The Annotated Westala and Villtin Files

Ill in Anorankhmar - Chapter Four

Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Five

Episodes 20 1/2 | 21 | 21 1/2 | 22 | 22 1/3 | 22 2/3

Episode Twenty and a Half

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Tall, pale and plack haired... black leather coat
This is the appearance of Neo from the Matrix movies. He also moves confidently, is a fighter and can move in "bullet time". That is the name for the special effect where everything seems to move in slow motion, with bullets causing ripples in the air as they go, to show that really the characters are moving extremely fast. This effect was invented for the first Matrix movie, they even got an Oscar for it. The limbo dancing move is also performed by Neo in The Matrix.

The man is also Barry R of afp, who dresses suspiciously like Neo and is "The Official Sad Bastard of afp" - named so by Terry Pratchett himself. He does use a katana in real life as well and is skilled in martial arts.

See I was here all the time and The Barrier

a long, slender sword with a carved ivory handle
A sword by that description was carried by Connor McLeod in the Highlander movies. He used to carry it under his trenchcoat. One Highlander spin-off series featured Duncan McLeod, relative of Connor's, who used to carry his sword under his leather coat. Quite a feat since that coat was hip length. The same feat was carried out in another Highlander spin-off, Highlander:The Raven, by a female immortal named Amanda Darieux. Perhaps the ability to hide three feet of blade under a foot and a half of coat comes with the immortality.

See The blades met... Sparks cascaded off the edges.

There is no sword
In The Matrix there is no spoon.

there can be only one
Neo is the One, in the Matrix, and "There can only be one" is a tagline for Highlander.

Capulette looked... and shot him
Here Capulette is emulating Indiana Jones. This is why, in the previous episode, she needed to find a hat - you can't be Indy without a hat.

Goth limbo-dancer
As described above this references Bullet Time. However it also points out that the Matrix owes much of it's visual language to gothic science-fiction.

He's dead. You saw him fall.
This scene is reminiscent of the scene after the fellowship escapes from Moria in the Fellowship of the Ring. Villtin takes on the part of Frodo with Autopet playing Strider.

Marco Polo was a man who travelled far. Villtin is the alter ego of story-teller Marco. "Cyning" is old English meaning king, and also similiar to the old Swedish word for king: "konung". The word konung isn't used very much any more, instead the shorter "kung" is used. In Strata by Terry Pratchett the Kung are an alien species and one of them is called Marco Farfarer.

See traveled to the center of the world... ruler of all men and gods

Roi Gules
Roi is French for king, Erik is a Norse name meaning royal, gules is Norman herald-speak for red and Erik the Red was a Viking. Leif Eriksson (Leif son of Erik) was his son, and he discovered North America, most likely Newfoundland, and named it Vinland because "vin" means wine and wine grew there. Europeans often think that Americans have a tendency to blame others for their own failures, on a small scale by suing each other silly and on a larger scale by blaming terrorism and islam.

travelled to the center of the world... ruler of all men and gods
Journey to the Center of the World is a book by Jules Verne. Marco Polo traveled to China, which calls itself "The Cetral Realm". In ancient China the prevailing opinion was that China was the center of the world, the emperor was the son of heaven and he ruled everyone in the world. Which he more or less did, counting the then known world and discounting people who weren't people but devils and barbarians. The travels described here also resemble the travels of Marco Farfarer from Strata by Terry Pratchett.

See Polo

Piero and Firmalocale
Rock and Hardplace in dog Italian and dog Latin, respectively.

There were houses in the trees
A place where the fellowship of the Ring goes after escaping Moria is Lothlorien. Lothlorien is the central kingdom of the elves, a wonderful forest of golden-leaved trees, in the branches of which the elven city rests.

It looked just like Peterwok
Peterwok, it has already been established, represents an afper who is in no way, shape or form an Ewok. In Return of the Jedi, Ewoks are glimpsed between the trees in the forests of Endor. The Ewoks also live in houses in the trees. This is shown both in The Return of the Jedi and the Ewok spin-offs: The Ewok Adventure, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor and Ewoks, the Animated Series. A series which I used to love as a child, by the way, without ever having heard of Star Wars - I was quite surprised when I first saw Return of the Jedi.

