Wintersmith Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby joemcf » Sun May 09, 2010 12:24 pm

@Janvanquirm.

Thats what i was trying to say in less words. Maybe i failed completely. :P

Did anyone else the whole boffo idea. Its the one thing about the book that i really liked and thought was brilliant. The way they use the scary image and the evil stereotype to make people do as they wish and help them when they need it. Even the hat, which every which has, is a kind of boffo because they instantly get listened to and people do whatever they say.
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Postby poohcarrot » Sun May 09, 2010 2:20 pm

But SW said Granny pulled a "nasty trick" by nominating Tiffany.

I don't think it was a nasty trick.

If she hadn't put the thought into Tiffany's head that she could run the cottage, Tiffany might not have helped Anagramma (and she might not have grown up enough to defeat the Wintersmith). Then Anagramma would have crashed and burned and ALL witches would have suffered. Granny did what she thought was best for ALL witches.

Plus by nominating Tiffany, it was a massive boost to Tiffany's self-confidence, at a time when she'd been acting like a love-besotted 6 year-old, and was in the middle of a life and death battle with an elemental.
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Postby bikkit » Sun May 09, 2010 3:39 pm

My opinion: It was brilliant....when i was eight
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun May 09, 2010 3:57 pm

joemcf - no problem! :wink: Actually I simply hadn't seen your post as in fact we posted within about 10 mins of each other and my response was taking longer to write than yours! :lol:

pooh - that's why I was saying neither you or swreader are wrong in essentials. You're just wanting to make Granny a hero and swreader wants her to be machiavellian when in fact she's neither of those things - just a manipulative old other one... :twisted:

Like I was saying Petulia would have made a much better choice than either Tiffany or Annagramma in terms of ability and attitude, but the latter was 'the next up' for promotion and yes she was disastrous, but in fact Granny also gave her a chance to save the situation by realising for herself that she just wasn't good enough. If Tiffany hadn't helped her then of course the other witches would have come in to clear up the mess (probably very soon if A hadn't taken the plunge) and had a bloody good gloat to boot. Granny's nomination of Tiffany was to annoy the Earwig and let Tiffany know that she was considered capable. She immediately saw it as a bad thing to do which is why she thinks Granny's being unfair and malicious in recommending her. It's just a question on which slant you put on it. It was nasty because the community suffered but it was also very clever as they now have two capable witches where they might have had a complete failure - Annagramma was magnificent in protecting Tiffany from the Wintersmith once she'd succumbed to the Way of Boffo. :lol:

More significantly though, if Annagramma hadn't come begging to Tiffany for help, Tiffany wouldn't have done anything more about it as, like you said, she had so many other things to handle that she couldn't ignore at all, so really a lot of credit must go to Annagramma for knowing how much trouble she was in and asking for help. It took real guts for her to do that because she's so jealous of Tiffany, but Annagramma also has just enough humility (and a strong dollop of self-preservation) to see that she was the right person to go to as she knew the cottage and its dependents thoroughly - she could have gone crying to Mrs. Earwig or even Granny for that, but she knew Tiffany would help her as she'd been so sensible about handing over the cottage.

What Tiffany learned along with all the other things is that it that this is not all about her and how great a witch she is. By nominating her Granny was teaching her a lesson as well - to trust in her own ability of course, but also that she's not going to come out on top the whole time even if she is 'the best'.

Granny has been recognising herself in Tiffany all along I think and wants her to know her own shortcomings. They're both from witching stock so learning about the power comes easily to them - too easily as we've seen with Lily Weatherwax so it all comes down to attitude as much as ability and the most important thing of all is that the witch puts her community first always. For Tiffany that community has to be the Chalk. She's only learning everything else she needs to be a good witch in the mountains because the Chalk's only other witch has gone. The Tiffany books are also about how Granny wants to avoid another Diamanda Tockley situation and Mrs. Earwig is therefore the enemy of everything the mountain witches stand for. Annagramma's public abandonment of the Way of the Earwig is a major and much needed victory.
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Postby swreader » Tue May 11, 2010 12:20 am

Wintersmith, in my opinion, shows the weaknesses perhaps caused by Terry’s disease more clearly than any book to that time. But, after four or five very careful readings I changed my initial opinion (that it was one of the poorest books he’d written) and came to appreciate the generally skillful way he dealt with an adolescent, who is almost (but not quite) a full witch.

