Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

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Sourcery is a 1988 fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the fifth book in his Discworld series.


'And what would humans be without love?' : Rare, said Death.
Her opponents started off grinning at the temerity of a slight young girl attacking them, and then rapidly passed through various stages of puzzlement, doubt, concern, and abject gibbering terror as they apparently became the center of a flashing, tightening circle of steel.
Never enter an arsekicking contest with a porcupine.
Paranoids only think everyone is out to get them. Wizards know it.
Too much magic could wrap time and space around itself, and that wasn't good news for the kind of person who had grown used to things like effects following things like causes.
  • 'And what would humans be without love?'
Rare, said Death.
  • He sighed again. People were always trying this sort of thing. On the other hand, it was quite interesting to watch, and at least this was a bit more original than the usual symbolic chess game, which Death always dreaded because he could never remember how the knight was supposed to move.
  • The vermine is a small black and white relative of the lemming, found in the cold Hublandish regions. Its skin is rare and highly valued, especially by the vermine itself; the selfish little bastard will do anything rather than let go of it.
  • This was the type of thief that could steal the initiative, the moment and the words right out of your mouth.
  • These weren't the normal city watch, cautious and genially corrupt. These were walking slabs of muscle and they were absolutely unbribable, if only because the Patrician could outbid anyone else.
  • After that one thing sort of led to another and pretty soon everyone was fighting to get something—either away, out or even.
  • Sourcerer , n. (mythical) A proto-wizard, a doorway through which new majik may enter the world, a wizard not limited by the physical capabilities of hys own bodie, not by Destinie, nor by Deathe. It is written that there once were sourcerers in the youth of the world but not may there by now and blessed be, for sourcery would mean the Ende of the World . . . If the Creator hadd meant menne to be bee as goddes, he would have given them wings.
SEE ALSO: thee Apocralypse, the legende of thee Ice Giants, and thee Teatime of the Goddes.
  • Definition in Casplock's Compleet Lexicon of Majik with Precepts for the Wise
  • The current Patrician ... He did of course sometimes have people horribly tortured to death, but this was considered to be perfectly acceptable behaviour for a civic ruler and generally approved of by the overwhelming majority of citizens.
The overwhelming majority of citizens being defined in this case as everyone not currently hanging upside down over a scorpion pit.
  • He had the unique opportunity to watch Conina fight. Not many men ever got to see it twice.
Her opponents started off grinning at the temerity of a slight young girl attacking them, and then rapidly passed through various stages of puzzlement, doubt, concern, and abject gibbering terror as they apparently became the center of a flashing, tightening circle of steel.
  • To Rincewind's annoyance the Luggage barrelled after her, cushioning its fall by dropping heavily onto a slaver, and adding to the sudden panic of the invaders because, while it was bad enough to be attacked with deadly and ferocious accuracy by a rather pretty girl in a white dress with flowers on it, it was even worse for the male ego to be tripped up and beaten by a travel accessory; it was pretty bad for all the rest of the male, too.
  • It wasn't blood in general he couldn't stand the sight of, it was just his blood in particular that was so upsetting.
  • Of course, Ankh-Morpork's citizens had always claimed that the river water was incredibly pure in any case. Any water that had passed through so many kidneys, they reasoned, had to be very pure indeed.
  • 'My father always said that death is but a sleep,' said Conina.
'Yes, the hat told me that,' said Rincewind, as they turned down a narrow, crowded street between white adobe walls. 'But the way I see it, it's a lot harder to get up in the morning.'
  • 'My father always said that it was pointless to undertake a direct attack against an enemy extensively armed with efficient projectile weapons,' she said.
Rincewind, who knew Cohen's normal method of speech, gave her a look of disbelief.
'Well, what he actually said,' she added, 'was never enter an arsekicking contest with a porcupine.'
  • The Hashishim, who derived their name from the vast quantities of hashish they consumed, were unique among vicious killers in being both deadly and, at the same time, inclined to giggle, groove to interesting patterns of light and shade on their terrible knife blades and, in extreme cases, fall over.
  • A popular spell at the time was Pelepel's Temporal Compressor, which on one occasion resulted in a race of giant reptiles being created, evolving, spreading, flourishing and then being destroyed in the space of about five minutes, leaving only its bones in the earth to mislead forthcoming generations completely.
  • The truth isn't easily pinned to a page. In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap, and much more difficult to find...
  • 'I don't trust this man,' said Nijel. 'I try not to judge from first impressions, but I definitely think he's up to no good.'
'He had you thrown in a snake pit!'
'Perhaps I should have taken the hint.'