See Peterwok

river quay
The Bridge over the River Kwai is a famous movie, in which a bridge is built by (quoting Örjan) "a stupid English POW and other POWs who work as slaves for the Japanese." POW meaning Prisoner of War. Of course, "quay" is not pronounced as "kwai", but it should be, according to the spelling.

See "... if I happen to stumble over any stupid slaves, can I capture them?"

dressed in white tunic, black and white chequered trousers and a white wobbly hat
This is the traditional attire of chefs everywhere. The way he speaks betrays that he is in fact the Swedish Chef, one of the Muppets. The Swedish Chef was inspired by an actual Swedish chef who appeared on American TV in a cooking show. He had thought he would have someone to talk to while cooking, but it turned out to be just him, so he talked to himself because he was nervous and feeling self-councious. The man was from an area of Sweden called Dalarna, and the dialect of this area is called "Dalmål". The Americans thought that the way he spoke sounded mostly like "hurdy gurdy" and similiar, so that's how the muppet Swedish Chef speaks. A man who was born in Dalarna is called a "Dal-mas" by people not from the area. Within the area everyone knows that he is just a "mas", because being a mas from anywhere but Dalarna is not just impossible, it's also ridiculous. The female equivalent is a "kulla" (that's "Dal-kulla" to the foreign infidels from Stockholm).

In Star Trek there is a race called the Borg. The Borg go around saying "Resistance is futile" and assimiliating people, planets and entire galaxies in their search for perfection. In the Space Quest computer games from Sierra they are called the Bjorns as a reference to Swedish tennis player Björn Borg. Bork bork bork is a catchphrase of the Swedish Chef's.

Ohm's law (used in physics) is U=RI, where R stands for resistance. This is usually applied when resistors are involved. However, the same law applies for the resistance inherent in coils and capacitators, and then also if you use irrational numbers. Resistance is then called "impedance" (designated Z) instead. So "impedance" is irrational resistance.

The Fighting Bork-Hai of the White Hat
Sauruman's orcs in The Lord of the Rings call themselves The Fighting Uruk-Hai, and Sauruman's symbol is a white hand, which they carry on their armour.

salted herring... gone rotten
Surströmming (sour herring) is a swedish dish which was "invented" when people didn't have much to eat but herring which had gone bad. It comes in tins, is fermented and stinks to high heavens. It's counted a delicacy in northern Sweden, especially in Norrland, but it's also eaten in Dalarna.

See dressed in white tunic, black and white chequered trousers and a white wobbly hat

Let's go!
Once upon a time there was a computer game called "Lemmings". The object of this game was to lead a bunch of little creatures (called lemmings, but not actually resembling the animal) from a hatch at the top of the screen to an exit door, placed somewhere in the level. It was a puzzle type game, made difficult by the fact that the lemmings would mindlessly keep walking until they hit something or fell of an edge. If the edge led to too high a fall, they'd go splat. At the start of each level the hatch would open, a squeaky voice would say "Let's go!" and all the lemmings would start falling out.

In Interesting Times, a Discworld novel, there is a teracotta army which is controlled in a way reminiscent of The Lemmings. In answer to the suggestion that this was a deliberate reference Terry Pratchett said:

"What? Lemmings? Merely because the red army can fight, dig, march and climb and is controlled by little icons? Can't imagine how anyone thought that...

Not only did I wipe Lemmings from my hard disc, I overwrote it so's I couldn't get it back."

Source: the Annotated Pratchett File for Interesting Times, on the L-Space web.

like it knew where it was but not where it was going
The moth is a quantum moth. Or, indeed, Quantum Moth, of afp (real name Thom Willis). According to the quantum theory it is possible to know either the position of a particle, or its velocity, but not both at the same time. Velocity is a vector, that is: a quality combined of several properties. In this case speed and direction.

