Wednesday 15 April 2015

Terry Pratchett Blog Tour: My Top Ten Discworld Characters

I was really grateful to be given the opportunity to write about Discworld as part of the blog tour organised by Viv from Serendipity Reviews to pay tribute to the late, much-missed, Terry Pratchett. As I mentioned in the post kicking the tour off, Terry’s books are some of the only ones that I’ve read, and reread, consistently for the 25 years or so since I first discovered them! There have been a host of characters I’ve fallen in love with during that time – Gaspode, Angua, Detritus, Perdita X Nitt, Brutha, Vetinari, and many more. With much gnashing of teeth – and with the proviso this could well change next time I reread anything! – I came up with a top 10. (I’ve kept descriptions relatively brief in an attempt to capture the flavour of characters without spoiling many developments; I know a few people who are new to Terry’s works are following the tour!)

10. Nobby Nobbs - A kleptomaniac, a former street urchin-turned-Watchman, and possibly the only person on the Discworld who could have been have been "disqualified from the human race for shoving", Nobby is nevertheless a heart-warming character because of his loyalty to the rest of the Watch, and is brilliantly funny to read about.

9. Lady Sybil Ramkin - Swamp dragon breeder Lady Sybil defies general expectations of the aristocracy in comedy books by being extremely competent, resourceful, and good in a crisis (and in the Discworld, you're never short of crises!) I adore her relationship with Sam Vimes!

8. Moist von Lipwig – I think conman Moist was possibly the last great Discworld character to be created. In the space of just a couple of books (I haven’t read the third featuring him yet), he became one of my favourite characters because of his quick wit, flexible morals, but genuine heroism at times.

7. Susan Sto Helit - The granddaughter of Death is sensible, pragmatic, and her fireplace poker is the scourge of monsters for miles around. I love the way she gradually comes to accept the supernatural world she keeps getting sucked into, but also that she constantly aims to do well in 'normal' jobs despite her heritage as both Death's descendant and the Duchess of Sto Helit.

6. The Librarian – Ook.

5. Carrot – The watchman brought up by dwarves caught my heart because of his innate goodness and niceness which, to be honest, makes him rather singular in the Discworld. There are other brilliant heroes, but Carrot is perhaps the only one who thinks the best of everyone he meets – and he does seem to meet pretty much everyone in Ankh-Morpork.

4. Nanny Ogg – I love double entendres, but Nanny Ogg’s single entendres are in a class of their own. She’s fun, she’s brilliantly raucous, and her bickering but loving relationship with Granny, her mentorship of Perdita, her flirtations with Casanunda and her loyalty to her large family and cat (most of the time!) Greebo are all fabulous.

3. Granny Weatherwax – Granny knows pretty much everything there is to know about magic; including the fact that you’re generally better off not using it. Her mastery of ‘headology’ is breathtaking and I have a particular love for any scene involving her playing cards, as you know that other people aren’t going to come out of it well.

2. Sam Vimes – Rising from alcoholic copper to a major player in the Discworld’s ranks, dragging the much-maligned Watch along with him, Vimes’s character arc is perhaps the strongest of all in the series. I really love the way he develops so well while never losing sight of who he is. (Also, he reminds me of Reginald Hill’s wonderful Andy Dalziel, my other favourite fictional policeman!)

1. Death - It all comes back to Death for me, every time. Out of context, that's a rather depressing statement, but in context, I'm sure many Discworld fans will agree it's anything but. Not just the Discworld's greatest character, but one of my all-time favourites in any media, the skeleton has more humanity than some of the people he appears for, and his battles against the Auditors who dislike the incovenience of life have been spellbinding. The card game he plays with Granny Weatherwax in Maskerade for the life of a child is a perfect scene, being funny and exciting but also brilliantly capturing both characters at their finest.

What do you think of my choices? Do you agree with them? (I’m not even sure I agree with them, I keep thinking that maybe Gaspode should slip in at number 10…)

I’d love it if you left me a comment, and don’t forget to follow the rest of the tour, on sites listed on the banner on the right (thanks Matt for designing it, and of course the brilliant Viv for organising the tour!) and using the hashtag #terrypratchettblogtour.


  1. Great list. Like all your picks! It's always really hard to settle on your top ten with so many great ones to choose from... I put my own list together a few years ago, and I'm sure they're been changes if I posted it again today!

  2. Such a good list, and agree with pretty much everyone but I miss Vetinari! But I agree, such a hard series to pick just ten favourites - everyone ends up being a favourite at one point or another. Particularly agree with your top three though!