Terry Pratchett gets a knighthood

Three cheers for Terry Pratchett on receiving a knighthood, joining the ranks of genre authors like Sir Arthur C Clarke who've pleased the Queen enough to get daubed with the magic scimitar.
Author Terry Pratchett has been knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for services to literature.

Sir Terry, 60, was named in the New Year Honours list.

Best known for his hugely popular Discworld series of comic fantasy novels, he has sold more than 55 million books worldwide.

In 2007 Sir Terry was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and has since campaigned to raise awareness of the condition.

Novelist Pratchett becomes a Sir (Thanks, boeotian!)

(Image: BBC)


  1. As a staunch republican, I wouldn’t normally give a monkey’s about the honours list.

    But it’s nice to see Pratchett recognised – his books entertained me through my adolescence, and his bravery and openness in the face of his illness has been remarkable.

  2. ah life imitates art. now he’s a real life Vimes promoted against his will. i’m sure he will use his new powers for good.

  3. He should have refused, isn’t there a strong hint of anti-monarchism running through his books? All the best to him but the ‘honour’ is meaningless, would far rather he stuck to awards from groups who knew something about what he does.

  4. @#4

    no you can’t reject honours if you are married. he will probably secretly stash a pair of spare cardboard boots but he’ll still have to wear the shiny breastplate and feathers on those special occasions.

  5. No group is ever pure, and I don’t find it difficult to imagine that Sir Pterry sees enough values in the monarchy to accept the honour. Wouldn’t consider it meaningless, either. Were it coming from any other place there would still be pros and cons to weigh. And who’s to say the Queen hasn’t read his books? ;)

    All in all, yay Terry Pratchett :)

  6. @14 you probably haven’t read Prachett’s discworld novels and you are not familiar with commander Vimes or you would have understood my comment.

  7. @Buddy66 – there are several people who have refused honours including EM Forster, David Bowie, Joseph Conrad, Thomas Hardy, Stephen Hawking, Aldous Huxley, CS Lewis, WB Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, Harold Pinter and JG Ballard.

    Generally these refusals are not public – the recipient is sounded-out in advance of any announcement, to see if they would accept or not. The Wikipedia list of decliners, which might not be accurate, is apparently based on a leaked list, not a collation of vocal refuseniks. It’s considered rude to say you’ve been offered one but declined, even worse to accept one privately and then decline publicly – like having your cake and eating it.

  8. again: this is not about declining honours it’s about a character in Pratchett’s books that has a moral dilemma about accepting them which i found ironic. LOL


    People are responding more to BUDDY66’s post than yours, I think.

    Don’t worry – I got the joke. There is, for certain, at least two geeks on this comments board.

    I wonder what the Pratchett Family Crest looks like?

    And do people call Pratchett “Old Furry Face”? If not, they should.

  10. @9 (Kiltreiser)–come on, isn’t that going a bit far? It’s not like there’s no immediate practical upside to this. People pay attention when the Queen does her thing; more people will read him as a result. That can’t be said of the South San Diego Scientifiction and Speculative Cyborg Fantasy Reader’s Alliance, all of whose members already own everything he ever wrote.

    The Queen probably doesn’t read the high-falutin’ authors she honors, either. But it’s a rather nice way to be patted on the back all the same. And if it means more people read him, it’s not meaningless even in the narrow practical sense.

    Besides, Pratchett himself just irrefutably defined an upper bound for whatever “anti-monarchism” he might possess: it’s less than he’d need to tell the Queen to get bent, Q.E.D.

  11. I don’t think the Queen really has all that much to do with the honours list. I doubt she’s heard of the majority of people who get honours.

  12. Being knighted is a wonderful honor, I’m sure, joining the ranks of Paul McCartney, Elton John, Mick Jagger and others. But if they should ever be called upon to defend the persons of royalty at the gates of the palace… I hope I’m not in there that day.
    Would those Beefeaters help? Are they allowed to move? Could they? I expect they may be rather clogged intestinally, and their giant fur hats may prove detrimental in combat.