Ohshekohshekohshek, I'm going to die!
The familiar cry of Rincewind, from the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, is "oshitoshitoshitI'mgonnadie!"

"Shek?" "Green marsh gunk."
Shrek is a green ogre who lives in a swamp, in the movie of the same name.

We're hanging on the remains... worry about an ass?
In Shrek, he, the princess and the donkey are on a rickety rope bridge which is cut off on one side by a dragon. Ass is a synonym for donkey and Shrek worries about saving the donkey from falling off the bridge.

Fezzik is the name of the giant strongman in the movie The Princess Bride. He climbs up a high cliff over the sea on a rope, with the world's best fencer, the most clever criminal in the world, and the bride, hanging off him. In the book of the movie, we learn that Fezzik was a wrestler from Turkey. What is now Istanbul was once Byzantium, capital of the Byzantine Empire. In the movie Fezzik was played by André René Roussimoff, also known as André the Giant.

His hair, his beard and his clothes were white as snow
When Gandalf falls into the chasm in Moria he doesn't actually die. Before it happened he was known as Gandalf the Grey. All wizards in the Lord of the Rings have a colour, white being the highest one, the colour of the leader. He comes back as Gandalf the White - dressed in white and carrying a new staff.

See rammed the butt of his spear hard onto the bridge...

A slim, elfin man
elfin of afp. He gave Westala a staff, and the etymology for "Gandalf" in Tolkiens language is "elf-staff".

Here taken in the literal sense, but when applied to people it usually means drunk.

Final comment: So, the fellowship was broken into three parties
In The Two Towers the Fellowship of the Ring breaks into three parties as well. One with Frodo and Sam, one with Merry and Pippin and one with Aragorn/Strider, Gimli and Legolas - Gandalf being temporarily misplaced at the time. The Fellowship of the Thing breaks into three parties consisting of Villtin and the dragon, Autopet, Newra and Lowmar and Westala who meets up with Mega Vole. Based on their behaviour I've come up with these matches:

Frodo, for several reasons. Firstly, it has already been established that Westala played the part of Sam (See I'll call you Bill and Westala... leave Bill behind). Sam was Frodo's most steadfast companion, and Westala and Villtin are each other's. Secondly, Villtin takes on the role of Frodo after the exit from Magdala/Moria (See He's dead. You saw him fall.). And, thirdly, because he is left in the company of the dragon, who plays the part of Gollum, who was Frodo's and Sam's guide to the land of Mordor.

the dragon
Gollum. Gollum is a froglike creature who guides Frodo and Sam through the swamps in Mordor to Mount Doom. The dragon is a bit froglike, descended from swamp dragons, and can stick to walls - which makes it a very good climber. Gollum is also a wery able climber, and seems to also have sort of sticky feet. (See "Oh, you like fish, don't you? Certainly looks like it's very precious to you.")

Strider/Aragorn. He takes on this role after the loss of Westala (See He's dead. You saw him fall. and "... I can always toss you.").

Legolas. Because, well, he's an elf - so really he's the most likely to be played by a woman. Especially a woman based on a woman with an elvish name.

Gimli. During the journey through the caves of Magdala Lowmar is shown as singing the Hiho-song to himself, his beard bobbing happily as he moves through the mine. If he isn't the dwarf, I don't know who is. (See "... I can always toss you.")

Shown plenty of times to be Gandalf at this juncture. Consider rammed the butt of his spear hard onto the bridge... "You shall not pass!" and His hair, his beard and his clothes were white as snow.

These three parties aren't quite the ones of The Lord of the Rings, because there is no Merry and no Pippin. But then, if you believe the movies, those two are mainly comic relief anyway, and surely we don't need any more of that.

Episode Twenty-one

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"This game is already over!"
This whole scene is taken from Aliens. A movie, or movie series, Marco has used before. The scene is quite early in the film where Bill Paxton's character is being a tad hysterical.

See The dragon yawned... partial to flesh.