  • Wizards didn't kill ordinary people because a) they seldom noticed them and b) it wasn't considered sporting and c) besides, who'd do all the cooking and growing food and things. And killing a brother wizard with magic was nigh-well impossible on account of the layers of protective spells that any cautious wizard maintained about his person at all times.*
* Of course, wizards often killed each other by ordinary, non-magical means, but this was perfectly allowable and death by assassination was considered natural causes for a wizard.
  • Some people think this is paranoia, but it isn't. Paranoids only think everyone is out to get them. Wizards know it.
  • 'I'm not going to ride on a magic carpet!' he hissed. 'I'm afraid of grounds!'
'You mean heights,' said Conina. 'And stop being silly.'
'I know what I mean! It's the grounds that kill you!'
  • There was a respectful silence, as there always is when large sums of money have just passed away.
  • Many people who had got to know Rincewind had come to treat him as a sort of two-legged miner's canary, and tended to assume that if Rincewind was still upright and not actually running then some hope remained.
  • 'This is fun,' said Creosote. 'Me, robbing my own treasury. If I catch myself I can have myself flung into the snake pit.'
'But you could throw yourself on your mercy,' said Conina, running a paranoid eye over the dusty stonework.
'Oh, no. I think I would have to teach me a lesson, as an example to myself.'
  • 'I can't hear anything,' said Nijel loudly. Nijel was one of those people who, if you say "don't look now", would immediately swivel his head like an owl on a turntable.
  • Too much magic could wrap time and space around itself, and that wasn't good news for the kind of person who had grown used to things like effects following things like causes.
  • They suffered from the terrible delusion that something could be done. They seemed prepared to make the world the way they wanted or die in the attempt, and the trouble with dying in the attempt was that you died in the attempt.
  • 'Poor I don't mind,' said the Seriph. 'It's sobriety that is giving me difficulties.'
  • Take it from me, there's nothing more terrible than someone out to do the world a favour.
  • Wizards don't like philosophy very much. As far as they are concerned, one hand clapping makes a sound like 'cl'.
  • 'Quick, you must come with me,' she said. 'You're in great danger!'
'Because I will kill you if you don't.'
  • 'I meant,' said Ipslore, bitterly, 'what is there in this world that makes living worth while?'
Death thought about it.
Cats, he said eventually, Cats are nice.
  • The Luggage might be magical. It might be terrible. But in its enigmatic soul it was kin to every other piece of luggage throughout the multiverse, and preferred to spend its winters hibernating on top of a wardrobe.
  • Rincewind stared into the frothy remnants of his last beer, and then, with extreme care in case the top of his head fell off, leaned down and poured some into a saucer for the Luggage. It was lurking under the table, which was a relief. It usually embarrassed him in bars by sidling up to drinkers and terrorizing them into feeding it crisps.
  • The subject of wizards and sex is a complicated one, but as has already indicated it does, in essence, boil down to this: when it comes to wine, women and song, wizards are allowed to get drunk and croon as much as they like.
  • How can the effect be described with delicacy and taste? For most of the wizards, it was like being an elderly man who, suddenly faced by a beautiful young woman, finds to his horror and delight and astonishment that the flesh is suddenly as willing as the spirit.
  • And I didn't bother with chapter six, because I promised my mother I'd just stick with the looting and pillaging, until I find the right girl.
  • Death isn't cruel – merely terribly, terribly good at his job.
  • It's vital to remember who you really are. It's very important. It isn't a good idea to rely on other people or things to do it for you, you see. They always get it wrong.
    • Rincewind
  • Rincewind sighed, and padded around the base of the tower toward the Library. Towards where the Library had been. There was the arch of the doorway, and most of the walls were still standing, but a lot of the roof had fallen in and everything was blackened by soot. Rincewind stood and stared for a long time. Then he dropped the carpet and ran, stumbling and sliding through the rubble that half-blocked the doorway. The stones were still warm underfoot. Here and there the wreckage of bookcase still smouldered. Anyone watching would have seen Rincewind dart backward and forward across the shimmering heaps, scrabbling desperately among them, throwing aside charred furniture, pulling aside lumps of fallen roof with less than superhuman strength. They would have seen him pause once or twice to get his breath back, then dive in again, cutting his hands on shards of half molten glass from the dome of the roof. They would have noticed that he seemed to be sobbing. Eventually his questing fingers touched something warm and soft. The frantic wizard heaved a charred roof beam aside, scrabbled through a drift of fallen tiles and peered down. There, half squashed by the beam and baked brown by the fire, was a large bunch of overripe, squashy bananas. He picked one up, very carefully, and sat and watched it for some time until the end fell off. Then he ate it.
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