I Don't Get Them Jokes..

Morpork46

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The software is set up to deter spammers, who would otherwise be able to post links as soon as they arrive, but this way either leave before trying or make themselves obvious with a long line of junk posts.

You'll be able to link to outside sources as soon as you get to 15 counted posts -- as long as those outside sources aren't your own website or blog or similar site, since we have a 100 post requirement for any kind of self-promotion.
Thanks, that explains everything, and I quite understand and agree with you.
 

Marvin

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You gotta love a forum where a new member pops up, resurrects an 11 year old thread because they have a genuine problem/question and everyone just runs with it, joins in and doesn’t skip a beat (me excepted obviously, but pointed out for the warm fuzzy reasons.)

On topic, love TP’s humour, both the obvious and the subtle (when my knowledge base allows) so clever. And his research must have been unbelievable!
I’m just glad I still have around 20 books still to go. I pick one up, every now and again, in between other stuff, when I want something familiar to wrap myself in, no rush.
 

Morpork46

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Terry Pratchett's books are like the British parks: well groomed, lush … and full of hidden treasures and surprises, of whom the Hahas are the most obvious ones, yet. You have to read his books at least twice, first time to get the story, and a second time to find more of his hidden wordplays, puns and references to other books like Shakespeare’s plays, the Books of the Bible, other Science Fiction and Fantasy … And if you’re enjoying that you will read the books a few more times, because there is still quite a collection of more – as said before – treasures.

Example: In “The Colour of Magic” you read about the “light dams” in the desert Nef. Since I found no word like “light dam” in a dictionary I looked for it on the internet and found two possible explanations / definitions:
1 Put a mesh of strong wires across a (small) river and just watch: “This System works on a theory that the water, when it comes down the stream, will carry with it not only boulders and sand but floating debris.” What you have or get are light dams.
2 In books about animal husbandry you might find “light dams”: e. g. hens with a light plumage, opposite to dark plumage. (It’s also used for other animals.) (If you’re interested look for “Genetics of the Fowl: The Classic Guide to Chicken Genetics and Poultry Breeding”.)
3 And today you can even find a sheet of stamps sold by the Ankh-Morpork post office.

And now I have a question about a paragraph in “The Colour of Magic”: Toward the end of the story Rincewind and Twoflower are saved from the Rim ocean by a ship. “The captain, a thickset man who wore the elbow-turbans typical of a Great Nef tribesman …”
Does anyone know what an elbow-turban might be?
 

Morpork46

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Writing this
"Look for ankh-morpork anmerkungen, and there "Schweinsgalopp" (the strange german title)."
I posted nonsense.
The book isn't "Schweinsgalopp" = "Hogfather", but "Soul Music" = "Rollende Steine".
 

pyan

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...in “The Colour of Magic” you read about the “light dams” in the desert Nef. Since I found no word like “light dam” in a dictionary I looked for it on the internet and found two possible explanations / definitions:
1 Put a mesh of strong wires across a (small) river and just watch: “This System works on a theory that the water, when it comes down the stream, will carry with it not only boulders and sand but floating debris.” What you have or get are light dams.
2 In books about animal husbandry you might find “light dams”: e. g. hens with a light plumage, opposite to dark plumage. (It’s also used for other animals.) (If you’re interested look for “Genetics of the Fowl: The Classic Guide to Chicken Genetics and Poultry Breeding”.)
3 And today you can even find a sheet of stamps sold by the Ankh-Morpork post office.
The explanation is given three books further on in the series:

TP said:
The Light Dams lay like pools of light hubwards of their course, which is exactly what they were: some of the tribes constructed mirror walls in the desert mountains to collect the Disc sunlight, which is slow and slightly heavy. It was used as currency.
from Mort - p. 225 of the Corgi pb edition, 1988

Mind you, this conflicts with the information in TCOM, where they were created by Goldeneye Silverhand Dactylos, the genius who had unpleasant things happen to him every time he completed a task. But generally speaking, TCOM and its sequel, The Light Fantastic, are often now not regarded as part of the main Discworld arc - some of the ideas in them are heavily modified (cff. the homicidal dog-eat-dog wizards of UU in TCOM turn into the food-fixated, almost buffoons that appear in later books) as Sir Terry honed the series into probably the greatest comic fantasy of all time.
 

Overread

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That said he never fully abandons the themes established in the early books - the wizards mostly become lazy because they gain an Arch Wizard who proves so hard to kill that they mostly give up; instead they start focusing on more important things in life like the cheese trolly. I forget in which book, one of the ones that deals with Death, but they even have slip back into their more brutal days when one old wizard makes a short-term return to the University.


In my view the early books are very "classic fantasy" with dragons, wizards and heroes; whilst as we go through each of the books that follows we see the Discworld essentially "modernizing" at an ever increasing rate. To the point where in the books nearer the end we are getting huge things like stamps and printed money as well as an ever dwindling influence of magic in the world in general. It's a huge shame that he never got to finish (though one could argue he never would have as the world would never end) as who knows we might have seen it go through not just modernization but then a full renaissance
 

The Ace

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Terry Pratchett's books are like the British parks: well groomed, lush … and full of hidden treasures and surprises, of whom the Hahas are the most obvious ones, yet. You have to read his books at least twice, first time to get the story, and a second time to find more of his hidden wordplays, puns and references to other books like Shakespeare’s plays, the Books of the Bible, other Science Fiction and Fantasy … And if you’re enjoying that you will read the books a few more times, because there is still quite a collection of more – as said before – treasures.

