10 Great Terry Pratchett Quotes on His Birthday

Since today is the birthday of Sir Terence David John Pratchett, better known to the world as Discworld author Terry Pratchett (Happy Birthday, Sir Terry!), we’ve compiled a list of our favourite one-liners and wise remarks from the master of comic fantasy. We hope you enjoy these fine Pratchett quotes.

‘Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.’

– Foreword to The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1998) by David Pringle

‘A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.’

– The Fifth Elephant

‘When I was a child I read books far too old for me and sometimes far too young for me. Every reading child is different. Introduce them to the love of reading, show them the way to the library and let them get on with it. The space between the young reader’s eyeballs and the printed page is a holy place and officialdom should trample all over it at their peril.’

No to Age Banding Campaign

‘Steal five dollars and you’re a common thief. Steal thousands and you’re either the government or a hero.’

– Going Postal


‘People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.’

– Witches Abroad

‘Never trust any complicated cocktail that remains perfectly clear until the last ingredient goes in, and then immediately clouds.’ (22 November 1993)

‘I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.’

‘Most modern fantasy just rearranges the furniture in Tolkien’s attic.’

– Wordsmiths of Wonder (1993)

‘Imagination, not intelligence, made us human.’

– Foreword to The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1998)


‘Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.’

– A Hat Full of Sky

Image: Terry Pratchett, by Myrmi, Wikimedia Commons, free licence.


  1. Pingback: October 23 in Literature: Michael Crichton Born | Interesting Literature

  2. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    I’ve got 3 quotes that are my favorites from this. It was a tough decision.

  3. Oh how I love Sir Terry, let me count the ways….where to start? Thank you for these quotes. I love them. As I knew I would.

  4. I love the bit about Tolkien’s attic. So true!

    • Indeed! I think when he said that it was a particular problem so much sub-Tolkienesque stuff out there. It was part of the reason, if memory serves, why Sir Terry wrote The Colour of Magic :)

  5. Perfect quotes: they should be emblazoned in every classroom, library, public space, workshop or office, and tattooed on the forehead of every Minister for Education, here and around the world.

  6. One of my favourites – among so many – is
    “stranger than usual things were happening all the time”.

  7. I think I’ve read all of Terry Pratchett’s books, and Sam Vimes is my favorite character. (I also just discovered that Sir Terry shares a birthday with my son!)

  8. I love him!!! Great choice of quotes – witty and intelligent! #goodread :)

  9. I LOVE him…LOVE the witches, they are my favorites, without a doubt but the librarian…well, he’s up there as well. :) Great man. Great books. Great fun:)

    • I love the Witches books too. I can remember laughing out loud at almost every page of Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad. Thief of Time is one of my favourites among the recent books – a great standalone work (relative to other books in the series anyway) :)

  10. One of modern times great authors. I always remember the quote by him in the intros to many of his books: : “writing is the most fun you can have sitting down.”

  11. Reblogged this on Bastet and Sekhmet's Library and commented:
    Today is Terry Pratchett’s birthday and this is a beautiful tribute to his great work!

  12. I do so Love Terry Pratchett’s work…I think I’ve read about everything he’s written, a wonderful idea to celebrate his birthday!

  13. Bend the mind Terry, the straight and narrow is for tunnel vision.

  14. Reblogged this on writereads and commented:
    A fitting tribute!

  15. A hat full of sky is one of my favourite books. I also love the one about imagination. Actually, I love all of them. :-)

  16. Now you got me curious about (Terry Pratchett). I shall read some of his works now. :)

    Great blog by the way. :)

    It’s so good to be back and reading all my friends is blogs. I will be posting new poems soon on my page. Stay tune and be amazed. :)

  17. Thanks for sharing these great quotes. My favourite was: ‘I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.’ – ‘Thinking outside the box’ is a prime example of business jargon that has permeated the English language in recent years.

    • I’ve always wanted to tweet that one as I think it would strike a chord with many people sick of business jargon and management speak, but if I recall correctly it overshot the 140 characters a little. It’s a great quotation, though – it was good to be able to include it here!

  18. Reblogged this on seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah and commented:
    I have a Discworld book in my kindle thanks to a campagin at last summer, but I couldn’t manage to have time for it. I think I has been recommended his and ‘other Terry’s’ books several times, but until quite recently I have been confused them to some extent. I’m currently busy re-reading my favorite authors in English, but I hope to have time for him and other Terry’s soon. :D

  19. Reblogged this on Mistrz i Małgorzata and commented:
    Happy B’ day,sir Terry :)

  20. He is one of the funniest and most intelligent authors I have ever read. Long live Discworld!

  21. Reblogged this on Effloresce23 and commented:
    Wise words by a fellow Taurean !! :)

  22. They wouldn’t let me borrow from the adult library when I was a kid because I only had a juvenile ticket. Definitely “no” to age banding – good on you, Sir Terry!

  23. Reblogged this on The Mirror Obscura and commented:
    I’m a quote freak in a way and some of the best quotations I have are by Terry Pratchett–outrageous at times but always on point and worthy of a read and a moment to think. >KB

  24. Enjoy anything written by Prachett

  25. It’s hard to choose a favourite on this. It has come down to a dead heat between

    “The space between the young reader’s eyeballs and the printed page is a holy place and officialdom should trample all over it at their peril.’”


    ‘Imagination, not intelligence, made us human.’

    • I agree. Wise and profound – he’s very good on the power of fantasy, fiction, and imagination. There were a few more which didn’t make the final ten which were also in this vein and rather good :)

  26. Brilliant. Well done to getting it down to just ten, there must be literally hundreds of incredible quotes from Pratchett. I especially like the one about Tolkien. Very apt :)

    • Indeed, it was rather a challenge – at one point I had a document nearly twice the length, and THAT was only after a fierce selection process! Maybe I’ll have to do a follow-up ’10 More Quotations’ post for Sir Terry :)

  27. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Meet New (to me) Authors Blog and commented:
    I can NOT resist re-blogging this article about my HERO and inspiration behind my blog :D

  28. really cool…. :)

  29. Reblogged this on Pieces of String and commented:
    You can do a lot worse than beginning your child’s love of reading by sharing the wonderful humour of Terry Pratchett with them.

  30. I adore Terry Pratchett, I have all his books from the Carpet People to Snuff. My mum began my love by reading the Truckers trilogy to me. Even on the tenth or eleventh reading his books reveal something new. He is a wonderfully talented author.

    • I’ll second that! He has a marvellous turn of phrase, and as he has developed as an author a valuable and more profound kind of wisdom has become more noticeable. He is proof, indeed, that ‘wit’ and ‘wisdom’ share a common etymological root :)