Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer
Science Fiction/Fantasy

Your Discworld Reading Order: This Is How To Tackle Pratchett’s Series

Priya Sridhar

Staff Writer

A 2016 MBA graduate and published author, Priya Sridhar has been writing fantasy and science fiction for fifteen years, and counting, as well as contributing columns to Chalkpack Magazine and drawing a webcomic for five years. She also enjoys reading, biking, movie-watching, and classical music. One of her stories made the Top Ten Amazon Kindle Download list, and Alban Lake published her novella Carousel. Priya lives in Miami, Florida with her family and posts monthly at her blog A Faceless Author. Website Twitter: @PriyaJSridhar

Discworld is one of the most remarkable fantasy series ever created, but since it’s so big many often look for a better Discworld reading order.

Each book takes place on the flat Discworld, on the back of a turtle. This turtle floats along in space, and its inhabitants work to make their worlds better or live their lives. Kings die, the policemen watch the streets, and sometimes Death has to step in when the Auditors want to wipe out life.

Traditional Discworld Reading Order

There is the traditional Discworld reading order, which is listed here, which is the order Terry wrote them up until his death.

There are 47 books in the series, several short stories, and supplemental books like The Science of Discworld, Where’s My Cow?, and The World of Poo.

Suggested Discworld Reading Order

Instead, I read them out of order, depending on what was at the library and know there is more than one Discworld reading order, depending on your preferences.

Here’s where I suggest starting with Discworld.

The Rincewind Books

The books always start with this perpetually unlucky wizard. Rincewind, who hates adventure but always gets drawn into it, appears in the following books:

  1. The Colour of Magic
  2. The Light Fantastic
  3. Sourcery
  4. Eric
  5. Interesting Times
  6. The Last Continent
  7. The Last Hero

To be honest, Rincewind isn’t my favorite character, although he is a good one. He’s certainly compelling as a reluctant hero who has to bluff all the time because he has no choice. When cornered, Rincewind proves to be dangerous.

The Death Books

Death, remarkably enough, stole the show more than a few times. The Grim Reaper has to visit everyone because, as he testily puts it, “There is no justice. Just me.” He appears in every book, remarking on the situation of each person’s reaped soul and death.

Yet Death wants to be normal. He wants to give up his duties, settle down in a fish shop, maybe have a family. His attempt to set up a replacement goes south, but he gets a granddaughter, resourceful Susan. Then when the Auditors replace him, Death fights to get his old purpose back. Susan can’t replace her grandfather, but she can invite him for tea and biscuits and help him stop apocalyptic threats.

  1. Mort
  2. Reaper Man
  3. Soul Music
  4. Hogfather
  5. Thief of Time

The Witches and Lancre Books

Granny Weatherwax owns the Disc, except for the one time she doesn’t. She doesn’t like to talk about that time, because witches never admit defeat. Instead, she focuses on how she has to be the good witch, and right all the time.

The witches of Lancre also include Nanny Ogg, Magrat, and later on Agnes/Perdita. They work hard to make sure  that order is kept on the Chalk, that people don’t need to make the hard choices, and to discourage girls from wanting to learn magic, because witchcraft is a lonely business. Nanny Ogg also enjoys telling bawdy jokes and can never resist one.

The books in this sub-series include the following:

  1. Equal Rites
  2. Wyrd Sisters
  3. Witches Abroad
  4. Lords and Ladies
  5. Maskerade
  6. Carpe Jugulum

The City Watch Books

Terry Pratchett didn’t expect Sam Vimes to rise to the occasion. He planned for Carrot Ironfoundersson, a human foundling raised by dwarves, to enter the city, rescue the citizens from the dragon, and take over the story. That didn’t happen. Vimes decides to take charge before Carrot gets in trouble arresting the Thieves Guild, and when a dragon attempts to usurp Patrician Vetinari, the leader of the city. They learn to work together; Carrot reminds Vimes why he became a policeman in the first place, and Vimes grounds Carrot to adjust to the city’s morally grey area.

The Watch, of course, has more leaders than Vimes and Carrot. We have Angua, a werewolf lieutenant that stays far away from silver, Detritus the troll who hasn’t quite mastered Mr. Crossbow, and Nobby Nobbs, who is well, Nobby Nobbs.  They would follow Vimes to the end of the Earth, and sometimes they very well do. While they can’t keep complete order in the city, they try their best.

The books include the following Discworld novels:

  1. Guards! Guards!
  2. Men At Arms
  3. Feet of Clay
  4. Jingo
  5. The Fifth Elephant
  6. Night Watch
  7. Thud!
  8. Snuff

The Moist Von Lipwig Books

Moist Von Lipwig runs scams. It’s what he does. At least, until Vetinari hires him to run various institutions in Ankh-Morpork that have fallen by the wayside. He starts with the defunct post office. Then he moves on to the bank. And each time it’s thrilling, for him at least. He needs the challenge to entertain him. And all the while, he starts to make amends for his actions swindling people out of money, in another past life.

One has to admit Vetinari is good. The Patrician knows how to use a man with useful skills. Moist proves he’s up to the task because he doesn’t want to die. But soon it becomes more than that.

Moist’s books are as follows:

  1. Going Postal
  2. Making Money
  3. Raising Steam

The Tiffany Aching Books

the wee free men cover

Tiffany Aching is one of the best protagonists a book could have. She becomes a witch not because she wants the power or the glory, but to protect her home. This starts with protecting her brother from the fey, talking down a hive mind and the physical manifestation of winter.

I adore Tiffany because she takes no nonsense, like other witches. She doesn’t need Granny Weatherwax’s stern nature, however, or Nanny Ogg’s drinking. All she needs is mettle, a brain, and her community.

  1. The Wee Free Men
  2. A Hat Full of Sky
  3. Wintersmith
  4. I Shall Wear Midnight
  5. The Shepherd’s Crown

What Discworld reading order do you recommend?