Wintersmith Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby raisindot » Wed May 05, 2010 7:27 pm

Well, here are my two bits about the book....


>
>
>
>

....Nah, I got nothin'.


:(

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Postby poohcarrot » Wed May 05, 2010 11:51 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:What planet do you live on again pooh? :lol: 13 year old girls are monstrous little hormonal termagants with colossal mood swings and a serious mirror addiction (whether or not they have acne) and massive mobile/cell dependencies. I'd love to see how you're handling your daughters when they get to that age - enjoy them when they're properly silly and sweet and think their dad's a big hero :P


sw wrote:Jan, you're absolutely right. Pooh obviously lives on Mars. I thought the "Carrot theory" was nonsense before when he brought it up in CJ and this book is a perfect example of that. I must admit that there were times I wanted to shake Tiffany until her teeth rattled, but that's the nature of teenagers--especially girls. There are a number of problems--jumbled or incomplete development, for example, with this book--but Tiffany's character is not one of them.


(Argh! A double-pronged attack from the "naughty wimin". Must have been something I said. :roll:
Nevermind, I'm sure J-I-B, as a male, will come to my defence......um....then again......maybe not. :lol:
Oh well, I'll just have to agree with them I suppose....)

You two are absolutely correct. I am on a different planet. :(

While you two are chuntering away about 13 year-old girls on planet Earth, the planet I'm on is called D-I-S-C-W-O-R-L-D! On my planet, Lu-Tse does not suddenly suffer from middle-aged angst, buy a sporty horse-and-cart and start knocking off some young strumpet, Vimes does not fail to get his man/dwarf/other sentinent being, and Tiffany Aching DOES NOT act like a big girly!!

The continuity is shot to pieces. If it had been the first book, no problem. But it wasn't.

Even after behaving like a silly, soppy girly all book, she finally kills the Wintersmith and appears to revert to normal, then at the end, if Granny hadn't been there, she might only have gone and done it all again! :roll:

(I did like Roland too, though)
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Postby swreader » Thu May 06, 2010 2:14 am

poohcarrot wrote: While you two are chuntering away about 13 year-old girls on planet Earth, the planet I'm on is called D-I-S-C-W-O-R-L-D! On my planet, Lu-Tse does not suddenly suffer from middle-aged angst, buy a sporty horse-and-cart and start knocking off some young strumpet, Vimes does not fail to get his man/dwarf/other sentinent being, and Tiffany Aching DOES NOT act like a big girly!!

The continuity is shot to pieces. If it had been the first book, no problem. But it wasn't.

Even after behaving like a silly, soppy girly all book, she finally kills the Wintersmith and appears to revert to normal, then at the end, if Granny hadn't been there, she might only have gone and done it all again! :roll:

(I did like Roland too, though)


Pooh, I agree that Tiffany's character changes in ways that are hard to understand. And I really think that the other witches she apparently lived with (Miss Pullunder and Old Mother Dismass) deserve more than a passing mention. But I think there is another reason for the way Tiffany acts in this book--one that makes a great deal of sense and that makes her behavior understandable.

Tiffany is wearing the necklace when she goes to the dance--and she has unconsciously turned the necklace into a sort of talisman -- the visible link to her hills. It even takes Granny a while to understand that Tiffany could no more have refrained from dancing at the Winter Morris than the land can escape from the dance of the seasons. Granny describes her to Miss Tick as follows:

"A witch who won't wear black. No, it's blue and green for her, like green grass under a blue sky. She calls to the strength of her hills, all the time. An' they calls to her! Hills that was once alive, Miss Tick! They feels the rhythm of the Dance, an' so in her bones does she, if she did but know it. And this shapes her life, even here! She could not help but tap her feet! The land taps its feet to the Dance of the seasons!"

And it is through the horse that Wintersmith finds her the first time. Suddenly she is confronted with an elemental who thinks he's in love with her, and she begins to have powers of generation that no other witch has ever had. No wonder she's confused and bewildered. No one else has ever had that experience.

She is hardly a silly immature girl through the whole book! She sees through Granny's rather nasty trick on Mrs. Earwig. Granny (who shows no concern for Miss Treason's people) uses Tiffany and Anagramma to get back at a witch she dislikes because Mrs. Earwig doesn't follow Granny's pattern. It may have a sensible reason, but the central reason is to "get back" at Granny's challenger. Tiffany sees through the trick immediately and protests (to Miss Tick) that it's not fair. But she deals with the education of Anagrama and welds the coven into a group who can deal with the terrible problems caused by the Wintersmith. And she does all this--as do the other young witches--without much help from the older witches. Furthermore, she has to deal with the fact that she has the cornucopia and some of Summer's powers.

