Wyrd Sisters Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:04 pm

theoldlibrarian wrote:Who is your favorite character in WS and why?
Mine is Greebo, just for the laughs.
Actually, I'm rather fond of Magrat in this one. I've always thought that it must take an awful lot of courage to be the 'New Age' type of witch that she is living so close to Granny Weatherwax.

I'm not sure if everyone noticed that the playwright is called Hwel - if you say that with a Welsh accent it sounds a lot like Will.

I also suspect that one of Terry's worst puns is in this book.
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:04 pm

I think my favourite character in the book is Granny Weatherwax, difficult as she is.

What does everyone else think about the relationships between the witches in this book? On rereading it I was surprised at how "nice" Granny is to Magrat. The quarrel between Granny and Nanny over how they were as girls doesn't seem to fit with how well they work together and their relationship later.


Tony - which pun are you thinking of?
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Postby Zephyr » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:16 pm

Oh, oh - don't say it, Tony, it's on the tip of my brain, I know this! It's very short and easily missed but once you see it, it screams out....

*whangs head on desk to remember*

Edited to add 20 minutes later: Dang! I can't remember, but I know this! I'm going to have to read it all over again....aaaaauuuggghh....
Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit. -Seneca
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Postby theoldlibrarian » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:58 pm

Doughnut Jimmy wrote:Tony - which pun are you thinking of?


Hwel said in a Welsh accent sounds like Will or William Shakespeare. I didnt notice that until my second reading and I expect many didnt notice at all.
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:05 pm

That's not the pun, but it does concern Hwel. :wink:
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Postby theoldlibrarian » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:12 pm

You're talking about the big one?
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:21 pm

theoldlibrarian wrote:You're talking about the big one?
Well maybe I'm wrong, but Shakespeare is considered a literary giant - Hwel, on the other hand, in a typically Pratchett way, is a literary dwarf. :lol:
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:29 am

Doughnut Jimmy wrote:
What does everyone else think about the relationships between the witches in this book? On rereading it I was surprised at how "nice" Granny is to Magrat. The quarrel between Granny and Nanny over how they were as girls doesn't seem to fit with how well they work together and their relationship later.




The witches, in this book, are interesting. Nanny seems to have arrived on Discworld fully formed and, to me, she doesn't seem to change much throughout the series. I wonder if Terry based on anyone in particular. :lol:

Granny is still developing, I think. You're right DJ - she does seem a little nicer - more tolerant and maybe not quite as clever as she is in the later books.

Magrat's character is due to change anyway. A lot happens to her that is going to be character changing. Meeting Verence, getting married, having a child and gaining more and more confidence. If anything, I think I like Magrat more in this one than Witches Abroad, where she seems much more of a 'wet hen'.

As a trio, it's again interesting as it's really a duo that is grudgingly allowing Magrat very limited access. Granny and Nanny, as we see in later books, are very different people, but they compliment each other, with Nanny being a bit like Dr Watson to Granny's Sherlock Holmes.

Magrat is sort of the new witch on the block. She is geographically a Lancre witch and, as the book says, their territories border each other, so have to give Magrat a certain amount of respect. But they don't exactly welcome her.

The other two keep secrets from her, such as the true relationship between Tomjon and Verence, which they seem aware of, but let Marat discover for herself. :)
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Postby kakaze » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:04 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I'm not sure if everyone noticed that the playwright is called Hwel - if you say that with a Welsh accent it sounds a lot like Will.


I was just going to ask if there was some reference to Shakespear in Hwel that I was missing because I'm not British. It seemed like a pretty obvious parody, but always seemed to be building up to a punchline that never came.

I think that Hwel's surname should have been "Axebrandisher" or "Spearchucker" or something.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:17 pm

:lol: I never thought of that before, but Shakespeare does sound a bit like a dwarf name. :lol:
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Postby swreader » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:13 am

Sorry for disappearing--shoulder problems again, and this may be shorter than I'd like.

As to the 15 year change, I think that Pratchett simply does it because somehow, he's got to make the baby old enough to challenge Duke Felmet. It is, of course, Granny who weaves the spell (though all 3 have to take part), since Granny is going to be the "head" witch of Discworld. Pratchett does this sort of thing occasionally in other books--less so as time goes on (and he gets better at plotting, I think). But, for example, I think that the inclusion of the Vampire and the Troll in Monstrous Regiment is somewhat akin. He wants to make a point about females, and he doesn't want to limit it to humans.

As to the use of allusions-- my thought (being exceedingly familiar with Macbeth) is that novel works all right, but is a bit odd--quite odd in places if you don't have any idea about Macbeth. And since we have only a tiny glimpse of Lancre before this time, Pratchett uses this book to define the country and the characters which will become more important in later books. Most of the allusions, I think, are just plain fun (like those in Soul Music). If you know that Shakespeare's theatre was The Globe, then it is appropriate that TomJohn & his father call their The Dysk. The same could be said for many (most?) of the allusions--The fool's awkward re-working of Shakespeare's sonnet (Shall I compare thee to a summer's day) which turns into June 14th (IIRC).

The place that I think Pratchett uses the play and the witches most strongly (although Shakespeare's witches are certainly not unique in their character) is by setting up the total difference -- turning the nature of the witches and their powers & responsiblities almost on their head. These witches do not cause evil actions, but rather right the larger evil committed by the Felmets (who are certainly fell types) and protect the land and it's people.

(More comments later, but shoulders have given out completely.)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:53 pm

(((hugs SWreader gently)))

We had quite a long thread going about the 'nature of Witches' on Discworld ages back didn't we? I think we mostly settled on the 'wise woman' option of them mostly not doing magic (in public anyway) and morecommunity support by nagging/headology and natural remedies - so more Roundworld-type herbal medicine and midwifery/undertaking without the oppression :wink:

When you think about it most of the magic that the Lancre coven does is done of necessity and generally against supernaturally endowed antagonists (not in this one but otherwise Lily, elves, vampires etc) which then leads into the Chalk and Tiffany on how a witch learns her craft.
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:17 pm

Blasted technology, my post from this morning has disappeared :evil:

Hope your shoulders improve soon swreader.

swreader wrote:The place that I think Pratchett uses the play and the witches most strongly (although Shakespeare's witches are certainly not unique in their character) is by setting up the total difference -- turning the nature of the witches and their powers & responsiblities almost on their head. These witches do not cause evil actions, but rather right the larger evil committed by the Felmets (who are certainly fell types) and protect the land and it's people.


I agree. It's also quite appropriate as James I was known to fear witches and the play was written partly to appeal to him - very much like Hwel's first version of his play, that it's the witches role that is changed.
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Postby theoldlibrarian » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:01 pm

Why does a witch have to be a witch :?:
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:47 pm

theoldlibrarian wrote:Why does a witch have to be a witch :?:


Huh? Can you explain that one oldlibrarian
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