Dad dot info form. Ask questions, get answers | Lifestyle | Play | Books | Books for You | A farewell to Sir Terry Pratchett

A farewell to Sir Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett 28/04/1948 – 12/03/2015


“Words can change the world,” says the Fool in Terry Pratchett’s novel Wyrd Sisters. He’s right, and the fact that such wisdom comes from the mouth of a court jester is only proper in the circumstances because comedy can sometimes contain the most powerful words of all.

Some people get confused on this point. They think comedy is a simple, silly thing because it can be light and surrounded with chuckles rather than grim contemplation. Such people are, of course, terribly wrong, nothing gets to the heart of a point more than a good joke. Just because the important thoughts – and the important truths – happen to come hand in hand with a smile doesn’t lessen their worth, in fact the worth was multiplied. Not only did that humorous person make you think he ensured you had a good time while doing so. Bonus. There are educators the world over who could learn from this.

More often than not, Sir Terry also wrote fantasy. That probably means his work wasn’t important too doesn’t it? After all, fantasy is a very silly thing, it doesn’t even have the decency to be real for goodness sake. Messing about with imaginary creatures, imaginary worlds. Tsk. Fantasy! What a waste of time. As might be expected, Sir Terry thought slightly differently: “Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can.” I can’t resist allowing him a few more words on the subject: “Stories of the imagination tend to upset people without one.”

If the world-alteration of words can be assisted by sheer mass – it can’t, not really, but let’s run with it because, damn it all, the numbers are impressive – Pratchett has a decent advantage, with fifty-seven novels to his credit, novels that have sold, worldwide, over seventy million copies, translated into thirty-seven different languages.

That’s a lot of jokes. A lot of important thoughts.

How wonderful is that? Sir Terry’s death this month, at the age of sixty-six, is terribly sad and yet, to leave behind so many brilliant, brilliant words… That’s amazing.

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course,” writes Sir Terry in his novel, Diggers, “is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” He’s right, again, but that’s also a blessing isn’t it? While there may be only a few new, unprinted words and ideas left to us – a couple of books are scheduled to be published posthumously – the rest never go away and will continue to haunt bookshelves, both physical and digital, for as long as there are minds for them to fall into. Beneficent, timeless ghosts, often wearing wonderfully silly hats over their clever, clever heads.

“People don’t alter history any more than birds alter the sky,” he wrote in Mort – a book about death of course, indeed, a book about Death, the cat-loving ALL CAPS wielding character that reoccurred through Pratchett’s Discworld series – “they just make brief patterns in it.”

Which, again, is true. But what brilliant patterns.

Related entries


Win a copy of Kevin Keegan’s autobiography!   To celebrate the paperback release of Kevin Keegan’s new autobiography, My Life In Football we have partnered with Pan Macmillan to give one lucky winner the chance to win a copy! To enter come over to us on Facebook...


Haynes Publishing have some nice new pocket books out this Christmas, they’re perfect for anyone looking for “stocking fillers”. The books are a short, entertaining guide to all the most important things in life. Bluffer's Guide To Rugby – Steven Gauge, £5.00...

Latest entries

What birth rate is needed to sustain a population?

What birth rate is needed to sustain a population?

Not the most romantic of pillow talk, but though having children is a completely personal choice there is also an optimal birth rate that is needed to sustain a population. And it is 2.1 live births per mother. 2.1 for a few reasons. Sadly even with the best medical...



Dads, do you struggle sometimes? Who do you reach out to for help? Debbie Pattison, a qualified counsellor at Fegans can answer your questions. Send them in to Ask Debbie at and if she can she will answer. Today’s question is from a hurt dad that hasn't...

Childcare: what are the options?

Childcare: what are the options?

Modern parenthood is about striking a balance between caring for your children and earning a crust. Many families need childcare options to balance the juggle. If you don't know your nannies from your au pairs, read our guide to childcare to help you decide...

Pin It on Pinterest