Count de Magpyr
|Count de Magpyr|
|Name||Count de Magpyr|
|Residence||Don'tgonearthe Castle, Near Escrow, Überwald|
|Death||is only temporary, but will remain so for fifty years|
|Relatives||Bela de Magpyr, Carmilla de Magpyr, Magyrato|
|Children||son Vlad, daughter Lacrimosa|
|Marital Status||m. to the Countess de Magpyr|
Count de Magpyr was one of the charming de Magpyrs of Überwald. At least, they used to be charming, and they played by the rules. For a history of the previous Count - and by far the more powerful - see Bela de Magpyr. This new Count, with his wife and their brood of ill-mannered children (Vlad and Lacrimosa), attempted to take over Lancre in Carpe Jugulum.
In this attempt they are opposed by the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Agnes Nitt, assisted by Mightily Oats, an Omnian priest. There is also a supporting cast including Queen Magrat Garlick, her husband Verence II and the Nac Mac Feegle in their first outing in Pratchettdom.
Count de Magpyr uses magpies to spy for him, and indeed, can turn into a flock of magpies himself. These magpies are the harbingers of doom, and are seen all over Lancre before the vampires (or Vampyres as de Magpyr loves to style them) arrive. Amongst the well-known facts about vampires is that they cannot enter where they are not invited (which is why they're always so damn' suave - people just want them around: especially scantily-clad young ladies), but this is catered for by the hopelessly naive King Verence II when he invites them to the naming ceremony for his and Magrat's daughter. Granny Weatherwax, in particular, is unimpressed by this spectacularly idiotic gesture, which is somewhat akin to offering a great white shark your hand.
The de Magpyrs have developed some unnerving traits. Through the Count's meticulous planning, they have acclimatised themselves to holy water, signs and symbols of religion, even garlic. Running water? Pfaw! 'Every day, in every way, we get better and better'. Which is worrying for the inhabitants of Lancre. Especially when Agnes finds out what's been happening in Escrow. Here, the vampires have not just taken a few sucks of blood here and there, they have subsumed the will of the entire town, and can call in to drink blood at will. This grey-faced nightmare terrifies and enrages Agnes.
Granny Weatherwax saves the day by resisting the vampires' call to bloodlust when they bite her by the novel means of Borrowing herself into her own bloodstream which the vampires then drink, inviting Granny Weatherwax into them. Instead of her lusting after blood, they find themselves lusting after tea.
The situation in Escrow is one which clearly haunts Terry's dreams: this is a recurring theme in his writing, as Astfgl creates a similar vision of hell in Eric, Mavolio Bent's management of his staff creates the hell-on-Disc of the banking floor in Making Money, and Nuggan's Abominations turn Borogravia into a Hellish place to live - not of pain and torture but of numbing bureaucracy and the spirit-sapping nightmare of officialdom and its impenetrable rules that dominate all, turning minds to slag. A world in which humans actively queue up to be violated as compromise is easier than active disobedience - a system of coping with the world that seems inherent to humanity.
Also note the association between the magpie and the Trickster - when first encountered in The Last Continent, the Trickster of XXXX is "assisting" its Creator in the form of a magpie. This is a folkloric association found in many cultures on Roundworld.