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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Fallen Heroes

Growing up, my heroes were never rock stars or actors, and certainly not politicians. No, growing up my heroes tended to be fictional characters, whether they be in books, comics, movies or on TV. The people I connected with and aspired to emulate were as unique and varied as anyone living or dead.

In my late teens, a character on the TV show Babylon 5 seemed to be everything I thought a good, honourable man should be, and I wanted to be more like him. For those of you who remember, he was the Ranger called Marcus Cole. In movies, characters like Eric Draven (in The Crow) and Rick Deckard (in Blade Runner). In my thirties, the movie Fight Club spoke to me like nothing else I've ever experienced (I really was just another thirty year old boy), and as time goes on I find yet more fictional characters who have attributes I wish I possessed.

Which brings me to why post this today. As I've said above, I didn't look to the actors portraying the characters, or the TV channels on which they were broadcast for guidance. So, I looked to the writers, those incredible people who created someone so amazing I wanted to be more like them.

And today we have lost one of those most amazing, incredible people.

Terry Pratchett.

For those of you who don't know, he is the author of the Discworld series of books, as well as so many others, and his stories and characters have been entertaining me for as long as I could read. He made witches funny and wizards cool long before they went to Hogwarts, and his stories about the City Watch make me smile just thinking about them. He was a true genius, and the world is less without him in it.

It's only 2 weeks since Leonard Nimoy died, another of my childhood heroes (though it was Spock who truly spoke to me growing up), and hearing of his death made me feel much sadder than I expected it to. He was a great man, by all accounts, and an accomplished and successful actor, but I'd never met him and knew him only from the characters he portrayed. Why did news of his death make me feel so sad?

Perhaps it's a sign of getting older, having your heroes (or their creators) die, but after hearing about Sir Pratchett today I've been able to think of little else. Maybe it's the knowledge that I'll never read a new story WHERE DEATH SPEAKS IN CAPITALS or wake my wife up laughing at a scene I've read in the early hours of the morning (because his books are just so un-put-downable!).

I don't know, perhaps I just want a way to say goodbye, to say thank you for all the endless hours of joy he brought me throughout my life. I have all of the Discworld series in paperback, as well as many of his other books, and my daughter is almost old enough to start to appreciate them. I can't wait to share all of those wonderful, magical and hilarious moments with her.

Goodbye Mr Pratchett, and thank you for everything.