasses.

"You had papers?" he said. Vimes handed them over.

"It says here "His Grace"," the dwarf said, after reading them for awhile.

"Yes, that's me."

"And there's a sir."

"That's me, too."

"And an excellency."

"'fraid so." Vimes narrowed his eyes. "I was blackboard monitor for awhile, too.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“It was turning out to be one of those days. The sort you got every day.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Sam Vimes could parallel process. Most husbands can. They learn to follow their own line of thought while at the same time listening to what their wives say. And the listening is important, because at any time they could be challenged and must be ready to quote the last sentence in full. A vital additional skill is being able to scan the dialogue for telltale phrases, such as “and they can deliver it tomorrow” or “so I’ve invited them for dinner” or “they can do it in blue, really quite cheaply.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“It was, he felt, a persistent flaw in his wife's otherwise practical and sensible character that she believed, against all evidence, that he was a man of many talents. He knew he had hidden depths. There was nothing in them that he'd like to see float to the surface. They contained things that should be left to lie.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“It was funny how people were people everywhere you went, even if the people concerned weren't the people the people who made up the phrase "people are people everywhere" had traditionally thought of as people.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“It is in the nature of the universe that the person who always keeps you waiting ten minutes will, on the day you are ten minutes tardy, have been ready ten minutes early and will make a point of not mentioning this.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“He always says that,' muttered Vimes as the two men hurried down the stairs. 'He knows I don't like being married to a duchess.'
'I thought you and Lady Sybil-'
'Oh, being married to Sybil is fine, fine,' said Vimes hurriedly. 'It's just the duchess bit I don't like.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“How big a war?"

"A worse one than the one fifty years ago, I expect," said Cheery.

"I don't recall people talking about that one," said Vimes.

"Most humans didn't know about it," said Cheery. "It mostly took place underground. Undermining passages and digging invasion tunnels and so on. Perhaps a few houses fell into mysterious holes and people didn't get their coal, but that was about it."

"You mean dwarfs just try to collapse mines on other dwarfs?"

"Oh, yes."

"I thought you were all law-abiding?"

"Oh, yes, sir. Very law-abiding. Just not very merciful.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Sometimes Carrot sounded like a civics essay written by a stunned choirboy.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“He'll just track us down and follow us and then he'll kill Carrot!"
"Why?"
"Because Carrot's mine!”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“It's not that I'm complaining,' said Angua, 'but when we were assigned this job I thought it was me who was going to be the decoy and you who was going to be the back up, Nobby.'
'Yeah, but what with you bein' . . .' Nobby's expression creased as he edged his way into
unfamiliar linguistic territory, '... mor phor . . . log . . . is . . : ally gifted. . .'
'A werewolf, Nobby. I know the word.'
'Right . . . well, obviously, you'd be a lot better at lurkin', an' . . . an' obviously it's not right, women havin' to act as decoys in police work. . .'
Angua hesitated, as she so often did when attempting to talk to Nobby on difficult matters, and waved her hands in front of her as if trying to shape the invisible dough of her thoughts.
'It's just that . . . I mean, people might . . .' she began. 'I mean . . . well, you know what people call men who wear wigs and gowns, don't you?'
'Yes, miss.'
'You do?'
'Yes, miss. Lawyers, miss.'
'Good. Yes. Good,' said Angua slowly. 'Now try another one . . .'
'Er . . . actors, miss?'
Angua gave up. 'You look good in taffeta, Nobby,' she said.
'You don't think it makes me look too fat?'
Angua sniffed. 'Oh, no . . .' she said quietly.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
“Constable Shoe,' said Constable Shoe, when the door of the bootmaker's factory was opened. 'Homicide.'
'You come 'bout Mister Sonky?' said the troll who'd opened the door. Warm damp air blew out into the street, smelling of incontinent cats and sulphur.
'I meant I'm a zombie,' said Reg Shoe. 'I find that telling people right away saves embarrassing misunderstandings later on. But coincidentally, yes, we've come about the alleged deceased.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant

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