Respond to Reading: The Shepherd’s Crown



Sir Terry Pratchett died in March this year.

Even writing that, six months later, seems surreal.  As far back as I can remember, I’ve seen Pratchett books.  It was his books, along with various David Eddings works and the Complete Works of Sherlock Homes, that my dad would leave lying around in the house and that I, pretentious in the way that only toddlers can be, would sit and pretend to read.

I grew up reading Pratchett, falling in love with the Discworld and finding strong female characters that I looked up to and admired.

So when I say that I dreaded reading the last Discworld book, perhaps you can understand why.

It was a mix of fear – fear that it wouldn’t be as good as I hoped it would, that it wouldn’t be the ending to the series that we all could hope for – and sadness.  I am immeasurably sad that I will never read a Pratchett book for the first time ever again.

But, unsurprisingly, Sir Terry did not disappoint.

The Shepherd’s Crown is moving and funny and dark and magical and all-encompassing.  I read it with tears rolling down my cheeks, without even realising it until someone on the train asked if I was okay.  (And yes, that is incredibly embarrassing)

For those who have read the series already, you’ll know that there are series within the main series – the Witches, the Guard, Death etc – and this has at its heartmy two favourites:  the Witches, and the Tiffany Aching series.

As a character, Tiffany is the kind of girl that you imagine Granny Weatherwax would have been; no nonsense and all work.  She’s got a grit to her that’s offset by the Nac Mac Feegles, (the all-fighting, all-drinking clan of Pictsies that are the scourge of the fae), and there’s a fierce loyalty to her that makes her the perfect heroine.

I’m very aware of the fact that this is his last book, and therefore have no intention of spoiling the book for anyone, but I found myself falling steadily more and more in love with Discworld, and more and more sad to leave it.  I don’t know whether Pratchett knew that this would be his last book, but it certainly feels like a finale.  It seems to me that this is the perfect end to the series and I feel privileged to have been part of that journey.


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