She accepts her responsibilities when she takes the necklace back from Granny and throws it herself into the river. And she knows, immediately that Wintersmith has found her when she touches the necklace again. She acts responsibly, warns her father about the sheep, and then uses Granny's transfer of heat to break the power of the Wintersmith.

And at the end, she makes Granny promise to show her how to take away pain (something no other witch than Granny can do as well) AS A RECKONING! And as Tiffany watches the spring Morris, and briefly sees the Wintersmith and Lady Summer she finds her feet tapping again. But this time Granny has taken her so that she can escape the effect of this change of the seasons -- by keeping her foot still.

But I think that Terry makes a rather serious error in ending the book with the "heroic" task of the Feegles as he did with leaving us with a silly image of Roland in the armor that doesn't fit and makes him waddle like a duck.
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu May 06, 2010 9:00 am

swreader wrote: She is hardly a silly immature girl through the whole book! She sees through Granny's rather nasty trick on Mrs. Earwig. Granny (who shows no concern for Miss Treason's people) uses Tiffany and Anagramma to get back at a witch she dislikes because Mrs. Earwig doesn't follow Granny's pattern. It may have a sensible reason, but the central reason is to "get back" at Granny's challenger. Tiffany sees through the trick immediately and protests (to Miss Tick) that it's not fair.

Eh? :shock: Don't agree with that at all. If anything, Granny helps Anagramma by getting Tiffany annoyed enough to help her enemy. The fact that Anagramma is eventually a success and even helps Tiffany escape the Wintersmith, is all down to Granny's headology.

If you can't see how Granny's manipulation was beneficial to all witches, I'll explain it if needed. 8)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu May 06, 2010 10:28 pm

You're not wrong pooh :roll: :P

But swreader's right as well - Granny knew that Tiffany would sort Annagramma (helped by the other young witches) but the driving reason behind her manouevres were certainly malicious towards Mrs Earwig and her methods as Annagramma had to learn the practical/headology side to witching from scratch.

I said in the CJ discussion that Miss Treason seemed to be a pretty powerful witch, despite her frailities and I'm wondering now whether perhaps Granny might have been one of her apprentices as well as they both have a similar approach/talent for headology and borrowing.

The placing of Tiffany with Miss T as her last pupil (and the one to last longer than most of the recent ones) is highly significant I think, especially given that she knew her death was imminent. Also that Annagramma, although good at magic, is the only one of the young coven to have only had the one mentor. I think that all the established witches dislike Mrs. Earwig so intensely that they all excluded her from taking on any other trainees (and she was so disparaging of the other youngsters abilities that she wasn't at all worried about this).

So Annagramma's having a rough ride inheriting Miss Treason's patch was high likely to have been a collective slap in the face from all the other senior witches (especially as most of the witches who'd had Tiffany under their wing must have known she was always destined for the Chalk) so Granny's nominating Tiffany for the cottage was an obvious no-no and never intended to succeed - Granny knew it wouldn't happen, but the point was made for Mrs. Earwig's 'benefit' (rather than to shame Annagramma), knowing Annagramma would get the cottage anyway and make a right mess of it unless the other girls helped her.

Granny wasn't alone in her opinion of Mrs. Earwig and the older witches were definitely not fans either so they must have seen that Granny wasn't serious because Tiffany wasn't at all suitable, being too young and too unconnected with the mountains - and they all wanted to see Mrs.Earwig methods crash and burn and for her only student (who does have ability) to have to change her attitude and be a proper witch...
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Postby swreader » Fri May 07, 2010 12:59 am

Pooh and Jan--

I stand by my original statement. Granny is a very talented witch, and the "first among equals" of witches. But a warm, fuzzy people person she is not. And when Miss Tick tells Granny about Mrs. Eawig's plan to propose young Annagramma--she goes on to say "...Mrs. Earwig has quite a few followers these days. It's probably those books she writes. She makes witchcraft sound exciting." Granny then responds by indicating (among other things) that she will propose Tiffany.

And a technicality--
JanVanQuirm wrote: The placing of Tiffany with Miss T as her last pupil (and the one to last longer than most of the recent ones) is highly significant I think, especially given that she knew her death was imminent.
. Miss Treason only learns of her death approximately 3 or 4 days before it happens, giving her time to organize her funeral. She found the timing "most inconvenient". Further, there is no reason to doubt Tiffany's assessment of the reaction of the other witches to Granny & Mrs. Earwig, "Okay, a lot of witches didn't like Mrs. Earwig, but Granny Weatherwax didn't exactly have many friends either."
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Postby poohcarrot » Fri May 07, 2010 5:38 am

What I think it is, SW, is that you just don't like Granny very much. :lol:

In CJ you were complaining she never said thank you to Oats, and now you are accusing her of "a rather nasty trick".

