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The Pratchett Project

A collaboration between researchers and librarians from Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin; Senate House Library, University of London; and Liverpool University.

About this page

The content of this page was created by Brian Hainsworth under the supervision of Dr. Christoph Schmidt-Supprian and Dr. Jennifer Edmond as part of the MPhil for Digital Humanities and Culture Internship program in conjunction with Trinity Library and The Pratchett Project. Additional technical assistance was provided by Dr. Erik Ketzan.

Suggested Citation:

Hainsworth, Brian. “The Pratchett Project: The Carpet People,” Trinity College Dublin.

The Carpet People History

Terry Pratchett’s first novel The Carpet People was published in 1971 but the beginnings of the story can be traced back to his time as a journalist with The Bucks Free Press. Aside from Pratchett’s journalistic duties he also wrote children stories under the guise of “Uncle Jim.” It was within these stories that the first seed of The Carpet People was sown. Pratchett wrote twelve short stories presented in serialized form each week from October to December in 1965. The stories related the microscopic world of the Carpet and the adventures of the Carpet dwellers. Whereas the plot is vastly different to that of his debut novel, the imaginative setting and the majority of the principal characters were all present in early stories

Pratchett adapted this idea and expanded on it to produce his first novel. The book was picked up by publisher Colin Smythe and had an initial run of 3000 copies. The book was reasonably well received but faded from memory until interest in it resurfaced with the success of the Discworld novels. It was decided the book should be reprinted but Pratchett wished to do some revisions for the new edition. Initially he hadn’t planned any major revisions but in the author’s own words, “you know how it is when you tweak a thread that’s hanging loose.” Pratchett ended up doing significant rewrites to the original text.  The revised version is 10,000 words shorter than the original and there are substantial changes in the narrative particularly as the story progresses. The hardback revised edition published by Doubleday in 1992 had an initial run of 18,100 copies. It was followed by a paperback published by Corgi with 111,500 copies.

In the author’s note to the revised edition Pratchett states that, “this book had two authors, and they were both the same person.” It is interesting to see the interplay between the two versions of the story and how the older writer chose to adapt some of the material while still trying to remain faithful the essence of the original. The plots remains essentially the same with the principal characters all retained though altered in various ways. One of the main differences in the text is the addition of more humour. Notably the characters of Brocando and Glurk have undergone significant changes in personality and presentation which creates a lighter tone and opens up more space for laughter. The 1992 version tends to move away from classical fantasy espoused in the original. The characters’ motivations are not so clear cut and Pratchett introduces an element of ambivalence in their presentation. Pratchett’s trademark style of subverting traditional fantasy narratives can be also be seen at work.

Though the texts vary in size and structure there are still many common themes running through the stories. The serialized stories revolve around a group of Carpet-dwellers which include early versions of Snibril, Glurk, Pismire and  Bane. The premise of the original stories is a journey across the carpet in search of a new home while trying to avoid the conflict between two competing empires. The 1971 edition of The Carpet People relates the journey of the Munrungs,who are driven from their home by the devastation wreaked by Fray and his servants, the mouls. They must attempt to save Dumii Empire from the same threat whereby winning the right to return home. The 1992 edition modifies this plot to include a potential  re-imagining of the Empire by replacing it with something fairer and more inclusive which can be of benefit  all the peoples of the Carpet.

The original publication of The Carpet People has not been reprinted and has only been translated into one other language, a German translation published in 1972. The translation also features original artwork by Jörg Müller which includes a unique illustration of the map of the Carpet. This edition also features supplemental material including The Bucks Free Press stories published in 1965 and it also contains the follow-up story Another Tale of the Carpet People featuring the characters of Snibril and Bane which was originally published in The Bucks Free Press in 1967. This story appears in English along with the original Tales of the Carpet People in a collection of Pratchett's work entitled Dragons at Crumbling Castle and other Stories. It is a sequel to the original serialized stories and as such has little in common with the later novels except for the main characters.

There have been various reprinting of the  1992 edition. There are two different English versions; one catering to the American market which contains the original Bucks Free Press stories as an addendum.  The Carpet People has been translated into 14 different languages: Chinese, Estonian, Czech, Greek, German, Italian, Bulgarian, Danish, French, Slovak, Russian, Serbian, Polish and Hebrew. The most recent English edition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original book and includes an extract from a letter from Terry to Colin Smythe outlining plans for a sequel to The Carpet People. Unfortunately the plans for a sequel never came to fruition.

