5.0 out of 5 stars A change of perspective: Elves are evil
OK. You have to fight the badest, meanest and glamorous representation of evil: AN ARMY OF ELVES! Yes, you read right. How would you do such a thing? Well, you can rally a bunch of men armed with iron that are more afraid of Nanny Ogg (protected by her dwarf date, who knew, huh?) that of beautiful elves; in front you put the "queen to be" Magrat in full iron...
Published on March 14 2000 by umbranihili
3.0 out of 5 stars Far from Terry's best, with but a few moments of hilarity
This is far from my favourite Pratchett fare. It pales in comparison to the other books of his I've read, especially in direct comparison to the other Witches' adventures. "Wyrd Sisters", which Terry proclaims in the Author's Note is prerequisite reading before delving here, was a more exciting adventure for Granny Weatherwax and her curious coven to...
Published on Dec 8 2001 by Mike Stone
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4.0 out of 5 stars A witche's tale...,
Even though this might not be one of Pratchett's best books- it is still great to read. It was already mentioned that this is another story "borrowed" from Shakespeare, but I must say that this wasn't the main reason why I enjoyed this book.
Of course, the midsummer night dream turned into a story about Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax and "One happens to be queen soon" Magrat fighting evil elves who want to take over the ramtop- kingdom Lancre is somewhat funny. No doubt Terry could have made a lot more out of this material, but he makes up for it.
Nanny Ogg meets Casanunda again and the "romance" between the witch and the self- announced second best lover of the discworld will have you roar with laughter (unbelievable what Nanny can turn a candlelight dinner into..). Another highlight is surely Archchancellor Ridcully who has been invited to the royal wedding (remember Witches Abroad- Magrat and Verence finally made it to the point, and Verence is already ordering "special" books from Ankh Morpork : "Martial Arts? I'm sure I ordered.. uh, never mind.."). Returning to the ramtops Mustrum Ridcully finds his teenage-love (Granny Weatherwax!!) but he doesn't have a lot of time for romantic memories as the elves keep Granny busy.
After all, Lords and Ladies could have been more than it is, but it still will make you laugh.
3.0 out of 5 stars Far from Terry's best, with but a few moments of hilarity,
This review is from: Lords and Ladies (Paperback)
This is far from my favourite Pratchett fare. It pales in comparison to the other books of his I've read, especially in direct comparison to the other Witches' adventures. "Wyrd Sisters", which Terry proclaims in the Author's Note is prerequisite reading before delving here, was a more exciting adventure for Granny Weatherwax and her curious coven to undertake. "Lords and Ladies" feels like a derivative retread. And "Wyrd Sisters", which deconstructed "MacBeth", brought more insight into its Shakespearean source than this does for "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
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. It at least broke up the (soon-to-be) monotony of watching Granny Weatherwax grouch her way through another typical adventure.
The central conceit here is that elves, previously believed to be cute and cuddly creatures in popular mythology, are really evil. Terribly evil. Unspeakably evil. When elves are around "life was certainly more interesting... but usually it was shorter. And it was more colourful, if you liked the colour of blood". Okay? So? I don't think Terry does much with this notion. The elves he concocts are not frightening at all, at least in comparison to other Discworld villains. And the final confrontation feels like every other final confrontation Granny Weatherwax has been involved in. The lack of suspense was a surprising discovery. To me, this is Terry's first true misstep in the Discworld series.
Although I thought little of the story, Terry's sense of humour remains intact. There are many fine examples to choose from, but here are a few of my favourites:
.. a delicious footnote about the naming adventures of the Carter family, ends with Hope Carter becoming a depressive, while Bestiality Carter is generally kind to animals.
.. a word that beings with 'M', that means "seein' the other person's point of view"? Empathy.
.. More fun with Latin: "Il Porcupino Nil Sodomy Est" is, I think, a nod to true hardcore Internet Pratchett fans.
.. the New York second (defined as the time between when the light turns green and the cab behind you honks)
.. "Magrat says a broomstick is one of them sexual metaphor things" (although this is a phallusy)
Terry amazes, yet again, with his verbal gymnastics. I just wish he'd tacked them on a worthwhile story. I guess one sub-par book in fourteen (so far) is not a bad ratio. Don't worry about skipping "Lords and Ladies" on your way through the Discworld catalog. You won't miss much.
3.0 out of 5 stars O.K. for the "fantasy as farce" genre,
I am not a big fan of comical fantasy...I've always preferred the gritty Robert E. Howard style to the silly and anachronistic Piers Anthony school. But I must admit that Pratchett has a gift for working up endearing and memorable characters and putting them smack dab in the middle of totally off-the-wall and unbelievable settings and situations. The characters come across as very real persons (may remind you of folks you actually know...), and Pratchett conjures up the chummy atmosphere of a rural English town (Kingdom of Lancre=Medieval England) quite nicely with the humorous verbal exchanges of the principal players (Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax are a hoot).
