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Equal Rites

(Discworld #3)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  161,065 ratings  ·  5,201 reviews
They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.

There are some situations where the correct response is to display the sort of ignorance which happily and wilfully flies in the face of the facts. In this case, the birth of a baby girl, born a wizard - by mistake. Everybody knows that there's no such thing as a
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Corgi (first published January 15th 1987)
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Miniaturespace It's perfectly readable as a stand alone, as is most of the discworld books.…moreIt's perfectly readable as a stand alone, as is most of the discworld books.(less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  161,065 ratings  ·  5,201 reviews

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Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just recently re-visited this book after a couple years away from it. What's more, I've just recent re-read several of the more recent Witch novels from Pratchett, so they're fresh in my head.

Granny Weatherwax is one of my favorite characters of Pratchett's, and as an author, it does me good to see how she began as a character.

This book has some rough edges. There's nothing wrong with it, mind you, but it was still very early on in Pratchett's career, and it doesn't have the smoothness of hi
Feb 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The problem with Terry Pratchett is that you keep wanting to read the good bits out loud.

In this particular case, I'd just reached the line "Her dress would have been both clinging and revealing, if it had had anything to cling to or reveal." Too late, I realized that not all the people around me were going to find this equally funny. I'm still embarrassed. Damn.

Mario the lone bookwolf
Owning of both gender and fantasy stereotypes by the notorious badass and witty witches

„Men have to be wizards and women have to be witches, no debate about that, it´s the unwritten rule of doing it so since… What, stop asking stupid troublemaker questions about small girls being wizards, that´s impossible as women lack the…er… physiology to cast spells because one needs… sperm, yes, and body hair, muscles, you know, musk smell, the epic stink, to show the magic who is boss and dominance, yes, v
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I was not already a Terry Pratchet fan, I would be after reading this exceptional book as we are formally introduced to Granny Weatherwax, witch.

Equal Rites, Sir Terry’s third installment in the Discworld series is a peach of practical magic. Telling the story of a young girl’s conflicting talents for wizardry and / or witchery.

In the Discworld, men are wizards and women are witches – at least that is how it has been up to the point when young Eskarina Smith sort of becomes – both. Pratchett
Kevin Kuhn
Jul 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Lovely tome, this. I fell for Pratchett only recently, after giving “Guards, Guards” a try. To me, he’s the fantasy equivalent of my favorite Science Fiction humorist, Douglas Adams. I enjoyed “Equal Rites” just as much as “Guards, Guards.”

In “Equal Rites,” Pratchett takes on feminism in a very ‘why not’ sense. As is custom, a dying wizard attempts to hand down his powers to his eighth son. When it turns out that this eighth son is a daughter, well chaos, adventure, and hilarity ensue. Pratche
Another fabulous reread in the Witches Discworld series by the terrific Terry Pratchett who here takes on the issue of gender equality, where witches are witches and well, wizards are wizards. Upon approaching death, wizards pass on their power to the eighth son of an eighth son, but in the Bad Ass village, an error is made, when a dying wizard slips up by passing his gifts to a newborn baby girl, Eskarina. Oops! Esk is raised by the wonderfully old curmudgeonly witch, Granny Weatherwax, who edu ...more
This was just so incredibly funny, brilliantly written and truly a joy to read.

More tomorrow

Now I have in the past read probably a dozen or so Discworld novels and have come across some of the major players in this epic series, Granny Weathwax included, who was the star of this book. Whilst I don't remember ever actually reading this book it was wonderful to get reacquainted with Granny W.
I know that the books get even funnier, wittier and just more and more involved with the wonderful world th
Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
3.5 stars. A fun read exploring sexism within magicians

I quite liked this book, and it was entertaining from start to finish. It's a smaller book and certainly doesn't "wow" the reader, but it has some interesting concepts that I have yet to see delved into in fantasy novels - while maintaining a humorous tone.

The story is about a wizard who is dying who passes his staff the eighth son of an eighth son (which is required to become a wizard). Unfortunately for him, he was a bit careless and the e
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a blast!


Witch supreme (or that's what I'm calling her) - and that only because of her stare, to say nothing of her actual magical talents. And yes, I can totally see Maggie Smith playing her in a movie!

