Tag Archives: terry pratchett

Review: The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

The Shepherd’s Crown: the final Discworld novel

It is difficult to know whether the elegiac mood I felt while reading The Shepherd’s Crown was due to the book itself or to the fact that the fifth Tiffany Aching novel (and forty-first Discworld novel) was in fact the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s final work.

The Shepherd’s Crown focuses on the young witch Tiffany Aching as she comes fully to find her place both in the non-hierarchy of the witches’ world, in the land of her birth (the Chalk), and in her own life. She finds herself pulled between two steadings, the districts for which, as a witch, she is responsible for doing “what needs to be done” — whether visiting the old and sick, birthing babies, or protecting the inhabitants from supernatural invasion. And, as the book begins, a supernatural invasion does in fact loom: Nightshade, Queen of the Faeries (whom a nine-year-old Tiffany defeated in the first book in the series) finds that the boundaries between her world and Tiffany’s are weak, and she is planning large-scale revenge. Discworld faeries have much more kinship to the Celtic sidhe than to the cute winged creatures of most children’s books or than to Tolkien’s aristocratic elves: they are  (literally) glamorous, pitiless creatures who take delight in mayhem ranging from spoiling beer and stealing sheep to kidnap, torture, and murder.

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Rest in Peace, Sir Terry. You’ve Earned It

As you probably know, Sir Terry Pratchett died today. His is a great loss to the world of letters — but I still can’t think about him without smiling.

I can’t help but think that he’s got Death chuckling. In small caps.

He was a very funny writer of wildly amusing fantasy novels, and so it could occasionally be easy to overlook how profound some of the ideas were that he was exploring in his books.

Here’s one of my favorite bits, a piece from one of his wonderful Discworld novels, Witches Abroad. It focuses on the nature of narrative: Continue reading Rest in Peace, Sir Terry. You’ve Earned It