Saturday, 3 March 2012

Spotlight On A Favourite Auhor - Terry Pratchett

How do you desribe Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Well... it's flat, carried on the backs of four elephands which rest on a giant turtle that swims endlessly through space.

It has an university which is 'run' by wizards whose main concern is where the next meal is coming from and whether the university librarian, an orangutang, is going to get sucked into one of the alternate universes contained within the library.

It also has witches, three of them. Magrat is a new age sap, who associates witchcrft with amulets and necklaces and cat shaped brooches. She has crystals and things that jangle but, when push comes to shove off the end of the universe, she knows one end of a wand from the other.

Then there's Nanny Ogg, who is everyone's mother, with enough daughter in laws to make sure she never needs to lift a finger. Her home is full of ruffles and photographs and her knicker legs full of bottles of brandy. Her favourite songs are 'A Wizard's Staff Has A Knob On The Top' and the imfamous Hegehog song She has a dirtier mind than I have, and that's saying some.

And then there's Granny Weatherwax. A great woman that I could inspire to see. Although witches have no leaders she acts as if she were one and so do everyone else. She goes 'travelling' by hitchiking on the minds of animals during which times she puts a sign on her body that reads. I Aten't Dead, just in case someone comes along and thinks she is.  She doesn't do magic, she does 'headology' unless she actually needs to do magic, which is rare, although she tends to save the world a lot. Her knicker legs are so tight you would never be able to fit a bottle of brandy up there

 Then there are the night watch, the Discworld equivalent to a police force. The are and equal opportunity force with a golem, a dwarf, a 6ft 4'' man who believes he's a dwarf, a vampire oh... and a werewolf. They are some of my favourite characters, especially Vimes.

An then there's death. How do you describe death. One of my favourite quotes is from the Death of Discworld... There Is No Justice There Is Only Me.  He speaks like a gravestone falling, rides a flying horse, has a penchant for kittens and once worked in a curry house... oh and he has a daughter called Susan who's a school teacher.

Death is such a 'human' character and is easily my favourite, on a par with Granny Weatherwax. He has gone on holiday, forcing the wizards to summon him back... with his cocktail umbrella, stepped in to be Father Christmas, and even got sacked once... briefly.

To complicate things a little more, there are more than one deaths. The Death of Rats is my favourite.

So there you have it, a flavour of the Discworld. Immerse yourself in it and you'll never be the same. There are so many layers in each book, from deep quantum physics, to philosophy, to  academia, myth, the power of stories( I would advise all writers to read Witches Abroad).. and magic.

So I will leave you with my fave character

Terry Pratchett is currently suffering with Altzheimer's which I think is a criminal shame. Whatever happens in the future he has left a legacy that will live on long after he's gone and that relates not only to his written work but his life, his tireless work for many organisations, initiatives and projects, and his current work on the understanding and control of Altzheimer's.

He is a truly remarkable man whom I respect with all my heart.


  1. I have never read any Terry Pratchett. I know I know. I need to fix this ASAP.

  2. You do indeed. Not everyone's taste but you need to read deeper to fully appreciate.