Foul Ole Ron
|Foul Ole Ron|
|Name||Foul Ole Ron|
|Physical appearance||Dirty and smelly, speaking incoherently.|
|Residence||Mostly under Misbegot Bridge, Ankh-Morpork|
|Books||Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Hogfather, Jingo, The Truth|
|Cameos||Not really a cameo, but his catchphrase "Millennium Hand and Shrimp" is also used in Johnny and the Bomb by Mrs. Tachyon|
Foul Ole Ron is a beggar in Ankh-Morpork and a member of the Canting Crew, a group of beggars which other beggars refuse to have anything to do with (even beggars need somebody to look down on). Given that Ron was described as a member of the Beggars' Guild in Men at Arms, before his first appearance in the Crew, he was either expelled or the subject of one of Discworld's various alternate pasts. Ron is known for his Smell, so strong the capital letter is fully justified. In fact, Ron's Smell has evolved a personality of its own, and can be found without Ron, attending opera performance or visiting art galleries.
Ron is also known for the phrases "Bugrit!" and "Millennium Hand and Shrimp", whatever that means. He is often accompanied by his thinking-brain dog, Gaspode. Interestingly enough, when under the extra pressure of Elves on top of his usual burdens, the Bursar once started to talk exactly like Ron; Ponder Stibbons suspected that they'd overdone the Dried Frog Pills.... (Lords and Ladies)
Another Pratchett character who talks as if she could have an animated and mutually coherent conversation with Ron is Mrs. Tachyon, the mysterious time-travelling bag lady in the Johnny Maxwell series of books. In Johnny and the Bomb, Mrs Tachyon displays a personal familiarity with the phrase "Millennium, Hand And Shrimp!" that will be instantly recognisable to connoisseurs of Ron-speak. It raises the question of where, and from whom, she may have acquired the phrase, on her travels in space-time. (It is of course marginally possible that she has read her way through the Discworld books.)
The Assassins' Guild has an as yet unfulfilled contract for the inhumation of Ron. The value on his head is one groat. Ron is probably safe: a rule of Assassination is that the deed must be done up close and personally if at all possible, and preferably at the home of the inhumee. Getting up close and personal to a man who has no fixed abode would present operational difficulties, not the least of which is that Assassin finery would corrode and rot on first contact with the Smell. Even an arrow or crossbow bolt might corrode in the very air before reaching him. Besides, which self-respecting Assassin would get out of bed for two pennies? (after Guild Tax).
The secret behind the phrase "Millennium Hand and Shrimp" is revealed in the annotated pratchett files. Of course, like stage magic, it's no fun when you know how it's done.