Thursday 12 March 2015

Goodbye, Sir Terry

I've been sitting here staring at a blank screen trying to work out how to say... what to say about Sir Terry Pratchett.

The first of his books I read was Guards Guard, when I was 12. My middle school had a tiny library, and one shelf was only for year 8 pupils. I'd had my eye on the book since I started 3 years before - Josh Kirby's art was fantastic and there were dragons! And I loved it, although it wasn't what I was expecting.

I loved the Johnny trilogy, and Carpet People, and Good Omens is the book I read again and again, but Discworld is where I lose myself. I remember the great pleasure of trips to the bookshop with my Dad, using hard-earned pocket money to pick up the series; slowly, slowly. The Last Continent was the first that was my favourite, but these days it's Reaper Man followed by anything with the Witches.

When I went to uni, I couldn't take my vast library so a lot of it was boxed up and left with my Dad for safe-keeping. Came home and moved with Husbit officially. A few years ago we finally had the space to collect most of the boxes (I think there's one left, maybe two), so we went through and ensured we had a full Discworld collection between us and my step-mum was delighted to find herself in possession of a nearly full set - with my Dad's collection, there were still several duplicates.

Magrat is a character I've been meaning to write about for a while: she is not my favourite character but she is the most important to me.

I hated her, to begin with: she was so wet and uselessly well-meaning and dreamy and one day I realised I hated her because she reminded me of me, right down to the bird's nest hair and peas on an ironing board. And as I realised that, she became a stronger person and that hurt, because she was moving away from someone I related to and becoming someone I thought I could never be - and then finally I started to get there. And I've been trying to find the way to express that best so that I could write and tell Terry Pratchett and I'm sorrowful I didn't write to him in time.

When I heard the diagnosis, I was heartbroken and hoping for a miracle and it was selfish because I didn't want the books to end - the Science and the Folklore as much as the fiction - but I think it's a selfishness shared by many. I wanted him to be well for his friends and his family and himself, but in an abstract way: tangibly, I wanted him to be well for the Disc. And that ... that can never happen now and I'm sad. And I'm sad for his family and his friends and for the stories.

But I'm so grateful for the ones we've already had.


  1. Very beautiful story, and beautifully said. I agree in sharing sadness and anger that Nobby Nobbs won't get a girlfriend, and Carrot and Angua won't ever get married, and Tiffany Aching won't ever officially move into Granny's cabin. I know it's silly and selfish, but damnit, that was the power and genius of Terry Pratchett. Maybe some day, Fern, you can fill the gap ;-)

    1. Thank you :)

      I think his impact on fiction will be felt for a long time to come, and that can only be a good thing. And I think the shared sorrow is, too; it shows how far he reached.