Tiffany carries this book in a way that she has not carried any of the others. Because of her nature, her age & inexperience—she stumbles into a very adult activity. The Dance of the Seasons can be seen without too much of a stretch as the old earth magic joined to a dreadful awareness of the possibility of ecological disaster by failure to preserve the balance of Nature. Tiffany, in some aspects, is the typical teenager—balanced unsteadily between child and adult. And to further complicate her life, not only does she have to deal with the whole idea of “boys,” but she also has inadvertently caused an elemental to fall in love with her and to behave in a most unusual way. No one can advise her among the witches, because no one has ever seen this phenomenon before. Dealing with a besotted elemental places terrible strains on her, but she learns to deal with boys and men as well as to become a mature witch by the end of the book.
And she learns, most clearly, not to idolize Granny Weatherwax but to learn from her while accepting her own separate self.

Tiffany leaps literally into the Black/Winter Morris precisely because of who she is. Neither Granny nor Miss Treason foresaw the strength of her bond with the land and neither expected what happened. Miss Treason tells Tiffany that many others have joined in the dance without harm, but when Tiffany joined, something happened that has never happened before (page 74 U.K. hardback). Because Tiffany is so much a part of the land, both Lady Summer and Wintersmith are aware of her and she upsets the balance of the seasons by her actions. Tiffany isn’t excusing a mistake when she says ‘I didn’t mean to’, she just hasn’t yet identified her full power as a Woman and a Witch. But, as Granny says, Tiffany has to play out the story, and dance to the Wintersmith’s tune until she is strong enough and wise enough to restore the balance by stepping out, by being the center through which the power of summer overthrows winter as it always has.

And Tiffany is able to do this because Pratchett begins to show her development as an adult. The book opens with Tiffany bringing the cat, “You” to Granny. Tiffany is already sensing that Granny needs something, that she is far from perfect. Granny acts like a spoiled brat not a proper witch when Tiffany visits. And Tiffany is wise enough to manipulate Granny for Granny’s own good. She’s not yet stronger or wiser than Granny, but she’s becoming aware of the strengths and perils of being a witch. Tiffany has learned that most of witchcraft is not “zap, zap, glingle, glingle, glingle” but instead it is, as Granny has acknowledged, helping people (even those you don’t like, or who are stupid or vain) when life is on the edge.

By the end of the book, Tiffany is wise enough and strong enough to see through Granny’s machinations. She says (p.391)
“You planned it, didn’t you?” she said. “If you’d suggested one of the others they’d probably have got the cottage, so you suggested me. And you knew, you just knew that I’d help her. And it’s all worked out, hasn’t it? I bet every witch in the mountains knows what happened by now. I bet Mrs. Earwig is seething. And the best bit is, no one got hurt. Annagramma’s picked up where Miss Treason left off, all the villagers are happy and you’ve won! Oh, I expect you’ll say it was to keep me busy and teach me important things and keep my mind off the Wintersmith, but you still won!”

Tiffany doesn’t get an immediate reaction to her accusation that Granny was playing a rather nasty trick on Mrs. Earwig and exposing her to all the other witches. But she is now able to demand a “reckoning” from Granny—that Granny show her the way to take away pain, something no other witch but Granny has been able to do. Pratchett does, in this novel, a fuller example of the exposure of both Granny & Mrs. Earwig that he had earlier done in "The Sea and Little Fishes", a short story appearing in Silverberg's First Volume of Legends. If you haven’t read this, rush right out and get it (the 2nd link is to the Amazon UK site).

There are a number of flaws in Pratchett’s creation of this novel. I think the opening scene (which doesn’t quite happen) is confusing and a mistake. The ending, with Rob trying to read heroically, takes away the grandeur of the real story. Pratchett here, as he does in later novels, tries to do too much, and puts in unnecessary bits while not developing other important characters enough. The tendency will be much more evident in Making Money—but you can see it here.
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed May 12, 2010 5:04 pm

To me this series is about following a young girl as she develops into a powerful witch. The fact that there isn't a Witch School as there is in the Harry Potter books is saying that witchcraft is about learning from life.

Mrs Earwig's brand of "Magik" is the sort of thing that might be taught in Hogwarts, but not in the Ramtops.