Tribes of the Carpet

The bar chart shows the relative frequency of the occurrence of the names of the tribes of the Carpet. The line plots the percentage decrease. The relative frequency of all the tribe names decrease but it can be seen that the most significant decrease occurs with the thunorgs which highlights the fact that the original text features an army of thunorgs in the final battle. Culaina is the only thunorg in the revised edition.

The Tribes

The Munrungs are a tribe that exists on the periphery of the Dumii Empire, they are primarily a nomadic tribe of hunters that live around an area called the Woodwall (a matchstick). They are nominally part of the Dumii Empire and though they do not live within the towns or cities, they trade and pay their taxes to the Empire. Snibril, and his older brother Glurk, the tribe chieftain are the main characters of the novels. The plot begins with the tribes' forced displacement from their home by Fray and the subsequent attack by the mouls, and follows their journey across the carpet to the heart of the Empire where they attempt to unite the various tribes of the Carpet against the common threat posed by mouls.

The Dumii are the civilising force of the Carpet. They started as a small tribe that grew from the capital city of Ware and brought trade and peace to the Carpet. They built roads and made innovations in trade with introduction of money. The original text is mostly complimentary of the Empire with Snibril in particular showing a devotion to it which has been heavily revised in the later edition. The Munrungs encounter the main character of Bane early on in the novels. He is a wanderer and an exiled general of the Dumii Empire. Bane's attitude towards the Empire is vastly different within each iteration of the story. In the original text he plays the loyal soldier of the Empire but in the revised version he is openly critical of the decline of the Empire and in particular he shows disdain for the Emperor and the mechanisms by which power is transferred in the Empire. In the revised text the Dumii are portrayed as unimaginative and almost robotic in nature yet the value of the Empire is still held in high regard if not its current governance.

The Deftmenes are a diminuitive tribe of the Carpet who love to fight and have a thirst for life and adventure. They harbour a deep resentment for the Dumii on the basis that they attempt to impose too much order on life and as a consequence drain the fun out of it. By contrast the Deftmenes revel in chaos. Their capital city of Jeopard sits within the territory of the Empire but is not part of it and they have engaged in various battles with the Dumii because they have refused to join the Empire. The Deftmenes act as a foil to the Dumii, they are portrayed in a light-hearted manner compared to the almost robotic depiction of the Dumii. Though it is acknowledged the Deftmenes wouldn't be able to hold such carefree attitudes without being surrounded by the Dumii Empire and inadvertently benefitting from its protection.

The Pones are large creatures described as the size of a house with long slender necks and small heads. They have small thin wings which enable them to float. They are a benevolent race found in the High Gate Land. In the original text they are described as beasts of the Vortgorns but in the revised version this link is omitted. They are curious creatures capable of rudimentary communication. They help the heroes escape from the High Gate Land and in the revised version they act as cavalry and fight alongside the combined forces of the Carpet in the final battle at Ware.

The Wights are an ancient race of Carpet Dwellers who are skilled in many different crafts. They used to travel around the Carpet offering services to the various tribes, they were responsible for building the cities in the Carpet. Their presence has diminished within the Carpet in recent times.They travel in various groups of seven and each group has a varnish boiler which the use to smelt weapons and tools. They feature more prominently in the original text with Bane overtly linked to them. With the character of Shenda removed in the revised version this link is severed. In the revised version they have perfect memories and can see the past and the future. They generally do not concern themselves with the affairs of the tribes of the Carpet but are drawn in the conflict when they are attacked by mouls.

The thunorgs share the same heritage as the wights but their paths deviated from the wights some time in the past. In the original text, they chose to study the ways of the Carpet and seem to have some level of control over it and the creatures that inhabit it. An army of thunorgs are assembled by Culain and they intervene in the final battle to save Ware. In the revised version Culaina is the only thunorg in the story, She has abilities that Culain does not have in the original text. Culaina does not view time in a linear way and has the ability to see all possible futures and by focusing on one can subtly influence the course of time.