Example: In “The Colour of Magic” you read about the “light dams” in the desert Nef. Since I found no word like “light dam” in a dictionary I looked for it on the internet and found two possible explanations / definitions:
1 Put a mesh of strong wires across a (small) river and just watch: “This System works on a theory that the water, when it comes down the stream, will carry with it not only boulders and sand but floating debris.” What you have or get are light dams.
2 In books about animal husbandry you might find “light dams”: e. g. hens with a light plumage, opposite to dark plumage. (It’s also used for other animals.) (If you’re interested look for “Genetics of the Fowl: The Classic Guide to Chicken Genetics and Poultry Breeding”.)
3 And today you can even find a sheet of stamps sold by the Ankh-Morpork post office.

And now I have a question about a paragraph in “The Colour of Magic”: Toward the end of the story Rincewind and Twoflower are saved from the Rim ocean by a ship. “The captain, a thickset man who wore the elbow-turbans typical of a Great Nef tribesman …”
Does anyone know what an elbow-turban might be?
I'd've thought that was obvious - long cloth strips woven repeatedly around the elbows - probably a type of padding, but used here as a status symbol. It's certainly derived from the turban (head-gear) worn by certain religions.
 

Morpork46

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I'd've thought that was obvious - long cloth strips woven repeatedly around the elbows - probably a type of padding, but used here as a status symbol. It's certainly derived from the turban (head-gear) worn by certain religions.
Thank you for your explanation. It is plausible. Yet you won’t find the word “elbow-turban” on the net. In my opinion Terry Pratchett didn’t invent things on the discworld just to be invented. Either he would use them for the story or he was taking something existing on the round-world and twisted it to something different on the discworld, examples (from Equal Rites): “dilemma leather” from “leather dilemma”, or the plant “Maiden’s Wish”, which refers to a composition by Frédéric Chopin. Following these examples could lead us to turban elbow like tennis elbow, getting a sore elbow by folding your turban every day.
But this seems a bit too far fetched, doesn’t it?
The nearest word combination to “elbow-turban” I found in “Forgotten Books”, from “World of Fashion – and Continental Feuilleton”, Vol. XIII, Jan-Dec 1836: “… Venetian sleeves, hanging to a point, trimmed en suite, and quite tight to the elbow; turban of white and lilac gauze …
I could imagine Terry Pratchett would use it, just for the fun of it. He did with other words, or names in this case: In Hogfather Mr Crumley, the owner of the store, asks Albert: “Who are you?” And he answers: “Call me Uncle Heavy”. The name is taken from “Uncle Heavy's Porkchop Revue” (You can find it easily on the net.)
So we’ll wait until one of Mme Tracy’s seances (from Good Omens), so she can ask Geronimo to contact Terry Pratchett.
 

Morpork46

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The explanation is given three books further on in the series:

from Mort - p. 225 of the Corgi pb edition, 1988

Mind you, this conflicts with the information in TCOM, where they were created by Goldeneye Silverhand Dactylos, the genius who had unpleasant things happen to him every time he completed a task. But generally speaking, TCOM and its sequel, The Light Fantastic, are often now not regarded as part of the main Discworld arc - some of the ideas in them are heavily modified (cff. the homicidal dog-eat-dog wizards of UU in TCOM turn into the food-fixated, almost buffoons that appear in later books) as Sir Terry honed the series into probably the greatest comic fantasy of all time.
Thank you. Reading "Mort" I found the “light dams” and wondered what Terry Pratchett was referring to. The term is explained – under discworld conditions. But you know, Terry Pratchetts books are almost always satirical stories. He was often compared to Jonathan Swift. So I thought, and still do, that might had have fun using a round-world term in a different sense on the discworld – something he often does. (sometimes it’s a real pun-ishment.)

I agree with what you say about TCOM and the subsequent development of the stories.
In Wikipedia you’ll find “The Colour of Magic is a 1983 comic fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett … Pratchett has described it as ‘an attempt to do for the classical fantasy universe what Blazing Saddles did for Westerns.’” He started a new age of fantasy. And there are a lot of excellent reasons why almost every important newspaper and radio station published an elaborately obituary, in Germany for instance Süddeutsche Zeitung, DIE ZEIT, Spiegel, taz, in Britain The Times, Guardian, The Telegraph …

That said he never fully abandons the themes established in the early books - the wizards mostly become lazy because they gain an Arch Wizard who proves so hard to kill that they mostly give up; instead they start focusing on more important things in life like the cheese trolly. I forget in which book, one of the ones that deals with Death, but they even have slip back into their more brutal days when one old wizard makes a short-term return to the University.
cheese trolley etc. e.g. in Hogfather when Mr Teatime is falling on one of the tables.
The story with the undead wizard Windle Poons is Reaper Man. There we learn: “Unseen University – home of magic, wizardry and big dinners –”.
You can find the fat wizards in “Volume” 5: Sourcery already: “They tended to prefer administration, which was safer and nearly as much fun, and also big dinners.”
In Soul Music: “He’d started with: DEAN … BORN TO EAT BIG DINNERS wouldn’t be appropriate.”
After some more bemused thought he’d gone on to: LIVE FATS DIE YO GNU.
 