Every witch we have met in the DW books has their own way of doing things. None of them are right or wrong and some of them work better than others. Is Boffo really much different to Headology? The difference to me is that Granny Weatherwax has the magical ability to back it up. Miss Treason has had to use Boffo as her health (hearing, eyesight and age) have let her down. But in some ways she's more powerful than Granny.

Tiffany has learned from lots of witches - including her own Granny - and she's decided to go her own way. Being like Granny Weatherwax - lonely and grouchy, is not for her. But being like Nanny Ogg isn't for her either.

I'm looking forward to the next book for several reasons - not least because I want to see where the relationship between Tiffany and Roland goes - or doesn't go. :)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed May 12, 2010 7:58 pm

I think Roland and Tiffany will do well together - with his nasty Aunties he's getting a good grounding in how not to get nagged gratuitously or at least how to completely ignore it :lol:

Tiffany will get a lot out of it as well I think. Roland after his experience in Elfworld knows how important it is to be independant and think for himself - certainly he's no longer the toothless pushover he was in Wee Free Men. So, if Tiffany tries to boss him too much he won't just take it unless it's 'right', but he also admires her, so he'll always respect her superior judgement (in some ways) most of the time. I think she'll like it that he won't always give in to her :P

Did you also notice that Granny's letting Tiffany off the hook on the dress uniform for I Shall Wear Midnight - she was saying about how the black clothes are alien for Tiffany :lol:
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Postby swreader » Sat May 15, 2010 7:00 pm

Just an observation--- as far as I can remember, Granny has never had an apprentice witch, and frankly I can't imagine her having one. Most girls would be scared to death of the redoubtable Mistress Weatherwax, and I can't quite imagine Granny taking the time to work with one. Although I do think that the scene in Hat Full of Sky where Granny & Tiffany do Miss Level's errands for her is both amusing and instructive (excluding the whole Hiver element). Granny is a firm advocate of getting people to do what is necessary by telling them something they can understand. I suppose that's a kind of headology. But it also demonstrates the maxim that a witch never lies, but does not always tell all of the truth. Tiffany demonstrates at the end of Wintersmith when she gives him every chance to renounce his dream of a world of Ice with Tiffany as its Queen, before she kisses him and destroys him. She doesn't lie, but she certainly doesn't tell him all the truth.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun May 16, 2010 12:28 am

Can you imagine the terror of being Granny's apprentice!? :shock: I agree it just wouldn't work, but I think she's taken a keen interest in Tiffany's education all along, maybe nudging Miss Tick into organising this beginning with Miss Level and then the progression through all the witches ending with Nanny so far anyway.

I think in a way Granny does tutorials on the sly rather than practical work placements. Schooling doesn't seem to 'go' with witching somehow so Hogwarts style or Mrs Earwig's route doesn't suit the Discworld witches (although the Wizards do OK at UU in a haphazard sort of way but then men like studying if it involves the odd pint and regular meals... :P ). Tiffany's certainly learnt things from her by default or observation such as the going invisible technique - the taking the pain out of the body 'trick' is unusual in that Tiffany specifies that she wants to know how it's done, so Granny does teach, just not that obviously.
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Tue May 18, 2010 12:50 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
poohcarrot wrote:She's suposed to be silly when she's 8, not 13. :roll: It's like she's physically grown older, but mentally regressed.

Ooh! I've just thought of something.
Was it Death in the boat? He was a skeleton, he spoke like Death, and I know Death can be everywhere at once, but it didn't feel like the actual Discworld Death.



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


LOL yah!!!
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue May 18, 2010 2:10 am

Yo! Tina-pops! Who rattled your cage? :lol:
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Tue May 18, 2010 3:03 am

Just thinking of you dealing with two teenage girls soon. :lol:

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

*whispers "yes, my precious hehehehehehe, we will have our vengeance upon mustache lippy man verrrrry soon..."*
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby joemcf » Fri May 21, 2010 10:17 am

although the Wizards do OK at UU in a haphazard sort of way but then men like studying if it involves the odd pint and regular meals... :P


I think you mean regular pints, meals, and the occasional studying ( if any at all) :D
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri May 21, 2010 10:46 am

:lol: I was trying to be diplomatic :twisted:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby joemcf » Fri May 21, 2010 10:50 am

Wizard...Diplomatic. I think there's a wee problme with that sentence. Probably the fact you called the wizards diplomatic. Its basically what ridcully says, goes. Which i like. Him or Stibbons.
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