The Ideas of Discworld

Terry used the Discworld to explain many of his own Ideas. He also ported a fair amount of Ideas proposed by others in our world into his universe. The list below contains the ones I felt compelled to pull out of the book series. It is in chronological order by book and within each book.

Since there are relatively few such Ideas (compared to Persons, Places, and Things), I don’t intend to do any more with this list than what you see here. If I change my mind later, this paragraph will change with it.

Ideas in The Colour of Magic

Big Bang Hypothesis vs Steady Gait Theory – Two competing Ideas about how the Great A’Tuin moves through space. Neither may be correct.

Law of Conservation of Reality – “The effort needed to achieve a goal should be the same regardless of the means used.”

The Eight Great Spells – Seven are still in The Octavo; one is in Rincewind’s brain. No one knows what they are or what they do. That’s probably a good thing.

Mage Wars – Early in the Disc’s existence, these cause the Gods to be banished to Dunmanifestin, man to be re-created in smaller form, and wild magic to be sucked out of the Disc. And something more of significance.

Time, Non-Existence of – From Greicha the First (deceased but ruling) of Wyrmberg: “Imagine every moment being at one and the same time a distant memory and a nasty surprise….”

Ideas in The Light Fantastic

Librarian, Creation of – “The room had been part of the library until the magic had drifted through, violently reassembling the possibility particles of everything in its path. … And several of the wizards later swore that the small sad orang outang sitting in the middle of it all looked very much like the head librarian.”

The Eight Great Spells – Seven are still in The Octavo; one is in Rincewind’s brain. No one knows what they are or what they do. That’s probably a good thing.

Rite of AshkEnte – Summoning Death either by an elaborate ceremony, if there’s time, or something quite basic, if there’s not.

Hogswatchnight – The last night of the year when the Hogfather does his thing.

Thaum – The basic unit of magical strength. Often prefaced with prefixes like kilo- and mega-.

Tourism – According to Twoflower, the Disc’s inaugural Tourist: “I often don’t know where my Luggage is, that’s what being a tourist is all about.”

Multiple Universes – Often called (in other works) the Multiverse. According to the shopkeeper of one of those shops when asked what he would do next: “Oh, go to some other universe, there’s plenty around.”

Far Side of Darkness – Terry often goes through an idea to its other side or far side. He does so here with Darkness to create The Light Fantastic.

Ideas in Equal Rites

Hogswatchnight – The last night of the year when the Hogfather does his thing.

Borrowing – When a witch gets into the mind of an animal (or the occasional University) and sees the Discworld through it.

Headology – Why a witch’s appearance and manners are more than they seem, according to Granny Weatherwax.