DEATH, yes this is the capital lettered Terry Pratchett version, though I will be using this post to talk about other forms of death.
Pratchett’s DEATH gave us something new. Yes he was a walking skeleton, with glowing eyes, a scythe and a penchant for chess, but he was the most human version that you’ll ever hope to come across. He had children, grandchildren, a horse named Binky and a very fleshy apprentice. He watched and marvelled at humanity and for many, like myself who started reading Pratchett in my early teens, he made death much less scary. He created a human, if fleshless face, to one of life’s most frightening transitions.
There are also other considerations to Pratchett making DEATH a ‘person’, as he also establishes an individual DEATH for every species, able to communicate and also making something far less frightening for the younger reader who may well have their first experience of death be that of a beloved pet. No one really wants to hear that Rex isn’t going to go to heaven.
Pratchett ends this myth within his own setting and recently, tellingly, his own character was used via Twitter to provide some comfort at a time of terrible news to the fans at the news of the authors own death. DEATH teaches us something huge, don’t be afraid, they aren’t leaving alone.
D was the first letter I chose a character for, it was just easy to pick the Doctor. I was introduced to Doctor Who when I was about seven, I remember watching a re-run of ‘Terror of the Autons’, the episode that introduced the Master to the series. Jon Pertwee was my first Doctor and I was hooked from then on.
For those who don’t know, the Doctor is a Time Lord (an alien) from the planet Gallifrey and he travels through time and space in his ship, the TARDIS. Although the way he picks up companions and adventure ensues. The beauty of the Doctor as a character is his ability to change – to regenerate. He is not just one man, he is a group of personas. Some are grumpy, some manic, others just plain weird. Each have their own personality traits and quirks – from a love of jelly babies and bananas, to being able to play the recorder or spoons.
Despite essentially being the same good man, everyone has at least one Doctor we don’t like and at least one that we call ‘ours’. The Doctor that is THE Doctor to you
Personally the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) I consider my Doctor, even though I was already a fan of the Classics, had the books and had watched every episode, when David Tennant burst onto the scene with the line “new teeth, that’s weird”, my brain just went ‘that’s the Doctor right there’ and I became a fan all over again. Sadly, I can’t say the same for the series under Moffat but I’m perfectly happy watching my Classic Who right through to DT’s last ep (not to mention the past Doctors live on in books and audio productions) – maybe some day a new Doctor will grab me once more.
(And yes, we are aware that the title of today’s post sounds like a ‘Doctor Who’ episode, but how cool would it be for the Doctor to meet DEATH?)