McGonnagle would've done well on the Vogon spaceship wouldn't he?
I keep meaning to come into these discussion threads but I've been doing some writing of my own on the cheerful subject of genocide (in Africa) so haven't had time to get in until now.
The Feegles have grown on me - I hated them in Carpe Jugulum and I found them rather irritating in this book when I finally got around to it last year (the whole series except ISWM were my convention shopping treat). Having re-read the lot about twice now they've grown on me and I like Rob best I think, although Daft Wullie's makes me laugh in a corny way. With Rob it's the flawed logic and honour code that I like - also his attempts to keep his Jeannie happy with the reading too
By contrast I find Tiffany's becoming more irritating in this book on re-reading and it's because she's so sure of herself to the point of being obnoxious in a frustratingly sensible way. However - I can forgive her that because I think here with us seeing her at the beginning of her road and still very young, the forthright way she deals with things is in context - when you're that age things are more black and white I think, and it's only as we get older and more perceptive and sensitive to other people and how they act and what they need, that things start to blur and go to shades of grey. So the Tiffany of the later books as she goes into her teens is more intuitive and her approach gets less 'strident' I suppose as she grows up and life becomes less clear cut for her in some respects.
What illustrates that most I think is her refusal to cry for Granny Aching and again that's what feeds most into her ambition to be a witch and in effect sets her on a path that extends her period of mourning, as she strives to take her grandmas place on the Chalk. By not crying and thinking so much about how Granny Aching 'worked' makes the difference between 'crumbling' and behaving like a little girl still and wanting to worthy of her grandma. It helps her grow up to be responsible as swreader says, but it also makes her seem a little too 'perfect' in some respects and also cold, as in her attitude to her little brother although again that's not too surprising as spoiled little brothers (or sisters) are a pain of course. Her no-nonsense attitude is a little too calm and analytical for my taste, whilst being an ideal trait for the powerful witch she'll become.
I think, having finally read ISWM, that's something Terry's picked up on in retrospect in the series when she compares herself with the 2 new witches she discovers. With Tiffany her transition into full witchhood is almost too textbook and superlative, whereas with Esk and the other young witches we've read about through the whole of the series, there's more instinct involved. In a way I think Tiffany is Granny Weatherwax Jr from the outset, only not quite so spiky and it's the emotional tone that still keeps Granny on top as the thinking witch's witch because she's disciplined without necessarily being too 'grown-up' all the time (think of her sometimes childish behaviour and point-scoring with Magrat and Nanny). I think that's what I find odious about the younger Tiffany - she's too self-possessed and it's only in the later books that she 'humans' up enough?