Friday, August 16, 2013

Wyrd Sisters and Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett // Epic Footnotes

For her birthday, my sister got a good number of books. When people don't know what to get us, they usually get us books - but I'm cool with that. Remember:

In particular, the books that looked most interesting to me were these two:

While some people read chic-lit for "fluff," I read crazy fantasy books. I literally get lost in books, because reading requires no concentration whatsoever on my part.
I read both those books over the course of about four days, and let me tell you, they were nothing at all what I was expecting.
On the back of the Wyrd Sisters, there's a quote from the Houston Chronicle: 
"Think J.R.R. Tolkien with a sharper, more satiric edge."
It is nothing whatsoever like Tolkien. It's not an edge. It an entire book that's sharp and satiric. It's sharp and satiric to its core.
I would actually compare it more to The Thirteen Clocks, by James Thurber.
It's not Epic Fantasy. It's more like a spoof on Epic Fantasy.
Wyrd Sisters spoofs on Hamlet and witches, and Guards! Guards! spoofs on dragons and the legends that go with them. (How do you get rid of a Patrician and get a King in his place? Summon a dragon, of course, so someone of king material can come and kill him! Logical solution, of course. Especially when the dragon gets mistakenly crowned king...)
Some excerpts:

"The duke had a mind that ticked like a clock, and, like a clock, it regularly went cuckoo." (Wyrd Sisters
"It was a good storm. There was quite effective projection and passion there, and critics agreed that if it would only learn to control its thunder it would be, in years to come, a storm to watch." (Wyrd Sisters)
"Thunder rolled... it rolled a six." (Guards! Guards!)
"'Then we are agreed, brethren? You are prepared to practice magic?' 'Oh, practice,' said Brother Plasterer, relieved. 'I don't mind practicing. So long as we don't have to do it for real --'" (Guards! Guards!)
"Normally the only decoration in there was on Sham Harga's vest and the food was good solid stuff for a cold morning, all calories and fat and protein and maybe a vitamin crying softly because it was all alone." (Guards! Guards!)

Almost every other sentence is funny. If I read a few pages without inwardly laughing I would read them again to find the joke(s) that I missed!

And there are awesome footnotes, too. See:

"If it wasn't for the engine of her ambition, he'd be just another local lord, with nothing much to do but hunt, drink, and exercise his droit de seigneur*." (Wyrd Sisters)
"He liked a big noisy banquet and had quaffed** many a pint of good ale." (Wyrd Sisters)
I just love it. There are adaptations for the theater of both these books, and if they ever show up in Chicago, I will definitely go see them.

A weird part - these books don't have chapters. None whatsoever. I generally go by chapters to determine when to stop reading and to cajole my dad/mom/sister into letting me finish "one more chapter," before attending to whatever they are asking me to do. But these books have no chapters. Which means I can say, "Let me finish one more chapter," and get to read the whole book! Mwahahahahah....

If you like fantasy - and a good laugh - try some Pratchett. I'm definitely going to read more of his stuff.


*Whatever that was. He'd never found anyone prepared to explain it to him. But it was definitely something a feudal lord ought to have and, he was pretty sure, it needed regular exercise. He imagined it was some kind of hairy dog. He was definitely going to get one, and damn well exercise it.

**Quaffing is like drinking, but you spill more.

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