You’ll have heard. Sir Terry Pratchett is dead. He’s the man who said “The ideal death, I think, is what was the ideal Victorian death, you know, with your grandchildren around you, a bit of sobbing. And you say goodbye to your loved ones, making certain that one of them has been left behind to look after the shop.”
What has struck me is the wide variety of people who’ve been hit by his death. People who I had assumed were illiterate (or at least where I assumed the last book they read was composed mainly of pictures of puppies and kittens) have grown tearful on hearing the news.
Looking back at my life since he started writing, I can tell the stressful times because they were when I just sat and re-read his books, one after another.
When things got really, unbelievably bad (like the foot and mouth outbreak) I fell back on reading Asterix, and then progressed onto Pratchett. His was the ladder out, the line of white stones, the long and winding stair.
Everybody has their favourite character, their favourite quote, their favourite book.
For me, I liked his description of a character, “He was the sort of person who stood on mountaintops during thunderstorms in wet copper armour shouting ‘All the Gods are bastards.’”
I’ll miss the excitement of ‘the next Pratchett.’ There’s a gap, something has gone. There are few people who are irreplaceable. If we were to lose three party leaders overnight, in a week their successors would be in post and who knows, the world might even be a better place. But Sir Terry is one of the few who cannot be replaced.
But he can be remembered, and I honour his memory.