It's just too childish and unpleasant for me. Good that Pratchett is rather joking about them, but it doesn't get away the fact that whole story revolves around them. Zach wrote: "and the dialogue is written well" Agreed to that. Book definitely won't annoy me. Writing style is pleasant enough so even if story or main characters won't be too fun i would perceive Wyrd Sisters at least mildly positive. The point is, though, the witches aren't lunatic scary old women with warts and long noses and screechy voices.
The only one who's really enthusiastic about that sort of stereotypical 'witch' image is Magrat, who's actually young and reasonably pretty. Granny and Nanny are basically just ordinary old women. Wastrel wrote: "The point is, though, the witches aren't lunatic scary old women with warts and long noses and screechy voices. The only one who's really enthusiastic about that sort of stereotypical 'witch' image Doesn't look like ordinary old woman for me. Mar 26, PM. Wastrel wrote: "Granny and Nanny are basically just ordinary old women. She must meet the expectations of those she is to lead.
It's true that the communities in Lancre are quite superstitious - but then I doubt that is an unfair stereotype of small, isolated communities with medieval technology and no formal education system. And in a way, it comes across as though you're saying that the leadership of particularly clever, mostly older women, is inappropriate. Or perhaps that they should choose them on different grounds, but heck, as it turns out, there are no grounds of merit on which they should not choose Granny Weatherwax. They just don't really know it. Or perhaps, you just want them to forego the trappings of witchcraft.
But they won't, because they're the people of Lancre. The boot is really on the other foot from where you think it is. The witches go along with this stuff because the people require it of them - just as we don't expect our head's of state to show up to work in ripped jeans! In a way, becoming a witch is a self-selecting process as far as merit is concerned. It excludes one gender, that's a fair complaint, but none of the girls - even Magrat who seems so wet - can make it without genuine qualities of some kind. And as Plato would have demanded, it's a leadership position that's all duty and few rewards.
I know I may have drawn on the full range of Pratchett's Witches books in making these remarks. Can the thread title be amended to "light spoilers"? Daniel wrote: "Book definitely won't annoy me. You'll survive regardless. Anne wrote: "I think if she is to be a leader in the community, she must do what other leaders have to do, whether they're aristocrats, kings, or tyrants like Vetinari and whether they're male or female, old or young. As a representative of liberal 21st century society i expect that any person should be respecting and kind.
From the top of my humanism i think of any monarch in history as a total jerk and sadist. And i cannot cope with book main character be such a bad cruel person. Also you said that she is a leader, as far as i've read i don't know that yet. There is no info about that in the book so far. And as i stated in opening post i've never read a Pratchett book before. So it's a surprise to me that Granny is some kind of society leader.
I think you're profoundly misinterpreting the character based on the couple paragraphs you've read. She's rather complex but the words "bad" or "cruel" are quite inaccurate. Also, Pratchett is writing satire. Weatherwax has to broadly resemble the figures that are being satirized or else the whole point fails. Mar 27, AM. Daniel wrote: "Anne wrote: "I think if she is to be a leader in the community, she must do what other leaders have to do, whether they're aristocrats, kings, or tyrants like Vetinari and whether they're male or Brendan wrote: "I think you're profoundly misinterpreting the character based on the couple paragraphs you've read.
Brendan wrote: "Also, Pratchett is writing satire. Chapters which contain these elements such as Granny making view spoiler [little poor guard boy kill his captain and thus risk to become easy prey for bunch of monarchist sadists in dungeons hide spoiler ] make me wince and want for witches to lose all their battles. Anne wrote: "I'm afraid the Discworld is anything but a liberal 21st century society It's not very pleasant idea to scare people whenever they don't agree with you recall the scene at view spoiler [theater hide spoiler ].
But for now i cannot say that Granny is more negative character for me than positive. We'll see further. I was about to make some observations on Granny's character but then I remembered that those insights are mostly drawn from Witches Abroad. Daniel wrote: "It's not very pleasant idea to scare people whenever they don't agree with you Mar 28, AM.