You seem to regard her as an ungrateful, spiteful and selfish woman.
I think you're totally wrong.

If Granny hadn't suggested Tiffany for the cottage, what would have happened? Would Tiffany have had the self-confidence to believe in herself and defeat the Wintersmith? Would Tiffany have offered to help Anagramma and get the other junior witches to help too?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri May 07, 2010 11:58 am

swreader wrote:Miss Treason only learns of her death approximately 3 or 4 days before it happens, giving her time to organize her funeral. She found the timing "most inconvenient". Further, there is no reason to doubt Tiffany's assessment of the reaction of the other witches to Granny & Mrs. Earwig, "Okay, a lot of witches didn't like Mrs. Earwig, but Granny Weatherwax didn't exactly have many friends either."

Of course Tiffany knew how the other witches would react - if she had been older and ready to take the final step into being a full-blown witch, if she had any deep ties to the village Miss Treason cared for and if she had not danced, then maybe she would have wanted to take over - but I very much doubt it, even if none of those factors were there. She had no real investment in her placement in respect of the people she would have been looking after - her attitude to the villagers lacked real interest or engagement. Also, the only time she gets really passionate about anything (beyond mooning about the snowflakes and roses and the Summer personification) is when the lambs are threatened... she just doesn't care enough about anything but her own land - all she was really concerned about was Annagramma not being up to the job, she didn't want it for herself at any stage, even though she knew she could have done it.

As for Miss Treason knowing when she'd die :roll: - she knew for certain a few days before yes, but the woman was 111!? Of course she knew she only had a little time left and so did all the other senior witches. Witches have a rough life - no making 130 like Windle Poons, enjoying the good life of endless faculty lunches. :P
In a way the incident with the Dance was Miss Treason's fault - she needed Tiffany's eyes so yes, she had to go with her, but she should have been a lot more upfront on what the deal was to the point of physically stopping Tiffany from dancing - but she wasn't strong enough to prevent that and this was the point at which she knew for sure that she was past it and that it was high time to go. For witches and wizards, knowing the time Death will come for you isn't like fixing up an appointment - they know he'll come for them, but it's also tied up in practicalities like any other human being. Look at Rincewind - he's seen Death enough times when he knew he was going to die, but his problem is that he's also got the Lady interfering so he always gets a reprieve and Death's getting pretty sick of showing up for nothing :lol: With Miss Treason, she'd been running on the dregs of her own myth-making/Boffo and having to borrow the whole time for decades so Tiffany's gaffe with the Dance was the trigger for her to go finally.

swreader wrote:And when Miss Tick tells Granny about Mrs. Eawig's plan to propose young Annagramma--she goes on to say "...Mrs. Earwig has quite a few followers these days. It's probably those books she writes. She makes witchcraft sound exciting."

Who are the followers? Not the senior witches that's for sure. Mrs. Earwig's 'followers' are egocentric vain girls like Annagramma or even more the Diamanda Tockley ilk (from Lords & Ladies) where all they want is the fame and not the hard slog and headology. Which is why all the traditional witches can't stand the woman. The 'followers' are the impressionable wannabe-a-famous-enchantress type that like the glamourous side of things which has more to do with wizarding and that all true witches despise. Annagramma is a natural witch, but she has a whopping inferiority complex covered by arrogance, which is why she's able to recognise that she can't handle Miss Treason old beat with Mrs. Earwig's bogus methods and also why she's so jealous of Tiffany because she knows she's the real deal.

And going back to the L&L analogy - that's where Terry's already laid the foundations for the Tiffany books because he'd started to experiment with the rookie witch concept in that book with Diamanda (Annagramma #1) and Agnes, or rather the Perdita X Dream part of the duality, messing about with magic without any supervision or control. In L&L it was all Roundworld attitudes and witches growing up any old how - in the Tiffany series it's a graduate progression. Tiffany is already a witch when we first see her in Wee Free Men, because she's had an excellent role model in Granny Aching, but Miss Tick knows she needs help to learn witching properly, so bingo, in comes Granny and Nanny right at the end to see how Tiffany's done - then we get onto the bones of Tiffany's Progress and the round of apprenticeships for her as well as Petulia and the others, except Annagramma (I feel quite sorry for her actually as she's not really that confident under the earwig gloss as she knows that just what it is...). These books are an investigation into how witching is not all about the power, but knowing where and, most importantly, when it should be used. Mrs. Earwig has never learned this apparently and that is the real reason why Granny and the other witches cannot respect her in any way whatsoever. Granny may not win any witch popularity contests but she has earned and keeps on earning her peers' respect and that is why she's top of the heap - because the others know she's the best there is, but she doesn't impose her methods over any of the other witch ways, which are just as valid.

