On the Disc, if a story or legend is told often enough and believed by enough people, it becomes true. This is known as the law of narrative causality. For example, characters in Guards! Similarly, a witch gone bad may meet a bad end after building a house of gingerbread. If a miller has a third son, he will invariably leave him only his cat. A hero will always win when outnumbered, since million-to-one chances are dramatic enough to "crop up nine times out of ten", but always lose when faced with "a little bald wrinkly smiling man" who is almost always highly trained in martial arts.
Discworld witches often employ narrative in their magic, but consider it ethically tricky since it interferes with free will. Discworld wizards avoid doing so because narrative that severely strains credibility requires outright sources of magic to feed on, sometimes indiscriminately. Knowledge of stories, their use and how to change them forms the basis of many forms of magical power in Discworld physics.
The habit of many Discworlders to take metaphor literally has combined with the power of belief to produce some very odd areas on the Discworld. The colour of magic on the Discworld, also referred to as the eighth colour. This fictional colour is strongly indicative of magic and can only be seen by wizards who sometimes describe it as resembling a fluorescent greenish-yellow purple and cats, who both possess "octagon cells" in addition to the normal cones and rods possessed by humans.
The Disc contains a number of magical substances. One such is octiron, a dense black metal that is a large part of the Discworld's crust.
Its melting point is above the range of metal forges. The gates of Unseen University are made out of it, as is Old Tom, the university's bell. It is used to make magic needles and bells. It releases magical radiation, but if it becomes negatively polarised, it can be used to absorb such radiation.
It generates significant amounts of heat under pressure, accounting for most of the volcanic geological processes on Discworld.
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When struck such as with Old Tom , instead of producing a sound it briefly silences anything around it. Another is fingles, insinuated in Eric to be an important part of human psychology. Their absence, according to the Creator, can cause psychological problems. Since fingles do not exist on Earth, it is implied that Earth is the planet the Creator is referring to, and humanity is the species that is fundamentally incomplete because of their absence.
Another is slood.
This Handy Topic...
First mentioned in The Last Continent , slood is a natural substance that could be discovered by intelligent beings, but that humans on Earth have been too unintelligent to find; it is said to be much easier to discover than fire, and only slightly harder to discover than water. One of Rincewind's many accumulated positions is Reader in Slood Dynamics. The General Theory of Slood was discovered by Archchancellor Sloman, and a stained glass window representing this event is in the meeting room of the Unseen University college council. The University's plumbing system contains pipes for maintaining slood differential.
The Disc itself is described as roughly 10, miles wide, giving it a surface area two-fifths that of the Earth , which would make it roughly the size of the Pacific Ocean. In addition to its flatness, Pratchett gives it another principal geographic feature; Cori Celesti, a mile-high mountain that lies at its exact centre and is the point of origin for its standing magical field. Cori Celesti is also the location of Dunmanifestin, the home of many of the Disc's gods and the Discworld analogue of real-world Greek Mythology 's Mt.
The area surrounding Cori Celesti is known as The Hub, a land of high, icebound mountains that serves as an analogue to the real-world Himalayas , polar regions since, although the Disc has no poles as such, it is as far as possible from the Disc's edge and thus the sun , and Scandinavia — the Hublanders share many features with vikings.
Fleece or no fleece?
Polar bears are renamed "Hubland bears", while the Disc's equivalent of the aurora borealis described as being produced by the Disc's magical field, rather than by magnetism is known as the "Aurora Coriolis". The areas closer to the Rim are warmer and tropical, since the Disc's sun passes closer to them in its orbit. At the Rim, a great, encircling waterfall the Rimfall sends the Disc's oceans cascading into space. Pratchett is evasive about how the water eventually returns to refill the oceans, only saying, "Arrangements are made.
Cardinal directions within the Discworld are not given as North, South, East and West, but rather as directions relating to the disc itself: Hubward towards the centre , Rimward away from the centre and to a lesser extent, turnwise direction of the disc's rotation and widdershins against the direction of the disc's rotation.
The drawing on the front cover of Jingo shows a weathercock fitted with the requisite H , R , T and W letters. The disc rotates clockwise as seen from above. The Circle Sea is an almost landlocked body of water approximately halfway between the Hub and the Rim, opening at the Turnwise side into the Rim Ocean.
Discworld civilization, which can broadly be defined as those countries that have invented the fork as well as the knife, is found around the Circle Sea's historic coasts. The Circle Sea is the location of Leshp , an island that occasionally rises to the surface on a cushion of foul-smelling gas, before settling back to the seafloor once more.
Leshp's last appearance sparked a near-war between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch in Jingo. The unnamed continent is the one on which most of the books are set. They are a land of rich black loam, upon which rests a great squat forest of cabbages. In Soul Music , a footnote states various facts of the region:. The cabbage has an almost mythic status among the people of the Sto Plains, and is an emblem of its largest and dominant city, Ankh-Morpork.
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Most young people who leave the farming areas of the Plains for life in the big city would happily never see a cabbage again. Although they have been an empire in the past, the Sto Plains currently exist as a loose collection of independent city-states, ruled over by a close-knit and probably interrelated ruling class.
