raisindot wrote:Okay, to open up another thread here.
In at CJ, Lord and Ladies, and Witches Abroad at least, Nanny seems to be most ineffectual of all the witches. Magrat takes down an elf or two and a vampire. Perdita is able to resist the Magpyrs. But Nanny is completely powerless against the 'mind assault' of the elves and vampires. She doesn't physically 'kill' any of the enemies in these books. She doesn't exhibit any real magic or strong headology (other than marshalling Lancrean mobs). She does watch Granny's back, and is her counsel, but she isn't necessary for the defeat of these enemies, and, in the case of LL, her actions cause a deus ex machina that prevents what would have been a total vanquishing of the enemy.
While Nanny isn't one of my favorite characters, Jeff, I think you are quite mistaken in calling her "the most ineffectual of all the witches." Just in this novel, for example, she takes charge immediately when they discover Granny is "missing" and promptly gets Magrat and the baby out of the castle and organizes Verence's rescue.
She knows she's not good at Granny's headology--but she's very good with people. and she's absolutely ruthless and clear-sighted about what's necessary to save the kingdom. She suggests, quite seriously, to Agnes that one way to save the kingdom might be marrying Vlad and killing him. As she says, This is Lancre we're talkin' about. If we was men, we'd be talking about layin' down our lives for the country. As women, we can talk about laying down." She quite deliberately gets herself and Magrat (and baby) out of the castle because they are vulnerable in a way that Agnes isn't.
Once they get to the castle, she takes charge with Igor as her right hand. "Now we'll try things my way," she said. I'm not good at thinkin' like Granny but I'm bloody good at actin' like me. Headology's for them as can handle it. Let's kick some bat."
She and Igor dispose of a raft of "bats", starting with Cryptopher and including those lesser Vampires killed by lemons, stakes, holy water until they run out of supplies. At the final confrontation, the only survivors of the vampire pack are the original family, minus the Countess that Magrat disposed of and the one apparently disposed of by Greebo. Nanny knows that Granny needs time to get to the castle and do whatever is necessary and it's her job to give Granny that time--and if Granny can't save them, she'll have done all that's possible.
Granny and Nanny are a team--in this and all the other books. Granny would presumably have died in L&L if Nanny hadn't figured out that she wasn't dead but in the bee swarm.
Nanny is a people person, and at that she is much better than Granny (as Granny notes in Masquerade
. And because she is, she and Granny are absolutely necessary to each other.