Granny (and possibly Nanny too) are also involved in Tiffany's round of placements to the point where I suspect Granny is actually Tiffany's prime tutor with all the others supplementing on the 'ordinary' aspects of witching that Granny isn't necessarily the best training option as her people skills are not good enough. Tiffany's beat will be amongst herdsfolk, so that aspect of witching is really important for her. Miss Treason's approach was an 'expert' placement in that field because she was the best at it. Granny Aching was better and that's why Tiffany's so exceptional because she learnt most from her. If Granny Aching had survived then all this apprenticeship scheme wouldn't have been needed at all, which is why Miss Tick's involvement is so important, because Tiffany wouldn't have made it on her own, despite being very talentend and strong... :wink:
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Postby poohcarrot » Fri May 07, 2010 11:44 pm

SW.

Just out of interest, you talk about Granny's nasty trick. What nasty trick are you talking about? :?

Granny said that Tiffany should get the cottage. That surely was an objective opinion based on the facts that Tiffany knew the people and knew about headology. Anagramma knew neither.

But Granny was over-ruled. She didn't make the choice to put Anagramma in the cottage. It was nothing to do with her.

So what was the nasty trick that Granny pulled?

I don't understand. :?
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Postby Ponder Stibbons » Sat May 08, 2010 7:37 am

poohcarrot wrote:Even after behaving like a silly, soppy girly all book, she finally kills the Wintersmith and appears to revert to normal, then at the end, if Granny hadn't been there, she might only have gone and done it all again! :roll:


I know im a bit behind on this thread and i have to go soon, but i just wanted to point out that in fact, the summer dance is just a traditional festival, as granny points out, ill have to check where when we unpack teh books againk, so nothing would have happened. :wink:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat May 08, 2010 12:12 pm

Ponder - on the surface the summer festival is an 'ordinary' celebration, but for witches (and for the land itself) it goes far deeper as they can sense the Wintersmith and Lady Summer.

Tiffany, having just been so close to becoming an elemental herself can 'see' the spirits of winter and summer as well as the Morris Men and people who're watching the more public dance. The Winter dance is an entirely different ceremony - the opposite of the summer dance in every respect in that it's just the human dancers (in black not white), the 2 spirits and a magically aware person i.e. a witch to witness it (so Miss Treason is there as the witness, but needs Tiffany to see the visible part of it for her).

I wrote:In a way the incident with the Dance was Miss Treason's fault - she needed Tiffany's eyes so yes, she had to go with her, but she should have been a lot more upfront on what the deal was to the point of physically stopping Tiffany from dancing

Miss Treason shouldn't have taken Tiffany, or not without a proper briefing of what was happening because the elementals don't dance with each other at all - they SWAP places in the dance of the seasons in a ritual exchange of power so they each give way to the other at the proper time. Tiffany totally disrupted this by dancing with the Wintersmith which so threw him off balance that his ascendancy over Summer was too complete and she went off to sulk effectively, leaving him to court Tiffany and extend the duration of Winter.

The Dance itself is about transition or dying off and then rebirth in the cycle of the seasons and the Morris Men are the remnants of the pagan celebrations of that cycle at the major cross quarters of the year - so May 1st is Beltane and the time of the sun, regrowth and the herds returning to pasture - the opposite is Samhain (Hallowe'en/All Souls Day) to mark the transition into Winter, short days and longer nights when the sun is defeated, the crops are in and the leaves fall because winter will be king again. Miss Treason messed up by alowing Tiffany to go with her.

In fact we've just had Beltane last week so this is a great time to be looking at this book :lol:
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Postby swreader » Sat May 08, 2010 11:40 pm

poohcarrot wrote:SW.
Just out of interest, you talk about Granny's nasty trick. What nasty trick are you talking about? :? Granny said that Tiffany should get the cottage. That surely was an objective opinion based on the facts that Tiffany knew the people and knew about headology. Anagramma knew neither.
But Granny was over-ruled. She didn't make the choice to put Anagramma in the cottage. It was nothing to do with her.
So what was the nasty trick that Granny pulled?I don't understand. :?


Too much rice wine last night Pooh??! You're not as dumb as your post sounds.

Actually Granny is probably my favorite among Pratchett's characters -- precisely because she is one of the most complex characters and because she is, for all her heroic proportions, a flawed character given to nasty tricks and petty meannesses.

