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It is well known on the Disc that the eighth son of an eighth son is a born wizard, and that wizards generally don't indulge themselves in love affairs. The reason for this might be that if a wizard were to have sons, all of them would be powerful wizards by birth, and the eighth would be a sourcerer, a wizard squared. Wizards use the magic existing on the Disc to perform spells, but a sourcerer is a source of magic: there is nearly nothing he can't do, as he uses magic he himself "generates", making them one of the most powerful entities on the Discworld. This led, early on in human history, when raw magic distilled out of the air in enormous quantities, to warfare between Wizards as each strove to be the most powerful. This then is the basis for the adjunct that people given over to affairs of the heart had to give up wizardry. No-one wants a return to those days of tower-building and vast magical warfare. There are parts of the Disc even now that are unsafe, thanks to the after effects of those ancient wars.

The last known sourcerer was a young boy named Coin, eighth son of Ipslore the Red, who wrought havoc on the Disc, nearly causing the Apocralypse. It is not widely known, but he was stopped by the wizzard {sic) Rincewind, a famously incompetent student of Unseen University, heavily armed with a half-brick inna sock. Contemplating this fact has caused mental stress to the more thoughtful senior wizards, as it means that Rincewind has triumphed in a duel with such a puissant practitioner of magic that it means, at the very least, that he is the equivalent of an eighth-level mage. This is yet another aspect of the whole Business with the Sourcerer that senior wizards are loathe to consider deeply: as such, the level of honour they were prepared to bestow upon Rincewind steadily decreased from a statue to a mention in the honours scrolls to finally being a censure for being improperly dressed on University property.

The Time of the Sourcerer: fall-out and aftermath

In fact, since the event, a general uneasy amnesia has settled upon wizardhood, the majority of which is happy not to deeply contemplate the part it took or the side it stood on.

It took Ridcully's acension to the Archchancellorship to change things. Ridcully, a man who genuinely was visiting his sick aunt in Quirm at the time, is in a position analagous to that of General Rommel. (In Roundworld history, the one senior German general who could easily have proven he fought a clean war and neither sanctioned nor looked away from war crimes - in fact, in a desert there's not really much to commit a war crime on, and when the SS has been committed in its entirity to faraway Russia, nobody to perform them. It is Rommel's good fortune that he led the Afrika Korps, a German army with, uniquely, no SS component, and is universally acknowledged to have fought a fair and decent war, insofar as war can be fair and decent. This is in comparison to the war in Russia that was occupying his peers' time, which no history has ever called decent, fair, or clean.). Ridcully has some moral authority in this matter. By comparison, the other senior wizards look like the line-up in the dock at Nuremburg, and are guiltily aware of this.

This happy set of circumstances is one lever Ridcully uses to enforce compliance, or at least sulky obedience, from the wizards. He could, for instance, cure Vetinari's vexatious memory gap concerning a few weeks in his life of which he can genuinely recall nothing. As the Patrician spent those few weeks in the form of a yellow-green lizard imprisoned in a glass jar, he might welcome an opportunity to discuss the matter of his temporary change of species with those wizards who thought this was a good idea at the time, a fact several wizards are hideously aware of, and which must tend to surface from wizardly memory at about three in the morning, following a late cheese supper.

Ridcully also ruled on the Rincewind-as-equivalent-to-an-eighth-level-mage thing: he pointed out that this would only apply had he used actual magic to defeat the Sourcerer. A half-brick in a sock is not a magical artifact, therefore we are back to square one, where somebody who in fact failed his degree is pretending to be a wizard.

From later inference, it is also highly possible that the History Monks participated in setting the Discworld to rights and ensuring that to most non-magical people, nothing happened.

It is not recorded how Discworld Witches dealt with the Apocralypse, although it may be assumed that the Lancre witches would have had jolly firm views on the matter of a Sourcerer seeking to trouble the lives of hard-working Lancre folk. One assumes they worked out what was going on quite quickly, and took firm and decisive action to protect what was important to them. (See Discussion for further on this.)

Other Examples

Aside from Coin, not many sourcerers have been discussed as individuals. Of these, Maligree is remembered for his Wonderful Garden while the Klatchian Ajandurah is remembered for his Wand of Utter Negativity. Another, unnamed sourcerer led an expedition to Fourecks in centuries past. Another sourcerer cursed several merchants after receiving bad service, forcing them never to close, and instead they became the Wandering Shops plying their wares across reality. The Evil Emperor of Uberwald has been referred to as a "sorcerer", but whether this is historical fact or mere sloppy spelling is uncertain.