the end is not always the end


I lost a hero this week.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March.

I first got into Pratchett novels as a teenager. I was introduced to the amazing literary creation that is Discworld by my friend Nicholas at the age of 14. While admittedly I was (and am still) pretty geeky, I thought that fantasy novels were the first step on the journey that I imagined ending with me playing Dungeons and Dragons in a home-made cloak at the age of 40.

I was never so wrong.

While undoubtedly fantasy, this was fantasy that knew it was fantasy. With his tongue firmly in his cheek, Pratchett gently poked fun at the somewhat pretentious and closed off realm of science fiction and fantasy.
I was advised that while each novel stands alone and can be read individually, the encompassing world of shared characters and Pratchett's inimitable humorous writing style had me hooked from the first book The Colour Of Magic and I read them in publication order from there, blazing through the first 10 books over the course of a summer holiday.

Nicholas passed away a month before his 17th birthday and his mum gave me his copy of The Colour of Magic. I still have it and it motivated me to pick up the other books I had fallen in love with.

My favourite characters are the witches.
Granny Weatherwax could very well have been based on my own grandmother, Granny Gra.

When I read about Sir Terry's death, I was struck silent. He had a well-publicised battle with a form of early-onset Alzheimer's Disease, a cruel disease for one with such a creative wit and writing skill. He spoke of how the disease had robbed him of many of his ability and of his subsequent support of assisted suicide. Knowing and accepting his fate made him all the more admirable, doing it with humility and dignity made him an icon.

The last tweets on his Twitter account really hit me. Written by his assistant, they were not the usual formal announcement, instead gave his fans one more smile, albeit a bitter sweet one.

The final few words from Terry Pratchett's Twitter feed.
One of the most famous recurring characters (and most beloved) in the Discworld universe was his personification of Death. Rather than a terrifying spectre of mortality, he was simply a being doing his job with understanding, empathy and often, a dry sense of wit. His trademark speech pattern was capitalised text, denoting his gravitas. Having Death himself tweet his arrival to collect Terry was poignant and moving; full of respect and love for his work and his fans.

I am embarking on a labour of love; I will re-read his entire works. This is actually something I have been meaning to do and am loathed to admit this has been the motivation for doing so. I want to revisit and relive and remember the fun and thoughtfulness of his words. It is the least I can to do thank the man that made my teens much more bearable. 

I will finish this post with a quote from the book Going Postal

I like to think this will ensure that Terry is never really dead; his words will be read and his name will be spoken, for many years to come.

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