The mouls are the principal antagonists in The Carpet People, they are a wolf-lke race who worship Fray. They are able to sense when Fray will strike and use tactics which take advantage of the ensuing chaos. They are manipulative and use deception to infiltrate the various tribes of the Carpet. This is usually accomplished by overstating their connection to Fray and by targeting the leaders of the tribes - The Dumii Emperor, the false Deftmene king, Antiroc and the Vortgorn king, Stagbat. In the original text it is alluded to that they come from Underlay though this is changed in the revised version with their origin attributed to the Unswept regions of the Carpet. Underlay is the space which exists beneath the Carpet; it is an unknown place rumoured to be populated by many monstrous creatures. By changing the origin of both the mouls and black snargs to an area within the bounds of the Carpet rather than beneath it Pratchett reduces the sense of "otherness" and achieves a more inclusive presentation. This is highlighted by the fact that it is stated that the Munrungs and the mouls both conceptualise themselves as "true human beings".

The snargs are creatures that exist all over the Carpet, the brown snargs are hunted by the Munrungs for food and their bones are used for weapons. They come in variety of colours. The black snargs are much larger than the brown snargs and act as combatants and cavalry for the mouls. They hail from Underlay in the original text and the Unswept regions in the revised version. The snargs are not credited with anything beyond an animal intelligence. There are only two named snargs in the stories both in the original text - Snarfgorm who is described as the king of the snargs and Fang, the snarg Glurk uses to follow his compatriots to the High Gate Land. Both snargs are present in the revised version but neither are not named.

The Vortgorns are a  tribe that come from the High Gate Land (a threepence piece). They, like many of the tribes have been duped into believing that the mouls can control Fray. The mouls have been sending the prisoners to the High Gate Land as forced labour for the bronze mines. The Vortgorns are largely confined to a single section of the revised text when Bane, Brocando and Pismire are captured by the mouls and brought to the High Gate Land as  prisoners destined for the mines. In the original text they feature more prominently in the final battle at Ware and Stagbat, the king of the Vortgorns  has an expanded role.

This bar chart shows the relative frequency of the occurrence of the principal character names in the respective texts. The line charts the percentage increase from the original to the revised edition. It can be seen that the relative frequency of all characters increases but the secondary characters increase substantially more than Snibril. This is a good indication of their increased roles in the revised edition.

This bar chart shows the relative frequency of direct speech of the principal characters in the respective texts. The line charts the percentage increase from the original to the revised edition. It can be seen that the relative frequency of direct speech of all main characters increases, this is especially true for the character of Bane whose role has been expanded in the revised text.

This graph shows the raw frequency of the main characters divided by chapter. This shows how often a character name is mentioned in the text by chapter. It is a good indication of where certain characters feature most in the text.

This graph shows the amount of times a character's name is mentioned in each chapter. It is a good indication of where characters feature in the story and how prevalent they are within a certain chapter.

The graph displays the direct speech of the main characters and the total amount of direct speech across chapters. The stacked columns display the main character direct speech and the line indicates the total amount of the direct speech per chapter. A notable feature of the graph is the separation between line and column at chapter seventeen which denotes the significant amount of the direct speech primarily attributed to the character of Carus.

The graph displays the direct speech of the main characters and the total amount of direct speech across chapters. the stacked columns display the main character direct speech and the line indicates the total amount of the direct speech per chapter. One of the most significant differences between the two texts can be seen with the increase in direct speech in the latter stages of the revised text.

The Heroes

Snibril is the principal protagonist of The Carpet People. He is the younger brother of the chieftain of the Munrung tribe, Glurk. Whereas Glurk is an archetypal skilled hunter mostly all brawn and no brains, Snibril is a capable warrior but he primarily relies on his intellect and is a deep thinker. One of Snibril's overriding qualities is his innate curiosity and thirst for knowledge. In the original text he is depicted as a firm supporter of the Dumii Empire and its way of life. Snibril’s character does not change drastically in the revised version though his overtly heroic characteristics are portrayed with more nuance. Sections of the text where Snibril extols the benefits of the Dumii Empire are removed or altered and his love for the Empire is mitigated. Snibril features more prominently in the original text though he still remains the central figure in the revised text, the other major characters have expanded roles and 1992 edition feels much more like an ensemble cast.

