Überwald is a huge mountainous region of wintry climate that is the Disc's answer to (fictional) Transylvania, as in, a land populated almost entirely by horror tropes. It was once a part of the Evil Empire (along with smaller states Borogravia, Zlobenia and Mouldavia). The ruling nobility of the land is composed of feudal werewolf and vampire families. Lately, the dwarfs have also come into power. There are many trolls in the distant mountains, warring against the dwarfs, but in cities such as Bonk, trolls are considered semi-sentient slaves. Humans are still mostly in the roles of "townspeople" or "exploited citizens". Most Igors come from Überwald, where they traditionally serve those on the far side of sanity, using the excellent local lightning for their experiments. Überwaldean is said to be a good cursing language. The principal town/capital in Überwald is the twin cities of Bonk-Schmaltzberg.
Major appearances of the region are in Witches Abroad, Carpe Jugulum, The Fifth Elephant, and Monstrous Regiment. Überwald is also often colloquially mentioned as the dark and mysterious place ruled and indeed overrun by the undead and bandits, standing in the middle of the continent, cutting off the traffic between the Sto Plains and Genua.
The region is briefly visited by the Lancre witches in Witches Abroad, where a local vampire is defeated by a combination of Nanny Ogg's garlic sausage, Magrat's insistence on sleeping with the window open, and Greebo's irritation that a mouse with wings is trying to change shape on him. In truth, Überwald also has many small towns with just your ordinary rural town people, not very mean, not very nice (The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, Going Postal).
Überwald is also home to many of the older races such as Centaurs.
It is noted by Lord Vetinari that mapmakers often fill in blank areas of Überwaldean maps with the phrase 'MMBU,' or 'Miles and Miles of Bloody Überwald' In the same way Africa mapmakers used to mark their maps 'Miles and Miles of Bloody Africa'.
As stated by Otto Chriek, Überwalds' scenery is psychotropic: If you say something portentous like "zer dark eyes of zer mind", there would be a sudden crash of thunder, and if you point at a castle on a towering crag and say "Yonder is ... zer castle", a wolf would howl mournfully...
The area does not come across as particularly wealthy, and is thinly populated. The main source of income seems to be mining, both metals and fat. Recently the Grand Trunk and the Ankh-Morpork and Sto Plains Hygienic Railway have reached Bonk, connecting this part of the continent with the rest of the world.
Cities, towns and locations
- Ah Valley
- Bad Blintz
- Bad Heisses Bad
- Bad Schüschein
- Don'tgonearthe Castle
- Klotz - on the River Ah
- Koom Valley
- Wilinus Pass
- Margolotta - Vampire Counts
- von Salic - Vampire Counts
- von Vilinus - Vampire Counts
- Haha - Human Barons
- von Uberwald - Werewolf Barons
- Magpyr - Vampire Counts
- Notfaroutoe - Vampire Counts (bloodline now extinct in Uberwald, last heir living in Ankh-Morpork. May have found reasons to return to Überwald.)
Some of the better known people from Überwald:
- Albrecht Albrechtson - Head of senior dwarf family
- Ardent - Grag
- Otto Chriek
- Dee - Jar'akh'haga or 'the Ideas Taster' to the Low King.
- Delphine Angua von Überwald
- Wotua Doinov Composer of Überwald Winter
- Gryle - Banshee
- Hamcrusher - Grag
- Sally von Humpeding
- Moist von Lipwig
- Cheery Littlebottom
- Igor at the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork
- Lots of other Igors.
- Lady Margolotta
- The Notfaroutoe family
- Mr Nutt
- Rhys Rhysson - Low King of the Dwarfs
- Madam Sharn
- Captain Tantony of the Bonk Watch
- Baron Guye von Überwald
- Baroness Serafine von Überwald
- Wolfgang von Überwald
Books Featuring Uberwald
- Witches Abroad
- Carpe Jugulum
- The Fifth Elephant
- The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
- Monstrous Regiment
- Going Postal
- Unseen Academicals
- Raising Steam
- The Compleat Discworld Atlas
On Roundworld "Überwald" is the literal German translation of Transylvania ("beyond [over] the forest"), where big part of the population is German-speaking, so the language of the inhabitants of Überwald has also German-like accent.
One of the most famous European empires was the Holy Roman Empire. The most famous royal house in it was the House of Habsburg, which used a double-headed eagle as its symbol and originated in eastern Europe. Of course, the Unholy Empire was more straightforward, being both an empire and unholy; the Holy Roman Empire by Voltaire's time was not holy, Roman, or an empire.
Pratchett himself confesses that this country is simply a collection of horror movie cliches especially those associated with the Hammer movies. As a result the fine lads and lasses over at TV Tropes have decided to name the whole trope of a spooky European kingdom with haunted castles, vampires, werewolves and fearful peasants everywhere you look Uberwald, in fact I can do no better than to shamelessly rip off their entry:
A generic sort of "eastern Europe" area. There are peasants everywhere, and spooky old towns. Castles in the mountains abound, where one may find vampires, mad scientists, or the curse of the werewolf. Half of the population is gypsies who are easily angered and have funny accents.
A late sixties' Hammer horror was called Theatre of Horror, and used the idea of a travelling circus which carried among its number several vampire performers, who could perform, eat, then move on before they were noticed. Given that it may have used the doubly horrifying concept of a vampire clown, this makes the idea of Müning being the centre of Überwaldean clowning doubly more plausible and infinitely more scary.
In the 1931 film version of Stoker's Dracula, Van Helsing reflects:- "According to van Helsing, the Count must indeed have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land. If it be so, then was he no common man: for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the land beyond the forest"
Human Überwald tends largely to reflect Southern Germany (Bavaria), Switzerland, and those less martial associations with Austria. (The countries of Borogravia and Zlobenia appear to reflect Imperial Austro-Hungary taken up to eleven). Hungary and Romania, with their rich folklore, add a dash of exotic colour. A distinct Russian flavour appears in Far Überwald, with a Russian-like language using a "Cyrillic" alphabet.