Sir Terry, who received his well-deserved knighthood for "services to literature" in 2009, is a comedy fantasy author best known for his Discworld series, and has probably been the biggest influence in my life. His books are works of art - brilliantly written, deathly funny, and ridiculously deep. You cannot read his works and avoid thinking, but he packages incredible life-lessons and commentaries on the world in pure, completely hysterical, entertainment.
He's also angry.
Terry looked at me. He said: “Do not underestimate this anger. This anger was the engine that powered Good Omens.” I thought of the driven way that Terry wrote, and of the way that he drove the rest of us with him, and I knew that he was right.
"Susan says don't get afraid, get angry."
“When you're lonely, and people around you seem too stupid for words, and the world is full of secrets that no one'll tell you . . . ”
“Are you reading my mind?”
“Yours?” Granny's attention snapped back, and her voice lost its distant quality. “Hah!"I always knew Granny had a willpower of iron, and Commander Vimes, and Terry Pratchett. I've always known it's their best quality. I've just never fully understood what drives that willpower.
It's the anger.
And something clicks. I'm angry as well.
This is often mentioned as something I should be ashamed of, but the only shame I feel is when I use my anger badly, when I don’t harness it.
"That anger, it seems to me, is about Terry’s underlying sense of what is fair and what is not. It is that sense of fairness that underlies Terry’s work and his writing, and it’s what drove him from school to journalism to the press office of the South Western Electricity Board to the position of being one of the best-loved and bestselling writers in the world."It's ok to be angry. It's natural to be angry. It's good to be angry. The important thing is how you harness and use that anger.
My anger has helped me every step of my life.
Yes, often I haven't used it well, but without my anger, I probably wouldn't be who I am today.
I wouldn't have done any of the things that I'm proud of. I would be this sad and meek little girl, quietly keeping my head down and my nose clean, and seeking approval from people I have no reason to respect or even like.
"Look at how much trouble I'm not causing. Look at how good I am at accepting bullshit. Look at how many waves I'm not making. Please like me."
That doesn't mean I don't think there's anything in the negative stigma surrounding anger. Anger unharnessed can be horribly destructive.
Terry Pratchett taught me how to use fantasy to understand reality. He taught me how stories are used to explain how things really work. And here, I realize, is an analogy:
Anger is magic.
In most fantasy, intelligence and willpower are the two attributes that are the most important for magic. Magic is the ability to create, and to change.
Almost always, the possessor of magic is a danger to herself and others until she learns how to control that magic.
Bring in anger, and it all makes sense.
Harnessed anger can be used to generate willpower. Combine willpower with intelligence and you have the ability to create and change.
You can create art, art that matters. You can change the world. That's sure as hell what Sir Terry Pratchett does with his anger.
But if you never learn to harness and control that anger...
Magic-users are often stigmatized, because of the destruction they can cause. There are those who always feel the best way to control magic-users is to take away or suppress their magic.
For example, in the Dragon Age games, sometimes it's decided that a mage's magic needs to be removed completely by making them "Tranquil".
"Don't be angry. Anger is bad."
Maybe that's why it's always so important, in every universe from Discworld to Harry Potter, for magic-users to learn or be taught how to control and use their magic.
It's a pretty cool thought, and one I like quite a bit.
If you want to, follow me on Twitter.