This isn’t the first time a ranking of the Discworld books has been done and I doubt it will be the last, but what makes my countdown different is that it’s partly personal to me, partly based on the scores each book received on a well-known book reading and rating website. I wanted to try and take those scores into account, knowing that my own opinions will always be biased. So each book received a rating out of ten and a position in the charts, and I hope the result is vaguely fair and gives you a good impression of the quality of the books as well as just how gosh darn enjoyable I found them. You can catch the first part here.
20. Feet of Clay
– Sir Terry was really getting into the swing of the Watch novels by this, the third one; all of the characters are distinctive and in possession of strong moral compasses that set them apart from others on the Disc.
– The first novel of the ‘species acceptance stories’, which means it’s fresh reading it here.
19. Small Gods
– One of the novels in which Sir Terry clearly has a statement to make; in this case, the danger of investing yourself so deeply into a set of ideals that you are blind to any other way of thinking.
– Om, the disgruntled god and Brutha, his only follower, are my favourite characters who make a one book appearance in the series.
18. I Shall Wear Midnight
– A very dark Tiffany Aching novel, one which does not shy away from exploring the darkness that can sometimes be found in ordinary people, despite being for younger readers.
– Tiffany’s brief visit to Ankh-Morpork, featuring bumping into a disgruntled Sam Vimes, is a wonderful scene that you feel is written directly for the fans.
– I love this because it is a ‘Phantom of the Opera’ parody and I am easily entertained, but it also features Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg out on the town in Ankh-Morpork, causing all the related chaos imaginable.
– Agnes Nitt is a lovely character, one I dearly wish could have featured more often than she did.
16. Wyrd Sisters
– Pratchett’s most finely crafted parody novel, perfectly sending up ‘Macbeth’ and, with the play within a play, sneaking in a bit of ‘Hamlet’ too.
– Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg display all of the promise here that they would come to fulfil later on as some of Pratchett’s best loved creations.
15. Carpe Jugulum
– A Witch novel featuring a big bad who feels like a genuine threat – everyone loves a vampire story, after all!
– This is also the earliest appearance of the Nac Mac Feegles, an unexpected treat this early in the series.
14. Lords and Ladies
– I’ll come right out and say it; this is the book, apart from ‘The Amazing Maurice’ that scared me the most – the elves, with their mind games and no boundaries villainy, are genuinely frightening.
– This book contains a passage about Jason Ogg shoeing Death’s horse, a piece of atmospheric writing that is in my top ten favourite Discworld scenes.
13. The Last Hero
– A team up between Captain Carrot, Rincewind and Leonard of Quirm, on a mission to stop Cohen the Barbarian blowing up the city of the Disc’s gods makes for a madcap and thoroughly entertaining caper.
– The illustrations for this special illustrated episode are really very beautiful, especially the drawing of Ankh-Morpork.
– Tiffany continues to display all of the impressive strength and skills that will lead to her appointment as Head Witch later on.
– The Feegles are particularly endearing here, training Tiffany’s beau Roland in how to be a Hero.
11. The Wee Free Men
– A novel that shows all of Tiffany’s promise, from the moment she saves her brother Wentworth by beating up a monster with a frying pan.
– It sets the tone for the other Tiffany books so well; at no point does Pratchett attempt to patronise his young readers.
– This is the book that features the absolute Sam Vimes classic scene where he attempts to arrest two armies in order to stop a war from happening.
– I would read several books worth of Angua, Cheery and Sally the vampire hanging out and going out on the town.
9. Guards! Guards!
– I called this book ‘the best of what early Discworld has to offer’, and I stand by that; a pacy novel that is starting to craft itself around the entire Discworld aesthetic.
– Lady Sybil Ramkin, dragon expert and woman mad enough to fall in love with Sam Vimes, is the highlight of this novel and the catalyst, I think, for the entire positive development of the Watch as a whole.
8. The Shepherd’s Crown
– It is probably sentimentality that made me rate this one so highly, but it is such a perfect last novel in terms of sentiment and subject that I don’t even care.
– Tiffany Aching, head witch, is the best possible end of that storyline that we could have hoped for.
7. Going Postal
– Such a strong addition to the late Discworld line up, introducing a new character in Moist von Lipwig who invigorates the whole series just by existing.
– It is interesting that it took so long for us to really get a proper look at Lord Vetinari, beyond what we have been in the Watch novels. He really comes alive here.
6. Men At Arms
– A chance for Captain Carrot to shine, after Vimes is stood down as commander of the Watch, and he takes it with both hands and does not disappoint.
– I love all the race relations stuff between the trolls and the dwarves, especially Detritus and Cuddy’s evolving friendship.
5. Witches Abroad
– The key Discworld book about stories and the power of stories, which became a key theme later on for the witches and for other characters.
– Establishes Granny Weatherwax’s power and leaves us in doubt that if there is a force holding the Disc together, it is probably her.
4. A Hat Full of Sky
– Tiffany Aching’s ‘Witches Abroad’, in which we see that she has as much internal strength as Granny Weatherwax does, and much more inclination to use it as well.
– The bravery of Rob, willing to wait inside Tiffany’s possessed mind because he does not want her to die alone, endears him as one of the best sidekicks in the series.
3. Monstrous Regiment
– A book I called a ‘powerhouse of a novel’, one of the ‘technically best’ novels in the whole series, and I stand by that comment here.
– This is a story that discusses feminism, women’s rights, the futility of war, the power of belief and the danger of blindly following a leader, and at no point do you feel that any of those issues have been treated lightly.
2. The Truth
– This is the book that I had the hardest time putting down, of the whole series. The plot zips along and so many characters appear that you just can’t help going on to see what happens next.
– A powerful treatise on the free press and freedom of speech, which I think pairs well with Monstrous Regiment and the themes therein.
1. Night Watch
– The reason I started my re-read in the first place is still my favourite, as I was expecting. It is hard to beat Sam Vimes on the mission that literally will make and save his own life, as well as dictating the fate of the city on the whole.
– Sam is and was Pratchett’s best character, the most developed and most interesting, and it was a masterstroke to take him into his own past and explore the impact that just one good mentor can have on the life of a person.
So, that’s my countdown and my adventures in writing about Discworld done (for now!) Do you agree with me on the ranking I have come up with, or would you like to join me for a rumble? I’m always ready for a discussion about the Disc, so feel free to start something – if you think you can finish it.
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