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Twoflower

This Who's Who was originally featured in Issue 15 - July 1998


PTerry's first Discworld book needed some exceptionally good main characters. Rincewind, a comically inept wizzard was an obvious, and very good, choice for a fantasy world, but Twoflower was simply inspired. Working as a clerk in an "in-sewer-ants" company, Twoflower became restless and decided to save up and visit Ankh-Morpork, becoming in the process the Discworld's first tourist.

Twoflower's naive trust in human goodness, and the Broken Drum's landlord's greed, are responsible for one of the biggest fires in Ankh-Morpork

The comic potential for a tourist exploring a world to which the reader is also completely new is immense. The notion that Twoflower has fabulous wealth compared to the Ankh-Morporkians and that he carries wondrous items (the iconograph and the Luggage) will be very familiar to anyone who has been to an economically poor country, as is the fact that most of the people he meets will try to rip him off... and the envy he has of the heroes who experience the excitement of regular bar-room brawls, compared with Rincewind who would give anything for Twoflower's "safe and boring" job. Twoflower is also the type of detachedly interested person who will rush to look up the flower he has just seen in his book of local flora and fauna, and probably trample the unfortunate plant in the process. Twoflower's naive trust in human goodness, and the Broken Drum's landlord's greed, are responsible for one of the biggest fires in Ankh-Morpork, which starts the "Colour of Magic".

While preparing for his holiday, Twoflower spent a lot of his time at the Docks listening to stories of Ankh-Morpork from the sailors and creating his phrase book. Therefore during his first hours in the Big Wahoonie, he communicated by either speaking like a thesaurus or in the time honoured tradition of talking very slowly and loudly. After meeting Rincewind in the Broken Drum and a lengthy conversation where Twoflower speaks only in punctuation marks (an excellent way of suggesting bemused expressions), the Wizzard - with his flair for languages - befriends Twoflower and learns that in-sewer-ants has something to do with the reflected sound of underground spirits, and that tourist means idiot.

The Colour of Magic was PTerry's first major writing success. As is often the case with "new" authors, many people found his style of writing difficult to get to grips with, not least, it would seem, one Josh Kirby, who dutifully painted Twoflower as PTerry described him - with four eyes.

The end of "The Light Fantastic", when Rincewind finally sees Twoflower safely onto the ship that takes him home, is one of the saddest moments in the whole series. It isn't until some fifteen books later in "Interesting Times" that Twoflower pops up again (portrayed with the correct number of bespectacled eyes on the cover), but this time he has caused a civil uprising in his own country after he publishes his manifesto: "What I Did On My Holidays".