The Light Fantastic

The Light Fantastic

infobox Discworld|id=2nd novel – 2nd Rincewind story
characters=Rincewind Twoflower The Luggage Cohen the Barbarian
locations=Ankh-Morpork Dungeon Dimensions
motifs=Fantasy clichés
publisher=Colin Smythe
ISBNH=ISBN 0-86140-203-0
ISBNP=ISBN 0-552-12848-1
notes=Continuation of The Colour of Magic

"The Light Fantastic" is a comic fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett, the second of the "Discworld" series. It was published in 1986. The title is a quote from a poem by John Milton and in the original context ["L'Allegro", lines 33-34: "Com, and trip it as ye go / On the light fantastick toe".] referred to dancing lightly with extravagance.

The events of the novel are a direct continuation of those in the preceding book, "The Colour of Magic" (this is thus far the only novel in the "Discworld" series to follow on in this manner).

Plot summary

After the wizard Rincewind has fallen from the edge of the Discworld, the Octavo magic book saves his life and he lands back on it. Meanwhile, the wizards of Ankh-Morpork discover that the Discworld will soon be destroyed unless the eight spells of the Octavo are read: the most powerful spells in existence, one of which hides in Rincewind's head. Consequently, several orders of wizards try to capture Rincewind, led by Trymon, a former classmate of Rincewind's, who wishes to obtain the power of the spells for himself.

After Rincewind, who has met again with Twoflower, escapes them, it becomes apparent that Great A'Tuin, the giant turtle that carries the Discworld, has set a new course that leads it directly into a red star with eight moons. Rincewind and Twoflower are accompanied by Cohen the Barbarian, a toothless, aging hero, and Bethan, a sacrificial virgin saved by Cohen, with assistance from Rincewind and Twoflower.

Rincewind becomes one of the very few people ever to enter Death's Domain whilst still alive. He is nearly killed when he meets Death's adopted daughter Ysabell, but is saved by the quick-acting Luggage. The group also encounter people who, anticipating the apocalypse, are heading for the mountains (not for protection, but because they will have a better view). As well as this, they happen upon the kind of shop where strange and sinister goods are on sale and inexplicably vanish the next time a customer tries to find them. The existence of these shops is explained as being a curse by a sourcerer upon the shopkeeper for not having something in stock.

As the star comes nearer and the magic on the Discworld becomes weaker, Trymon tries to put the seven spells still in the Octavo into his mind, in an attempt to save the world and gain ultimate power. However, the spells prove too strong for him and his mind becomes a door into the "Dungeon Dimensions", whence strange, horrible creatures try to escape into reality. After winning a fight against them, Rincewind is able to read all eight spells aloud ; whereupon the eight moons of the red star crack open and reveal eight tiny world-turtles that follow their parent A'Tuin on a course away from the star. The Octavo is then eaten by Twoflower's Luggage.

The book ends with Twoflower and Rincewind parting company, as Twoflower decides to return home, leaving The Luggage with Rincewind as a parting gift.


Oddly, the orbiting "baby Discworlds" the Discworld gains at the end of this novel never appear again. They may actually be gone by the time the Discworld's first spaceflight is undertaken in "The Last Hero". (The "Discworld Companion" explains that they have set out on their own journeys.)


The cover of a US paperback release features a mistake, with Cohen's name stated to be "Conan". [ [ Cover] scan from [] ]



Graphic Novel

A graphic novel illustrated by Steven Ross and Joe Bennet, was published by Corgi in 1993.

TV adaptation

The Mob Film Company and Sky One produced a miniseries, combining both "The Colour of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic", broadcast on Easter Sunday and Monday 2008. Sir David Jason played the part of Rincewind [cite web | publisher = The Sun Online | url =,,2001320029-2007180838,00.html | title = Del's spells as David lands role | date = 24 April 2007 |accessdate = June 8 | accessyear = 2007] . He was joined by David Bradley as Cohen the Barbarian [cite web | url = | title = Harry Potter and the magical Midlanders | work = Sunday Mercury | date = June 15 2007 ] , Sean Astin as Twoflowercite web | url = | title = Colour of Magic Cast | work = Paul Kidby official website | date = July 31 2007 ] , Tim Curry as Trymon , and Christopher Lee taking over the role of Death from Ian Richardson (a role he previously portrayed in the animated series Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters).

The production team wanted to get fans involved in the adaptation so some of the extras used in the adaptation (in mob scenes and the during the fight in the Broken Drum) were Discworld fans who were selected via various website and Newsletters.

External links

*Pages at [ LSpace] for "The Light Fantastic" : [ Annotations] | [ Quotes] | [ Synopsis]
* [ Colin Smythe Ltd]


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