Image by Paul Kidby. A wizard. At least, generally referred to as a wizard. He is tall, thin and scrawny, with a raggedy beard that looks like the kind of beard worn by people who aren't cut out by Nature to be beard-wearers. He is a non-smoker (unusual in a wizard). He is a survivor. There are scars all over him. Mostly on his back. He traditionally wears a dark red, hooded, frayed plush robe on which a few mystic sigils are embroidered in tarnished sequins. The robe has been made darker by constant wear and irregular washings. Under his robe he wears britches and sandals. Around his neck is a chain bearing the bronze octagon which marks him as an alumnus of Unseen University (quite wrongly, it must be pointed out, since he has never passed any kind of magical exam. Indeed, he never scored more than 2% in his exams, and that was for spelling his name almost right). On his head is a battered pointy hat with a floppy brim, which has the word "WIZZARD" embroidered on it in big, silver letters by someone whose needlework is even worse than their spelling. There's a star on top. It has lost most of it's sequins. He was born under the sign of the Small Boring Group of Faint Stars - a sign associated with chess board makers, sellers of onions, manufacturers of plastic images of small religious significance and people allergic to pewter. His mother ran away before he was born, and the young Rincewind grew up in Morpork. He does have an innate gift for languages, which enables him to shout "Don't kill me!" and be understood in a hundred different countries. He is also good at practical geography, which means that he always knows exactly where it is he is running away from. He has razor-sharp instinct for survival equalled only by an uncanny ability to end up in situations where every bit of it is required. Rincewind's room number as a student at UU was 7a (wizards avoid the number eight). Later, during his spell as deputy Librarian (an ape's Number Two, as the Dean nastily remarked), he lived in a room close to the LIBRARY used mainly to store old furniture. It contained a large wardrobe (on top of which the LUGGAGE hibernated) and a banana crate which he used as a dressing table. It also house a wicker chair with no bottom and three legs and a mattress so full of life that it occasionally moved sluggishly around the floor, bumping into things. The rest of the room was a litter of objects dragged from the street - old crates, bits of planking, sacks, etc. There are eight levels of wizardry on the Disc; after all these years, Rincewind has failed to even achieve level one. It was in fact the opinion of some of his tutors that he was incapable of even achieving level zero, which most normal people are born at. It has been contended that when Rincewind dies the average occult ability of the human race will actually go up a fraction. 'To call his understanding of magical theory "abysmal" is to leave no suitable word to describe his grasp of its practice,' said one of his tutors. He is also not very good at precognition: he can scarcely see into the present. Some of this is unfair. For a bet, the young Rincewind dared to open the pages of the last remaining copy of the CREATOR'S own grimoire, the OCTAVO. A spell leapt out of the page and instantly burrowed deeply into his mind, whence even the combined talents of the Faculty of Medicine where unable to coax it. No one knew which spell it was, except that it was one of the Eight Great Spells that were intricately interwoven with the very fabric of time and space itself. Since then, no other spell dared stay in the same head. For a prank, he was expelled from UU. Subsequently he has been an unwilling travel guide, has been through Hell, has visited most of the countries of the Disc, has travelled extensively in time as well as in space, has been present at the creation of the Discworld where he caused the origin of life by dropping an egg-and-cress sandwich into the sea, has defeated the greatest magic-user on the Disc while armed with nothing more than a half-brick in a sock, and is believed to have been one of only nine people to have visited the country of DEATH while mortal. His most recent unwilling adventure was on the COUNTER-WEIGHT CONTINENT where, while intending to do something else entirely, he made a major contribution to the overthrow of the old and corrupt political system. His current whereabouts are in doubt, but owing to some error on the part of the wizards who tried to teleport him back to UU, they are believed to have a certain boomerangy, didgeridooy quality to them. Image by Paul Kidby.
Image by Paul Kidby. In appearance: a largish, metal-bound chest which is capable of extruding a large number of little legs, ending in horny-nailed, calloused feet, to help it move about. It is made of SAPIENT PEARWOOD, a magical timber which can cause its constructs to portray characteristics similar to that set of characteristics know as "life". Pearwood constructions can be set to do small tasks, such as carry water or guard property. Since it is a magical substance sapient pearwood is impervious to magic, and in the STO PLAINS is much sought after for the manufacture of wizards' staffs, since it's capacity for storing magic is up to ten times greater than that of other leading timbers. In the case of the Luggage, built to serve as self-propelled travel accessory and bodyguard, one of the set of characteristics known as "life" is a particular characteristic known as "faithfulness" and another is one known as "murderous intent". When it opens its lid - often in order to snap it hard on something it considers to be threatening its owner - the luggage may reveal clean laundry, or a king's ransom in gold. As often as not, though, it displays teeth like bleached beechwood and a tongue as large as a palm leaf and red as mahogany. Although it has a keyhole, it cannot be opened when it is in a locked mood. The Luggage will follow its owner everywhere. The word is an absolute - everywhere. One use for sapient pearwood in the AGATEAN EMPIRE - where it is quite common - used to be the manufacture of grave goods that the dead could be certain of taking with them. The Luggage is currently owned, or at least chooses to follow, the wizard RINCEWIND (whereabouts unknown). Its progress across the Disc is marked by debris, people who get nervous at the sound of hurrying footsteps, and communities who are unusually polite to strangers. No other item in the entire chronicle of travel accessories has quite such a history of mystery and grievous bodily harm.
