Talk:Book:Going Postal/Annotations

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we may need to move new annotations onto a new page--AgProv 09:43, 3 October 2008 (UTC)?

This warning shows up on others, too, but is anyone actually having a problem? Firefox works fine regardless and I suspect the warning is a relic of obsolete browsers. (Talk:Main Page is 41KB.) --Old Dickens 21:03, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Temple of Offler/Sausages

Surprised this one wasn't mentioned, but isn't the idea that 'crocodiles love sausages' a reference to Punch and Judy?

The" Illuminatus! "connection?

Original text:-

Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy also parodies Ayn Rand with its creation of charismatic anarchist hero [Hagbard Celine, a direct parody of Ragnar Danneskjold. Although Hagbard is temperamentally and politically on the side of those who throw grit into the machine belonging to the Gilts, Galts and Dannesskjolds, such as Moist von Lipwig...

Objection noted. How about use of text: "There may also be links and distant echoes to the plot and characters of Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy, also in this context a work of satire which parodies Ayn Rand's right-wing libertarian philosophy."

--AgProv 14:03, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Back to the future reference

When Moist goes to the University's library for the first time, the Wizard in there tells him not to say anything and straps him into a machine that's supposed to read his mind. This is strikingly similar to the scene in Back to the future(1), where Marty McFly goes to the Doc for the first time in 1955, The Doc grabs him telling him not to say anything and straps him into a machine to try and read his mind. both the Doc in the movie and the Wizard in the book, have little success in their attempt.

I cant remember the exact quote from the movie, since I don't have it right now. if anyone can provide the quote it would be great.

--Behp 01:56, 07 May 2010 (UTC)

Carry On Matron

Well done for spotting Hattie Jacques! She really did present the Maccalariat-lite persona of the British hospital matron of legend so much better than everyone else... the nearest recent representaion is the character that Oscar-wining Irish actress Brenda Fricker[1] did for so long in "Casualty" (note for non-Brits: "Casualty" is the long-running British TV version of "ER" with less glamour and glitz and more blood and guts - although "Nurse Jackie" is a recent American take on the theme that we cynical Brits can relate to a lot more, an overworked nurse in an underfunded and over-bureaucratized shabby failing hospital.)

Now we just need the following characters:

  • busty saucy young nurse (Barbara Windsor)
  • green and inexperienced junior doctor (Jim Dale)
  • slightly fey and cultured older doctor the Matron is secretly in love with (Kenneth Williams)
  • An assortment of bolshie hypochondriachal or just workshy Ankh-Morpork patients who realise that with waitress service and three named-meat meals a day, they're on a better deal than home--AgProv 11:54, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

...and Sid James as CMOT Dibbler. --Old Dickens 21:52, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Page numbers

Is there a preferable system for the references page numbers? The US page numbers don't help me, as I have a UK Doubleday edition. UKDD page numbers could take preference as the "main" edition of the book, but if I went and changed them all, the people with US editions wouldn't be pleased! Unless there's a syntax for listing multiple editions... JaffaCakeLover 13:35, 11 September 2010 (CEST)

Odds and Ends

The "Odds and Ends" section has turned into discussions: shouldn't it be reduced to just the references, or the whole thing moved onto this talk page? JaffaCakeLover 13:37, 11 September 2010 (CEST)

A provocative idea

Worth acknowledging tvtropes, and copying it to here. At the end of Going Postal, Reacher Gilt is a fugitive with an Assassins' Guild contract fee on his head. Mr Pump beings him back as a prisoner. Gilt is offered an angel but refuses. He then takes that one last step to freedom. Havelock Vetinari is an Assassins' Guild member. It can be reasoned that he has inhumed or caused to be inhumed a man on whom there is now a big Guild fee. Therefore he can claim that fee. It is, after all, coming from some very rich men who have been inconvenienced by Gilt and can be productively spent by Vetinari on the Undertaking or on related expenses, like repairing the clacks and getting a strategically vital communications tool fully functioning. Lord Downey, who stands to get a standard 50% of that fee in Guild tax, will not object to a fellow Guild member getting the other 50%. So the Inhumation Bell rings for a contract concluded by Havelock Vetinari...

Albert Spangler

Is it just me, or does Albert Spangler (Moist's 'main' alias, at least in the UK editions) has strong overtones of Robert Vaughn's con-man character Albert Stroller in the BBC TV series Hustle? DigitalRaven 10:19, 24 May 2012 (CEST)

Moved from main page

This one:

(p249) "'There's the Lady Sibyl Free Hospital,' said Miss Dearheart. 'Is it any good?' 'Some people don't die.' 'That good, eh?'" - Lady Sibyl Vimes nee Ramkin, of course, is the wife of Commander Vimes of the Watch, the Duchess of Ankh-Morpork, and in terms of assets, the wealthiest woman in the city. Up until now she's devoted herself to caring for swamp dragons, and horse doctors in Ankh-Morpork were considered more reliable for people than people doctors.

