Thomas Silverfish

From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Thomas Silverfish
File:Silverfish.jpg
Silverfish, as drawn by Matt Smith
Name Thomas Silverfish
Race Human
Age middle-aged
Occupation President of the Alchemists' Guild
Physical appearance Chemical-stained hands, little weaselly eyes
Residence Ankh-Morpork
Death {{{death}}}
Parents {{{parents}}}
Relatives {{{relatives}}}
Children {{{children}}}
Marital Status {{{marital status}}}
Appearances
Books Moving Pictures
Cameos Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms


Thomas Silverfish, the President of the Alchemists' Guild appears in Moving Pictures as a rather more important character than he appeared in Guards! Guards!. He is one of the co-creators of octo-cellulose (the Discworld equivalent of cinefilm) and, coincidentally, of Moving Pictures which descends upon Holy Wood like a fever and briefly makes stars of many, including Victor Tugelbend and Theda Withel.

In Men at Arms, Silverfish is still experimenting with octo-cellulose, this time as a material for billiard balls. Very volatile billiard balls.

Annotation

Thomas Silverfish as a movie director is entirely modelled on movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, whose real name was Samuel Gelbfisch, and who spent a short time as Samuel Goldfish before changing his name a second time to Goldwyn. As he'd already appeared a year earlier in Guards! Guards!, however, was Terry hugely foreshadowing, or was it fortuitous? Will we ever know?

Goldwyn was responsible for a whole sequence of malapropisms known collectively as Goldwynisms, some of which are so well known now as to have passed into the vernacular. A number of Goldwyn quips are repeated (in one form or another) by Silverfish throughout the book, such as "you'll never work in this town again", "include me out", and "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on".

Following the events of Moving Pictures, Silverfish goes on to produce another, peculiar element. Far heavier than lead, is produced from lots of ore, and most certainly does not go bang- despite the thoughts of his assistant. Most likely Uranium.