  13. I don’t think Terry was ever all that “anti-monarchy” in his writing, IIRC. Kings and queens were just fine so long as they did their job properly and didn’t try to muck things up too much. He even proposed using monarchy as the basis for an FTL communication system in one of his early books (read Mort for a complete explanation).

  14. “Would those Beefeaters help? Are they allowed to move? Could they? I expect they may be rather clogged intestinally, and their giant fur hats may prove detrimental in combat.”

    I think you’re getting Beefeaters confused with the Queen’s Guard (one guards the tower of London in a stupid read outfit, the other guards the Royal Residences in a stupid big fur hat).

    Also, the Beefeaters (Yeoman Warders) don’t guard the gates of the palace. That’s the Queen’s Guard. Or you may be getting Beefeaters confused with the Yeoman of the Guard, who look very similar but are a branch of the Royal Bodyguards.

    Stupid country, the UK.

  15. About the Anti-Monarchy thing. I believe some people are beginning to confuse characters and events in the book with real life. Terry Pratchett has not now, or ever been the duke of Ankh Morpork, not was he ever the Captain of the Night Watch (or any sort of watch for that matter, though he might be an uninitiated ‘other’).

  16. I note that in 1999 all three of the Queen’s sons and her husband refused honors. Some would suggest that maybe it’s not rude.

    On the other hand they’ve all got titles out the bottom (Charles is also Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, in addition to being heir to several more) so who needs a barony?

  17. “Some would suggest that maybe it’s not rude.”

    I dunno. Given the disfunction in the British Royal family, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that their refusal was a big “fuck you” to the Queen. :)

    More likely, it was PR. It looks a bit crass to give honours to your own kids, esp. when, as you say, they have titles and privelege coming out of the wazoo. As the Royals, its kind of their bloody job to do charitable work and such.

  18. #22 Semiotix & #9 Kiltreiser

    Yeah, these honours are just as much about Britain and recognition, than being about pro-monarchism.

    Also, Kiltreiser.. Is that a play on Kilt Raiser? Sounds like your Scottish nationalism is shining bright! :)

  19. Thanks, y’all. That’s a real list of heavyweights to have refused British honours. I apologize for not tracking it down myself. I’m impressed with the response from fellow Mutants.

    In the USA we have few comparable examples, and they are usually under-reported when they do occur. During the Vietnam war, however, White House invitations were occasionally snubbed; and the poet Galway Kinnell, in protest, donated a government-sponsored prize award to the War Resister’s League.

  20. I’m another republican, but I can’t help being happy for Pratchett. He is a genuinely lovely human being – whether you are a fan of his books or not.

  21. Vimes’ ancestor killed one monarch, just one, I mean, that is hardly a habit or anti-monarchistic.
    I’m quite happy for Pratchett!

  22. I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Pratchett a few times – once in Tower Books in Mountainview CA – in ~1996 – no one but me(Terry), Terry, and a bored tower employee in the place. We chatted for about 20 minutes until I started feeling like I was imposing and left (he was kind enough to sign a bunch of books – including one to my son who was not yet hatched – which he considers one of his prize possessions) – and passing meetings on a couple of other occasions.
    He was always generous and pleasant and seemed like a guy that I would like to hang with.

    Always wanted to get him a bottle of Bearhuggers.


  23. “I don’t think the Queen really has all that much to do with the honours list. I doubt she’s heard of the majority of people who get honours.”

    Apart from the order of the garter they’re all decided after taking the advice of elected ministers. In a constitutional monarchy the monarch always takes the advice of her elected ministers.

  24. Ehhhh, I’m curious about the “anti-monarchism” part. Is u sayin’ that them monarchismists is dwarfs? What’s up, Doc?

  25. So as a knight, would this give him the right to carry a sword in public? after all a knight is someone who can be trusted right?

  26. Sir Vimes was embarrassed about his title and is only forced to use it by order of the Patrician, if you recall. He never even accepted his monthly plume allowance. But as an American, who tend to view the British royalty as a kind of celebrity magazine for the UK, Terry Pratchett deserves a knighthood, even if it’s the Order of the Garter, cos he’s the best thing to happen to literature since Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman.

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