Pismire is the wise counsellor, teacher and philosopher of the Munrung tribe. In both texts he acts as confidant to Snibril and advisor to Glurk, the tribe's chieftain. Much of the lore regarding the Carpet and the history and traditions of the Dumii Empire are disseminated through Pismire. Pismire’s backstory is expanded in the revised version to include a friendship with fellow philosopher Owlglass and a falling out with the Emperor. He was exiled from the Dumii capital of Ware for berating the Emperor over his decision not to support the preservation of the city library. He, like Bane is openly critical of the Emperor in the revised version.

Bane , like Snibril is the only character to feature in every iteration of The Carpet People. Bane’s character is also largely unchanged between the two versions of the text. He is a wanderer of the Carpet and exiled general of the Dumii Empire. He is portrayed as a skilled warrior, knowledgeable leader and is quite austere in nature. His role in the revised version is expanded particularly in the later stages of the book. Bane is injured before the decisive battle for the imperial capital of Ware in the original text and does not actively feature in the action. The city's defence is organized by general Carus. By contrast, in the revised version Carus is recast as a sergeant and Bane becomes the sole military leader tasked with the defence of Ware. He also takes responsibility for the rebuilding of society in the wake of the battle. His relationship to the Emperor is altered significantly, whereas the original text presents a neutral portrayal of their relationship, in the revised version Bane is openly critical of the Emperor and the manner in which power is transferred in the Empire.

Glurk is the chieftain of the Munrung tribe and Snibril’s older brother. He is an accomplished hunter, brave warrior and a practical leader largely unconcerned about matters beyond his own purview. Glurk’s character arc runs roughly parallel in both texts but the major difference occurs in his characterisation. Glurk is one of the main sources of humour in the revised text. Pratchett highlights his physical prowess while caricaturing his intellect. There is also more comic interplay between Glurk as the chieftain of the Munrungs and Pismire as his trusted advisor. Glurk has an uncomplicated perspective on life and does not ponder the larger questions of existence which occupy his younger brother’s thoughts.

Brocando is the King of the Deftmenes, a race of carpet dwellers generally at odds with the Dumii Empire.  Snibril frees Brocando from the Termagant's enchantment. He returns to the Deftmene city of Jeopard to reclaim the throne from his usurper cousin/brother Antiroc and free the city from the scourge of the mouls. Brocando, like Glurk in the revised version is a primary source of humour in the text. He is portrayed in more serious terms in the original whereas his mischievous revised counterpart plays as a good foil to Bane's more austere character.

Supporting Cast

There are substantial differences between both editions of the text but all the principal characters are present in both versions though their portrayals may vary to different degrees, their roles within the plot remain stable. This can not be said for some of the supporting cast. Whereas some characters remain relatively unchanged, others were radically altered or removed entirely and a small cohort was created for the revised edition. The chart below is populated by data extracted from the texts using Lancsbox corpus analysis software. The chart below shows the relative frequency of the character names within the respective texts.

Removed Characters

Shenda is one of the most obvious absentees in the reworked text. She is the daughter of Noral, a leader of a wight troop encountered by the principal characters early in the novel. Noral features in the revision, but his daughter does not. Chapter four of the original book contains an elaborate scene of a gift giving ceremony orchestrated by Shenda. The scene has a distinctly mystical tone to it and follows along traditional fantasy motifs of an ancient race helping or advising the main protagonists. The scene is extensively reworked in the revised text removing the gift giving ceremony and excising Shenda's character entirely. In the original story Bane has an explicit connection to the wights and eventually marries Shenda after the final battle. Though Shenda's role in the original narrative is marginal, she is the only female character who plays an active role in the story.


Snarfgorm is the chief snarg that attacks the Munrung village at the beginning of the novels. This section of both texts is similar where Snibril fights the snarg but the name is omitted in the revised text because the mouls and black snargs are unknown to the Munrungs.

