Course Hero. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 16 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy/>.
Course Hero. (2016, November 28). The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide." November 28, 2016. Accessed July 16, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy/.
Course Hero, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide," November 28, 2016, accessed July 16, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy/.
The old man is tallish, elderly, and dressed in a single long gray robe. He stands watching the last of the twin suns of Magrathea set before turning to Arthur Dent. Stating that his name is unimportant, the old man assures Arthur that he will not harm him and explains that the planet is not really dead as it seems; only sleeping. Five million years ago, when the galactic economy collapsed, it seemed best to go to sleep until the crisis was over. The planet's computers were programmed to revive everyone at that time. The old man then tells Arthur that he must come with him; great things are happening—Magrathea is waking up. He motions Arthur toward a small, hovering craft that he calls an aircar. Leaving Marvin behind, the two take off and head deep into the bowels of the planet. Finally, the old man introduces himself, to Arthur's amusement, as Slartibartfast, and then adds sadly, "I said it wasn't important."
The plot takes another unexpected turn as elderly, dignified, and slightly distracted Slartibartfast appears on the supposedly dead and uninhabited Magrathea. He has come to fetch Arthur Dent because "great things are afoot." Just what these great things are is not explained.
When Arthur first discovers the old man standing there, he naturally asks, "Who are you?" The old man looks away, and there is sadness in his face. In fact, the man seems generally weighted down with secret sorrow. In creating the character, Adams assigned him a quality of ancient sadness and decided that his name should be its source. So, he crafted one that anybody would be sad to have. He also wanted it to sound quite rude and yet get past the broadcast censors. In the book of original radio scripts, he recalls that he started out with a name completely unsuitable for broadcast: "PHARTIPHUCKBORLZ." He then played around with the syllables until he ended up with Slartibartfast.