Another quote from Terry Pratchett. Same book as last time (The Shepherd’s Crown), same portion of the book:
“Granny smiled. She had always liked the scullery. It smelled of hard work being done properly. Here there were also spiders, mostly hiding around the bottles and jars on the shelves, but she thought scullery spiders didn’t really count. Live and let live.
She went outside next, to the walled paddock at the back of the cottage, to check on her goats. The itinerary of her thinking was declaring that once again all things were in their rightful place.
Satisfied, or as satisfied as a witch ever could be, Granny Weatherwax went to her beehives.
‘You are my bees,’ she said to them. ‘Thank you. You’ve given me all my honey for years, and please don’t be upset when someone new comes. I hope that you will give her as much honey as you have given me. And now, for the last time, I will dance with you.’ But the bees hummed softly and danced for her instead, gently pushing her mind out of their hive. And Granny Weatherwax said, ‘I was younger when I last danced with you. But I am old now. There will be no more dances for me.’”
I’d drafted a whole long post on the subject of this book and it being an allegory of Terry Pratchett’s own life and passing but I’ve just deleted all of it and instead will just post a quote from the sequence of Granny Weatherwax’s passing. It seems a little Disney-esque out of context here. So treat yourself to a read of the whole book to learn how it isn’t:
“This spot in the woods, Tiffany realized, would be the same. Blessed. It had been a nice day for it, she thought, if there ever was such a thing as a good day to die, a good day to be buried.
And now the birds were singing overhead, and there was a soft rustling in the undergrowth, and all the sounds of the forest which showed that life was still being lived blended with the souls of the dead in a woodland requiem.
The whole forest now sang for Granny Weatherwax.”
From Doubleday’s 2015 hardback edition of “The Shepherd’s Crown” Page 66.
Copyright Terry and Lyn Pratchett 2015.
Thanks to Calmgrove and this post, I am currently re-reading and thoroughly enjoying Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching YA novels. Presently, I am on the second of the series (A Hat Full of Sky) and I’m re-experiencing everything that I enjoyed during my first read. That first time, I read the books out of sequence, beginning with the last (The Shepherd’s Crown) which was also (I think) Pratchett’s last published novel. This, in no way, spoiled the reading experience – TP is careful to re-introduce characters, themes and important prior events at the outset of each book.
Similar to the comment during my post about Hokusai’s paintings, I will not attempt an examination of the novel (I’ll leave such writing to those who do it best) but will say that the whole series is one of the most enjoyable I have read and very, very uplifting.
Crivens! It was “Wintersmith” what done it!
As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m late to the joyous party that is the writings of Terry Pratchett. I’ve just completed reading his third Tiffany Aching novel and he has leapt into the distinguished company that is my favourite authors. Notably, he is the first male author I have included. He sits with Rosemary Sutcliff, Philipa Pearce, Joan Aiken and Ursula K Le Guin (as I said – ‘distinguished company‘).
Like Le Guin, Pratchett is able to stage epic battles that are fought and won without bloodshed or with very little bloodshed (the way that Tiffany Aching deals with the Wintersmith is a fine example) and he writes about the finiteness of human existence with rare beauty and a certain kind of poetry (the passing of Granny Weatherwax in “The Shepherd’s Crown” is beyond simply moving). And he loves people but hates injustice, that is crystal clear.
Tiffany Aching is a heroine very much in the mould of Joan Aiken’s Dido Twite though far more introspective with her first, second and third thoughts to guide how she acts and reacts. As a Pratchett witch, she constantly puts the welfare of others before her own and strives to learn from each action she takes, often putting aside a response until she has considered alternatives . My kind of protagonist!
Of course, TP spins the narrative with many puns asides and much social commentary. I love the way has footnotes augment the main text.- my particular favourite is *’Werk’… (page 340 of my edition). He has the uncommon ability to create characters that are engaging and complex and this is true equally of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
I’m continually struck by the cinematic and visual quality of Pratchett’s storytelling. He must have imagined these novels as moving pictures, surely!
I have two more Tiffany Aching novels to read – the second and the fourth and then it’s back to the main Discworld novels for me!
But first… I shall treat myself to a reread of “Wee free Men” and “Wintersmith”… you can’t have too much of a good thing.
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