"... I can always toss you."
Lowmar, it has already been established, is playing the part of Gimli from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. In the Lord of the Rings movie by Peter Jackson, Gimli has to jump across a wide chasm in Moria. "Nobody tosses a dwarf!" is his reply to an offer of help from Aragorn (or possibly Boromir). Aragorn, as we have seen, is being played by Autopet.

See Lowmar and Autopet

"... in which case I want you to speak now or forever hold your peace..."
The standard christian wedding ceremony includes a bit about objecting. It's often heard in movies, where it's usually prince charming's cue to come and claim his romantic interest, under the nose of her prospective groom. Just for fun I've decided to include here the verson found in Edward VI's prayerbook (from 1549) rather than the more common, modern, wording. It goes:

Therfore if any man can shewe any iuste cause why they maie not lawfully be ioyned so together: Leat him now speake, or els hereafter for euer hold his peace.

"... if I happen to stumble over any stupid slaves, can I capture them?"
Backreference to Bridge Over the River Kwai.

See river quay

"... stare into the abyss for too long."
There is a quite well known quote from Nietzsche which goes: "If you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss also stares into you".

'Ill departed by twilight'
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare, Oberon and Titania (king and queen of elves) are going through a bit of a rough spot in their relationship when they accidentaly meet in the forest at night. "Ill met by moonlight" is Oberons not so friendly greeting. This line has been used many times and inspired many things (google and you shall be enlightened) such as the title of the fourth story about Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser; Ill Met in Lankhmar. Marco didn't know this last when he wrote the pun, but it makes for nice continuity.

See Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

I was here all the time.
This scene refers to The Matrix, a movie which has quite a lot of pseudo-philosophy about the nature of space and time, cloaked in talk about the computer-generated world of the Matrix.

See Tall, pale and plack haired... black leather coat

The Barrier
Barry R, of afp. The R may possibly stand for Roche.

See Tall, pale and plack haired... black leather coat

Instead he put up a hand, like a halting signal... other bolt dropped too
At the end of the first Matrix movie Neo does this exact thing, except that with him it's quite a lot of bullets.

The blades met... Sparks cascaded off the edges.
Whenever two immortals fight in the Highlander movies there are quite a lot of electric-blue sparks when the two swords meet, regardless of physical reality.

See a long, slender sword with a carved ivory handle

Dodge this
In "The Matrix", near the end, Trinity and Neo are on the roof of a building, and they come face to face with an agent (agent Brown?). While the agent is busy shooting at Neo (who is dodging the bullets), Trinity sneaks up to the agent, places the muzzle of her gun against his head, says "Dodge this", and pulls the trigger.

Except possibly if there was a deep pool of water down below
As you may recall Orjan was playing Gandlaf fighting the Balrog when he fell. In The Two Towers, the movie by Peter Jackson, this fall is ended by Gandalf and the Balrog entering a subterranean lake. Of course, for a human hitting water from a great height is much like hitting concrete from a great height. Hence Westala's later comment about being very lucky he didn't break his neck.

turn the mountain upside-down
In The Colour of Magic, the very first of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, there actually is an upside-down mountain, called the Wyrmberg. However, here it's just a manner of speaking.

I can't understand why it's so empty
In The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, by Diana Wynne Jones, there is an entry about how fantasyland always seems to be very empty. There are rabbits to snare for dinner, and wolves to make friends with, and possibly the occasional deer or dangerous animal put in for suspense, but generally it's just trees and grass. She also reflects that since everything looks so healthy and growing there ought to be animals to live off it. This is just a coincidence though, Marco has never read that book. No, really.

Two and a half backwards somersaults, one and a half spin, pike formation.
This could be a description for a competition dive of a high board.

Even on the way down, the spider tried to kill me.
In Peter Jackson's The Two Towers movie, Gandalf and the Balrog are shown fighting all through their fall.

see rammed the butt of his spear hard onto the bridge... "You shall not pass!" and Except possibly if there was a deep pool of water down below

It's a name with potential.
Something that is resting in any position above the absolute ground has potential energy. A megavolt is a unit of measure of electric potential.