Lycas is a minor character that features only in a single chapter of the original text. He is a Dumii soldier encountered by Snibril and Carus at the borders of the territory of Ware. His main function is to relate the story of the desperate defence of the outpost. He is saved when several thunorgs arrive and the moul forces flee. Pratchett potentially pays homage to Tolkien where Lycas’ opening challenge to the approaching troop is “you shall not pass” reminiscent of Gandalf’s encounter with the Balrog in The Lord of the Rings. As there is no thunorg army in the revised version, the episode does not take place and Lycas' character is removed.

Kerash is another minor character completely excised from the revision. He is the leader of a moul pack that attacks Athan's wight troop. Snibril and his band of Deftmenes and Munrungs arrive and give battle to the moul pack saving the wights. A similar scene occurs in the revised version though the chief moul is not named. The battle is over in a couple of sentences as the number of Deftmene and Munrung combatants has been markedly increased.

Kausomena is a Vortgorn guard in the High Gate Land. Glurk encounters Kausomena while attempting to free Bane, Pismire and Brocando from the dungeons of the High Gate Land. Kausomena tells Glurk about the pones and how to help his friends escape. He also informs Glurk that the Vortgorns are being forced into an alliance with the mouls. Kausomena is completely removed in the revised text and his role is amalgamated with that of Culaina.

Characters whose roles were heavily reduced

Damion Oddfoot is one of the Munrung tribe and a loyal companion to Snibril. He plays an auxiliary role in many of the battles in the original text. He does not feature actively in the 1992 version and is only mentioned briefly. His primary function in the original is as “banner carrier”, he carries the improvised banner of the Carpet into the battles. All traces of banners and standards are removed from the revised version essentially negating Damion’s function.


Stagbat is the king of the Vortgorn people from the High Gate Land. He is coerced into an alliance with the mouls under the false pretense that the mouls can control Fray. He features significantly in the original text, in particular in the final battle for Ware where he is taken captive by Snibril. He eventually changes sides in the final battle. By contrast his character is all but absent in the revision. He is mentioned once in passing in reference to a dream Brocando has where sees a vision of the forlorn Vortgorn king between two mouls. The scene is a direct allusion to an actual episode from the original text which happens during the final battle. The final battle in the revised version is vastly different and Stagbat and the Vortgorns do not feature at all.

Strephon is an older Deftmene in the original version encountered when the group arrive at Jeopard. He recounts the story of the mouls infiltration of Jeopard, offers advice to Snibril and attends the peace council with Brocando at the end of the book. In the revised text Strephon is a child who features solely to relate the recent events in Jeopard.

Noral is the leader of the wight band encountered early on in both books. Chapter four features some of the most significant changes which relate to this encounter. In the original text he acts as the wise counsellor and offers advice to the main protagonists. Noral is Shenda’s father and the scene in the original is far longer and much more elaborate. As Shenda has been completely removed from the revision this also reduces Noral’s significance as well. In the revised text Noral's mentor type role is removed and he only appears in chapter four, whereas he attends the peace council at the end of the original book and gives Bane his blessing to marry his daughter Shenda.

Character whose roles remained stable

Antiroc is Brocando's cousin in the original and his brother in the revised text. This is only major alteration done to the character. His portrayal and function within both texts is relatively stable. He takes the throne of Jeopard in Brocando's absence. His rule does not go well and the Deftmenes revolt, in desperation he turns to the mouls for help. By the time our heroes reach Jeopard, Antiroc is a puppet figurehead for the mouls and the Deftmenes are enslaved. When the city is liberated Brocando allows Antiroc to flee into Underlay.

Acretongue is the leader of the pones, a race of large creatures with long necks, small heads and small wings. Acretongue and his band of pones help our heroes escape from the High Gate Land and feature throughout the rest of the book as a type of cavalry.

The Termagant is an ancient creature once worshipped as a god by early settlers of the Carpet. He appears in both editions of the text and is portrayed in similar fashion. He is a lonely figure who evokes a certain level of pathos. He is the last of his kind in the Carpet. Snibril encounters him at the temple at Brechame in the original text (the temple is not named in the revised edition). Anyone who makes eye contact with the termagant is frozen solid though the creature does not seem to understand this. The scene in the temple is where Brocando is introduced as he has been frozen by the termagant for a year. Snibril frees Brocando by using the tears of termgant which he notices can undo the spell. The termagant dies after seeing his reflection in a polished shield, though not from being frozen but from the comfort of seeing what he thinks is another of his own kind.

