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Why tin?

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Why tin?

Postby adamprince » Fri May 25, 2018 12:30 pm

I've noticed a pattern in discworld of swarms having a tinny smell. In Equal Rites, the uh... ancieny magical swarm thing... is described as smelling of tin. The same is true, in the Tiffany Aching books, of the hiver and of Ms Level's bees. I'm sure there are many more instances of this trend, but I still haven't read most of discworld.
While I noticed this, I have no idea why tin of all things. Does anybody have an idea as to why Sir Terry might have chosen it?
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Re: Why tin?

Postby Grace Speaker » Thu Jun 07, 2018 02:51 pm

adamprince wrote:I've noticed a pattern in discworld of swarms having a tinny smell. In Equal Rites, the uh... ancieny magical swarm thing... is described as smelling of tin. The same is true, in the Tiffany Aching books, of the hiver and of Ms Level's bees. I'm sure there are many more instances of this trend, but I still haven't read most of discworld.
While I noticed this, I have no idea why tin of all things. Does anybody have an idea as to why Sir Terry might have chosen it?
Ahh, 'a tiny smell' is paradox in that tin doesn't really smell of anything, doesn't oxidise easily and has no known biological role in humans - and although it is absorbed easily by plants, I have no idea what they do with it.

I think the wonderful and very clever Sir Terry is deliberately using this to give a sense of 'other', as you can only imagine what such a smell would be like. As mere mundane humans, we're fair more used to the 'coppery' smell of blood . . . although I believe that vampires are also quite keen on that smell too . . . :wink:
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Re: Why tin?

Postby Molokov » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:29 pm

It's also mentioned early on in the series (probably in The Colour of Magic) that magic / octiron / octarine has a tinny smell and a purplish-green yellow colour. Thus anything that's remotely magical smells like tin throughout the series.

Of course, those descriptions of what magic looks or smells like are deliberately something that's hard to imagine existing in our world, but they do paint a pretty mental picture. :)
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Re: Why tin?

Postby steeljam » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:53 pm

Interesting. I am re-reading Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch and he has Peter Grant noticing the smell of tin at a crime scene.
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Re: Why tin?

Postby Grace Speaker » Fri Jun 08, 2018 01:27 pm

steeljam wrote:Interesting. I am re-reading Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch and he has Peter Grant noticing the smell of tin at a crime scene.
I'm re-reading the series again too and loving how many direct and indirect references there are to STP and the Discworld :D
Although I do wish Mr Aaronovitch had a better proof-reader, as there's some very funny things going on with his subjunctives and prepositions (they go AWOL every now & then), mainly from book 2 onwards - not that I'm pedantic or anything . .. :wink:
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Re: Why tin?

Postby steeljam » Fri Jun 08, 2018 01:36 pm

Grace Speaker wrote:
steeljam wrote:Interesting. I am re-reading Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch and he has Peter Grant noticing the smell of tin at a crime scene.
I'm re-reading the series again too and loving how many direct and indirect references there are to STP and the Discworld :D
Although I do wish Mr Aaronovitch had a better proof-reader, as there's some very funny things going on with his subjunctives and prepositions (they go AWOL every now & then), mainly from book 2 onwards - not that I'm pedantic or anything . .. :wink:
He has stated that he writes the way people talk, not the way grammar directs; he is always using "Me and him" which initially annoyed me.
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Re: Why tin?

Postby chrisboote » Fri Jun 08, 2018 01:45 pm

steeljam wrote:
Grace Speaker wrote:
steeljam wrote:Interesting. I am re-reading Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch and he has Peter Grant noticing the smell of tin at a crime scene.
I'm re-reading the series again too and loving how many direct and indirect references there are to STP and the Discworld :D
Although I do wish Mr Aaronovitch had a better proof-reader, as there's some very funny things going on with his subjunctives and prepositions (they go AWOL every now & then), mainly from book 2 onwards - not that I'm pedantic or anything . .. :wink:
He has stated that he writes the way people talk, not the way grammar directs; he is always using "Me and him" which initially annoyed me.


The sort of errors I notice are when he refers to Lesley as Leslie, or confuses the ages of Mama Thames' daughters, or refers to Reynard as 'her'
All just sloppy proofreading
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Re: Why tin?

Postby Grace Speaker » Fri Jun 08, 2018 03:43 pm

chrisboote wrote:The sort of errors I notice are when he refers to Lesley as Leslie, or confuses the ages of Mama Thames' daughters, or refers to Reynard as 'her'
All just sloppy proofreading
I'd forgotten about those ones! I agree, he really needs a better proofreader - I have a lovely red pen, if there's a vacancy . . . :wink:
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