"Oh, you like fish, don't you? Certainly looks like it's very precious to you."
As has already been established, the dragon is playing the part of Gollum, from the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Gollum is among other things very fond of fish. He also calls the ring his "precious". Indeed, a wheezing, sibiliant "preciousss" is pretty much the trademark of Gollum.

See the dragon

Do you know how unnerving... has no eyes
This is mentioned a few times in the Discworld books, by Terry Pratchett, regarding the Luggage who, being a wooden chest, has no eyes. The Xenomorph in the Alien movies is also eyeless, and probably quite unnerving to be stared at by.

He started walking again... mountain in front of him.
In Men at Arms there is a passage which goes: "Vimes dressed himself, and even wore the hat. And he seemed quite normal and composed, until you realized that he avoided meeting his own gaze in the mirror."

Chopping street
Mincing street, a street in Ankh-Morpork. From the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett.

Simple street
Easy street, a street in Ankh-Morpork. From the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett.

Affordable street
Cheap street, a street in Ankh-Morpork. From the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett.

New Pounders
New Cobblers, a street in Ankh-Morpork. From the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett.

... unloading a cartload of frogs... sticking copper and zink rods in a lemon
Luigi Galvani was an Italian physician and scientist who discovered that frog legs twitch if you touch an electric wire to their nerves (which sparked, sorry, induced, no, caused a lot of speculation among the scientific community at the time, about whether electricity was a kind of "life force"). Sticking copper and zink rods in a lemon is a common home experiment to create electricity.

... mentioned drying their skin.
Dried frog pills is the common Discworld remedy for madness. The toxins that certain frogs secrete have hallucinogenic effects, and so the wizards at Unseen University have developed a medicin they administer to crazy people to make them hallucinate that they are completely sane.

Small silk trousers. To put on the frogs.
I'm going to quote Marco on this one:

In the 17th and 18th centuries there was a debate on whether it was the ovum or the sperms that was the most important ingredient in reproduction. Both had been discovered by 1680, and scientists had divided into two camps: the ovists and the spermists.

In 1780, Lorenzo Spallanzani, Italian abbot and ovist, decided to prove once and for all that the ovum could evolve without contact with sperms. He therefore put silk trousers on male frogs before putting them together with the females to mate, and subsequently made a rather big fiasco.

Sylvan Champion
Sylvan means "of the forest", from latin, so a forest champion. But it's a reference to Sylvain Chambon of afp.

Joran and Ramoc
Anagrams of Orjan and Marco, respectively.

Episode Twenty-one and a Half

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Andrés 'El Perro' Perròn
Torak of afp. He is called Andrés "El Perro" Perron because Andrés Perron sounds kind of like Andrew Perry, Torak's real name. Both Andrés and Andrew are actually derived from the Greek name Andreas, which is also a Swedish name. Possibly there is a connection between El Perro (meaning the dog) and the fact that there is a pimp in the new Starsky and Hutch movie who is played by Snoop Doggy Dogg. Tily's "doggy boy" refers to the El Perro, but could also refer to Doggy. Finally "No! Tily! Bad!" is language one might use towards an unruly dog. El Perro also keeps referring to his, ehrm, employees as "bitches", i.e. female dogs.

The appearance of El Perro is due to the fact that Torak is well known for being quite fond of the military. The reason he was turned into a pimp in this episode is twofold. Firstly Torak is also well known for most definitely not being obsessed with sex. Secondly he once appeared to be pimping for Susan Sto Helit on afp.
Google archive post oZ1H8.13221$

Poon is a slang word which is roughly synonymous with "pussy". It carries the meaning of action even though it's actually a noun, as in "get some poon" - get some sex (find a vagina, and use it). As was said on afp: The P-word is the V-word with added connotations of "ready, willing, able, and, sometimes, for sale". It's derived from "poontang" which comes from the Spanish word "puta" = whore. Marco got the inspiration for El Perro's style from the comic Sinfest.

Ghetto-speak for whore, and also for bitch or woman.

Cent, but in spanish.

towers... howl like the spooks of a thousand hounds
Refers to "The Howling Tower" by Fritz Leiber. It is a story about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in which a tower is haunted by the ghosts/spooks of a pack of dogs. This is thus far the only tale about Fafhrd and the Mouser that Marco has read.

See Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

"We'll be sneaking real quiet like"
This line was taken from Han Solo in Return of the Jedi, by George Lucas.

"Footnote: What seems to be universal... might be"
There is a lot of argument and confusion about the origin of OK here on earth as well. See the Wikipedia for more.

Wstfgl as the sound someone makes upon waking, while sleeping or while beeing speechless has been used several times in literature. The Annotated Pratchett File (for Carpe Jugulum, page 52) has this to say about it:

The earliest occurrence of this non-word that anyone has yet reported is in Asterix the Legionary, when Obelix catches sight of the beautiful Fabella. Terry says: "You've got me there... I thought I'd just strung together some letters!"

But there's something about this set of letters, because Ptraci says the same thing in Pyramids, and in Feet of Clay, in her sleep, Sybil says 'wsfgl'. There's also Astfgl, the 'villain' of Eric. More significantly, if you search for "wstfgl" on the Web, you'll find it cropping up in all sorts of apparently unrelated stories in a similar context -- the noise people make when they're either asleep or lost for words.

We may be witnessing the birth of a new word.

The Annotated Pratchett File

"Some kind of solitary game"
Solitaire is a card game usually played alone. Also known as patience.

"The device was called a Swisho"
This is a double reference. The device is what we usually call a lighter, specifically a Zippo lighter. Marco actually has a zippo-like lighter, which has a little light-emitting diode in the fuel gauge, and produces is a wind-safe jet flame - with some kind of chemical (he guesses at a barium salt) in the muzzle which turns the flame green. It is a very geeky lighter indeed, I have it on good authority this was the inspiration for Villtin's lighting aid.

The second part of the reference is the five brothers, a reference to the Marx brothers who were a well known comedic group in the first half of the 20th century..

Zeppo Marx.

Gummo Marx

Harpo Marx

Chico Marx.

Groucho Marx

Most people only know about Chico, Harpo and Groucho, due to the fact that Zeppo only appeared in the first five movies (there were thirteen in total) and Gummo quit before they became famous. Their real names were (in the same order as above): Leonard, Adolph (aka Arthur), Julius Henry, Herbert and Milton.

metallic spider legs
We already knew that Sherilob was a spider monster, but why metal? Because Sherilyn has been accused of being a Usenet android (by Gideon). For a description of a Usenet android look here in the Flame Warrior files.

opaque glass cube... whistling sound
On the Discworld, by Terry Pratchett, there is an instrument called a thaumometer which looks much like this, but doesn't whistle, and measures magical activity. In the two first Alien movies (Alien and Aliens) an important piece of gadgetry is a black boxlike thing which beeps whenever aliens are moving in the vicinity.

Episode Twenty-two

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Why would anyone... unlit torch
Diogenes the Cynic, who was very much the main inspiraton for Didactylos, the philosopher in Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. The story about Diogenes goes that he carried a lit lantern during the day. He declared that it was the lantern of truth, and that an honest man would reflect the light of the lantern over and above the light of the sun. The name Diogenes is also part of Gideon Hallet's (Gideoallet) e-mail adress.

captain Pinchogal
Gary Nicholass of afp. Pinching girls' bottoms is a well known pub activity. Pinch can also be a synonym of nick, as in take/steal. Gal is a synonym of the word girl, and so is lass.

Roi Nimco
Eric Jarvis of afp. It's been established before that Roi is the Tale version of the name Eric. NIMCo is the acronym for the Northern Infrastructure Maintenance Company, which was bought from British Rail by the Jarvis group in 1994.

See Roi Gules

Apollyon... a bad 'un
Apollyon the destroyer was one of the angels that joined in the rebellion against God, that resulted in Lucifer being thrown down and becoming Satan. His Hebrew name is Abaddon, hence a bad 'un...

