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The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

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The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Grace Speaker » Fri Aug 28, 2015 08:52 pm

I thought we might need a thread where those who have read the book could discuss it without upsetting those who haven't.

Prompted by this article where Neil Gaiman talks about an alternate ending to TSC - as per the topic header, it contains SPOILERS, so if you read it before the book, you only have yourselves to blame . . . :wink:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/authors/terry-pratchett-wanted-different-ending-shepherds-crown/
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Grace Speaker » Sun Aug 30, 2015 01:01 pm

How did you all get on reading the book? Please share what you all thought and felt about it ?


It's difficult to capture my reaction to this book, as it's evoked so many complex emotions that I'm still trying to untangle but, here goes:
Normally I would devour STP's books in a single sitting or, if interrupted by annoying things like having to sleep, eat or go to work, at least within a couple of days. I don't think that I can be alone in finding myself desperately wanting to read it and not read it at the same. So, unlike any book I've ever read before, I only allowed myself to read a chapter or two at a time and in between found myself voluntarily doing the dusting, hoovering, cleaning, sweeping and polishing around the house - activities I normally have to be forced to do at gunpoint. Anything in fact, to make the experience of reading Terry's last book last as long as possible.

I am not ashamed to say that I openly wept many, many times during the book. I read and re-read chapter 2 several times and for me it feels like Terry is talking about himself - just as Granny goes around her cottage sorting, cleaning and polishing in preparation for her passing, Terry fought to write as much as he could before the Embuggerance took over and it was time for him to walk with Death. Rob said that The Shepherd's Crown wasn't as polished or finished as Terry would have liked and Neil Gaiman went further to say that Terry didn't want his unfinished work published after his death, including The Shepherd's Crown. But I am so glad that Terry gave us this last book. It is a treasure.

In the midst of the grief and tears, I found myself laughing out loud many times - not least of which when I got to page 215 and read the top paragraph to the joyful mental accompaniment of Mr Michael Palin, and the Messers Monty and Python, belting out "I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK" :D :lol: Please tell me I'm not the only one who immediately started to sing "I cut down trees, I skip and jump, I love to press wild flowers. I put on women's clothing and hang around in bars ?!?!?

Then there's the Dad's Army references!! :D :D :D Oh, the "They don't like it up and over 'em!" :lol: I couldn't help myself and mentally filled in the "Captain Mainwaring!" every time he said it. LOVED the gnome army pune. And the sheds!! Tiffany had the Feegles build a shed, an actual shed, for the King of the Elves to tinker about in! Couldn't help but wonder, if they'd left a pair of dungarees and a pipe for him in there as well :lol: Although, what a man with a generally acknowledged Great Big Tonker might get up to in a shed is anyone's guess . . . making his own entertainment, perhaps? :lol: :oops: :lol:

I would have loved more on Geoffrey and Mephistopheles the privy-using goat - with his abhorrence of fox-hunting and animal cruelty, he is a boy after my own heart. Neil Gaiman confirmed that Terry intended for a part, if not all, of Granny to have transferred to You, but I couldn't help thinking that there was more than just a bit of Granny Weatherwax in that goat as well. There was more, I felt, that Terry wanted to write about Geoffrey and his goat, not to mention the relationship between Tiffany and Nightshade (I can't help but feel, had there been time to write it, there would have been more to their battle of wills/philosophy), but as Rob said in the Afterword - we will have to imagine these bits ourselves.

My personal interpretation was that in this book, Terry was metaphorically Granny, Rhianna was Tiffany and possibly, although this may be stretching it a bit, Rob was Geoffrey? Even though Tiffany is Granny's chosen successor, Tiffany can't simply replace Granny by stepping into her boots. She is a custodian of Granny's steading but has to be her own witch, on her own terms and in the field of her choosing. I agree with and greatly respect Rhianna's decision that the Discworld is, in her own words, her Dad's legacy, and that she will make her own. The way Terry has written about Tiffany in The Shepherd's Crown, seems to shout just how proud of he is of her. On a recent Tweet, Rhianna said that she was actively trying to 'Be More Tiffany', which seems to me to be good advice to live by.

More than the death and funeral of Granny Weatherwax, the part of the book which literally broke me was page 332 because by this time every time Granny Weatherwax's name was mentioned, by brain was translating it as 'Terry Pratchett' - here's what I mean:

"Tiffany thought of the little spot in the woods where Terry Pratchett lay. Remembered.
And knew that You had been right. Terry Pratchett was indeed here. And there. He was, in fact, and always would be, everywhere."



There are no words that can fully express the depth of love, admiration and gratitude that I have for this man. His writing has been such a huge part of, and influence on, my life and, having lost my own father at the age of 6, I cannot imagine a better father figure than Terry.

