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Thesis (Master's)

University of Iceland > Hugvísindasvið > Meistaraprófsritgerðir - Hugvísindasvið >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/25943

  • Dvergar and the Discworld Dwarfs: A study of the Norse background to the works of Terry Pratchett
  • Master's
  • Terry Pratchett interacted with a wide range of material, including world literature, mythology and history, to create his Discworld series. The Norse world was one such contributor and there are elements of the Discworld books that have discernible roots in medieval Icelandic literature. These features may be combined with multiple other influences or in some instances display a more direct connection. One prominent example is the dwarfs of Pratchett’s Discworld, which appear in a number of novels and whose collective story is played out in the Ankh-Morpork thread of books.
    This thesis will examine the extent to which Pratchett drew upon the dvergar of medieval Icelandic literature for his dwarfs. It is my intention to explore the varied cultural material that has been combined into this race of characters. This thesis therefore considers the Norse dvergar in detail, aiming towards an understanding of these beings in their original tradition and literature, unclouded by later influences. German folklore collected by the Brothers Grimm and the Middle-earth novels of J. R. R. Tolkien have become key influences upon dwarfs in the popular imagination and on Pratchett’s Discworld in particular. The attributes and impact of dwarfs in these sources are also evaluated in this thesis.
    A study of the Discworld dwarfs generates discussion on the ways that Pratchett engaged with pre-existing stereotypes and motifs in order to produce satirical commentary on contemporary issues (such as racial tensions and gender identity) as well as on the fantasy genre itself and the traditions it draws upon. The structure of this study follows a thematic approach as multiple dvergr/Zwerg/dwarf characteristics are discussed in an ordered format to enable a more productive comparison.

  • Sep 5, 2016
  • http://hdl.handle.net/1946/25943

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