Why me?
A slogan for the Reclaim the Streets movement is "If not you, then who? If not now, then when?" Gideoallet is trying to reclaim the streets from the Cult of Me. It was changed to "Why me?" to refer to the much repeated complaint of Belgarion in David Edding's Belgariad, and the question on the cover of Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett: If Not You, Who Else?

Jean Gleur
The name(s) pun on "jongleur", French for juggler. A juggler is a type of jester. On afp there is a poster called jester (real name Andy Brown) who has been known to wear a dress. Just because I'm evil: jester in a dress

preferred to keep his circles undisturbed
Archimedes was killed by the Romans when they invaded his home town of Syracuse. Tradition has it that this was because he was sitting on the street drawing geometrical figures when the invasion began. When the soldiers came down the street he is supposed to angrily have told them not to disturb his circles, whereupon he was promptly killed for impudence.

nine figures... translucent golden material
Nine Princes in Amber is the first book in the Amber series by Roger Zelazny. Orjan mentions three names that refer to three of those nine princes.


Eric. See Roi Gules

Julian. Gaius was the first name of Julius Cæsar.

Staff of Sista
This doesn't really refer to anything, the name was only chosen so that Orjan could make a joke in his next episode.

See The Sistas are doing it for themselves

Inn scene: Do we have any lyres here?
The famed "lyre (liar)" joke, as seen in Soul Music by Terry Pratchett.

Episode Twenty-two and a Third

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Comment: Themes
Those of you who have been attentive readers might have noticed by now that Orjan, especially, has tended to write in themes in his later episodes. For example episode 20 and 20 1/2 was The Lord of the Rings and episode 22 had quite a few Greeks in it. This one is a musical - you might note that the maids in the inn suddenly started behaving oddly, rather like the maids at Unseen University in Soul Music, by Terry Pratchett, and that's why.

The names of the swords

Lady Vivamus
"Dum vivamus, vivamus" does not in fact mean "It's a stupid life, this life" but "While we live, let us live". It is engraved on a sword called Lady Vivamus in Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein.

Is not English for "Ars brevis" which actally means art is brief. Orjan got this name and the next one from a saying which goes "Ars longa, vita brevis": "Art is long lasting, life is brief.". Ars brevis sounds a bit like brief arse in reverse though, which would be roughly synonymous with shortarse.

Isn't, as you've probably guessed, English for "Vita longa" either. But vita sounds a bit like wit and longa a bit like longing. Thus longing for wit, or wit-yearner.

Ars Longa and Vita Brevis can also be found in Glory Road as the names of the two eight legged horse analogs being ridden by the hero and his mistress, the Empress of the Universe.

The road becomes my bride... satisfied
This comes from the lyrics of Wherever I May Roam by Metallica

by the look in my eye... he wasn't worth it
Refers to the lyrics of Wherever I Lay My Hat by Paul Young.

old, gray widowmaker...that sword
This refers to a poem by Rudyard Kipling, the first verse of which goes like this:

What is a woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

Though in the poem the old grey widowmaker is the sea.

Full text

Bessy Wazzer
An annotation of many parts. Wazzer is the name of the Joan of Arc type character in Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett. "Wasser" means water in German while "vass" is sharp in Swedish. A "besserwisser" is a know-it-all, i.e. someone who knows everything or likes to believe so.

sent children into her camp
In Interesting Times, by Terry Pratchett, Rincewind helps defeat an army by sending children in to tell everyone that the other side has two million, three hundred thousand and nine invisible vampire ghosts.

How many passages must a man walk down
Refers to Blowing in the Wind by Bob Dylan. The first line of the song is "How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?" The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy tells us the answer is 42.

Come in here... what I think
This is almost verbatim the first verse of the Pink Floyd song Have a Cigar

I'm rather upper... biggest balls of all
Again a first verse, this time from Big Balls by AC/DC. Next time Lady Jean Gleur speaks she is mixing the second and third verse from the same song. "Great balls of fire" is in Big Balls and is a reference to the Jerry Lee Lewis song of that name.

Treachery and treason... pain behind the eyes
This exchange is taken from Private Investigations by Dire Straits.