Image by Paul Kidby. The Defender of Empires, the swallower of Oceans, the Thief of Years, the Ultimate Reality, the Harvester of Mankind, the Assassin against Whom No Lock Will Hold, the only friend of the poor and the best doctor for the mortally wounded. An anthropomorphic personification. Almost the oldest creature in the universe (obviously something had to die first...) He is a 7-foot-tall skeleton of polished bone, in whose eye sockets there are tiny points of light (usually blue). He normally wears a robe apparently woven of absolute darkness - and sometimes also a riding cloak fastened with a silver brooch bearing his own personal monogram, the Infinite Omega. He smells, not unpleasantly, of the air in old, forgotten rooms. Death's scythe looks normal enough, except for the blade, which is so thin you can see through it - a pale blue shimmer that could slice and chop sound. His sword has the same ice-blue, shadow-thin blade, of the extreme thinness necessary to separate body from soul. His face, of necessity, is frozen into a calcareous grin. His voice is felt rather than heard. He is seen only by cats, professional practitioners of magic, and those who are about to die or are already dead - although there is some evidence that he can be glimpsed by those in a heightened state of awareness, a not uncommon state given the Discworld's normal alarums. When he needs to communicate with the living (i.e. those who are going to continue living) he is perceived very vaguely by them in some form that does not disturb them. There was a period when he made an effort to appear in whatever form the client expected (scarab beetles, black dragons, and so on). This foundered because it was usually impossible to know what the client was expecting until after they were dead. He decided that, since no one ever really expected to die any-way, he might as well please himself and he henceforth stuck to the familiar black-cowled robe. His horse, though pale as per traditional specification, is entirely alive and called BINKY. Death once tried a skeleton horse after seeing a woodcut of himself on one - Death is easily influenced by that sort of thing - but he had to keep stopping to wire bits back on. The fiery steed that he tried next used to set fire to the stables. Despite rumour, he is not cruel. He is just terribly, terribly good at his job. It is said that he doesn't get angry, because anger is an emotion, and for emotion you need glands; however, he does seem to be capable of a piece of intellectual disapproval which has a very similar effect. He is a traditionalist who prides himself on his personal service, and, despite the absence of glands, can become depressed when this is not appreciated. Humanity intrigues Death. He is particularly fascinated by mankind's ability to complicate an existence which, from Death's point of view, is momentary. He appears to spend a lot of time trying to learn, by logical deduction, the things that humanity takes for granted. In the process, he seems to have developed what can only be called preferences and likings - for cats, for example, and curry. He has tried to take up the banjo, but lacks any skill with such a living thing as music. Death has a property not locatable on any normal atlas, on which he has called into being a house and garden. There are no colours there except black, white and shades of grey; Death could use others but fails to see their significance. And, because he almost by definition lacks true creative ability - he can only copy what he has seen - no real time passes in his domain. Nor do things live or grow in the normal sense, unless they are brought in from out-side, but they exist in an apparently unchanging, healthy state.
He appears to derive his opinion of how he should live by observing people, but the nuances consistently escape him. He has a bedroom, for example, because although Death never sleeps, it's right that houses have bedrooms. He also has a bathroom, although the ablutionary fixtures were supplied by a plumber from Ankh-Morpork because plumbing is among those activities where Death's constructive abilities find themselves cramped; he was not aware the pipes were hollow inside, for example. On his dressing table he has a pair of silver-backed hairbrushes and a little glass tray for cufflinks, despite having neither hair nor cuffs. He thinks that's what he ought to have. As with all creatures that have existence, Death has an hourglass/lifetimer that measures the length of his days. His is several times the size of normal people's glasses, and is black, thin and decorated with a complicated skull-and-bones motif. It has no sand in it. There is a strong suggestion in the books that Death is somehow on our side. Image by Paul Kidby.
