Whiteface

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Dr. Whiteface
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Name Dr. Whiteface
Race human
Age middle-aged
Occupation Clown, Head of the Guild
Physical appearance Classical (white-faced) Clown
Residence The Guild of Fools and Joculators
Death
Parents
Relatives
Children
Marital Status unmarried
Appearances
Books Men at Arms
Cameos Making Money

The stony-faced first among equals at the Guild of Fools and Joculators.

There was some confusion as to how long Whiteface has been in office, as in Reaper Man there is a meeting attended by known civic leaders, where the Fools' Guild's representative is a Fool called Geoffrey, described as the "Chief Butt" of the Guild. (He is kindly treated by the other Guild leaders and civic dignitaries, and finally led away by gentle hands). This suggested that the Guild was at this time led by a Fool rather than a clown, and in keeping with its grey joylessness, a rather neurotic ineffectual one. However, in Men at Arms, the Guild leader is very clearly a a grim-faced clown called Dr. Whiteface, the stern-looking one who does not get involved in all the side-splitting comedy pratfalls nor any business with buckets of water. In some indefinable way, all the action in the ring revolves around him while leaving him untouched. He is the one the other clowns appear to be afraid of. Dr. Whiteface is evidently made of sterner stuff than Geoffrey, as he faces down Captain Carrot in a battle of wills.

In the relevant entry in the The New Discworld Companion, it is in fact made clear that the chief of the Guild, for over three hundred years, has been Dr Whiteface. Faces may be passed down through families; clearly, the Guild allows for the visage of Dr. Whiteface to be inherited by each new chief clown.

Although the word is not used, it is clear that Dr Whiteface derives directly from the whitefac, or dominant clown of European circus tradition, this figure is sometimes termed a Pierrot owing to the resemblance of his costume and face to those of the French clown of that name. The costume is suggested (in the Discworld Sketchbook) to be hereditary among leaders of the guild, suggesting that there is always a Whiteface while the Chief Butt is a mere sidekick (and quite often kicked at that) to the guild president. (In fact, a Butt is a rather lowly level in the Heirarchy, which has nine steps for an aspirant Clown or Fool to climb. So if each level of the profession has its own Chief - Chief Muggins, Chief Dupe, Chief Gull, Chief Butt, Chief Tomfool, et c - this explains much, and might well explain Geoffrey's presence at a civic meeting, if Whiteface wanted to show it didn't merit his own presence nor that of anyone higher in the hierarchy).

The official title of Doctor Whiteface is The Abbot. The reason for this is that the Guild of Fools explicitly views itself as a closed monastic order seeking purity through devotion to the Great Work, untrammeled by mundane things like soft beds, more than minimal rest, contact with women, and other sullying influences. Below him are Obedientaries (Guild officers with an administrative function) and the Cloistered Priors (the treaching staff of the Guild School). More details may be found in Discworld Fools' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2001.