The Magic of Terry Pratchett

Around the World Country: England

WordHigh July day 30: Tadhana (n) an invisible force that makes things happen beyond the control of mortals

When I was in primary school, my brother, a lanky teenager with brown hair down to his shoulders and a habit of disappearing into his room to play computer games for hours, would often come out with interesting ideas and quirky jokes. Unbeknownst to us, he had been reading Terry Pratchett, an English author who wrote fantasy novels set on the Discworld- a flat world carries through space on the back of four elephants on a giant turtle. This world is full of magic and absurdity, of wizards, witches, goblins, dwarves, trolls, vampires, undead, and werewolves all just living along side each other, and of gods who can be created in response to a single person’s belief in their existence. Despite all this, it is a world that mirrors our own in fascinating ways. It is the backdrop to a humorous, light-hearted, satirical musing on various aspects of our own disappointingly non-magical world. It was this content which my brother, perhaps unintentionally drew on, that my sister and I found out about a couple years later when we too started working through his collection.

There are 41 disc world novels, and a handful of others, so if you like Terry Pratchett, you have weeks of content to enjoy. If you have never read any before, I would recommend it, but where to start is an interesting question. I have always been a ‘start at the beginning’ type of person, but Terry Pratchett himself has reportedly said not to in this case, as he hadn’t quite developed his style in his first couple of books. A lot of the characters do appear in multiple books, but it shouldn’t matter if you pick up a book in the middle. Most stories can stand by themselves- it may be nice to know where you are in a characters life story, but it isn’t necessary. There are a few grouping of books, so starting at the start of a grouping could work- for example there are a few books based primarily around the witches, a few around the city watchmen etc. Personally the witches are my favourite characters.

Terry Pratchett was awarded the Order of the Brittish Empire and knighted for services to literature. He developed early onset Alzheimers in 2007, and died last year aged 66. He continued to put out regularly books throughout this time, although the last were in collaboration with other authors. He was the UK’s best-selling author in the 1990s, and will always be remembered fondly as one of my favourite authors in the decade after that when I really got to work through his collection.


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