A few thoughts: The book is about the witches. The title is a reference to the "weird sisters" of Macbeth, who are witches. The plot involves some other characters - Verence for example - but it centres around the witches. The witches in this book wear the clothes of the stereotype but are much more than that. Pratchett, especially in the early books, likes to take fantasy stereotypes, for example "humped scary old [women] with warts and long nose and screechy voice" and subvert your expectations.
For that to work though you have to first recognise the stereotype. I think it's fair to say though that any major character in a Discworld book is going to be somewhat complex, including morally. Personally I like this but if you need your main characters to be purely good with only the odd exception then you may not enjoy them. Although I think that's a bigger issue in some of the other books from what I remember at least. I've not started re-reading yet I think Anne's point about the witches being leaders is apt but these are not hierarchical leaders.
In fact, in many ways this and the other Witches books are an exploration of different ways of exercising of power. That's true even within the coven itself - Granny gets things done through hedology but Nanny might use her extensive family connections. I don't know how far through the story you are but there are examples of other characters using power in different ways too. My feeling is that if you finish the book you'll find things to enjoy, but based on some of your comments I think you may not absolutely love it.
But it is quite short. It's pretty classic Pratchett that a character beginning as a fairly straightforward parody like Granny Weatherwax and the coven being a parody of the wicked witch trope and Macbeth's witches becomes something wholly unique and beloved. Probably because Pratchett was so incapable of writing characters that weren't well-rounded and human. Except elves. Screw elves.
Mar 28, PM. Daniel wrote: "As a representative of liberal 21st century society i expect that any person should be respecting and kind. Mar 29, AM. Have to say I find this book an unusual choice for first time readers of Pratchett, I usually recommend people either a Watch novel such as Guards! If you're not completely grabbed by this one perhaps try those, I feel like they're much more accessible and funnier introductions. You have to work up through stuff like tyranny and monarchy first. That way people are so relieved when they get to democracy that they hang on to it.
Mar 29, PM. AndrewP wrote: "Either being respecting in kind doesn't apply to you, or you don't realize that there are still monarchs in the 21st century. Kings and queens of UK or Netherlands or Spain or whatever are not relevant for my remark. Nowadays there are also real sadist jerk monarchs. Maybe they're called dictators in some countries, or even kings as in Asia countries, but they are who they are.
Mar 30, AM. Anne wrote: "Daniel wrote: "It's not very pleasant idea to scare people whenever they don't agree with you Mar 30, PM. I just began re-re-re-rereading Wyrd Sisters yesterday. It's obviously more than a parody of Macbeth. It's much more fun, for one thing. Mar 31, PM. Was wary about a Terry Pratchett novel. So I never bothered to read any more. Have always been puzzled since then how the guy could get any following I'm always prepared to try things, and I trust you guys after the recent reads - I thought "maybe I'm missing something here".
So I started it, however Wyrd Sisters is just boring. He really spent some time with his pencil in his mouth, thinking how he could be clever. Clearly he's trying to emulate Douglas Adams, who was at his peak when these early books were written. But it doesn't even make me giggle. Maybe the edges of my mouth went up a little.
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So I'm going to i lem this and ii still remain mystified why this writer of dull books is so popular. I can only assume from other comments in this thread that "His old stuff is worse than his new stuff". I do however recommend his oldest book "The Carpet People" which he wrote when he was very young. Its quite clever. Perhaps this is a matter of taste. There are very few books I've read that, when I got to the last word of the last page, I'd pause and think, 'That was wonderful.
Thats a great feeling to have. The best I've read in recent years is "Ready Player One". That was so good, I was a little sad at the end, because I thought "I can never read this again for the first time". But of course, as a child of the 80s, it has special relevance for me. The comparison to Adams is interesting. They wrote in similar styles which I understand owes a lot to PG Wodehouse. Adams's humour, especially in his later books was a lot more bleak and cynical than Discworld gets.