He didn't just create ripples in my life, he was, and is, one of those enormous great waves you get in the Southern Ocean that go around and around the bottom of the world without any of those annoying land masses to get in the way and dissipate their power - one of those glorious, shimmering, perfect, turquoise-blue rip curl thingies that dedicated surfers will wait a lifetime and travel half-way round the world for. And even if they fall off before they reach the shore, it doesn't matter because just for a little while they got to ride the wave.


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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby cyllan » Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:02 pm

I'm not certain whether this is the right place to post this but as it contains spoilers I thought it best to put in this thread. It's the Neil Gaiman interview from last Saturday's copy of The Times that I finally got around to scanning and uploading. The full article is only available on their website if you subscribe and I thought there might be some people who hadn't seen it yet.

Image

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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Grace Speaker » Sat Sep 05, 2015 09:40 am

THANK YOU for posting this!! I would have missed this article completely otherwise and despite being floods of tears again when I read the last bit (what Terry had said about what he hoped fans would think about The Shepherd's Crown), it was worth it. And the journalist is right - when it comes to the Discworld "Legacies don't get much better than that"
:cry: :cry: :cry: bloody onion fairy again . . .
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Stew d'Apples » Sat Sep 05, 2015 01:07 pm

I have to mirror Grace. Thank you for posting especially as .jpgs which I have been able to save for reading later.
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby phalarope » Mon Sep 07, 2015 07:30 pm

Also thanks for the jpgs - something I can save in my Pratchett Files.

*wanders off to find the tissue box - again* :cry:
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby cyllan » Tue Sep 08, 2015 02:01 pm

No problem I'm just wanted to make sure that everyone had the chance to read it. It made my eyes go all leaky again when I read it too, especially the part about the alternative ending that Terry never got to write. :( I'm happy that Neil spoke about it though because now, in my head, that is how I'm choosing to believe the book ends even though it's not specifically put into words - if that makes sense! And somehow it makes Granny's death that much easier to bear knowing that she died as she lived, on her own terms!
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Pat » Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:05 am

Did anyone else, while reading TSC, think "Total Perspective Vortex" at one scene?
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Grace Speaker » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:18 pm

Pat wrote:Did anyone else, while reading TSC, think "Total Perspective Vortex" at one scene?
:lol:

Were you thinking of the bit that starts at 5.40 in this clip from the animated series?
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Pat » Tue Sep 15, 2015 01:58 pm

Grace Speaker wrote:
Pat wrote:Did anyone else, while reading TSC, think "Total Perspective Vortex" at one scene?
:lol:

Were you thinking of the bit that starts at 5.40 in this clip from the animated series?


Pretty much - surely the failure of the attempted glamouring of Mrs Earwig by Nightshadeis directly equivalent?
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Grace Speaker » Tue Sep 15, 2015 02:07 pm

Pat wrote:
Grace Speaker wrote:
Pat wrote:Did anyone else, while reading TSC, think "Total Perspective Vortex" at one scene?
:lol:

Were you thinking of the bit that starts at 5.40 in this clip from the animated series?


Pretty much - surely the failure of the attempted glamouring of Mrs Earwig by Nightshadeis directly equivalent?
I thought that was because Mrs Earwig was "not for turning" = a.k.a. Mrs Thatcher = the Iron Lady . . . she had the iron built in and, like farm houses and Nanny Ogg's hat, iron stops 100% of all known elves :wink: :lol:
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby DrummerLady » Thu Sep 17, 2015 09:40 am

Time for a proper discussion of the book? Anyone desperate to read it will have done so by now.

Since this thread is marked as a spoiler thread, I see no problem posting spoilers without concealing them.
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Worbleook » Sat Sep 19, 2015 01:35 am

Well, the deed is done. I finally managed to read it. I didn't want to. I wanted to keep it 'for later'. But then interaction with other loonies could lead to spoilers.
And hell, it's one of Terry's books, it's not like I couldn't read it while I had it there staring at me. Two weeks and a bit. For two weeks, there was still a new Pratchett novel that I hadn't read.
Good thing I've got the flu, plenty of hankies around. It's not as bad as it was in March, but I certainly am very soggy.

There was laughter. There was eye-rolling, quite a lot of it.
Loved it. Hated it for being the end.

Grace Speaker wrote:More than the death and funeral of Granny Weatherwax, the part of the book which literally broke me was page 332 because by this time every time Granny Weatherwax's name was mentioned, by brain was translating it as 'Terry Pratchett' - here's what I mean:

"Tiffany thought of the little spot in the woods where Terry Pratchett lay. Remembered.
And knew that You had been right. Terry Pratchett was indeed here. And there. He was, in fact, and always would be, everywhere."


