Wyrd Sisters Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Willem » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:36 pm

Verence II's mother died when he was little I guess. Or she ran away before he was born, like Rincewind's mom :)


The answer to the original question:
Did anyone find the ending of the book confusing?
To quote Reaper Man: Yes.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:52 pm

:lol: We don't know happened to the Queen either.
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Postby Penfold » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:25 pm

poohcarrot wrote:Wasn't the fool brought up by his grandfather because his mother wasn't around and his father was away fooling?

He was, and I have no idea what had happened to his mother although I suspect she was in a 'subservient woman's role' looking after the house, etc. and Verence's grandfather was responsible for discipline, education, and being the breadwinner.

However, I got the impression from the end of the book that Verence's and Tomjon's father was the Old Fool and I think it would Terry's sense of humour to have the Old Fool 'fooling around' with the Queen, so to speak, with Tomjon as the unforeseen result. Also, could the Old Fools naming of his son Verence be seen as his attempt at making an original joke, at the King's expense, and a secret act of rebellion against the guild?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:00 pm

Penfold wrote:... I got the impression from the end of the book that Verence's and Tomjon's father was the Old Fool and I think it would Terry's sense of humour to have the Old Fool 'fooling around' with the Queen, so to speak, with Tomjon as the unforeseen result. Also, could the Old Fools naming of his son Verence be seen as his attempt at making an original joke, at the King's expense, and a secret act of rebellion against the guild?

Hold it! hold it! hold it! - which is what Verence I (and his jester perhaps) should have done... :P

The way I read it was that Verence Snr. did indeed get a wrong side of the blanket heir namely Verence II with his jester's wife, so Verence II does have royal blood albeit murkily. I think it's Nanny Ogg (naturally :wink: ) who comes out with the minor bombshell about Verence Snr's dalliance and that the jester was most friendly with the Queen around Tomjon's conception. The inference being that Tomjon (the younger heir more apparent) may not have sprung from the King's seed. This would also make him a little basket (the jester's) and not of the royal line at all, assuming Verence Snr has the bloodline for Lancre (and with the land 'mourning' him, he was monarch in his own right).

Being a little basket doesn't matter that much when it comes to succession necessarily - to whit William the Conqueror was most definitely a bastard heir to both the Dukedom of Normandy (his father the Duke having subsequently married a noblewoman, but never having kids with her) and to the English throne (which came to him via his paternal Auntie's eldest Edward the Confessor - quite a girl was Emma of Normandy!). Interestingly Macbeth is historically set by Shakespeare in Edward the Confessor's reign and so Verence II's murky birthright (as testified by Nanny) needn't and indeed wasn't that big a deal :wink:

The best that Tomjon and Verence II would have been were half-brothers in which case Tomjon's claim is superior - I was left with the impression that the right heir got the gig and justice was done all round :lol: :twisted:
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:07 pm

Verence II certainly cares about the kingdom and that makes him far more suitable than Tomjon would have been, even if he had been the rightful heir. :)
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:40 pm

Well now I'm definitely confused. When I read it I was sure that they were half-brothers, and although it was implied that this was because Verence's mother had dallied with the King, it turned out that his father had dallied with the Queen. I thought that Tomjon's parents were King and Queen.

I'm going to read it again :?
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Postby swreader » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:52 pm

The ending of the novel (where the "rightful" king is found, as in the comedies where everyone is going around cross-dressed) is positively Shakespearean.

But I think it's pretty clear that although Verence I may have exercised his droit with the Fool's wife, this particular child (eventually Verence II) is named for the King by his Mother (as he tells Magrat when she's opening the door of the dungeon). TomJohn's father is (by Nanny's implication) was in fact the Old Fool.

The crucial bits of information have to do with the striking resemblance between the two young men--which wouldn't be true probably if they didn't have the same father. And Hwel has noticed the similarity of resemblance back in AM, as has Magrat and eventually Nanny. And Nanny is the one who sees a way out of the mess that Granny has created by bringing TomJohn back to be the King--and deluding herself that he is the rightful heir and, more importantly, wants to be King of Lancre.

Since Nanny delivered both children, she'd know which one was the elder of the two. And although there's some question as to whether the Queen was able to count right, there's also Nanny's comment that the Old Fool could "climb walls like nobody's business", all of which leads up to what is the real clincher.

It would make more sense of neither mother was good at counting, but Granny acknowledges tacitly that Verence II isn't the son of Verence I (and that Magrat is not to tell him so) when she says:
"Royalty has to start somewhere. It might as well start with him. It looks as though he means to take it seriously, which is a lot further than most of them take it. He'll do." The final confirmation, of course, is that the land accepts him also--as he truly cares about the land.
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:08 pm

swreader wrote:The crucial bits of information have to do with the striking resemblance between the two young men--which wouldn't be true probably if they didn't have the same father.


Unless they had the same mother, which is where I went wrong. Now I think about it, it seems unlikely that the Queen could have a baby and give it away without the King noticing. But they have different mothers though, right?
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:25 pm

Dotsie wrote:
swreader wrote:The crucial bits of information have to do with the striking resemblance between the two young men--which wouldn't be true probably if they didn't have the same father.


