“His age was indeterminate. But in cynicism and general world weariness, which is a sort of carbon dating of the personality, he was about seven thousand years old.”- Guards Guards, Terry Pratchett
Death sucks, which when you think about it is rather unfair on the poor fellow. He doesn’t go around slicing people’s heads off, running them over in cars, or giving them Alzheimer’s. No, he just has a job to do. So he weathers the curses, picks up his charge’s hourglasses, gets on his horse Binky and gets to work.
It was on March 12th 2015 that he had to collect a man who always seemed to understand him. In fact he had written many funny and thought provoking books on him, his tasks and the residents on one of his rounds. A place called The Discworld which is a flat world, resting on the backs of 4 giant elephants on the back of an even bigger turtle.
Being that Sir Terry Pratchett knew Death so well, it stood to reason Death would know him even better so though mystical arts, we at Coins of McGuffin contacted Death in his domain to give an interview about the now passed on Terry Pratchett:
Coins of McGuffin: Good evening Death
Death: GOOD EVENING
Firstly thank you for taking the time to talk with us, I know you are extremely busy.
TIME IS SOMETHING I HAVE AN INFINITE AMOUNT OF. I SHOULD THANK YOU FOR USING THE TIME YOU HAVE LEFT TO TALK TO ME.
Um..yes, but we know you are still busy, so firstly I must ask how well did your know Terry Pratchett
IN MY ROLE I MUST KNOW ALL BEINGS AND THINGS, FROM THE SMALLEST SINGLE CELL CREATURE TO THE GREAT A’TUIN. ALL THINGS HAVE THEIR TIME AND AS SUCH I KNOW ALL THINGS
Ah yes, ok but how did Terry know about you personally
HE ONCE SAW AN INCARNATION OF ME IN THAT MOVING PICTURE THE SEVENTH SEAL. YOU KNOW THE ONE, WITH THE CHESS GAME.
Ah yes! I believe that game you rather insist on not playing usually.
I CAN NEVER REMEMBER WHICH PIECE CAN MOVE IN WHICH DIRECTION.
So where you two friends?
AS MUCH AS ONE CAN BE FRIENDS WITH AN ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION. AND HE DID INVITE ME OVER FOR A CURRY ONCE WITH THE FAMILY.
So how did Terry come up with The Discworld?
THE DISCWORLD HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE. AS WITH MILLIONS OF OTHER WORLDS. HE WAS JUST MORE IN TUNED TO SEE IT. EACH WORLD IS A REFLECTION ON ANOTHER AND THEREFORE SHARES MANY OF THE SAME THEMES, POLITICS AND SOCIAL ISSUES YOUR OWN WORLD GOES THROUGH
Except with Magic
MAGIC DOES CERTAINLY MAKE LIFE MORE INTERESTING, BUT AS TERRY ONCE SAID, IT IS JUST AN ENERGY THAT HOLDS THAT WORLD TOGETHER MUCH LIKE LOGIC AND REASON SEEMS TO MAKE YOUR WORLD REVOLVE.
I sometimes feel our logic and reason sometimes stops
HENCE WHY YOUR WORLD STOPS. BUT THAT IS A TOPIC FOR ANOTHER TIME.
Indeed! So getting back to the Discworld, what do you think made him such an excellent observer? A lot of our readers would say he had a clever if not biting commentary on everything from popular works such as The Phantom of the Opera in ‘Maskerade’ to the ridiculous of pennies in ‘Making Money’ and many of his characters we all could relate to. Where in your opinion did this come from?
TERRY WAS ONCE A JOURNALIST SO HE WAS TRAINED TO OBSERVE IN A JOURNALISTIC WAY. HE WOULD COME UP WITH CHARACTERS NOT BASING THEM ON SOMEONE HE KNEW BUT ON A TYPE OF PERSON ONE MIGHT KNOW. HE USE TO SAY WHEN READERS CAME UP SAYING THEY KNEW A PERSON JUST LIKE A CHARACTER FROM HIS BOOK, THAT THE READER WAS SIMPLY INSERTING THAT PERSON THAT THEY KNOW INTO THE STORY. HE WAS NOT A BIG FAN OF PAGES AND PAGES OF PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONS. THE READER WOULD DO ALL THE WORK THEMSELVES.
In the Discworld you have witches, wizards, gods, golems, swindlers, hustlers, assassins, cooks, werewolves, vampires, and everything in between.
So obviously there are a lot of characters to get through. Was there a favorite of his?
HE ONCE CONFESSED TO ME THAT THE “NICE” CHARACTERS WERE NOT MUCH FUN AND HE HAD AN AFFIRMATION TOWARDS THE MORE…GROUNDED TYPES.
Can you elaborate?
