Mustrum Ridcully

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Mustrum Ridcully
Mustrum Ridcully by Kit Cox
Name Mustrum Ridcully
Race Human
Age 67 in Moving Pictures
Occupation Archchancellor of Unseen University
Physical appearance Large, bearded, physically fit (for a wizard)
Residence Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork
Parents Mother still alive during Reaper Man
Relatives brother, Hughnon Ridcully; Verruca (distant cousin)
Children none
Marital Status Never Married
Books Reaper Man, Lords and Ladies, Soul Music, Interesting Times, Hogfather, The Last Continent, The Last Hero
Cameos Moving Pictures, Jingo, The Truth, Men at Arms, Night Watch, Going Postal, Thud!, Making Money, Unseen Academicals, The Shepherd's Crown

Mustrum Ridcully (the Brown) is the current Archchancellor of Unseen University. He holds the following UU degrees and honours: DThau, DM, BS, DMn, DG, DD, DMPhil, DMS, DCM, DW & BElL. Before becoming the Archchancellor he had been away from the University for almost 40 years living in the countryside in the Ramtops. He had relatives near Bad Ass, where he was the one-time romantic interest of Esme Weatherwax.

A wizard of the 7th level by the age of 27. He rejoined the Unseen University when it was thought that he would only last for just long enough for the Wizards of the Unseen University to take a break from all the changes in Archchancellor that result from several hundred wizards all wanting the top spot at the university, and all being willing to use any means necessary to get it. The wizards thought they would be getting the sort of countryside wizard who talks to birds in soft voices, wears brown and reveres mother nature (y'know, a push over).

What they got was someone who shoots birds (and anything else), talks at a consistent shout, wears jogging suits and has about as much respect for mother nature as he does for the members of the faculty (which is not a lot). Early attempts to bump off Ridcully resulted in the ambitious Wizard being stabbed with his own knife, having his head repeatedly slammed in doors or being surreptitiously shot with a crossbow. As a result, any upwardly mobile wizards are now less upright, immobile and enjoying the huge dinners and lack of effort that comes with a stable hierarchy.

As a leader, Ridcully is completely closed off to any new ideas and refuses to listen to anyone whose problems don't take more than a minute to explain. He reasons that if someone is still trying to explain it after a few minutes, it's probably just about important enough to warrant some attention. He is simple, in that his mind is very hard to change, but he is by no means stupid, and he knows Wizardry inside out, and back to front. It's just all these new "uncertainty principles" and other strange ideas from the younger wizards that he can't, or refuses to, understand. In fact, that is just as well, because the younger wizards don't understand it, either; what they do is speculate very extensively.

There is a downside though. Ridcully seems to think that all everybody needs is some good exercise, to get up at the crack of dawn and a team spirit. To that end, he organises paintball matches between faculties and encourages wizards to get some exercise, such as running round the octangle a few hundred times. The wizards do not like this one bit, but they seem to be able to avoid it. The only wizard who manages to get in the way of Ridcully's high spirits is the Bursar, a quiet Wizard who enjoys numbers and not much else. Ridcully seems to think that what he really needs is lightening up, and tries to do this by jumping out from behind doors and screaming at him. The Bursar's already fragile sanity has since snapped.

He has played a prominent role in preventing many of the larger disasters (usually of a trans-dimensional or magical nature) that have threatened the Disc since he became Archchancellor. Although brash and loud and seemingly unable to listen, he is nevertheless capable of extreme erudition and insight, and occasionally displays formidable magical prowess. He often sees through Ponder Stibbons' cleverness and - whilst being defiantly boneheaded about things until they are important enough for him to bother understanding - he can cut to the bone of an idea incisively and often winks at people (Ponder, Susan etc) to show that he knows far more than he tells.

His hat is a work of wonder, and his bed is not far off. This bed and a half is 8 posted containing a small bar, library and privy. Presumably it's a very hygienic privy, as the Archchancellor has strong feelings about hygiene. He has even a - of course pointy! - shower cap of his own design.

In his youth, Mustrum rowed for the university for 5 years and was awarded a University Brown. He was classmates with Dean Henry.

His brother Hughnon Ridcully is the high priest of Blind Io in Ankh-Morpork.

Ridcully is introduced in Moving Pictures as a countrified, squirearchical wizard (read: homicidal crossbow-wielding maniac) who had spent his time managing his family's estates. In Unseen Academicals, however, we learn that his father was an Ankh-Morpork butcher, and his father was a prizefighter, from which one may deduce that there is an untold story in the background, involving a high-born lady running off with a 'bit of rough' from the Big Wahoonie. Ridcully's mother, incidentally, was still alive as at the events of Reaper Man, when he was chided by his brother for not writing to her.

The Ridcully family appear to have had a long association with Ankh-Morpork: the Annotated Directory of Streets, Alleys, Roads Lanes and Yards of Ankh-Morpork and its associated street map (The Compleat Ankh-Morpork) lists an Ephram Ridcully Street* (A6-B6) leading from Farnicle Lane*(A6) to Saddlesore Road*(B6). Farnicle Lane connects to Snapcase Street and Endless Street, while Saddlesore Road leads to the Edgeway Road].


Mustrum Ridcully is D.Thau., D.M., D.S., D.Mn., D.G., D.D., D.C.L., D.M. Phil., D.M.S., D.C.M., D.W., B.El.L. and Archchancellor.

A short explanation on UU courses is available here.


Another famous 'Brown wizard' was Radagast the Brown from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, who wears brown and has especially good relations to birds. Almost exactly the type of wizard Ridcully was expected to be.

Paintball matches between departments at a University (in this case Caltech, Pasadena) are a staple situation in long-running comedy sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The squabbling and rather unworldly intellectuals and academics of TBBT would be right at home at UU; half the time their leisure time is spent in boardgames, RPG's and trading games featuring stock fantasy situations, so they're halfway there anyway. The show has already featured one fairly blatant Reverse Annotation to the Discworld, in the middle of a plethora of sci-fi, fantasy and comic book references...