I thought the hospital was run by Dr. Lawn, who appears in Nightwatch? I thought this was a reference to him, considering his help in that book. --Sanity 13:32, 10 January 2006 (CET)

1. I agree it is evident that Dr. Lawn is the man running the place.
2. What does "freehold" mean? Sam Vimes "signed over the freehold" to Dr. Lawn.
3. How is the hospital financed so that services remain free? It may be from the "large amount of money" that Vimes signed over to Dr. Lawn, or it may be more donations from Lady Sybil. This point is unclear as of Going Postal. I don't know if there's any new illumination in Thud!.
4. This annotation can certainly be improved. Adding the involvement of Dr. Lawn, for example.

By the way I checked The Discworld Companion, the name is Sybil, "y" first, and then "i". --Vsl 00:38, 11 January 2006 (CET)

"Freehold" is a British legal term for land holding. Essentially it means that the land is owned outright, and there is no need to pay rent to anyone else. As to the name of the hospital, it's not unknown for hospitals and the like to be named after important personages, which, as Duchess of Ankh-Morpork, Lady Sibyl/Sybil certainly is; she doesn't have to have personally funded the hospital, although of course she might have. --Apalmer 12:12, 25 March 2006 (CET)

The same usage of "freehold" appears in Men At Arms, when Vimes points out that he does own the Assassins' Guildhouse.

OK, so we know Dr. Lawn owns and runs the place. The starting funds were likely the payment from Vimes. Lady Sybil may or may not have continued donating. The hospital is named in her honor because she's a city dignitary and after all the land was given to Dr. Lawn for her.--Vsl 17:04, 17 May 2006 (CEST)

What I really worry about is that the original writer of this annotation may have thought that the large woman (the matron) who stops Moist from taking Mr. Groat out of the hospital was actually Lady Sybil herself, i.e. Lady Sybil is personally present on the site and acting as the matron, just like she often is present at Sunshine Sanctuary working on the dragons. The annotation gave me that impression. Although the matron is large like Lady Sybil and says "hwhat" in a haughty fashion, I think it's clear that she's a career nurse, not Lady Sybil. Lady Sybil would likely dislike working on patients sticky from illnesses; they are not dragons, and they are not brave young men wounded in battles. Dr. Lawn would have been uneasy to have a duchess as an actual working staff member, and if it's Lady Sybil, Dr. Lawn would not have made the comment about throwing chocolates to distract the nurses.--Vsl 17:04, 17 May 2006 (CEST)

  • Plus, Sybil does have a young baby to take care of at home, as well as an unspecified number of swamp dragons. Even if she were inclined to volunteer at Dr. Lawn's clinic, as a believer in traditional wifely duties, she'd surely wait until Young Sam is a good deal older before undertaking such work outside the home.

With regard to the question of how the hospital is funded: As I understand it, free hospitals in Victorian Britain generally kept going through a combination of voluntary donations (such as the one Dr Lawn solicits from Moist), careful investment, being largely staffed with volunteers, and (I believe) a sort of financial inertia where most of the time they couldn't afford to go bankrupt. Daibhid C 15:18, 26 October 2006 (CEST)

If we all agree, I will fix it and remove the disclaimer. By the way, aren't the annotations for pages 12 and 13 the same? --Confusion (talk) 06:14, 2 January 2014 (GMT)

Page 224 - the Smoking Gnu - I always thought the choice of gnu was more in geeky reference to Gnu Not Unix rather than the mammal given the circumstances...maybe I was reading too much into it at the time.

Updated it and clarified that "gnu" as mammal was for Truckers, likely not for Going Postal. Now somebody please tell us what "Gnu Not Unix" means...--Vsl 17:04, 17 May 2006 (CEST)
Its a free source code software foundation kind of thing, which writes all kinds of wonderful source code for Unix systems ... its kind of a recursive name. "Its GNU not UNIX" says Peter, "What does GNU stand for?" says Paul, "Its GNU not UNIX!!!!!" says Peter....very geeky but true. I promise to unanonimise myself sometime.....

Note that Ridcully exclaims "Here's that damn enormous fiery eye again!"