I BELIEVE HIS EXACT WORDS WERE “SCREWED UP”. HE LOVED COMMANDER VIMES OF THE CITY WATCH AND GRANNY WEATHERWAX. HE SAID BECAUSE THEY BECOME REAL IT MAKES THEM MORE INTERESTING BECAUSE HUMANS ARE ALL A BIT “SCREWED UP”
Speaking of Granny Weatherwax, in his last book in which he died while it was being written, she sadly also passed away. Was that an intentional goodbye from him to the fans, supplementing himself as her, or was it done just to shock the audience.
WE DID NOT TALK ABOUT IT ON OUR LAST MEETING AS HE WAS A LITTLE PREOCCUPIED. BUT IF I WAS TO HAZARD A GUESS, IT MAY HAVE BEEN A LITTLE OF BOTH. TERRY WASN’T SHY OF GOING PLACES IN HIS BOOKS NO MATTER WHERE THEY LEAD AND EVENTUALLY I COME FOR ALL MORTALS. PERHAPS IN HIS OWN WAY HE WAS TRYING TO PREPARE HIS AUDIENCE
When Terry was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease he became an advocate of the “Right to Die” moment, which championed a person’s right to assisted suicide for terminally ill people. What is your perspective on that?
WHEN TERRY WAS DIAGNOSED HE FOUND THERE WAS VERY LITTLE SUPPORT OUT THERE FOR SUFFERS AND AS SUCH HE DECIDED TO MAKE IT IS MISSION TO BRING AWARENESS. HE ALSO BELIEVED THAT THE STIGMA AROUND THE CHOICE NEEDED ADDRESSING AS WELL. HE REFUSED TO CALL IT ASSISTED SUICIDE BUT ASSISTED DEATH. MY VIEW IS I COME TO ALL EVENTUALLY AND HOW PEOPLE WISH TO MEET ME IS THEIR CHOICE. SOME STRUGGLE AND FIGHT AND HANG ON TO THE VERY END, OTHERS WELCOME ME, AND SOME EVEN CHIDE ME FOR TAKING SO LONG BUT IN THE END, THEIR APPOINTMENTS ARE KEPT.
TERRY BELIEVED WHEN THE TIME CAME HE WOULD GO OUT ON HIS OWN TERMS AND CONFESSED ONCE TO ME THAT IDEALLY IT WOULD BE ON HIS OWN LAWN IN A CHAIR WITH A BRANDY IN HAND AND WHATEVER MIXTURE OF PILLS TO MAKE THE END QUICK AND PAINLESS.
But that’s not how he went
IT IS NOT FOR MORTALS TO KNOW THEIR TIME, PLACE OR TYPE OF DEATH. YET I DON’T THINK TERRY MINDED AS HE WAS STILL SURROUNDED BY HIS FAMILY AND THAT IS A LOT MORE THAN SOME MORTALS EVER GET.
In March 2015 when Terry died and you took him into the great beyond, what was that like?
MAY I JUST CLARIFY SOMETHING.
TERRY PRATCHETT IS NOT DEAD.
Excuse me? He is alive?
HIS SOUL IS NOT IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE BUT HE IS NOT DEAD. NO ONE IS ACTUALLY DEAD UNTIL THE RIPPLES THEY CAUSE IN THE WORLD DIE AWAY AND FOR MR PRATCHETT HIS RIPPLES ARE STILL GOING. EVERY DAY A NEW HUMAN DISCOVERS THE WORKS HE LEFT BEHIND AND THAT IN TURN CREATES NEW RIPPLES. TERRY PRATCHETT HAS ACHIEVED SOMETHING MOST GO ON QUESTS TO FIND IN PHILOSOPHER STONES OR MAGIC SPELLS. TERRY HAS ACHIEVED IMMORTALITY.
So what was the last thing you said the last time you saw him?
“AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER” AND I TOOK HIM INTO THE ENDLESS NIGHT.
And then what happened?
THAT I AM AFRAID YOUR READERS WILL NEED TO DISCOVER THEMSELVES WHEN I SEE THEM
Death, thank you for your time.
NOT AT ALL, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SOON
Not too soon I hope…
It was at this point in the interview that Death’s left eye socket which contained a blue star flared slightly more than his right. I believe that is his version of winking. I have since put all my affairs in order in the off chance another exclusive is on the way.
Please check out Terry Pratchett’s website and leave a comment on your favorite Discworld character or book
This interview was sourced from various interviews Sir Terry Pratchett gave over his lifetime.
Please note: There is an amazing Docudrama called “Back in Black” all about Terry Pratchett which was released in February 2017. This blog post had already been written back in November 2016. Upon discovering this I said “Bugger” and then reasoned you can never have too many things about Terry Pratchett. Anything that seems similar is not me copying this movie, it is just great minds thinking alike and fools rarely differing