This novel differs from most other works of its kind in one startling aspect...the elves are the bad guys. For all of you fantasy fans who are sick to death of tired re-hashings of Tolkien's faeries, this will no doubt be a refreshing curve ball. Pratchett presents them here as an extra-dimensional race of magical humanoids devoid of morality who utilize the inherent self-loathing of human beings to achieve their sadistic ends by clouding men's minds with glamour. The elves enter Disc World at Crop Circle time when the fabric between the dimensions of the Multiverse are weakest...in this story, the weakest spot in Lancre is located at the Dancers, a ring of standing stones that fell from space in ages past. The stones actually serve as a barrier for the Gentry, for they are composed of a sort of iron ore base that hampers the elves' powers of perception and action. So, the elves have to relye upon human BELIEF in them to weaken the space-time fabric even more so that they may achieve the power to act freely in Disc World. Of course, Granny is wise to what's up (she "knows what time it is", so to speak), so most of the action in the book centers around Granny and her chums trying to push back the elf invasion of their home dimension after a group of bumbling local craftsmen perform a version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Dancers (to celebrate Magrat's marriage to King Verence) and bring about an influx of the sadistic Gentry (after the area has already been weakened by the dancing and sabbats of a group of young witches who mistakenly believe that the stones were put up by Druids...). Oh, well, just read the book.
I still don't know exactly what to think of this goofy novel, but at least it left me curious enough to want to check out some of the other Disc World books.
Oh, as for the cryptic references to ancient Celtic Britain..."Herne the Hunted"=Cernunnos, "Queen Ynci"=Boudiccea, you may note more :).
3.0 out of 5 stars Mid-Level Pratchett,
I recently had an opportunity to chat with a number of other people who have read most of Pratchett's books. I found each reader had a definite dislike. Some could not stand any of Pratchett's books that involve Granny Weatherwax, but liked all the others. Some could not stand any of Pratchett's books that involve Rincewind, but liked all the others. Some could not stand any of Pratchett's books that involve Death as a major character, but liked all the others. When it was my time to chime in, I could only say, "Ditto!" Any book with Weatherwax, Rincewind or Death as a major character has a major hurdle to overcome. Yet INTERESTING TIMES, which invoves Rincewind, is one of my favorite Pratchett books. LORDS AND LADIES has Granny Weatherwax facing an invasion from fairyland, and it is far from my favorite Pratchett novel, but it has its points. The plot is interesting, the characters are well-developed and have something to do, and the novel comes to a climax instead of dwindling away with a whimper, as some of the Pratchett opi tend to do.
4.0 out of 5 stars Talk about your gate crashers,
Margrat Garlick is about to have her dream wedding. She is marrying the King. The stuff fairy tales are made of. A faerie tale is what she gets. Every bride's nightmare. The faerie host have decided they would like to crash the festivities and the Queen wants the King for her husband. At least until she's tired of him. It's up to Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, the librarian and a host of others to stop them.
I enjoyed this one, but even Pratchett mentions you need some background on this one. I strongly suggest you read at least Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad prior to this. It'll give you some idea of what's going on. Pratchett plays with most of the British elven legends as well as few of the Pagan Pantheon to bring this one off. (Actually, he sticks pretty close to the old legends and humorously traces their evolution into modern conception). I liked this novel not only for the usual humor, but also for the suspense aspect of it. I recommend this one if you like the fairy tales
5.0 out of 5 stars A change of perspective: Elves are evil,
OK. You have to fight the badest, meanest and glamorous representation of evil: AN ARMY OF ELVES! Yes, you read right. How would you do such a thing? Well, you can rally a bunch of men armed with iron that are more afraid of Nanny Ogg (protected by her dwarf date, who knew, huh?) that of beautiful elves; in front you put the "queen to be" Magrat in full iron armor and chain mail and a battle axe (who wants to save her future captured husband and King), bodyguarded by three seniors wizards from Unseen University, (who where invited to the wedding, and went only to breath some fresh air), one fo them the oragutan librarian himself. Maybe you think that's chaotic enough. THINK AGAIN. Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully is shooting arrows from its magical crossbow trying to save the greatest witch in Discworld and his only love: Granny Weatherwax, who happens to be involved in a word debate with the Elf Queen. And just to put some flavour on the mix, millions of bees are very, very angry and are looking for something to sting, while a lonely unicorn is hunting Granny to introduce her to Death itself. And to finish, a Horned God finally return to the surface. Need I say more?