Tiffany knows immediately that Granny has performed a trick specifically designed to embarrass Mrs. Earwig--and not for any other reason--by suggesting Tiffany. As Miss Tick had deliberately (if a bit maliciously) told Granny, Mrs. Earwig will be proposing Anagramma. And Miss Tick mentions Petulia who she says has shaped up very well--"a good, all-around witch."

Granny (and Tiffany) know that Anagramma is the oldest (and therefore the most likely, all things being equal) to get the next cottage available, although the witches don't have to go by age. Tiffany, as Granny knows, doesn't want the cottage and both of them (as well as Miss Treason) know she's too young to have a cottage. Granny deliberately proposes Tiffany to annoy Mrs. Earwig and as part of the headology to make sure the other witches elect Anagramma (and not Petulia or someone else who is competent). Granny is NOT OVERRULED--she carries out her plan. And that plan is to expose Mrs. Earwig by putting an incompetent young witch, her pupil, in Miss Treason's place.

The rather clever part of this is that Granny sees herself in a "win-win" situation. If Tiffany, as she expects, steps up and organizes the young witches to act in dealing with the people and training Anagramma, she will have tested Tiffany at no harm to the people and taught her how to be responsible for the actions of other witches. If Tiffany had failed, Granny & Nanny and the other senior witches wouldn't have hesitated to remove Anagramma - because they have a responsibility to the people and it would have been obvious that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! It's rather like what Tiffany did in telling Petulia about the pig in the tree from Anagramma's stupid use of a spell. When things go wrong that a witch, or group of witches can fix, they have to do it. That's what being a witch is about.

It's a nasty trick because--given the fact that witches gossip so much--everyone will know just who really trained Anagramma, and that she knew absolutely nothing about being a witch when she got the cottage. And Mrs. Earwig will know that they know, but there will be nothing she can do to defend herself.
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Postby poohcarrot » Sun May 09, 2010 2:18 am

swreader wrote: Granny is NOT OVERRULED--she carries out her plan. And that plan is to expose Mrs. Earwig by putting an incompetent young witch, her pupil, in Miss Treason's place.


...but what I'm saying is that Granny DIDN'T put Anagramma in Miss Treason's place. Other witches did.

Where does it say Granny put Anagramma there? :?
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Postby joemcf » Sun May 09, 2010 12:00 pm

Poohcarrot...

Basically, near the end Tiffany implies that that Granny Weatherwax conned the rest of the witches into putting Annagramma into the cottage to show up Ms Tick...or i think it was ms tick. Might have been ms earwig.

Anyway, i quite liked this one. Was the first Tiffany Aching one i had read, and liked the feegles, though being scottish i found that some of the translations were off. :wink:

I liked the whole Boffo idea in the book, how people need the boffo to believe in the witches and trust them (to an extent). I thought Ms Treason stopping the clock was very nice and quite sad, how she kept her show up to the very end.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun May 09, 2010 12:11 pm

TACTical voting of course (no wonder you don't get it! :wink: ). All the senior witches were out to get Mrs. Earwig and so they gave her enough rope to hang herself and heap scorn on her showy ineffective training methods. All Granny did was make it look like there was a choice by nominating the plausible workable Tiffany option. All the other witches recognised the 'sensible' choice, but knew Tiffany wasn't 'right' for running Miss Treason's patch because her heart didn't belong there.

Granny never intended Tiff to take the cottage and knew the other witches wouldn't let her have it, purely for age reasons officially, but in fact because they knew she didn't want it enough. In reality Granny was putting the boot in solely for the purpose of making it look like the witches were choosing Annagramma, so Mrs Earwig would think they were backing her, when in fact they were all giving Mrs. Earwig what she really wanted (because her protegee 'won' over Granny's choice) in order to crush her ego, discredit her as a competent witch and as a teacher of witches. The witches wanted Annagramma to spectacularly crash and burn OR for the young witches to help her overcome the disadvantages of her faulty education and run the cottage in the proper manner.

I think Granny chose Tiffany (rather than Petulia who would have been the more stable and competent candidate amongst the other young witches and in fact a far more suitable candidate than either Annagramma or Tiffany) because she knew the other witches wouldn't choose Tiffany because she belongs to the Chalk and nowhere else. Petulia would have been a much better choice all around, and would have won if anyone else had nominated her, but then the seniors wouldn't have been able to embarass Mrs. Earwig so thoroughly by looking as though they thought her girl was better than Granny's. So it's all tactical headology with Granny orchestrating and giving the others a chance to give the Earwig a good stomping - witches aren't very nice remember? :twisted:
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