The Last Hero


The Last Hero

infobox Discworld|id=27th novel – 7th Rincewind story
characters=Cohen the Barbarian Lord Vetinari Rincewind Leonard of Quirm Carrot Ironfoundersson
locations=Cori Celesti, Ankh-Morpork
motifs=Fantasy clichés, Gods, Prometheus, Spaceflight, Apocalypse
year=2001
publisher=Victor Gollancz
ISBNH=ISBN 0-575-06885-X
ISBNP=ISBN 0-575-07377-2
awards=
notes=Illustrated by Paul Kidby

:"This article is about the fantasy novel. For the adventure novel by Leslie Charteris and featuring Simon Templar, see The Last Hero (The Saint). There is also The Last Hero (TV series)."

"The Last Hero" is a short novel, the twenty-seventh of the "Discworld" series by Terry Pratchett. It was published in 2001 in a larger format than the other "Discworld" novels and illustrated on every page by Paul Kidby.

Plot summary

The Silver Horde, a group of aged barbarians introduced in "Interesting Times", led by Cohen the Barbarian, set out on a quest. The first hero of the Discworld stole fire from the gods. As the last heroes remaining on the Disc the Silver Horde seek to return fire to the gods with interest, in the form of a large sled packed with explosives. With them is a bard, kidnapped so he can write the saga of their quest, and Evil Harry Dread, the last Dark Lord.

The heroes are disillusioned with the way their lives have turned out, and angry for having been allowed to grow old. Evil Harry is just as angry; despite his efforts to give his opponents the sporting chance as an Evil Overlord should, they won't follow the Code.

Since blowing up the gods will destroy the Discworld, Lord Vetinari organises the Wizards in a quest to stop them. Since the Horde is already near the centre of the Discworld and the home of the gods, speed is of the essence. Leonard of Quirm designs the Discworld's second known spacecraft to slingshot under the Discworld and back around top to land on Cori Celesti, the mountain home of the gods. The vessel can carry only three people: Leonard of Quirm, Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson, and Rincewind (although the Librarian somehow stumbles aboard). After a few mishaps including landing on the moon and nearly having their swamp dragon powered spaceship (named "The Kite") explode on them, they crash in a spectacular fashion at Cori Celesti.

Carrot jumps out and on account of being a single brave man (and a king in disguise) the horde assumes he is a Hero and therefore unbeatable. After some explanation by Rincewind the horde takes the already live explosives and more or less jumps off the mountain. It is not explicitly stated that they die (Death does not appear to them as he sometimes does when Discworld characters die, although he subsequently appears to Vena, and is evasive about whether he is "collecting"), but Valkyries do come to take them to the Halls of the Slain. The Silver Horde steal a few of their horses, and set off to find other worlds to "...Do heroic stuff in."

Meanwhile Leonard is commanded by the gods to paint the entire roof of the Temple of Small Gods within 10 years (he finishes it in a few weeks), Carrot asks for a boon (to allow for the repairs of the Kite), Rincewind asks for a blue balloon and the Librarian asks for some library supplies (and avoids bouncing Blind Io's head on the ground after he calls him a monkey).

As the Horde leave with the Valkyries' horses, they stop to see the First Hero, cut off his chains, and hand him a sword that he may deal with his punisher. The bard, hardened by his experience, composes a new style of saga about it and invents the metal ballad.

Translations

*"Последният герой" (Bulgarian)
*"Poslední hrdina" (Czech)
*"De laatste held" (Dutch)
*"Le Dernier Héros" (French)
*"Wahre Helden" (German)
*"Ostatni bohater" (Polish)
*"Den sista hjälten" (Swedish)
*"Последний герой" (Russian)

Outside references

* The discussions about the dangers of technology between the Patrician and Leonard echo Ray Bradbury's classic short story, "The Flying Machine". Leonard's words (“look at the birds, look at the birds!”) are also a reference to the story's last words.

* The character of Leonard of Quirm is based on Leonardo da Vinci, who also produced hundreds of inventions, including various flying machines.

* A conversation between Rincewind and Lord Vetinari is based on the book "Catch 22". Rincewind doesn't want to go with the other two crew members, so he tries to get out of it on the grounds of insanity. Lord Vetinari explains that only an insane person would embark on such a dangerous journey. Rincewind then asks what would happen if he wasn't insane, and Vetinari explains that he would only send the keenest, coolest minds on such a vital errand. Rincewind notices that there's a catch somewhere, and Vetinari refers to it as "the best kind there is".

* Peter Pan is referenced when Carrot asks 'What's the usual direction?' and says "Second Star on the left and straight on 'til morning?"

External links

* [http://www.lspace.org/books/apf/the-last-hero.html Annotations for "The Last Hero"]
* [http://www.lspace.org/books/pqf/the-last-hero.html Quotes from "The Last Hero"]

! colspan="3" | Reading order guide
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Notes


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