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my five favorites,
By A Customer
Thank you, Terry Pratchett, for reminding us that substance is, in the end, more important than style (although Granny's headology is a bit of both, wouldn't you say?)! To those who disparage this book because they think Mr. Pratchett was being unfair to the Fair Folk, I'd like remind them of a few things: leave the milk out -- or else; don't eat the food, or you'll be stuck there forever; keep an eye on your babies, because they might be taken and changelings left in their place... The list goes on, folks. And I hardly think that the question of whether or not They are our friends was the point of the book, was it? This is one of the most insightful books Pratchett has written. If all women (and men, perhaps)could grow to know what Granny Weatherwax knows about the importance of knowing who and where you are, we would all be a lot better off! Come back to Kansas, Dorothy -- if you can't find it in your own backyard (or even better, make it yourself), you sure as hell won't find it by meddling in things more powerful than you might think -- and that you certainly can't control! As usual, Pratchett has written a cautionary tale that will make you cry with laughter. He gently reminds us of the small truths that help us to find the good in the world, without ever being judgmental. He is a treasure, and we are fortunate to have him.
5.0 out of 5 stars Still his best and this is 1998,
I read it when it came out. I loved it. I read it again later on. And recently I read it again and I still think it is my favourite Discworld book. The depiction of elves (a contentious issue from the other reviews) is in the older style as being selfish, manipulative and cruel rather than the Tolkien based depiction of fair, wise and gentle creatures. The elves here are like Rude Mechanicals on Mean-Speed. Actually, if you really want to get an appreciation of this book, (and half the jokes) read Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream first.
Of course, Granny, Nanny and Magrat are here again as well as Ridcully, the Bursar (who may never recover) and the Librarian, whose adventures outside the safety of Ankh-Morpork make for the sorest abdominals you have had in your life!
The book has sex (in the form of Casanunda and NANNY OGG), death (great gobs of it) and well, not rock'n'roll, but elvish singing... which might be worse. It has a new feminist icon, an insight into the geneology of words and a belly laugh a page.
PS. Go look up what a quark is, if you don't get the joke about up, down, sideways, etc...
4.0 out of 5 stars So what's the difference between elves & humans?,
By A Customer
Hmmm..., vicious, nasty, manipulative, self-centered... Sounds like most humans I've met. Maybe cows and insects think _we're_ evil. Think about it before stuffing a burger into your mouth or squashing a bug.
I appreciate satire, even if it tweaks my own "sacred cows." I'm not afraid to reexamine my beliefs--it either strengthens them or enables me to discard those I've outgrown. However, as someone whose ancestors were persecuted and executed because of a convenient stereotype promulgated by ignorant and frightened mental/moral defectives, I cannot endorse the concept of genocide as entertainment.
One of the reasons I've enjoyed and recommended Mr. Pratchett's work is that he (usually) questions the standard fantasy truism that certain species are evil because they are that species. (Oh, god, orcs (or trolls or...)! Kill them!) Unfortunately, in order to justify his own views (anyone else remember his comments in a STARLOG interview about not hearing the "bloody elves singing" in his stories?) he conveniently and lazily resorts to the kind of stereotype he's previously debunked.
Returning to my original comments, I ask that everyone who has agreed with Mr. Pratchett's description of elves to consider that someone else may think that describes YOU. And when you try to justify the behavior that prompted such an opinion, think if the other person will still believe you are anything other than manipulative and self-serving. THEN be thankful that we really haven't seen evidence of intelligent life from other planets, because it it existed and was aware of the human species, I doubt it would think any more highly of us than this book regards elves.
In short: well-written, but disappointing.
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterically funny, extraordinarily human,
By A Customer
Pratchett has the rare gift of writing humor that is not
only funny, but literate, well-crafted, and sneakily
wise and compassionate. Unlike many authors, he says the
serious things he wants to say not by inserting a lecture,
but by a deft turn of phrase, or simply by telling the
story of what happens to his characters, A reader will not
only end up rolling on the floor laughing, but thinking.
In this story, elves (who have a power to control human
thinking that puts even television and public relations
execs to shame) take over the small kingdom of Lancre, while
Magrat and King Verence are uneasily stumbling towards
marriage. Magrat, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg,
together with such assorted characters as Casanunda the
lecherous dwarf and Jason Ogg, the smith whose head is about
as thick as his anvil, fight to stop them. Granny
Weatherwax, who knows that there's no point making a big
entrance unless you're also prepared to make a mess, is
also involved in a battle of wills with Diamanda, who thinks
that witchery is something you do, rather than something
You'll definitely laugh. Guarantee. You might cry if you
happen to feel like it or if you get so distracted reading
it that you let someone drop something heavy on your foot.
Or, of course, if the elves start eyeing _your_ life as a
good thing to muck about with.
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Lords and Ladies: A Novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett (School & Library Binding - Oct. 1996)
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