Witches Terry Pratchett Style, part 1

“Some People think ‘coven’ is a word for a group of witches, and it’s true that’s what the dictionary says. But the real word for a group of witches is ‘an argument’.” Wintersmith

We are coming up on NaNoWriMo, and I have some massive plot work that I need to do if I don’t want to waste my thirty days of feverish keyboard pounding. So from here on out blog posts might, potentially, be a little sporadic. I’m cutting way back on the reading as of last Monday, which means not having a lot to review. And I’m going to be upping the daily writing time by a lot, which won’t leave a lot of brain cells for blogging.

BUT! That doesn’t mean I can’t suggest things for you to read while I’m busy. And since October is for Witches, I thought I would introduce you to some of my favorite books about witches, all written by Terry Pratchett and set in his Discworld. Nobody does witches like Terry Pratchett.

Terry Pratchett does parents a favor by writing children’s books. This means that you can read aloud to your kids and actually enjoy the process.

The Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett–The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith–are some of my favorite books ever. I can’t tell you how utterly delightful these books are.

Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching is a pragmatic, determined, highly-intelligent, and very brave female protagonist. But she is also exasperated by her unpleasant baby brother, missing her deceased grandmother, and doing the best she can to function as a lonely child on a busy farm. She knows a lot of big words from reading the dictionary, but can’t always pronounce them because no one she knows uses them in speech.

“Zoology, eh? That’s a big word, isn’t it?”
“No, actually it isn’t,” said Tiffany. “Patronizing is a big word. Zoology is really quite short.”–The Wee Free Men

She also hates being patronized.

The three novels follow Tiffany as she saves her baby brother from the fairies, goes to the mountains to apprentice as a witch, and receives the unwelcome advances of winter himself.

And then there are the Nac Mac Feegle. 6 inch high, red-haired, blue-tattooed, kilt-wearing “pictsies”, whose favorite pastimes are “Drinkin’, stealin’, and fightin’.” Their dialogue is a barely comprehensible Scottish brogue, they’re not intelligent enough to be frightened of anything, and they’re unswervingly loyal to “the big wee hag.” They have names like Rob Anybody, Daft Wullie, and No’-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock Jock.” And they say things like “Oh yer due fer such a kickin’!” I love the Feegles. The hubster loves the feegles. The Mad Scientist and the Drama Princess love the feegles. You will love the Feegles too.

Wullie’s little face screwed up in instant grief. “Ach, the Big Man’s deid!” he sobbed. “Oh waily waily waily–“

“Will ye hush yer gob, ye big mudlin!” shouted Rob Anybody, standing up. “I am no’ deid! I’m trying to have a moment o’ existential dreed here, right? Crivens, it’s a puir lookout if a man canna feel the chilly winds o’ fate lashing aroound his nethers wi’out folks telling him he’s deid, eh?”–A Hat Full of Sky

Part 2 of my little mini review will be about Pratchett’s witchy novels for grown ups. Stay tuned!


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