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The Mythology of Discworld. The Disc. Hindu cosmology has four or eight great elephants called the diggaja , elephants of the directions, with gods on their backs. Another legend shows the world on the back of a single elephant, Maha-Padma, standing on the tortoise Chukwa.

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the disc1
Hindu cosmology has four or eight great elephants called the diggaja, elephants of the directions, with gods on their backs.

Another legend shows the world on the back of a single elephant, Maha-Padma, standing on the tortoise Chukwa.

"The world rides through space on the back of a turtle. This is one of the great ancient world myths, found wherever men and turtles are gathered together; the four elephants were an indo-European sophistication. The idea has been lying in the lumber room of legend for centuries. All I had to do was grab it and run away before the alarms went off."

The Disc
the other discs
A blue-green ball, crisscrossed with tiny white cloud patterns and what could have been continents if anyone was silly enough to try to live on a ball.

A snake big enough to encircle a world…biting its own tail.

Instead of the Rimfall there was a wall of ice and instead of the Hub there was a gigantic tree.

The Other Discs
Her maidens skipped off into the palace and returned with the dazed-looking boy. They adorned him with rhododendrons and jewels, whirling him round and round in a manic dance and tittering in his ears. He fell at the queen’s feet, kissing them repeatedly. In response, she kissed him many times on the lips, and, drawing him to her, she sported with him, twining his long hair with pearls and setting her own crown on his head. At length, she tired of this, and kicked him up into the air like a football. “Enough of this one; now kiss him, girls, to death.”

An elf's strength lay in persuading others they were weak.

Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.Elves are marvelous. They cause marvels.Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.Elves are terrific. They beget terror.…No one ever said elves are nice.Elves are bad.

rescue from elfland
Oh gloomy gloomy was the night, and eerie was the waywhen Janet hid among the trees,the faery fold tae spy.

Twas first she saw the black, black steed,and then she saw the brown.But Tam raid on the milk white steedand she pulled him tae the ground.

The faeires changed him in her arms,a burning coal of fire,but Janet held him tae her breast,to be her heart's desire.

The faeries changed him in her arms,a wolf and then a snake,but Janet held him tae her breast,all for her true love's sake.…

They changed him in her arms at last,a wild and naked man,but still she held him tae her breast,and so she won Tam Lin, Tam Lin.And so she won Tam Lin.

Magrat: I remember a folksong about a situation just like this. This girl had her fiancé stolen by the Queen of the elves and she didn’t hang around whining, she jolly well got on her horse and went and got him. Well, I’m going to do that too.

Rescue from Elfland
All dwarfs have beards and wear up to twelve layers of clothing. Gender is more or less optional.

All dwarfs are by nature dutiful, serious, literate, obedient and thoughtful people whose only minor failing is a tendency, after one drink, to rush at enemies screaming "Arrrrrrgh!" and axing their legs off at the knee.

Dwarfs are very attached to gold. Any highwayman demanding 'Your money or your life' had better bring a folding chair and packed lunch and a book to read while the debate goes on.

Norse dwarves were short, ugly, and uniformly male. They were magical creatures with huge skill at metallurgy, taking fame for making great artifacts of legend.

Somehow, you could tell it was made up by a troll:'Now we sing dis stupid song!''Sing it as we run along!''Why we sing dis we don't know!''We can't make der words rhyme prop'ly!''Sound off!''One! Two!''Sound off!''Many! Lots!''Sound Off!''Er ... What?'

Mountain trolls from Iceland and Norway are immensely old and strong, hurl boulders and cause avalanches.

The Icelandic night-troll avoids sunlight, which turns it permanently into stone.

People's whole lives do pass in front of their eyes before they die. The process is called 'living'

“When it's time to stop living, I will certainly make Death my number one choice!”


Old Father Time carries a scythe and hourglass. He derives from Cronus (Saturn) god of agriculture and time.

The new death raised his cowl. There was no face there. There was not even a skull. Smoke curled formlessly between the robe and a golden crown.

“A crown? I never wore a crown!”

“You never wanted to rule.”

