Howondaland

From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

For the ancient supercontinent of the same name see: Howandaland(continent).

Geography

Howondaland is often mentioned as an example of dark and mysterious jungle in the continent of Klatch. We know plains or veldts exist: the elephant-wranglers of Moving Pictures demonstrate as much when rounding up those one thousand elephants Dibbler has ordered, in a moment of big-screen madness. There is at least one major city and port, Zambingo and it is known there is one black kingdom there, ruled by a King Samuel. The region's depiction on The Discworld Mapp causes some controversy, since it appears too small to contain the variety of deep jungles and wide-open spaces described in the text. It may be that the Mapp, like early Roundworld maps, suffers from a lack of contact with and actual measurement of remote regions. (See: Talk:Book:The Discworld Mapp)

Some at least of these issues have been resolved with the release of The Compleat Discworld Atlas which has clear maps delineating not so much countries as spheres of influence. (It is stressed that these are regions rather than nation-states in the Central Continent understanding of the word.) But the The Compleat Discworld Atlas extends Howondaland across into regions not hitherto thought of as part of that continent, across the Howondaland Sea and as far widdershins as the borders of Vanglemesht, H'Rull and Khanli. The Sumtri archipelago is also treated as a part of Howondaland despite being even further to widdershins.

People and History

The region was much visited by (and anthropologised by) Lady Alice Venturi (or Alice in Howondaland, which fits). She describes an indigenous people known as the N'Kouf. In Jingo, we learn that Lady Sybil Ramkin's grandfather Sir Joshua Ramkin led a military expedition to Howondaland, having run out of sworn enemies of Ankh-Morpork to fight who lived any nearer. By the time he left the continent, by all accounts there had been a great deal of swearing and a lot more enemies had been brought into existence.

More speculatively, Howondaland may well be the location for the famous battle of Lawkes' Drain as described in the booklet accompanying the Discworld Mapp. it is apparently the case that at this battle, a trooper raised the alarm with the immortal cry Howondalanders, sir! Quite a lot of 'em!. It may also, by inference, be the home of Assassins' Guild School teacher, Miss Smith-Rhodes. Another odd pointer to the existence of a white people in Howondaland is, indirectly, given in Discworld animal names such as Bewildebeeste. Who named it and gave it and "Acrobatic Meerkats" distinctly Afrikaans-sounding names?

Interestingly, the Howondalandian region of S'belinde has a principal coastal settlement called Smithville, and Howondaland Smith hunted his Balgrogs here (thus contributing to making them a terminally endangered species). Does this act as another pointer to not only White Howondaland, but also to the country of origin of Miss Smith-Rhodes?

In Snuff, we learn it is the origin-point of the Jolson family: both father All Jolson and daughter Precious Jolson originally came from somewhere on the continent.

It is also, by his own account, the ancestral home of the spirit guide One-Man-Bucket, who bemoans not having been born in its wide-open plains, as is his perceived birthright. In the absence of any specific North American analog on the Disc, (the Great Outdoors notwithstanding) its Red Indian-like people had to go somewhere, although it is possible Bucket, a man born into an ethnic minority in Ankh-Morpork, may have been confused as to his people's origins.

Appearances

Semper Aliquid Nova... In Snuff, Howondaland is used as a location for Gravid Rust's slave-plantations, where captive goblins are worked to death on tobacco farms. In Roundworld's Africa, tobacco is a cash crop in most African countries south of the sub-Sahara, most notably in Togo, Senegal, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The exact location of the slave-plantations is not given, but analogy to Africa would place them in the jungle belt of central Howondaland, near the coast and ideally a port for export: Zambingo? At least three years prior to the events in Snuff Gravid Rust established a tobacco plantation in Howondaland. For a workforce he had goblins forcibly taken from The Shires and shipped there to use as slave labour until they were worked to death. He also used the plantation to make a number of troll drugs such as the deadly Crystal Slam and others including Slab, Slice, Slap, and Slunkie. He then had them smuggled into Ankh-Morpork for sale along with the tobacco. This whole vile operation lasted until the Watch found out about it and retribution arrived in the form of constable Wee Mad Arthur.

Howondaland has a brief appearance as the location of the Lost Jewelled Temple of Offler, in Reaper Man. It is the scene of several adventures in the delivery of the thousand elephants mentioned above in Moving Pictures. The Lost Temple of Offler is referenced in The Compleat Discworld Atlas and is likely to be somewhere in the S'belinde region.

Notable Howandalandians and emigrants

Annotation

Presumably comes from "Wonderland", as in Alice in Wonderland, a work of nonsense literature written by Lewis Carroll, considered a classic example of the genre and of English literature in general. However, TP has openly stated that he dislikes the book: "I didn't like the Alice books because I found them creepy and horribly unfunny in a nasty, plonking, Victorian way. Oh, here's Mr Christmas Pudding On Legs, hohohoho, here's a Caterpillar Smoking A Pipe, hohohoho. When I was a kid the books created in me about the same revulsion as you get when, aged seven, you're invited to kiss your great-grandmother." See here.

Of course the name could be from Gondwanaland, one of the ancient supercontinents of Earth, as the existence of continental drift on Discworld, including a Pangola (instead of Pangaea) is documented.

Ex Howondalandia, semper aliquid nova: on Roundworld, a Roman poet looked south into the heart of unknown Africa with all its vast unexplored spaces, and speculated "Ex Africa, semper aliquid nova" - There's always something new out of Africa.

Personal tools
In other languages