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Lords and Ladies


Active Member
Nov 11, 2006
Terry Pratchett's books seem to function like a satyr play at the end of a day of tragedies - they poke not too subtle fun at the themes and concerns which lie deep in the psyche.

This may seem a bold claim, but there has to be some reason for popularity of the discworld books.

In this one, "Lords and Ladies", Shakespeare's fairies from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' are combined with Tolkein's elves to create a sort of negative beautiful people - not too unlike some of the interpretations given to the darker side of the Shakespeare original.

This has a logic behind it which, when you throw in the stable discworld characters, give it a harsh flavouring of socialism (or perhaps peasantism?) and let loose Mr Pratchett's wicked play on words, produces an energetic romp guaranteed to tickle not only the intellect but also the funny bone.

You can enjoy the book without knowing the Shakespeare, but you'd miss a lot if you did.

(That was written some time ago.)

I'd add now an element of Celebrity Culture to the mix of ingredients.


resident pedantissimo
Staff member
Aug 10, 2005
West Sussex
Now, if I wrote "satyr" for "satire" I'd be making the sort of joke I wouldn't expect anyone to laugh at. Hm, Cassanunder? A long barrow and two mounds? No, it's some time since I read L & L, but I don't remember it being overtly satyrical. Actually, it's one I should reread; flashes remain (blacksmith shoeing an ant, first appearance of Agnes, unicorns and iron that attracts iron) but bits I'm not certain haven't been grafted on from other books (morris dancin and scumble?) sort of drift in.
The amoral, aristocratic, egotistical elves appear in several other books (not only pTerry's, either) and are probably closer to the tradition than the noble, sickeningly good versions who've taken over so much modern fantasy; think of the changelings. the jokes played on mortals, the centuries passed in a night; your average elf thinks a human is a domestic animal, and none too valuable a one either.