Home Discworld Characters Rincewind
Est. 1997 - Proprietors Anthony-Rowlands, Barnett & Massey
#GNU Terry Pratchett


This Who's Who was originally featured in Issue 6 - October 1997

Rincewind was the Discworld's first main character. He is a wizard which he proves by wearing a pointy hat with wizzard written on it. Rincewind is a wizard who can't spell. Magic ability is measured in levels. Most normal people have a level of zero - Rincewind doesn't score that high. Rincewind is also an expert in languages. He can scream for mercy in nineteen languages and just scream in another forty four.

No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat.

Jason: Rincewind's problems started when he made the mistake of opening the Octavo (the great magical book of eight powerful spells). One of the spells from the book jumped into his mind and scared out all the other magic and refused to leave. Whenever Rincewind is stressed the spell tries to cast itself. Having this spell in his head has saved Rincewind's life at least once.

I think one of Rincewind's most endearing features is the way he thinks there is some power that is better than magic. For me it's the direct opposite of the reader's view, where we would like to have an alternative to fussy PC's and slow dial-up connections.

If you haven't read The Colour of Magic or The Light Fantastic for a while, I would strongly recommend that you become acquainted with Rincewind once again.

Quote - From the Colour of Magic: Rincewind began to feel really wretched. "I don't know," he said. "A better way of doing things, I suppose. Something with a bit of sense in it. Harnessing - harnessing the lightning, or something." The imp gave him a kind but pitying look. "Lightning is the spears hurled by the thunder giants when they fight," it said gently. "Established meteorological fact. You can't harness it." "I know," said Rincewind miserably, "That's the flaw in the argument, of course."

William: For anyone new to the series, Rincewind personified the Discworld ethos through his cowardice, cynicism, ineptitude and growing world-weariness. At the end of The Light Fantastic I felt genuinely sad to think that I'd seen the last of him, quite an achievement for a supposedly comic novel. Then, with Sourcery, PTerry blew it.

Reintroducing a favourite character is a really easy and cheap way of getting more mileage out of one's work without putting much effort in. I've no doubt PTerry received sackfuls of requests for Rincewind's return, but he should have exercised some artistic integrity and left the guy in a special place in our hearts and minds. Instead Rincewind returns as a caricature of his former self - cowardly, cynical, inept, world weary, and that's it. No development, little compassion, lots of reworking of old jokes, particularly concerning the Luggage. The only redeeming feature is the end of the story, and that mainly because it seems to clearly shut Rincewind away for us to remember what a great guy he is.

Eric - don't make me laugh. Oh, hang on, it didn't. Talk about taking liberties with one's intellectual property. And so to Interesting Times. I hate to harp on the same theme the whole time (that's a damn lie - Ed.), but I felt this didn't do Rincewind any sort of justice either. A lot of the reason for this, I suspect, is because he has such a hard time throughout the story (as is the case in Sourcery, too, for that matter). I feel he deserves better, especially after what he went through in the first two books to entertain us. And a bloody good job he made of it too.

Quote: No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat.

Richard: When PTerry first became successful he was often referred to as fantasy's answer to Douglas Adams. If this is the case then Rincewind must be the Discworld's incarnation of Arthur Dent. It is through Rincewind that we first learn about the magic of the Discworld. Any fantasy reader who has played a role-playing game (and there can't be many who haven't) will be comfortable with the eight levels of wizardry, but the idea that each spell or magic item has a life of its own (rather than only the super-powerful swords or rings) is excellent. Rincewind once accidentally acquired one of the spells from the Octavo (or was it the other way round?) and this may account for his difficulty in learning any more - other spells are just too scared to stay in his head. Despite his ineptitude, Rincewind knows in his heart that he is a wizard, and two points in his favour are that he can see Octarine and he can see Death. In fact he's seen rather a lot of Death, so much so that when Death decided he needed a hobby (back in the days when the Reaperman was still someone to be scared of) it was to do away with Rincewind.