Wen the Eternally Surprised: Difference between revisions

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''Wén'' in Mandarin Chinese (a [[Roundworld]] tongue) means "Cultured", but it is much more likely that his name is a [[pune]], or play on words, on the English word "When", meaning a fixed point in time.
''Wén'' (文) in Mandarin Chinese (a [[Roundworld]] tongue) means "culture; refined",[http://translate.google.com/#zh-CN/en/%E6%96%87][http://en.bab.la/dictionary/chinese-english/%E6%96%87] but it is much more likely that his name is a [[pune]], or play on words, on the English word "When", meaning a fixed point in time.

[[Category:Discworld characters]]
[[Category:Discworld characters]]
[[Category:Supporting characters]]
[[Category:Supporting characters]]
[[de:Ewig überraschter Wen]]
[[de:Ewig überraschter Wen]]

Latest revision as of 06:04, 7 February 2014

Name Wen the Eternally Surprised
Race Human
Age Difficult to tell, but born thousands of years ago
Occupation Founder of the Order of Wen
Physical appearance Bald young man
Residence Glass Palace
Death Practically immortal as he is not affected by time
Children Lobsang Ludd and Jeremy Clockson
Marital Status married to the (previous - and female) personification of Time
Books Thief of Time

Founder of the Order of Wen, also known as the History Monks, and married to the original anthropomorphic personification of Time. Their son Lobsang is the current (if such a word can be used in this context) Time.

Wen has the appearance of a bald and fairly surprised young man, who looks as if he has been around a very long time. He is the author of the Scrolls of Wen, where he recounts his discovery of the nature of Time and how he manipulates time. And a love poem.

As a youngish man who had devoted his life to understanding time (somewhat like an early astrophysicist), he actually met the avataristic incarnation of time, who looked - to him - like a young, dark-haired woman. However, as these anthropomorphic personifications can assume any form they desire (witness no-one recognising Death unless he wishes them to), it is unwise to assume that his lover was female - or in fact human-shaped.

For lovers they became, and Time took Wen from his newly-founded monastery wherein the secrets of the manipulation of time (and, incidentally, how to kick people so hard their kidneys came out of their noses) had started to be distilled and passed on to novices, and away to her Glass Palace beyond space and time.

His first novice was Clodpool, a particularly lack-witted apprentice, but a fortunate creature indeed, to whom fell the task of running after his Master and who was blessed by being the first to receive the wisdom of Wen.

For all his great age (living outside time, Wen may have existed for trillennia), he was still quantifiably human (and male) when the time came for his child to be born. He approached Nanny Ogg, who is probably the greatest midwife the Disc has ever known, on three separate occasions, one in her early witchhood, once in her middle years and once when she was the comfortable old baggage Discworld fans adore. On each occasion he pleaded with her that they didn't have much time, which was ridiculous because if he could manipulate his own appearances to her so easily, surely he could have returned with her to the Glass Palace before he'd even left, should he have so desired.

Be that as it may, Time was no great shakes herself on the calmness continuinuumum...um. She was so scared (all right - if she's giving birth perhaps we can assume she was female, for some value of "female") that she couldn't maintain a temporal position, and Wen had to sing little songs to her and babble in his outlandish tongue to soothe her. But the birth troubled her sorely. She had the child, then stuttered a little, time got messed up, and she gave birth again. One child - born twice. Not twins. As Nanny Ogg remarked later, "Twins is two souls born once each. Not one born twice."

As so often on the Disc it was left to a witch to sort it out. (Or more likely, the witch bullied and argued until she got her way.) The two children were left on the doorsteps of different guilds, and it is upon this premise that Thief of Time builds its story.

As a reward for her services, Wen gave Nanny a fancy egg-timer (a miniature life-timer such as Death cares for in his great library) with the words Tempus Redux carven upon it. In the Ancient Latatian tongue (as in Roundworld's Latin), this means Time Returned - a recompense for the few hours she helped. Vital to anybody, these hours may very well prove pivotal to another, as-yet-untold, Discworld plot - probably when Granny Weatherwax wants them used, as opposed to Nanny Ogg...


Wén (文) in Mandarin Chinese (a Roundworld tongue) means "culture; refined",[1][2] but it is much more likely that his name is a pune, or play on words, on the English word "When", meaning a fixed point in time.