Gnomes (Discworld)


Gnomes (Discworld)

Gnomes are the smallest humanoid species on the Discworld (a fictional flat world created by Terry Pratchett) ranging from four inches (10cm) to 2 feet (61cm) in height. There may be some confusion between the names "gnome", "goblin", and "pictsie", which are more-or-less interchangeable terms for the same creature.

A gnome is a goblin living underground, while a goblin is a gnome coming up for air and a pictsie is a gnome fighting (see Nac Mac Feegle). Although Pratchett has made several connections between the Nac Mac Feegle and the more general gnomes, such as Buggy Swires, there remains a certain ambiguity as to whether they should be considered the same race. It seems that gnomes and the Nac Mac Feegle share a lot of the same characteristics, such as immense strength, bellicose personality and the use of tamed birds as lookouts. In the "Discworld Companion," Pratchett describes Wee Mad Arthur, an Ankh Morpork gnome, as an urbanised Nac Mac Feegle, and Paul Kidby's illustration of Buggy Swires in "The Art of Discworld" is indistinguishable from the pictsies on the cover of "The Wee Free Men." However, as yet no gnome has shown evidence of the Nac Mac Feegle's fairy abilities like the crawstep (the ability to cross into dreams and parallel dimensions), or of their bee-like social structure.

Rincewind and Twoflower meet a gnome in The Light Fantastic. Twoflower is disappointed, believing he should be dressed in brightly-coloured clothes and "more sort of... jolly". Rincewind explains: "He's six inches high and lives in a mushroom, of course he's a bloody gnome."

The gnome, whose name was given as "Swires", could be the same as "Buggy Swires", a gnome corporal in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch.

Gnomes (or goblins) are able to make a good living as rat-catchers, because as well as being able to chase the rats into spaces where humans cannot, they can make several good meals, and indeed warm clothes, from a rat. Gnomes also tend to be surprisingly strong for their height, described as "the strength of a man compressed into a body six inches tall".

Goblins are also featured in the short story "Theatre of Cruelty", in which a children's entertainer forces them to perform as a Punch and Judy show. This story also reveals the existence of goblin dogs and alligators.

The Law of Unequal Returns

This is a growing point of contention among the larger races that reside in Ankh-Morpork, detailed in The Discworld Companion. The problem is this: there are many jobs in the city for which a gnome is equally (or in some cases more) competent, such as rat-catching (as detailed above) and watch-making, as their small hands make them ideal for performing intricate work. As money is generally paid for the amount of work done, gnomes are invariably paid the same for doing these jobs as a human or dwarf would. However, as a gnome is much smaller than a human or a dwarf, the money will stretch further. For example, a dollar might buy a loaf of bread. To a human or dwarf, that is two or three meals. To a gnome, the same loaf of bread is food for a week and can also be hollowed out to provide emergency accommodation. This disparate value of earnings is making many of the taller workers in the city angry, but at this point it is not known if any legislation has been or will be passed on the matter, or indeed if the matter has become anything more serious than a grumbling point.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Discworld — This article is about the novels. For the Discworld itself, see Discworld (world). For the MUD, see Discworld MUD. For the Apple Macintosh themed disk magazine, see Diskworld. Discworld Cover of an early edition of The Colour of Magic; art by… …   Wikipedia

  • Discworld (world) — The Discworld as it appears in the SkyOne adaptation of The Colour of Magic. The Discworld is the fictional setting for all of Terry Pratchett s Discworld fantasy novels. It consists of a large disc (complete with edge of the world drop off and… …   Wikipedia

  • Discworld — Disque monde Le Disque Monde (titre original : Discworld) est un monde imaginaire médiéval fantastique parodique développé à partir de 1983 par l écrivain britannique Terry Pratchett dans la suite de romans Les Annales du Disque monde.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gnome (disambiguation) — A gnome is a mythical creature characterized by its extremely small size and subterranean free lifestyle.GNOME is a desktop environment for computers running Unix and Unix like operating systems.Gnome or GNOME may also mean: * Gnome is one of the …   Wikipedia

  • Goblins in modern fiction — Two major branches of goblins exist in popular fiction, including fantasy settings. Alongside with J. R. R. Tolkien s descriptions of Orcs, the older branch is inherently evil and malicious, with varying coloring and generally matted and filthy… …   Wikipedia

  • Nac Mac Feegle — Nac Mac Feegles on the cover of The Wee Free Men The Nac Mac Feegle (also known as Pictsies, the Wee Free Men, the Little Men, Person or Persons Unknown, Believed to be Armed , That s him, the third one from the left! , and occasionally The… …   Wikipedia

  • Ankh-Morpork City Watch — The Ankh Morpork City Watch is a fictional police force within the Discworld series of books by Terry Pratchett. It is based in the city state of Ankh Morpork on the Discworld. The Watch was originally two units, the Day Watch and the Night Watch …   Wikipedia

  • Ankh-Morpork — Discworld location Creator Terry Pratchett Genre Comic fantasy Type City state Notab …   Wikipedia

  • Гномы (Плоский мир) — У термина «Гном» существуют и другие значения, см. «Гном (значения)». Гномы (англ. Dwarf)  вымышленная раса в серии книг «Плоский мир» Терри Пратчетта. В связи с тем, что на Плоском Мире существуют две расы, названия которых традиционно …   Википедия

  • Лепреконы (Плоский мир) — Лепреконы (англ. gnomes, дословно: гномы)  вымышленная раса в серии книг «Плоский мир» Терри Пратчетта. Это самая маленькая гуманоидная раса Плоского Мира, чей рост варьируется в интервале от 10 см до 61 см. В связи с тем, что …   Википедия


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.