Review: Pyramids (Discworld)

Pyramids Ebook Book Cover by Terry Pratchett

Continuing on my read-through of Discworld Novels, Pyramids is a bit of a favourite, funnily enough not because I think its particularly above the other novels, just that its one of the first ones I ever read, and because my older brother owns the book I’ve also read it many more times throughout my adolescence.

Pyramids is a bit of an interesting one – sitting in the minority as a ‘stand-alone’ Discworld novel this is our only version with Pteppic – a reluctant Prince of ‘Jellybaby’ a satire of ancient Egypt.

Similar to my comments of Wyrd Sisters, in Pyramids one feels that Pratchett is perhaps easing off the satire, or more precisely, added more traditional story telling to the plot alongside the riffing on the world and tropes that accompany Discworld novels. Along with this point I also feel that Pyramids marks a bit of a turning point, where up to this stage I felt that Pratchett had more skewered fantasy tropes for storylines and played the social commentary as gags throughout. Pyramids feels more like Pratchett has allowed some traditional storytelling to be included (e.g. Pteppic actually learns to be a pretty bad-ass assassin) while also turning up the social commentary several notches.

Just by way of examples, Pratchett shows the country of ‘Jellybaby’ as literally and figuratively stuck in the past, objective progress held back by continually building pyramids for dead kings, despite having no wealth to do so. Economic and personal philosophy collide when the pyramid workers find through timey wimey manipulates they can multiple themselves and their work-crew.

SPOILERS AHEAD

A funny side-note: rereading these books makes me realize that Pratchett did not like traditional love stories, although from his choices I can’t work out whether he likes to spin tropes, or just maybe feels so awkward he prefers to not to go there. For example poor Rincewind falls for his love interest, only to have them fall for someone else upon immediately meeting them. Mort doesn’t end up with the obvious crush, but falls for the girl-next-dimension? Pteppic almost gets into a Lannister type conundrum with an awkward resolution at the last minute. I might have to review this upon getting through more of the ‘Guards’ series…

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