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Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
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2015 Reads > WS: My favorite bit (full spoilers)

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Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments My very favorite part is the extended section I like to call The Ride of Granny Weatherwax, where she flies around the entire kingdom of Lancre in order to hop it fifteen years into the future. I like it for several reasons. It's this big dramatic section, it shows that the witches are more then just herbalists with a reputation, and it shows off the characters of the three witches. Granny Weatherwax usually prefers to use the lightest touch possible, but she has real power and can be quite ambitious. Magrat tries really hard and knows people. Nanny Ogg is far more powerful than she seems with her blather. She uses her extensive family like a general does their army, and she cheats, oh yes.

"There were thirty-two [roosters] of crowing age, she knew. She knew because she'd worked it out last night-tonight-and had given Jason his instructions. She had fifteen grown-up children and innumerable grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and they'd had most of the evening to get into position. It should be enough."

And all kinds of little things, like the other two feeding magic to her broom, and the fact that her voice gets dopplered as she speeds toward Magrat. And how Granny trusts her colleagues to help her with this very difficult spell, but neither is she really considerate about them, either.

And I didn't realize until I just went back to the text for the quote that the fool unburdens himself of the story of his childhood to Magrat in a quiet moment in the middle of this.

Looking back, I was pretty well hooked on Discworld from book 1, but this is probably the book where I fell well and truly in love with the series, and they only get better from here.


message 2: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina | 32 comments I love that scene, just picturing relatives all over the area all holding roosters. I love this book, and the rest of the series.

In any case, I had to bookmark this sentence as I re-read this on the subway today: "In any case, an elderly lady banging a bowl with a spoon was probably not the spearhead of an invasion force."

There should't be anyone alive who could read that and not think how very, very flawed that reasoning is. Such a perfect short statement to add into the story.


Daniel K | 164 comments Why do you think witches are so selfish and narcissistic in this book? Why do they think everyone should respect and be afraid of them? Especially Granny. Is it some kind of humor that should indicate some social stereotype?


Ulmer Ian (eean) | 341 comments Daniel, witches are just the local matriarchs of Lancre. Sometimes a witch is just a witch even in Discworld. :)


Daniel K | 164 comments Yeah, so why should i as a reader like them? Is it just me bothered by such characters? That was the main reason for me not to like the book.


Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Daniel wrote: "Why do you think witches are so selfish and narcissistic in this book? Why do they think everyone should respect and be afraid of them? Especially Granny. Is it some kind of humor that should indic..."

I've been thinking about it, and in a way, the witches are some of the best educated in Lancre, not counting the nobility. They can read, they know herblore, and they know all sorts of ways things are connected to other things. When you know more than other people, when other people keep doing ignorant things, you can get a kind of superiority complex. I have a touch of it myself. But when the rubber meets the road, the witches are caretakers for their areas and the people who live with them. And they do take care of them, but their power and knowledge isolates them, too. Some of this is spelled out more clearly in the Tiffany Aching books, which are about an adolescent girl learning how to be a witch.

It also might be a power fantasy for me. A woman wielding power, but subtly? If she does her job right, people aren't really sure what she's done or not done. There's a bit about the guy who did something bad to a witch, and she doesn't turn him into a toad but smiles at him in a puzzled way every time she sees him, as if surprised that *something* hasn't yet happened. He can't takes it and runs away. That's the sort of thing that makes me chuckle.

Witches Abroad presents a foil for Granny Weatherwax. It gives you a sense of what a witch as powerful as Granny could do if she wanted to. What Granny could still become if Nanny and Magrat can't keep her grounded, keep her caring about what other people think. For me that tension that Granny could go full on gingerbread but doesn't is part of what makes the character interesting for me.

If I were magically transported to the Discworld and I were a refugee, I would run to Granny. She'd make me work for my keep harder then I'd ever worked before, but nothing in heaven or the Disc would keep her from protecting me once she had made up her mind that that was the right thing to do.

*shrugs* If the character is just straight up not working for you, Daniel, I don't think there's anything we Granny fans can say that will change your mind. It's OK to not like entertainment. I don't think that it means that there's something wrong with you, or something wrong with us. Just let us enjoy, please.


message 7: by Daniel (last edited Apr 25, 2015 03:43PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Daniel K | 164 comments Joanna wrote: "Just let us enjoy, please. "

I'm sorry i have maybe made you feel uncomfortable. It's sometimes difficult for me to feel the line.


message 8: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3911 comments I'm thinking that Granny most of all knows just how powerful witches are. Magrat is new, and is the representative of non-harmful, low powered nature magic. Nanny is in-between, still attached to humanity. Granny is capable of moving an entire region in time. What kind of person would you be if you had that much power? You couldn't display it openly. Couldn't even hint at it. Would probably have to withdraw from humanity lest you be tempted to use it regularly. It's not arrogance so much as it is realistic.


Wastrel | 184 comments I guess you could say that Granny is an attempt at an everyday, ordinary old woman who is also a superhero. Great power, great responsibility, alienated by her own capabilities, needing to be anchored to reality by her friends. But she's also a traditional old woman of a very particular variety, so she's rigidly controlled by a certain form of etiquette, and passive-aggressive for good measure.


message 10: by D.L. (new) - rated it 5 stars

D.L. Morrese (dl_morrese) | 101 comments Wastrel wrote: "I guess you could say that Granny is an attempt at an everyday, ordinary old woman who is also a superhero. Great power, great responsibility, alienated by her own capabilities, needing to be ancho..."

Pratchett's heroes are definitely not one-dimensional good guys. They've got quirks, flaws, and personality, but I always find them admirable. What's most inspiring about Granny is that she is the most powerful witch around; she knows it, everyone knows it, but she doesn't use her power to unduly exert control over others for selfish reasons. Yes, she intimidates, at times, but never for personal advantage. She's content with rags, favors, and, of course, respect. She doesn't want to rule. She could. She knows it. But she's wise enough to know that she could become an oppressive tyrant, far worse than the duke because she could use magic to get what she wants In Wyrd Sisters, she saves the infant king, not for personal gain, but because it is the RIGHT thing to do. She refrains from taking overt action to save the kingdom until it becomes clear that the land itself is suffering, and even then, rather than blowing away the duke and duchess into a cloud of subatomic particles, she does something more difficult. She shifts time to allow the 'rightful' king to challenge the oppressor. It doesn't work out quite as she expected, but the important thing is that she made sure that the people felt that they themselves retained control of their own destinies.


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