A Long Overdue Pleasure

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Four years ago I was given a copy of The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett to read. Earlier this year, following a meeting with the man who gave me the book and a shame-faced admission that I had still not read it, and, I am sad to say, Pratchett’s death in March, I finally got round to reading it.

Fantasy for me has always begun and ended with J. R. R. Tolkien – such was the impact of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which I read in my early teens – but having now finished The Colour of Magic I can say that Pratchett has shot into my literary pantheon. Just what was he eating and drinking to be able to write such a richly inventive work of fiction? I wish I knew! How I wish I knew! Each page bubbles and bursts with new, ever more crazy, ever more funny, ideas. It is quite astonishing.

The book is by no means perfect and its strength can be a weakness sometimes. It often feels like Pratchett had less regard for his characters than he did for making up another wildly unexpected twist in the story.

With that said, though, the characters are not mere cyphers. Rincewind, the loser wizard, was very likeable and Twoflower his ingenue tourist ‘friend’ an intriguing personality (to say nothing of his walking, chomping – yes – trunk). I have to admit, though, I liked Hrun – Pratchett’s very own Conan – the most. Big of muscle, short of words, bearer of a talking sword he was good fun to be around.

Tolkien remains my master but I would not hesitate to read the second book in Pratchett’s Discworld series. It is a light hearted read that is a real balm in this sometimes dreadful world.

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