Pratchett feels more "we will muddle through" vs Adams "the universe is one big joke on us. Jokes either work for someone or they really don't. Both Adams and Pratchett go beyond simple humor, although each is enjoyable and distinctive. I agree that Adams tends to be more cynical whereas Pratchett, a humanist to the core, shows people overcoming, through their own efforts, whatever circumstances throw at them. Apr 01, AM. Some phrases and situations are "smilable" or of that kind that make you want to laugh a little but not of real instinctive laugh nature.
As for Adams, i've also tried to read his classic "Hitchhiker's guide Maybe i'm too fixed on plots and epicness and just can't enjoy simple stories with subtle humor, hard to say. But it seems that this kind of irony and satire are pretty obvious to be fascinating. For example Wyrd Sisters has this silly witch stereotypes all over the place. It doesn't feel deeply meaningful. Magrat wanting to wear occult jewelry, Nanny going after her cat, Granny thinking that anyone should respect and fear her, etc.
This humor looks oversimplified and artificial. Pratchett doesn't make good emphasize on trying to develop that. He just uses this weak and not very interesting line of witches don't knowing what to do and just meddling around. There is no emotional link with characters or plot. I don't feel strong desire to know whats coming next.
Maybe i just don't see the subtlety here, and if its the case i hope sometimes i will be able to. There must be a reason for such a massive love for Discworld series. I was probably more than halfway through my first Pratchett book in this case Hogfather before I realized this wasn't a 'normal' fantasy book. I wasn't sure I liked it, to be honest. It wasn't like the fantasy books I'd read up until that point. In most, especially the long, epic ones, the reader is supposed to suspend disbelief and feel that this fictional world is 'real'. Pratchett doesn't do that. You are never supposed to feel that Discworld could be a real place.
But her efforts are thwarted when her aunt reveals the nature of an ancient curse visited upon all Cathers witches. It becomes clear to Holly that the death of her parents was no accident, and a similar plague is sure to fall on anyone she grows close to. As her power strengthens, can Holly escape her destiny? And if her destiny includes Jer, does she want to?
If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as unsold and destroyed to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this stripped book. This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. In preparation for the writing of this series, I explored one of the Wicca traditions under the guidance of a Wiccan high priest.
I am aware that Wicca is not a single faith tradition, but a set of them, and that some magic users and spellcasters dislike the more stereotypical black magic of fictive invention. To them, I offer apologies; to everyone else, I offer the hope that the many forms of magic I present in this novel serve to show what a diverse and rich place can be found within a Book of Spells. Thank you Debbie, for being the great writer and friend you are. I would like to thank my coauthor, Nancy, whose generosity as a writer and a person has enriched my life. Thank you Lisa Clancy, you are a fabulous editor and your humor and compassion make you a joy to work with.
You do so much more than help writers grow in their craft, you provide a forum for forging friendships and alliances. Peggy Hanley, thank you for always being there for Scott and now for me. Thank you to my other writer friends who have patiently waded through hundreds of pages and given helpful critiques: Penny Austen, John Oglesby, and Kelly Watkins.
Thank you to Jennifer Harrington for always listening. I love you all. And the ground refused to give up its natural fruits, but instead yielded unholy and unnatural creatures. The dead walked along with those who had never lived. Ignoring for the moment the thick, hot words her parents were exchanging at the bow of the inflatable raft, Holly raised her gaze to the shard of sky between the canyon walls. Nickel and copper sunlight sheered her vision, making her eyes hurt. Clouds like decomposing gray fists rumbled, and the canyon wrens fluttered from their hiding places, cooing warnings to one another.
