Response: The Colour of Magic -- Terry Pratchett

Submitted by hadrian on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 00:00

So, I have had a blog for the whole of half a week by now. The first issue with blogging is: content... What to post??? What to post? And then it hit me, I have plenty of opinions and I read plenty of books. I'm sure I can combine those two and write something interesting about it. Thus, one of the things I intend to regularly post about is a response to the books I have read and the first book I shall respond to is The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett.

The Colour of Magic is part of the popular Discworld series. Entire bookshelves can be (and have been) filled only by different books from that series and Terry Pratchett is definitely one of the most prolific authors of our time. However, quantity does not necessarily imply quality.
 

Potential Spoilers


So what about the Color of Magic? The Colour of Magic is a book that definitely doesn't take itself very seriously, or rather, the genre which it is a part of. The story is set on the Discworld, a world which rests on the backs of four elephants which stand on the back of a giant turtle whose sex is unknown. On the first glance, this may seem simply a joke of minor importance yet it not only becomes an important plot-element but seems to actually be used to ridicule the entire genre. For example, the following quote:
'The discworld offers sights far more impressive than those found in universes built by the Creators with less imagination but more mechanical aptitude.' I interpreted this quote as a bit of a stab to the fantasy genre which generally rests on that which is impossible. This conceit is carried forward by limitations on magic. It is described this magic once flowed freely and was unchecked but had, since, been bound to obey the laws of reality.

Another part of the parody is the obsession with the number eight. A number which may not be spoken by wizards (the main character had dorm 7a at Unseen University). Nevertheless, the number eight is intrinsically connected with all things magical, including a spectrum which consists of eight colours, the eighth of which is octarine. Many more references are made to the number eight which is found in places where seven would be expected in the real world.

However, this parody gave the book a layer of believability to me. A world such as this would, according to our laws of physics, not be able to survive for any length of time yet it was clearly created and we may assume that the creator keeps everything together. The Discworld is clearly in another parallel universe to ours and follows different laws of virtually everything.

On the whole, I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend others, even when not specifically interested in other fantasy novels, to pick it up and give it a go. It's a quick and easy read sub-divided in several related stories. I would say, if you don't like the genre, just try the first story which runs for about 80ish pages and by that time it's very likely that you're totally hooked.

I award this book a 5/5.

Happy Reading!