Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett Read Along: Week 1

If you haven't read the book why not join in and read along with the rest of us? You can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at Dab of Darkness.

This week we read through to the end of Chapter 5.

1) Since I am a nosy person, I want to know if this is your first Terry Pratchett book for you? Do you enjoy the humor and writing style so far?

I have already been introduced to the wonderfully silly Discworld and I always chuckle and groan my way through the books. I have a recording of the BBC’s radio adaptation of The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents that I would have worn away to nothingness only it is an electrical copy . . . The humor is very British to my mind, with lots of silliness and sarcasm, word play and weirdness. Who else would give Death a horse called Binky??? :D

2) We've been introduced to Tiffany Aching's world of shepherding and cheese making and her family. What about this quaint setting has caught your eye?

It is a world that I am very familiar with, as I grew up in sheep country myself: my home city of Lancaster is in the very north of Lancashire and close to the borders with both Cumbria and North Yorkshire. We were surrounded by fells and moors covered with sheep and the odd personalities were everywhere. I heard people using the “yan, tan, tethera” method of counting and even knew a professional shepherd who had an award-winning sheep dog . . .

3) Ah, the Nac Mac Feegles! Can you understand their speech? Who or what do you think the kelda is?

. . . and then I lived in Scotland for over twenty years, so I am doing fairly well with the Feegles and their lingo. I particularly like some of the more obscure words that are thrown in, which show that Mr Pratchett has either studied Scottish dialect or has a rather incomprehensible friend. Some of his word choices suggest a Central Scottish influence: ‘schemey’* is a word that I have heard used around Glasgow but not in the Aberdeenshire area where I used to live.

The Feegles are a marvelous work of imagination, being stereotypical Scotsmen or ‘Picts’ies: the Picts were one of the ancient peoples who inhabited Scotland. I love the excessive use of the head-butt, or Glasgow Kiss as it also known, especially on the headless horseman’s horse. Their reconditioning of the cat is hilarious, and I hope that we see more of it. I absolutely love the fact that they are terrified of writing and that their swords glow blue around lawyers.

I have no idea who or what the kelda is, but I imagine that it is some monstrous, scary horror . . . or a tiny, fluffy kitten: you can never tell with Discworld.

4) Do you see a future for Tiffany at a witches' school? Or do you think Ms. Tick will take on a mentor's role?

I have a sneaking suspicion that Tiffany will not require much tuition from anyone. However, I would like to see her get some answers to the one billion questions that she will ask of the first ‘teacher’ that she pins down.

I assume that Ms Tick will be back with some suitably hilarious reinforcements. By the way, how much did you groan when she explained the whole Ms Tick = mystic thing? :D

5) Wentworth has gone missing and there is a Queen involved. What do think she wants with him? If this is a reread, then how do you like having one magical world (the Queen's) nestled within the Discworld universe (Tiffany's world)?

Considering that we know that this other world is filled with things out of dreams I have to assume that she is the Queen of the Elves, especially as Elves have a long tradition of stealing babies in British folklore. I have no idea what she wants with him, although she might give him back if he keeps shouting about needing the toilet! :D

* schemey: person from a council-subsidized housing estate (scheme) who is therefore expected to be poor, badly educated and probably a lawless degenerate as well.


  1. That is awesome that you can provide insight into the Nac Mac Feegle lingo. There is one Scottish guy how lives here part of the year and is part of our volunteer fire department. I'll have to try some of the Feegle words around him and see how he reacts - I'll probably end up fashing meeself. Crivens!

    1. I'm sure he will be delighted to translate for you, though he might not use all the dialect words, depending on which area of Scotland he comes from . . .

  2. I love the way the Wee Men talk.
    I didn't know that about the Picts - it's really interesting. I wondered where the whole pictsie thing came from.
    And, yes, I was groaning with the mystic thing!
    I'm enjoying this very much - I did put it down though - otherwise I wouldn't be able to answer the questions genuinely. Looking forward to part 2.
    Lynn :D

    1. I am to educate at all times!

      I have just finished the second section of reading and I will be very good and wait until next week to find out what happens . . . I WILL be good . . . at least, I'll try! :D

  3. Oh, the swords that glow blue around lawyers-- that one made me laugh. Thanks for the 'schemey' definition!

    I think that Tiffany will never learn enough to 'shut her up', as they were saying about education. That would be a really interesting scene, her grilling some poor magic teacher! And the Ms. Tick = Mystic thing was made considerably more funny for me by Tiffany's confused, "What, a blood-sucking parasite?"

    1. You're welcome.

      Mr Pratchett really loves his groan-worthy puns . . . I remember almost slapping my forehead when he came out with Twoflower being an 'inn-sewer-ants' agent in The Color of Magic! :D


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