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  • "'I shall call you Boy,' she said." - a reference to Great Expectations, where Estella calls Pip the same thing.
  • "'SHE IS A VERY PLEASANT GIRL', said Death, 'BUT I THINK SHE QUITE LIKES HAVING SOMEONE OF HER OWN AGE AROUND TO TALK TO.' [...] 'AND, OF COURSE, ONE DAY ALL THIS WILL BELONG TO HER.'" - Early in the book, Death seems to want to Mort and Ysabell to fall in love (one almost wonders if that's the real job Death wanted Mort for), but he seems surprised when Ysabell actually does fall in love with Mort later in the book.
  • "...the princesses were beautiful as the day is long and so noble they, they could pee through a dozen mattresses" - Albert is misremembering the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Princess and the Pea (the Discworld version is presumably similar). Ysabell later corrects this to "she feel a pea through a dozen mattresses".
  • "...same tone of voice people used when they said to St George, 'You killed a what?'" - reference to the famous story Saint George and the Dragon
  • Mort says "the interface is moving at a slow walking pace [...] About twenty miles [away]", and Cutwell replies "it'll arrive around midnight tomorrow". There appears to be a miscalculation here. If a slow walking pace is 2mph, the interface will arrive in 10 hours. That would mean it's about 2pm when Mort and Cutwell are talking, but it's really the middle of the night. Did Cutwell factor in some sort of speed decrease? (perhaps he knows that interfaces like this slow down the smaller they get?)
  • "...the only thing you get remembered for is that you smelled like yoghurt and were bitten in the..." - the species of snake that Cleopatra (though not necessarily Ezeriel) sat on was an 'asp' (so she was bitten by an asp on the ...). Cleopatra was also famous for bathing in milk.
  • "Cripple Wa's famous floating crap game" - probably means that the game's location is not fixed ("floats"), but note the "floating crap" pun.
  • "Twenty-one the hard way!" - probably 3 7's. In Roundworld craps, the "hard way" is when both dice show the same number.
  • At one point, Death indicates he's had 47 drinks, a possible intentional reference to 47
  • "When a man is tired of Ankh-Morpork, he is tired of ankle-deep slurry." - parodies Samuel Johnson's quote, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
  • "'Alligator sandwich,' he said. 'And make it sna ...'" - this joke ("make it snappy") is repeated in Witches Abroad, where Granny Weatherwax is unable to remember it properly.
  • This is one of the few non-Rincewind books in which Rincewind appears. In Equal Rites, some of the action takes place in the University Library, but Rincewind is never mentioned (he may be in the background, however?).
  • "The other held a small yellow toad." - since toads are normally green, not yellow, this is possibly a reference to the "yellow sick toad"] joke.
  • "Father tried that tone on me for years [...] It didn't work then, either." - one of the few indications that people can disobey Death's word.
  • "...the kind of hedgehog that crashes out of the verges and flattens lorries" - possibly a reference to the Terry Gilliam Monty Python animation where this also occurs. The hedgehog in this case is called Spiny Norman, and is the major and only fear of Dinsdale Piranha, the psychotic half of the evil gangster Piranha Twins of Kipling road, Stepney. A giant hedgehog flattening lorries was used as the twist in a beer commercial, with two reflective bystanders to utter the tag line "Now there's something you don't see very often". (The more cerebral twin used his intellect and his facility with sarcasm, simile, metaphor, litotes and other tricks of language to terrify and intimidate people. Sounds like somebody.
  • "if Mort ever compared a girl to a summer's day [...]" - reference to Shakespeare's Sonnet 18
  • After the appointment of Mort as the new Duke of Sto Helit, the Sto Helit family coats of arms is, mysteriously, (due to their ties with Death,) a shield with pair of scythes crossed against it, and a hourglass where the scythes cross.

On Roundworld,such a shield was the emblem of a unique New York dining club, who set about methodically ridiculing the susperstition that the number thirteen and the day Friday were inherently unlucky, by deliberately dining thirteen to a table on every Friday the Thirteenth. Active between 1881 and the First World War, the Thirteen Club [1] and its members suffered no greater ill-fortune than would be attributable to chance, and the club emblem on its menus and letterheads was indeed two scythes crossed in front of an hourglass with the motto Morituri Te Salutamus (We who are about to die salute you").

Thirteen Club.JPG

Roundworld references

  • Titanic and Lusitania, two ill-fated ships
  • Lord Nelson: many statues have been erected in honor of this famous British Lord
  • When drinking in the Mended Drum, the opening lines of conversation between Death and the bartender are "It's a quarter to three" (Bartender), "There's no one in the place cept you and me" (Death). These are the opening lines to "One for My Baby" by Frank Sinatra.

Mort Annotations - The Annotated Pratchett File