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Doctor Whiteface is the head of the Fools' Guild since Men At Arms - the stony-faced first among equals at the Guild of Fools and Joculators.

There was some confusion as to how long Whiteface has been in office, as in Reaper Man there is a meeting attended by known civic leaders, where the Fools' Guild's representative is a Fool called Geoffrey, described as the "Chief Butt" of the Guild. (He is kindly treated by the other Guild leaders and civic dignitaries, and finally led away by gentle hands). This suggested that the Guild was at this time led by a Fool rather than a clown, and in keeping with its grey joylessness, a rather neurotic ineffectual one. However, in Men at Arms, the Guild leader is very clearly a a grim-faced clown called Dr. Whiteface, the stern-looking one who does not get involved in all the side-splitting comedy pratfalls nor any business with buckets of water. In some indefinable way, all the action in the ring revolves around him while leaving him untouched. He is the one the other clowns appear to be afraid of. Dr. Whiteface is evidently made of sterner stuff than Geoffrey, as he faces down Captain Carrot in a battle of wills.

In the relevant entry in the The New Discworld Companion, it is in fact made clear that the chief of the Guild, for over three hundred years, has been Dr Whiteface. Faces may be passed down through families; clearly, the Guild allows for the visage of Dr. Whiteface to be inherited by each new chief clown.

Although the word is not used, it is clear that Dr Whiteface derives directly from the whitefaced, or dominant clown of European circus tradition, this figure is sometimes termed a Pierrot owing to the resemblance of his costume and face to those of the French clown of that name. The costume is suggested (in the Discworld Sketchbook) to be hereditary among leaders of the guild, suggesting that there is always a Whiteface while the Chief Butt is a mere sidekick (and quite often kicked at that) to the guild president. (In fact, a Butt is a rather lowly level in the Heirarchy, which has nine steps for an aspirant Clown or Fool to climb. So if each level of the profession has its own Chief - Chief Muggins, Chief Dupe, Chief Gull, Chief Butt, Chief Tomfool, etc - this explains much, and might well explain Geoffrey's presence at a civic meeting, if Whiteface wanted to show it didn't merit his own presence nor that of anyone higher in the hierarchy).

The official title of Doctor Whiteface is The Abbot. The reason for this is that the Guild of Fools explicitly views itself as a closed monastic order seeking purity through devotion to the Great Work, untrammeled by mundane things like soft beds, more than minimal rest, contact with women, and other sullying influences. Below him are Obedientaries (Guild officers with an administrative function) and the Cloistered Priors (the treaching staff of the Guild School). More details may be found in Discworld Fools' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2001.

Physical Characteristics[]

Dr Whiteface is named such for a good reason- pointy[1] white hat, white boots, white face, the lot. On his face is a design in red greasepaint displaying a thin[1] smile, despite his real face, which is described in Making Money as "as cold and proud as that of a prince of Hell."[2] His makeup also features black eyebrows[1].

Head of the Fools' Guild[]

In Men At Arms, he is described by Fred Colon as being even more unpleasant than Dr Cruces[3]. He holds an iron grip over the Guild, and is feared by many clowns as the one who never gets in the way of custard[1].

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Men At Arms, p. 144
  2. Making Money, p. 445
  3. Men At Arms, p. 145