APF Chapter 3: Discworld Annotations [Prev Page] [Index] [Next Page]

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The Discworld Companion

Annotations | Information | Quotes

- [p. 18] "In the bottom-left half two croix d'or on a sable field."

People reported on alt.fan.pratchett that they had found an error in the Companion: all the descriptions of the coats of arms appear to have left and right reversed when compared to the illustrations.

But Terry replied: "No, we're not daft... according to Stephen, who rather enjoys the byways of heraldry, the designs on the shield were traditionally referred to from the knight's point of view, and since he was generally behind it, everything is reversed. Its makes sense, or at least as much sense as many traditional things do. After all, if you're left handed you use, from my point of view, your right hand. In the same way, an actor exiting 'stage left' is walking off to the right from the audience's point of view."

I can report from my own experience that in the medical world the same principle is used. My parents are ophthalmologists, and when they talk about a patient's left eye they mean the one that the patient himself would call his left eye, i.e. the right eye from the doctor's point of view. As a kid I found this very illogical, and it used to intrigue me no end. But then, as Terry wrote in a subsequent posting: "Of course it's daft, it's traditional".

- [p. 179] "As he wrote in his unpublished MS entitled The Servant, a sort of handbook for the politically ambitious: [...]"

Lord Vetinari's handbook brings to mind Machiavelli's The Prince.

Alistair McAlpine (one of Mrs Thatcher's closest advisers) has also written a book called The Servant, subtitled 'A New Machiavelli'.

- [p. 252] "Wizards of the Disc, known"

In the list a cross-reference to the name 'Catbury' appears, but that entry is not present in hardcover nor trade paperback edition of the Companion.

- [p. 254] "de Worde, William"

William de Worde did not appear in an actual Discworld novel until 2000, when The Truth was released, six years after The Discworld Companion was written. His name is a composition of the names Wynkyn de Worde and William Caxton. In 1474 Caxton printed the first book in the English language, a translation of The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troy. In his career he printed more than 70 books, 20 of them his own translations from the Latin, French, and Dutch. Wynkyn de Worde was his successor.

- The Discworld Companion contains neat illustrations and heraldic descriptions of all the coats of arms of the various important guilds and institutions in Ankh-Morpork. (Note: the Mappe also shows a few, but is not complete. The Companion also gives the dog-Latin motto for each of them, but unfortunately Terry and Stephen provide a translation in only a few cases. APF to the rescue. The combined intellectual efforts of the Latinists on alt.fan.pratchett (Dylan Wright deserves particular mention) were put to the task, and we came up with the following list:

The Alchemist's Guild: OMNIS QVI CORVSCAT EST OR -- All That Glitters Is Gold

The City of Ankh-Morpork: MERVS IN PECTVM ET IN AQVAM -- Pure In Heart And In Water QVANTI CANICVLA ILLA IN FENESTRA -- How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?

The Assassin's Guild: NIL MORTIFII SINE LVCRE -- No Killing Without Pay

The Beggar's Guild: MONETA SVPERVACANEA, MAGISTER -- Spare Change, Guv'?

The Conjuror's Guild: NVNC ILLE EST MAGICVS -- Now That's Magic (Catch-phrase of British magician Paul Daniels)

The Embalmer's Guild: FARCIMINI -- Stuff It!

The Engraver's Guild: NON QVOD MANEAT, SED QVOD ADIMIMVS -- Not What Remains, But What We Take Away

The Fools' Guild (The Guild of Fools and Joculators and College of
Clowns): DICO, DICO, DICO -- I Say, I Say, I Say

The Gambler's Guild: EXCRETVS EX FORTVNA -- Shit Out Of Luck. (The Discworld Companion: "Loosely speaking: 'Really out of luck'")

The Klatchian Foreign Legion: OBLIVISCOR -- I forget

The Merchant's Guild: VILIS AD BIS PRETII -- Cheap At Twice The Price

Mort, Duke of Sto Helit: NON TIMETIS MESSOR -- Don't Fear The Reaper (see also the annotation for p. 239 of Hogfather )

The Musician's Guild: ID MVRMVRATIS, ID LVDAMVS -- You Hum It, We'll Play It

The Patrician (Lord Havelock Vetinari): SI NON CONFECTVS NON REFICIAT -- If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

The Plumber's Guild (Fully: The Guild of Plumbers and Dunnikindivers): NON ANTE SEPTEM DIES PROXIMA, SQVIRI -- Not Before Next Week, Squire

Lady Sybil Deirdre Olgivanna Ramkin: NON SVMET NVLLVS PRO RESPONSO -- She Won't Take No For An Answer

Seamstresses' Guild: NIL VOLVPTI, SINE LVCRE -- No Pleasure Without Pay

The Duke of Sto Helit (Mort's predecessor): FABER EST QVISQVE FORTVNAE SVAE -- Every Man Is The Maker Of His Own Fortune

The Stripper's Guild: NVNQVAM VESTIMVS -- We Never Clothe

The Thieves' Guild: ACVTVS ID VERBERAT -- Whip it Quick

Unseen University: NVNC ID VIDES, NVNC NE VIDES -- Now You See it, Now You Don't

The City Watch: FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC -- Make My Day, Punk (Guards! Guards!: "To Protect and Serve")


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