This is not a review, but I'll be honest, there are a few spoilers, those that have been in the press and in the reviews. I'm saving reading the actual book for a time when I'm cozy, in the new armchair I intend to buy for next to the fireplace in my new home. There may be wine, or maybe a banana daiquiri, and there will almost certainly be tissues.
Let me start at the beginning. I am a fan of Terry, but its not just that making this such a moving thing for me. Nor is it the death of the most beloved character that kick starts the events. That does add to it, but even before the spoilers I was emotional. The Discworld has been a huge part of my life. The Reaper Man was the first discworld I read, and it is certainly the first adult novel I read more than twice. Equal Rights was the first present my brother brought me after he left home (& I assume after Mum was involved ha!). Terry was the first author me and my husband agreed on, him being a Robert Jordan guy and me a George R R Martin girl. On that note, Terry is also the reason I am obsessed with Westeros, thanks to the short story in the Legends Anthology accompanying The Sea and Little Fishes. My goddaughter was given a signed first edition Wee Free Men when she was christened. A table at our wedding was named for the Mac Feegles.
There are many things Terry wrote, that his characters, that helped me through my life. Lines like "It was a horrible feeling to find things in your head and not know how they fitted" were a kind of non-sense that made perfect sense to me. The Disc was a world where vampires might be scary, but they have to wear a vial of blood so they don't accidentally kill themselves at work. A place where Death was a Grandpa, and got himself fired. On the Disc, the ridiculously impossible was very very far from improbable.
The Shepherd's Crown was published days before I turned 31, and is the final discworld novel. It opens with Granny Weatherwax preparing for her death. As befits a witch, she knows its coming. The reviews liken it to Terry knowing the end was coming and they're right in a way. Friends and family say he though he had more time, but I'm sure that he suspected he might not. It is an end, and it is a new beginning. If the first age of the Disc was Terry dreaming it up, and the second was the books, the end is the third age, where we continue on and wonder what they're all getting up to. Terry firmly believed his characters might run away without him, that he might lose control. Now, without him, they wander free.*
For me, it all comes at a time of big change. I'm moving into a home I own, I lost my Dad and in a after a bloody dreadful 30th year, I feel like I'm maybe the other side now from all the stuff before. I've swum to the other side of the river now, I made it past the current. It is beyond sad that we will never get to read what happens to young Sam Vimes when he grows up, or see if Carrot will embrace his heritage. What is the next insane thing the wizards will do.
Despite not knowing what is to come, despite losing our window into the Discworld, we still have the re-runs. Once my shelves are up, the volumes will be lined up, ready for the next time I want a look into that world. I won't buy the new discworld novel ever again, soon I'll never read another new one again**, but we still have what Terry left us.***
As Death said to Esmerelda Weatherwax when she left the Disc with him, YOU HAVE LEFT THE WORLD MUCH BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT. You truly did Terry.
*in true terry fashion, this post has footnotes. my writing runs away with me too
**unless I get amnesia
*** which will be sublimented by Rhianna Pratchett's intended film/tv adaptations. Wee Free Men YAY!!