Study Guide

The Color of Magic Dissatisfaction

By Terry Pratchett

Dissatisfaction

You wouldn't think the citizens of the Disc would want much—they live in a world where magic is real, dragons fly about, and barbarian is an acceptable career path with some pretty decent fringe benefits (treasure and damsels, to name a few). Yet every character in The Color of Magic is motivated by some form of dissatisfaction in life.

Twoflower is dissatisfied with being an insurance salesman and seeks romance and adventure; Hrun is dissatisfied with adventure; and Rincewind, well, Rincewind is simply dissatisfied, but he's especially done with the whole magic hullabaloo. He believes there has to be something better out there—though he'd rather not have to adventure for it. It's a bit of a bind, to say the least.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. Is there any character in the novel who isn't dissatisfied with some aspect of his life? If so, who and why? If not, why not? Either way, explain how this affects your reading of this theme in the novel.
  2. Let's flip the script. Do any characters manage to gain satisfaction in their lives? If so, who and why? If not why not?
  3. How do you read Rincewind's dissatisfaction in relation to the tropes of the fantasy genre? Hrun's? Twoflower's?
  4. Pick a dissatisfied character, any dissatisfied character. Does their dissatisfaction in any way relate to a common dissatisfaction in our Roundworld? If yes, then what and why do you think this is important? If no, then why not and why is this important to the novel?

Chew on This

Not only are the characters dissatisfied, all of the cultures and societies of the Disc have their unique brands of annoyances and resentments.

No character's dissatisfaction exists in a bubble of woe—their dissatisfaction usually originates from another character. Hell is, after all, other people.