The Sto Plains could be thought of as being similar to Germany prior to the unification of the states into the German Empire , with no overall authority. According to Mort the area was to be united in the coming decades. As reality was given a retcon in the book, the Duke who united the Sto Plains was Mort, and he did it by diplomacy rather than conquest.
The principal city of the Sto Plains is Ankh-Morpork.
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While it does not exert any political power over its neighbors, its economic domination of the region summed up by the phrase, "Attack us, and we'll call in your mortgages" has meant that the smaller cities around it are essentially its satellites. Pseudopolis its name translates to "false city" is first mentioned in the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic.
That novel also refers to Psephopololis , which according to The Discworld Mapp is the same place. Pseudopolis possesses a school of magic, Braseneck College a parody of Brasenose College, Oxford , which is apparently in competition for prestige with the larger, older Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork. In fact, the novel Raising Steam makes clear that this rivalry extends to the city level, as Pseudopolis refuses to accept an Ankh-Morpork-constructed trainline.
As of Unseen Academicals , the aristocracy of the city appear to have undertaken an experiment in representative democracy , much to Lord Vetinari 's amusement. While no Discworld novels have been set in Pseudopolis, a number of characters have roots there. Charlie, a man with an extraordinary physical resemblance to Ankh-Morpork Patrician Havelock Vetinari , ran a clothes shop there The Truth.
Nobby Nobbs had an early career as an armourer in one of the Pseudopolis city militias; curiously and this may be no more than a coincidence, although there may be a connection given Nobby's penchant for nicking and flogging [i. Quirm is a quiet and peaceful town, and for this reason is a popular holiday destination. In this regard, it relates to Ankh-Morpork as Eastbourne relates to London, or possibly as Spain relates to the United Kingdom, or even Greece as a description in Unseen Academicals describes Quirm as having "strange water", which is the typical stereotype of the Greek Water Supply.
The Quirmian language is occasionally mentioned in the books as being similar to French or Spanish, but Snuff notes that all Quirmians speak perfect Morporkian. Spoken Quirmian is heard in Making Money , where it is identical to French. Quirm is famous for its floral clock : a circle of flowers, each of which opens its petals at a different hour. Quirm is also famous for its blue-veined cheese. Quirmian cuisine is generally characterized by containing avec French for "with". Quirm is a duchy , ruled by the Rodley family.
Members of this family seen in the books include Lord Rodley, an upper-class twit in Mort , and Brenda Rodley, the swamp dragon -breeding dowager duchess in Guards! In Sourcery , Quirm was destroyed by wizards during a magical war, but was presumably restored by Coin when he put everything back as it was before the war.
It is explained in Soul Music that few of the Discworld 's higher-class schools such as the Ankh-Morpork Assassins' Guild School see fit to admit female students although the Assassins have since changed this policy , so Miss Butts founded the College "on the astonishing principle that, since gels had nothing much to do until someone married them, they might as well occupy the time with learning things.
The school resembles a traditional English independent girls' school, with an academic curriculum and a heavy emphasis on respectable and decent behaviour. The school's strong emphasis on decency reportedly makes it rather difficult to teach certain areas of Biology ; students come out of that class "with the vague idea that they were supposed to marry a rabbit" Soul Music. Students at the school do not seem to be preparing for any particular profession. As the known universities on the Disc are solely for wizards who must be male — see Unseen University , and most other higher education institutions on the Disc do not admit females, there is no clear lifelong aim for the school's alumnae.
Susan Sto Helit describes it as "an education in, well, education" Hogfather. It appears that those students who do not marry upon leaving school generally go into the teaching profession themselves, or become governesses. According to the books, Sto Lat is a sizable walled town in the Sto Plains, although eclipsed enormously both in size and influence by the neighbouring city of Ankh-Morpork. Sto Lat is the nearest major city to Ankh-Morpork approximately a half day's journey by horse, less if the horse is Boris from Going Postal and to which it is connected by two clacks towers.
It encompasses a large boulder emerging out of the Sto Plains like 'a geological pimple', left there by the retreating Ice Giants. The castle is built into this rock. Its most recent king before the present monarch was King Olerve, who was shot with a crossbow by an assassin hired by the original Duke of Sto Helit, a thoroughly nasty man who staged a bid for the succession, thwarted only by Mort in Mort. At the end of Mort , Princess Keli became Queen. Her authority is exercised through a Mayor.
The kingdom was one of the first places outside Ankh-Morpork to adopt its own stampings for the post. Astolat is a legendary location in Arthurian mythology , and Sto lat is also a traditional Polish song equivalent to Happy Birthday to You sto lat literally means "hundred years". After his death in Soul Music , his duchy apparently was passed to his daughter, Susan.
She works as a teacher now, but, apparently, as of Thief of Time , she still is duchess of Sto Helit. The Ramtops are the Discworld's principal mountain range. Across their vast extent, from the Hub to the Rim, they incorporate elements from virtually every noted mountain range on our world, from the Scottish Highlands Lancre to the Himalayas the High Tops to Appalachia Slice.