Paradise Lost: What seemed his head

The likeness of a kingly crown had on

the auditors
The Auditors
  • Intelligent life, was, therefore, an anomaly. It made the filing untidy. The Auditors hated little things like that. Periodically, they tried to tidy things up a little.
the luggage
The ancient Chinese believed that the pear was a symbol of immortality. (Pear trees live for a long time.) They were also self-fertilizing and thus a symbol of dualism.The Luggage
the feegles
The Feegles
  • "Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna be fooled again!"
  • "We are a famously stealin' folk. Aren't we, lads? Whut's it we're famous for?""Stealin'!" shouted the blue men."And what else, lads?""Fightin'!""And what else?""Drinkin'!""And what else?"There was a certain amount of thought about this, but they all reached the same conclusion."Drinkin' and fightin'!""And there was summat else," muttered the twiddler. "Ach, yes. Tell the hag, lads!""Stealin' an' drinkin' an' fightin'!" shouted the blue men cheerfully.

The Picti, ancient painted warriors of Scotland, were so fierce they held off the Romans. Some Scotsmen described “unco wee bodies but terrible strang,” who lived under burial mounds. They were associated with underworld spirits.

Short wee men they were, wi’ red hair and feet sae braid that when it rained they could turn them up owre their heads, and then they served for umbrellas.

"The thing about witchcraft," said Mistress Weatherwax, "is that it's not like school at all. First you get the test, and then afterward you spend years findin' out how you passed it. It's a bit like life in the respect."

Then the Badb, and Macha, and Morrigu went to the hill of hostage-taking, the tulach which heavy hosts frequented, to Temhair (Tara), and they shed druidically formed showers, and fog-sustaining shower-clouds, and poured down from the air, about the heads of the warriors, enormous masses of fire, and streams of red blood; and they did not permit the Fir-Bolgs to scatter or separate for the space of three days and three nights.

wyrd sisters
Three witches was good. Two wouldn’t be enough, four would be too many. They could be meddling with the destinies of mankind and everything. Lots of smoke and green light. You could do a lot with three witches. It was surprising no one had thought of it before.

The Norns, are called lawmakers as well as the arbiters of fate, ever virginal, ever spinning:

Thence come maidens


Having knowledge of many things…

Urth one is called;

The second Verthandi…

Skuld the third.

They laid down laws,

They chose life

for the children of people;

They tell fates.

--The Poetic Edda

Wyrd Sisters

The golem itself is a creature from Jewish mythology, a man made of clay and animated by Kabbalistic magic. God's secret name on a parchment was placed in its forehead. The one thing it could not do is speak, because only God can grant the power of speech. The Golem of Prague was between seven-and-a-half and nine feet tall and had tremendous strength, but had a very placid and passive disposition when not under orders to act otherwise.

  • 'I Suggest You Take Me And Smash Me And Grind The Bits Into Fragments And Pound The Fragments Into Powder And Mill Them Again To The Finest Dust There Can Be, And I Believe You Will Not Find A Single Atom Of Life-'
  • 'True! Let's do it!'
  • 'However, In Order To Test This Fully, One Of You Must Volunteer To Undergo The Same Process.'
  • There was silence.
  • 'That's not fair,' said a priest, after a while. 'All anyone has to do is bake up your dust again and you'll be alive...'
  • There was more silence.
dragon slayers



St. George




Dibbler: When a stranger comes into the city under the thrall of the dragon and challenges it with a glittery sword, weeell, there’s only one outcome, ain’t there? It’s probably destiny.