Behind her, the extremely buff boatman who did these rides every summer for his USC tuition money grunted and sighed. Her mother and father were wearing everybody out—him, her, and Tina, her best friend, who had had the bad luck to be invited on this nightmare vacation. Of course, Tina got invited to everything. Being an only child had its advantages, and both Tina and Holly were onlies. Five days ago, when Holly had gotten home from her horse stable job, it had been obvious something had been going on behind the closed doors of their classically San Franciscan Queen Anne Victorian row house.
Then after a moment or two, her father had come downstairs, his smile reaching nowhere near his eyes as he said, Hi, punky. Good day at the stables? No one had talked about what had happened. Her parents, Elise and Daniel Cathers, had joined in a conspiracy of polite silence, chilly to each other that night while packing for the trip, with the emotional frost dipping below freezing on the flight to Las Vegas.
They had flung mean words at each other like knives, words designed and honed to hurt. That was what Tina had heard too. In the morning Ryan had met the four of them in the Bellagio foyer and driven them to the raft trip launch site. Mom and Dad had barely been civil to each other during the daylong safety training class. Ryan got the raft into the water and told them where to sit. Then, as if the swirling waters of the Colorado had driven their tempers, the arguing had begun again, and during the day of white-water rafting it had grown steadily worse.
Holly, her own dark hair a mass of damp, crazed ringlets, was crammed beside Tina in the center of the raft, which resembled a kind of pudgy dinghy. Cold water sluiced at them from every direction as the raft rollercoastered between slick black boulders and tree trunks. Or us. Tina wagged her eyebrows suggestively. She blew Holly a kiss. My mom is a bigger knee-jerk liberal than your whole family put together, Tina retorted. Holly grinned and Tina grinned back.
Ay, Chihuahua, Holly thought. Tension eddied between them, and a fresh wave of anxiety washed through her. Something was basically, fundamentally wrong, and if she got really honest with herself, she knew it had been wrong for over a year. Her dad broke eye contact first and her mother quit the field, two territorial animals both dissatisfied with the outcome of their face-off. They were both good-looking people even though they were in their forties.
Dad was tall and lanky, with thick, unruly black hair and very dark brown eyes. Her mom was the odd one out, her hair so blond, it looked fake, her eyes a soft blue that reminded Holly of bridesmaid dresses. Everyone always thought they looked so good together, like TV parents. Few besides Holly knew that their conversations were more like dialogue from a horror movie. Okay, hang on, Ryan interrupted her thoughts—and for a split second, the arguing. Remember, stay left. He looked up at the lowering sky and muttered, Damn.
Holly cocked her head up at him. His face was dark and durable, much too leathery for someone who was only twenty-one. He glanced at her. He glanced at her parents. Tempers are getting kinda short. White water tumbled ahead like a kettle put on to boil, and she and Tina sat up a little straighter, getting ready for the big, exciting zoom downward. Going down rapids was officially the fun part, the reason they were there.
But Holly had had enough. She wanted to go home. The river currents rushed, threading together and then separating, curling around rocks and boulders and making eddies like potholes in a street. They broke into laughter, bellowing Yee-ha! Canyon wrens joined in and thunder rumbled overhead, and Holly felt a flash of anger that her parents were too busy being pissed off at each other to share in the fun.
Then the sky rumbled once, twice, and cracked open. Rain fell immediately, huge bucketfuls of it, completely drenching them. She flailed for her yellow raincoat wrapped around her waist, and the boat pitched and bowed as everyone lost track, startled by the downpour. Everything around here, stay left. The huge granite outcropping towered above them. Its face was jagged and sharp, not rounded with erosion as one would have expected.
The rain fell even harder, pummeling them, and Holly worked frantically to pull her hood back up over her head as a bracing wind whipped it off. The torrents blinded her. There was a millisecond where everyone froze, shocked brains registering what was happening. Tina cried as her oar was almost torn from her hands by the force of a wave. She started screaming as the raft dove down at a degree angle. Foaming angry water rushed over the five passengers up to their waists.
