Now, there is a tendency at a point like this to look over one’s shoulder at the cover artist and start going on at length about leather, tightboots and naked blades.
Words like ‘full’, ‘round’ and even ‘pert’ creep into the narrative, until the writer has to go and have a cold shower and a lie down.
Which is all rather silly, because any woman setting out to make a living by the sword isn’t about to go around looking like something off the cover of the more advanced kind of lingerie catalogue for the specialized buyer.
Oh well, all right. The point that must be made is that although Herrena the Henna-Haired Harridan would look quite stunning after a good bath, a heavy-duty manicure, and the pick of the leather racks in Woo Hun Ling’s Oriental Exotica and Martial Aids on Heroes Street, she was currently quite sensibly dressed in light chain mail, soft boots, and a short sword.
All right, maybe the boots were leather. But not black.
Rincewind looked sourly at the procession. As the druids spread out around a great flat stone that dominated the centre of the circle he couldn’t help noticing the attractive if rather pale young lady in their midst. She wore a long white robe, a gold torc around her neck, and an expression of vague apprehension.
I don’t know quite who this lady is meant to be but she isn’t matching up with any of the descriptions I found of the two female characters in this book (The Light Fantastic), particularly as one is described as being dressed sensibly in light chain mail which that is not.
What Josh Kirby’s Discworld illustrations are famous for is that they’re anything but faithful to the descriptions from the books. He went a step further with the cover for Sourcery, where similarly underclad lady is shown front and center, not just on the side:
And this time there’s no doubt which character it’s supposed to be: Conina, the barbarian hairdresser. The only clothes she’s explicitly described wearing in the book are a thief suit and a flowery dress. While she does have to, at one point, join a harem where every lady has a notably skimpy costume, the book never mentions an outfit change.
Sir Terry Pratchett was diplomatically polite regarding Kirby’s own vision of his novels, though I don’t believe he ever claimed the illustrations to be accurate until Paul Kidby took over as the official Discworld artist, after Kirby’s death in 2001.