And no, no one is quite what you expected. There's the king, elevated from his former role as jester (or was he?). The queen is shy, uncertain, and naive (or is she?). The witches' contest of power ends when one looks away (or does it?). The elves are wondrous and glamorous - or are they?
The serious side flirts with the many-worlds ideas from physics, serious science sure to warm the soul of any comedic writer. It also raises some symbols of a long-gone warrior queen, and leaves with some pointed observations on symbols being what you let them. Mostly, though, it's just more of Pratchett's laugh-out-loud history of a world that's even more ridiculous than our own - or is it?
After all, Lords and Ladies could have been more than it is, but it still will make you laugh.
Witness his treatment of the character of the Fool, so strong and vibrant in "Wyrd Sisters". He is little more than background material here, a bureaucratic imminent king, indifferent to his fiancee's perspective, and caught up in the ritual of his duty. I suppose something could be said for the themes brought out by his transformation from Fool to King, but it didn't interest me one bit. Except for one bit where it is discovered that the Fool, so accustomed to sleeping curled up in a ball outside the King's door, can't truly get used to his new status and thus now sleeps curled up in a ball on the other side of the door. It's a beautiful little moment.
One character who does make a strong impression is second-Witch-in-command Nanny Ogg. Her down home malapropisms and sunny (but implicitly precarious) demeanor make her a joy to read. Late in the book, she is teamed once again with Casamunda, the self-proclaimed second greatest lover in the world and incessant liar. Watch her skillfully fend off his advances; watch him quickly get back on the horse for another go. I'd love to see what Pratchett could do with these two over a whole book.Read more ›