Weatherwax, Esmeralda ("Granny Weatherwax"). In the opinion of many, not least herself, the greatest witch on the Discworld. Granny Weatherwax is the daughter of Violet Weatherwax, and was initially trained in witchcraft by Nanny Gripes, and subsequently other witches who taught her all they knew, after which she taught herself and was a remarkably apt pupil. Witches rarely acknowledge anything so definite or binding as a law but it is generally accepted that, although witch skills tend to run in families, a witch should be trained by someone who is not a relative and witchcraft certainly should not be passed from mother to daughter. She is nominally the village witch of BAD ASS in the kingdom of LANCRE, although for practical purposes she regards the whole kingdom - and, indeed, anywhere else she happens to be - as her rightful domain. She lives in the woods outside the village in a traditional, much-repaired witch's cottage, with beehives and a patch of what might be medicinal plants called the Herbs (the patch is very thick, tends to move when there is no wind, and passers-by swear that the small flowers it occasionally produces turn to watch them). She owns a broomstick, originally borrowed from an urban witch called Hilta GOATFOUNDER but technically not the same one because it has been entirely replaced over the years by spare parts. Despite the best efforts of dwarf engineers everywhere, it cannot be started without a considerable amount of running up and down with it in gear. Granny Weatherwax's personal history is obscure, a fact which clearly suits her. It is known that she remained at home when her elder sister, Lily, left Lancre in dubious circumstances, and there is some suggestion of cruelty in the family. She nursed her mother until she died. Beyond that, the picture is of a formidable character with every attribute for the classical "bad witch" - a quick temper, a competitive, selfish and ambitious nature, a sharp tongue, an unshakeable conviction of her own mortal probity, and some considerable mental and occult powers. But, in fact, Granny Weatherwax's practical history puts her on the "good" side of the ledger, in the same way that a cold shower and brisk run are good - they might sting a bit at the time but you'll feel all the better for it later. Image by Paul Kidby.
Image by Paul Kidby. Nanny Ogg's cat. A huge, one-eyed tom who divides his time between sleeping, eating and fathering the most incestuous feline tribe. He is technically a mottled grey but is covered with so much scar tissue that he looks like a fist with fur on it. He can only be said to have ears because there's no other word for the things left on top of his head. Greebo's good eye, his left one, is yellow. The other one is pearly-white. He radiates genuine intelligence. He also radiates a smell that could knock over a wall and cause sinus trouble in a dead fox. Although he is addressed by virtually everyone as "Yarrgeroffoutofityahbastard", to Nanny Ogg he is still a cute little kitten and still sleeps on her bed when not out at night looking for something to fight, rape, eat (or all three). The way he affectionately tries to claw her eyeballs out in the morning is as good as an alarm clock.
However, a residual effect of a hasty spell on the part of his owner has now left Greebo with the ability, not always controllable, to turn into a human form. As a human, he is 6 feet tall, broad shouldered and leather clad, with rippling muscles under his shirt. He has long sideburns, a mane of black hair, a broken nose and a black patch over his bad eye. And, it should be added, a worried expression for much of the time. A lot of the things which, as a cat, he would do quite naturally present him with all kinds of problems when he attempts them in human form. Greebo tends to flip into his alternative shape when he finds a situation he can't deal with in the current one. On top of all his other problems, this means that people occasionally find a naked human running around meowing. Image by Paul Kidby.
Image by Paul Kidby. Patrician, the (Lord Havelock Vetinari). Age uncertain. Background unavailable. Reputedly trained at the ASSASSINS' GUILD school. Now supreme ruler of the city of Ankh-Morpork, to which he is totally devoted. Tall, thin, and generally to be seen wearing black.
He is the most recent of a line of unelected heads (see below). As their names suggest, these were not wholly pleasant or well-balanced men and soon met their ends, as did a red-hot poker in the case of one particularly unpopular ruler. Lord Vetinari, on the other hand, is very, very sane. And still alive.
Past Patricians have included:
Hargarth, Frenzied Earl
Harmoni, Deranged Lord
Nersch the Lunatic
Olaf Quimby II
Scapula, Laughing Lord
Snapcase Mad/Psychoneurotic Lord
Winder, Homicidal Lord
He appears to have survived by being equally distrusted and disliked by all interest groups in the city but also by carefully not being as unpopular as every interest group is to all the others.
A popular form of punishment and mass entertainment in the reign of Mad Lord Snapcase was the tearing to pieces of criminals by teams of wild horses. Lord Vetinari appeared to be like the man in the middle of the arena who had managed somehow to chain all the wild horses to one another and is groaning theatrically while watching them drag one another to their knees. The result, in political terms, is stability achieved by equal tension in all directions.