Everybody's got a secret... edge of town
Darkness At The Edge Of Town by Bruce Springsteen, though Orjan changed "Sonny" to "my friend".

Talk about a dream... treating us good
Badlands, again by Bruce Springsteen.

And the battle... sisters torn apart
Second verse of Sunday, Bloody Sunday by U2.

Let's make a promise... no surrender
This is from the chorus of No Surrender by Bruce Springsteen.

The toast of Fix Ballong and Dextra Bos
The lines are from Team Rocket's motto. Team Rocket - Jesse, James, and their pet Meowth - are the arch enemies of Ash and his friends in the Pokémon TV series and movies. The motto goes as follows:

Jesse: Prepare for trouble,
James: And make it double,
Jesse: To protect the world from devastation,
James: To unite all peoples within our nation,
Jesse: To denounce the evils of truth and love,
James: To extend our reach to the stars above.

Jesse: Jesse,
James: James,
Jesse: Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light,
James: So surrender now or prepare to fight!
Meowth: That's right!

The Sistas are doing it for themselves
Refers to the song "Sisters are Doin' it for Themselves". Sista is of course sister pronounced in a "black" accent. Much like Brutha in Small Goods.

slightly bubbly rose wine
This is not a misspelling of rosé wine, it refers to wine made from actual roses. Quoting Orjan:

The one time I've eaten pheasant, it had been glazed with honey from thyme mixed with crushed juniper berries and slowly roasted, served in cuts on a bed of crushed rock salt with a sauce based on cream and cloudberries, accompanied by, yes, a home made, slightly sparkly rose wine which, while unusual, was very rich. It was a quite marvellous meal.

Episode Twenty-two and Two Thirds

[  Read episode ]

Westala raised an eyebrow
There are a bunch of connected annotations for Star Trek here.

Dammit, Westala, you're a man, not a golem!
Dr. McCoy, from Star Trek: The Original Series, used to say "Dammit, Spock, you're a man, not a machine" and "Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a (whatever Captain Kirk had asked him to act as)". The use of golem here rather than machine, is a nod in the direction of Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett.

Westala raised an eyebrow... emotional distractions.
Spock, from Star Trek: The Original Series. Being half Vulcan, Spock is always logical and often remarks how illogical the humans are, while raising an eyebrow and saying "fascinating".

... she cannae take any more.
Phrase often heard uttered by Scotty, the head engineer of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Original Series. Most often he is talking about the warp engine when captain Kirk has ordered some exeptional warp speed. Somehow she usually takes it.

... red woolen shirt... give scant warmth.
Liutenant Uhura, from Star Trek: The Original Series, was not only the only woman on board the Enterprise and one of the first black characters on American TV (who wasn't comical relief or played by a white person), she also wore really short skirts and high boots. Just before this Mega Vole has also said "Uh-hu. Rather face snakes."; the first three syllables of which spells out Uh-hu-Ra, or Uhura.

Seven to nine
Seven of Nine is a character in Star Trek: Voyager. She famously wears a really really skintight suit and high heels. In other words, she's hot.

... big red shirt... visible target
In Star Trek: The Original Series the man wearing the red shirt (commonly called precisely a Redshirt) is always the one to die when the crew visits new planets. In later series the captain wears a red shirt, so this is no longer true.

You know the day destroys the night... try to hide
Part of the lyrics of Break on Through by The Doors:

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day
Tried to run
Tried to hide
Break on through to the other side

That last line turns up a little later in reference to Capulette. Where it says: "She just had to break on through to the other side."

the Barrier shattered to pieces, like a broken mirror... "This one."
At the end of Witches Abroad Granny Weatherwax breaks a magic spell by shattering a mirror. Later Lily Weatherwax has to find the one reflection which is real.

She opened her eyes again
In The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett, Tiffany Aching learns to see the world as it really is by opening her eyes, then opening them again, without closing them first.

Dark in here, isn't it?
DARK IN HERE, ISN'T IT? is a phrase used by Death in The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett, when he comes to claim someone who tries to hide from him in an airtight container. Death also speaks in a hollow voice.

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