So did I. Even more so as visible from my bed, where I've read it, with nearly two litres of tea, are many tidbits which are entirely Terry's fault.
And I don't intend to stop adding to those, or to hint to people that they could read his books. Making sure that he really is everywhere.

Ridcully flying in, for the funeral. His general state. Neil. I wouldn't have cast him in the role before, but he did exchange a lot of mail with Terry when they were younger. And he did cross the ocean for the final goodbye.


The bees were a particularly emotional point for me.
The first time I met Terry was at the 2006 convention.
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In the evening, rather late, he sat in a chair which would be on the right side of that picture, and told us stories, drinking beer from the bottle, with a wedge of lime in it.
One of those stories was how it was possible to cast honeycomb, and bees, in metal using the lost-wax method.
Seeing those bees everywhere brought me back to that moment. A good half-dozen of us, sitting on the floor, listening to Him.
As far as first impressions go, twas a good'un.

And now that all is read and that this is said, I shall attempt to sleep. Half past three in the morning is no time to keep the waterworks going.
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby DrummerLady » Sat Sep 26, 2015 09:02 am

I also couldn't help reading much of the bits on Granny's death as advice on how to cope with Terry's own death. I think it's probably intended to be more general, "remember the happy times".

The bit about Granny not wanting her grave marked was striking, although consistent with the character. Terry, himself, was cremated. I understand he (and his family) didn't want his grave to become an attraction for fans.

I have more to say, I think I'm going to re-read soon as I read it too fast but I loved seeing all the old characters appearing. It seemed weird that Vetinari would know about Granny as their paths have never crossed in the books but then I realised that of course he would know as she was the most powerful person in Lancre and Vetinari probably knows the power politics of every part of the disc.

I was delighted to see Hodgesarrgh at the end. OK he lives in Lancre so it's to be expected that he would appear but I couldn't help seeing one last nod to Dave as well.
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Re: The Shepherd's Crown - WARNING contains **SPOILERS!**

Postby Gaspode » Sun Sep 27, 2015 06:41 pm

Worbleook wrote:The bees were a particularly emotional point for me.
The first time I met Terry was at the 2006 convention.
Image
In the evening, rather late, he sat in a chair which would be on the right side of that picture, and told us stories, drinking beer from the bottle, with a wedge of lime in it.
One of those stories was how it was possible to cast honeycomb, and bees, in metal using the lost-wax method.
Seeing those bees everywhere brought me back to that moment. A good half-dozen of us, sitting on the floor, listening to Him.
As far as first impressions go, twas a good'un.

And now that all is read and that this is said, I shall attempt to sleep. Half past three in the morning is no time to keep the waterworks going.


I missed that bit as I suppose I had trundled off home to make some more bits for the next day. 2006 was my first con as well.
However Terry had spoken with me about casting at the previous Wadfest and by email. I told him, that as an apprentice, we had to cast things from nature I did honeycombs and even a beetle the odd leaf and a coffee bean, real ones not carved from wax. We spoke at length and I nearly missed the auction because of it :) I offered to let him come and play in the workshop but the timings were never right.

Ive just finished the book for the second time as, after the first I was rather confused.

The death of Granny was rather quickly got through, not in Terry's style considering both the deed being something that was fast approaching himself and how important Granny was to him and all of us. I just felt that he didn't finish this bit and (don't have a go at me) it almost seemed as if someone else had written parts of it.
Also everyone all over the Disc 'feeling' Grannies passing was straight out of Star Wars (I feel a disturbance in the force). Something that left Raising Steam bit of a let down for me as well, threads not finished properly.

But when you get to the battle with the Lords and Ladies, there right in the middle is everything I have come to enjoy and respect about Terry's writing. That part was the only bit where I got emotional. The written word was so evocative, I almost imagined that I was there during the storm I had a tear in my eye.
Tiffany's response of disgust that anyone or thing would kill one of its own, the Thunder and Lightning, the death for no reason of the Fairy Queen other than because she was not considered worth anything and that she could have changed from the self obsessed, all external glamor to something more resembling a caring thoughtful being. Tiffs thinking she was not worthy and then realising that she wasn't Granny but herself and that she had to make her own way, not follow. This may become my favourite section of any Discworld book although I may need to read it again a couple more times first.

Laughed at the Shed, brilliant perfect bit of male humour.

My final slight niggle was in the afterword. I did know as most of you that Terry had umpteen stories on the go. But I for one did not enjoy being given any details about stories I will never get to read. That is unless some lesser mortal is going to try to finish them. I would be happy to drive the steam roller if asked just to prevent that from ever happening.

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