Fray's identity is not revealed in The Carpet People and it can only be guessed. "He" is capable of causing mass destruction in the Carpet. Fray's attack on the Munrung village becomes the catalyst for the ensuing adventures across the Carpet. The mouls worship "him" as a god and proclaim to be his servants, Pismire asserts that it is a "natural phenomenon". Fray is interpreted throughout both texts by the tribes of the Carpet. The most obvious allusion to his identity is contained in the original text where the wights are said to have travelled to the Hearthlands and stolen fire from Fray. In the revised version he is primarily portrayed as a neutral entity much like the weather and can't be reckoned with but in the original, the thunorgs magically reinforce the carpet hairs to protect the city of Ware against him. The mouls have a connection to Fray in each text, the connection is stronger in the original where they carry the banner of Fray.  They are able to sense Fray's coming and attack in the aftermath. they use this ability to manipulate some of the tribes into believing that they can control Fray.

Athan is the leader of a wight group. His role in both versions of The Carpet People is relatively unchanged. His group are saved by Snibril and Carus/Careus and they aid in the final battle. In the revised version he is killed in the conflict.

Characters whose roles changed

Carus is a Dumii general who features prominently in the original version and could arguably be considered one of the central characters. His character undergoes significant changes in the revised version while still maintaining the character's primary function of leading Snibril into Ware. General Carus is recast as sergeant Careus. General Carus is a mostly serious figure, commander of the Fifteen Legion and comes from a ancient lineage dating back to the foundation of Ware. Sergeant Careus is portrayed as the common soldier with more practical concerns than the fate of the Empire. In the original text Carus and Bane are of equal rank and both are regarded as potential successors to the Emperor in the climax of the book. Carus conducts much of the defence of Ware as Bane is wounded and absent from the battle.  Recasting Careus as a sergeant changes the power dynamic in the text and his relationship with Snibril is more collegial as opposed to the general Carus who awards Snibril the rank of captain in the Empire's army and as such is Snibril's commanding officer

Gormaleesh is the principal antagonist in the original version. In both versions he takes control of the Deftmene city of Jeopard, captures Bane, Pismire and Brocando and brings them to the High Gate Land. In the original version he is killed by Snibril at the end of the climactic battle whereas in the revision his role is partially usurped by Jornarileesh. In the revised version Gormaleesh is portrayed as a parody of the stereotypical villian with no redeeming features and comically evil.

Culain/ Culaina is a thunorg, a race with the same heritage as the wights but their paths deviated some time in the ancient past. The character of Culain is replaced by a female version with a similar backstory called Culaina. Culaina serves a similar function in the revised version as did Culain though she has a more expanded role and adds the more ethereal elements of being able to see potential futures. Culain summons an army of thunorgs in the original version and they decide the outcome of the final battle. Culaina by contrast is the only thunorg in the revised version. Her role in the conflict is not as overt as Culain. She does not intervene directly in the conflict but seems to orchestrate things from the periphery.

Her role in the revised text also encompasses the function of Kausomena by guiding Glurk through the High Gate Land and showing him how to rescue his friends. There are very few female characters in The Carpet People, by removing the character of Shenda, Pratchett was obviously aware that he had taken out the only significant female character in the original text. Changing the gender of Culain may have been an attempt to redress the balance.

Characters whose roles increased

Jornarileesh features more prominently in the revision and takes over Gormaleesh as the principal antagonist. In the original he is more a figurehead; he is referred to several times early in the book, but he only appears briefly and is quickly dispatched by Snibril. In the revised version Jornarileesh gives a slightly more human face to the portrayal of the mouls. He is their leader and features significantly once the action moves to the Dumii capital of Ware. He is not killed in the revised version instead he is taken prisoner and afforded the opportunity to speak in the aftermath of the final battle.

Owlglass is a doctor in Ware, his role is relatively straight forward in the original, he looks after Snibril and Bane when they are injured. He has an expanded and altered role in the revised edition. He is an old school friend of Pismire and helps Pismire and company infiltrate the palace. His other role is primarily comic relief where he has a penchant for meticulously explaining figurative language or stating the obvious.