Esk, 8th "son" of an 8th son (on the Discworld, 8 is the most magical number), who inherits the staff of a pretty powerful wizard because - instead of listening to Granny - he is eager to pass on his wizard's staff before he dies and assumes that Esk is going to be a boy.

Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, fantasy, 2017-shelf
The Great Pratchett Re-Read Continues!

The third book begins the "real" development of the whole Discworld mythos, and rather than focusing on setting, it goes whole-hog (or Witch) into character and a rather deep social issue.

It is, at its core, a novel about breaking down the walls that the sexes tend to put up to keep the other side out. Witches can be wizards and vice-versa. :)

I didn't appreciate this as much the first time although I got the whole social bit perfectly... and mainly that was
I have now read the first 3 books in the series and this is the first about witches. I have to say that I felt this was a bit serious. I know there were jokes in it, but Granny Weatherwax is a bit serious and it really makes for a serious tone. It gets sillier toward the end of the book when they get to Unseen University. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the humor in this book, but it was serious.

This was written in 1987 and I can see this book back then being more of a punch. It is fairly stale
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a reread for me but it is years since my first read and I did not remember much of it!
Loved that Death popped up right at the beginning and then Granny Weatherwax made her first appearance. Of course this book is vintage Discworld and these two, along with others, appear again and again later in the series and develop into much more rounded characters. Nevertheless Pratchett's humour is here in full force along with his wonderful descriptions and clever stories.
These early books are li
Similar in spirit to the first two books in the Discworld series, once again we have a delightful duo on a journey, encountering many a merry mishap on the way. This book is not as funny as its predecessors, though the plot seems more cohesive and a little less meandering.

Despite the distinct lack of trolls, this is probably my favorite so far. I really enjoyed the "Girl Power" theme to the book. At least I think I did. It could just be those darned witches using their "headology" on me.
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Discworld story full of humor and adventure
Ahmad Sharabiani
Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches #1), Terry Pratchett
Equal Rites is a comic fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett. Published in 1987, it is the third novel in the Discworld series and the first in which the main character is not Rincewind. The title is wordplay on the phrase "Equal Rights".
The wizard Drum Billet knows that he will soon die and travels to a place where an eighth son of an eighth son is about to be born. This signifies that the child is destined to become a wizard; on the Discworld,
Kai Spellmeier
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.”

This was hilarious. I enjoyed every single page of it. If you saw me reading it, chances are high that you will have caught me cackling and giggling throughout most of the book. I never thought that I would pick up any Discworld novel but the more I read of them, the more I'm inclined to pick up another Pratchett book. They are light, fast-paced and highly entertaining.
I skipped The Light Fantastic beca
Pratchett's comic fantasy satire of feminism and its impact on a male dominated status quo. A number of coincidences result in a learned Wizard passing on his legacy to a baby girl in a world where it is simply unheard of, for a woman to become a wizard. The most interesting and definitely funniest (as in in a few places I actually found some humour!) Discworld book out of the first three I have now read. 4 out of 12
Apr 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Three books into the Discworld series (which, yes, I am reading in the order of publication and no, I will not be taking feedback about this from hardcore Pratchett nerds), I finally get my formal introduction to Granny Weatherwax, and she's just as delightful as promised.

Equal Rites has the most straightforward and dare I say traditional fantasy setup of any book in the series that I've read so far - it lends itself to easy summary, to the point where the setup sounds suspiciously like your ty
Joey Woolfardis
[First read: 15th February, 2013. 3 stars.
Second read: 7th September, 2018. 4 stars.]

It was good thunderstorm country, up here in the Ramtop Mountains, a country of jagged peaks, dense forests and little river valleys so deep the daylight had no sooner reached the bottom than it was time to leave again.

Up in the Ramptops, the Eighth Son of an Eighth Son is about to be born, and a Wizard is ready to hand over his staff. But it seems they've all forgotten that babies can be girls as well...

Heidi The Reader
Second read-through, February 2021:
In Discworld, there are unwritten rules that govern magic. One of these is- guys are wizards and girls are witches. Wizards have staffs. Witches have pointy hats and work with nature.

