Quotes from Men at Arms

Terry Pratchett ·  377 pages

Rating: (67K votes)


“Something Vimes had learned as a young guard drifted up from memory. If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk. They'll gloat.

They'll watch you squirm. They'll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar.

So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Cats will amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated with a paw.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Colon thought Carrot was simple. Carrot often struck people as simple. And he was.
Where people went wrong was thinking that simple meant the same thing as stupid.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“The city's full of people who you just see around.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms



“Dogs are not like cats, who amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated with a paw. Men made dogs, they took wolves and gave them human things--unnecessary intelligence, names, a desire to belong, and a twitching inferiority complex. All dogs dream wolf dreams, and know they're dreaming of biting their Maker. Every dog knows, deep in his heart, that he is a Bad Dog...”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Personal isn't the same as important.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Have - have you got an appointment?' he said.
'I don't know,' said Carrot. 'Have we got an appointment?'
'I've got an iron ball with spikes on,' Nobby volunteered.
'That's a morningstar, Nobby.'
'Is it?'
'Yes,' said Carrot. 'An appointment is an engagement to see someone, while a morningstar is a large lump of metal used for viciously crushing skulls. It is important not to confuse the two, isn't it, Mr-?' He raised his eyebrows.
'Boffo, sir. But-'
'So if you could perhaps run along and tell Dr Whiteface we're here with an iron ball with spi- What am I saying? I mean, without an appointment to see him? Please? Thank you.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“The Librarian considered matters for a while. So…a dwarf and a troll. He preferred both species to humans. For one thing, neither of them were great readers. The Librarian was, of course, very much in favor of reading in general, but readers in particular got on his nerves. There was something, well, sacrilegious about the way they kept taking books off the shelves and wearing out the words by reading them. He liked people who loved and respected books, and the best way to do that, in the Librarian’s opinion, was to leave them on the shelves where Nature intended them to be.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Murder was in fact a fairly uncommon event in Ankh-Morpork, but there were a lot of suicides. Walking in the night-time alleyways of The Shades was suicide. Asking for a short in a dwarf bar was suicide. Saying 'Got rocks in your head?' to a troll was suicide. You could commit suicide very easily, if you weren't careful.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms



“No clowns were funny. That was the whole purpose of a clown. People laughed at clowns, but only out of nervousness. The point of clowns was that, after watching them, anything else that happened seemed enjoyable.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“And give me some coffee. Black as midnight on a moonless night."
Harga looked surprised. That wasn't like Vimes.
"How black's that, then?" he said.
"Oh, pretty damn black, I should think."
"Not necessarily."
"What?"
"You get more stars on a moonless night. Stands to reason. They show up more. It can be quite bright on a moonless night."
Vimes sighed.
"An overcast moonless night?" he said.
Harga looked carefully at his coffee pot.
"Cumulus or cirro-nimbus?"
"I'm sorry? What did you say?"
"You get city lights reflected off cumulus, because it's low lying, see. Mind you, you can get high-altitude scatter off the ice crystals in--"
"A moonless night," said Vimes, in a hollow voice, "that is as black as coffee.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Some people have inspired whole countries to great deeds because of the power of their vision. And so could he. Not because he dreams about marching hordes, or world domination, or an empire of a thousand years. Just because he thinks that everyone’s really decent underneath and would get along just fine if only they made the effort, and he believes that so strongly it burns like a flame which is bigger than he is. He’s got a dream and we’re all part of it, so that it shapes the world around him. And the weird thing is that no one wants to disappoint him. It’d be like kicking the biggest puppy in the universe. It’s a kind of magic.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Pride is all very well, but a sausage is a sausage.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“He could think in italics. Such people need watching.

Preferably from a safe distance.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms



“The boldest of the three moved suddenly, grabbed Angua and pulled her upright. "We walk out of here unharmed or the girl gets it, all right?" he snarled.

Someone sniggered.

"I hope you're not going to kill anyone," said Carrot.

"That's up to us!"

"Sorry, was I talking to you?" said Carrot.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Assassins did have a certain code, after all. It was dishonorable to kill someone if you weren't being paid.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“If you had enough money, you could hardly commit crimes at all. You just perpetrated amusing little peccadilloes.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Then Carrot said, "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness, captain. That's what they say."

"What?" Vimes' sudden rage was like a thunderclap. "Who says that? When has that ever been true? It's never been true! It's the kind of thing people without power say to make it all seem less bloody awful, but it's just words, it never makes any difference -”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“It as true that normal people couldn't hear Gaspode speak, because dogs don't speak. It's a well know fact.
...
Besides, almost all dogs don't talk. Ones that do are merely a statistical error, and can therefore be ignored.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms



“He's bound to have done something,” Nobby repeated.

In this he was echoing the Patrician's view of crime and punishment. If there was crime, there should be punishment. If the specific criminal should be involved in the punishment process then this was a happy accident, but if not then any criminal would do, and since everyone was undoubtedly guilty of something, the net result was that, in general terms, justice was done.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“People ought to think for themselves... The problem is, people only think for themselves if you tell them to. (Corporal Carrot)”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“If the Creator had said, "Let there be light" in Ankh-Morpork, he'd have got no further because of all the people saying "What colour?”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“They were also slightly less intelligent than he was. This is a quality you should always pray for in your would-be murderer.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“Don't stick your nose where someone can pull it off and eat it.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms



“The Ramkins were more highly bred than a hilltop bakery, whereas Corporal Nobbs had been disqualified from the human race for shoving.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“He was said to have the body of a twenty-five year old, although no-one knew where he kept it.

The point was that everyone else had someone, even if in Nobby’s case it was probably against their will.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


“In Ankh-Morpork even the shit have a street to itself," said Detritus, awe and wonder in his voice. "Truly, this a land of opportunity.”
― Terry Pratchett, quote from Men at Arms


About the author

Terry Pratchett
Born place: in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England, The United Kingdom
Born date April 28, 1948
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