Morpork46

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Reading "The Light Fantastic" I just read the LSpace information: The title is a quotation from John Milton's poem L'Allegro.
One can find it easily on the net. There we read:
Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,
Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,
Nods, and Becks, and Wreathed Smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport that wrincled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Com, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastick toe,
So we see, Terry Pratchett just used the words from the round world for something totally different on the discworld.
That's creativity!
 

Morpork46

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I have one more question, this time on "The Light Fantastic":
Rincewind and Twoflower are in the forest of Skund and are hiding in a gingerbread house.
‘This isn’t very healthy,’ he said. ‘I mean, why sweets? Why not crispbread and cheese? Or salami, now – I could just do with a nice salami sofa.’
‘Search me,’ said Swires. ‘Old Granny Whitlow just did sweets. You should have seen her meringues—’
‘I have,’ said Rincewind, ‘I looked at the mattresses …’
I understand the pun with 'sofa'. Rincewind talks about a canapé (no, not canopy).
But 'meringues'? I don't see a connection with 'mattresses'.
meringues - rings? Or is it because of the crumbs?
 

Vladd67

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Could be a variation on the old joke about dreaming about eating enormous meringues and waking up to find their pillows gone.
 

Morpork46

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I always took that one literally, as both meringues and mattresses are white.
Could be a variation on the old joke about dreaming about eating enormous meringues and waking up to find their pillows gone.
Thanks for your answers.
Yet I still think there might be more in Rincewind's answer.
When you read other sentences, which look rather simple on the surface, you may realize there's more than the obvious meaning
For instance this one (also in the Forest of Skund):
‘Trees,’ said a voice out of the darkness, high above. It possessed what can only be described as timbre.
A play on the words 'timbre' and 'timber'.
 

Andy Mender

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To me some of Pratchett's jokes are also difficult to follow, but I typically just go with the flow, expecting them to be witty and on the funny punny side :). Much like Monty Python, The Thin Blue Line, The Black Adder, etc.
 

Overread

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Some of his jokes are often tied to the main/major theme of the story itself. So the one with rock music has loads of references heavily influenced by the early days of Rock and Roll. His skill is that many of those subtle jokes (which are really closer to in-jokes) are spaced out and phrased so that even if you don't get tem you don't feel like you've missed out as there's loads of wit built around them.
 

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I have one more question, this time on "The Light Fantastic":
Rincewind and Twoflower are in the forest of Skund and are hiding in a gingerbread house.
‘This isn’t very healthy,’ he said. ‘I mean, why sweets? Why not crispbread and cheese? Or salami, now – I could just do with a nice salami sofa.’
‘Search me,’ said Swires. ‘Old Granny Whitlow just did sweets. You should have seen her meringues—’
‘I have,’ said Rincewind, ‘I looked at the mattresses …’
I understand the pun with 'sofa'. Rincewind talks about a canapé (no, not canopy).
But 'meringues'? I don't see a connection with 'mattresses'.
meringues - rings? Or is it because of the crumbs?
The sofa may relate to Tom Baker as, "Doctor Who," who - after a particularly gruelling ordeal - smiles and says, " I could just do with a nice salami sandwich."
 

Morpork46

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Some of his jokes are often tied to the main/major theme of the story itself. So the one with rock music has loads of references heavily influenced by the early days of Rock and Roll. His skill is that many of those subtle jokes (which are really closer to in-jokes) are spaced out and phrased so that even if you don't get tem you don't feel like you've missed out as there's loads of wit built around them.
You may say "Soul Music" is a genuine homage to Rock'n Roll. Terry Pratchett quotes most of the stars of the Rock'n Roll era: Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis (of course! "Are you elvish?), Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly (the young bard's, Imp Y Celin, stage name), Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, The Crystals, but also Dean Martin, Bruce Springsteen, Ike and Tina Turner, The Byrds and several times "The Blues Brothers".
 

Morpork46

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The sofa may relate to Tom Baker as, "Doctor Who," who - after a particularly gruelling ordeal - smiles and says, " I could just do with a nice salami sandwich."
That sounds convicing. Terry Pratchett knew "Doctor Who" and sometimes refers to it. But since I didn't watch the series, or just a few episodes, I don't realise this normally. Thank you.
 

The Ace

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You may say "Soul Music" is a genuine homage to Rock'n Roll. Terry Pratchett quotes most of the stars of the Rock'n Roll era: Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis (of course! "Are you elvish?), Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly (the young bard's, Imp Y Celin, stage name), Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, The Crystals, but also Dean Martin, Bruce Springsteen, Ike and Tina Turner, The Byrds and several times "The Blues Brothers".
Imp y Cellin (sp) actually means, "Bud of the Holly," he just translated it from Llamedosian.
 
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