Ten Things You Need to Know About: Terry Pratchett

Ten Things You Need to Know About: Terry Pratchett

If everything can be believed about the way Sir Terry lived his life (and I think most of it can be) then it was equally as spectacular as the world which he created, from hunting down an old orangutan friend in the jungles of Borneo to forging a sword in his own back garden. RIP Terry.

It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you’re attempting can’t be done.” ~TP

 1. Even though he is gone, his spirit lives on. Tech savvy fans of Terry Pratchett invented a code based off his own creation “the clacks” from his Discworld series. The tribute “GNU Terry Pratchett” can now be set as part of any website’s header. See here for more details or here.

2. Pratchett was a trustee of the Orangutan Foundation. This should come as no surprise to readers of his books, which featured an orangutan librarian. He encountered them in the jungles of Borneo and spoke out about their plight in Facing Extinction when he went in search of his orange haired friend Kusasi.

3. Sir Terry had a sword forged when he was knighted. He didn’t go to a specialist blacksmiths or even a local one, but instead forged it in the fields behind his house from some iron which he dug up with the help of his friends.

“Give a man a fire and he’s warm for the day. But set fire to him and he’s warm for the rest of his life.” ~TP

4. Terry’s books always carried his wisdom and his characters taught us to look more closely at the world. “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” A Hat Full of Sky.

5. Terry Pratchett was often seen wearing his iconic hat. Usually a fedora and usually black, there’s something about Terry’s hat which grabs you. It wasn’t the hat which defined the author though, it was the author who defined the hat and I don’t see one now without thinking it looks out of place without a white beard and prominent spectacles.

“I didn’t go to university. Didn’t even finish A-levels. But I have sympathy for those who did.” ~TP

6. Sir Terry spoke out about Alzheimer’s disease. He called it an ’embuggerance’ but he didn’t hide from it or hide it from us. Terry raised awareness about the disease and helped many other sufferers and their families.

“It occurred to me that at one point it was like I had two diseases – one was Alzheimer’s, and the other was knowing I had Alzheimer’s.” ~TP

7. Terry Pratchett was a keen astronomer. He even had an observatory in his garden; maybe he hoped to one day see the Discworld through his telescope.

8.  Pratchett was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for “services to literature.” Terry has said he never set out to write literature and sometimes denied that was what he did. Perhaps he preferred to think of himself as someone who wrote about life as it is – Terry proved that the line between fiction and fact is a thin one.

“The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it’s just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.”

9. Terry Pratchett challenged attitudes to euthanasia. He supported people’s right to die with dignity and to choose when they were ready to go and spoke out against society’s intolerance toward it. Terry Pratchett made people re-think their answers to hard questions and was passionate about free thinking and free will.

10. He was always thinking of his fans and friends and there was often little distinction between them. Terry Pratchett was a true gentleman and he took the time to respond to fans, building up a large community both online and everywhere he walked the Earth. His final moments were tweeted by his assistant Rob Wilkins shortly after his death and were in true Discworld style.

“He didn’t do much harm”

Terry Pratchett’s epitaph by Terry Pratchett for Terry Pratchett.


Heather, who goes by Rydia on YWS, has long been an aspiring author. In the early days of her life she attached herself to poetry and would curl up on the playground bench to scrawl down lines of forgotten virtue. Or, more likely, little virtue at all. At the very old age of 11, she joined The Young Writers Club and progressed into the realms of roleplay. Here she constructed characters to fight off dragons or rally to their allies' aid with healing spells; a joint love of gaming heavily influenced this fondness of adventure storybooks. A few more years went by before Heather became a serious novelist and she still considers poetry to be her favourite media for getting those thoughts down on paper. Outside of writing her loves include puzzle books, strategy/ fantasy games, movies, swimming, skiing (when she actually has money), crafty things, baking, food in general, fun pranks and anything involving snow.

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2 Responses

  1. Nutty says:

    I cried so many times the day he died. He’s always going to be my favorite author, and probably the reason I even ever got interested in writing in the first place.

  2. cplmarr says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting him on a couple of occasions and he was always great with his fans. The first time was at a small sci-fi store called Odyssey 7 in Leeds (West Yorkshire, UK) in 1987. Equal Rites had just come out in paperback and there were probably half a dozen fans there at the time. He was the first author I had ever met. RIP TP.

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