These are the episode notes and errata for Pratchat episode 66, “Ol’ No Eyes Is Back“, discussing the 2010 Discworld novel, I Shall Wear Midnight, with returning guest Amie Kaufman.
We refer a few times to Pratchett’s 2010 Richard Dimbleby lecture, “Shaking Hands With Death”. It was published in 2012, and then collected in A Slip of the Keyboard in 2014, and we’ll have an episode on it in due course. You can watch the whole thing below, as the lecture is televised on BBC One, though the YouTube clip is not an official upload. Pratchett was unable to read it himself on the night, and gave the gig to Tony Robinson.
Notes and Errata
- The episode title riffs on the classic 1973 Frank Sinatra album Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back. It’s also, because we’re big nerds, a reference to Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back, the 1991 album by Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Brent Spiner, whose android character Data has golden eyes. Ben was delighted to discover another riff on the title while looking up these details: Old Brown Ears Is Back, a 1993 album by noted muppet pianist and singer, Rowlf the Dog!
- Guest Amie Kaufman was last on way back in July 2018 for #Pratchat9, “Upscalator to Heaven”, discussing Truckers. Her most recent books at the time were Ice Wolves, the first in the Elementals trilogy, and Obsidio, the final book in the Illuminae Files trilogy with Jay Kristoff. Since then she’s published the two other Elementals books, Scorch Dragons and Battle Born; another YA sci-fi trilogy with Kristoff, the Aurora Cycle; the Illuminae Files novella Memento (a hard to get publisher exclusive); two duologies with Meagan Spooner, The Other Side of the Sky and Beyond the End of the World, and Unearthed and Undying; and two books with Ryan Graudin, The World Between Blinks and Rebellion of the Lost. So by our count, that’s actually eleven novels and one novella!
- The blurb Amie reads seems to be from an American edition of the book, but we’re not sure which one. If you know, please tell us! A new edition is on the way in June, with a new cover matching the other recent paperback editions, and it uses a blurb very similar to, though shorter than, the one Amie reads. The old blurb was:
A man with no eyes. No eyes at all. Two tunnels in his head… It’s not easy being a witch, and it’s certainly not all whizzing about on broomsticks, but Tiffany Aching – teen witch – is doing her best. Until something evil wakes up, something that stirs up all the old stories about nasty old witches, so that just wearing a pointy hat suddenly seems a very bad idea. Worse still, this evil ghost from the past is hunting down one witch in particular. He’s hunting for Tiffany. And he’s found her…
- Pratchett mentions that I Shall Wear Midnight is the last Tiffany Aching book is at least a few places, but you can find it mentioned in this interview with book blogger the Bookwitch, and in this Guardian piece about I Shall Wear Midnight, both from 2010.
- Pratchett doesn’t say in his Richard Dimbleby Lecture that he gives the death he describes for his father to the Baron, but the Guardian piece mentioned above draws the same conclusion.
- On the subject of Boffo, Wintersmith pretty directly tells us it isn’t a common practice for witches to buy stuff from there, at least not in the Ramtops. In chapter 3, “The Secret of Boffo”, Tiffany asks Miss Treason directly:
‘Do all witches buy from Boffo?’ said TIffany.
‘Only me, at least around here. Oh, and I believe Old Mistress Breathless over in Two Falls used to buy warts from there.’
- Granny previously visited Ankh-Morpork in Equal Rites (see #Pratchat25, “Eskist Attitudes”), and again with Nanny Ogg in Maskerade (#Pratchat23, “The Music of the Nitt”).
- In Equal Rites there’s exactly one mention of city witches: they’ve left “witch marks” on the outside of the rear doors of Unseen University, advising any witches who visit that they are welcome and that the housekeeper Mrs Whitlow is “gullible and foolish”; Granny notes that “city witches didn’t seem that bright themselves”, though she doesn’t meet any or mention that any live in Ankh-Morpork. After spending some time with Mrs Whitlow, who at the time considered herself a psychic medium and put on posh airs, Granny wonders if she isn’t a “born witch who somehow missed her training”. She also does some witchery for folks while staying in the city, including brewing potions with the excitingly cheap glassware available.
- In Maskerade, when she arranges lodgings in the Shades, Granny describes Mrs Palm as “an old friend. Practic’ly a witch.” But there’s no mention of any actual city witches.
More notes coming soon!
Thanks for reading our notes! If we missed anything, or you have questions, please let us know.