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Life lessons from Terry Pratchett's Discworld

On April 28 Terry Pratchett would have celebrated his 69th birthday. To mark the special day, we're remembering the many life lessons learned from the characters of Discworld


1. How to be brave

Tiffany Aching, Witch of the Chalk, taught us how to see beyond what is in front of us, and how to be brave...
 

There wasn’t any real magic, she thought. I just stood my ground. You have to stand your ground, because it’s your ground

- Tiffany Aching

2. Do not fear death

The friendly face of Death taught us that death in itself is nothing to fear...
 

Despite rumour, Death isn’t cruel – merely terribly, terribly good at his job

3. Treat others with respect

Granny Weatherwax taught us to treat others with respect, dignity and decency.

Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things

- Granny Weatherwax

4. Prejudice isn't helpful

Rincewind taught us that sandals make the best getaway shoes, and that prejudice is not a helpful approach to life...
 

He was a person who divided the world quite simply into people who were trying to kill him and people who weren’t. That didn’t leave much room for fine details like what colour anyone was

- Rincewind

5. The leopard can change his shorts

Moist Von Lipvig, a natural born criminal, a fraudster by vocation, an habitual liar and saviour of the postal service, taught us that the leopard can change his shorts...
 

I’ve fallen into good ways. I keep thinking I can give it up at any time I like, but I don’t. But I know if I couldn’t give it up any time I liked, I wouldn’t go on doing it

- Moist Von Lipvig

6. Sometimes it's good to break the rules

Esk taught us when not to know your place, and when to break the rules.
 

If you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you

- Esk

7. Politics is always complicated

Vetinarii taught us that the only time politics is ever simple is when it’s tyranny...

Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote

- Vetinarii

8. Light a candle in the dark

Captain Carrot taught us that being simple is not the same as being stupid, and to light a candle in the dark...
 

Only crimes could take place in darkness. Punishment had to be done in the light. That was the job of a good watchman, Carrot always said. To light a candle in the dark

9. Don't tolerate injustice

Samuel Vimes taught us not to tolerate injustice, and that, while candles are all well and good, sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness...
 

'The common people?' said Vimes. 'They’re nothing special. They’re no different from the rich and powerful except they’ve got no money or power. But the law should be there to balance things up a bit'

- Samuel Vimes

10. Words have power

Susan Sto Helit taught us that words have power, that stories are important and that we want a schoolteacher around when the apocalypse comes...
 

Because in this world, after everyone panics, there’s always got to be someone to tip the wee out of the shoe

- Susan Sto Helit

More about the author

The Wee Free Men

Terry Pratchett (and others)

Tiffany wants to be a witch when she grows up.

A proper one, with a pointy hat. And flying, she’s always dreamed of flying (though it’s cold up there, you have to wear really thick pants, two layers).

But she’s worried Tiffany isn’t a very ‘witchy’ name. And a witch has always protected Tiffany’s land, to stop the nightmares getting through.

Now the nightmares have taken her brother, and it’s up to her to get him back.

With a horde of unruly fairies at her disposal, Tiffany is not alone. And she is the twentieth granddaughter of her Granny Aching: shepherdess extraordinaire, and protector of the land.

Tiffany Aching. Now there’s a rather good name for a witch.


‘Quite, quite brilliant’
Starburst

THE FIRST BOOK IN THE TIFFANY ACHING SERIES

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