His genius lies in the realization that everyone craves stability even more than they hunger after justice or truth. Even revolutionary anarchists want stability, so that they have breathing space to fight their real enemies, i.e., those higher than themselves in the revolutionary anarchist council, and those heretics whose definition of revolutionary anarchy differs from their own by about half a sentence in paragraph 97 of the charter.
This policy is dimly perceived by the more intelligent Guild leaders in the city. Yet when an assassination attempt was made (Men At Arms), the ASSASSINS' GUILD themselves were prominent in the search for the perpetrator. Annoying as the Patrician is, it is so easy to think of someone worse. Technically, Vetinari seems to have given in to every demand of every Guild for years, so the Guilds are driving themselves mad wondering why he is therefore still in charge.
It has been remarked that if the Patrician were thrown to a pack of wolves he would, after chatting to them for a few minutes, have them tearing one another to shreds. It is certainly the case that when he was thrown into one of his own rat-infested, scorpion-filled dungeons he organized the rats to eat the scorpions. and then to bring him food and reading matter. He'd also, years before, secreted a key to the dungeon behind a secret slab. As he wrote in his unpublished MS entitled The Servant, a sort of handbook for the politically ambitious: 'Never build a dungeon that you cannot get out of'
He is entirely without vices in any normal sense of the word. If he had any, we can be sure some Guild or other would have made use of them by now.
It is true that he has banned street theatre and hangs mime artists upside down in a scorpion pit opposite a sign that says 'Learn The Words', but this may be considered an excusable peccadillo or possibly an amusing character trait. He does have a small and very old terrier, called Wuffles, to which he is said to be quite attached (although it has not been seen in recent volumes and presumably even despotic rulers have a sad patch of earth behind the toolshed).
Probably his greatest enemy is Captain (later Commander) VIMES of the City WATCH but, strangely, the person with whom he gets on best - or least badly - is Corporal (later Captain) CARROT Ironfoundersson of the same Watch. They share the same obsessive interest in the city itself
Lord Vetinari lives in what was once the royal family's Winter Palace in Morpork (the summer palace is a long way from the city, and the reason will easily be appreciated by anyone who has spent a summer near the river). He manages the city either from a wooden seat at the foot of the steps on which is the ancient golden throne of the city, or more usually from the Oblong Office, high in the palace.
This is where he gathers information. People tell him things, for all sorts of reasons. He has a bedroom. He presumably sleeps.
The Patrician has expressed a wish that, one day, he could retire and cultivate a garden. It will probably never happen. It is impossible to imagine him as a mere civilian. But if he did indeed take up horticulture, the roses would grow in lines, the garden would bloom on command - and the slugs would eat the caterpillars. Image by Paul Kidby.
Image by Paul Kidby.Dibbler, Cut-Me-Own-Throat. Wheresoever two or three are gathered together, someone else will turn up and try to sell them something hot in a bun. This person will probably be C.M.O.T Dibbler.
Dibbler is the purveyor of absolutely anything that can be sold hurriedly from an open suitcase in a busy street. He likes to describe himself as a merchant adventurer; every- one else likes to describe him as an itinerant pedlar whose money-making schemes are always let down by some small but vital flaw, such as trying to sell things he doesn't own or that don't work or, sometimes, don't even exist. Quite often they describe him as someone they would like to catch up with.
He is not, strictly speaking, a criminal.
In his natural state - i.e., when not inspired to take advantage of some passing fad or problem in Ankh-Morpork - Dibbler sells meat pies and sausages-in-a-bun from a tray around his neck or, when funds permit, a barrow. There is no need to describe these items, even as food. Dibbler takes the view that anything that has at any time been any part of a pig, or even near a pig, or possibly even within earshot of a pig, can be called pork. His guiding principle is that with enough mustard people will cat anything (his brief foray into ethnic food for trolls, a silicareous species, proved that Dibbler was even capable of finding stale rock).
He is skinny, and when regarding him people are moved to recall that humans have some kind of small rodent somewhere in their ancestry. He speaks very quickly, with many a sidelong glance, and usually wears a huge overcoat, full of pockets, none of which have exact change. He is known to have premises in a cellar near the SHADES in Ankh-Morpork. No one knows where he actually lives. Since going to sleep might involve missing a wonderful business opportunity he possibly never does so.
Dibbler is also the seller of mail-order lessons on the Path of the Scorpion, a self-defence system, under the name of Grand Master Lobsang Dibbler. He also served short stints as moving pictures mogul and music industry promoter, two occupations that came as near to suiting his peculiar talents as any he has ever tried.
He feels that it is not his fault that perfectly sound business propositions have a habit of exploding or tasting awful. Image by Paul Kidby.