Unless they had the same mother, which is where I went wrong. Now I think about it, it seems unlikely that the Queen could have a baby and give it away without the King noticing. But they have different mothers though, right?
Yes, if the queen was going to pass Tomjon off as the king's son, she'd presumaby do the same thing with Verence. :)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:04 pm

:roll: Blimey - wot a tangled web and no mistake! So poor ole Verence I never had any heir at all! :lol:
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Postby theoldlibrarian » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:12 pm

Whatever happened I think the fool and Tomjon must have been related because Hwel says they look very similar when they're all in the pub or maybe it's just coincidence.
I also remember that Magrat discovered that Verence 2nd wasn't an heir at all. :?
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Postby swreader » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:50 am

One of the things that I find interesting about Wyrd Sisters is that it shows Pratchett feeling his way into a significant part of Discworld. While it's true that he's already made clear from the first that this is a world with Magic, and that there are witches and wizards, it seems to me that he has decided by this point that wizards will play a relatively minor part. In fact the wizards of Equal Rites bear only a general resemblance to those in Sourcery and I've always thought that Sourcery had the feel of something that happened in the distant past--except that Rincewind plays such an important role.

For whatever reason, Pratchett has decided to develop the witches as an important factor in Discworld, though they seem to be found primarily in the Ramtops. In this novel, we get an introduction to Granny (in some of her less attractive ways), Nanny (who changes very little) and Magrat.

Granny doesn't want anyone questioning her, or challenging her powers and understanding. But in this novel, she is almost embarrassingly ignorant. She has no idea what the theatre is, or what actors are. But she is not about to admit it--especially to Magrat. Nor does she understand drama at all. I remember the first time I read it, I was a bit embarrassed for her in her behavior at the play. Nanny doesn't know anything about the players and drama either, but she keeps her mouth shut.

It seems to me that Granny is particularly hard on Magrat (with some justification) because she is the "New Witch on the Block", but she is far more talented and powerful than Granny is willing to concede. Magrat has considerably more guts and perception, at some points in the book, than Granny does. She has tried to get the coven formed, though she's in awe of Granny. And having met the Fool in the meadow and fallen for him, she asks what his name is. The two senior witches basically discount him and don't really see him. Magrat calls them "a pair of silly old women," and says she's going home. And this leads to the quarrel between the two. And it is Magrat who actually save Nanny by the spell which Granny tries to say probably won't work--but it does. Granny is so sure of herself that she deludes herself about TomJohn and his destiny to be King.

Magrat is, in a strange way, a threat--which explains some of the reasons Granny treats her like a child. But it is Magrat who spots the resemblance and thereby saves the Kingdom of Lancre.

And it is Verence the Fool who is accidentally, the means of almost defeating the witches power, because he introduces the magic of words. Words are important to Pratchett. Ideas about good and evil and what makes things good or bad are important to him. And he will use the witches to explore some of this.

But, it's clear that Pratchett was working quickly, and making small errors (not caught by his publishers) at this stage. For example, Verence (as ghost) see the coach being pulled by his own horse go tearing out of the castle when he goes looking for the baby he believes is his son.
But one horse has turned into multiple horses by the time it arrives at where the witches are. And while Granny works the death of the primary confederate guard and sends him off to be a sailor, they all go home and apparently leave the coach and horses where they were meeting.

It's a fun book, but it's not as serious in it's theme and exploration as his later witch books will be.
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Postby kakaze » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:23 am

theoldlibrarian wrote:Whatever happened I think the fool and Tomjon must have been related because Hwel says they look very similar when they're all in the pub or maybe it's just coincidence.
I also remember that Magrat discovered that Verence 2nd wasn't an heir at all. :?


I agree. It seems that Verence I may have exercised his Droit de Seigneur (there's a reference to couples getting a good start, and some families, due to this custom), but I think that Tomjon and Verence II are half brothers with a common dad; the father fool. Otherwise, Verence II and Tomjon would have no common genes and wouldn't look similar.

I didn't notice the horses in the beginning, but I did find some typos (3 I think). There's a paragraph where Granny and Nanny get mixed up, and another where Verence II and Tomjon (I think) get mixed up.

I figured it was because I had a overseas (America) paperback printing. Anyone else see anything like this?
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:20 am

Tomjohn and the fool have to be related because they look like each other.

The fool's father and the queen are the parents of Tomjohn.

Therefore;

a. The fool's father is the father of both.
or
b. The Queen is the mother of both.
or
c. The fool's father AND the Queen are the parents of both.

I still think it's c.

The Queen, 18 years ago, before she got married to the king, could have had an affair with the fool's father and a baby could have been born.
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Postby theoldlibrarian » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:55 am

kakaze wrote:
I didn't notice the horses in the beginning, but I did find some typos (3 I think). There's a paragraph where Granny and Nanny get mixed up, and another where Verence II and Tomjon (I think) get mixed up.

I figured it was because I had a overseas (America) paperback printing. Anyone else see anything like this?


I didn't notice any mistakes in my edition. I was reading from a corgi novel.
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