Tina screamed again and batted futilely at the water as Holly shouted, What do we do now? What are we supposed to do? The river was a maelstrom now; everything was gray and cold and unforgiving and treacherous; gray stone and gray water, as the raft was propelled toward the boulder with the force of a catapult. Holly held on to the paddle. It was useless now, but still she held it, hands frozen around it in terror. Someone, she had no idea who, was shouting her name. His command broke her stupefaction. As she tried to unbuckle her safety straps and jump, the river crested over the raft, completely engulfing it.
Cold, unforgiving water surrounded her, cresting above her shoulders, her head; she waited for it to recede, but it just kept barreling over her. She panicked, unable to breathe, and began pushing frantically at the restraints. The steel waters thickened, becoming waves of blackness. The raft could be tumbling end over end for all she knew. Her mind seized on the image of the huge face of rock; hitting it at this speed would be like falling out of a window and splatting on the street.
Her lungs were too full; after some passage of time she could not measure, they threatened to burst; she understood that she needed to exhale and draw in more oxygen. She fumbled at the belt but she still had no clue how to get free. As her chest throbbed she batted at the water, at her lap and shoulders where the straps were, trying so hard to keep it together, so hard. The ability to reason vanished. She stopped thinking altogether, and instinct took over as she flapped weakly at the restraints, not recalling why she was doing it.
She forgot that she had been in a raft with the three people she loved most in the world. She forgot that she was a teenager named Holly and that she had hair and eyes and hands and feet.
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She was nothing but gray inside and out. The world was a flat fog color and so were her images, thoughts, and emotions. Numb and empty, she drifted in a bottomless well of nothingness, flat-lining, ceasing. Eagerly she sucked in brackish river water. It filled her lungs, and her eyes rolled back in her head as her death throes began.
Struggling, wriggling like a hooked fish, her body tried to cough, to expel the suffocating fluid. It was no use; she was as good as dead. Her eyes fluttered shut. And then, through her lids, she saw the most exquisite shade of blue. Oxygen-starved, it was very nearly dead. The glow glittered, then coalesced. Her compassionate gaze was chestnut and ebony as she reached toward Holly. Alors, she will perish if you do not go now.
The figure raised forth her right hand; a leather glove was wrapped around her hand, and on it perched a large gray bird. She hefted the bird through the water, and it moved its wings through the rush torrent, toward Holly. Go, take her from here; they will find her and kill her … je vous en prie … je vous en prie, Daniel de Cahors. It was Barley Moon, the time of harvest, and the forest was warm and giving, like a woman. The man was staked to a copse of chestnut trees, his chest streaked with his own blood. I am so sorry for him, Maman, Isabeau whispered to her mother.
It is a better death, Catherine de Cahors insisted, smiling down on her child. In the other hand she held the bloody dagger. It was to be a good, clean execution. His wagging tongue would have sent him to the stake eventually. He would have burned, a horrible way to die. This way …. They were interrupted by a figure wearing the silver and black livery of Cahors; he raced to the edge of the Circle and dropped to his knees directly before the masked and cloaked Robert. Pandion threw back her head and shrieked in lamentation.
The entire Circle looked at one another in shock from behind their animal masks. Several of them sank to their knees in despair. Isabeau was chilled, within and without. The Deveraux had been searching for the secret of the Black Fire for centuries. Now that they had it … what would become of the Cahors? Of anyone who stood in the way of the Deveraux? Protect us this night, our Lady Goddess! This is a dark night, said one of the others. A night rife with evil. Damn you for your cowardice, Robert murmured in a low, dangerous voice.
We are not. He tore off his mask, grabbed the dagger from his wife, and walked calmly to the sacrifice. Blood spurted, covering those nearby while others darted forward to receive the blessing. Pandion swooped down from her perch, soaring into the gushing heat, the bells on her ankles clattering with eagerness. Take the blessing, she told her daughter. There is wild work ahead, and you must be prepared to do your part. Isabeau stumbled forward, shutting her eyes, glancing away. Her mother took her chin and firmly turned her face toward the stream of steaming, crimson liquid.