The tell-tale "again" is interesting. The omniscope can see everything that can, will, has, should or might happen in all possible universes (p329, Doubleday). Therefore it can logically open up a window into Middle Earth: which Tolkien tells us was originally a flat Discworld, (although he is silent on the topic of elephants and turtles). Two Discworlds should resonate in harmony together, making psychic links between them more, rather than less, possible. This suggests there already has been that contact, although the wizards are understandably ignorant of the full detail. It makes an odd kind of sense: Sauron would be naturally drawn to any signs of Wizardly activity he detects through the Palantir, which was designed with six others like it to link together as a sort of "Internet". The natural tendency would be for it to link up to a related magical device or devices elsewhere in the universe. Of course, Sauron might not be aware that the Palantir has linked him to another phase of reality. Gandalf(yearning to look upon the Middle-Earth of his distant boyhood) tells us it can see through to other times and places (effectively making it an Omniscope). And it's just as well the wizards do not know the full story and have no seeming inclination to find out, or Ridcully might well want to lead the Faculty to Middle-Earth to lend a hand to a fellow wizard (Gandalf) in difficulties and fighting a one-wizard battle...

As Sauron (if it is he) has no business outside Middle Earth, the simplest of banishing rituals, like a bellowed "Bugger Off!", or a raised middle finger from Ridcully, should suffice to wrest control of the Omniscope back. What Sauron may think of Discworld wizards, compared to the ones he is most familiar with, is unrecorded... --AgProv 00:25, 28 April 2007 (CEST)

The "wizards" of Middle Earth aren't human or even mortal - they're incarnations of Mayar spirits, so Gandalf had much more in common with Sauron then with Ridcully, I'm afraid...

I feel that I must point out that Aragorn has the undoubted right to use the Palantír, because he was King, and that his statement to this effect is made to Gimli and Legolas, not Gandalf. He says, "Nay, my friends, I am the lawful master of the Stone, and I had both the right and the strength to use it, or so I judged. The right cannot be doubted. The strength was enough—barely." The Lord of the Rings, Book Five, Chapter II (The Return of the King page 53 in my edition). --Edanite 03:56, 26 June 2007 (CEST)

A little flaw in the book's plot

When postage stamps are first invented, Moist wonders about a method of separating them from a sheet without having to go through the long-winded process of cutting them out one at a time with scissors. He remembers how Stanley secured pins to paper - by pushing them through it - and, being Stanley, this leaves a long precise line of regularly shaped holes which may be torn. He describes this to the techs at Teemer and Spools, who then build a machine to create perforations. This has apparently never been done before, and Moist gives T&S the copyright and patent for the machine. Yet much earlier in the book, he visits Dave's Pin Exchange and explicitly asks for - and buys - a roll of pre-perforated backing paper to display pins on. So the technology for making perforated paper clearly already existed on the Disc? He didn't need to re-invent it! AgProv (talk) 21:39, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Pineapples and getting past them...

More Internet trivia: concept not yet confirmed. Apparently in the antebellum Deep South, the equivalent of giving somebody the cold shoulder was to give them a pineapple. The sacred duty of hosting guests means you can't tell them to piss off when it's got to the Hat, The Vulture-Headed-God of Unwelcome Guests stage. Mediaeval lords got around this by putting their unwelcome guests on the same cold mutton ration the peasants got. In the Deep South and other parts of the USA, they put a pineapple on the bedside table - this fruit being so common you fed the slaves on it, or something. The clear hint: it's been real nice havin' y'all, but y'all better hit the road now, you hear? So Getting Past The Pineapple might have the association of heaving a deep sigh, packing your carpet-bag and getting someone to saddle up your horse.AgProv (talk) 21:39, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

I don't mess with annotations much, but AgProv seems to have it bass-ackwards here. The pineapple was (and remains, especially in Charleston) a symbol of hospitality, from the days when they were rare and expensive. I recall a suggestion that if the pineapple was not at the table any more, you shouldn't be, either, but I haven't confirmed that yet. --Old Dickens (talk) 03:02, 6 August 2019 (UTC)


(p56) "'Be with you in jus't one moment, s'ir, I'm ju'st—'" – Greengrocers throughout the English-speaking world (but in England in particular) are known for their persistent abuse of the apostrophe-ess combination on their handwritten signs.

Terry was being unjust. The Greengrocer's apostrophe has long been a source of ridicule, but the origin of the apostrophe in the first place was to show the "e" Johnson used in plural words like "Peares" had been missed out. Robert Barltrop's "The Muvver Tongue" is an excellent source for insight into Cockney and what has developed into Estuary English. WillE (talk) 18:49, 5 August 2019 (UTC)


(Doubleday p78)

From comments in I suggest the word is meant to mean:

"All people who come to understanding stand on the shoulders [of giants]", paraphrasing Newton's famous quote

  • 'Von' - from
  • 'alles' - all
  • 'volk' - people [lit. 'folk']
  • 'kommen' - come (to)
  • 'unverstandlich' - understanding
  • 'das' - on/by/the [liberties taken WRT German pronouns etc]
  • 'keit' - grammatical change suffix

(unsigned comment by Snafu 12 Jan 2021)