  • "Some ancient and probably fearful warning was edged over the crumbling arch, but it was destined to remain unread because over it someone had pasted a red-and-white notice which read: 'You Don't Have To Be 'Damned' To Work Here, But It Helps!!!'"
  • The whole sequence in Hell is based loosely on Dante's Inferno (which in turn is based on Vergil's Aeneid)
  • It was hard enough to kill a vampire. You could stake them down and turn them into dust and ten years later someone drops a drop of blood in the wrong place and guess who's back? They returned more times than raw broccoli.
  • 'Will it be enough to know that the world is your oyster?'Her forehead wrinkled in perplexity. 'Why should I want it to be some nasty little sea creature?' she said.'Because they get eaten alive,' said the Count.
new vampires1
New Vampires
  • "Oh, my vord, vake up and smell zer garlic! Oh, zer stories I could tell you." Otto paused. "But I von't because I don't do zat sort of thing any more, now that I have seen the daylight…that vas in zer bad old days," said Otto hurriedly. "Now I like nothing better than a nice mug of cocoa and a good sing-song around zer harmonium, I assure you. Oh yes. My vord."
the pantheon1
The Pantheon
  • Offler: echo of Ancient Egyptian crocodile god Sobek, dangerous, yet fierce.
  • Flatulus (back), The Ephebian God of the Winds. Reminiscent of Aeolus, Greek god of winds.
  • Fate: He is said to come from a world other than the Disc. In most myths, Fate cannot be cheated, even by luck.
  • Urika: The Goddess of Snow, Saunas and Theatrical Performances for Fewer than 120 People. Her name is probably a parody of the word Eureka, and the Swedish celebrity Ulrika Jonsson.
the pantheon2
The Pantheon
  • Blind Io: He is always accompanied by two ravens, much like Odin. Odin was also famed for sacrificing his left eye for wisdom. He sits like a patriarchal sky god: Zeus, Odin, etc.
  • In India, Shiva’s wife mischievously covered his eyes, and he grew a third eye to compensate.
the pantheon3
The Pantheon
  • Libertina (center): The Goddess of the Sea, Apple Pie, Certain Types of Ice Cream and Short Lengths of String. Her name and appearance suggest the Statue of Liberty (which overlooks the sea). Apple pie and some ice creams are famously linked with the US, across the sea.
  • The Lady: Nemesis was the deadliest Greek goddess, who could level the playing field for those being treated unfairly. Her counterpart was luck (Lady Luck) who distributed her favors more randomly.
the pantheon4
The Pantheon
  • Bibulous: from Bacchus, god of wine
  • Patina (back) The Ephebian Goddess of Wisdom, a portmanteau of Pallas and Athena, her helmet and penguin (er, owl) reflect the Greek goddess of war and craft.
  • Topaxi (front): the God of Certain Mushrooms. His name and appearance suggest an Aztec deity.
  • Bast (back): Bast was the benevolent and protective Egyptian Cat-Goddess.
  • Nuggan. God of Paperclips, Correct Things in the Right Place in Small Desk Stationery Sets, and Unnecessary Paperwork. Quite a bureaucrat. God of Borogravia. No wonder he’s annoyed.
the pantheon5
The Pantheon
  • According to Aztec mythology, Quetzalcóatl was supposed to return to his people at some particular future date. He was a winged serpent.
  • Romulus and Remus were two orphaned brothers. Raised by a wolf, the brothers went on to found Rome.
  • Set is the Egyptian god of the Underworld.
  • The Tezumen god, Quetzovercoatl, the Feathered Boa."
  • The legend of Ankh-Morpork being founded by two orphaned brothers who had been found and suckled by a hippopotamus
  • Pyramids describes the “complete set of gods”
Ahura Mazda was a culture hero, Zoroastrian god of truth and light. His enemy was the evil Angra Mainyu.

Prometheus Bound :"[Prometheus :] I hunted out and stored in fennel stalk the stolen source of fire that has proved a teacher to mortals in every art and a means to mighty ends."

Fingers-Mazda, the first thief in the world, stole fire from the gods. But he was unable to fence it. It was too hot.He got really burned on that deal.

For every mirror is a gateway to the Other World and leads directly to Lilith's cave. That is the cave Lilith went to when she abandoned Adam and the Garden of Eden for all time, the cave where she sported with her demon lovers. From these unions multitudes of demons were born, who flocked from that cave and infiltrated the world. And when they want to return, they simply enter the nearest mirror. That is why it is said that Lilith makes her home in every mirror.

A mirror can suck up a piece of soul. A mirror can contain the reflection of the whole universe, a whole skilful of stars in a piece of silvered glass no thicker than a breath.

Lily You know, you’re really just like me. Don’t you know that? There isn’t a thought that’s gone through my head that you haven’t thought too.

Her horrified gaze rose to meet a reflection.

It glared back at her

Granny Weatherwax stepped through the empty frame.

wizard schools
The School of Magic on Roke Island in the Earthsea Cycle.

Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches from The Worst Witch

Magic School on the Charmed television series.

"This is the school, isn't it. The magic place? The world. Here. And you don't realize it until you look. Do you know the pictsies think this world is heaven? We just don't look. You can't give lessons on witchcraft. Not properly. It's all about who you are... you, I suppose."

Wizard Schools