Non, non, she protested as the blood ran into her mouth. She felt defiled, disgusted. Holly woke up. As far as she could tell, she lay on the riverbank. The sound of rushing water filled her pounding head; she was shaking violently from head to toe and her teeth were chattering. She was completely numb. All she heard, all she knew, was the rushing of the river.
They sounded enormous, and in her confusion she thought it was diving for her, ready to swoop her up like a tiny, waterlogged mouse. The blood is so warm, she thought, drifting. See how it steams in the night air. Then once more Holly saw the hot, steaming blood—and something new: a vile, acrid odor that reeked of charnel houses and dungeon terrors.
Something very evil, very wrong, very hungry crept toward her, unfurling slowly, like fingers of mist seeking her out, sneaking over branch and rock to find her wrist, encircle it, enclose it. Someone—or something—whispered low and deep and seductively, I claim thee, Isabeau Cahors, by night and Barley Moon. Thou art mine. And from the darkness above the circle a massive falcon dove straight for Pandion, its talons and beak flashing and savage.
A brilliant yellow light struck her full force in the face. Holly whimpered as the light moved, bobbing up and down, then lowered as the figure holding it squatted and peered at her. It was a heavyset woman dressed like a forest ranger. Over her shoulder, she yelled, Found a survivor! Kari Hardwicke had wrapped herself in a simple, cream-colored robe of lightweight gauze that was totally see-through and that clung everywhere. In her slashed blond hair she had entwined a few wildflowers, and she had bronzed her cheeks and shoulders.
Her feet were bare and she had dabbed patchouli oil in all the strategic places. Now she curled herself around Jer Deveraux as he brooded silently before her fireplace.
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He had accepted the glass of cab she offered him and drawn up her leather chair before her fireplace. He sipped, and he fell silent, his dark eyes practically igniting the logs in the fireplace. That made her want him all the more. Nor was it his sharp wit, or his drive; the pull he had on almost everyone who knew him; the way he fascinated people, both men and women, who would fall to discussing him once he had left a room. It was all that combined with his astonishing looks.
His brown-black eyes were set deep into his face beneath dark brown eyebrows. His features were sharply defined, his cheekbones high above hollows shaded by the soft light in the room.
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Unlike his father and his brother, he was clean shaven; his jaw was sharp and angular, and his lips looked soft. He worked out, and it showed in his broad shoulders, covered for the moment by a black sweater. Like his family members, he wore black nearly all the time, adding to his allure of danger and sensuality. Heavy rain rattled the dormer window of her funky student apartment; the storm matched his mood, but she was determined to shake him out of it.
They were observant, as he liked to phrase it … and she wanted him to take her with him tonight. She wanted to know what they did in secret. Their rites, their spells … all of it. In the early days of their relationship—a year ago, now, how it had flown! He had hinted about an ancient family Book of Spells. She was thrilled. She was getting her PhD in folklore, a path she had chosen so that she could investigate magic and shamanism with the full resources of the university behind her. The University of Washington at Seattle treated Native American belief systems with the utmost respect; thus, her field of endeavor was encouraged, and never challenged.
She was fascinated by European magic … especially black magic. And though, like being a bona fide warlock he denied that his family practiced the Dark Art, she was fairly certain they spent more time in the shadows than they did in the diffuse light of Wicca. Yet she maintained the fiction that he practiced one of the Wicca traditions; it was what he had told her. He looked startled and—she hated to admit it—irritated by her interruption of his reverie. Jer, you loved me once, she thought anxiously. You were thrilled that a glamorous older woman graduate student wanted you, a mere freshman.
What did I do wrong? I want you to come back to me. Not just treading water with me, but back into the deluge, the flood that was all that passion you poured into me. We made such waves … we drowned in such amazing ecstasy. She smiled lustily. His smile was gentle, tinged with both sadness and great wisdom.