Targon is the Emperor of the Dumii Empire. Some of the most significant changes could be said to revolve around his portrayal. He fulfills two very different roles in each text. His character is inextricably linked to the idea of empire and each book treats it quite differently. He does not feature much in the original story but is referred to several times. He is killed when the mouls attack Ware. There is a dignified passage describing his funeral procession. By contrast the character is actively involved in the main story of the revision. There is a similar situation to Antiroc and the mouls at Jeopard. The mouls have infiltrated the imperial palace and have the Emperor under their control. They have also convinced him that they can control the power of Fray. The Emperor is portrayed in a very unflattering light, he behaves like a spoilt child. When the Emperor is mentioned in the original it is generally in a positive or neutral way but throughout the revision the Emperor is consistently portrayed negatively. This appears to be a deliberate shift in Pratchett’s perspective. He questions the idea of hereditary succession and at the end of the1992 edition, the suggestion is made that perhaps there should no longer be an empire but something else in its place. By the end of the revised edition the fate of the Emperor in unknown, “No one could find the Emperor. No one looked very hard.”

Added Characters

Tarillon is a new character; she is one of the leaders of the wights who features briefly in the aftermath of the final battle for Ware. She serves a similar function to Noral in the original story and acts as a representative for the wights.

Lady Vortex is a new character who plays the role of leader of the women who fight in the battle for Ware. She also acts as an informal spokeswoman for women rights and insists that women must have a place in whatever shape the future of the Dumii Empire takes. The addition of Lady Vortex in the revised text may also be an indication that Pratchett was cognizant of the under representation of female characters in the original text.

Mealy is a new character created for the revised version of The Carpet People. The 1992 version deviates heavily from the original. Mealy is a cook in the palace at Ware. He is an old war buddy of sergeant Careus. He and his fellow workers are former sergeants in the Dumii army and are all carry battle scars and are missing limbs. Mealy represents a more light-hearted approach to the Dumii soldier which complements the portrayal of sergeant Careus. In the revised version the Emperor does not die but is “imprisoned” by the mouls in the palace. Snibril rescues the Emperor with the help of Mealy and his men.


This graph is a display of the distribution of edits across the 1992 revised edition of The Carpet People and 2013 American edition of The Carpet People. The graph is produced as part of the output of Coleto, an automatic collation tool for the comparison of variant texts.

Erik Ketzan and Christof Schöch, Classifying and Contextualizing Edits in Variants with Coleto: Three Versions of Andy Weir’s The Martian,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 15:4 (2021)

Bane at Pismire's Cave


The Wights' Varnishboiler

Jeopard, Home of the Deftmenes

Pull Broc's Arm


The Wights Fight

Glurk and Fang

Acretongue and Friends

Flight of the Pones

Vortgorn Glurk

The Camp of Culain

Snibril and Brocando

Fireballs at Ware

This illustration shows the layout of the chapters of each book. The central tiles state the location or specific scene and the outer tiles indicate the chapters in which they are contained. The tile colours correspond roughly to the colour of the hairs of the Carpet at each location.

The Carpet People 1971 Character network. The network was created using with Gephi visualization software. Node size is determined by the amount of direct speech connections a character has with other characters and edge weight is determined by the amount of speech interactions between characters. Node colour is partitioned by tribe. Munrung: Yellow, Dumii: Red, Deftmene: Blue, Wight: Turquoise, Thunorg:Green, Moul: Purple, Vortgorn:Ochre, Pone: Pale blue

The Carpet People 1992 Character network. The network was created using with Gephi visualization software. Node size is determined by the amount of direct speech connections a character has with other characters and edge weight is determined by the amount of speech interactions between characters. Node colour is partitioned by tribe. Munrung: Yellow, Dumii: Red, Deftmene: Blue, Wight: Turquoise, Thunorg:Green, Moul: Purple, Vortgorn:Ochre, Pone: Pale blue

The Carpet People 1971 Character network. The network was created using Gephi. Node size is determined by the total amount of direct speech attributed to a character and edge weight is determined by the amount of speech interactions between characters.

The Carpet People 1992 Character network. The network was created using Gephi. Node size is determined by the total amount of direct speech attributed to a character and edge weight is determined by the amount of speech interactions between characters.