6:30 pm EDT, March 12, 2015

Remembering Terry Pratchett: Words of wisdom from the ‘Discworld’ series

We remember Terry Pratchett with some of the best, most memorable quotes from his beloved Discworld series.

The world has lost one of its most brilliant, most original voices: Sir Terry Pratchett passed away Thursday, March 12, 2015, aged 66.

The British author’s greatest professional accomplishment was without a doubt the Discworld series; his bizarre and fantastic universe allowed him to tell engaging, human stories that provided readers with invaluable life lessons. Pratchett’s takes on death, love, happiness and the meaning of life will stay with his readers long after he is gone.

As we mourn Terry Pratchett’s untimely death, we want to draw your attention to some of the best observations about the world he shared through his writing. Because while 66 years is far too short a time to be alive, he managed to pass on more wisdom than most people who live to 100 get the chance to do. And for that, we are grateful.

Sir Terry, here are a few of the invaluable life lessons that your books have taught us:

On life and death

Discworld 8

“Is it heroic to die like this?” said Conina.
“I think it is,” he said, “and when it comes to dying, there’s only one opinion that matters.”
– Sourcery

“Death isn’t cruel. Merely terribly, terribly good at his job.”
– Sourcery

“Time is like a drug. Too much of it kills you.”
– Small Gods

“I have seen galaxies die. I have watched atoms dance. But until I had the dark behind the eyes, I didn’t know the death from the dance.”
– The Thief of Time

“Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.”
– Moving Pictures

“Never age. Never die. Live for ever in that one last white-hot moment, when the crowd screamed. When every note was a heartbeat. Burn across the sky.
You will never grow old. They will never say you died.”
– Soul Music

On how the world works

Discworld 1

“It is said that the gods play games with the fates of men. But what games, and why, and the identities of the actual pawns, and what the game is, and what the rules are – who knows?
Best not to speculate.”
– Guards! Guards!

“Why is it all Mr Dibbler’s films are set against the background of a world gone mad?” said the dwarf.
Soll’s eyes narrowed. “Because Mr Dibbler,” he growled, “is a very observant man.”
– Moving Pictures

“One of the hardest lessons of young Sam’s life had been finding out that the people in charge weren’t in charge. It had been finding out that governments were not, on the whole, staffed by people who had a grip, and that plans were what people made instead of thinking.”
– Night Watch

“Stars don’t care what you wish, and magic don’t make things better, and no-one doesn’t get burned who sticks their hand in a fire.”
– Witches Abroad

“You can’t go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it’s just a cage.”
– Witches Abroad

On history, and those who write it

Discworld 2

“People don’t alter history any more than birds alter the sky, they just make brief patterns on it.”
– Equal Rites

“The truth isn’t easily pinned to a page. In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than soap, and much more difficult to find.”
– Sourcery

“A thousand years ago we thought the world was a bowl. Five hundred years ago we knew it was a globe. Today we know it is flat and round carried through space on the back of a turtle. Don’t you wonder what shape it will turn out to be tomorrow?”
– The Truth

“Demons have existed on the Discworld for at least as long as the gods, who in many ways they closely resemble. The difference is basically the same as between terrorists and freedom fighters.”
– Eric

“Long Live The Changing Things To A More Equitable State While Retaining Due Respect For The Traditions Of Our Forebears And Of Course Not Harming The August Personage Of The Emperor Endeavor!”
– Interesting Times

On the power of imagination

Discworld 3

“What was it they said about gods? They wouldn’t exist if there weren’t people to believe in them? And that applied to everything. Reality was what went on inside people’s heads.”
– Moving Pictures

“Ninety percent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact.”
– Night Watch

“He felt that the darkness was full of unimaginable horrors – and the trouble with unimaginable horrors was that they were only too easy to imagine.”
– The Light Fantastic

“Perfectly ordinary books, printed on commonplace paper in mundane ink. It would be a mistake to think that they weren’t also dangerous, just because reading them didn’t make fireworks go off in the sky. Reading them sometimes did the more dangerous trick of making fireworks go off in the privacy of the reader’s brain.”
– Soul Music

“Just because you can explain it doesn’t mean it’s not still a miracle.”
– Small Gods

– Hogfather

Page 2: Terry Pratchett on success, love, morality and humanity

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