By now, I can’t even imagine a world without Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax. There is also a new Terry Pratchett non-fiction collection coming out in October which I’m thinking of pre-ordering. It’s funny how this year started with me being all in love with Catherynne M. Valente and now I can’t get away from Discworld. This is the joy of being a non-professional blogger. Because it means I can read as many Discworld books in a row as I want. And if I do ever get bored, nobody can force me to continue. And these books aren’t going anywhere.
Published by: Corgi, 2013 (1992)
Paperback: 400 pages
Series: Discworld #14
My rating: 8,5/10
First sentence: Now read on…
When does it start?
The fairies are back – but this time they don’t just want your teeth.
It’s Midsummer Night – no time for dreaming. Because sometimes, when there’s more than one reality at play, too much dreaming can make the walls between them come tumbling down. Unfortunately there’s usually a damned good reason for there being walls between them in the first place – to keep things out. Things who want to make mischief and play havoc with the natural order.
Granny Weatherwax and her tiny coven are up against real elves. And even in a world of dwarfs, wizards, trolls, Morris dancers and the odd orang-utan, this is going to cause real trouble. With lots of hey-nonny-nonny and blood all over the place.
Magrat is getting married. Readers may have suspected it since Wyrd Sisters but personally, I didn’t believe that either she or Verence II would work up the courage to ask one another. Which is why matters are conveniently already arranged when Magrat returns home with Granny and Nanny. Now she has to learn proper queening, which is enough work as it is, but in addition, there are strange things going on at the standing stones in the woods. And around midsummer night, the walls between worlds are especially thin. Things might break through…
This was a particularly fun Discworld novel. I never liked Magrat as much as I did in Lords and Ladies and even though I know that she will be replaced by Agnes Nitt (she of the angelic voice, large body, and personality disorder), I believe that I will end up missing Magrat Garlick. That quiet, too-nice-for-her-own-good girl kicked some serious fairy butt!
I was also pleased to discover a different side to Granny Weatherwax. She always seems so aloof, so unconcerned about her private life and especially all things romantic (and I like her that way) but the peculiar kind of havoc wrought by the fairies shows us that, at the very least, Granny could have led a very different life. But whatever may or may not have been, we still get to enjoy Granny’s wonderful wit and incredible practicality.
‘Someone got killed up here.’ [said Granny]
‘Oh, no,’ moaned Nanny Ogg.
‘A tall man. He had one leg longer’n the other. And a beard. He was probably a hunter.’
‘How’d you know all that?’
‘I just trod on ’im.’
You may not guess immediately from the title – I didn’t – but the Lords and Ladies it refers to are fairies. Now I’ve always had a soft spot for fairies, but for some reason, the Disney version never did it for me. I like the mysterious, dark ones that aren’t all bad but most certainly aren’t all good either (the real Tinkerbell is still one of my favorites). Terry Pratchett ditched the wish-fulfilling, glittering good fairies and instead opted for a seductive, dangerous, alluring, and most importantly, stylish kind of fairie folk. The way they are set up makes them more creepy than funny but as soon as people decide to fight back, there are a few absolutely hilarious scenes involving fairies, Magrat, and Greebo. I don’t think I need to say any more.
Comparing the Witches books to each other (as I inadvertently do), I believe this was also one of the better crafted ones. The plot lines start out seemingly unconnected but run together towards a fantastic ending. Ridcully and Ponder Stibbons make an appearance, and the Librarian of Unseen University saves the day more than once. I’m still not too fond of the wizards, but I’ll take the certainly-not-a-monkey and his exclamations of “Ook.” any time to spice up the plot. The fact that the storylines do converge helps flesh out Discworld as a whole and makes the place feel more real. Without actually going to Ankh-Morpork, with the wizards visiting Lancre, we are reminded that even in the Witches’ storyline, Discworld is a large place where lots of things happen at the same time. Just not necessarily all in the same place.
Given that I still have no idea how big exaclty Discworld is supposed to be, it also came as a bit of a surprise to find out that some characters knew each other from “way back when”. In one clever stroke, Terry Pratchett breathes life into his world, its mythology, and its characters. All of this is achieved without long expositions or boring info-dumps. After all, the characters know who they are and how their world works. We have to figure it out from the context – something I immensely enjoy and that far too few authors trust their readers to manage. Thanks again, Sir Terry, for believing that your readers have the ability to think for themselves.
As you see, I have very little to complain about. The only thing that makes me sad at this point is that I only have one more Witches novel to look forward to (I hear there will be vampires). Carpe Jugulum will have to wait a litte, though, because a few days ago I started listening to the audiobook of Making Money. I had almost forgotten how much I like ex-swinder and now Postmaster General Moist von Lipwig.
The Witches novels (Discworld):