When the eighth son of an eighth son has a daughter who is mistaken for a boy at her birth, a wizard leaving his legacy to someone who is destined to be incredibly powerful becomes somewhat of a problem. Untrained wizards are dangerous. But who is going to take responsibility for E
Paul Sánchez Keighley
This was lovely, very different from any other Discworld novel I've read - more charming and less hectic. It also works as a great standalone story, regardless of its place within the Discworld series.

Infused with the spirit of second-wave feminism (as told by a well-meaning white man), it tells the story of a young girl who is destined to become a wizard, much to the concern of both witches and wizards alike. But to me it also felt like a tale about the older generation coming to terms with and
Anusha Narasimhan
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked how the issue of gender roles is portrayed in this book. Starting from the title which is a play on “Equal Rights”, to the characters to society's expectations, Sir Terry Pratchett has captured the real-world issues of gender discrimination in his magical world of Discworld.

Like many young girls, Esk starts off questioning gender roles. She isn’t satisfied with being a witch when she has what it takes to be a wizard. But when a wizard subtly belittles witchcraft, she stands up for it. Sh
Executive Summary: Not as funny or as quotable as The Light Fantastic, but very enjoyable for other reasons.

Full Review
I had to double check the year this was written. This book still feels very relevant today.

Wizards can only be men. Witches can only be women. Their magic is different and shouldn't be mixed. A women has no place learning to be a wizard. Witches "have their place". Does any of this sound familiar?

As someone who works in a field that is far too lacking in women the idea that
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fairly sure that this is only my second time reading this book since I first devoured the early books of the series back in the late 80s. Like The Light Fantastic it's forced a re-evaluation of my opinion of the early Discworld books and in a positive way.

A dying wizard passes his staff to a destined wizard, the eighth son of an eighth son. Only he was a little careless and the eighth son is actually a daughter. Eskarina Smith grows into her magic young under the watchful eye of the witch Gr
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“ is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done.”

I started this book yesterday and found myself snatching any time I could to get back to it, even staying up late to finish it.

This was a surprise. I'm always a little reluctant when starting what is branded as a funny book, worried that it wouldn't work on me, which is why I usually go for the audiobook version - the performance and intonations of the voice artists being invalu
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Unsure whether this is 4 or 4.5 but I loved it :3
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason I thought I wouldn't like this book all that much. It's one of the first in the series, so for many people I talk to that's already a point against it, and I had it in my head that I will like other sets of characters better than the witches.

So far, of the 3 discworld books I've now read, this was easily my favorite. Granny Weatherwax is amazing and I had some great fun with this book. I'm glad to hear this series only gets better (as it has already) and this is why I'm glad I'm
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
“Everything was a different color in those days.” “That’s true.” “It didn’t rain so much in the summer time.” “The sunsets were redder.” “There were more old people. The world was full of them,” said the wizard. “Yes, I know. And now it’s full of young people."

Boy ain't that the truth.

Terry Pratchett is so very quotable.

I enjoyed this introduction to Granny Weatherwax. I've "met" her in some of the later Discworld books, and she's a great character. This book looked at the issue of "women's job
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"There are storms that are frankly theatrical, all sheet lightning and metallic thunder rolls. There are storms that are tropical and sultry, and incline to hot winds and fireballs. But this was a storm of the Circle Sea plains, and its main ambition was to hit the ground with as much rain as possible. It was the kind of storm that suggests that the whole sky has swallowed a diuretic. The thunder and lightning hung around in the background, supplying a sort of chorus, but the rain was the star o ...more
18/25 (72%) 3.5 stars.
Pratchett's highly entertaining take on feminism, misogyny and a variety of other topics. Blessed with references to car mechanics and a magic staff that replaces the Luggage as the Sentient Being in a Leading Role. D E A T H has only a small role in this one, but there'll be lot more about him in the next one, so I'm okay with that. Also, there isn't much worldbuilding in this one - the focus is on Esk and her antics, not on Great A'Tuin and what it carries.
Dialogue 4
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Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, i

Other books in the series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1)
  • Reaper Man (Discworld, #11; Death, #2)

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