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Encyclopedia > Wizards (Discworld)

The wizards are major characters in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Terence David John Pratchett OBE is an English fantasy author (born April 28, 1948, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England), best known for his Discworld series. ... Cover art of The Colour of Magic by Josh Kirby The Discworld is a series of thirty-four satirical fantasy novels and a number of shorter works by Terry Pratchett set on the Discworld. ...

Wizard magic is known to be taught at the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork, Bugarup University in XXXX and Krull University in the secretive nation of Krull. It is very much a scholarly study, largely (many believe) to prevent anyone outside the universities realising how easy it really is. The Coat of Arms of Unseen University. ... Ankh-Morpork is a fictional city-state which features in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of fantasy novels. ... XXXX or FourEcks (previously known as Terror Incognita) is the name of the Australia-like continent seen in the Discworld novel The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett. ...

In fact, the older wizards tend not to understand how magic actually works at all, instead relying on centuries of lore to achieve their effects. Younger wizards enthusiastically experiment, pushing back the boundaries of knowledge and making new discoveries about the nature of the universe. They don't understand how magic works either, but have much more exciting words to explain why not. These often invoke images of particle physics (the events of TSOD are brought about by an experimental apparatus to split the "thaum", for example). Particles erupt from the collision point of two relativistic (100 GeV per nucleon) gold ions in the STAR detector of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. ... The Science of Discworld is a 1999 book written by novelist Terry Pratchett and popular science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. ...

Really, wizard magic is telling the universe what you want it to be like, in terms it can't ignore. This is very draining, due to the Law of Conservation of Reality (which states it takes the same energy to do something with magic as it would to do it mundanely). This is why most wizards store magic in a staff (with a knob on the end). The most complicated parts of most spells aren't the effects, but the baffles to ensure the wizard survives.

An eighth son of an eighth son is automatically a wizard. When a wizard nears death, he formally passes on his staff to a wizard just born. Any children a wizard has will also be wizards. If a wizard also happens to have an eighth son, he creates a "wizard squared" or a "Sourcerer"; a pun on "sorcerer" and "source." A Sourcerer generates his own magic, and can therefore do just about anything with no effort. As the above notes on intristic magic suggest, this is very dangerous, which is why a rigid celebacy law for wizards means there are no sourcerers any more (see below, although Sourcery records an exception). Sourcery is the fifth Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, published in 1988. ...

In the earlier Discworld novels, wizards (at least the ones of the Unseen University) are described as belonging to one of the eight orders of wizardry, currently named:

  • The Ancient and Truly Original Brothers of the Silver Star
  • The Brotherhood of the Hoodwink (The Hoodwinkers)
  • The Order of Midnight
  • The Venerable Council of Seers
  • The Ancient and Truly Original Sages of the Unbroken Circle
  • The Sages of the Unknown Shadow
  • Mrs Widgery's Lodgers
  • The Last Order (The Other Order)

Despite their names, these orders are not all that ancient, their original names having been muddled by war and time. This is with the exception of Mrs Widgery's Lodgers, who stem from the early days of UU when the Tower of Art was the only building on campus and some students had lodgings elsewhere in Ankh-Morpork. Since the first few books, however, this system has had no visible impact whatsoever, and seems to have been forgotten. This may be something to do with the fact that all of the top wizards in each order were turned to stone in Sourcery.

Wizards are also classified into levels, which once corresponded to actual magical prowess, but now are rather more indicative of political power. The leader of all wizards, according to UU, is the Archchancellor of UU, the first among equals (the equals being the other eight-level wizards). There are a total of eight eight-level wizards, and the number becomes progressively higher as the level decreases. Presumably, as it is far better for those who have the skill to be tutored than to possibly cause horrendous damage to the space-time continuum, there is an unlimited number of first-level wizards. Because of these limitations, it is periodically common to ascend through the ranks by assassinating superiors, but under Archchancellor Ridcully this practice seems to have fallen out of favour, for a time.

The wizard Rincewind has been described as "quite possibly the worlds only 0th level wizard." It is seems impossible, as most people are born at level one. Rincewind is a fictional character appearing in the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, several of which feature him as the central character. ...



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