Pupil Contributions, Clifton College

Pupil Contributions, Clifton College

William Fothergill: 19/12/16

Mort is the first book in the Death series, which itself is part of the absolutely huge number of books in the Discworld canon and takes a comedic look at death. Well, Mr Pratchett, not taken the easiest comedic subject but the real question is does he pull it of?  The answer -  Yes.

For everyone who thinking about entering the Discworld series. this is the perfect one with which to start. Pratchett has a tendency to have a large number plots and character going at a the same time and while this does make a interesting plot, it is very easy to find yourself confused at what is exactly going on and each thread moves rather slowly as the story jumps around, but this is not the case in Mort. The narrative is far more simple with a handful of character that we stick with till the end, though many readers well immersed in the universe may say that this is a weak point of the book. However, this book also establish many thing that are more prevalent in the latter ones such as Ankh Morpork and the Unseen University. The concept is easy to grasp with the main character becoming Death, assistant to the grim reaper.

The humour in the books is much like a child saying that the emperor has no clothes on. The blunt and honest tone cuts through the usual stigma surrounding the topic and gives a frank truth and through this, it gives a simple wisdom that goes far beyond what a detailed analysis can reveal. The book tackles a range of beliefs including reincarnation and the idea of an afterlife, treating all with respect but also keeping a good sense of humour. Never is the book depressing or gloomy, only funny, comforting and touching.

This is also the first appearances of Death as a main character as he has made some form of appearance in every Discworld book. The character is a fan favourite and it is very easy to see why. His manner is like a businessman taking a very logical look at the world. His transcendental approach is nothing but charming as he misunderstands human emotion and the feelings connected to the experience he encounters.

In conclusion, I think that Mort is a wonderful book and a brilliant introduction into the world Pratchett has created. It is not as complex and hard to follow as the other books in the series with simple characters but is still effective, moving and funny. If you are hoping to get into the world, it is a brilliant starting point.